Chelmsford Historical Society
Charles Bartlett, February 1863

Lowell Feb. 2d 1863

My very dear child [Harriet Cooper Bartlett]

You have hardly been absent from my thoughts since you left us, for Saturday eve in the last papers came the news of a battle at Suffolk, also a telegraph from Major Hosford from Baltimore confirming the battle, and saying he should hasten back to Suffolk, to render any assistance in his power. You have probably seen the morning papers and have learned all about the battle that we have, and that your husband had received a slight contusion among several others. I hope that we may have another telegraph from Mayor Hosford soon. Adams Bartlett has just been in - says his Father [Dr. John Call Bartlett] is not feeling very anxious as he is only slightly wounded. We thought it best to put your letter in another e[n]vellope so we could not help reading it we were so anxious. I know you pardon the intrusion. When we receive your money shall we place it in the Bank as requested by your Husband [Capt. Bartlett].

Do not get to much excited about your husband, but try and enjoy yourself. If we hear anything in particular you shall hear immediately. Nell stands waiting with her things on to take this to the office. This is 2d day of February, all well.

Your Mother [Cooper]


Camp Suffolk
Suffolk Va February 2nd 1863

My Dear Father

I intended to have writen you yesterday so as to have my letter start Monday morning but have been so unwell since I returned from our last scout that I have not written to anyone. I suppose you have seen an account of our last scouting expedition. At about 10.15 PM Thursday night just as I had droped off to sleep I was awakened by a loud knock at my door and on opening it I found it to be the Colonel’s orderly who said “Capt you will have your men take 3 days rations and be ready to march at 12 oclock tonight.” At 12:15 AM we started and marched till about 3:30 when our advance guard came upon the enemies pickets and the skirmishing commenced. We drove them about 1 miles and then the scamps opened on us with artillery. Out artillery was immediately ordered to the front - also our Regt & the 13th Indiana & 13th New York to support the batteries. As soon as the artillery could get in position the ball opened. We had 14 canon and the Rebs had eleven so you can perhaps imagine what a noise we had about us. Our Regiment was ordered into the woods just in the rear of the 7th Mass Battry to support them. We laid flat on our faces on the ground and the shot shells grape & canister flew over our heads in a perfect storm cuting down trees and everything that came in its way. We had been in this position but a few moments when a shot came and killed the Cols & Adjutants horses and soon the wounded began to cry for help. I hope I shall never be called upon to go through what I had to on Thursday night last. I saw poor fellows lying in the road and in the ditches with no one to help them, themselves so badly wounded they could not possibly crawl. The loss of our regiment is 5 killed & 7 wounded. The whole loss on our side is 30 killed & 64 wounded. I wish our time was up and we could go home. I have been threatened with a fever since I came back but am better today. Caught cold while lying on the ground. Love to all. Write soon to

Your Son
Charles

Co K is all right


Suffolk Va Feb 6th 1863

My Dear Brother,

I received yours of Feb 1 last evening and as I have a few leisure moments this morning I will answer it. I hope you and the folks at home have not been so much frightened about me as Harriet has. We have had about 6 inches of snow and it lasted 3 days when it commenced raining and took it off. It has been raining for two days & one night steady. We shall probably have about 15 weeks more of soldiering and then I hope we shall all be able to go to our homes. Why dont King answer my letter. Geo Byam is getting better. The Doctor thinks he will be about soon. I intend writing to his father soon. What is Webster talking about? Tell him to come out here and try and get the boy discharged and see how he will make out. We have been paid for Sept & October - that is all. Tell Mother I do not think we shall want any stockings at present. Let me hear from you often. Love to father & Mother and all at Grandfathers. Goodby. Write soon to

Your Brother
Charles.


Camp Suffolk
Suffolk Va Feb 9th 1963
7 AM

Dear Mother

I received yours of Feb 2nd on Saturday morning as we had no mail Friday night on [account] of the storm. The account of our fight which stated that I was wounded never should have been put in. I was not hurt until after the fight was all over so in reality it had nothing to do with the battle whatever. We are expecting orders to go out there (Blackwater) again every day as the rebels are said to be back there in force. I hope our regiment will not have to go. I have applied for a furlough and my application has been approved by the Col and also recommends that it be granted and is also approved by Col [Robert S.] Foster our [acting] brigadier. It now remains for Gen Dix to approve and then I will come home. It is somewhat uncertain so do not be disappointed if I do not come. We are having splendid weather warm as summer. I understand there are going to be great movements from this place before long. Genl Sedgwick’s Army Corps are coming here and I suppose something will be done. We have only 15 weeks after this and I am glad of it. I expect Corpl Fletcher will enlist again. I am sick of the service. I should like to get a paymasters chance much. Good by. I hope to be able to see you myself before long. Love to father, Adams & all at Grandfathers.

Your Son
Charles

I have just come in from Fort Nansemond where I was ordered with my Company to stay last night so I have had to write very fast in order to be ready for the mail. Geo Byam is about and went down town to church yesterday. Henry Perham is in the Hospital but I think he will be out in a few days. He’s had a touch of the fever & Ague. Rest are all well.

Charles


Camp Suffolk
Suffolk Va Feb 13th 1863

My Dear Mother

I received yours of the 8th on Wednesday last and as I am not very busy this PM I thought I would answer it. We have no news to tell you. The principal topic seems now to be the expected arrival of the 9th Army Corps here. They are now at Fortress Monroe and are expected here sometime next week. I have no doubt but that we shall all have to move toward Weldon or Petersburgh before we are many weeks older. I think our boys little mistrust what they will be called upon to go through before they return. I understand that our brigade is to be included in the advance. I do not think 50 men from this regiment would reenlist. You have no idea how sick I have become of this kind of life. I sometimes have of a mind to resign & go home and then conclude to hold on a while longer. As I sit here I can hear the frogs peeping which puts me in mind of spring. The boys are all well except Henry Perham who is in the Hospital. His principal trouble is with his eyes which I think was caused by severe cold. What is government going to do for men when the 9 months men go out of service? They will not get many of them again. J R Fletcher has been laid up ever since the battle with a lame foot but is gaining now. We have about 11 weeks more of service and I hope it will pass quickly. I expect the paymaster will visit us again soon. I have about 510.00 due me and I should like to get it. I have heard nothing from Adams yet. Geo Byam is again in quarters. What did Webster mean when he told Mr Byam he would get George discharged as well as not? Why dont Webster try it if he thinks it so easy? I see by the papers that recruiting offices are to be opened here soon with a view to enlisting negroes for the new levy of 300000. My opinion is that those who favor this scheme are doomed to disappointment. I have asked a number of those who are in camp as waiters if they are disposed to enlist and out of 15 I can find only 3. I am also afraid the effect will be bad on our army as it exists today. Out white solders think themselves better than the negro and do not care to be put on the same foot with him. Indeed some of the old regiments say if the government have not confidence in us then let us go to our homes. We will not fight side by side with the n****. But it is not much use to speculate as to the future, time will solve the problem. I was thinking this afternoon what condition is this war going to leave our Country in and I must say that the question is to much for me to handle. Any one with half an eye can see how public opinion has changed during the last 6 months and also what are the plans of the democratic party. This parading Gen McClellan about the country is for some purpose. He is destined to be our next President. I must say that I am surprised that he should have met with so cordial a reception every where he went. It is now 7:15 AM and only dark. Our days have lengthened wonderfully. Our men are beginning to talk about going home. 2/3 of our time is about gone and I hope the other 1/3 will pass quickly and that we shall all be able to return home in good health. Give my love to all at home. Please remember me to Rev Morse & family & Mrs Fisk. Goodby.

Your Son
Charles


Camp Suffolk February 16th 1863
7:15 AM

Dear Brother

I received yours from Boston on Saturday evening. We have nothing new here to tell you. E H Warren arrived here last Evening at about 5 PM and is stoping with me. The boys seem very glad to see him. I suppose he is in search of information. There is talk of another Blackwater Expedition in a few days. I am sick to death of this kind of life and wish I was out of it. None of the 9th army Corps have arrived here yet but they are expected in a few days, I must now close in order to let my n**** set the breakfast table. I am well except the rhumetism which troubles me considerably. Write soon to

Your Brother.
Charles


Camp Suffolk
Suffolk Va Feb 17th 1863

My Dear Sister

As today is so wet and rainy that we can do nothing out of doors I concluded to employ my time in answering letters. The first one written is to Mr Hart & this is the second. I received yours of the 11th on Sunday evening. I applied for a furlough but could not get it. Well never mind if they will get me through 3 months more I will ask no favors of them for one while at any rate. I am glad to hear that Henry is well again and hope he will conclude to make me a visit. Why cant he come? Tell him I want to see him. If he is secesh [secessionist leaning] this town is the place for him as there are plenty of the same sort here. The day of the battle when our Ambulances were coming into town loaded with dead and wounded the ladies of the town stood in the doors of their homes claping their hands and rejoicing mightily but the bayonets of the Provost Guard soon changed their tune. Since some of them have been burned out of house & home. The way business is done here is this. If a Genl wants a house to live in he sends a Corporal & 8 men who drive out the occupants and take possession. If he wants the furniture he keeps it if not puts it into the street. How would you like this style if practiced in Lowell. I am sorry you are lonesome when Harriet is away for so short a time for I do not know what you will do when she comes to be away all the time. In 3 months I think I shall claim her. What will you say to that? I should like to be in Lowell and attend that party at French’s very much. I really do not see any chance for business to start in Lowell for one year at least. What is the country coming to? How is that “gay boy” Marshall Whithed & Mrs Whithed? He is a gay deceiver. Why dont he enter the Army? Amos was not hurt at the fight for the reason that he was not there. The rebels are being largely reinforced and we expect they intend coming down upon us soon. Confound them - let them come if they want to 10,000 men in trying to take this place. It is now dinner time and my n**** is waiting to set the table. The bill of fare is as follows: Beefsteak, sweet potatoes, turnips, boiled eggs & boiled pudding & apples. How would you suppose he would like to have me bring the n**** home with me. I think he would make us a good waiter. Good by. Give my love to all the folks & believe me

Your Brother
Charles.

6:30 PM

Please tell Harriet the mail has come but there was no letter for me from her. I have received nothing from her since hers of Feb 12th

Charles.


Camp Suffolk
Suffolk Va Feb 18th

Dear Father

 This has been a rainy week so far and I really believe the much talked of rainy season has at last commenced. I hope it will continue through March. You are probably aware that E H Warren has been here to visit us. He left on Tuesday morning. I have no news to tell you. I think these rains will stop our Blackwater excursions for the present. I hope so at any rate. The rebels have been largely reinforced lately on the river. The 9th Army Corps has gone into camp at Newport News and I have some doubts if they come here at all. I have not been very well for a few days past and I think I am getting no better very fast. If I am not better tomorrow I shall report sick & turn myself over to the doctors care. I cannot sleep nights have no appetite and am all played out. The fever & Ague has commenced to take hold of the boys. I have heard nothing from my wife for one week. Our boys are now counting the days that must pass before they can go home. Just 100. Our company has to sleep in the fort tonight and it is raining as hard as it can pour. Such duty as this is what makes sick men. Will close this in the morning. Goodnight

Your Son
Charles.

February 19 1863

Another rainy cloudy morning and prospect for a stormy day. No news this morning. Genl Peck is expecting the rebels down here to attack us. I am feeling about used up this morning. Give my love to mother & Adams & all at Grandfathers. Goodby

Your Son
Charles.


Suffolk Va February 22d 1863

My Dear Mother

Yours of the 17th I received in due time. I was sorry to hear that you were so disappointed on hearing that my furlough was disapproved but you were not more so than I was. I might have gone just as well as not for all that we have done here but I suppose they will do as they please for all me. If they will keep me safe 97 days more I will not ask them when I shall go or where after that time. Thirteen weeks more and then we shall probably start for home. Just think how much better off we are than those who have 2 yers to stay. I should give up in despair if we were 3-years men. I see no indications of any movements here at present and I hope there will not be any till June when they may move where they wish for all me. I think the 9th Army Corps are the basis of another Expedition to be sent somewhere. I have applied for & received a pass to visit Newport News to see some friends who are in the 29th Regt Mass Vol[unteer]s. Anything to get out of this place. I am sick enough of it. Another storm commenced last evening snowed all night and commenced raining in the morning and has continued ever since. Our boys are anxiously looking forward to the time when we shall srart for home and I hope they will all be spared to reach there. The new “National Militia Bill” is the topic of conversation now days. The boys think it rather hard if they are liable to be drafted and sent back in July. What is E K Parkhurst gong to do when he has disposed of his store &c? I am quite well again except the confounded rhumetism which troubles me considerably during this damp weather. There is nothing new here. What does E H Warren have to say about Suffolk? I was surprised when I saw him I must say. Geo Byam is getting along finely and is doing light Duty. Henry Perham is all well except his eyes and that is gaining. The doctor says it will be no permanent trouble. Lieut Bickford of the Regt & Lieut Hartwell of the 7th Mass Battery go with me to Fort Monroe. How does the new Militia Bill suit the people of Chelmsford? I hope father will get Adams Exempted for he is not fit to go. I would have him do so if I were you. When is this war going to be through with? Can any one tell? Please remember me to enquiring friends. Love to Father & Adams & all Grandfathers. Goodby

Your Son
Charles.


Suffolk Friday morning February 27th
7:10 AM

Dear Mother

 As I have a few spare moments I will improve them in writing to you. I have already written to my wife this morning so you can see that we are in the habit of early rising. I returned from my trip to Fort Monroe & Newport News on Wednesday evening. I will write you an account of it on Sunday. Henry Perham is still in the hospital. Dr Humprey thinks he will never have the use of his eye again and I am trying to get him discharged. If they will not discharge him I will try and get him a furlough so that he can go to Boston and see if he can have anything done for it. The trouble is with the left eye [as he] can see nothing with it “blind as a bat.” My n**** is waiting to set the table for breakfast so I must now close. Tell Adams I received his letter a day or two since also received one from George last night. Love to Father, Adams & all at Grandfathers. Good by

Your Son
Charles.

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