Newport News, Va.
March 8, 1863
My dear Father and Mother,
Mr. Morgan arrived today and I have received the letters and papers you sent by him. I have not seen him myself but I shall try to tomorrow. I understand that he will go home soon so I take this opportunity to send you this letter, and Iowa paper, and a few shells which I gathered on the beach of the James river.
You may feel disappointed in the shells for perhaps you expected they were large like those on Chelsea beach but they are small and pretty much like all of the same species. I might have sent you more but as they are all nearly alike, they would be no curiosity. If it were not for loading Mr. Morgan to heavy, I would send you a fragment of a monstrous shell which was fired during the fight between the Monitor and Merrimac. It’s only about an inch and a half thick and weights twenty-two pounds. The whole shell must have weighed one hundred and fifty pounds.
It it were not for turning your stomach, I would send a sample of hard tack that we have been obliged to eat.
My box has not arrived yet but is probably at the Fortress and I shall get it tomorrow, I guess. I’ll have a gay old time eating the contents—especially the codfish, mince pies, doughnuts, gingerbread, cake, jellies, and apple sass. Whoop whew! high living for snogers. It may make me gouty.
Father, you expressed a wish to come out here to see me. I understand that we are to receive four months pay soon (fifty-two dollars), and if $32.00 will bring you out here and carry you back, you are welcome to it. I would give all I can earn to have you and Mother just come and see me, but it would be rather poor accommodations for you—especially for Mother.
I’m darned glad that Maynard was not elected a Select man. He will now have to come down a peg now, won’t he? Rather rough on John Brigham. I think the voters got ahead of their time. “Hog grief” is a high old office.
But it is getting late and my candle is nearly burned out so I must close. Write often as possible whether I do or not. Yours truly, — Charley