November 11th, 1862

Dear loved Wife,

I promised to write you soon in my last and accordingly I catch a few minutes to fulfill it. We are building log huts1 and are very busy, it looks as though we were to stay here.

Soldiers building cabins for winter quarters. Source.

I was most discouraged Sunday but I heard yesterday that Burnside had been put in command of the army and it gave me a little courage to think that we were to have something done. I hear that the people of the North are disgusted with the manner that the war has been carried on. I can only say that they would have been more disgusted if they were here. Never did men submit to such hardship with less murmuring than this Regt. We have been subjected to the caprice of a man without principal or brains in addition to all the hardships incident to our situation. Besides, he is an arrant coward. I mean Col. Ross.

When we left our last camp it was reported that a regt. of cavalry and two pieces of artillery were coming to attack us, all of our regiment, but our company and company A had been sent over here. We stayed behind to guard the baggage, the Col. stayed with us, he kept our company on guard all night, put out all the fires, and sent me out half a mile with six picked men to skirmish with the Rebs and give the alarm if we were attacked but the Rebs did not come. I knew they would not, but the best of the fun was that our troops on the other side of the river threw some shells into Charlestown [and] the Colonel thought the Rebs were shelling the woods that we were in. He ran out of his tent, got onto his horse, and skedaddled like a good fellow. I never was so tickled in my life, our boys did not seem to be frightened and were mad because we had to turn back.

I saw Gen. Kane today and he thinks we are to stay here but he did not know any more about it than I do. We are living high now, we have a fireplace and the logs are up [equal] to our first house. I have moved in with Ace2, Brainard, Joel, Willis, and Beston3. We cook our own victuals, that is we commenced last night. You would laugh to see us work. We were up this morning at four o’clock and cooked and ate ‘till seven. We had a few extras of course and we walked into them. We had four pancakes and sweet potatoes and beef steak, but that was an extra occasion though if we stay here ‘till we get our huts done we can live well enough but it will take some time to finish them. Our hut is not half done and it is the first one. There is no roof to it, and the space between the logs are all open, in fact, it would be no better than outdoors if it was not for the fireplace. I think I have written enough about our huts.

I have not had a letter from you in over a week and am anxious to hear. The last letter I got was written Oct. 24th4, I hope I shall receive some more tomorrow, the other boys have had letters from Hamden of later dates, but I know you have written some if you are not sick. I got a paper of later dates by a week than I have letters, I don’t see why one should come and the other not. I wish you would send me a paper once in a while for we don’t get them often here.

I think I will close this and send it for I have no time but night to write and the wind has blown my candle out several times. I want you to keep writing if I don’t get the letters for some of them may get through.

Good night, and may the blessings of health and peace be with you. Don’t forget to kiss the baby for me, a kiss for yourself.

C. A. Burleigh

  1. On November 9th, orders were issued for the soldiers to begin build log huts for winter quarters. These small cabins were typically built with log walls, upon which the soldiers would place their tent as a roof. However, at this point, the 20th Connecticut still had not received their tents, so they probably either built plank roofs, or used their gum blankets in place of tents. 

  2. Probably Corporal Asahel C. Austin

  3. There is no “Beston” in the rolls for Company I. This may be Pvt. Burton S. Bradley. 

  4. Unfortunately, this letter was not saved.