November 1st, 1863

Loudoun Heights Nov 1st, 1863

Dear Wife,

I have just time to inform you that I am yet in the land of the living and in spite of my exposure. I suppose before this reaches you, you will be anxious to know what has become of me. I might have sent a line the day before we broke up camp1 but we did not expect to leave then and I waited, hoping to get your Sunday letter, but I was disappointed in that and have not got it yet but I know you wrote one.

We broke up camp Thursday morning and came to this place2. Got here at dark, our company was immediately sent out on picket. I had command of the extreme outpost and only half a mile from the rebel lines and at least 2 miles in advance of where our pickets were driven in the night before so you can guess how much I slept after our hard day’s march with all our luggage.

Last night I slept on the ground with a stone for a pillow but slept well, only I was a little cold toward morning but I feel well today. I understand that we are to march again today, where to, I know not.

I want you to continue to write to me whether I get your letters or not. Direct to Co. I. 20th Regt. C.V. Gen. Kane’s Brigade 12th Army Corps and they will be sent on to me wherever I am and I shall get them sometime3. You must not expect to hear from me directly when we are moving for if I should write you it would not be sent so you must not worry if you don’t4.

If we don’t move I shall write you again but I guess we leave here today5. If we do I suppose so.

I will have to go out on picket as soon as we get to our place of destination for we are always selected if there is any extra job that requires smart men. I should like to give you some of the incidents of picket life but have not time.

Some of our boys have suffered some for want of enough to eat but I have had opportunities to buy when I was short. That dried beef you sent me did me a great deal of good yesterday, we were sent out after a hard day’s march with empty haversacks except what we provided for ourselves, and the beef with a little bread I bought fixed me out about right for provisions, besides, an old Secesh gave me some apples to get our good will I suppose. He said he was a good unionist but he had two sons in the Rebel service and I guess from what he said he expected them home that night. If they had come we should have taken them prisoners but he sent a boy into the woods to look after some snares he set for rabbits and he did not come back.

Dear wife, the drum beats and I must go. When I write again I know not but ‘till then, goodbye. Kiss the baby for me, much love and many kisses for yourself,

C. A. Burleigh

  1. The 20th Connecticut left their camp at Harpers Ferry on October 30th. This was part of McClellan’s general advance toward Lee at the Presidents order. 

  2. Loudoun Heights, the location Cecil wrote this letter from, is a mountain a few miles out of Harpers Ferry (the prior location of the 20th Connecticut). 

  3. Cecil had been getting Caroline’s letters only intermittently up to this point. By asking her to address her letters to his unit, instead of his location, the letters would eventually catch up with him. 

  4. When the soldiers were on the move, they were unlikely to get mail, which made it difficult to send out letters. 

  5. The 20th Connecticut would stay at this camp for another three days before moving to guard Key’s Gap.