September 25th, 1862

From Cecil Burleigh | Transcribed by Caleb Grove

Camp Chase, September 25th, 1862

Dear Wife,

I write you so often that you will hardly have time to read my letters if you get them all, but when I set down to write I can’t think of half I want to say.

We are going to send home some things I don’t want. I think, [unintelligible], that will contain them will be at Ives Station. I shall send my pistol and [a] few other things, but can’t tell now just what.

I want you to brighten up the pistol and put some sweet oil1 on it to keep it from rusting.

I had a word from E. D. Dickerman, he says he will pay you those fifty dollars – he thinks before he goes west, if not, he will send you a draft immediately after he gets home2. I hope he will pay you now, so you can pay any debts and have a little money to spend and not feel so poor.

I was sick with a cold yesterday, but am better this morning. In fact, I feel pretty well, but shall not tend to “bis”, I am going to take a day or two to recruit in.

I hope I shall get another letter from you tonight. You don’t write as often as I do, this makes seven letters I have written you since I left home and I have received but two. I am the one to complain and not you.

The prospect now is that we shall stay here two weeks but I can’t tell, the Colonel says that it is the business of a soldier to be always ready. If you send a box3 it will find us if we don’t move any farther into Virginia. If you send any wine or cider or any kind of liquor, direct it to Captain Dickerman, for if directed to any of the soldiers it will be confiscated with all the contents of the box. What I say about this is meant for all the neighbors as well as you.4

I had best stop writing for the mail goes out in five minutes. How is the baby? Does she want to see Papa? God bless her little heart. How is Mother? I hope she is well. Give her my love, tell her to keep on praying for me. As for yourself, I can only say God bless you, my dear wife.

Paddock sends you his regards and says [to] tell you that he will look out and not let me get sick. Willis says “remember me to your wife and tell her we shall take good of the orderly.” They both and all are very kindly to me, taking my work onto themselves when I don’t feel like doing it.

I ate breakfast this morning with the Captain.

From your husband,

C. A. Burleigh

  1. Sweet oil was olive oil. 

  2. $50 in 1862 is roughly equal to $1,190 in 2014. E. D. Dickerman was visiting his family in Mount Carmel at this time, and was due to return to his work in Illinois soon. 

  3. In the letter from Caroline on the 21st, she mentions sending a box:

    I think if you stay where we can, we shall be thinking of sending a box to you boys before long. If we should, write and tell me what you want most.

    During the Civil War, oftentimes families of soldiers would congregate with others from the community to create and ship a “care box”, typically a wooden crate filled with socks, shirts, sweets, local newspapers, and occasionally even alcoholic beverages. 

  4. As alcoholic beverages were officially off-limits to the enlisted men, care boxes containing such items would be confiscated. This is why Cecil instructs Caroline to mail the box to the company captain, an officer who could apparently be trusted.