Madison County





Robert Hamilton Cooper was a 19 year old private from Pennsylvania in the Union Army 2nd Corps at the battle of Gettysburg. After the war, he returned to Pennsylvania, eventually coming to Madison County in the 1870s where he remained for the rest of his life. He was married to Anna Mary Savage in 1872 and to them were born 6 children.

On July 6, 1863, just three days after the battle of Gettysburg, Robert wrote a letter home. The letter was eventually donated to the Madison County Historical Society from whom we have obtained a copy for publication herein.

Transcription courtesy of Linda Griffith Smith & Beth Austin Gray


Camp Near Gettysburgh, Pa,

July 6

Dear Father,

Through the providence of God, I have been spared through another desperate conflict. We was engaged in battle with the enemy here and have gained one of the greatest victories that ever this army gained and for that the desperate battle that ever it fought. The 2nd and 3rd of July will long be remembered by our fellow countryman. 

We (the 2nd Army Corps) arrived here the night several of our Beaver County boys but I have not the time to name them all.  Old Strock had his right leg taken off below the knee.  Cousin Jemmie Orr was wounded slightly, but only slightly. Our boy are all able to take care of themselves or one another.  Murray Nevin is safe and John Douds with 10 or 12 others of Co H was on cattle guard and have been since we left Gainsville.  They got out of the business.  There is several missing of the Reg(iment)– supposed to be taken prisoners Capt. McCalister of Co I was slightly wounded in the leg.  You will see the List of Casualties in the paper before you get this I and will not give you any more as I have no time.  You can tell Aunt Giena’s about Will and White’s about Alex.  They told me to write as they did not know whether they would have an opportunity.  They was just cut in the head slightly and will soon be ready for duty. 

I don’t know what our loss is estimated at. I saw a great many dead & wounded men but think it is not near as heavy as the rebs is.  This is said to be the desperatest battle that ever this army was engaged in; the heaviest artillery fighting that ever has been.  They opened on us Friday afternoon and give us a desperate shelling and we did the same till our ammunition was all fired except Grape Canister.  We quit firing and I suppose the rebs thought they had us and they advanced in three columns on 3 lines of battle.  We waited till they got close enough for our Canister to do execution and we let them have it and they run like sheep.  We broke their columns to pieces.  I could see the effect our shot had in their ranks but they did not stand long.  They broke to run and then we got a great many prisoners and three battle flags.  I know there was more than a thousand prisoners taken at that time and the fields was covered with their dead & wounded. 

I presume old Lee has found out by this time that getting into PA was a bad thing for him but I think it will be the ending of the war.  He is not going to get out of it very easy. They have left this place and we are waiting now every minute to follow them.  Please tell Grampa and Granny and all the rest of our friends as I have no time to write my love to all friends. 


R. H. Cooper

Gettysburg July 6/63



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This page was last updated Thursday, 19-Jan-2017 22:10:10 EST .