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12th Connecticut Infantry - Wounded at Port Hudson

Item LTR-530
July 6, 1862 Alexander W. Avery
Price: $250.00


12 pages, original Civil War soldier's letter written in period ink and war dated.

Camp Parapet
Carrollton, Louisiana

July 6, 1862

Friend Thomas,

Your last was received July 1st while I was on picket. It was near night when I heard that the Rhode Island had just arrived with a large mail. I dispatched one of the boys instantly for letters for our guard. It was late when he returned, but when he did I found myself extremely blessed being the recipient of no less than seven letters, yours was the number one I was so anxious to examine said letters that I lit a light which the guard had brought back with him. Struck it up side of a tree and we all hovered around to hold sweet communion with home and read. It took me until near midnight to complete reading mine, as some of them were quite prolific. After that I returned to the guard but soon came back, finding myself in a thunder shower. The thunder was very severe never saw the like but once and that on ship. It rained about 2 hours. I stayed around till it stopped and then kindled up a fire and got dry. After that we skirmished a little and brought in several. I have just come off picket again today. Had a fine time of it though. It is our business on this picket to stop all passers except those that have passes to procure which they have to take the oath of allegiance to pay the sum of $1.00. If any come along without these little documents, we just turn them over to the General to deal with. There are more or less of these turned over every day. There are many more teams passing here, which makes it fine, as we take one for tool, ever time a team passes with them. That is, when the driver does not raise too much resistance, which rarely happens. There is a lot of n****rs encamped here, near 100 I should judge. It would do you good to attend one of their meetings. They have one every night till 11 or 12 o’clock and often would be all night, did not the pickets interfere to stop them. The citizens around here appear to be very lenient to our cause. A planter came along last night in his fine clothes, n****r driver, etc. and after chatting for a while after producing his pass, gave me a very polite invitation to take a ride home with him and take a nip. I was somewhat hesitate at first. As he lived near a mile and ½ above, and the corporal was down to supper. I could not resist the invitation of a ride, however in such a fine gig and finally jumped in and was off. Arrived at his house, we first took a little eye opener then some juicy watermelon on china, a knife to cut it with, all so nice, etc. Then another nip, as he said I “must not leave on one leg”, -- a cigar and I again entered said carriage. Bid good night and was off for post. He was very sorry that I could not stay to supper, but I did not dare to, for fear of being over hauled. As I feared on arriving, the officer of the guard was waiting to see me. Said he’d been waiting about ½ hour, wanted to know if I stayed with the guard at all, etc. I assured said Mr. Officer that I had not been off to exceed 2 hours all day, dinner hour included. He growled a little more and left, not in the best of moods. A short time after he left, the Lieutenant Colonel came up, asked if I was sergeant of the picket. Told him I was. He inquired my name and company, asked about a picket fence that the aforesaid “100 n*****s” had been stealing during the forenoon and which as soon as I discovered immediately set at work carrying back. I told him so. He said the Major (officer of the day) would soon be up to see me and left. I was just informed of the n****rs taking the fence by a couple fine looking young ladies (daughters of the owner of the plantation) who appealed to me so prettily to have the picket brought back, that I entered upon this duty with more than ordinary zeal. Hardly had I entered upon the fence, I was suddenly called away on other business for a few minutes. On returning not a picket was to be found. It rather puzzled old Avery to know what had become of them so suddenly at first. I knew they had not been carried back so I commenced hunting for them. I ransacked their hencoops (barracks) and soon found a large pile. The n**s swore they were not the ones but I called a lot around me and made them carry them back. This done, I next found a box which was poked under the floor of one of their shanties. The shanty floor was up, some 16 inches from the ground. One side of it was not boarded up and on this side were a lot of wenches sitting down sticking their feet out so that I would not look under. They failed of their object, for as I did not feel quite so modest as I used to at home sometimes. I went down on my hands and knees, looked under to discover the pickets. I ordered the wenches up and had these carried with the others. After several other adventures, I succeeded in getting nearly all the stakes and had them returned. In the evening what should come to pass, but a nice loaf of bread, sent down by said five lasses. A present of a loaf of bread would be considered a small thing at home. But here where we curse our hard crackers week after week and month after month, a loaf of bread is looked upon as no means a gift. At any rate, we thought so, and after begging some lasses and some passers by, we devoured it in double quick time or the sum.

Direct is as well as usual and I don’t know but little better. He still has a little of the dysentery. I would get him to write you but he is now out. But hold on. I was going to tell you that after the lieutenant colonel had come taken Avery’s name and company and said that the Major would be up to see me soon. I expected said Avery had been reported by the Officer of the Guard to the lieutenant colonel and that the Major was to be sent up as he was Officer of the Day to take old Avery in charge. I did not feel very much alarmed however and went about my guard duty awaiting the arrival of the Major. He came about 10 in the evening, was very pleasant indeed, chatted a few minutes and left. I have not heard whether I was reported or not for being absent. But if I was, I think the report must have been laid under the table. Charley Perkins is quite sick but I think improving. The rest of the boys are well. I say well Mr. Reynolds is complaining and so is A. R. Peckham. Charley Q is in good health and never was in better. By the way volunteers have bad news from Richmond. It comes through rebel sources so we do not place much dependence on its being true. They say here that McClellan is totally defeated. That he is wounded and a large portion of his army taken prisoners. This being true (which I am just so obstinate as not to believe), our term of three years will not end the war. We are still in Camp Parapet and like to stay for some time. You seem to think that it would suite me much better to give you some slice of “Goose cake” than to receive some from you. I know that the Bible says “it is more blessed to give than to receive” but I believe that this is to be taken with exceptions. This case furnishing an example, for nothing is farther from me at present and will be in future, than to think of gratifying anybodies commandeering functions at the expense of fixing myself to an O [diagram inserted] string. But I have been rambling off a mess of nonsense. In fact, my letter is nothing else from beginning to end so I may as well close, without wearying your patience further.

Yours Truly,

Alexander W. Avery

N. B. Tell Bob I have not yet heard from Hiram.

P. S. I have been about 2 hours writing this. Please excuse all mistakes as the result of haste.

Best wishes to all.