Letter. H[enry] J. Gifford, near Spottsylvania Court House, Virginia, to "Friend Lyra" [Sarah Stilson]
Most of this letter was written on 20 May, after the battles of the Wilderness and Spotsylvania and before Grant moved the Army of the Potomac south to the North Anna River. Capt. Gifford was now serving on the staff of the 49th New York Infantry (3rd Brigade, 2nd Division, 6th Corps). He spends a page or so summarizing the Overland Campaign to date: "We have been through a series of terrible battles since we crossed the Rapidan on the 3rd of May. My own division has been in every engagement and thus far has suffered a loss of 5520 men and officers. we started with 8700 — In the second days fighting our General (Getty) was wounded as also were two of his staff — the next day one staff officer was killed and another wounded. So that now, there are but two of our original staff left, myself and our Provost Marshall — I have had two horses wounded by shell—and was myself struck in the shoulder by a spent ball—but no injury done . . . . Thus far our movements have been a perfect success and although our loss has been about 30000 still we have received reinforcements to cover that loss. The death of Genl Sedgwick was a sad loss to the old 6th as well as to the army. He was killed by a bullet from a sharpshooter while inspecting his line of battle." Gifford also responds to queries in Stilson's (too infrequent) letters, and writes of the death of his mother the previous March.