17 April 1863

apr

Camp “Dick Robinson,” Kentucky
April 17, 1863

My dear Father and Mother,

I have now received all the letter that you wrote me while I was on the detail, I believe, and now sit down to thank you for writing to me when it was next to impossible for me to write to you. You state in your letter of the 23rd March (the very day we left Newport News) that you had not received any news from me in relation to the box. Now I wrote a letter about the same time that I wrote to Mrs. Bragg and told you all about it. Perhaps it was lost on the way. Again I will say that it was all—yes, more—than I expected. Everything was all right and as fresh as if I had just stolen it from mother’s shelves or stone jar, and it is needless to say that I was in my elements as long as the contents held out. From the bottom of my heart, I sincerely thank you for it.

It astonishes me to hear that Mr. Baker is dead for when I last saw him I thought there was nothing to hinder him from getting well. If he died at “Windmill Point,” was undoubtedly buried there and I could easily find his grave if I were there, being acquainted with the burial grounds (there is no hospital there now), that is, if the hospital steward or ward master done their duty which is to furnish a slab and see that it was put at the head of the grave. My advice to his friends is to let his body rest where it is for it could give them no possible satisfaction to see it. If they recollect how he looked when at home in health, they would scarcely believe that the blackened, rotten mass (in which state his body is undoubtedly in now) could be his remains. It is so long since I saw him that I will not be positive as to whether his watch was a silver one or not but I remember of asking him the time of day when we were on the wharf and he told me. Whether his watch was silver or gold, valuable or worthless, I can not say.

It pains me to hear that Mother is again afflicted with that detestable disease. What can I do but pity her and trust in Almighty God for her speedy recovery. I cannot under the present circumstances do more. But if I were at home, my actions I think would so more than useless words can. I pity you both in this your hour of trial and afflictions. But of what possible good can my saying so be to you? “Hope on, hope ever.” Remember that the darkest hour comes before bright day.

I feel confident that something will happen in the course of a fortnight that will not only surprise but astonish you. I’ve said as much now. Please not ask me what it means for if the thing should fail, you will not be disappointed and if it proves a success, you will not be disappointed.

O, you can not imagine what a splendid country this is—such a mild climate. The dark green fields are dotted here and there with a little dandelion. The peach trees are now clothes with splendor. Our camp is in a large Mistletoe grove and often I hum what little I know of that famous old song, “O, the Mistletoe Bough.” We send out scouting parties every little while and have now a large number of rebel prisoners on hand. They say that some tall fighting will be done in June after which the war will be settled.

But it’s time for roll call and I must close. Hoping you will soon be better, I remain yours affectionately, — Charley

P. S. Have you received the letter I wrote on the Ohio or the money I sent from here the night I arrived? If so, please inform me. — Charley

Next Letter: 21 April 1863