Coit, Charles M. (1838-1878) to his sister
Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03603.267
Author/Creator: Coit, Charles M. (1838-1878)
Place Written: Deep Creek, Virginia
Type: Autograph letter signed
Date: 12 April 1864
Pagination: 4 p.
Summary of Content: Describes a quiet camp and reading a novel called ”Pique” until his candle went out at 4 a.m. Thanks her for sending a book called ”Lady of the Lake.” Describes singing hymns with the other officers and requests that he be sent his chess set from home. Notes that the regiment does not get very many recruits and that those they do get tend to desert. Writes that there is to be an execution of a deserter who Coit believes joined the Rebel side.
People: Coit, Charles M.
Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877
Full Transcript: Camp Tuesday evening Dear Sister, Your letter of April 6 was a bully one, just what I wanted & I am ashamed I have not answered it before. I always intend to write every Sunday & Wednesday but I fear you will say that I fail to do so more often than not, but we have been so quiet here since I returned that I have very little of news to write about & I am apt to think you will not be worried & therefor put off from one day to another. Last Sunday evening I attended our Regtl prayer meeting & when I returned to my quarters I could not get up life enough to write a line & immediately went to bed comfort- ing myself with the assurance that I should write a good long letter Monday as I was to be on duty & would be obliged to sit up until 12 P.M. but that evening I had come across a novel ”Pique” - no author given - & I read that until 4 this A.M. when my candle gave out & I then laid down with my clothes on until day light, so I sont feel over & above brilliant this eveng I admit this is not a very good excuse to give for not preparing an answer to my only & darling sister’s letter. I recd yesterday your old ”Lady of the Lake” & I dont think anything would have suited me better. I perfer the old binding to blue & gold & I find both your name (yours as from father in 1848) & George’s inscribed therein. I think I have never read it entire, only parts of it. I had written thus far when Capt. Ford who occupies the next tent to mine commenced singing ”Heaven is my home” & I had to go in and join. Several others were with him he had been singing as usual all evening. We sang until tattoo. I have not exerted myself so much in the singing line for two years. We performed all the old hymns we sing at home, in fact sang the soldier’s hymn book through. How old fashioned it is to have letters from you again dated & mailed from Norwich but I cant imagine you all at the miner’s, it would not seem half as strange if you were at Mrs. Rock’s old stone house. Mrs. Miner’s seems the last place. Your letter leaves mother turning round & round in the old garret, how dizzy gather some new & valuable information from it, & regarding it in that light it was kind in him to send it. It is grand far better than I supposed the young man capable of its not school-boyish at all as I expected it would be. I read it to Alfred & he says ditto. Alfred Goddard had read much more extensively than I supposed & much more than I have & he makes the most of it as of all his accomplishments. I will send Geo’s oration back soon but I want to read it again first. I wrote Geo at New Haven to send me my Chess book but if he has not already done so tell him to hold it until further orders. I should like to witness the grand tableaux are they for the benefit of the soldiers. I dont know any Jewitt of the 8th who is recruiting & I should prefer some other tenants rather than recruiting officers generally. While speaking of recruiting there is one thing I want to say, its this, almost all the officers think (rather than say) that we do not get recruits because Ward does not like to exert himself. We are getting but - very few - & I think from one third to one half of all we have received since the Regt returned have deserted. There is little to hinder them from getting to Norfolk & once there they are assisted by the secesh there & so get off. I dont think the authorities here are near severe enough with them. When we send parties to Norfolk to arrest them if any are found they get but light punishment Tomorrow there is to be an execution of one deserter from another Regiment & we shall have to attend if pleasant weather. It will make us a march in the mud of ten or twelve miles & I should much prefer to be at home let alone the marching. I think this man must have deserted - to the enemy - or they never would have sentenced him to be shot. Regards to the Miner’s & Miss Belle Fitch, hope when I visit old Norwich again I may be so fortunate as to engage a seat in the same hack as herself as before & if I ride in the seat in the cars behind her I shant remain incog. all the way from Branford to Norwich. wish Geo would send me two or three dollars in your next letters & do so twice. Send in postage currency - cant get change here. Recd another Bulletin from Aunt Mary many thanks, I can get the Independent here now from chaplain. Best love & regards to every body but as ever the most & best to you all. sister mine good night Chas I want not as much the amount of money, as the small change - 25s & 50s - [top margin first page] Have you given my photo. to Jenny Trumbull. tell her why did not send before did not have them taken
Keywords/Subjects: Civil War;, Military History;, Union Forces;, Union Soldier’s Letter;, Soldier’s Letter;, Art, Music, Theater, and Film;, Literature and Language Arts;, Military Camp;, Library;, Children and Family;, Women’s History;, Sports and Games;, Religion;, Recruitment;, Desertion;, Confederate States of America;, Death Penalty;, Military Law;
Sub Era: The American Civil WarOrder Image