Cornelius Gold, 6th C.V.I., November 2, 1863
My dear Brother
Our camp is well nigh
deserted. 800 men are gone to load
heavy ordnance at the wharf. The
very guard tent is emptied for the
emergency. Lieut. Eaton, commanding
our company, whose clerk I am,
excuses me from all fatigue duty. So I
have simply to Drill + do his writing
at present. A simplicity that involves
time however, making the days pass
quickly + busily in pleasantness + peace.
The writing is not laborious enough
to harm me. I like it, because it
brings me near the kindest of officers,
and gives more of an insight into
military matters than I would otherwise
get. At the close of every 2d month
there are about 3 days of steady scratching.
I am just through with that job for this
having been at it five days as a green
Hand. That's why I have as yet
expended little labor or leisure on the
friends at home. And the other reason
you can not imagine the sameness
of life in a square, perfectly flat
four acre lot, where every man must
stand with his thumb in his mouth, and
the only fig biting is with vermin. Not
so very much of that either. We drown
them in cold water as thoroughly as we
can. Very good water we have, and I
am the fresher this instant from a bath
in it. I had the whole tent to splurge
in, Mitchell + Monroe, my mates, being
about on fatigue duty, pulling down an
old horse stable. When that is accomplished
I suppose th each man in camp will
be invited to shoulder a plank + transport
it to the appointed spot for the new
regimental stables. Hark! I hear
the boom of a Morris Island guns.
Often in these still days, we hear it,
and wonder how the fight progresses,
but like people North, must wait for news.
Gilmore's artillery no doubt speaks
today more intellegibly to Charleston
than to us. I fear we must give
up all hope of assisting in the siege,
unless a worse calamity should befal
the country, in the shape of a heavy
reverse there, and pressing call for men.
Officers say, we recruits will not be fit
for the field under three months. There's
no telling how long we may remain
here, quite likely all winter at least.
It is not a bad place to stay in. I am
quite content, so far as physical comfort
or companionship is concerned. Both are
certainly better than I anticipated.
Providence has yoked Mr. Mitchell and
me together, whether we would or no, +
to my profit. For tentmate, we have
John Monroe of Norwich, an inoffensive
honest Christian, exschoolmaster
and who will blow his nose at the wrong
end, much to the annoyance of Mitchell,
who has not hesitated to advise him
on the subject, and with good effect.
Monroe is docile, a good child, will
do neither us nor the enemy any harm
if he can avoid it. When assigned to
companies, our first assignment was
broken up, and original messmate
passed to Co. E. Much to our relief
was this, for Veely, though pious,
was a disagreeable bore, and too much
of a noisy Methodist to please either of
us. Not that we were unwilling others
should be cognisant of our evening worship,
but the very beauty of family prayer
seems to me to be in its seclusion, "the
world shut out", only Christ in the midst
of us. I think I mentioned in my
last letter, that Veely is a Roxbury
man, son-in-law of Welton. Who do
you think we have stumbled on, for an
old acquaintance in Company B!
no less a personage than William O'Brien
father of Mr. Parrish's Johnny! He is
a right sturdy, kind hearted old
soldier, liked by all his comrades, us
among them. Isn’t war a leveler?
here is a fine old dirt digging paddy,
the actual superior by more than 2
years experience of Abner W. Mitchell!
But Mr. Mitchell will, + does already
command the respect of his officers
by his own cheerful obedience and
manful spirit. What nature does for
him, circumstances do for me, so that we
both feel at home in our company +
regiment, and are sure of good treat
ment so long as we behave ourselves.
Indeed every man is certain of that for
himself. The chaplain is cordial
always, + a real belssing to us. I am
glad we have been put just here.
It could not have been better anywhere
Humph! isn’t it too bad! Here is Lt.
Eaton back again with our five muster Rolls
in his hand, my five last days work
all to be re-written! + mad enough to
kick his colonel. It is through no
fault of mine, but simply because
Lt. Col. Duryee finds fault with dates
contracted in this manner, Sept. 12, 61 instead
of Sept. 12, 1861, a thing of no importance
whatever, + which the narrowness of
columns has always made necessary.
I have one consolation in it, that it
gives Lt. Eaton + the Adjutant occasion
to say that so correct rolls have not
left this company in two years before.
The worst of it is, that for the sake
of using his authority, the colonel may
keep the whole regiment awaiting their
pay for days. We all hope for a
successor to Col. Chatfield soon, who
will take the reins from the hand of
this youthful brainless charioteer.
Under these circumstances, you will see
the need of a little rest, before I buckle
on the armor, and march a second time
over the long rolls. I shall write you
no more at present. I will repeat
my P.O. Address. Wherever in the
Department of the South we might
be sent, matter would be forwarded.
This is the Central Depot of the Department
Cornelius B. Gold
6th C.V. Co. B
6th Conn. Vol. Co. B
Hilston Head, S.C.
Evening — Have been at a game of “two old
cat” with some camp contrebands, and played
myself into quite a sweat. It seemed very
like Connecticut. Then I stretched myself
quite alone in the tent, for an old fasioned
read, and had it for a half hour, when our
orderly sergeant Hicks came in, and chatted
pleasantly with me till drum roll for supper.
My book + tea lasted till dusk. Then our
men came howling + hungry into camp on
the run, and I vacated the tent for a stroll
to the chaplain’s. He is PostMaster + informs
me tonight is my last chance for this mail.
He has a melodeon + holds a choir rehearsal
tonight for next Sunday service. he has
quite a fine quartette of male voices, +
invited me to stay and listen. But I prefer
to close my “correspondence”, and indulge
a little more in Kinglake, before going
to bed. I understand Gilmore has footing
on James’ Island, and The labor of too
the soldiers this P.M. has been in loading
one enormous mortar for the siege operations,
two more are yet to be put on board.
From this you may gain some idea of the
time necessary to transport + place these
young volcanoes in position. Love to
Grandpa’s family, + all the uncles, aunts +
cousins in the neighborhood, the Lymans
Mrs. Hart + everybody who wants for this
time + all time. I shall put an end to this
farce of rending weekly what abides
with you alway. I give you “power of
attorney” to signal for me in all general
love matters, reserving the particular to
myself of course, should any occur.
Please send by mail my
Webster’s Pocket Dictionary.