Last Letter Written Home

  This letter is from a newspaper article written by my cousin Wesley Boyle of Harveys Lake. I'm not sure of what paper but I believe it is a Wilkes Barre paper. I believe the date is around the 95th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg in 1953. But the article is of my Great, great Uncle George H. Megines' last letter home before he was killed at the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1. George was a corporal in Company C. of the 143rd Pa. Vol. and was from Larksville,(then Blindstown). Here is the article:

      " 'Boys in Blue' to Reetch Bloody Conflict at Gettysburg This Week"

 Spirits of the past can be believed to be mingling among the throngs of the present who this week tread the historic battlegrounds at Gettysburg in observance of the 95th anniversary of that fateful conflict of the Civil War.
     The past was especially vivid yesterday when members of Gettysburg Camp, Sons of Union Veterans, wearing the blue uniforms of their forebears, marked the line where Pickett's 15,000 men were turned back in the bloodiest hours of the battle.
     One who lost his life at Gettysburg was George H. Megines, a corporal in the Union Army who wrote his parents in Larksville.
     It was the last letter young Megines wrote.
     It came to light not long ago among Megines family papers and Mrs. Susan Megines Haerter of RD 1 Trucksville, a niece of the Civil War soldier, provided the Record with a copy and with a likeness of the young man which is
reproduced. In simple, unpretentious phrases are revealed the young man's willingness to fight for what he believes, his pride in his promotion, his attempts to reassure his parents and above all his yearning for home.
     All parents will feel a kinship with his mother and father whose concerns were answered.
     The letter follows, as written to John and Mary Hoffman Megines of "Blindtown" now Larksville:
     "June 29, 1863. Camp at Middletown, Md.

     Dear Father and Mother:

     I received your kind letter last night and was glad indeed to hear from you and to hear you was all well as these few lines leave me and all of the boys in the best of health and spirits.

     Father, we are now 10 miles from the Penna. State line. We came from the muddy soil of Virginia. We crossed in Maryland 24th at Edward's ferry above Harpers. We are at South Mountain we are following up old Lee and driving him towards the North. I suppose you have force enough to stop him at Harrisburgh for he never can go through this Army of the Potomac.

     We have our whole army here, about 80,000 troops, and if he goes either way you will see him that way for we are bound to get him. Mother you was saying you would like to have me home for the fourth of July. Yes I would like to be there too but we have to do this army up now. Oh we live good here among the Rich old farmers of Maryland. Everything we want to eat we can have. We can't write much more for we are going on to Harrisburgh. I think we will spend the fourth in Penna.

     They say our corps is not going to go back in Virginia any more. We are going to stay around Maryland. The most of our boys think our Regt. will be home after this present trouble over for nine months. Man, won't we have a lovely old time.

     Father, you wanted to know if we would be payed off before the 4th. I don't think we will. We ought to be paid the first of July but it always runs two weeks after before the PayMaster comes around. We will have 52 dollars, 4 months pay, up to the first of July. You can send me a little money if you please for the 4th of July.

     Oh my boots are pretty good yet and I won't need any now. Please send me 10 postage stamps Jack.

     Well mother you must keep up good courage for I stopped in a house in Middletown and she gave me some milk and good bread and butter. It made me think of Mamy's old cellar.

     We have orders to march and I will have to stop. We are going towards home. We see plenty of pretty girls and they are all for the Union and they keep coming in our camp and talk with us. It seems like Camp Luzerne to see the girls. They have their flags all out and in every town we pass and great cheering some more.

     Please ans. soon. From your son G.H. Megines To his Dear Mother and Father.

     Hurrah for Pennsylvania forever. We will fight for it forever. I am a corporal now . I have a big promotion. Won't I shine with my two cents stripes on.

     Jake and Joel are well."

 That is the context of the letter. I have the newspaper article in a frame and I am transcribing it from that. I have to assume the letter is transcribed exactly as it was written. I assume so. The part at the end about the promotion is a PS probably written sometime after the first part.
George was killed in action on the first day's fight at Gettysburg. According to a copy of his death certificate I obtained from the National Archives he was killed by gunshot wound to the neck. He was 5' 4" tall with black hair and "black" eyes and a fair complexion. He was a carpenter by trade. He was 22 years old at the time of his death. Because the First Day's Battle field fell into Confederate hands, George's body, like most of the Union dead of July 1st was stripped and probably was not buried until sometime after the 4th. Evidently, he was initially identified by his comrades as his death certificate had his possessions listed at the time of his death and of course,
the nature of his fatal wound. However, in October of 1863, the Union dead were disinterred from their battlefield graves to be reinterred at the newly
formed National Cemetery(the ceremony for which Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address on Nov. 19, 1863). Apparently, upon disinterment, George's body could no longer be identified and any grave marker his comrades gave him was gone.
He now lies in an unknown grave in the Gettysburg National Cemetery or possibly on the battlefield itself(it seems about every five years an unmarked grave is found on the battlefield).
    The article does continue, listing many of George's relatives who were alive in 1953. If you are interested in this let me know and I will send.
Any other questions about George or the 143rd Pa Vol. ( I'm kind of an amateur historian on the 1st Days Battle at Gettysburg) please feel free to email me.

This letter was submitted by Ben Dluzeski

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