Chelmsford Historical Society
Charles Bartlett, December 1862

Suffolk Dec 3d 1862
7:30 PM

Dear Father

Yours of Nov 30th has just been brought in. I have writen to John this P.M. Do all you can to induce him to come. It will be a good thing for him and will make the time seem so much shorter to me that I shall not mind the remaining 6 months. What is Chelmsford going to do about the 21 men of blood they have to furnish? What is the prospect of my becoming one of the quota of Chelmsford. If Chelmsf’d wont take me I shall go somewhere else that I can get the bounty as Boston refuses to pay me any. All Chelmsford selectmen have to do is tax me for 1862 and you pay its bill and then show it to the assessors of Boston. They will give it up as they have not taxed me in Boston. I am better tonight than I have been for 7 days past. Am on the improve fast. Capt Wright resigned on account of lameness so he told me. As to the apples they have been divided as evenly as could be - I will warrant that. I wish if you have any to spare you would send us another bbl [barrel]. I shall write to my wife tomorrow AM so Goodby. Remember me to Grandfather & G’mother. Do not let John fail to come.

Your Son,
Charles.

I feel better this morning than I have for sometime past. Shall be about tomorrow probably. We shall advance from this point soon. Have you seen any of our late trip? Good by. Will write to Harriet tonight. Love to all. How is Grandfather.

Your Son
Charles.


Suffolk Dec 3d 1862

My Dear Mother

You are probably aware by my note to father that I have been sick. I am much better this morning and think that I shall be about in a few days. We shall probably have orders soon to advance and then we shall see who can stand camp life. More than one of us will go to his grave from exposure if nothing else. We shall have to take shelter tents when we move. I sent to father on Monday last a box containing some things that I did not want very much and that I could not carry when we have to move, as we are only allowed a travelling bag when we are on the move. The box is directed to father at Lowell so he will have to call at the Express Office for it. My gold chain, ring, & buttons are in it. What is Chelmsford going to do about the 21 men. Goodby - write soon.

Your Son,
Charles.


Camp Destruction Suffolk Dec 8th 1862 8:30 PM

Dear Mother

You will perhaps be somewhat surprised when you see the heading of my letter. The reason of such a heading is this - on Thursday last we received orders to change camp. We were ordered to leave our healthy camp and locate in a damp cold & nasty old camp just vacated by the 85 Regiment Penn Vol’s [Volunteers]. The reason for the change is as far as we can see just to get us in some place where we shall all be sick if possible. Shelter tents were distributed to our regiment today. These are tents used by troops when on the march. They are just high enough for a man to crawl under and are open at both ends. The men carry them on their backs. The confounded things [are only] 3 ft from ground to top. I am anxiously looking for John and hope he will make a good long visit. What is Chelmsford going to do for 21 men more? Are they going to stand a draft. I expect orders every day to have the men ready in light marching order and ready to march at one hours notice. One Brigade has gone already, ours will probably soon follow. Probably go toward Weldon, N.C. I have not been very well for some time past: have not much strength. I have wished myself at home more than once within the past month. I shall expect a letter on Wednesday night from you or Father. Do not be afraid of writing to often. Shall write to George tomorrow PM if we are in Suffolk. Good by. Love to all

Your Son
Charles.


Tuesday Dec 9th 1862

No news this morning. I have had a sick night of it. Been up all night. We are to march today with shelter tents and 10 days rations. I do not feel strength to go but I suppose I shall have to. Hope John will arrive before we go. Goodby. Write soon. Love to all

Your Son
Charles.


Suffolk December 10th 1862

Dear Mother,

Yours of the 7th was received tonight and right glad was I to hear from home. I am not very well yet. I am troubled with dyspepsia & dysentary the whole time. If I do not get it stoped before long I think I shall let the army take care of itself. We are under marching orders and shall probably start tomorrow at 2 or 3 P.M. When we shall get back is more than I can tell if we ever do. We have to take shelter tents so we shall probably be gone a week or two. If you do not hear from me very soon you may [assume] this is the reason. I am sick enough of these marches I can tell you. I wrote John last week Thursday. I think he must have received it before this time. I wish he could be out here to go out with us this time. If we have a fight which we no doubt shall before we get back he could stand back and see it without being in any danger - also get a good idea of the country as we march along. I have not been able to see Belnap yet. It is hard work for an officer to get leave of absence long enough to go. As I am quite busy this evening geting ready to march you must excuse this short letter. I do not know when I shall get a chance to write again. Perhaps your next will be mailed in Petersburgh or at Weldon. Love to all. Good night

Your Son
Charles.

Dec 11th 1862

We are off for Blackwater this morning. Most likely be gone a week.

Goodby
Charles.


Suffolk Dec 16th 1862
8:30 PM

Dear Mother

I intended to have writen you last Sunday P.M. but did not get time. I received a letter from Hatt tonight. I am glad you had so pleasant a time. I have been to Blackwater since you heard from me last. We started from Camp at 12 M[idnight] on Thursday Dec 11th and marched till sunrise the next morning when we came upon the rebel pickets when skirmishing commenced and there was right smart work for about hour. Our loss was one Lieut killed. I enclosed an account from one of the Baltimore papers. Gen Peck has gone to Washington on business of great importance. I think he is trying to get a chance to move with the whole force here. When we start we shall have a rough time of it in shelter tents. I have been quite lame since I came home from Blackwater. I turned my ancle on our march out and have been quite lame since. John arrived here Sunday. He is not very much pleased with the looks of the country. He thinks if the whole south is like this it is not worth fighting for. John has been riding out with Col Follansbee this P.M. going the rounds of the pickets. Riding horseback is something new for him and he is quite sore tonight. I hope he will stay with me for some time. He is in good health spirits. I will write again in a few days. I am going to write to Mr. Winslow tonight so Goodby. Love to all. How is that great drill club? Write Soon

Your Son
Charles.


Camp Suffolk December 21st 1862

My Dear Brother

I received your last in due time also one from Father last night which I shall answer in a few days if we stay where we are. John is here but intends returning tomorrow by the first train. He is going home via Norfolk. He came by boat from Fortress Monroe direct to this place. He is going to Washington before he returns so you will not probably see him before the last of the week. I wish I could be at home Christmas. I have been laid up for a week past with some trouble with my foot caused by our last march to Blackwater. How is that drill club? The news that we have had from Northern Virginia during the past week has had a very bad effect on that part of the Army in Suffolk. Our men are discouraged. They have no confidence in our leaders - they say the sooner that this thing is closed up the better. We have seen all of this work that we want. This is what the old regiments say. I think if things go on in this way the Army will take the thing into their own hands. I hope the officer who is to blame for that slaughter at Fredericksburgh will be made to suffer. We do not expect to stay here long, so write as often as convenient while I am here. When we move I cannot write as often as now. Love to all. Good by

Your Brother,
Charles.


Camp Suffolk
Suffolk Dec 23d 1862

Dear Father

I should have answered yours of the 16th before had I not writen to Adams a few days since. John left here for home yesterday at 10:30 A.M. He goes to Washington before he returns so you will not probably see him before the last of the week. I am about discouraged at the war news. I have lost all faith that I ever had as to conquering the rebels. The soldiers here are entirely discouraged - they do not care how the thing goes now. What are we coming to? How do people feel about the state of things your way? We are to have a brigade inspection tomorrow. This indicates a forward movement. Probably before you receive this we shall be on the move on our way to assist in some great masterly movement like the one at Fredericksburgh perhaps. The Lord be with us. We shall probably advance on Weldon where I expect we shall [be] cleaned out. I should like to know how long the people are going to stand such sacrifice of life & money. I have some doubts of my being able to stand the exposure of a winter campaign. If I find I cannot I shall try and resign. Let me hear from you as often as convenient. Love to Mother and Adams. I wish I could be at home Christmas but no use to wish. Let me know what John thinks of Suffolk & vicinity. I have 3 more letters to write tonight so Good night.

Your Son
Charles.

John Avery Jr was last night elected Capt of Co A in this Regiment. Tell John

Charles


Suffolk December 28th 1862

Dear Mother

I received yours of the 21st on Wednesday evening. John left us on Monday morning last and probably before this is at home. I enclose a photograph which I had taken on Christmas. The artist is one of those traveling chaps. What do you think of it? We are having tonight one of the hardest rain storms you ever saw. 3 Brigades of troops here are under marching orders and they expect to leave here tomorrow. I believe they are to go to Newbern N. Carolina. We have not received any orders yet and I hope we shall not. As to the merry Christmas it was far from merry I will assure you. I was homesick enough. I suppose George was up. The late news from Fredericksburg has had a terribly discouraging effect on our men. I have two more letters to write tonight so this must be short in consequence. One of my bro[ther] Captains had just been in and tells me we are liable to be sent to N. Carolina at any time. If we are sent down there I shall not be able to hear from home quite so often. I can soon begin to write January 1863 and then I can begin to count the weeks. Tell John that Silas Jorgan has made arrangements to play the organ at the Episcopal Church. Will write again the first of the week. Good night & love to all

Your Son
Charles.

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