Units by State:
Units by State:
Primary Sources for the 8th New York Heavy Artillery
Mexico Independent, June 11, 1863
CONVALESCENT HOSPITAL, PATTERSON
PARK, BALTIMORE, Md , May 25, 1863
DEAR UNCLE:—After a period of nine months' service in garrison at Fort Federal Hill, the monotony with me has changed for a time—a welcome change—and I am now on duty at this hospital.
Patterson Park, where the 110th regiment encamped while in this city. is situated on a hill overlooking the broad Patapsco to the south-east, and commanding a most beautiful view of the city and country east and north. It is one of those many places in the environs of Baltimore originally calculated as a welcome resort, in leisure hours, for the thousands of pleasure seeking denizens of this mighty city. The Park is commodious. and well supplied with large and elegant shade trees, many of which, however, have suffered materially by the depredations of the horses of the 10th N. Y Cavalry. which formerly encamped here — The expensive improvements which would have adorned this Park ere now, were entirely stopped by military necessity, and will probably not be resumed until the triumph of freedom's arms shall establish the propriety of continuing the preparations for future happiness, and bid the now forsaken avenues to industry and wealth, and welcome again their departed hosts. And how long mast we wait for the coming of that glorious day? Let us hope not long. And may we not hope? I think I can see in the consummations and conquests of the past, the realities of the present, and the indications which point to the approaching future, ample grounds and encouragement upon which to exercise a lively hope for the complete and speedy triumph of freedom's righteous arms.
Extending diagonally through the Park from north east to the south west, is an earthwork, which was built at the time the battle of North Point was fought, and which stands today as a reminder of the blood and treasure which the institutions we have so long enjoyed, and which we now are laboring to perpetuate, cost our fathers. Well may we fight and sacrifice, or die if need be, if by so doing we shall accomplish this—our duty; and coming generations might justly regard us as the recreant sons of our noble sires if we did not thus make effort. Fitting, indeed, is it that the faithful and brave of these trying times should be brought into association and nearness with these scenes of classic memory. Here we read or duty, and here we receive new impressions. the agency of whose creation is so potent and irresistible, that he who runs must read. The Copperhead comes not this way; this ground he dare not tread; it is too holy, too sacred to admit of his venomous polution.
You will, of course, be desirous of knowing something of the character of the duty I am doing here. It is the custom at all the army hospitals to keep a guard, and this is the duty I am doing here, under Lieut Cook, of our regiment (8th N. Y. Artillery) I am in command of the guard of 75 men at this hospital. The location is so pleasant that, as a change, I like the duty well. The orders of our sentinels are, to allow no one but the officers of the guard and hospital to cross their lines, either way, unless they have a pass from said officers. The sentinels are stationed at intervals of about ten rods from each other, and stand two hours out of every ten; in other words, they are on post two hours, then have eight to go where they please; but at the end of that time, if they are not on hand, it is a serious offense, and they have to suffer accordingly.
But I must close my already quite long letter. I wish, however, dear uncle, you would remember me oftener by sending we copies of the Mexico Independent. Little do you know how much I desire to get papers from old Oswego county. Certainly it is long years since I had a home within her borders, but my nativity is there; the home of my childhood is there, and many of the companions of my youth, now grown to manhood and womanhood, are there; while the graves, alas! of many more are there —the graves of a father, sister, and brother are also there. And what more sacred memories than these? And from the living and the daily associations surrounding the graves of the dead I dearly love to hear. And of these, the local matter in the Independent is replete. In many respects the Independent is more to be prized by me than a letter, for it goes into the towns of Mexico, Palermo, Hastings, West Monroe, and Richland, and many of its subscribers constitute its loyal correspondents, and from all these towns, and the city, where I, at different times, in boyhood had a home, it brings me news of interest. Send me copies often.
Our regiment is now considerably divided, a part of it being at Fort Federal Hill, where the headquarters are; a part at Fort McHenry; nearly one company here, and smaller details at different bridges across the Patapsco, south of the city, guarding these various points— The health of our regiment is generally very good. We are well drilled, and ought to be doing duty in front, but the generals will not let us go. Our colonel. although we are an artillery regiment, has been trying to get permission to take us into the field as an infantry regiment; but Gens. Schenck and Morris both say they cannot spare us. So we have to stay here, guarding ourselves, sick soldiers, convalescents, railroads, bridges, and Baltimore, and in this will consist our fame when this cruel war is ended, Your affectionate nephew,
D. LESTER PITCHER.
E. T. WHITEHEAD, Esq.