Near Fredericksburg, Va.
February 6th 1863
My dear Father & Mother,
Last Tuesday our squad left the hospital for camp which place we reached at night. The next day, Nat [Houghton] and I went to the camp of the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry, about four miles distant, to see Mr. Houghton and others, but when we reached the camp, we found that Mr. Houghton had gone on picket. I saw Frank Howard and bought a pair of boots of him. He is not very well, Ge sends his best respects to you and wants you to write to him. His address id Co.C, 1st Mass. Cavalry, Pleasanton’s Brigade. I did not see Cromett as he was on extra duty.
Yesterday morning it commenced snowing (the weather has been very cold for nearly a week) and our company had to go on picket. At four P. M. the snow turned into rain and we had a tough time of it. No fires. No sleep. we returned to camp this morning wet, hungry, muddy, and cold.
The rebels were in high glee this morning and gave cheer after cheer. Upon asking them, “Wat’s de matter,” I was politely informed that our blockade at Charleston Harbor was gone to the cullud person’s domains.
Upon reaching camp we learned that the Ninth Army Corps had got to move immediately. We expect to go somewhere on the Carolina coast and will in all probability go tomorrow. Well, I am willing to fight down there but I’ve been shaking in my shoes ever since the affair at Fredericksburg for fear we should have to try our luck there once more and I do not relish the looks of their cussed batteries. Give me anything but this Virginia mud.
All the regiment with the exception of Companies B & I which were on picket were paid off yesterday. They received two months pay. We shall be paid in a few hours. If I have a chance, I will send some money home. If not, I will wait until I reach New Bern.
I have letters from Calvin, Jerome and Josephine which I have not answered for want of time. Be sure and write them and tell them that when I have a chance, I will write them. An old sutler, Mr. Holbrook, I believe is now at home and I shall not have a chance to work for him. However, I may be lucky enough to get a good job yet.
I am well and in good spirits. I hate to leave my little fireplace for it seems almost like a home to me, but a soldier don’t know one day where he will be the next and as I expected that was the case when I enlisted, I will not complain. “Variety is the spice of life,” and I guess by the time that I get through with Uncle Samuel, my life will be well seasoned. I have no more to write. Wish I had. With much love for all hands (the little fat fellow and Wallie included). I bid you an affectionate farewell.
Yours truly, — Charley
Near Fredericksburg, Va.
February 7, 1863
Dear Father & Mother,
We were paid yesterday and I received $18.63 which was my pay from August 18th. I have a few bills to pay and cannot send you only ten dollars this time. I wish I could spare more. We expect to be paid again by the first of March and then I will send some more.
Last night I received your letter of the first. Glad to hear from you. Much obliged for that five dollar script. I have passed them before and can again. For want of time I must close. We expect to start every moment. Yours truly, — Charley
P. S. Answer as soon as convenient and let me know whether you have received the money or not. — C. H. Howe