January 26th 1863
My dear Parents,
As I was on guard last night, I am excused from duty this forenoon and will take this opportunity to write you a few more lines. The boys are at work on the wharf unloading sick and wounded. I am glad I am not there for actually I had rather go into a battle than to go aboard one of the hospital boats for you are liable to catch a number of diseases such as typhoid fever, diphtheria, and so forth, and the stench is almost unbearable. I shall be glad when we have orders to return to camp for this place is not a very enviable one.
I expect to hear from Mr. Holbrook very soon. If I once get detached from the regiment, I shall never have to join it again. I shall have better living and accommodations than what I have now.
I have not heard from you since your letters of the 11th & 12th were received. Why do you not write oftener? It seems as if you could as well as not. In your letter of the 12th you said that I “used profane language and it did not sound well to read.” Now I have asked you kindly not to read my letters to anyone. I’ve done so a number of times and I say once more that I do not want you to read my letters to anyone, and if you can’t comply with that wish, I shall not write at all. When I want the people to know what I see and hear, I will correspond with some newspaper.
It ceased raining last night and today the weather is very warm and mild—June like—but the mud—O horrors!—is more than knee deep. The heavy army wagons sink in above the hubs with no load. This is the plain, unvarnished truth, and no joking. I thought I had seen mud in the months of January and February in the good old Bay State, but I never did. Why, you have not the slightest idea of what it is. I wish you could come out here.
Last Tuesday thirty paymasters arrived at Aquia Creek from Washington. They are going to pay off the Army of the Potomac. Our regiment will probably receive four months pay (52 dollars) and these 80 men have been on extra duty seventeen days and are entitled to 25¢ a day extra pay. Whether we get it or not, I can not say. At any rate, I shall send home to you forty-five dollars, ten of which I owe you. The remainder I want you to use just as you see fit. Don’t save it for me but spend it for the comfort of the family for I know you must need it by this time. Wallie and Eddie may want new clothes. Perhaps you do. Use it as freely as if you earned it yourselves.
After I go to work with Holbrook, I may want a box but you need not send one unless I ask you for it.
By the way, do you get State Aid. If not, apply for it for you are entitled to it and if they will not give it to you, I’ll kick up a row. There is a man in Clinton who has told me that you were entitled to it and if you do not get it, he will give his assistance and he is a man that knows the ropes as well as any of them. Be sure and tell me about it in your next letter. But it is nearly noon and I must close. I wish I could sit down at you table and help eat the warmed up baked beans. But it is of no use to wish. I hope you are all enjoying good health.
With much love for you all, I bid you goodbye. — Charley
Next Letter: 30 January 1863