Chelmsford Historical Society
Charles Bartlett, October 1862

Suffolk Va Oct 1 1862

My Dear Mother

Yours of Sept 28th was received this PM at 5:30 also letter from Adams & George. I have been out all day with 200 of our men who have been digging in the trenches where we are building a fort. I hope I shall never know anything about prison life in Richmond from experience. I was disappointed that I did not receive a letter from my wife tonight. Why dont she write? As to my health I have not seen a well day since I have been out here but I keep about because other officers would say that I was not disposed to do my part if I laid by. What is the matter with John? I received a letter from him a few days since. I hope to hear that Grandfather is better when you write again which I hope will be soon. The movement of troops at this place I think indicates an advance toward Petersburg and that soon too I think. Our chaplain writes over the signature of Haverhill. Our surgeon was at Craney Island yesterday where Milo P. is, he tells me he thinks he will be able to come away in a week or ten days. What do people think of Chelmsford’s 2nd Lieut? I wish Harriet would take a trip to Sandusky? As to my coming home it is very uncertain. If our Regiment is with the advance towards Petersburg I think we shall be about played out as the Rebels are strongly fortified there. The Richardson Battery of Lowell with Brazer and all the boys arrived here today. My summer over coat is in Mr Nourse’s office in the depot at Lowell. Adams told me he would go and get it for me before I went off. Father can take my old overcoat and welcome if it will do him any good. Why dont Father write? How about the draft in Chelmsford? Tell Adams I will write to him soon. Our sweet potatoes are miserable things but we have plenty of them. You would hardly know me if you were to see me now. All burned up, quite black, have not shaved since I have been here - short hair & rough look any way. We are most of us well

Oct 2 7:30 AM

I have just returned from the fort where my company was ordered at 8 PM yesterday to spend the night. Went to Fort to support a Battery that was stationed there. Slept out in the open air - good for the fever and Ague. I understand Chelmsford people say that I am going to resign. Please correct that impression. Look at the papers for stiring news from Suffolk soon. I must now close as it is most time for mail to go. Good by

Your Son
Charles.


Suffolk Oct 2nd 1862

Dear Brother,

I received yours of Sept 28th yesterday at 5:30 PM for which I am thankfull. I hope you will write again soon. Keep me posted up with Chelmsford news. How about the draft? Are any Chelmsfofd folks going to volunteer; Milo P is better, will be about soon. I have not seen any Rebels myself but they are about here plenty enough. We shall probably see all we want of them soon enough. The Colonel has authorized Mr Dupee to recruit for this Regiment. Take my advice & stay at home. If you came out here you will be sick and break down. Write soon. Remember me to all the boys at Chelmsford. Ask Riny to write to me. What do the Chelmsford boys write home about their Captain? Do you hear anything said. The Minnesota is at the mouth of the James River waiting for the new Merrimack which is expected out soon. Don’t forget to tell King to write. Good by

Your Brother
Charles.

5:30 PM

Have just received Father’s letter of the 30th - tell him I will answer it as soon as I get an answer from the Colonel with regard to it.


Boston Oct 2nd 1862

My Dear Captain

Your kind & welcome letter reached me this morning – I need not tell you I was right glad to hear from you & especially to receive a letter written by your own hand. I think of you often and try to place myself in your situation & imagine how you must feel in your position so entirely new & changed. Charlie keep up good Courage you are standing higher in the estimation of all your friends than even before. You will & have already seen & experienced many things that are unpleasant to any man & especially to men constituted like you & me but go strait forward. You have every encouragement so far as your Civil & Social relations are concerned & if you have any Military obstacles from time to time go on steadily & firmly and they will I trust all vanish before you. Your descriptions of the country & people is interesting to me. I hope you will write me whenever you have time & write me any little personal emotion or experience such you would not ordinalily mention for it interests me much and brings you nearer to me. No human eye shall see anything you would wish unseen.

Uncle John I suppose you have heard has been discharged. The Gen'l has hired him over again & has installed him in charge of the Offices upstairs & the heating apparatus of the building. The Champion figures as Commander in Chief upon the lower floor. Everything goes on quietly & much the same as when you left. We hold high carnival in the conductor’s room often and not a day passes without honorable and worthy mention is made of your name and as you are absent of course your qualities of character are freely discussed but you may be assured that never a word has been said but would be cheerfully endorsed by your trust & best friend – who can ask to stand better!

I wrote to Dr [unreadable] today & told him to write you – told all the boys that you sent your love to them. They were very much pleased. I am told father Cooper is getting along well thank God. Uncle Eli says he shall give Hattie a good shaking for getting married so slyly. Wish I could think of something more but I think I will quit.

I have faith that God will grant my prayer which is that He will have you in His Holy Keeping and preserve you from all harm and bring you safe home to Wife and friends.

Good bye
Truly Yours
D D Hart


Suffolk Oct 3d 1862

My Dear Father

Yours of Sept 19th to which you allude as not answered was answered about one week ago. As to the matter of recruiting I can only say that Colonel Follansbee has written to Mr. Dupee one of the Selectmen of Chelmsford and has authorized him to recruit for our Regiment and has sent him the needful papers. After the men are recruited they are to be sent to Gen Schouler who will have them mustered and then turn them over to Capt McKim who will furnish them transportation. No person can leave the Regiment to recruit without special order from Secretary Stanton. The climate of this section of the country takes hold of me right smart. The weather is terribly hot during the day and at night the dampness from the Dismal Swamp cools off so that a person needs his overcoat and gloves. I have just been weighed and weigh 135# [pounds]. When I left home I weighted 152#. My complaint seems to be complete prostration & bowell complaint 2/3 of the time with not strength enough to hardly keep about & considerable trouble with my throat. We expect fever & Ague here soon as the people say that it is about time for it in this section. Some of our boys are mighty homesick but not more so than myself although they show it more perhaps. I hope to hear by your next that Grandfather is much better. Please write soon and let me know how he is. What did they do at town meeting last Monday? I wish for 21 (twenty-one) men to fill up my Company. I am thankful one month of this 9 is gone only 7 27/30 more to serve. If Gen Schouler does not approve of the course we have marked out please let us know and we will try some other course. Nothing new here but you may expect new at any time from here. Now about those peace propositions from J. Davis Co of Richmond. Are they going to amount to anything? Our boys hope they will. I received a letter from my wife last night which I answered this morning. What do people say about Lieut Emerson. Please ask King to write me. Our boys are most of them shoveling every day. They do not stand as well with the government as the N**** who do not do anything but eat government rations. I would like to see some of our New England friends down here. Will you send to George to send me one of those telegraph marking maps. Will write again the first of the week, also to John. Keep advised as to Grandfather’s health.

Your Son
Charles.


Suffolk Oct 5th 1862 8:30 PM

My Dear Mother

Yours of the 2nd with one of the 1st from Harriet also one from my friend Hart & from friend Lincoln was received tonight. I hope Grandfather will be up and smart again and able to welcome me if I ever come home again. How I should miss him if he should be taken away when I am gone (which pray God may not be) I should hardly know old Chelmsford without him to show me about, but perhaps my time may come first. I am laid up with Rheumatism the cause of which is this. We were ordered on Friday night to take two days ration in our haversacks & march out to where there was a skirmish going on. We started at 10 PM and I marched 12 miles and dropped down by the roadside completely played out - was put into an Ambulance and carried the rest of the way 8 miles further where I laid all day in the ambulance & was then brought back to camp at 9 PM Saturday night entirely used up. Our Regiment did not get into the fight. The roadside was lined with men when we came back who were tired out & could go no further. I cannot stand these long marches. They will play me out entirely. How long I am to be laid up I cannot tell - hope not long. I received a splendid letter from Mr. Hart today parts of which I sent Harriet which she will read you. I have had a homesick day enough today, lying on my back all the time. Some 8 or 10 of our boys in the Regiment have the fever & Ague & that pretty bad. George Parkhurst is threatened with fever but the doctor hopes to break it up. The rest of them are all well. Milo Proctor has not come to camp yet but expect him this week. The town of Suffolk is quite a pleasant place. Two streets which run at right angles to each other & very pleasant streets they are too. The principal business of the place is commerce which was carried on by means of the Nansemond River. The male population are all in the Rebel Army so of course the other sex feel rather bad towards us. I had a very pleasant call from Col Stevenson last Friday. He is still stationed at Newbern [Va].

Oct 6th

Nothing new during the night. A very cool morning - cold enough for overcoat. I am quite stiff this morning & shall not be about today. Love to all. Be sure and let me hear from G’father often.

Your Son
Charles.


Suffolk October 7th 1862

My Dear Father

The matter of recruiting is I suppose all right before this time. The letter of the Colonel to Mr Dupee must have been close upon the one I sent to you which you received the 2nd. I hope any influence Gen Schouler may bring to bear upon them (the boys) will have no effect on them. Send them out as soon as possible as we are anxious to fill up and be upon a war footing. Please let me know what has been done about recruiting and how many will volunteer. I can take 19 in my Company and the rest shall have a chance in our right hand Co or in our left hand Co. (These are the Groton & Acton Cos.) What shall I do for the Rheumatism? I am about played out otherwise than the Rheumatism. Let me hear from Grandfather as often as there is any chance while he is in danger. I think the change from the office to so hard a place out of doors was most too much for me. Most of our boys are quite well. Let me know if the Colonel’s letter was received. The result of the expedition to the Black Water River was 11 men killed and seven wounded and that is all the good it did. If any of the boys enlist to come into our Regiment tell them to ascertain if they will be discharged when the Regt is as it will only make them 7 months. I suppose they will be of course. George Parkhurst is still threatened with fever but the doctor thinks he can throw it off. Be sure and send the Rubber Boots the first chance. Perhaps you can get them into some box going from Lowell if there is none sent from Chelmsford soon. Henry Cooper will tell you of some chance. Did you find my summer overcoat? We are a homesick set here today. You should see George Parkhurst. He will sit and look at nothing for an hour at a time. He is homesick enough I tell you. The ties of affection are what knock him high. J R Fletcher was just in. He is in good spirits. Maj Gen Peck is in command at S[uffolk] but I understand Stonewall Jackson intends to assume command soon. And if he has any such intertions he probably will do so.

8 PM

Received Father’s letter of the 9th [&] will answer soon. Just ordered to take out [the] Company and report to Fort McClellan to support a Battery and to stay all night. I never saw it rain at home as it has here all day and as it does now yet we are obliged to go out. I expect to be down sick every day and go into the Hospital. If I only was out of the Army you would never catch me in it again draft or no draft. Would go to Canada first. Good Night

Your Bro
Charles


Suffolk Oct 10th 1862

My Dear Father

Yours of the 5th was received this PM on the arrival of our mail. You need not be afraid of writing too often. I enclose the certificate which I think will fix the case of Boston & Co. Are we to have to any of the Chelmsford boys out here? My health is much improved quite smart. George A Parkhurst & G A Byam are rather slim they have been threatened with fever but I think they will come up all right. Confound Red Tape say I. How did they contrive to get them down as from Chelsea. Why don’t they look at the descriptive list of the Company that I left with them when I came off? They will tell the story. Will try send the other certificate soon. I am glad you are going to send me some apples &c. Will you please ask George if he will ascertain if I can draw bounty from the city of Boston. I see they pay $100. Should be glad to draw if I can. Will answer Adams letter soon. Have to write to my wife tonight. I am glad Grandfather is comfortable and hope he will continue so. I hear that we are to have Maj Gen Hooker down here to take charge of the matters. Probably have something to do soon. We are having splendid weather here at present. Expect a letter from Uncle Charles. Am sorry to hear Ruth is so unwell. Hope she will be better soon. 8:00 PM I must now close in order to write to Harriet. Good Night

Your Son,
Charles


Suffolk Sunday Oct 12th 1862

My Dear Brother.

Yours of Oct 9th was received yesterday noon. The fight to which you allude is over and none of the 6th were in it, but perhaps before this reaches you we may have had another. I understand our Regiment are a part of the Reserve to be used when our forces are hard pushed, but this may only be camp rumor. One of those storms peculiar to this climate has just commenced and from what the people who live here say I think it will last 7 or 10 days. Have just heard that we are to stay here all winter but this may also be a camp story. I am not very well and have not been since I arrived here. I think the water and the air from the Dismal Swamp is the cause of our troubles. The Fever & Ague is here and plenty too. Tell Mother I will write to her soon. Are any of the Chelmsford boys coming out here to the Regiment or are they going to wait and be drafted and put where they dont want to go. Why dont they see Chas. H Dalton and get him to see Gov Andrew - he will get them out here if they wish to come. Who is talking of coming? I do not think Brandy would do me any good. My principal trouble is my “Stomach & Indigestion”. Also sometimes as weak as a rag. I think the people should be willing to let Chas. Summer have that rest that nature requires and let him stay at home for the next 6 years. Cant you do something to let him stay at home? Please send me my Rubber Boots when any box is sent from Chelmsford again. Some of them will be sending something soon probably. Be sure and send the new ones. Goodby. Write soon.

Your Bro
Charles.


Suffolk Oct 18th 1862

My Dear Mother

As I am “Officer of the Day” in our camp and have to be up all night I will improve my spare time in this manner. On Thursday last I was detailed as “Brigade Field Officer” who is a mounted officer so of course I had to mount my charge. I was kept in the saddle 6 hours on Thursday. Then at 12:30 AM Thursday night, had to take my horse and go the rounds of the pickets which was 3 hours more in saddle and on Friday AM I had another trip of 6 hours. So I am about as lame as I can be today. Can hardly crawl about but hope to get over it soon. Although I expect the Rheumatism will be the result. We have no news at Suffork worth relating. I think movements here indicate an advance toward the Black Water River or perhaps to Petersburgh. I think if we attempt it with this force that we have you will hear of a Rebel victory. We are having beautiful days but the nights are cold enough. The boys complain a great deal of cold. I am glad to hear Grandfather is so much better and hope to hear by your next that he is about again. So it seems that Chelmsford’s quota is full. I am sorry, for I was in hopes I could fill up my Company. I see that drafting has commenced in Boston. I have the Journal of Thursday which gives the names of those drafted on Wednesday. I see some among them that I know. If I once get out with a whole skin you will never catch me in the Army again. Even if I am drafted. What do people say about the draft? I wish they would draft some few in Chelmsford I might name. The Government will find that drafted men are poor property for them. Geo. Parkhurst has been a little sick and low spirited but is quite smart now. Geo. A. Byam has had a fever but is better now and will be out in the course of a week. Milo Proctor is still at Craney Island Hospital but is much better. He expects to go home soon. The rest are all well. 12:30 AM, all quiet tonight. Have just been the Grand Rounds of the Guard and will now go to bed til 5:30 AM tomorrow. Please send the Rubber Boots by first chance. Put them in the the bbl [barrel] of apples they send out if you can do no better. My love to all at home. Will write again in a few days. Remember me to all enquiring friends.

Your Son
Charles.

Oct 19th

All quiet last night. A most beautiful morning. Do not feel very smart this morning as I only slept one hour last night. Good by

Charles.


Suffolk October 23rd 1862

My Dear Mother.

I have before me yours of the 11th which I do not know whether I have answered or not. I received Fathers of the 19th last night. We have no news to tell you. On Tuesday last we had a Brigade Review and on Wednesday had a Division Review. At the latter we had on the field at one time 17000 Infantry 2500 Cavalry and 4 Batteries of Artillery and a great show we made. I wish you could have been here and seen us as we marched past the General in review. It was a sight I never shall forget. Father says he shall send my rubber boots in a box directed to Milo Proctor. Milo has left Craney Island and has gone north somewhere but where I do not know. As soon as I can ascertain I will let you know where he is. I am glad to hear that Grandfather is so much better and hope he will be as well as ever again. Father writes that John thinks of coming out here. Tell him when you see him that I hope he will - I should like to see him. I wish father could send me some more apples. I think he can send them in one of the barrells that are to be sent from Chelmsford. I have not seen anything of any letter from Uncle Charles and probably shall not. I think there is now no doubt but that there will be an advance from this place soon. When we do move some of us will have to take up if not obliged to bite the dust. Tell Father there is no chance to telegraph if we were all of us killed, as the telegraph from here only goes to Norfolk. I will try and let you know when we start. My men are most of them in good health except George A Byam but I am in hopes he will be about soon. I received a letter from George last night. He tells me that Uncle Charles is drafted. Is this so? Why dont they draft old men while they are about it. George Hildreth will not get a chance to join Co. K without he will pay his own fare out here as the Government will not furnish him transportation. Father thinks I am not quite satisfied with my situation. He is about right. I thought before I came out here that I was a man but to come out here and be treated like dogs was more than we bargained for. We all feel alike. I hope the good people at home will have regard enough for the health of Charles Sumner to let him stay at home for 6 or 12 years. What is the prospect for him & Gov Andrew? How is the drill club coming on? Have they drilled any in Battalion movements? I should like to hear from Adams if he gets time to write. Will write to Father Sunday. Goodby. Remember me to all friends

Your Son
Charles

Am about used up with Rheumatism.


Suffolk October 28th 1862
9:30 PM

Dear Father

As I am obliged to be up all night I know of no better way to spend my time than in writing letters. I am again on duty as “Field Officer”, which is an all night job. Watters remain about the same here as when we first arrived. Our regiment went out on a scouting expedition last Friday starting at 3 PM. I started with them and after we had gone a short distance the Colonel rode up to me and told me he thought I had better not undertake to go on account of the rheumatism with which I have been troubled for the past 2 weeks. He told me they were going about 50 miles and he thought I could not hold out if I undertook it so I acted on his advice and staid in Camp - and was sorry sfterwards that I did so for if they had had a fight and any of my Company been hurt I never should have forgiven myself for staying in Camp. Although I could not have marched 20 miles. The boys were about used up when they arrived back at camp. I have the rhumatism yet, which troubles me considerably. I am afraid that when the rainy season comes in it will lay me up. Gen’l Dix is expected here soon and when he comes we shall probably have another review. The men officers and all connected with the regiment are completely disgusted with the present policy of the Government in this war which seems to be this - “not to hurt the Rebels upon any consideration”. If we were allowed we could soon have the town of Suffolk in ashes and then move on to the next place and serve that in the same way. We would soon bring them to their senses in this way. But the way now is this. If one of the towns people wants a guard put over his property he has it. The weather is now quite cold here so please hurry up the coat I sent for this AM. I cant possibly keep warm nights the best I can do. Expect every day that I shall be sick from this cause if nothing else. Tell John I answered his letter long ago. I will write again soon to them. I hope you will persuade him to come out here. I will try and make him as comfortable as possible. We shall probably move toward Petersburgh soon. If we do we shall probably be repulsed and so make another of those masterly movements that we have all heard so much about. Remember me to all at home. Would like some pickles if you have any to spare. The men are most of them in fine health. Geo A Byam is getting up from a fever & Geo Parkhurst is ailing and for aught I know always will be. “O those ties of affection.” How is the Chelmsford Drill club coming on? Let them come out here for about 3 weeks and see if they will not have enough of drilling to last them their life time. Have to write to my wife tonight also to Mr Winslow so good night & Goodby

Your Son
Charles.

Tell Mr Lancaster I will send him the pay for coat as soon as we are paid off. What is the latest from Adams Emerson? Or about him?

Charles

I wish mother would send me an old bed tick if she has one that will do for one to lie on. Fix it so that I can fill it at one end with hay and tie it up. Also so that it can be emptied easily. Any old thing will do. Put it in some of the boxes that are coming out

Charles.

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