Camp thirteen miles from
White House May 24th
Yesterday I got here & found what boys there was left very well &
I found your letter dated at S. & one from father. They had been here some
time. Lieut. P. went home last Sat., just a week ago today, & I had the
bleus all before & after he went. But a few cigars that he gave me & an old
pipe soon brought me all right. I ran around town untill Wednesday, then
shipped for York Town, (or) White House. We had a splended siege. It was
just rough enough crossing the bay to make it pleasant. I had a distant
view of Mount Vernon & take it all together it was a pleasant ride down. Just
after we left York
T. we had a tip top thunder storm. But we were in the river & it did not
trouble us any. We got to White House landing (it aint Gills landing) but
it is very much like it. We got there Thursday night. Friday morning we
went ashore, had to cross five boats to get to the land. The river is
filled with vessels of all kinds & loaded with our hog (cheese) beef ____?
Well to tell you the truth we donít have dried beef. But sometimes it is
rather stail, more like mud. We have plenty to eat such as it is, & good
enough what there is of it. I had to march 15 miles before I fetched up
with the Regt. We camped on rather a fair piece of land. This morning it
looked like rain so the 64th had to strike tents & move a few
rods & pitch them on a hill. It soon began to rain & I donít feel like
writing. I am going to use up what little paper I have left & throw away my
portfolio for I canít carry it this hot weather.
I know it will be hard for you not to hear from me often. But if
you was here I know you would not write many letters. When I got here the
boys blackguarded me for being clean and white, & my frock out. They will
tear the tails all off. We are expecting a battle every day. And a happier
set of men I never saw. Our Regt has had a hard time since I left. Some
of them came very near being killed by there torpedoes. There is only about
fifty able to be with the Co. Their health is good. When I came here they
looked more like sunburnt Indians than white men & Chance was & is a white
sheep in the flock. My neck & face is sunburnt, guess it will peal. But I
will soon be as black as any of them. I donít think as much of Gen. Howard
as I did once, Guess it will be a _____ tight squeeze for him to go to
heaven. That great slaughter at Williams, B. was oweing to G. Sumners not
reinforce- the D. that was fighting. Our B. lay all day & then marched in
the night, mud kneedeep. G.S. the scoundrel has designed. He ought to be
hung. Shooting is to good. The rain has stoped & we have rested all day.
Mr. Barrett has been around for the mail so this will have to wait untill
tomorrow night. We have had beans, rice, fresh & salt beef, & pork today.
The far here when we get it, is better than Alexandria, V. fare. I donít
see why it is so but the men, when they expect to be called any moment to
fight, are just as full of fun & anctious to go ahead.
At inspection my gun passed well. Lieut. D. said now fix your
guns boys, for tomorrow is Sunday & of course we will have to march. You
donít know how glad I was to get with my Co. I slept with my friend
Wellington & we talked all night long. Today we had a fine little nape.
When I left W. (Washington) I weighted 155 lbs., fifteen lbs. more than I
weighed one year ago. One year ago I was on the lakes. And come to take it
all together it aint very hard only when we have to march all day & night in
the rain & mud. As far as the money is concerned, I would have done better
with my tools down here. There was about a hundred carpenters came down on
the boat when I did. They build the bridges and etc. It is growing dark. I
do wish you could see the campfires in the night around here. I canít see
more then 15 or 20 thousand. Welly says this is nothing. At ship point he
says the whole army of the P. was together. If the Rebs stand at R we will
give them fits. It is rather damp here & as I am not used to sitting on the
ground I guess I will not write anymore tonight.
Please send this to mother & if she will, I would like to have her
send it to father. Tell him I canít write many letters. I received his and
was glad to hear from him. Father how I would like to help you frame that
barn. But I donít know but I should be lazy if I was there. The saying
here is Ėsouldier will you work? No Iíll sell my shirt. We look down
on the laybering class of man. You asked if my gun was a breech loading
gun. No it is not. I like it better than the sharper B.L. gun. Think it
will kill a Reb farther. How I would like to try it once. Perhaps I will
ere this reaches you. If you take the papers you will get the news faster &
more of it than I can write & if I should get shot you will get the news in
the papers long before I could get a letter to you. So I donít see much
need of writing as long as I am well. And when I am sick I canít write no
more than the man could patch his roof when it rained, Father, please give
my love to Lucian and his family.
From your son
I thought I would light a torch and finish this up tonight. I canít ask you
to write when you donít expect to have me answer then but nevertheless I
should be very glad to get a good long letter from you all. If you had to
sit on the ground with nothing under you but a rubber blanket, hold the
paper on your lap, I would not ask you to write. I might get my knapsack to
sit on, but I should have to reach for it like whats his name for the
spade. So think it wonít pay. If you will be so kind to write direct it to
the Regt. & Co. Washington D.C.
(Apparently this got to Sylvia and she sent it to their father, Benjamin.
She added this note to her father.) L
Allegany Reservation June 8
Father, I will not complain if you do not too often wrote to me if you will
only remember Chauncey. Poor boy! I fear that this will be the last letter
we shall ever get from him. We have heard from some of our Indian boys that
others of their number have been killed in the battle of Richmond. I am
anxious to hear further particulars.
I hope you are well and doing well. If you were here you would
not see much change in my surroundings only that my garden is planted and
things are just coming up. I have worked very hard since I came back, but
must stop it. We are going to have Indian preaching today. Donít you think
I get lonely sometimes? But usually I am in good spirits trying to
do what is right yet often failing because of too much self confidence.
When shall we learn that we are but dust, creatures of an hour. If you can
bear to, do write to me. I do not go over there to Sabbath school now nor
to the mission house on Saturday.