February 8th, 1863

Mt. Carmel, Sabbath morn, Feb 8th/63

Beloved husband,

I have but little time to write this morning as it is almost time for church to be out, but thought I would commence to write. Louise is around with her “pentie” putting in an extra flourish once and the while. I think her cold is better some, but her teeth are troubling her a good deal. She was around last night teasing to “ride on Papa’s toot” (foot). She is the greatest coaxer when she wants to get into mischief you ever saw; there is a drawer in the table in the setting room, that I keep whalebone and patterns in, and she knows she ought not to open it, when she wants to go to it, she will begin “Mama you like piece talebone (that is what she calls whalebone), you be good girl Mama, I get you piece, you pretious darning Mama. You set still Mama, I bring you piece.” She sets in the floor now eating a piece of pie, she has dropped a little on the floor, she says “Lulu’s torry (sorry), Lulu ain’t cross girl, Oh no.”

It is a beautiful day, as mild as spring, but very muddy. There comes the folks from church so good morning to you.

Sabbath eve,

I have just got baby to sleep & resumed my writing. She has just been taking her “drops of comfort” she tells about, she says “Grandma calls baby great calf.”

I have been to church this afternoon, Mr. Putman preached, his text was in Romans, subject justification through faith in Christ, what an interesting speaker he is, I never see or think of him, but I think how I wish he was your Chaplain.1

I haven’t got over my cold but it is better. I have a little head ache for variety’s sake.

I received yours of last Sabbath; Thursday night, I think it is too bad that you have so much to do Sundays that you can hardly have time to write to me, I would think they tried to compress all the work of the army that they possibly could into Sunday, I guess they believe in resting six days, & working the seventh. I was very glad to hear that you had a shelter once more, but didn’t you most freeze those cold nights last week? I was afraid you would suffer from the cold, the weather moderated very suddenly Thursday night it commenced to snow I thought we were going to have a big snow, but when I woke in the morning the rain was pouring in torrents, I tried being around in the rain some, but didn’t appreciate it quite in the way you did, I presume, for I didn’t have to stay out long enough to get wet through.

Mary Anna has received her letter, I haven’t seen her since but Em says that she felt about as smart over it as possible, Em looks miserably this winter, I guess studying didn’t agree with her, I expect she is ambitious to learn all she can, she looks pale & bad.

Mrs. Lucius Ives2 was talking to me today, & she wanted to know if you had ever written what was the matter with Brainard said she kept hearing that he wasn’t very well, but couldn’t find out what was the matter with him, she thought perhaps he was troubled with the piles3, she said she believed he was before he left home.

I was into Aunt Sarah’s the other day, saw Mrs. Austin, she read me part of a letter she had from her husband Wednesday night, it was one of the letters containing money sent by someone from Chesire, he wrote about his march4. Now I want to know if there is no one in a company or regiment whose business it is to attend to those who give out in the march, if there isn’t, it is an inhumane piece of business, she didn’t read me where he found any fault with anyone, but I was thinking that if you were so situated as he was I should feel dreadfully if I thought that you wouldn’t have a care and attention.

He wrote that he wasn’t well when the regiment started & didn’t feel able to march, but didn’t want to be left behind, said he marched very well the first day, the next day he was taken in severe pain, had to stop by the road and fainted, and a Dr. of a New York regiment came along, saw what condition he was in, had him carried on an ambulance wagon, and he came to after a while, rode the rest of that day the next morning the ambulance went off and he was left, said they thought they would follow the army went a little ways could go no farther, finally went back to where they started from, started the next day & that night heard that the army was five miles ahead which gave the courage, when they reached the rest had some hard tack and coffee. Said he then got his traps carried, and made out to get through, but he hoped never to see such a time again, as I said before she didn’t read me that he found any fault with anyone, but I thought I should like to know if it isn’t the business of someone to see that those that give out on the march are not left behind without scarce anything to eat and where they have no choice to get anything. It seemed very strange to me that they should have been left as they were without anyone to see to them; but I suppose I don’t begin to know yet, what improved plans they have for killing folks in the army.

You say that I seemed to demand perfection of you, no I didn’t, I only asked for truth, and not to fight at such a distance but will wait until we get near enough together to pull hair.

Mrs. Austin said the other day in speaking of her husband (very cooly) that his lungs were not very strong and if he should live through a three years company he would come home with the consumption. Why, says I, you don’t think they are going to stay there three years? She said she thought they might have to if they lived, and they would some of them live through it; I told her I thought it doubtful. Why it struck me as so strange that she could speak so cool of your staying in there three years; for aught I know if your life is spared, you will have to stay your three years out, but I ain’t going to think so, it looks dark now, but yet I keep hoping that something will transpire before long, to end this war. Why I couldn’t be reconciled to it, at all, if I thought that you had got to stay a year, it is all the way that I get along with our separation, by hoping all the time that there will soon be a prospect of having you home again, at one time I was in hopes you would have a commission, thinking that if you had, you might resign5, but I have given that up. I have made up my mind that you intend to stay as long as anybody, if there is a breath left in you, so I should be sorry to hear that you was promoted, for it would only add to your exposures, and to your danger if obliged to go into battle, I wouldn’t get you home any the sooner. The honor I think nothing of, it is provoking.

If I had have gone on with my preparations to send you a box, I could have sent it, for the Express Co. began Thursday to send boxes to your part of the army6. I didn’t know it until last night I think now unless I hear that they have set you afloat again (which I expect to, now you have a shelter) that I shall send sometime this week, I intended when I sent again to send alone, but Maria Cook has asked the privilege of putting in a few things for her husband, and I don’t like to refuse her, for she has wanted to send a little when I have sent before and I haven’t had room, and I am afraid she will think that I won’t do it because it is her, she is willing to pay her part, but I shall take charge of the box if I send, and have it sent to you, it isn’t very convenient for me to get the box carried and marked &c. but I guess I will find an opportunity.

Mr. Bradley’s folks are talking of sending to Willis this week, perhaps we shall both send at the same time. Maria7 hasn’t heard from her husband in some time now, is he with the company, and well? Folks said she was glad to have sympathy for him, and to be anxious to send him things and to hear from him, I judge she tries to economize and get along with her little family as well as she can, his situation before he left perhaps made her feel at times as if so many little ones, was worse than being without a husband.

I went down street yesterday, Uncle Orrin paid me the money on the order, so I guess I shall settle with Boss Ed in a few days for that [unintelligible] of Dea’s. I haven’t had an opportunity to see Mrs. Dolittle yet shall soon.

When does Katy8 have a calf? John hasn’t called for that money or I could have asked him, we are milking her yet, she gives a pretty little mess, mosts 2 qts. a day. Boss Ed says if she haves a heifer calf he would like to buy it if we don’t want to raise it. I do want to raise it if a heifer, but — Oh dear, what can we do without you. I dread the spring, if it won’t bring you, they say Mr. Curtis is sick in the Hospital.

We don’t hear yet how much of the story about Lyman is true, the law aught to be strict as to offenses of that kind, and I hope anyone guilty of trying to cheat the soldiers out of the little they have will be punished to the extent of the law.9

My paper is used up and I will bid you a kind good night with a spirit kiss.

Your devoted wife,

Carrie A. Burleigh

I wonder what they will do with you now Hooker is in command, I haven’t much idea what he will make for a general, but I hope he will send some of his generals a drift.

Mother sends love, all the folks wish to be remembered to you but I forget it half the time. What do you think of Cotton cloth that we used to buy for 10 cents per yd. being 50 cents and more, and all the time rising. When it comes warm weather I ain’t going to wear things made of Cotton cloth. Calicos and other goods are very high, but they don’t quite come up to that yet.

Elam wanted to know when I was there yesterday if he could have Fanny10 to go to New Haven last night. I didn’t suppose it would suit very well if I said no, so I said yes. While I was there he came up to get her, come back all out of breath, and said she wouldn’t let him come near her, said if he could get the bridal on her, he could harness her. I told him I guess I could put the bridal on her, so I come up with him, and we got her captured, he was afraid of her and she knew it, he said he hadn’t firgot [sic] how she kicked over in the lot last summer. He got home safe.

  1. Cecil did not think highly of the regiments chaplain, David P. Sanford, as he outlines in an earlier letter

  2. Mrs. Ives is the mother of Brainard Ives

  3. “Piles” was another term for Hemorrhoids. Source

  4. Cecil details this winter march with Austin in his letter of January 25th

  5. Officer’s were allowed to resign and leave the army whenever they chose, unlike the enlisted, who would sign up for a given period of time. In Cecil’s case, that would have been three years. 

  6. Caroline detailed in her letter of the 4th that Adams Express Co. would not send boxes to where Cecil was. 

  7. Maria Cook 

  8. Katy is Cecil’s and Caroline’s milk cow. 

  9. In her letter of the 4th:

    There has bad news come about Lyman Goodyear. I guess I told you that he had got into the commissary department in the 24th Regt., report says that he, with 3 others; (one of them is a barber from the lower part of the place, that talked of enlisting in your company) have been taking rations which belonged to the soldiers and selling them and putting the money in their pockets and that they have got caught and put in the lock up, if it proves to be so, it is a pretty disgraceful piece of business for one in Lyman’s place. 

  10. Cecil’s and Caroline’s horse.