Byrns, William – June 15, 1862

Michigan Civil War Collection Letters

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Regiment: 1st Michigan Infantry Battles Mentioned: Historical Figures: Ambrose E. Burnsides, George A. McCall Gaines [  ?  ] Va June 15th 1862 My Dear Florence, After looking long + anxiously for a letter it came last night. Today is the Sabbath the peaceful holy Sabbath + it seems more like Sunday of [  ?  ] than any we have seen for many [  ?  ] of [  ?  ]. Our Reg. rests today. Yesterday + the day before we were hard at work in the five “timber” to [   ?   ] sticks for “Corderoy”. The weather is very hot + oppressive. One cannot be comfortable in the cool est shade we can find. On Friday after we had nearly finished a tiresome days work in the words we were ordered to our camp at “[  ?  ] Quick” to join our Reg. which was about to march. He had no time for supper + hastely throwing an [    ?    ] we joined the other wing of the Reg which led us more then a mile. We only went some two miles, when we were ordered to return to camp. Capt. Whitlesey is not with me. Still on Count Marted + will perhaps be a month there. That night about 11 the officer of the day came + informed us that we were to march at 2 the next A.M. Of course sleep was out of the ques- tion for the rest of the night. Again the order was countermanded + we did not go. In the A.M. the whole [torn, missing] was ordered and [torn, missing] fatique duty See this wears upon men + our sick list shows it. Aside from a severe cold + [   ?   ] I feel as well as ever. Many of our men will not be fit for duty if called, but our Reg is called a large one + we average more men for duty than the most of the Regs in the division. All is quiet here. The certain [    ?    ] of Richmond Is only a question of time. When all things are ready we will go up + possess  the City. The 4 has been on picket since Friday. I was at This camp this A.M. but still not see Charly they were to return at 10. I very much regret that I cannot go to N.Y. just now. Had we remained in Norfolk I could have left but no well men can leave this Army now. You do not wish me to. I do not think it at all probably that we will be [          ?          ] or to allow one to leave this month but you will re- member. That so soon a [  ?  ] opportunity occurs I will see you. We of course expect some work before we reach R. but [  ?  ] what it will the place must fall. I see that many of my acquaintance in the 3rd + 5th Mich. Reg. have been killed + wounded. Gen. Burnsides was at [  ?  ] Hd. Qrs. one day last week. Came at 12 + left at 5. McCalls Div. has found ours. We lost a druall wagon train by a gurilla party a day or two [   ?   ] [torn, missing] hardly a [  ?  ] [torn, missing] today You are kind + thoughtful to send me such long letter when you have such poor [        ?        ] to do so but remember that in the field or do not have time to arrange thought nor a chance for finishing a letter except by fasten- ing to the first opportunity + hastening through. Our baggage is reduced to a mere nothing a knapsack + a roll of blankets constituting the whole. Tents are allowed the officers one tent to a officer, instead of 2 to three a is [     ?     ] in camp near transportation. You can have no idea how sun burnt we all are. If the prowess of the Union Army was to be measured by its beauty. I think we would not be strong. I do hope that affairs will shape so that I can leave the Army if only for a few days. I do not mean by that that I wish a stray bullet to strike me but hope that there will be a time when we are not all needed + I want to see you very much + will use all honorable means in endearoring to be with you, at present, I cannot come. I will call but that much of yours if he casts and insinuations against the 1st Mich. I sincerely pity you in your many trials + perssentious. Should this reach you at Nanda or before you go them I wish you to secure photo of myself that I sent Jenny Address. She has never acknowledged the receipt of it to me. I was mistaken in [  ?  ] many name when I spoke of the you [torn, missing] not very young man from Nanda. Who is in [torn, missing] Reg. [  ?  ] honors. You will go home by the Lake then. How I wish I could be with you. I know the route so will + we could have such a pleasant life + we would stop + see Jenny Parson + [        ?        ]. Will you not stop at Galva. I wonder if your old friend Mr [          ?           ] that the [  ?  ] of the one who [  ?  ] to [  ?  ]ore you with his presence + [        ?        ] will recieve you with open         mouth. I think it would be grand if we could have him here. I would like to send a bullet [   ?   ] his head just for experiment. I wonder if he would make a quick motion. I wish he had the trouble + vexation I have this A.M. for I am “breaking in” a new darky. I think that if a few of the Gerrit Smith School were to be placed here they would be the greater abolitionists for I came south quite conservative in my views, but now I am a strong abolitionist. Had I my way, I would ban- ish them to Africa, all of them. Tis a remarkable fact that a negro boy will work faithfully for about 3 months then becomes [  ?  ] US. I have a nice one now, only 13 years old, but smart + handy. Mean to take him North, if he wants to go, if he does not get spoiled + above [torn, missing], I think he is all that your description [torn, missing] for. This is a beautiful country. The surface is uneven just broken enough to be not at all [   ?   ] The land is fertile + had the inhabitants any [   ?   ] prize whatever. I might be the most pleasant part of our country. [     ?     ], plantation is a [   ?   ] one + has [  ?  ] quite will cultivated. He is a prisoner in his own house, then are also a good many wounded rebels in the vicinity. The coldness from N.C. talk [   ?   ] + think they have been badly sol. I feel confident that the [  ?  ] sentiment is greater in Richmond than in the [  ?  ] remember Yesterday the Corp of the 4th found the bodies of 5 of the rebels killed in the engagement at New Bridge. The rebel [  ?  ] must have been 100 killed, our men/killed +/ mortally wounded + 5 slightly wounded. All of the engagements in this part have resulted in far greater loss to the rebels than to our side. We are listening, waiting+ watching for the opening of the battle that will close the contest in Va. Probably on force will stay on this side St. Chickahomony as we are in fine position to prevent a flank movement on the part of the rebels. As a reserve we are to be ready where needed + when needed. Y we are [  ?  ] it will be in a place where work is required + absolutely needed. Now will send the ambrotype by mail, please don’t send a case they are humbugs. I will not ask the ring, although I would be truly glad to have it. I never can forgive myself for not securing that one that [   ?   ] me in Washington + to long as you have now from me I ought not to ask you to and yours, but I want it so bad. I am afraid you can never cure me of selfishness. When this truth is over I hope we will not be purplex- ed [  ?  ] or now. I am not hitisfied to be away from you. My life is so bound up in [  ?  ] that to be absent from you is not pleasure. I had not say a word for all this you know as well I. [  ?  ] I have fear writing it has come on to rain. Not a heavy shower but just enough to cool the air. We have some hoot here. No civilian can pass through our Division without being saluted with cries of “New York Hearald” “Philiadelphia Enquire” + S. Our Reg. has a different [  ?  ] from all the others. Tis “Nor- folk D[  ?  ] Rook” + “Peanuts”. If we have a bathing open the corp yell “Merrimae” in a manner that is quite amusing. We are felling quite joyous over the late victory of the Mexicans over the French. Served Nap. right. We hope to rest in Richmond be- fore the week closes feel sure of it [  ?  ] the month ends. I have been since dinner writing. I find it quite different to get more than 5 minutes rest. You may give yourself [   ?   ] regarding my temper. I feel I am becoming [   ?   ] + [   ?   ]. We can hardly realize that we are in the heart of the enemy country + on the eve of a decisive action for my part I am willing to go forward when ordered but I do not wish to count danger perhaps I am not so brave or I should be, but I fell in though I had now something to live for to use all endeavors to reach as high or in my power lies. Were it not for your influence over me I fear that I should not try so hard to do all that is required of me. When tired + weary of this hard life for tis a very ordinary one now. I lay aside all the [  ?  ] + trouble that surround us have + lose myself in bright [  ?  ]. I need not say that you are first in my mind then. Tis sweet to think when surrounded by so much wickedness of love of purity of peace. Will they ever be companions of mine again. Will not the storm of war wear away + bright peace again reign over our fair country? “That it “may please thu to bring into the way of truth all “such as have erred + are deceived.” Have I long to see the end of this great trouble not that I wish the mat ter settled prematurely or superficially rather. Years of suspense of toil of battle. When this is settled then will be a long period of [  ?  ] trade causal prosper. How will the comforts of life abound us to before. Long years must roll [  ?  ] see we are the same prosperous people You will tell me at what time you intend going home, so that I will lose no time in directing your letters to all. Maj. Abbott is still in Mich. I hardly able to ravel yet. I had a letter from my sister Melia this P.M. Write me when you can. Always bear in mind that your love is all to me + should I fall in this struggle. Know that I love you the same, better than all the world. Use your wholly. Always darling pray for Your Will [On Envelope:] Miss Florence Clark Care. C.B. Adams  Esq. Mount Morris New York William No. 78 June 17’’ 1862 Before Richmond