16 March 1863


Newport News, Va.
March 16th 1863
7 o’clock P.M.

My dear Father & Mother,

Having a few leisure moments, I think I will improve them by writing to you although it’s so very cold that it’s not a very agreeable matter to write. I guess you are having some stinging cold weather up north—that is, if I can judge by the weather we have had here for the last fortnight.

Mr. Morgan has probably got home ‘ere now and no doubt you have seen him; he has told you about me, how fat and healthy I looked, and so forth, and therefore it’s no use for me to say something about it.

The box arrived safe and sound Monday night. Everything in it was all right except the pickles. The cup they were in was broken but did not damage to the other things. You seemed to fear I would be disappointed with the contents. I don’t see why I should be for everything was so nice. Well, I couldn’t ask for better and I made a very large sized hole in them to commence with.

I thought the apple sauce that we make here of dried apples was excellent but that sauce in the can puts everything in the shade that I ever saw. Jehosaphat, a barrel of it at a meal would not be too much (if it is as sweet as what you spoke of, she must be a—a—well, yes, I guess she would). And then those pies, cakes, codfish, cheese. Really, I can’t tell which tasted the best. All I can say is that a better box I have not seen. Everything that one could want and everything of the nicest quality. Many thanks to you for sending it and many thanks to Mrs. Briggs, Mrs. & Mrs. Bates, and Mrs. Goodale for their presents. I shall remember them.

I have answered all my letters now and owe no one a letter. I wrote to Josephine, Jerome, Calvin, and Mrs. Bragg last week. I think I will write to Mrs. Bates this week. I believe she takes an interest in my welfare for when I was out before, she sent me an excellent book and now she has sent cake and so forth. (Nat [Houghton] is asleep at my side and is muttering something about the “damn black niggers”—“clean ’em out first.”)

I think we shall be paid soon. I hope so for I want a pair of boots. Guess I will have a pair made at home. If I conclude to do so, I will send the measure of my foot and what kind I want.

I hope Father will get better and so be able to go to work with Horatio. You ask me how I should like New York for my home. Well, I believe if I ever get out of this scrape, I shall stay in Massachusetts for one while. Can’t fool me on states. Massachusetts is the best one I have seen yet. I was born there and shall make it my home most of the time.

I received Mother’s kind letter Saturday and will answer it soon. But it’s now most time for Roll Call and I must close. Love to all. until I write again, goodbye.

— Charley

Next Letter: 19 March 1863