“They always begin half whipped”

Jedediah Hotchkiss (1828-1899) to Sara Hotchkiss, May 10, 1863. Jedediah Hotchkiss Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

The smoke of battle has cleared away and we now see what we have done and can only hope for the results. We have severely punished Hooker and his immense army-his loss in killed, wounded, and prisoners, can not be much less than 20,000, we fought him over a space of country 15 miles long & 3 wide, having some 5 or 6 distinct battles with him & he did not gain an advantage in one of them, though

Jedediah Hotchkiss (1828-1899) to Sara Hotchkiss, May 10, 1863. Jedediah Hotchkiss Papers, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress

we had many valuable men killed & wounded. The fact is that as soon as we flank them they become panic stricken & no amount of leadership can avail them-they have been so often whipped that they always begin half whipped, and give up as light reverses-though they brag and bluster and are going to do wonders-we fell on their rear unexpectedly and they say one of their corps ran at the first fire.

This blog complements the Library of Congress exhibition, “The Civil War in America.” This series of posts chronicles the sacrifices and accomplishments of those—from both the North and South—whose lives were lost or affected by the events of 1861–1865. To learn more about the object featured in this blog entry, visit the online exhibition.