Coit, Charles M. (1838-1878) to his family
High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.
Reports that Captain Upham is in critical condition after being shot in the battle. Explains that the surgeons were unable to extract the musket ball. Of his performance he writes "I know no one will say that I behaved cowardly in the least." Also writes about the noble performance of Colonel Harland. Part of the letter is written on "rebel paper" (Confederate stationery). Mentions that the entire 3rd Brigade has been ordered to Fort Macon and will be traveling by train. Also discusses his fondness for General Burnside and his devotion to God. Mentions finally that Captain Upham is able to walk but may need to have his arm amputated.
It is feared Capt. Upham is mortally wounded The Surgeons cannot find the ball & this morning I hear his case is considered critical. He would be a great loss to the Regt. I think him our best Capt. Tho' Col Harland prefers Capt. ward. I believe I have been with him a great part of the nearly two months we have been on board ship & have become really attached to him. His Co. nearly worship him. He is one year younger than I. Both off. & men behaved grandly in the fight, a little shaky at first but soon used to the music. I know no one will say that I behaved cowardly in the least. I saw Col. Mathewson while he was in the battery. After our flag was waved from the embankment the 11th came directly over to us. The 11th men seemed very much afraid & Col. M. seemed to have some trouble in getting them up to follow us as they would fall down when the bullets flew over them. Col. M. was perfectly cool & collected Col. Harland is a brick I assure you, he dont order men where he is afraid to go himself. there is no use to say he was cool for I only saw one off. that was not. This letter is written on rebel paper. I inclose another kind with printing heading. Manufactured by w. & J. DONITZ, Goldsboro, N.C. Bright Banner of Freedom with pride I unfurl thee, Fair Flag of my country with love I be hold thee, Gleaming above us in freshness adn youth, Emblem of Liberty, symbol of truth; For the Flag of my country in triumph shall wave, o'er the Southerner's Homes and the southerner's Grave. CONFEDERATE STATES OF AMERICA [letter is written on Confederate letterhead] Sunday march 16 1862 Dear All & Everybody else, I have just been conversing with Lt Bill's Aid to Genl Park & learn from him that we (the 3d Brigade) will be order ed to Beaufort immediately to pay our respects to Fort Macon - we should have received orders to start to day but Genl Burnside remembering that this day was the Lord's deferred it. Shepard says the Genl has his bible always with him & reads a portion every day and certainly he has several times tried to show respect for this day & that is no small thing in this business. Oh what a splendid man he is I believe every man in the division has entire confidence that where he directs success is certain. I wish you could see him ride thro' the different regiments & hear the cheers & shouts of the men nothing excites me so much. it is grand. And then I can respect & trust & love him so much more when I remember his respect for the Lord's day & His book. I have been down to the battery and rifle pits carried by the 51st New York where the hardest fighting was - you should see the trees perfectly filled with musket balls. they look as tho' a hail storm of lead had passed thro' there, & it did. Capt. Upham walked up to camp this morning. His wound is quite painful & he must lose his arm tho' we yet hope his life may be spared. The Surgeons have not found the ball yet & the shoulder joint is badly shattered. Saw Dr Lathrop at the Genl Hospital this AM. He went with me to the battery & rifle pits to show me round as he had been there before he is very kind. He says he hears the 8th mentioned with honor. The old Regt did behave grandly I will say. Every one thinks our loss wonderfully small for the fire we were under so long. Dr L says it is only what he expects when he thinks of the many prayers offered for us. How many times I remembered the many who pray for me that day and I could not think anything would happen to me. it strengthened & helped me greatly during the whole day. We expect no fight at Beaufort for it would be useless & worse for the small garrison to attempt to defend it against our heavy guns and mortars. We only fear the rebels will blow up the fort & so destroy it. We hope we may catch the Nashville there as a secesh paper of the 6th reports her there. I am sorry to give up our good quarters here for we have a "right smart" place but I have been "high as a kite" since I learned we were going. There is something splendid, after all, in this life & I really enjoy much of it. we go by railroad this trip I understand - think of that, rather an improve ment on marching in mud & water sometime nearly knee deep. The morning of the fight I saw a Lieut of one of the new troops marching in stocking feet, he had lost both shoes in the mud. Tuesday 17 - There is a mail going this morning & I must close this. I intended to write much more Did not expect a chance to send so soon.
The copyright law of the United States (title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material. Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specific conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be “used for any purpose other than private study, scholarship, or research.” If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of “fair use,” that user may be liable for copyright infringement. This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgment, fulfillment of the order would involve violation of copyright law.