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William H .Melcher.
Wife:Susie M. Melcher.
Children: Non recorded.
Burial: Mount Peace Cemetery, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.
Second Pennsylvania Veteran Heavy Artillery ( 112th., Regiment Pennsylvania Volunteers ),Regimental History.
Page 21., William H. Melcher who was a very competent man for the office of Quartermaster, and who, in reality, had filled the position very satisfactorily as such while his superior got the credit and compensation for doing- nothing.
A letter by Wm. H. Melcher, p. 75.
My Dear Comrade Ward:
You remember I was the Quartermaster of the Second Pennsylvania Veteran Heavy Artillery, therefore my duties kept me in the rear, and, consequently, can only give you the experience of one who knew what was going on there. I was ordered to remain in Washington when the regiment started for the front, to transfer a lot of army stores I had in my possession, which required three days to accomplish. Surgeon Griswold and I went to White House Landing on the steamer "Daniel Webster," and from there to Cold Harbor, arriving there five days before the regiment did.
We were like lost sheep, with nothing to eat, our stock of terrapin, chicken, etc., having been eaten on the way down. Soon as the regiment arrived at Cold Harbor we reported to Colonel Gibson. I found our wagon train was rather close to the "front," and suggested taking them farther to the rear, out of harm's way. The Colonel, with a wave of his hand, said : "Oh, take them around there!" indicating about 30 yards away. I did so and asked Adjutant Grugan for a double guard, which he granted. I then instructed the teamsters to unhitch the teams, but not to lake off the harness. The Adjutant wanted to know the necessity for a double guard. I explained that our position was too close to the enemy, and they would soon shell us : and without a substantial guard the teamsters might create a stampede.
I had hardly said so when the shells commenced to drop around us, and at once we hitched up and "fell back in good order," with the loss of but one old canteen, the property of the writer. That was my first experience in the "shell game." But many times after that we enjoyed (?) a repetition, as occasion required our presence near the front. In fact, I became, at times, reckless, in order to know what was going on at the front, but am now glad it is all over, and that I belonged to a regiment whose services and achievements compare favorably with the best volunteers â€” the nation's hope in the War of the Rebellion.
Yours in F., C. & L.,
WM. H. MELCHER. 1909 W. Venango St., Philadelphia.