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Coit, Charles M. (1838-1878) to his family

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03603.294 Author/Creator: Coit, Charles M. (1838-1878) Place Written: Petersburg, Virginia Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 24 June 1864 Pagination: 4 p.

Summary of Content: Writes that, after 48 hours "at the front" they have been relieved. He writes about taking over a "pit" that contained fancy furniture that had been stolen. Describes battle with the rebel soldiers and reacts to news from home. Says that he does not sleep very much. Also writes about reading the Spectator and the Atlantic and about food prices.

Full Transcript: In a field near Petersburg, Va.
Squatting on a rubber blanket
June 24, '64

Dearest & bestest All,
After another forty eight hours at the front we were last night relieved & are ...to day a mile or so in the rear. Tuesday morning at 2 1/2 o'clock were all roused & partook of breakfast at 4 A.M. left Point of Rocks marching for Petersburg. On arriving at our rear lines about 9 A.M. our Generals found that the position at the front which had been assigned us & where we were to relieve the 6th corps, could not be occupied by us until dark as the intervening ground was commanded by the guns of the Rebs, so we were left all day in an open field, sweltering in the broiling sun until 8 P.M. Those hours would have been invaluable to us at our camp at Point of Rocks where we had our baggage in enabling us to make reports & returns & straighten our accounts which at such a time get sadly confused, seyugled or something of the kind. well at 8 o'clock or there abouts went to the front relieving the 6th corps troops, the 8th occupying a portion of the second line of intrenchments commenced by that corps. We strengthened this line during the night & dug covered ways &c. our line (8th Reg) ran through the yard connected with a fine brick house & the pit that I had dug for my head qts was magnificently shaded by the fine trees, mulberry &c - then the Regt that I relieved had left a tete a tete, (i.e. a sofa aint it) a mahogany table & chair which they had confiscated & these I moved into my pit & perhaps I did not have luxurious quarters for the forty eight hours that I habitated there. The bullets of the Reb sharp shooters flew over us right mercifully & a part of the time we were quite heavily shelled but with proper care we were comparitively safe. We had seven wounded during the two days. Recd yours of the 20th this morning & papers from Aunt Mary. I am very much obliged to her. I was much shocked to notice in the Bulletin the death of Mr. Gunn, will any of these gentlemen be left to welcome me home. I fear very few. I am truly pleased to see that the 8th is ever noticed in the papers as doing something. Just to satisfy the young man you may assure Mr. George that the captain was in command during our charge & if the fact be known he would much have preferred to have been on chapel street. No one knows when col. ward or Col. smith will retun - may at any time. Do you know that as long as I command the Regt I receive just - ten dollars ($10) per month less - pay than when commanding a Co. why dont Geo leave off study if he dont get well Do send him to Pomfret or somewhere to get strong first of any thing. I do wish he was as tough as I am. For the past month I have rarely had a blanket, rubber or woolen, over me or under me - lie right down any where & sleep tho' as much of our work is in the night that I hardly average more than one night's sleep in two & yet I am as well as I can be. Have leave off this P.M. for a wash - this is allways one of the first things when we get to the rear and necessarily so. I did think so much of you all while I was in my pit at the front & sis so wish that you could have looked in upon me - lying off at ease in the delicious shade on my sofa reading the "spectator" & an Atlantic (June) The spectator was found in the house near us everything else had been carried off - furniture & all = probably by the owner. I write entirely with mother in one wish expressed in letter of 20th is it that Mr. Alexander's gift had been increased "twofold". I do rejoice if people at the North are beginning to appreciate the soldiers in the field. I do not think too much praise can be awarded our private soldiers. I have written entirely about myself & I dont know but I think more in these days of No 1 than I ought every thing tends that way but I do wonder how you manage to live & pay your debts in these wonderful times. Why our fresh meat costs 22 cts per pound coffee 50c & white sugar 225 & if these are army prices I dont know what such things cost at home. Has not your board been raised. Do write about our finances tho' I confess I dread to know. I hope I shall be paid soon but we cant be while we are actively employed - 4 months is due me. Best love to every body but most to the dear ones No 414 Chapel St.
Affct son & bro Chas
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People: Coit, Charles M., 1838-1878

Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877

Subjects: Civil WarMilitary HistoryUnion ForcesUnion Soldier's LetterSoldier's LetterMilitary CampWartime Pillaging and DestructionHome FurnishingsJournalismFinanceDiet and nutritionMilitary ProvisionsBattleConfederate States of AmericaBattle of Petersburg

Sub Era: The American Civil War

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