February 1st & 2nd, 1863

Mt. Carmel, Sabbath morn, Feb 1/63

Much loved Husband,

I am going to commence my letter this morning. Mother has gone to church, I don’t think I shall go today. I don’t feel very well, I have a hard cold coming, and a head ache.

I didn’t rest much last night for baby was restless, she is cutting more double teeth, and has a cold. I hope she won’t make sick of it, but she is quite worrisome, she gets along very well awhile in the morning ‘till she gets tired, and then she is rather fitful. I hardly think she is going to be sick, you know she has always cut teeth hard. I take the best care of her I can. She won’t be neglected while I have health, and strength to take care of her. Poor child; now her father is gone, if I should be unable to take care of her, she would see tough times, she has just come to have me take her, and she is saying, “pretty Papa”, and “Lulu’s dear Papa”, for my entertainment. I ask her what I shall tell Papa, she says, “I write Papa letter.” She happened to see your slippers this morning, she hadn’t seen them before since you left, she says “Oh Papa’s [unintelligible]”, she had a pitiful story to tell over them, some of it I could understand, and some not.

I am feeling rather blue today I have a heaviness of heart, which I dislike very much to feel, I hope it portends no bad news from you, I shall have to stop now for Louise is wanting something of Mama all the time.

Sabbath eve

I am out of patience I have such luck trying to write, I have felt pretty mean and had quite a head ache all day, but I have tried to keep as quiet as I could, so that when I got baby to sleep, I could write, but just as I was going to undress her, Howy came in, and before he left Cynthia and Walsy came in, and they have just left and it is 9 o’clock, and my head snaps in earnest; Howy is pretty well posted on the war business, and he has some common sense ideas too, he and I don’t agree on all points, but yet he talks with more judgment than most anyone I have heard talk of the war.

He says they never will do anything in Virginia, it is too near the presidential chair, and that every General that would do anything is trammeled by orders from Washington, and if one man is like to accomplish anything, other generals won’t cooperate with him on account of rivalry and jealousy, and that our armies never will accomplish anything until they are purged of some of the traitorous officers. I have no doubt but Burnside sent in his resignation, because his plans was interfered with at head quarters, and because he felt that he wasn’t going to have the hearty cooperation of his generals. Would to God those that stand in high places might be actuated by different motives from what they are, I wish half of the true patriotism that runs in your veins might be diffused around amongst them.

I will admit that I am selfish enough so that I would have been glad to have got the patriotism out of you, before you enlisted, but for all that, I can’t but admire the spirit that is in you, and can’t but be proud of you, when I compare you with a good show of the mean sneaks around, but such patriotism as yours is (I can see) not appreciated by the majority of people in these degenerate times; a good many people seem to have the idea that you wanted to go to war and on that account you nor your family are deserving of any sympathy. I hope I shall never be obliged to ask many favors of people, but what I can pay for.

I think Walsy and Cynthia are as well mated as any couple I ever saw. I don’t believe they are either of them smart enough to see the other’s weakness; I guess they will be a happy couple.

I wish I knew whether you are in the same place you was when you wrote last, and whether you are going to stay (if there) long enough so there would be any use in my sending you a box. I want to send you a little something for your comfort very much.

Mrs. Ives wanted me to ask you if there could be any way to send back to Fairfax Station for Brainard’s box, which she supposed was there, she says that she sent a large box, and the contents were valuable, and would do you poor souls a deal of good if you could get them, I suppose if they got through, Brain and Joe both have a box at Fairfax Station.

I received your letter written a week ago today, Thursday night, I am fearful that when I hear next I shall hear you are sick. You owned that you was nearly tired out; and I am so afraid you will suffer from the want of your blanket. I hope you have one ere this, I am sure you must have one some way.

I wonder if you have been paid yet, (remember that I am not asking for money) but I am anxious to have you have some. How do you get along, do you have to borrow, or has yours held out? Has the Capt. paid you what he owed you? Uncle Orrin hasn’t got the money on the order yet, but I guess he will some day. I am not in any immediate want of it, would like to send you some if you need it, and could let me know it; it is time for another payment from the state1, but I wouldn’t wonder if it didn’t come before the 1st of March.

I shall be obliged to bid you a kind goodnight, and finish this in the morning for I am very sick.

Monday morn,

This letter seems to be fated, I am going to finish and send it, but my head feels as if I had lost what little sense I ever had; you know a hard cold in the head makes one feel very disagreeable, baby’s cold is I guess no worse today; she can’t sleep very well nights, is troubled to breath, but I guess we shall both be better before you get this.

I am going to put in this letter a little red pepper, it is a very easy and good remedy for sore throat and hoarseness, take a tablespoonfuls or so of cold water, and put in it what pepper will lie in the point of your knife, stir it up, and drink it, if you have a sore throat, (or your comrades), take such a dose of few times and I believe it will help you; you used to think a good deal of Camphor and sugar for a sore throat, I will send you a little bottle of Camphor, when I have a choice if you would like me too.

You spoke of A’s being a generous fellow, I have no doubt of it, people of his class most always are. I always supposed that he had the materials about him to make a smart man, but had badly misused them, unless he has changed, there are many things about him that I should suppose would be repulsive to you: gambling, profanity, and obscene conversation, I always thought you had no taste for. I have but little doubt if he had had some woman for a wife, he would have made different head to his family, than he has, I think of the two2 he is the best fellow, he doesn’t cloak his actions under religion, but you’d [unintelligible] to him, I am glad as he is associated with you, that he makes a kind and generous comrade. You never have said what kind of a soldier Joe makes.

We are having very unhealthy weather this winter, we have not but a few days of severe cold weather, Wednesday and Thursday we had a snowstorm, on the top of mud, it isn’t very freezing cold but raw chilly uncomfortable air. It seems as if we never had so much stormy weather, perhaps it is because you are exposed to the weather makes me think more of it. I suppose you would call our traveling here tip top compared with what you have, but we think it is pretty bad. We don’t know much about trouble, I wish we might know more, if by that means you might have less, if I could only see any prospect of your being home from this war, but the only way is to hope on, if it wasn’t for hope the heart would break.

I am disgusted with taking up the papers and reading how the southern army is starved out, demoralized, used up, and that rebellion is on its last legs. I would be glad to believe it true, but we have been hearing it for the last year, and yet they hold our armies in check, and I fear will, for some time to come, I don’t know but I told you in my last that Sergeant Beckwith had got home, I would like very much to see him, but I don’t know how I can. There was another man got his discharge at the same time (I hear), from Whitneyville; they say he seems most gone with the consumptions, that Rice that was brought home from the 20th was buried in the upper burial ground, in this place. Maria Cook was in here Saturday evening and said she had a paper that day that said that Capt. Smith of Co. K, 20th Regt. was killed instantly by the felling of a tree,3 we read of a great many deaths among the soldiers by the careless use of fire arms, do try and be prudent about these things.

Oh my dear husband it the desire of my heart to see you again, but my fears sometimes almost get the most of my hopes. God in mercy grant that my fears about you may not be realized, if there is no other safe way of sending to you, I shall send I think before long by Mr. Hindsdale so don’t I beg of you hesitate to speak of anything for your comfort that you might think of to have sent to you, I don’t suppose I can always hit in the things you would like best, I hope that dreadful march hasn’t made you sick, but it seems to me as if it must, I think perhaps I shall have a letter from you today. Good-bye for this time, accept much love and many kisses from your affectionate wife,

Carrie A. Burleigh

Willis wrote me Jan 15th said they were under marching orders again, I think they ought to at the 10th rest, they have only about 125 men left fit for duty, strange that Will has gone through so much danger and not received a scratch.

Louise is rocking her Nany4 and singing “bye baby bunting, Papa’s gone tunting, catch rabbit skin”.

I went to the sewing society Friday night, we have sent quite a valuable lot of things to the Sanitary Committee for the soldiers. They were getting out of funds so we started a paper for subscriptions that night. Mr. [unintelligible] gave two dollars. George Ives gave 20 cents, generously. There 9 month men in Baton Rouge write home piteous stories I guess. George’s wife said Edgar wrote home that the “niggers” was treated better then they were, they were hired by the government and paid 10 cents a day.5

I saw very plainly which side of the question she was. I told her that we couldn’t expect to hear anything but murmurings from men that went to war with no love for their country, you may be assured that when I am talking to there down or the government that I talk in a way that you would be satisfied with, I know I sometimes scold about things to you, but I know that you are too full of courage and patriotism for my nonsense to have any effect on you.

C. A. B.

  1. Connecticut soldiers received an additional $20 per month of pay, which came from their state. Half of that sum was sent directly to the soldiers family. 

  2. The “two” are probably Austin and Brainard, both of whom Cecil had been speaking about in his letter

  3. Cecil wrote about this event on his letter written the same day:

    > I have no camp news to write you except a sad accident that happened last Friday, Capt. Smith of Co. G was killed by the falling of a tree, he was well liked by his men and his untimely death cast a gloom over the whole camp. 

  4. Apparently, a doll. 

  5. Edgar Ives, had enlisted in the 24th Connecticut Volunteers, a “9-month” regiment that was called up due to the low number of recruits who were willing to enlist for the standard 3-years duration.
    The 24th Conn. was sent down to New Orleans and thence to Baton Rouge, where they participated in the siege and assaults on Port Hudson. It was during this time that Edgar would be killed, leaving behind a wife and two sons.