Editor’s Note: This item is part of a collection of letters from New York engineers written while their units were at the Siege of Petersburg. Researcher and Engineer enthusiast Dan O’Connell generously donated all of the items in this collection for use at The Siege of Petersburg Online. These transcriptions are copyrighted by Brett Schulte and may not be used without my express written consent. I do not have images of these letters so some errors could be from transcription or in the original.
Camp in the woods 12 miles from Richmond, Va.
June 10th, 1864
As the mail goes out early tomorrow morning I concluded that I had better write a little to you today for I suppose you are anxious to hear from us and of our safety. We are all enjoying good health and I hope this may find you as wel as it leaves us.
We are having fine times here yet. Have not seen better since we left the city of Washington. The capt has just got out a detail of men to fix up his tent so it will be larger, airy, and more comfortable and home like. Yesterday Daniel and I fixed ours up so it seems quite like being in a palace to what it did before. The tent is raised up from the ground about two feet and sits on a temporary frame so it is all open in under. Then we have a corduroy bed raised up about a foot and a half from the ground and all covered with green leaves and boughs to make it soft. In addition thereto we have a table sitting just in front of the bed a little to one side of the tent and on that table is my portfolio, ink stand, diary, testament, pictures of Julia and Hattie, matches, tobacco, and pipe and myself leaning on it writing this nonsense. But why not quit it. Why because I must fill this sheet and can think of nothing more interesting. On the other side of the tent is a shelf to keep our dishes and eatables on. Our crockery ware consists of one earthen plate rather smal at that. Looks like a pie plate. Golly ma wish I had a piece of your pie on it. No I don’t either for if I had one I would want more and then would feel worse then ever about it. Our tin ware consists of two tin plates two tin cups a tin teapot (but our tea is all coffee) which when full holds just enough for two. Two spoons two forks one knife only (Daniel has gone out to see the country and says he will have another before he gets back) and one frying pan one bottle filed with grease and you have our furniture complete.
Eatables on hand is a little cheese, a few ginger cakes, boiled beef and hardtack. The cooks are going to make some coffee and bean soup for dinner. Don’t think we go hungry do you? For bedding we have0 two blankets two rubbers one over coat. The Capt carries Daniel’s overcoat for him so we don’t have that to sleep on.
Daniel has just returned from his rambles and has brought in the lives of the twelve apostles containing 604 pages bound in leather. I will wait until near night to finish this letter for I must clean up my gun now.
I will try to finish my scribbling. I have just had supper which consisted of coffee, pancakes (made of hardtack) and beef. _____ and Janes Besemer are sitting beside me playing checkers. As it is beginning to grow dark I will have to close for this time by bidding you all an affectionate farewell.
From your son Charles W. in the U.S. Army.
June 11 ordered to move.1
Other Letters Written By Charles Personius at the Siege of Petersburg:
- LT: June 18, 1864 Charles Personius
- LT: July 18, 1864 Charles Personius
- LT: July 24, 1864 Charles Personius
- LT: August 8, 1864 Charles Personius
- LT: November 7, 1864 Charles Personius
- LT: November 18, 1864 Charles Personius
- LT: January 12, 1865 Charles Personius
- LT: January 15, 1865 Charles Personius
- LT: February 17, 1865 Charles Personius
- LT: February 19, 1865 Charles Personius
- LT: March 16, 1865 Charles Personius
- Personius, Charles. (1864, June 10). (Letter to his parents). Personius Brothers Letters (CL 105, Box B, Folder 34). Booth Library, Chemung Valley (NY) Historical Society, Elmira, NY. ↩