October 1862

LETTER 4

News from Fort Delaware, guarding Rebel prisoners, death of 1st Lt. Urbane S. Cook, sickness in camp.

Fort Delaware,
Delaware [City, Delaware]
October 18, 1862

Dear Annie,

18_Oct_1862-1I am happy to hasten to reply to your very welcome letter. You must pardon me for not writing sooner. We have been removed from our tents to our barracks in the fort, which has turned everything topsy-turvy and made us, of course, very busy. So we could not find time for anything almost. I was yesterday on guard, so by the regulations, I am entitled to employ the day after as I please. So you see the greatest pleasure I have is writing to you.

18_Oct_1862_2I am sorry I can’t furnish you with any very interesting news. The Rebel [prisoners] have left, and we were very glad of it. It was fine job enough to guard them the first day, but a week of it is more than enough. I shall not describe their appearance to you because my descriptive powers ain’t strong enough for the enterprise. Suffice to say that they were filthy to extremes.

18_Oct_1862_3I am sorry to tell you that our First Lieutenant, Urbane S. Cook ♠ died last night of Typhoid fever, which prevails here. We all feel sorry after him for a better man could not be found. He was second to none. Annie, it is a sorry sight to see a funeral on this island. I hope that I will be spared a funeral here, anyhow, at my expense. They bury a man here because they have to do it & the sooner the job is done, the better they feel. Lieutenant Cook will be sent to Susquehanna County [PA], his home. An escort will be sent with him. We don’t know who they will be yet. Here is another victim to Southern rascality & treason. He was the healthiest of us all, yet the first to fall. God knows who will be next.

18_Oct_1862_4I hope, dear friend, that you enjoy yourself tiptop & that all your relatives are well & able to chastise you and [your sister] Susan for your many little sins in the garden.

I can’t say anymore news to you, but this: you can expect to see W. G. Thompson and W. B. Davis of Carbondale up there next week. Thompson has been very sick [but] he is now getting better. I can’t say I’m sure of it, but I hear so that is of them coming up to Carbondale.

18_Oct_1862_4Accept of my kindest love give my best respects to [your sister] Susan if she is home & write soon. Yours as ever, — William B. Phillips

A good wish

“Come, Heavenly Powers, primeval Peace restore
Love! —Mercy! — Wisdom! — rule for evermore!” ♣

Campbell

LETTER 4 NOTES

♠ Urbane S. Cook was the First Lieutenant of “Schooley’s Battery” — later Company M, 2nd Heavy Artillery Pennsylvania Volunteers. Urbane was born in 1839, the son of Griffin Cook, a farmer in Jackson Township, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania.

♣ “Come, Heavenly Powers, primeval Peace restore Love! —Mercy! — Wisdom!” — rule for evermore!” were the final lines of a long poem named “The Pleasures of Hope” written by Thomas Campbell (1777-1844).

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