Chelmsford Historical Society
Charles Bartlett, April 1863

Suffolk April 2d 1863
8 PM

My Dear Mother.

I received yours of Sunday Mar 29th last evening and also a letter from George. I have not been feeling very well for a few days past but have reported for duty all the time. In your letter you say you believe I am doing what I think is right even if it does not add to my popularity. I do not understand you. To what do you refer? I am glad to know that Mr Perham has so favorable an opinion of Co K. The curse intemperance [excessive alcohol consumption] is upon the Army in Suffolk as well as elsewhere. It is one thing the country over. J.T.R. is I suppose Agent for H Fowler who you know is out here with Thompson our sutler [a merchant who accompanied an army in order to sell provisions to the soldiers]. There is no news here. We are daily expecting a Blackwater expedition. I think we may have rather a rough time during the last two months of our term although I hope not. Did you know that our time did not expire till June 4th? As to my horsemanship I cannot say. I enjoy riding very much & hope to continue this practice after I get home if I ever do get home. I hear that E. K. P[arkhurst] is quite discouraged. I am sorry for him. I have no doubt but Bickford will reenlist also about of the line officers. I will not begin to think of what I want done when I come home at present. Eight weeks may use us up. Adams said nothing to me about enlisting. [If] he had I should discourage it all I could. I wish father would contrive to come out here so as to stay here a week before we go home and then go home with the Regiment when they go. It will cost nothing to go home if he goes home with us. Why cant he come? I am surprised that there has been no order for a draft issued yet. I am going to write to Mr Winslow tonight so I must now close. Give my love to all the folks. Write often as convenient. Good night. I have just finished reading East Lynne [best selling English sensation novel of 1861 by Ellen Wood]. Have you read it? If not I advise you to do so. I will answer father’s letter on Sunday

Your Son.
Charles

Friday April 3d

Nothing new this morning. Cloudy & damp with prospect of rain

Charles


Suffolk Va April 5th 1863
Sunday 10:00 AM

Dear Father

Yours of March 26th I received on 29th. We have so little news here that I hardly know what to write you in return. I have been confined to my house for a few days past with sore throat but am better today. We have a great many sick ones among us at present. We yesterday had a snow storm which I think is something uncommon for this part of the country at this time of the year. About 3 inches fell. We have not been to Blackwater yet as the roads have been impassable but they are geting very good again and we shall probably have to start soon. The Rebs are said to number 30,000 out there. I think the intention of our Gen’l is when we do move to go straight out to the RRd [railroad] which connects Petersburgh with Weldon and destroy that and then move on toward Petersburgh. A great many deserters are coming into our lines from the Rebs. Last week 30 came in. They all say they are half starved out there. I have no doubt but many of the boys will reenlist, in fact I think it is the intention of the Col to try and recruit the Regiment up and come out again. I have said nothing about the Battery lately because it caused such a commotion before when I spoke of it. I think it is a splendid chance for any one especially for a young man. It is such a start as but few can have. I have about given up the idea. We are having plenty of company from Massachusetts. [Misters] North & Whitten have been with us for a week past & [Misters] Salmon & Perkins are expected on Wednesday. I wish you could arrange your affairs so as to come out here about a week before we go home and return with the Regiment. The return trip will cost nothing as you can go along with us home. Let me know what you think of the plan when you write. I am glad George has concluded to stay where he is for 3 years more, he will be plenty young enough then to go into business. Well in 7 weeks more I hope to be at home but I suppose we have to see some rough times before that time is passed. I hear that E K P[arkhurst] is somewhat discouraged. Poor fellow I am sorry for him. Will you please ask Grandfather what kind of an investment he thinks the “five, twenties” government bonds are? I have a notion of investing in some of them. I expect every day to hear that a draft has been ordered. Those will be the times that will try such men as Corey &c. Our Paymaster has not arrived yet. We are expecting him every day. I shall expect a letter from home on Wednesday if not before. Give my love to all the folks. Goodby.

Your Son.
Charles


Suffolk April 9th 1863
8:30 PM

Dear Mother

You will perhaps be somewhat confused when you hear that our Regiment is under marching orders, but such is the case. We were ordered this morning to pack knapsacks & be ready to march at a moments notice. Where we are to go is more than I or any one else can tell. The general opinion seems to be that we are to be sent to N Carolina to reinforce Gen Foster. As soon as we arrive anywhere I will write. We are liable to move tonight. I have packed up a box of things which I intend to start for home by tomorrow mornings train. I have directed it to Father and if he will pay the express charges my wife will pay him. Please say to him that I sent a note of Henry Putnams of $75.00 to my wife with the request that she give it to Father for collection. The note is written payable to him so he will have to endorse it before it is paid. Mrs Putnam will call & pay it as soon as the money that is attached arrives & is payable at the Railroad bank. Remember me to all the folks. The boys are feeling in good spirits but are not I think very desirous of leaving this camp. We shall probably see more fighting if we go down there than we should here. Well we have only about 50 days more to be knocked about in at the longest. Remember me to Mrs Fiske & thank her for her remembrance of me. I would write her if we had time. I will close this in the morning if I have time. Good by.

Your Son.
Charles

Friday morning April 10th

We did not get any orders last night but had a quiet night. I suppose we may hang around for 3 days. This is a most beautiful morning as you ever saw. Warm as July. Well goodby. I do not know when you will hear from me again but will write as soon as possible. Love to all

Your Son.
Charles


Suffolk April 17th 1863
7:30 PM

Dear Mother,

You must excuse me for my long absence but the truth is I have had so much to attend to during this past 10 days in that I hardly knew whether I was in Suffolk or N Carolina. Last Friday we were all ready at 1:30 PM to start for N Carolina and expected to start at 3.00 PM when the order sending us was countermanded and we [were] ordered to pitch our tents again On Saturday PM at 4:30 we were ordered out under arms into the rifle pits where we have been ever since. The Rebs are on all sides of us but do not seem inclined to attack us. It will be a costly job for them if they do. We are in a swampy damp hole and I take cold every night. The boys are all well and in good spirits. There is no doubt but what if the Rebs do not attack us soon we shall attack them. We are having hosts of troops arriving here every day. Well I hope things will keep quiet for 6 weeks more and then they may do as they please. Give my love to all the folks. Fort Nansemond has just begun to bang away at the Rebs so I must go back to my Company and see what is the trouble. Good night.

Your Son
Charles


Saturday morning April 18th 6:30

Nothing new this morning. The Rebs are in sight but many think the greater part of them have gone back across the Blackwater. I hope they have. This is a most beautiful morning as you ever saw. I must now close in order to send by this mail. Goodby & Love to all.

Your Son
Charles


Suffolk April 21st 1863
1:30 PM

Dear Father

Yours of April 16th I received by Sunday mail. The Rebs still continue to hang around us but I have some doubts if they attack us as they now our position is to strong for them. They are waiting for us to come out to them. Tell Mother that my n**** melted one of the pewter plates so it is not in fit condition to send home. We are having a cold northeasterly storm today which will probably try the Rebs as well as us. We are in shelter tents only. Well in 39 days more I hope to be home. Will you please see what the law is with regard to towns being obliged to furnish an Armory for their military Companies. We shall have to have one somewhere. Ask the chairman of the selectmen if you see him. What do you think the feeling would be toward keeping up the Company in Chelmsford after we get home. How do the people there feel about it? I have heard nothing from John for a long while. Where is he? I do not think we shall move from here till our time is out without we move south with the rest of the troops here. Give my love to all the folks & tell Mrs Fiske I have not found time to answer her letter yet. Goodby & write soon to

Your Son.
Charles


Suffolk VA April 23rd 1863
12:30 PM

My dear Brother

I received a letter from you a few days since. It should have been answered before but you know how we have been so I need not assign any excuse. Things have not changed much here since I last wrote to Mother. The Rebs continue to hang around us and the general impression seems to be that they will attack us as soon as they can get reinforcements. They will have a hard job if they do. I am well and hope to continue so. In five weeks more I hope to be in Massachusetts. I received a letter from George this morning. He appears to be in good spirits. We are having a terribly hard rain storm today. What do you think the boys at home will do about keeping up the Company after we get home. How is the drill club? I will write again on Saturday or Sunday. Give my love to all the folks & goodby

Your Brother.
Charles


Suffolk Va Sunday April 26th 1863

My dear Mother

I have just writen to my wife and will now write a short note for Chelmsford. I have but little news to tell you. The Rebs continue to hang around us but as yet have made no movement on this place and I hope they will think better of their plans and skidaddle. I suppose they are about this time receiving reinforcements from North Carolina. The next regiment on our right (Hawkins Zouaves [another name for the 9th New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment]) goes out of service this week. I wish we were going with them. The weather has is as cold as you would expect it at home in April. We have to keep a fire during the day and have quite smart frosts every night. I am in good health except a slight touch of rhumetism caused by sleeping on the ground. I could hardly walk when I first got up this morning. We have to rise at the early hour of 3 AM now and file out and take our positions in the rifle pits and stay there till sunrise. The boys are all right except Corpl J R F[letcher] who is troubled just now with a cold. Has there been anything done yet about the enrolement. Troops are beginning to be mustered out of the service now every day. How am I off for clothing in case I should have the good luck to get home? I had a letter from George last week which I have answered. We have today commenced on our fifth week. 34 days more - they cannot pass to quickly. Give my love to all the folks. Goodby.

Your Son
Charles.


Suffolk April 30th 1863 3 PM

My Dear Brother,

I received yours of April 26th last evening. There seems to be a lack of news at Chelmsford as well as at Suffolk. The rebels continue to hang around us but keep very quiet. I have no doubt but we shall go out in a few days and stir them up a little. The boys are all well and are wishing time away. How is Milo now? I have not heard from him for some time past. In 30 days more I hope to start for home. The regiment next to us goes out of service tomorrow. They are two-years men. Has the enrolement been taken in Massachusetts yet. I have no chance to send home brier root [an extremely hard and heat-resistant wood used for making smoking pipes and knife handles] as there is not one allowed down here now but soldiers. Secretary Seward paid us a visit yesterday PM but did not stop long; report says he thought it rather unsafe a locality. He is a wise man. What is E K P doing to do now that he is out of the store? I am going to try and have George come out here about one week before we go home if he will. We shall probably start for home about the 30th of May so as to arrive about the 3rd of June. We shall be mustered out here and leave our arms & equipments. Give my love to all the folks & write soon as convenient

Your Brother.
Charles

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