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13th Massachusetts Infantry - Colors at Gettysburg

Item LTR-6810
April 7-8, 1864 Charles R. Gardner
Price: $345.00


Original Civil War soldier's letter. 4 pages written in period ink.

Camp Near Mitchell’s Station
Fast Day 1864

Friend Frank,

We are having a lovely day for Governors Sunday and were we in the Old Bay State, we should be having a gay time. But in our evil hour, we were turned over to our Uncle Samuel and Fast day ceased to be numbered among our holidays. Do you remember the way we spent it two years ago at Warrenton Junction? It was a real Fast to us. I have passed the junction several times the past two years in my wanderings with the Lee opposition express company, and my thoughts always go back to those April days when we were sojourners there. Alas! Full many a brave heart has ceased its beatings since and rebellion still rears its haughty head. The love of many for the flag of their fathers has grown cold, and they cry for peace at any terms. And though at times things look dark, yet I believe that God reigns and he will bring things out right in the end, and that, purged from slavery our country will reach greater heights of glory and prosperity than it has yet attained. This may seem like Buncombe talk, but Frank, It is as I feel, and for nearly three years I have been in the harness to attain this end and after a brief respite, I may again go forth for the same glorious object. No compromise with traitors and no peace recognizing slavery is my motto.

Your good long letter of the 25th inst. came safe to hand, and I have read it many times with much pleasure. Am sorry to hear your health is poor. But hope with the blessing of God and proper care you may regain all the strength of you. I am as hardy as ever and have yet to answer my first surgeon’s call, and the longest I have ever been away was at the time of that famous night march to Hancock in January 1862.

Things jug along with us about as usual. We have been having a great deal of stormy weather lately. And picket duty is far from being holiday work. We go out now for three days at a time. The last time we were out it stormed nearly all the time. Snow, rain, and hail “ad libitum.” But I have got used to such things and am in a great measure storm proof. Colonel Batchelder has sent in his resignation and is expecting his papers every day. I think from what I have seen of him, he had much rather be a dry goods jobber than a soldier.

Soon I suppose the ground movement for 1864 will commence, but whether it will be across the Rapidan, up the Peninsula or back by way of Centreville to Maryland or Pennsylvania, remains to be seen. As for Grant, I do not believe he is any more a Napoleon or Alexander than our first idol “Little Mac.” I hope he may be as successful as at the West, but he has a different man and men to fight than he has heretofore encountered. I have more confidences in Rosecrans than any general ho has yet appeared on the scene.

Friday, April 8th A.M.

Dear F.

We have just returned from being reviewed by the modern Ulysses. He is a fine looking man and the pictures which you have seen of him in the different illustrated papers are good likenesses. The old 13th had some over two hundred in line. And though the old colors were not so bright as in days of yore, yet they bear honorable stains. The old white flag is spattered with the brains of some poor unfortunate who had his head blown off at Gettysburg. Dave Schloss of Company B carries the state flag and Dan Walker of A, the star banner. It was the latter poor Morris bore when he fell.

I should be pleased to hear from you again if you can find time. I know it is different with you that it is with me, who have nothing to do off times from morning till night but to cook my grub, read write, etc. Hoping you will overlook anything that is amiss in this epistle. With the highest regard, I remain your friend and old comrade.

C. Russell Gardner
High Private Company C, 13th Massachusetts Volunteers

P.S. Remember me to H.C.C. or any of the boys who you may see.
Yours Gardner