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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

150 Years Ago (1864 2/14)


Feb. 14th. I have had a hard spell of the head ache. I have got to go to work. Shall go on dress parade this afternoon and go on guard as corporal of the guard. Shall not have to stand guard. There are two corporals detailed every day and one Sergeant. The corporals have to post the guards, but one is up at a time in the night, so it is not very hard and there is a chance to learn something. I tell you, there is a great deal to learn sometimes. I think I shall never be able to get through with it. There are others that think if they can explain a right face they are ready for an examination, but to go through it in shape will require a great deal of study and pains taking.

How I wish that I could be at home today, tomorrow and next day and day after day. I fear that you will get sick taking care of the baby, and I feel all the time such an anxiety about all of you that I can take no quiet, but keep all the time a kind of fear in me. Try to still my-self, knowing that it will make no difference with you, whether I fret myself or not, but I cannot help it. The weather here is mild. There is but little snow, though there is an appearance of snow now. The sleighing is pretty fair.

I am sorry to hear that Jacob is sick again, though if it is the varioloid he will come round all right. There was a report yesterday that there was a case of small pox at the hospital. It will go through all the hospitals as the sick come on through Washington. There are some deaths occurring in the hospital, most of them from measles that get up and take cold and away they go. One man from Company A died this morning. There are none from our company that have died, though there is one that has had the typhoid fever and the measles that is not expected to live.

I am sorry for Loella. Hope Baker will bring her up all right yet. I should like to write to them, but it has been as much as I can do to write to you. I have not written to either Jacob or Zopher yet. I had a chance to send to Zopher last Wednesday by Orderly Sergeant White Company H. Zopher stopped in the same barracks with him here. How do they feel up in Charleston about the draft? I do not know but it is wrong, but there are some of those that are so fond of paying large bounties to save their own dear selves from the draft, but have not one spark of patriotism about them or desire to pay anyone that is in, that I should not be sorry to see come marching on, the Provost Marshall at their head. Some my grumble at the new call, but that is the way to finish up the war. 8 or 900,000 will do the thing up, but the war is not to be closed without hard fighting.

I am perfectly ashamed of the 9th Regt. Or of the officers in command there, to let a force of 15,000 men to come up on them in the manner they did there, all scattered round as they were. The enemy had nothing to do but to pick them up. They were as careless as they would be in time of peace. There is no safety in this manner of doing business. I am afraid there is too much of this carelessness in our army. I shall watch closely to see what is done by the forces that have been sent East from the mississippi River. If they have good success it will help along the thing mightily. If they push out and do but little then comes the tug of war in Tennessee. I think the object is to draw away the force the traitors have in Northern Georgia, then Grant will strike upon them. If Grant is successful, then Longstreet must give up Eastern Tennessee.

In the meantime, Longstreet striving hard to take Knoxville before Grant can strike upon Johnson's army in Northern Georgia, or Longstreet is striving to weaken Grant and Sherman's force is striving to weaken Johnson's. Look on the map and you will see that a force if coming from the West would be upon Johnson's army on its left flank or side. He and Grant now face one another and Johnson must change front and face them, or they will get in his rear, etc. etc. If Longstreet takes Knoxville, then he can take Grant in the flank and he would be in a bad fix and have to fall back from Chattanooga. I hope that the Union army in East Tennessee is strong enough to hold Longstreet at bay, but I have some fears of it, but you have probably got enough of this, but the newspapers speculate and so can I.

You see where the ink has a different shade, well some one told me that we were going to have beans for dinner and Warren was in the office and told me to go and have dinner with him. So off I went and have a good dinner, had some good doughnuts, etc. etc. I made quite a visit. It is now almost time for dress parade, and am going out ans see how many blunders I make. Well, I have been up to the barracks and there came up a little rain and no dress parade. They have just found out that I was Corporal. That is getting up pretty high, aint it. Well, I must creep before I can walk. There is a good chance to learn as a corporal. When I found that I could not write to you I sent to town and got a paper and sent that, that you might get something from me.

It is now cold and the wind blows hard. How I wish that I was at home tonight. I would sleep close enough to keep you warm. Don't you know that the time is nearly a sixth gone since I was mustered? Well, let it slip. If I ever get by you again I am there until life shall end, whether I ever wear shoulder straps or not. They are nothing, to life with you. I hope the war will end before three years have passed from the 27th Day of August 1863. Kiss all the children for me, and accept a thousand for yourself. If I were with you you would get them.

Yours in love,

Charles.

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The speculation

This is one of the most interesting letters yet, though I'd caution Charles that loose lips sink ships, so be careful about revealing future plans! (He notes, however, that newspaper speculate, "and so can I."

I love his thoughts on Grant's plans in the south. It's easy to forget the real outcome of the war for a moment and just be in the moment with him, wondering what might happen next.

 

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