Charles McCracken, 12th C.V.I., June 21, 1865


Charles McCracken, 12th C.V.I., June 21, 1865


United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Sources
Operations rations (Military supplies)
United States. Army--Pay, allowances, etc.
Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)--Georgia
United States. Army. Connecticut Infantry Regiment, 12th (1861-1865)


Charles McCracken writes to his brother James about the situation of his camp outside Savannah after the war, his frustration with the rations he is receiving, and financial difficulties and opportunities back home.




Camp at Savannah
June 21st 1865

Dear Brother,
I received your
letter a few days since in reply
to mine & was glad to hear of
your continued good health.
Your excuse for not writing 
sooner is a very good one.
I notice you were very busy
& had a good many "irons in
the fire" than is right only
Keep them all agoing, hammer
tongs, & all the old adage of
"too many irons in the fire"
conveys an untruth. It
seems you have taken to
farming a little in connection
with your shopwork. Well, I
trust it a good thing for

[Page 2]
aside from the farming
profit it is not good to
confine ourselves too
much indoors but out-
door exercise is highly
beneficial to us. We are
still here in camp. Just 
outside the city limits. Our 
camp is on a river spot& is
inclined to the South, & West
we have quite good water for
cooking purposes & have free
access to the river for bathing
we have erected arbours  in 
our Com. streets to shelter us
from the burning rays of
the South. Our fare is salt portk
& beans & hardtack with a little
coffee twice each day. We get 
few vegetables, which are
beginning to be more plenty
now if we have the money
to buy them.

[Page 3]
As yet, we have none as the
paymaster has not yet made
his appearance among us
but we hope to see him soon
for we all would really like 
some funds. As yet it is a 
general time of health among
us & we hope it will continue.
Now & then we trade articles 
of clothing for vegetables or
something for a change
of eatables. I do not see as
there is any argument
on the part of the commissariat
for any such neadment of
soldiers. Certainly it is not
so much depleted as to
require any such stringen-
cy & we are not far from
base of supplies so that there
is no reason for such a
state of things but something
is wrong

[Page 4, blank]

[Page 5]
& we are lead to the opinion
that somebody is making
a "Pile" out of our rations.
If I should live so at home
I should think it miserable
poor. If we have on an active
campaign or we should 
expect such things but such
is not the case. We are in camp
or garrison & are entitled to good
& wholesome food particularly
in this hot climate. I am
not one one of those who complains
& heretofore have said nothing
about our fare but now I think
it time I speak a word --
Whether it does any good 
or not we shall no doubt
have to remain in this
vicinity all summer & I
think we ought to get more

[Page 6]
I notice the work of reconstru-
ction is going on in all the
different states & the people
are adapting themselves to
the new order of things. 
The Negroes are an indolent
lot, as I always knew 
& have little or no faculty to
set themselves to work to
better their condition, but 
perhaps they will get to it after
awhile. But enough about
the Negro. I notice Father
has another housekeeper &
I trust he will mark such
an arrangement as will
insure her remaining
with him for some time
to come. I suppose his place
is still encumbered with
a mortgage, which he has
not the ability to meet
or to pay

[Page 7]
When I was at home, he
wished me to take it, but
I could not then see the 
propriety of my doing so.
probably if it is ever to be paid one
of us will have to pay it or
it will pass most of the name of
the family. I don’t know
but I might help pay it.
if the place opposite your
or the Peckham place. I suppose 
it is, could be bought so
that we could own all
on both sides the road
unmolested. This would
give me a comfortable
place with land enough
such as it is. Then I should
not wish to interfere with 
yours in any arrangement
you may make, or might
have made in relation

[Page 8]
to any, or all of the
property here I speak 
of, but I speak of it
as a thing or transaction
which might transpire
perhaps you might
feel, of the parties who
are interested, I see what
might be done in the
matter it would be very 
desireable to own all
of the land on that 
corner. I don’t know 
as that place can be bought
at all, it is only an idea
which has occurred to me.
Since I sit down to write
if you please you can
give me such information
as you may or might
possess upon inquiring
but I must close & I
trust then will find you
all well much love to you all.
Your afct Brother
Chas S McCracken

Original Format

manuscript letter




“Charles McCracken, 12th C.V.I., June 21, 1865,” Linda Lear Center Digital Collections and Exhibitions, accessed September 25, 2023,