17 October 1862


“Camp Forbes”
Pleasant Valley [Maryland]
October 17 [1862]

My dear Father & Mother,

Having a few spare moments, I will improve them by writing you a few lines.

The mail arrived yesterday and I received a letter from you dated the 6th. Also two papers dated the 10th. By the letter I see that you are still troubled about me and all because there is some damn spooney who wears should straps in the Adjutant General’s office. I declare, it makes me mad and it takes what little patriotism I have away to always be in a row of some kind.

When I was out before, I was sold and now someone is trying to sell me. I cannot believe that the officers are unacquainted with the Army Regulations but I think that Mr. Maynard was over anxious to inform them what I was doing. And you know as well as I that he is very apt to blunder. He hardly dared to call his soul his own when he took us to the mustering office, and I really believe that he was so scared that he forgot that he saw me take the oath. Capt. Hastings is quite provoked. I refer you to his letter which he writes of his own accord.

The regiment returned last Tuesday night from their scouting. They had been to Frederick, Monrovia, Point of Rocks, and Nolan’s Ferry. What they were about, the papers will tell you. They had a very rough time of it but they stood it tip top.

For the last two days there has been heavy firing in the direction of Bolivar Heights and I understand that McClellan is shelling the woods in order to make an advance.

We do not expect to stay much longer in this place but we may have to stay here all winter. The boys want to have matters hurried up and settled as soon as possible so that they can leave for Massachusetts—the glorious Old State—sometime next July, but whether they will have their wishes granted or not is more than I can tell, “or any other man.” We are stuck for three years “and dat’s what’s the matter.” But I am having a good time of it and feel perfectly contented. It’s no use to be otherwise for I can’t go home every Saturday night even if I wanted to. “De wedder am berry cold” and I wish you would send me a light blue flannel vest and send me by Lucius Field who has the kindness to carry this letter for me.

Enclosed you will find a ring which I made out of a button that I cut from a dead rebel’s coat as he lay on the field of Antietam. It is not executed in a very tasty style as the only tool I used was a jack knife. It will answer as a little relic of the war. But I must close as it is nearly time to get supper. I am going to make a chicken soup.

I am fat, black, tough, and hearty, and enjoying good health considering my old age. Hope you are all as well as I. Much love to all. I remain yours truly, — Charles H. Howe

[Enclosed letter]

Camp Forbes
Pleasant Valley
October 16, 1862

Mr. Howe
Dear Sir,

I have just been listening to a letter from you to your son Charles who has been detailed by me as waiter. He enlisted as a private in my company, was duly mustered into the United States service for three years, [and] has signed the muster rolls. He will draw his $13 per month from the government. I can draw nothing as waiter for him on account of his name not being enrolled at the Adjt. Gen. Office [which] I can’t account for.

In regard to your drawing State Aid, it’s a matter of doubt in my mind. Charles tells me that he has informed you of the law in this respect—that is, a private can be detailed as waiter by an officer.

Respectfully yours, — C. T. Hastings

P. S. You will find it in the Army Regulations.

Next Letter: 21 October 1862