Monday, June 16, 2008

Bates Letters -- December 12, 1863

Note: This is the last of Charlie’s letters for 1863. It will be the final one posted this summer. I haven’t decided yet when to start posting the 1864 letters. In this missive, we find Charlie enamored of Huntsville and planning on voting for McClellan.

Huntsville Alabama
December 12th 1863

Dear Parents

I believe we are “settled down” for the winter, and I don’t want to be in a better place than this for the cold weather. Huntsville is a very pretty city and formerly contained about nine thousand inhabitants. It is celebrated for the “big spring,” and the healthy climate in its vicinity. The spring is a stunner, affording more water than the Pomperary river (in dry weather) and the location of town is so remarkably healthy that the citizens had to borrow a corpse to start a graveyard with. Our camp is situated on a beautifully wooded knoll, just such an one as Cooper would delight in assigning for the picturesque camp of some Indian tribe, or Walter Scott would select for some story of Scottish chivalry. From the top, a fine view of Huntsville is obtained, and thanks to the warm climate of the sunny south, we are comfortable. I received a letter from you three days ago, but had to go on guard one day, and spent two days in fixing my quarters, so your letter had to wait a reply. I now have a very comfortable little snuggery built about ten feet square with fire-place, chimney, and all the modern --- Modern Improvements, and intend to take a good comfortable winter rest. General Grant is doing things up in a hurry, and may interupt my pleasant fancies but I hope not.

There is considerable rain here, three days out of four we have been here it has rained but I dont think such weather can last forever we must have some pleasant days, and even the rain does not make the roads as muddy as the used to in Virginia. Speaking of Virginia brings me to the Army of the Potomac again and I see that Meade is at some of the incomprehensible strategy of all the other Generals; falling back to allow Lee to reinforce Longstreet, of a surety we have some chivalrous Generals they scorn to take a mean advantage of a man and when they have the Rebs at a disadvantage they hold up to show fair play. Bully for them. I suppose before you get this McClellan will be nominated for president at least I hope so. Not that I expect to see him elected for that I judge to be out of the question with as many candidates in the field as there will be for the Democratic party, but give him a try for it anyhow. I am going to vote for him a dozen times if I can.

In Mothers letter to me she says the banks only take four hundred a year on deposit. Will you tell me how it is, I always thought a bank would receive any amount. I am in hopes of getting a few day furlough this winter if we stay here, and shall pay you a visit if possible, but dont think it is certain for I hardly think I can have so much luck. However get a barrel of cider ready, for I might.

I cant write about the war news as we dont get it till long after you do, and the other news is not obtainable so excuse my short letter, better luck next time perhaps.

I remain affectionately
Charles E. Bates

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