Washington, N.C., May 28, 1863
158th, Penn,, Col McKIBBIN, 168th. Penn., Col. JOSEPH JACK,
171st, Col, BIERER, 175th. " Col. DYER,
I avail myself of this opportunity of saying to the officers and men of the Keystone Brigade that the time has arrived for me to take my leave of you ; and, as your term of service will soon expire, many of you, I presume, will abandon the scenes and excitement of the battle-field again to assume your usual pursuits of industry. In parting allow me to assure you that I entertain an exalted opinion of you both as officers and soldiers; and, in my official character, I thank you for the prompt and cheerful manner in which you have over performed your arduous and dangerous duties,-and I shall always look back upon my association with you as among the pleasantest hours of my life. You were put under my command at a time when you were fresh from your native state, and, with it few exceptions, entirely unacquainted with the toils and danger, of war: you were placed in no "school of' instruction" but marched directly to the front, where you have, remained performing your duty in a manner reflecting great credit on yourself and great honor upon your State.
Your march from Suffolk, Va., to Newbern, N. C. has no equal since the war began except in General Banks' retreat from Winchester,-and that differed from yours in this important particular,-yours was toward the enemy, his was from them: Your tam Met at Mill Creek and White Oak River was equal to that of veteran troops: Your march to Pollocksville, for the purpose of encompassing the enemy at the second battle of Newborn, developed your powers of endurance, ant, at once, gave you a prominent place among the best troops in the service.
While aboard of the transports in front of the Rebel batteries on the Pamplico River you were; both willing and anxious to incur any risk, or to encounter any danger necessary to relieve the beleaguered city of Washington, N. C., and no troops in the army could have manifested greater willingness to maim any necessary sacrifice to reinforce the garrison and to relieve it front the perils which surrounded it : but authority higher than either you or me checked your patriotic desires.
Your conduct at Blount's Creek fully developed your impetuous desires to encounter the enemy, and no soldier ever retired from the battle-field with greater reluctance, after it had been demonstrated that the column could not advance owing to the destruction of the bridges which crossed the sarcoma
Your reconnaissance to "New Hope School-house" was all that could have been asked of any troops; It was a success in every particular.
Your march to and occupancy of Swift Creek Village. with its accompanying sharp skirmishing, as you approached the place and drove the Rebels from it, in precipitate flight, at time dead hour of night, were worthy of the "Old Guard" of Napoleon.
Your conduct throughout has been of a character that has placed the Brigade in an inviable position intemperance and immoral practices, as well as vice in its various forms, have been strangers to the Officers and Soldiers of the Keystone Brigade. Instead of participating 'and indulging in the practices which are so prevalent and demoralizing among soldiers, you have invariably been found on the Sabbath day joining with each other in prayer and uniting your voices in singing praises to the Great Ruler of all.
No cause can fail my Countrymen, when supported by such men as constitute the Keystone Brigade! You have done your whole duty to your Country, to your State, and to your families, in a manner that no man among you need be ashamed to acknowledge that he is one of the Keystone Brigade,-while the authorities of your State can, with pride, point to you as an emulation for others who are to follow you to the field!
We are all called upon to make some sacrifices in times like the present, but the American, who would not obey the call of his Country in her hour of peril, is unworthy of enjoying the benefits and blessings of it free government, which cost many lives and much treasure to establish. No army ever suffered like that of Washington No men ever bore their sufferings with less murmuring than the bravo patriots who pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honors, that you and I might enjoy civil and religious liberty: You need go no further than your own home to find the spot that gave shelter to the Father of his Country, together with the eleven thousand famishing patriots who wintered at Valley Forge,-to which place they were traced by the blood which oozed from their unshod feet!
At the expiration of your terra of service it is fair to presume that many of you, from age and other causes, will not again enter it: but, in the name of Liberty and a bleeding Country, I not only appeal to the young men of the Brigade to enlist again, but. I implore you, in the name of the men who suffered every conceivable hardship and privation in order to show to the despots of the world that man is capable of self government, that you will prove yourself the proud representatives of the patriots of '76, and never quit the field until this diabolical attempt, to destroy the government which Washington and his associates gave us, has been ploughed out by the roots.
F. B. SPINOLA,
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I have one of these letters in our family bible. The back of this letter has blue lines for handwritten messages. Of course the letter is mechanically printed or written..Brigade has many members and could not be hand written and sent to each individual member
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