November 2nd, 1862

Loudon Heights Nov. 2nd 62

Dear Wife,

I have another opportunity to write you and make haste to improve it. I got last Sunday’s letter1 last night, the reason I did not get it any sooner was that we have moved about so much that it could not catch us, but we are now posted only five miles from where we where and as near Harpers Ferry as we were before, so if you have sent anything I shall be likely to get it.

Capt. has not got his box yet but I guess he will tomorrow. Mark got his but his things were in bad shape. A bottle of catsup was broken in it. It fixed out his other stuff meely.

I wrote you a few lines yesterday but the long roll beat for a march before I got through and I had to cut it off short. I did not know where we were going but we only moved our camp back two miles to a better location.

If you have received all my letters you will find your letters all answered before I have received them. Since I commenced this I have received another letter written by and one from Boss Ed. The old saint tells a good story about Fanny2 and says someone has been trying to make you think he was selfish. I am disgusted with him and all the family and if it wasn’t for the memory of Sumner who was ever true to his friends I should want to blot them from my memory, but I suppose I must write them a soft soldier letter to keep peace in the family but you may bet I shan’t come down much to please him or Aunt Laura either. You don’t know her as well as I do, yet3.

You speak of this as a warmer climate than Mt. Carmel, it is, but we have as cold [of] storms as you do but we are getting tough enough to stand anything, yet the sudden changes that we have and the exposure has affected a good many. Today is as warm as summer but likely enough it will freeze before morning.

I don’t think I will write you a long letter today, I don’t feel like writing. There is a fight going on in the direction of Leesburg, we have heard the cannon all day and I hear them now continually. I don’t think we shall go to the fight, not if it is finished today. You will probably hear the result of the fight before this reaches you. I think the Rebs must have commenced the row for Burnside is known to be against fighting on Sunday and the fight, whatever it amounts to, is with his division. He has been trying to get back of them and I guess they have pitched in.4

I went within half a mile of the Rebel lines when I was out on picket, that was the most dangerous place I have been in since I came out. I was out with eight men half a mile beyond anybody else and a mile beyond any post of more than six men. Our pickets were driven in the night before more than a mile back of where I was. We stayed there overnight and the next day I scouted the woods beyond and advanced our picket half a mile out, but the Rebs had drawn in their lines so I saw none.

About four o’clock the 2nd day, the New York Regiment5 sent out a company in advance of where I was. They went round through the woods so that I did not see them but I heard them in the woods and I supposed they were Rebs. About that time I heard two caps snap and thought they were drawing a bead on us so I sent 2 men round through the woods to find out what was the matter. They were gone about ten minutes when they came back on the double quick and reported a body of Rebs in the road on the other side of the woods, but I thought I would not give the alarm until I had seen them myself, so I went out through the wood and crept up so that I could hear what was said and soon found out they were friends, but the best of the joke was they were frightened at us and sent for reinforcements.

I have just heard that the Rebel cavalry are crossing the river only a ¼ of a mile below where I was and 2 companies are going from the Regt. to reinforce our pickets but our company is not one of them, but if it was not for you I should volunteer to go with them.

I am sorry that my friend Mabit makes so poor an officer, perhaps he will do better after a while. I think Lyman Warner will make a good officer.

O dear, there is too much going on for me to write more. You may give my love to all enquiring friends and Sue and Blanda in the particular, for they are the only ones that send any word to me that I could laugh at, except your remarks about the grapes that Mrs. John Dickerman sent you. I had a good laugh over that and read it to Joe and other boys. By the way, Joe bunks with me now. He wants me to have you tell his folks where he is.

If you are going to send anything you may direct as before and it will come to be sometime. If you send any butter, and I hope you will, you had better put it in a tin can. One of those coffee cans would be good. Anything in shape of eatables would [be] good if I could get them but I think cake would damage less than fruit or pies but those mince pies kept good. I ate the last one when we were ordered to march. I think it would have kept ‘till this time. Joe’s grapes came very good but I bought a pound for thirty cents that were a great deal better.

Mark has just given me the bundle with my gloves and a picture, but who it was meant to represent I never should have known if it had not been for your letter. I don’t think you would have sent it if you had kept it overnight but you were tired out with your effort in getting it so I will take good care of it but I like the one I brought with me much better.

Give my love to mother, much love and many kisses to my dear wife and baby.

C. A. B.

  1. Unfortunately, this letter from Caroline has been lost to history. 

  2. Fanny is a horse that belongs to Cecil and Caroline. They are trying to sell the horse, but Boss Ed has borrowed her indefinitely. They are fine with this situation, but are concerned that once winter comes, Boss Ed will return the horse for Caroline to feed. 

  3. Prior to getting married to Caroline, Cecil worked for and lived with Boss Ed and his wife, Laura, and he knew them quite well. 

  4. This fight was nothing more than CS artillery shelling US pickets. Cecil writes in his next letter:

    I have not heard anything about that fight, I doubt as it was anything but a shelling out pickets.

  5. This would have been the 123rd New York Infantry under the command of Archibald L. McDougall.