19 March 1863


Newport News, Va.
March 19th 1863

My dear Father and Mother,

I have received your letter of the 13th and was very glad to hear from you. It would be useless for me to answer the questions you asked me for even if I should want to go home, there is not the slightest chance for me as I can see for the Corps has received marching orders and our brigade expects to move today although we may not go till tomorrow. The devil only knows where we are going. Some say to Suffolk to reinforce Gen. Corcoran and others say to Port Royal. I think we shall go to Port Royal and in the course of time go on an expedition to Charleston, South Carolina—at least I hope we shall.

Now you would be be surprised to see how quietly and calmly we receive marching orders. This is a beautiful camp and we have got greatly attached to it. We hoped to stay here for some time but orders came to start and we take it as if it were nothing more than an order to drill or inspection and very quietly pack our bureaus and await further orders. For my part, I have got reckless and don’t care whether we are in camp or on the move. I’m in good condition and ready and willing to march or fight if it will do any good. I like the idea of going to South Carolina for there’s where the rebellion first broke out and I’ve always said there’s where the fighting ought to be carried on.

As I have often said before, I believe I shan’t have a chance to see Massachusetts again for the present and I’ll be blowed if I care what I have got to come to. If it is my lot to fight, why I’ll fight like the devil, but I shall not be so enthusiastic as I should have been four months ago. I’ll “go in and win” if possible and if I come out all right at the end, it will be “Bully for me,” and if I should get dropped, or in more proper words—killed, it’s no worse for me than the thousands that have fell in this damnable war. But N. B. [note well], I’ve no notion of getting hit. I’ve dreamt of being in a good many battles and never was yet hit and if there’s anything in dreams, I shall come out “cock of the roost.” Mind you, if I ever get home, my “bleeding country” may bleed and be blowed for all that I care.

But my sheet is most full of nonsense and I must close. Excuse me but I always write what comes into my head first. So if it sounds foolish, it’s my own fault. Love to all.

Yours affectionately, — Charley

Next Letter: 20 March 1863