August 1st 1863
My dear mother,
Before commencing my letter I wish to make this request—that until “further orders” you will send all my letters to father as soon as you have done with them for my time is so much occupied at present that I cannot find time to write often. I think that all your letters have been received safe and sound and I am very glad of it for I waited long enough for them. Ere this letters reaches you, the old 9th Army Corps will be on its way home—or rather to Kentucky, which was indeed a home to us.
Mississippi abounds in berries, figs, sweet potatoes, peaches, apples, &c. but the climate is one that we cannot endure—especially in this season of the year. Old Kentucky furnishes less in the fig and sweet potato line, but berries and fruit and grapes are in abundance and although very warm compared with Massachusetts, yet the climate is much cooler and healthier than this deserted state. Give me Old Kaintuck and I will ask for nothing else but a furlough.
I have grown amazingly homesick in this state but allow me a twenty day furlough and I will come back contented. It will cost as much money as I can earn in furlough months but why not spend it for that purpose as well as anything else. The only objection I have is that the second parting scene will be more than you can endure. But mother, I have come out safe and sound so far and it’s almost a year since I left you. The prospects of peace are a great deal brighter than a year ago and I consider my chances ten times better. Now promise me, dear mother, that you will bear it bravely for I would never come home to go through another such leave-taking, and I will do my best towards getting a furlough within the next three months. Do not think that I blame you for feeling so sad when I left. Indeed, I do not. And rather than cause you the like again, I would stay here three times three years.
You must both write me all about your opinions of the matter. Father must not blame me for not answering his letters. I have not had time and it is his wish to have me neglect him before you. So let these letters answer for both until some future period when I shall not be so busy.
I have had to be on my taps ever since our arrival in camp. Indeed, I am getting to be quite a cook. I have a large brick and mud oven and baked bread, pies, dumplings, puddings, &c. &c. about every day. Occasionally a pot of baked beans is hauled out but no good brown bread. I hardly think I shall need a wife when I get home.
But it is getting too late to write and I will wind up. Give my love to Jerome’s folks and Grandmother and Josie. Poor Josie. What will she do now that Capt. [Hans Peter] Jorgenson is killed? (Pretty bloody fight at Gettysburg, wasn’t it? Not many of the 15th Massachusetts left.)
Love to all enquiring friends and a good share yourselves. Kiss Wallie and Eddie for me. Yours affectionately, — Charley
Next Letter: 19 August 1863