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15th New York Engineers - Mentions Marine Corps Band

Item LTR-9912
September 21, 1862 Charles P. Bacon
Price: $245.00


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

Engineer Brigade
Headquarters, 15th New York Volunteer Engineers
Camp Alexander

September 21st 1862

Dear Aunt Stella,

I was very happy some days ago to receive a call from Frank and through him a letter from you containing a thing that I have wanted for some time, but never happened to get. I am sorry to say, that I have not had much use for your very acceptable present since I received it. As I have been living on boiled vice tea and toast. But today I eat a good dinner and have use for the toothpick. I have been quite unwell since we left Fortress Monroe. Have had a great deal of work to do and since we have been in this camp, I have hardly been out of my tent. Unless I was obliged to go on business. I have lost 36 pounds of flesh and been very weak. I have not had energy enough to answer your kind letter before today. But have kept as quiet as possible in my bunk. I am feeling quite well today. Eat a good dinner and hope I am alright again. I don’t think you will be troubled with a sick nephew about my size this time. Frank was ordered out with a large ammunition train shortly after he reported for duty. He was to leave with 240 wagons containing six million 100,000 rounds of ammunition. An immense train. Enough to kill all the rebels. When I last saw him, he thought he could get most of it out by rail road. As the Army was changing its position. I called at the Ebbitt House to see him and found he had gone out. But they did not know which way.

There has been some terrible fighting the last week. But you get it all in the papers as soon as I do. We sent from this Brigade yesterday morning a splendid pontoon bridge train out to the front. Our men are hard at work repairing, strengthening and enlarging the defenses on the Maryland side of the Eastern branch.

General Woodbury has command of all the works on that side of the river. He is a Major General now and has 3 or 4 new regiments over there, which our men are learning the mysteries of Gabions and Jacines. It looks now as if this would be our headquarters for the winter. As our repair shops and material connected with our bridges is all here and the bridge trains have to be made up here and sent out with detachments, as they are wanted. If our headquarters is here, I will remain here. Which will suit me much better than being in the field. I am perfectly willing to rest a while now. For I have been continually on the move since last March. And have seen all I want to of Virginia for the present.

The rebs are in a bad box now and I think our army is much nearer Richmond than when we were on the Chickahominy.

I want to ask Uncle John how that money was deposited and in what bank. Is it to my credit so I can draw it out by checks? I ask the question, as I owe Fred Platt a bill of $28. That I could give him a check for and unless we are paid before long, I may want to make a draw for my own use. I would like 2 or 3 blank checks in case I should want to use them. Uncle Sam is slow paying at present. If we are to stay here this winter, I will want my overcoat again. But if we take the field, I shall take a common one. By the way, did you ever get those clothes from General Yates? I have never heard whether they were taken to Oswego or not. I want to get home a few days this fall if possible and make you a short visit. If they ever stop fighting long enough, I may be able to get away for a few days. It is now about 3 p.m. Plenty of visitors and carriages are coming into camp. We have a large crowd here every Sunday afternoon to see dress parade. We have the Marine Band here to play for us, which adds a great deal to the show. Our Regimental band was discharged at Harrisons Landing.

I can write no more at present. Accept my thanks for your kind remembrance. I hope to use it after some of your good dinners yet. I am just getting my appetite again and am all the while thinking about the good things you have to eat at home and wishing I was there to enjoy them with you. I would like to take a Sunday dinner with you today. The succotash would suffer some. Give my love to Aunt Hattie, Carrie, Uncle John and all at home. The Band is playing close by my tent and a large crowd around it drives all ideas out of my head. Excuse this poor attempt at a letter and believe me as ever,

Your affectionate Nephew,

C. P. Bacon

I wish you were here this afternoon to see the bright side of a soldier’s life. Carrie would enjoy the show and splendid music of the Marine Band.