Chelmsford Historical Society
Charles Bartlett, May 1863

Suffolk May 5th 1863
5:30 PM

Dear Mother

I did not write on Sunday as is my custom because I was over the river most of the day where the fight was going on. Our regiment was not ordered out but I went as a spectator. I did not go into the fight but could hear the bullets whizing by my head quite as often as I cared to where I stood. The Rebs fell back to the Blackwater yesterday morning and at 6 AM was after them for almost 15 miles. It was the hardest march that I ever was on. The weather was terribly hot, and I was completely played out when we arrived in camp last evening. I am well and shall get over the march in a day or two. Will write again soon. A lot of troops are to be sent from here to the army of the Potomac. Who will go is not known yet. Love to all & goodby.

Your Son.

Suffolk Va May 6th 1863 (Wednesday)

My Dear Sister

I should have answered yours of April 26th before if the Rebs had kept away from Suffolk but their presence here has sadly interfered with my leisure time. They have at last left us and poorer by 1200 men than when they came down here. We chased them about 15 miles and took about 100 prisoners on the road we went on. I think they will keep away from us for awhile now. In about 3 weeks more I hope to be able to see you and then I can tell you my experience as a solder much better than I can write it. “A rough life.” Today we are having a cold north _?_ storm and it is not very pleasant to be out. A host of troops are being sent from here to reinforce Gen Hooker. Perhaps we may be included in the lot but I hope not. If Government tries to keep us more than our time there will be trouble enough in the regiment I can tell you. I see the Lowell Courier says our time is not out till June 8th. Why is there nothing done about the draft? They will be short of men soon if they don’t look out. I intend writing to Henry this PM or tomorrow. We have had some terribly hot weather here within the past ten days. I have already writen 2 letters today and if I write to Hat tonight I think that will do for one day. Give my love to all the folks & goodby

Your Brother

Suffolk May 7th 1863 4:30 PM

My Dear Father

I intended this morning to have writen you a long letter today but I have been so busy that I find it will be impossible to do so now. I am well and so also are the boys. We are having stiring news from Gen Hookers Army and a lot of troops are to be sent from here to him. Whether we shall be included in the lot is more than I can tell. “Report says we shall” but I hope not. Our time is drawing near a close and I am not sorry. I suppose we shall get home about the first of June. You must excuse this short letter but I will try and write again tomorrow or Saturday if we are not on the move. Love to all the folks and goodby.

Your Son

Suffolk Va May 10th 1863 (Sunday)
2:30 PM

My Dear Mother

Yours of May 3d is before me and unanswered. We are still in Suffolk but I expected the first of last week that we should be sent up to Hookers Army. I am thankful that we have not been. Edward Dalton MD has just arrived in camp. He has been in Suffolk for about 3 weeks past. He has been ordered by Gen Peck to inspect the quarters of all the regiment in Suffolk and it is for that purpose that he is in our camp this PM. I am well, and hope in 3 weeks from today to be in Massachusetts. There seems to be some doubt as to when our time is out. I suppose the 9 months will expire some time this summer. As soon as I can find out when we go out of service I shall write to George to come on and go home with me. The boys are all well and anxious to go home. What terrible fighting they have had in the army of the Potomac. We are having splendid weather. Warm days & cool nights. Corpl Fletcher does not have much to say about Joseph’s marriage. I would not be surprised if the Corpl came to war again. I am very busy now closing up my nine months a/c [accounts] so you must excuse me with a short letter. Remember me to all the folks & goodby.

Your Son

Suffolk May 24th 1863

My dear Mother

You will excuse my long absence. I know when I tell you that we have been absent from Suffolk for the last 12 days on a grand scouting expedition stealing RRd [railroad] track from the Rebs &c. We arrived in camp last evening at 10:30 PM tired completely out. It was the hardest tramp I ever went on my all means. We are to start for home on Wednesday next and I hope by next Sunday to be in Chelmsford. I am well. I suppose we shall go by transports from Fort Monroe. Love to all & good by. I am very busy getting my business up so as to start

Your Son

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