Chelmsford Historical Society
Charles Bartlett, March 1863

Camp Suffolk Monday March 2d 1863
6:30 AM

Dear Mother

It was my intention when I last wrote to have written you a good long letter last evening giving you an account of my trip to Newport News, Fortress Monroe &c but I could not get time. We were mustered for pay on Saturday and I have had to work smart in order to have my pay rolls ready to send off to Washington this morning. I will write again tonight or tomorrow. There is nothing new here. I expect we shall have a Blackwater Expedition soon although I hope not. The boys are most of them well. Henry Perham Is well enough except his eye that is gaining but slowly. I have tried to get him discharged but no use. Red Tape stands in the way. I received a Lowell paper last evening containing Mr Warrens letter. His views on the slavery question are somewhat changed. I wish some of the rest of the Town’s people would come out here also. I am feeling well this morning and hope to continue so. The boys are beginning to count the days that must pass before they can go home. 87 more. How does the Conscript law suit the people in Chelmsford? I hope you have had Adams exempt before this time. Tell him he had better take the advice of one who has been through the mill. He never could stand this kind of life. Give my love to all. I will write again in a day or two. Goodby

Your Son
Charles.


Suffolk Wednesday morning
March 4th 7 AM

Dear Brother

Yours of Feb 22nd is before me and unanswered. We have no news here to tell you. A snow storm has just commenced and it is snowing quite fast. The boys are most of them in good health. Henry Perham is still in the Hospital. I am going to see Gen Peck today and see if we can get him a furlough. His eye is a trifle better and I think is gaining. He is able to see the light quite distinctly with it. Where is that big Uncle of ours (John) that he does not answer that last letter I wrote him. We have only 11 weeks more of service and the boys are counting the days that must pass before they can go home - about 80. This snow storm puts me in mind of a winters morning at home. We have been expecting an attack on this place for some time past and in fact were called out under arms one night about 10 PM – expecting they were coming. Gen A P Hill who is in command of the Rebs said he would be in here by the 4th of March. We have not seen him yet. I am sorry you could not get into the fair. Did you go the next night? I must now close in order to send them by this mornings mail. Goodby. Love to all the folks

Your Brother.
Charles


Suffolk VA March 6th 1863
6:30 PM

Dear Mother

Yours of Sunday arrived on Wednesday evening. I have no news to tell you. Everything is so quiet here that the time passes slowly. The three days last past have been the coldest we have had this winter, regular winter weather. We are all anxiously waiting to hear From Charleston & Vicksburg. Geo Parkhurst had a letter from home on Thursday eve so we are posted as to the doings of the Town Meeting. I this morning wrote to Charles Dalton about Recruiting a Battery of Artillery after our regiment gets home. Don’t say anything to Harriet about it for if I find when I get home that she objects much to my going back I shall give it up. The boys are beginning to count the days. Henry Perham is still in the Hospital and his eye is about the same. There is every prospect for a storm tomorrow. I hope it will rain hard. Let me know what you & father think about the Battery when you write. If I intend to do anything of that kind I must move in the matter soon and get my papers. Where is John? I have not heard from him for some time. Maj Stott has been at home. Did you see him? I must now close so Good night & love to all

Your Son.
Charles


Suffolk Sunday Eve 9:30 PM
March 8th 1863

Dear Mother

There is so little of news or interest here that I had some doubts about writing tonight. Henry Cooper arrived here tonight and right glad was I to see him. He has just retired quite tired & sleepy. The prospect is that we shall have another of those pleasant little excursions to Blackwater soon. I wish they would wait 12 weeks before they have another. There is some talk about the 7th Army Corps (which is ours) taking the place of The 9th Army Corps (which is now at Newport News) in the army of the Potomac, but as to the truth of the rumor I am unable to say. My Health is good and I hope it will continue so. When you write please let me know how people are feeling in Chelmsford about the draft. I suppose they are most of them exempted by this time of course. Probably in about 77 days we shall start for home and I hope that all of us may be spared to reach there. Henry Perhams eye continues about the same. I believe I am owing Adams a letter. Tell him I will write him on Wednesday. I am sleepy and you must excuse me with this for this time. Love to all & Goodby

Your Son.
Charles


Suffolk Friday morning
March 13th

Dear Mother

Yours of March 8th was received last evening. We had a storm here at the same time that you did at home but it was rain. There is no news here. What do you think about the Battery? I have written to C H Dalton and there is no doubt but what I can get the Commission if I will accept it. It is as good a position as Col of an Infantry regiment. When you write let me know what Father & you think of it. If Harriet continues to object I shall give it up. Mr Perham arrived on Wednesday. Henry is going to have his discharge. He will probably come home with his Father. The rest of the boys are all well and are wishing time away. Eleven weeks more after this week and then home. I will write again Sunday. Where is John now days? Why dont he write to me? Goodby. Love to all.

Your Son.
Charles


Suffolk Saturday Mar 14th
6:30 PM

Dear Father

Yours of the 10th was received last night. I am sorry that it happened as it did with regard to that letter but there is no help for it now. I had writen to my wife before I received your letter about this very thing and enclosed Mr Dalton’s note. It never has been my intention to reenter the services again without the consent of my wife and it is not now. You and I do not think alike with regard to the Battery. The pay is as you say one inducement but the position is another & greater. There are very few young men of my age (and I say it without boasting) that could obtain such a position as Captain of a Battery. It is as good a position as a Col of a regiment in all things except the pay. You know very well that my position on the road is not just what I would like. It is to much of indoor work & not enough pay. The day of volunteering is not as you suppose past. I am so informed from reliable sources. The Gov told Mr Dalton that he should probably try and recruit more batteries. I must say that this kind of life has created rather a dislike for Civil pursuits. I know that if I had a battery that I could make myself known before the war is through if I had any chance. I will write no more about the battery until I hear from my wife. The 9th Army Corps are part here and the rest are coming as fast as possible. There is to be an advance from here soon and no doubt but we shall be in it. Which way we are to go is more than I can tell. Perhaps this campaign may finish me without going into a battery. I suppose if I should come home minus a leg or arm people would console me in this way “You were a fool to go, good enough for you” or something of that sort. If we have orders to move I shall send home a box of things that I cannot carry. I am well. Mr Perham is here and I think will wait until Henry is discharged (as he will be soon) and take him home with him. The boys are all well. Goodby & goodnight.

Your Son.
Charles


Camp Suffolk Sunday eve March 15th 1863
8:30 PM

Dear Mother

I have but little news to tell but perhaps you will like to hear from me for all that. There is considerable stir here now occasioned by the arrival of troops. They are arriving as fast as the cars can bring them. Fourteen regiments have already arrived and more are coming. Something is going to be done here soon. Perhaps another masterly move will be made from this direction and will probably result as favorably as the Campaign of the Penninsula. The boys are all well and have begun count the days that must pass before they can return home. I hope they will all live to return. Only about 70 days more of service. I have not heard from George for some time past. What a poor correspondent he is. What are people in Lowell going to do this summer with no business in the mills? Deacon [David] Perham has just left my quarters for the Hospital. I expect Henry will be discharged by Wednesday. I suppose Chelmsford people are feeling somewhat anxious about the coming draft. When you are at Lowell ask Harriet to let you see C H Daltons letter to me about the battery. I shall give it up if Harriet is much against me going but I look upon it as “the chance” of my life. The time for me to decide whether I will be somebody or nothing.

“There is a tide in the affairs of men”
“Which taken at the flood leads on to fortune”

and I look upon this chance in this light but no more at present about the battery. How is E K Parkhurst geting along in disposing of his property? The boys say that J R F[letcher] intends to reenlist be he has never said anything to me about it. It is now 9 PM and I must close. Give my love to all. Goodby.

Your Son.
Charles


Suffolk Va March 18th 1863
8:10 PM

My Dear Mother

Yours of Sunday arrived tonight. I was not aware that My Mother was so old. Nothing new here. We have been expecting an expedition to Blackwater for 2 or 3 days past but it has not come to pass yet. How soon it will come off is more than I can tell. It has just commenced storming & I hope it will continue 3 or 4 days. Dr Burnham arrived last night and I believe every officer & man in the regiment was glad to see him safe back. We all have great confidence in him in case of a fight. 9:30 PM. Orders have just come to send out 2 companies to strengthen the pickets tonight as an attack is expected in the morning. We have had to many such stories to be frightened by them. I have not heard from George for a long time. Why dont he write? Have you seen Mr Daltons letter to me that I sent Harriet? I expect to hear from him again soon. I suppose John has so much business at the Irving House that he cannot write me. By the time you receive this Mr Perham will probably have arrived home. Let me know what he thinks of Suffolk. Give my love to all at Grandfathers and my regards to all who enquire for me. How is Mr Morse now on the war question? I must now close as it is more than probable that we may be called up before morning. Good night.

Your Son
Charles

Thursday morning
March 19

No attack yet and there is no prospect of any that I know of. I am well. Goodby.

Your Son
Charles


Camp Suffolk
Suffolk March 19th 1863
2:30 PM

My Dear Sister

I intended to have answered your note before this but have had so much to attend to that I could not find time. This is a rainy & gloomy day. We were to have had a Brigade review this morning but the storm prevented. Gen Peck is to review us. There is to be an advance from here soon and appearances indicate that our Regiment will be involved in the mess. We shall probably move toward Weldon. Some of us will get hurt before we get home I am afraid. “Such is war” Mrs. Tho[ma]s Allen started for home this morning. I think that before next August this rebellion will be played out. Richmond will fall by the 1st of July sure. An advance will be made on Richmond from three different points at once from Fredericsburg, from Yorktown & Suffolk. What does Henry think of Virginia? What makes him so much of a secessionist? He will be drafted if he dont look out. You should have seen him after he took a horseback ride. Ask him how he likes it. I should judge from the cold weather that we are having here that you have plenty of snow in Massachusetts. I would like to be there and take a sleigh ride. Give my love to Henry and all the rest of the follks. I shall write the rest tonight Goodby

Your Brother
Charles


Suffolk Va March 22nd 1963
Sunday 7:30 PM

Dear Mother

This is Sunday evening and most likely you are writing to me at the same time I am writing to you. For the past 4 days we have had nothing but snow & rain but today has been splendid overhead but under foot the mud was awful. As soon as the mud dries up we shall probably have to take another trip to that confounded river called Blackwater or as near to it as we can get. The rebels have crossed the river and have entrenched themselves and I suppose Gen Peck will try & persuade them that they had better go back to the other side. If we are sent out there we may expect rough times. In order to drive them from their entrenchments we shall have to make a charge and give them the cold steel. Rather risky business. The boys are now marking out the days as fast as they pass. Only about 66 more of service and I hope we may all be able to return at the end of that time safe & sound. I suppose Deacon Perham has arrived well before this time of course. I have heard nothing from George for a month past. Why doesnt he write more? I am well except for the confounded rheumetism which troubles me once in a while. My weight is 165 lbs. What did Henry Cooper have to say about my house &c. When is the expected draft to take place? I suppose Geo Corey is on the anxious seats of course before this time. Will you ask Adams if I am owing him a letter - if so let me know and I will write him. I expect we may be sent off from here before long but where to is more than I can tell. Give my love to Father & Adams & all at Grandfathers. I wish you could only be here now and hear the drums & bugles of the different Regiments which at the moment are beating Tattoo. There are at least 200 drums beating & fifes playing & all at once and then in of an hour all these camps will be still & quiet. So much for Military discipline. Good night & love to all

Your Son
Charles

Monday Morning Mar 23

This is a cloudy foggy morning bad weather for drying up mud and I hope it will continue so for some time to come. Nothing new here. I understand that a lot of troops are to be sent from here to Nashville Tenn. Who they are is more than I can tell. I hope we are not included in the lot. Goodby

Your Son
Charles


Camp Suffolk
Suffolk Va Mar 29th 1863
9:00 PM

My Dear Brother

Yours of the 22nd arrived in due time and fathers of the 26th arrived tonight so you will see that I am kept posted up as to Chelmsford news. As usual there is no news in Suffolk. The Rebs are in force at the Blackwater and I hope Gen Peck will be wise enough to let them stay there in quietness if they will, but he seems to have a stronger propensity to stir them up once in a while with a sharp stick so I suppose we shall be after them before long. They are constantly deserting. Nine of them came in tonight and tell pretty hard stories. I am glad to hear that George has made arrangements with A J Wilkinson. I hope he will find time to write me now. Tell Milo I will send him a final statement tomorrow and then he can get his pay. You must try and improve in your writing. I think if you would take more care you could write a very good hand. My advice to you is if you can stay at home to do so. Your head is safe there and this part of the country is decidedly the reverse. The boys are well and are in good spirits and are counting the days before they can return. The paymaster is here and will pay us tomorrow. I shall send home $450.00 of mine. I will write again on Wednesday if nothing happens. I have 2 other letters to write tonight so I will now say Goodnight. Give my love to all the folks. The allotment rolls will be good this payment. Good by

Your Brother
Charles

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