Friday, January 18, 2008

Bates Letters - January 26, 2863

Note: In which we learn about desertions and methods of crossing the Potomac for deserters in the wintertime. I checked for William Gallemoreon on CWSS, but couldn't find any information on him.

Port Tobacco, Md.
Jany 26th 1863
Dear Parents,

I have been so busy since I wrote last Wednesday that writing was out of the question, but if my time has been occupied by duty and mud is in abundance. I have had fun enough to make me amends for everything. Our duty is to scout the country between Great Mills and Piscataway Creek to catch deserters from the other side of the Potomac and stop Smugling (sic). The Smuglers have so perfect an organization that as yet we have only caught one, but judging from the deserters we catch I should say the Army of the Potomac was rather demoralized. We have got two hundred and nine deserters since we came over last Wednesday. They come over every night, some on logs, some on rafts and a few lucky ones have managed to appropriate some of Uncle Sam’s boats and get over in them. There is a suspicion that some of the ferry-boats in Government employ bring loads of them over but as yet we have no proof. And “still they come.” One of our men “surrounded” seven of them in one party last night and marched them into camp. Pretty well done for one man want (sic) it. I think of recommending him for a commission. We are having good weather now but it did rain awful last week and the roads are in good condition for a bootjack.

I forgot to mention in my last that William Gattemore is in the 2nd Cavalry band at General Burnsides, a leter directed to him at “Headquarters Army of the Potomac Washington DC” would reach him.

Given in my last will most likely will be delayed for a short time on account of the mud but it will be true in the course of time. As for our part in the capacity of Body-guard, we can say with Othello, “Our occupation is gone.” The company must have done something wrong while I was away or perhaps Burnside thinks so much of us , he is unwilling to take us into danger; well we are quite willing to be left behind.

We only get a mail every other day and all the army news we get from deserters, so you will have to trust to the papers for news. And here let me recommend the New York Herald for your news budget.

You will please to remember me to all friends. Give my love to all the family and I take my leave for a few days, as

Your Affectionate Son,
Charles E. Bates

P.S. There is no use in writing for a few days I don’t know where I may be when you get this, as soon as we get settled I shall let you know.


Anonymous said...

Unknown said...

Letters from a future civil war? 2863?

Don said...


Well, perhaps if some of these neo-Confederates have their way, but i doubt it. That was simply a typo. I've been particularly fat-fingered of late, my apologies.

Don said...

Thanks, Maggie! I'll try to get the article a little more visibility, sounds like a great exhibit.