Chelmsford Historical Society
Charles Bartlett, January 1863

Camp Suffolk
Suffolk Va Jan 4th

Dear Mother

As you frequently write to me on Sunday eve I thought I would improve part of this evening in the same way. I have just received fathers of Jan 1st. How do Chelmsford people like the chaplain? We arrived here at 4 PM today. We are having very mild weather - so warm that we have been without fire most of the day. Has John arrived in Chelmsford yet. There is a movement afoot to have our Regt transferred to Gen [O.F.] Ferry’s brigade. If this plan works we shall be sent to Newbern. I hope it will not. I am glad you liked the photograph. We have no other news of any consequence to tell. I suppose you know that Gen Corcoran is here with his brigade of paddy’s. You say my friend Stevenson is in luck. I have seen nothing about it. What is it? Please remember me to Mr Morse family. How does that great drill club flourish? John promised to write to me and I have been waiting to hear from him. I am going to send my boy home the first chance I can get. He does not like to work very well. What becomes of all the things that the sewing bee make up? I think some socks & mittens might not come amiss with this Co. I am going to write to Mr Winslow tonight and will now close. Love to all. Goodnight

Your Son
Charles.

I will let you know more particularly about the socks &c next time I write.


Camp Suffolk
Suffolk Va Sunday Eve
Jan 11th 1863

My Dear Father

I looked all last week for a letter from home but did not receive any. I could not divine the reason. I should have written to you before but I have been very busy for the past week building me a log house which I am happy to say is now finished and occupied by myself. It is quite large and roomy and a decided improvement on the one that I and my Lieutenants were in when John was here. They (Lieuts) occupy the old one. I received a letter from John tonight dated at C[helmsford] so it seems he has arrived home at last. What ails the fellow that he spends so much of his time in Lowell. The prospect now seems to be that we shall stay in Suffolk this winter but as everything is so uncertain with us there is no telling where February 1st will find us. Will you ask Mother if she can send me some pickles if she has any to spare and anything else she may think I shall like. My wife will put in some pies &c. Our Chaplain arrived one week ago today. I had a long talk with him about his visit to C[helmsford]. He told the boys he [saw] their friends and what they said. Among others he told Corpl J R Fletcher that he saw his wife. There is a prospect of a Blackwater scout tomorrow and very probable when this reaches you I may be out there and perhaps engaged in some skirmish. Out time is gone and the boys are anxiously counting the weeks before they are to return. The non payment of the soldiers causes a great deal of complaint & grumbling. The Col of our Cavalry regiments here has refused to move his regt till they are paid. They are 6 months behind. We have never had one cent since we have been in the service. I think this is a disgrace to the government. If we are not paid soon some of our officers will resign. Our Col [Follansbee] left for Lowell last Monday. He has a furlough for 20 days. Our boys are all well except Geo A. Byam. He has not been well since he had that fever. He went to the Hospital today. How is that drill club? Who is their Capt? I received quite a long letter from Mr. Thayer the other day. It is now 9:30 PM and I must close. I am well. Give my love to Mother and Adams. Good by. Write soon & often

Your Son
Charles.


Camp Suffolk
Suffolk Jan 15th 1863

Dear Mother

As I am about used up with rhumatism and not able to do much I can employ my time in writing. I think the prospect is that I shall be as bad as when I came home from Hampton and I am about discouraged. When you send me a box (if you do) I wish you would put in some stockings for me as mine are about used up. We are daily in expectation of an attack here and are making great preparations. Nothing new here except this. I suppose you know that Col Follansbee has been home and is there now. Give my love to all. Tell John that Col Spear is going to be in Lowell soon. I shall expect a letter from home tonight

Your Son
Charles.


Camp Suffolk
Suffolk Va January 16th 1863

My Dear Sister

Your very kind & welcome note of Jan 11th I received last night and I assure you I was very glad to hear from you and hope your first will not be the last. I am sorry to hear Henry has been so unwell and am glad to hear he is now improving. I am glad you liked the photograph. I think it flatters me don’t you? I think the reason Amos does not have his taken is this, he is probably troubled with the shirts the same as the rest of us. The men find much fault because they are not paid and I do not blame them. If we are not paid soon I think I shall come home. I wish you could just come out here and see the style we are in. I have a splendid log house all to myself all papered with newspapers &c. It is a handsome looking thing outside all covered with yellow mud. We have no skating here; it is something unusual for water to even freeze without being strong enough to skate upon. We get along a good part of the time without any fire in our houses. You had ought to be here and go down town with me and see the ladies of Suffolk turn up their noses when they meet an officer. They hate us so bad. I am sorry for them; they must grin and bear it. The talk here tonight is that we are to be attacked tomorrow morning. You need not be concerned about my enlisting again. Some one else may try it if they wish after I am out of it. We are now on the last half of our time and I hope we shall be as well at the expiration of that time as we are now. What is the prospect for Henry’s enlisting when he gets well? Is he as patriotic as ever? I think my wife will occupy my attention first when I get home. I enclose a note for her which please give her. I must now close as it is 9:30 PM and if we are to fight tomorrow I shall want some sleep tonight. I have no doubt but we may have the long roll before morning. I expect we shall have a tramp to Blackwater in a few days. I suppose you have heard tell of these little walks of 70 or 80 miles. I shall expect to hear from you again. Love to father, Mother, Henry. Good night

Your Brother
Charles.

Jan 17th 8:30 AM

No fight yet. We have had just about as much as I expected we should have

Charles.


Suffolk January 17th 1863

My Dear Brother

I received yours of January 11th in due time and as it is somewhat uncertain when I shall have another chance to write you - I will improve this. I expect we are to start for Blackwater tomorrow or next day and shall probably be gone 4 or 5 days. It is not a very pleasant prospect to look forward to sleeping out of doors such nights as we are having now but I suppose we must grin & bear it. We are having regular March weather. Cold & blustering. Tell John I received his letter all right and tell him I have sent him 3 letters that came for him since he left me. Our Genl is daily expecting an attack here. I am glad to hear that the drill club is flourishing as I think you will have a chance to try war in reality after these nine months men are discharged. I get about discouraged when I see how things are going. We have not been paid one cent yet. I wish you could hear some of the men of the old regiments talk. There will be trouble soon if they are not paid. They are 7 & 8 months behind. I think I shall write to King tonight. Let me hear from you as often as you feel inclined to write. Love to father & Mother and all at Grandfathers. Good night

Your Brother
Charles.


Camp Suffolk
Suffolk Jan 20th 1863

Dear Mother

Yours of June 14th came to hand in due time also Harriet’s of the same date. I have but little news to tell you. Things are very quiet here at present. We are daily expecting orders to go to Blackwater. I think the prospect is good for us to stay in Suffolk for the present but when the spring campaign opens very likely we shall be put on the move and perhaps may be sent to N Carolina before then. The boys are all well except Geo A Byam who is in the hospital again. I have my doubts if he is even good for much out here. I have not heard a word from George this three weeks past - what is the trouble with him? My boy is a careless a chap as ever you saw. As soon as we are paid off he can go where he has a mind to. I shall not keep him. Have you seen Col F[ollansbee] since he has had been at home? He starts for Suffolk today and we expect him here Thursday night. We are also expecting Major Horsford, Sheriff Kimball & others who have started from Lowell. How is that box coming on. Harriet writes me. She has made some pies &c and is waiting to see you. How does George Parkhurst write now - in good spirits? He was never ment for a soldier and I doubt if you ever catch him in the Army again. I expect those ties of affection are what trouble him. Capt J R Fletcher is on hand and in good spirits. I recommend him for Capt of the drill club when he gets home. The prospect is now that we are to have a long storm. Our winter is just commencing. I shall write to John in a few days. Yesterday PM I took a horse and went around the entire picket front with Lt Col Beals. It was about 16 miles in all. I think horseback riding is the best way of all to ride. I am get[ting to] be quite a horseman. Love to all at home & remember me to all who enquire of me. I shall look for a letter from home tomorrow night. Goodby

Your Son
Charles.

January 21st
7 AM

I received fathers of the 16th at 6:30 last night. As to the mittens &c I do not know how many they will want. I do not think you had better send any. I wish you would send me some stockings for my own private use. I am about used up on account of a severe cold. Goodby

Your Son
Charles.


Camp Suffolk
Suffolk Va Jan 25th 1863
9:30 PM

Dear Father

Yours of Jan 16th should have been answered before but I have been so busy that I have not had time to answer half my letters. Tell mother I will answer her last on Wednesday. I have no news to tell you. Major Horsford, Sheriff Kimball & Misses Fielding & Batcher arrived here last night and intend staying several days. We were right glad to see them. I will answer John’s last in a few days. I have heard nothing from George since Christmas. I do not understand it. He has not even acknowledged the receipt of the photograph that I sent him. Today has been so warm that a person would be uncomfortable walking with his coat on. Geo Byam will I think be out in a few days. What is the prospect for the ice crop. Our time is growing shorter every day. Just eighteen weeks more. I shall not be sorry when they are gone. I suppose E K Parkhurst received a letter from me. A lot of my boys have just gone from my house where we have been having a kind of a concert. I am well except a severe cold. I expect we shall have to start for Blackwater soon from movements that are going on. Love to Mother & Adams also all at Grandfathers. I shall expect a letter from him Wednesday next as usual

Your Son
Charles.

Jan 26th 1863

The prospect is that we shall have another stormy day. Most of last week was stormy & cold. I hope you will stir King up and make him answer my letter. I am well this morning except a bad cold.

Your Son
Charles.


Camp Suffolk
Suffolk Va January 28th 1863
9 P.M.

My Dear Mother

I have yours of Jan 17th now before me. I received a letter from George tonight which was very welcome as I had about concluded he had forgotten me. My box arrived in good shape and I thank you kindly for your very acceptable present. I will send home what things I do not want in some of the boys’ boxes. We have been paid this PM for the months of Sept & October. I have sent $200 to my wife. We expect to be paid soon for November & December. You can say to the Chelmsford people who are expecting to receive money that was allotted that as the Paymaster had no copy of the allotment roll he would take no notice of it but paid the whole of the money to the men. We have no news here. Everything is quiet. The boys are all well. George A Byam is gaining finaly. The Doctor thinks he will soon be able for duty. I think I shall try for a furlough of about 10 days. Not much here to try I suppose. What are we coming to I should like to know. Gen Burnside, Sumner & Franklin resigned. I am discouraged. I think sometimes it is of no use for us to try to do anything. We have had a terribly rainy day and the mud is about 6 inches deep. I shall try and have our boys send home their money by Express. January is most gone and I shall be glad when I can say the same of February & March. Have you any sleighing yet? I suppose your last storm was snow. I expect that the month of March will try us tremendously. I dread the fever & Ague. It is very unhealthy here in the spring. I did not receive a letter from home tonight but expect one tomorrow night. Tell father to be sure and make E K Parkhurst write me a long letter. I must now close. Love to father & Adams & all at Grandfathers

Your Son
Charles.

Jan 29th 1863

Nothing new this morning. It is cloudy and the prospect is that we shall [have] another rainy day. Our camp is 6 inches deep with mud. I shall try and have the boys send home their money by Express.

Your Son
Charles.

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