Editor’s Note: The Soldier Studies web site (http://www.soldierstudies.org) collects and publishes letters written during the Civil War. Owner/editor Chris Wehner was kind enough to grant me written permission to publish a selection of letters from his site which focus on the Siege of Petersburg. Look for letters to appear here during the 150th anniversary of the Siege of Petersburg and beyond. These letters may not be reused without the express written consent of Chris Wehner. All rights reserved.
Camp of the 58th [Massachusetts] Regt
My Dear Friend,
I now seat myself to pen you a few lines to let you know that I am well and enjoying good health and hope to find you the same.
I have promised a letter ever since I have been in the army but you must excuse me from not writing to you before. I have wrote most everyone a letter. I have wrote one to Hattie Bee but she has not answered it yet and I should like to have you be kind enough to tell or ask her to write but if she don’t want to she may not but I should be very happy to hear from her or anyone. I am very lonesome but I suppose I shall have to make the best of it for I am a good many miles from old Plymouth but I shall be nearer to home pretty soon for this war is most to an end.
I will try to tell you a little news.
The Rebels made an attack on our line and broke in—to our boy’s tents and commenced their manslaughter. They killed our boys in their tents. First they shot them and then stuck them with the bayonet.
You must excuse bad spelling and writing for I grow worse and worse everytime I write. Tell Bakeman that I would like to hear from him. We are having wet weather. It rains here while I am writing to you.
We took 5000 prisoners and considerable number killed and wounded.1 We expect to have a fight here everyday. We all turned out last night and kept up with our equipments on 60 rounds of cartridges strapped on to us. If you don’t know what it is to carry a load, ask James Whitman.
Give my love to all enquiring friends. I suppose you have got some new neighbors by the time this gets to you. You must not make fuss of this letter now for I thought you would like to hear from the Soldier Boy who went from his father’s fireside one year and 2 months ago. It seems but one short year to me. It is not but 2 more to serve in this time of service. I shall be very glad to get out of this army and then Uncle Abe has not got money enough to hire me again.
You must excuse for this time, this is from a high private in the rear rank to a married woman. I guess that Mr Bakeman will think that I am up to prettty business writing to his wife. I dare not write to Emma for William Wardsworth will think the same as Bakeman.
Good by from your friend. Yours truly,
Ansel J. Bartlett
- SOPO Editor’s Note: Bartlett is discussing the March 25, 1865 Battle of Fort Stedman. ↩
- Bartlett, Ansel. “Camp of the 58th Regt.” Letter to “My Dear Friend” 30 Mar. 1865. MS. Petersburg, Va. This letter appears here due to the express written consent of Chris Wehner, owner of SoldierStudies.org and may not be used without his permission. All rights reserved. ↩