November 5th, 1862

Jefferson, Nov 5th

Dear Wife,

I am not in a situation to write you much of a letter and I don’t know when I can send it. We have been out on chase since Monday morn. Our advance is as far down as Shannondale1, which is about four miles from here. We are out in the woods, there are some Rebs about here. Our men took 14 last night, but I have not seen one wild yet.

There is a fight going on now as there was the last time I wrote. I have not heard anything about that fight, I doubt as it was anything but a shelling out pickets.

You wrote me that you hoped that my office2 would relieve me from picket duty. It does, I have to get permission from the Col. but I like the business [of picket duty]. As for laying on the ground; I have to do that when in camp and it is just as comfortable in the woods where we can get leaves to lay on and the danger is not great to the commander of a post, though the sentinel sometimes gets picked off.

I cannot write you much today and I don’t know when I can, I shall send you a few lines occasionally while we are out and when we get a location where we can stay two or three days I will write you a long letter. We left camp with four Regts. and two light pieces of artillery and are now scattered over about ten miles. Our company is divided up into squads and are two miles apart but we shall get together today and I expect to march this afternoon.

You need not worry if you don’t get letters for we shall be so situated that we can’t send as often as we have and there will be times that we can’t send for two weeks likely enough if we follow up the Rebs, but as often as I can send I will.

My health is first rate, I am growing fat. If my health continues to improve I shall be the toughest man in the regiment. Now that we are doing something I am contented, but as you say, my patriotism was fast dying out. We have lived better since we commenced to march than we did in camp for if we are short we take what we can find3. This country is full of provisions, if we wait for the Rebs to starve on such a country as this I recon we shall have a right smart time of it.

You must keep writing to me but I can’t get your letters [as] often as you write them. I have not got all you have written but they will come sometime. I hope I shall get into someplace where I can get letters often for it is a great consolation to hear from you often.

I am glad that Louise is so smart. I don’t believe she is more likely to be taken away than if she were a fool and I hope and trust she is to be spared to you. God bless her little heart, how I wish I could see her. Perhaps I shall sometime. God in mercy grant it.

Dear Wife, you are continually in my mind. I hope your health may be spared through this cold bleak winter. I have just got your letter of Oct. 30th4 and with it orders to march so that I can’t answer it.

Yours affectionally,

C. A. Burleigh

  1. Shannondale, West Virginia 

  2. At this time, Cecil was first sergeant of Co. I. Because of the responsibilities of that position, first sergeants were often given leeway when it came to the more mundane duties of a soldier. 

  3. During the Civil War, it was common for soldiers to “requisition” foodstuffs from nearby farmers to supplement their rations. Sherman’s march through Georgia was based upon this concept – his men lived off the land and were able to then move without the encumbrance of a supply line. 

  4. Sadly, this letter has been lost.