22 November 1862

nov

“Camp Forbes”
Falmouth, Virginia
November 22nd 1862

My dear Father & Mother,

It is now some time since I last wrote but the forward movement of the army is the cause of the delay. Mr. Field returned a week ago last Wednesday and I received your kind letters with the pepper and composition which were very acceptable, I assure you.

I suppose you have by this time heard of the death of Mr. [George W.] Perry. He was a corporal in Co. G and died early on the morning of Friday the 14th inst. His remains were carried to Warrenton.

On Saturday we left “Chris’s Mills or Goose Creek and marched to “White Sulphur Springs”—a distance of about ten miles. It was once one of the most fashionable places in Virginia. and now that it is in ruins, the sight is one that a person will ever remember. There was once thirty buildings including the hospitals around the springs, but now all but one are in ruins. That one is the Hotel.

The piece of wood in diamond form is made from a piece of billiard table. The one in oval form is made of a splendid secretary. The rough piece is made from a ten-pin ball from the bowling alley. These little things I send you as relics and you may save them if convenient. I have also a piece of marble from the statue of the Goddess of Liberty which stood in front of the fountain. I will send it in my next letter. ¹

We left the springs Sunday morning and after tedious marches we arrived at Falmouth on Wednesday night and encamped about two miles outside the town. The Rappahannock river lays between us and Fredericksburg which the city is in plain view. Fredericksburg is now occupied by the rebs but they will soon have to skedaddle. I guess that they have a quantity of supplies there that they want to get to Richmond but every time they start a train of cars, a shell from our batteries drops amongst the and they back out of the job.

You can see by the map what a distance we have travelled. Now don’t you think we are good for forty-five miles more? It’s hard work to march but look at the sight ahead of us. Burnside is the man for all.

It commenced raining last Tuesday and did not stop until last night. You can only imagine what a quantity of mud there is for us to walk and sleep in.

Father, I got no other package with the bag mother sent. I think it must have been miscarried. When you send me the mittens, send two gingham handkerchiefs, a little tobacco, and a little tea wrapped up as you would a paper, strong, and you can send it by mail very cheap. Whenever we get paid off, I will send you money but I am as most all the rest—dead broke. Rations are small and forage—there is none. I’m as hungry as a bar.

I hope I am not putting you to too much trouble by sending these things to me. If I am, say so and I’ll stop begging.

But I must close. ‘Ere this letter reaches you we shall have moved. Remember Charley at the Thanksgiving dinner. He wishes he could be there to partake of it. Much love to all. Hoping you are enjoying good health and in good cheer. I remain yours affectionately, — Charley

relics
Charley’s relics from the White Sulphur Spring Resort (the 1×2″ domino was added for scale)

¹ Charley was not the only one from his company that chipped off a souvenir from the marble carving of the Goddess of Liberty. In a letter written on 17 November 1862 sent home to their mother in Petersham, Massachusetts, Henry and Hervey Bartlett of Co. I,  36th Massachusetts, also wrote of the destruction at White Sulphur Springs by Gen. Sigel’s men the previous August: “Oh! the desolation of War….In the center of the grove, there is a fountain. The spring is in a small building and is as clear as crystal and very strong of sulphur as well as smalls like it. In this building stood the Goddess of Liberty which is now destroyed. I broke off a piece and have it in my pocket…”

Next Letter: 30 November 1862