These letters were written by Andrew Upson (1845-1864), the son of Levi and Lovisa (Todd) Upson. He graduated from Yale College in 1849 and afterwards taught school at Salem, New Jersey; at Wellsboro, Pennsylvania; and later at Corning, New York. In April 1850, he was married to Elizabeth Lewis Gridley; in 1852, he purchased a farm in Southington, Connecticut; and in 1854, he represented his district in the State Legislature.
When the Civil War broke out, Andrew joined Co. E, 20th Connecticut Volunteers, and was commissioned a 1st Lieutenant. The regiment did not see any action until the Battle of Chancellorsville where Lt. Upson was taken prisoner and confined two weeks in Libby Prison in Richmond before he was paroled. When he returned to his regiment, he was promoted to captain of Co. K. While guarding the depot at Tracy City, Tennessee, Andrew was shot three times by a band of guerrillas and died later of his wounds on 19 February 1864.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
Addressed to Mrs. Andrew Upson, Plantsville, Connecticut
Camp near Maryland Heights, [Maryland]
October 19, 1862
My Dear Wife,
Since last writing I have received 2 letters from you—the first written Sunday evening & the second Tuesday night & Wednesday morning with one from Frank enclosed. The first came Thursday evening, the second last evening. Both were very acceptable for I had been expecting something several days. But it is especially good to get one Saturday night. Let me describe to you the circumstances in which I got the last & you will appreciate to some extent what a hoy it was.
On Friday at 8 o’clock just as we were going out to battalion drill, our company received an order to report in half an hour at Gen. Kane’s Headquarters for picket duty. We packed up overcoats & blankets, seized a few hard crackers, slung canteens and haversacks, & posted off, arriving there at the time set. Capt. W. reported & received instructions to take half the company & relieve the patrol occupying a post half a mile further north. I was commanded to take the other half & find another patrol a mile or more in the opposite direction. Of course I wheeled my men about & started off, making haste so as to get things all right before dark. Found the line without difficulty & got the men posted, but not till dark was upon us. I will explain to you more particularly how we were situated.
My instructions were to find & relieve a patrol guarding a line extending from the Pleasant Valley road to the Heights. Suppose the road to be that one west of the house & the picket line extended thence nearly straight west of the mountain. Only you must make the whole distance up & down hill—some of them pretty steep. The 1st post with a certain number of men would be at the road. The 2nd with a given number at some point out in the woods, The 3rd still further on, & the last one at the foot of the mountain. A corporal commands the three west posts, one at each, whose business it is to see that his squad performs the duty & relieve each other at regular intervals. My post or headquarters is at the front or 1st post & I am expected to know the condition of the line & all that occurs during the time my patrol has it in charge. It is necessary for me to examine each post from time to time by day & night, receive & communicate new instructions, & generally control the whole concern.
Well, we put things in order, relieved the old guard & prepared ourselves for 24 hours service out-of-doors. The night was pleasant. It rained hard the preceding one, but now as you will probably remember the stars shone brightly & it was not very cold. Each post had its fire. These were kept going, Mine had also a famous good shelter—that is, some rails laid up against another resting on two crotches & covered over with pine boughs. The fire blazed at one end & I could spread my rubber blanket and rest very comfortably. You can tell Mrs. A. that James had charge of one post with 8 men—a good stone wall affording them protection from the north wind, while a pile of blazing stumps lent much cheerfulness to their night watch. We had no trouble through the night or day except to send back to camp & get something to eat. We ought to have been relieved at 4 o’clock but nobody came. You know it is death to guards to leave their posts unless their relief comes or the enemy approaches in force.
Finally I sent two up to camp to see what was the reason of so much delay & also if Capt. W. had returned. The boys were gone 1½ hours & reported Capt. W. relieved & saying others had been sent to take our places but probably had gone astray. They also brought food for supper & what was best of all, a mail for us. Two letters for me. That put things right & we laid up our traps, eat our supper after perusing the letters, & concluded it was not by any means the most comfortless Saturday night of our life experience.
The company sent to our relief did not arrive until 10 o’clock this Sunday forenoon having stupidly misunderstood their directions. We reached camp at 11½ just a few moments sooner than was fortunate. We always have inspection Sunday morning, but it usually lasts not more than 1½ or two hours. Today Ross went in for a big thing. Got our cooks, wagoners, waiters, fixings, & everything else. He had got through with the inspection & was just forming square when we arrived. I dismissed my men quietly and went to their tent. Had scarcely got in before an order came to appear with my company at once. Of course we got ready but not with the most good will. All things being ready, we in the center of the square, the Adjutant commenced on the articles of war, rules & regulations. It is a good hour’s work to read them & standing listlessly in the sun after our long patrol, particularly on Sunday, to hear that literature went against my grain a good deal. You were hearing the sermon or Sabbath School. It is the easiest thing possible to spoil Sunday in the army. But enough of this. We got through at last & had rest.
The call for church beat shortly. I went but found myself dozing once or twice. We had a good little meeting in our tent tonight. Sung the old hymns & remembered you all in prayer. But I tell you, one cannot value rightly the blessings of a New England home until he has seen this sort of life. The quiet Sabbath—the accustomed worship—the joy of family—those table luxuries, & in fact, everything which enters into your hourly experience are each one beyond value. All put together, the sum of blessings is so large that I wonder now how I could be made [ ]. Don’t think me complaining. I wish rather that you & the children may realize your heavenly situation compared with ours & that of the people who fall in the track of war.
I am sorry your neuralgic troubles are so constantly disturbing your face. Don’t deprive yourself of anything in the way of shoes or clothes or the children either. But get shoes that will keep your feet dry. Those fancy affairs which have been used should no longer be allowed. Keep your feet dry & warm. I repeat it that you may possible remember the caution.
You speak of many affairs. I have got $22 left but have not paid for the watch. Would share you a little if I could get it broke. The subscription & seat rent are both due. Miles & Woodruff must toe the mark & those little bills ought not to run long. I think Miles [ ] account was rightly crossed but don’t remember for what. You need not exercise any particular mercy towards him. Had he been going off & I staying, it does seem as though my course could have been different. Perhaps he means well, but so far as any brotherly attention is concerned, he might as well been in Siberia.
I don’t understand about the meat. Is the corn raised this year all gone or does he think it better to buy old? Did I pay Selah Lewis the 5 dollars he loaned me? There are other bills but they must wait until we have the means.
The report is current here that the 12th Corps will inter at this point. There are some things that look like it but I believe nothing until it happens. The wind came out of the northwest cold last night. My fingers are still & feel like old times. Should prefer to go South myself.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
December 5th 1862
My Dear Wife,
Yours of the 26th & also one dated the 2nd was received Monday night. I presume my letter intended for Thanksgiving arrived on that day but too late for you to get until your return from New Britain. The one from you dated November 2nd contained information that I have wanted to receive & wondered why you did not send. I am glad to find that Father made oath to the list. I don’t remember what I directed you to do about indebtedness. Think it was to hand in Sophia’s, Bucher’s & Albert’s. Wish you would send me a copy of page in the blank which contains the notes & also tell which have interest on. Did Father put the turnips in the barn cellar? If so, he should take care & stop up the window. How many potatoes have you? Are the bees alive & like to go through the winter in their open house? Has anything been done with the vinegar? I hope you will tell me all about these little matters.
What spare time has been left me since Monday I have given to the third report. Dispatched it this morning by Charley Clark to Harper’s Ferry hoping it would get through a day or two sooner than if mailed in camp. But there is little hope of gaining much. I guess it is the poorest of the three. Capt. Woodruff has also been getting up something of the kind though just what he has not seen fit to inform me. You can learn if it is red & should you thin proper, give me your impressions. You have been very backward about suggesting such things as would enable me to make mine better. However, with the Captain & myself on the same track seems to me the people will get a surfeit. I was not aware till yesterday what he was about. But things generally get run clear into the ground in Southington & it would be strange indeed if this enterprise did not meet with the fate of many previous undertakings.
My correspondence is behind. Have several letters to answer but hope to bring up arrears in a few days. My contraband is doing finely & will soon be able to read. He suits us beyond our expectations. The sick list is diminishing in our company but increasing in some others. Those who were first taken with the jaundice are now on duty. About half the officers have been down. My health is good as ever.
The Colonel is dissatisfied with the General & has been trying to get out of the Brigade. I don’t believe he will succeed. At any rate, the work upon cabins is going on & everything looks like staying. For my part, I should prefer to spend the winter further South. I guess Ross would like a comfortable place & should he succeed in effecting a change, my idea is that we should not immediately get at campaign work. Our drills now are pretty good. We have a good capacious field & the regiment is improving fast.
As to fare, for the last two or three weeks, it has been rather too good. Yesterday the Captain got a mackerel & with potatoes & soft bread, aided by butter & apple sauce & cheese & pickles, we concluded that we might ere long keep a hotel. This morning we sat down to fresh beef & potatoes with bread & butter. This noon we expect soup with onions. So you may conclude that for eatables, we are well off.
Give my love to all the family, I hope the mails will bring in something tonight.
Wednesday eve—-the regiment got one letter last evening. No letter but half a dozen papers for 8 or 9 hundred. The appearances indicate nights are cool but I sleep warm. Health is indeed a blessing.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER THREE
20th December 1862
My Dear Wife,
We remain here yet, I wrote you a hasty sheet this morning after we came back from our march towards Dumfries. It is uncertain what move is next to be made. There is quite a large force scattered about here—our whole corps & how much more it is impossible for me to tell. It is said a regiment arrived on the cars last night from Alexandria. I can not see that we are needed with Burnside. My surmise is that ere long, we shall move west towards Warrenton & thence downwards to Gordonsville. On the other hand, we may stay here as the advance guard of Washington.
General Slocum’s headquarters are at Fairfax Court House 3 miles north of us. There is little use in any speculations. We know far less of our own operations than you do. Not till yesterday did we get certain information of Burnside’s repulse at Fredericksburg. Rumors—now favorable—now adverse—were flying, but we were left to conjecture. When the exact result became understood, it caused great depression of spirits. With us, other circumstances contributed to render the effect more than usually discouraging. We had endured a long & hard march & just retraced our steps & our rations were short. Hungry & hard worked men will not receive such stunning disappointment with the calmness & firm resolutions of philosophers. While I felt keenly the crushing of cherished hopes, no thought of giving up entered my mind. On the contrary, my indignation against the rebels & my desire to fight the satanic leaders to the bitter end was stronger than ever. You may imagine that I bore with little patience the craven wishes of others who gave way to repining & were ready to give up.
True, the conduct of the war has been bad. There is enough to sicken one in every department of the service. I firmly believe the army & the leader will yet be raised up in this country that shall break the rebellion & restore peace & liberty to the land. It is no time to despond when by our own blunders, we are suffering great defeat. Rather should we put on new courage, profit by the lessons of the past, & seek for success through better & wiser efforts.
We got a mail last night for the first time since leaving Loudon Valley. But it brought me only one letter—the one written December 7th, Sunday. Some of them got mailed as late as the 15th. Probably I shall receive later ones tonight.
We have heard that all our men left behind in camp were taken prisoners. But nothing certain is known. Charlie Clark was left to pick up things [and is] expecting to come on in a day or two. Besides him there were Richardson, the two Clarks, Charles Hitchcock, Matthews, Wiard, Frank Cadwell, Morse, Gifford, C. Upson, & Blakeslee. Those underscored were too unwell to march; the others connected with the hospital. I have not yet believed they are taken but we ought to hear from them soon. You probably know all about it before this. If nothing of the kind has been heard at home, you better not mention the rumor until further tidings. The story is that they were paroled in which case they would be sent to Alexandria, remain there until regularly exchanged. I saw a Baltimore paper last night which spoke of White’s (rebel) Cavalry making a dash towards the Ferry & getting driven back by some of Gen. Kenly’s force which took our place. This leads me to indulge the hope that the story is unfounded but we shall know soon.
As to pay, I don’t know when we shall get any. Our three months wages are due—more than $350. It would be a pretty sum could I receive it. The men are mostly out of pocket & so also the officers. I have got $2.07 in my wallet. It won’t last long. Have used up the buckwheat—finished it the morning after we got here. Have half a bag of meal & can get things off the Post and Brigade Commissary. But we shall not starve. As to sending money, I had long ago made up my mind not to entrust any to the mail. I can’t tell what you will do with those notes on which interest is due. But if there is any questioning by creditors, you may say to them that I shall transmit as soon as we are paid.
It was cold last night. We have a small wedge tent about half as large as the one at New Haven. But on the march no tents were pitched except the General’s. I turned out & built up the fire. In fair weather the best way is to keep up a good fire out doors & lie with feet towards it. In that way we can sleep very comfortably.
My love to all. Keep war, Open the draughts & have a roaring fire. Don’t freeze. I expect to see my home again & to love it better than ever.
Yours. — A. U.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FOUR
January 20th  2 P.M.
My Dear Wife,
We have just stopped 1 mile beyond the above place on the road to Stafford Court House & Fredericksburg. Suppose we must be bound thither though nothing is known. The roads are hard & it is a favorable time to move.
Yesterday we had a pleasant time. Today it is cloudy & chilly. Wind blows from some quarter, I don’t know exactly which. Last night was cold but we encamped in an oak grove & lay warm as a tinker.
The captain was sick last night & this forenoon rode in the ambulance. He is better now & I guess will come out all right. I am in capital marching order. Rather enjoy the move.
Yours ever, — A. U.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FIVE
Stafford Court House
January 24th 1863
My Dear Wife,
We arrived here last night. I wrote you from Dumfries Tuesday afternoon. It commenced raining about 9 & we saw no more of the sun till yesterday afternoon—the muddiest, meanest time for civilized beings you can imagine. But I am a salamander & feel good as new this morning. It has put the men to their mettle, I tell you. There is some symptoms of ague with many.
We are to remain here I think a few days. Go on picket now in a few moments. Sigel’s forces left here & we take their place. Our place is relative to his & Burnside’s. We don’t know anything about the news since leaving the [Fairfax] Station. Can’t write more now but will soon.
Ever yours, — A. Upson
Love to all.
Monday morning—not on the march yet. A hard night. Boys all cross this morning. Feel well & strong. Got the new boots. Soles not thick enough but far better than the others. Gloves not the thing I want. William will tell you about all. Don’t appreciate the judgment that selected such. You would [have] done better. But I am thankful for the timely arrival.
If we move, shall go down to Point of Rocks & cross the river. We are in the left wing of the Grand Army. More than 100,000 have marched already. They must have suffered yesterday.
With my present arrangements, I am independent of weather. Guess you can’t wash today. High cold winds. — A. U.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER SIX
Stafford Court House, Va.
April 26th 1863
My Dear Wife,
Yours of Monday last was received Friday night & yesterday’s mail brought me nothing. I have received only two letters from you since my return.
We have orders to be in readiness for marching tomorrow (Monday) at daybreak. It is supposed we shall start. I do not consider the thing sure, but probably the move cannot be deferred long. All are willing to go than stay, though the load for each to carry—8 days rations—excites some anxiety.
We had a very rainy time Thursday and Friday. Being on picket myself I had a good opportunity to know. But rubber kept me dry. My new coat & the havelock envelope everything but the boots. Yesterday the wind blew from the northwest & it is astonishing how the mud has disappeared. Last night was quite cool—almost severe enough, I should think, to destroy the peaches. We have a cool north wind & for this region it strikes me that the weather is as much unseasonable as we think it often is at the North.
The preparations for marching have imposed a great deal of work upon me & David. The affairs of the company concerning clothing, guns, equipments, ordnance, the sick & discharged, have to be made a great many times over. Reports are called for upon everything that is done or has been received. The amount of writing is much greater than anyone would suppose. Several of the companies are in bad shape because the officers have been negligent. I see every day that incompetents abound. Business is set aside for pleasure or dissipation & the interests of the soldiers & the country suffer. By tonight (for we shall be compelled to write more or less today), Company E’s matters with the quartermaster will be in shape.
Col. Ross himself is not a good business manager. He lets things run along until of a sudden he takes a notion that something must be done & down comes the work—a perfect avalanche of blanks, all to be filled in half an hour. Look wary then. The way for us is to keep perfectly cool & after a day or so the steam of hurry is off. He is Acting Brigadier now. Wooster is more of a business man but the men all dislike him as a commander & feel little confidence in his ability at the head of the regiment.
Whither we shall go, I can only surmise. It may be towards Culpepper or directly south towards Fredericksburg. Rumors are flying that Stoneman, who commanded the heavy cavalry reconnoissance of which I have spoken before, has passed in the rear of Fredericksburg & arrived at some point on the river far below, having destroyed bridges & railways on the route. I doubt not something of the kind is true & that the scene of active operations will open speedily. All the forces that have been moved in the vicinity lately seem to have taken a southerly direction.
Atwood & C. A. Roberts were sent to Washington last Wednesday. Wiard arrived in camp Thursday & has got back into the hospital. He had better staid in New Hampshire. Hale Smith is some down with a cold & Ed Jones still hobbles on rheumatic legs. All unable to march will be sent to Aquia Landing. There is a hospital there.
Last night at dress parade, Col. Wooster requested company commanders to note those who stood up to duty on the march & wherever any service should be required. He said promotions should be awarded only to the worthy. That certainly is a new idea here. A few nights since, he told Capt. W. that Co. E’s officers had done 3 times the duty of any other company. I do not doubt that is the truth, but as a cause for advance to any one of us, it strikes me some other qualifications would be more serviceable. We shall see.
It is 8¼ A. M. We have just been notified that the last mail from this camp will close at 3 P.M. I send this to headquarters that it may get through sooner. Will write again if possible. I intend to write to Dea. T’s family but fear it will be impossible today.
My love to Grandma, Ida, Frank, Willie, Mary. My all to you dear.
As ever, — A. Upson
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER SEVEN
October 23, 1863
My Dear Wife,
It is noon & a wet nasty day. I have come up here from Cowan to get mustered as Captain of Co. K. We got a mail this morning which brought my commission & the Colonel said I must change my relations immediately. We were all ready to march & before now the regiment is on the road bound for Chattanooga. Orders to that effect were received last night. But before the order came, Gen. Rosecrans had told us the same thing in a neat little speech which he delivered from a car window about 10 o’clock last evening. He was passing & the boys—finding it out—of course went for seeing & hearing him. He delighted all very much. Is genial, good-natured, and without any surplus stuffiness. He told us we were bound for the front when, Wheelers raid occurring, it became necessary to stop us on the road. Some questions that he put to the men standing around & particularly his zest over the ill success of Vallandigham in the army showed his unreserved familiarity & love of fun. I had a fair view of him & thus within two days have seen the two great generals of the Western armies.
By the mail I have 5 letters from you. Expected at least a dozen. Some of them only 3 pages, one commending Lt. Lewis for writing so often when I know you have had two to his wife’s one; at least that proportion were penned for you. Yours are dated October 2nd, 7th, 9th, 13th, and 15th. It was a joy to get news from you all. We have looked & longed until expectation so often deferred well nigh made the heart sick. I am glad you are all well & especially that the young girl—the first two years so feeble—is like to be healthy. Have the traces of humor departed from her face? Is she fair? I don’t understand why Willie weighs so little. He must look small. I thought once he would be stocky & heavy like your sort of folks. But you say he is after his father which I suppose means that he will be a slender frame. I hope you will take time enough to fill your letters with facts & items. If you can not find moments enough to do that, just have an [ ]. We are so far from home it don’t satisfy us to read one page of white paper. I always cram my sheets & give you every important fact. Besides our conveniences for correspondence are exceedingly limited. I have not written on a desk since we left Kelly’s Ford, Va. Nor had many spare moments of uninterrupted time either.
Our boys felt greatly disappointed at having to leave their fine huts. They have been rather skeptical all this while. Still there was a strong desire & hope to enjoy the winter here in good houses. From Cowan to Chattanooga by railroad is about 64 miles. But we have got through our rides & now hoofing is in order. It will be over mountains and some days must elapse before we arrive. Meanwhile it is quite doubtful whether I shall have many opportunities to mail letters. You need not attempt to send me any matter by express yet awhile. I shall order some straps by Charley Clark. If you have bought any when this arrives all right. Gloves I have not & do not expect them. Never mind. The new vest sweat me out yesterday & the air is decidedly chilly.
David is not very well. He will stop & come on with the sick. Houston also is some under the weather. Hale Smith & Corp. Frisbin have been ailing. I imagine we shall have some tough experience by & by. It is almost impossible to get forward rations so far inland. Perhaps, however, the rise of rivers will increase the means of transportation.
As to our movements this winter, I can only surmise. It looks as though, next to confirming our hold on East Tennessee, we shall ere long advance into Georgia or Alabama or Carolina, or possibly Virginia & cut the Confederacy across. We must expect hardship & probably crackers will not always be abundant. You need not give yourself no extra uneasiness on this account. So far I have got along well & expect to hereafter. My health is first rate. Bought a loaf of soft bread this morning. Shall not be likely to get that luxury again unless we pass by Bridgeport. There is a bakery there. We have enjoyed nice fresh bread for two days. Now comes hard tack & bacon for variety. Those torches were very welcome. Let me tell you once more & finally not to stop writing letters because we move. They will come up some time. All the mail thus far was directed to Washington, but I have heretofore told you to substitute via Nashville for Washington. Now suppose I had ceased to write you when we moved fearing they might miscarry? Guess enough, has been said.
The result of Town Meeting did not disappoint me. But I have got through with politics in Connecticut. Only I don’t want Copperheads to rule & could my wish be gratified, it would please me if every man voting a ticket of that stripe could have the same engraved on his forehead. What have you done about indebtedness? It must have been handed in or rather lists on oath, before October 20th. I hope you have attended to this for taxes will be high enough—especially paying for substitutes.
I have just been mustered out as the 1st Lieutenant of Co. E & mustered in as Captain of Co. K. Have sworn to do my duty fighting for Uncle Sam included. We will need now to change the prefix & the company. Letter accordingly. I am sorry it happens just as we are moving for the responsibility involved in the change is some & there is more or less difficulty in keeping the track of things. My company is the one Tom Brigham started with. Don’t know much about it except that it was raised from different towns & is composed of far different material from that of Co. E. But I guess there will be no difficulty between me & the men more than is liable to occur in any company. Shall take the next train that comes along bound south & go on to Tantallon or further according as there has been time for the regiment to make distance.
You must give my respects to those boys from the 7th & all other soldiers who went from Southington. I hope Alonzo Hough may get a furlough. He deserves one. It is still rainy & the going very sticky. Sleeping out will be pleasant. Should like those militia men to come out into the field & know what soldiering is. Ha. Ha. What ideas of war prevail in the quiet homes of New England! Well, I am beginning a new page in my military career. Shall probably get no higher. Foley of Co. B takes my place in Co. E. Of the 1st Lieutenants who came out with the regiment, two only have been made Captains before—Smith & Post. The 1st Adjutant Arms & the 2d Burbank have also been promoted to that rank. You recollect when the rank was decided last year. My name came out of the hat last but one. Things go curiously. But Ross is a case. No news from the War Department. It will be time to make out new muster rolls the 30th. A nice job to do on the march. You see I have got to the bottom of Page 4. Looking back I notice the words & lines are very thick. But keep easy. You have my love.
Truly, — A. Upson
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER EIGHT
January 6th 1864
My Dear Wife,
The mail tonight brought me a back letter of yours of the 17th. Yesterday eve I received the one dated the 29th. Royco I believe has one that came while I was off at Chattanooga the last trip. He took it with him supposing probably I should follow the company. Tomorrow we leave Stevenson. Two regiments—the only ones remaining in Geary’s Division that have not re-enlisted arrived here today & will relieve us. We go to Tantallon—whether or not to stay is more than I can affirm. My company, except a few boys left behind, is there now. Co. E is near Anderson. The regiment is like to be worse scattered than heretofore, I judge. Guess mails will be more uncertain. Tantallon is of no account—a hole in the hills. But we can’t be choosers of our habitations or locations.
I have been hard at work on my muster rolls yesterday and today. Shall complete them 5 in number tonight. But for going to the front last week, they would have been finished by last Saturday. But I don’t know of any other as well along as mine. I rather enjoy being dry myself occasionally. Lt. Lewis left last night for the company & so I have had the “shebang” entirely to myself. Tonight when your letter came, I was just having a supper of cod fish, bread & butter, & quince sauce. It only added another dish to get the mail. So the letter was sandwiched in between other varieties composing my board. The box has been unpacked & all things noted. The jar of quince had sprung a leak & let out the juice, nothing more. I guess one of Mrs. Muns jars has done the same for it feels very light. The maple syrup is tight. I have not opened either fearing we might be required to vacate. I wonder Mr. Horton’s glass bottle did not get smashed. But no damage is done aside from the loss.
This morning I cooked one of your sausages. You may take my thanks for a splendid breakfast. Shall put two or three in the haversack tomorrow. Most of the things will be repacked & sent with my baggage. The beef & so on will be reserved for special occasions when I am short & have to go on a march. You are in great trouble about my face done up in leather or some other composition known to picture mongers. I did mean to get it & should long since if the artists had been here. They are all down to Bridgeport. At first I had not money enough to pay the bill. When the money was in hand, the shops had left & so it has run. I will gratify you the first opportunity but you won’t fancy it & had better keep on looking at the old ones. When Mr. Frisbie returns, ask him how I look. Won’t that answer until I can catch an opportunity to peek into the camera? They used to ask $6 for a half a dozen cards—mere heads. That is awful.
You have sometimes enquired about my company. I had designed to speak more particularly of them as a body but something has always filled my letters. Now there is hardly time. Of one thing you can rest assured—they are enough more ready to respond to my calls than ever Co. E was to either myself or Lt. Lewis or even Capt. Woodruff. I don’t wish you to mention any of my criticisms upon the Southington Company but with few exceptions, they took it for granted that their officers must take care of themselves & the men too. They never volunteered to help us much & generally growled if called upon. My Co. K boys only want the notice & they are hand. They offer to cut my wood & bring it in, are perfectly willing about all I ask. I know they respect me. They can’t hep it. For my attention is constantly directed to their interests as well as that of the government. My matters all go along systematically & therein is half the secret of management. But I am firm & expect to fetch everyone to his duty. My noncommissioned officers are well disciplined and contrive to work them in so that all parts of the machine keep moving. I wish you could be with me long enough to get hold of the routine [paper torn]…
…respect I have had a great disadvantage. More than three fourths of my men have been constantly on duty away from the company ever since we came here—two days after I took command. I hope we shall be together after leaving here. But so far as my satisfaction as an officer is concerned, I like my present situation much better than I did the old one. More of this when we can talk it over.
You wrote a while since something about Charles Stliff & a story at home of him. I guess your remarks explain a circumstance that I did not understand before. Somebody sent me a Southington Mirror containing an extract from his letter on the subject. The paper was scored & the words, “That’s so.” in lady’s writing added. I did not know what to make of it at the time but it had passed from my mind until your letter revived it. I am sorry you digressed to notice so foolish a charge. If Southington people love so well to tell & hear such stories, let them work at it. I shall not chase down any slanders & you need not for me. They may do their worst, Those viper-tongued people. I care not any more for their venom & do not wish their respect. But I will bet on the place of all others for getting excited over the merest rumor. It seems to be just the soil for evil stories & suspicions. A good large portion of the community prefer to hear what is unfavorable to character. They hate truth & delight in attempts to blacken one’s fair fame. I wonder why it is that Southington has such a perverse population? But you need not take to heart any of these aspersions. They will prove harmful in the end to those only who circulate & accept them
Weather still very wintry. Elbert is alive but failing. He can not live many days. I regret that we must leave Mr. Frisbie behind us. Charles Hotchkiss has leave to remain. My love to all, — [A. U.]