Coit, Charles M. (1838-1878) to his family
Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC03603.070
Author/Creator: Coit, Charles M. (1838-1878)
Place Written: s.l.
Type: Autograph letter signed
Date: 28 January 1862
Pagination: 6 p.
Summary of Content: Mentions the boredom and laziness of being aboard the ship. The men pass time between meals by playing checkers and reading. Writes that Captain Harland has shared that he believes General Burnside is attempting to join the division with another group of ”loyal men” on land. Harland believes that the time the division is spending on board the two boats is meant to give the other group of soldiers a chance to organize and prepare for their arrival. Written on board the ship ”H. J. Brookman,” in Hatteras Inlet.
People: Coit, Charles M.
Historical Era: Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877
Full Transcript: The letter in Bulletin signed J.R.M. is by Lieut. James R. Moore of Norwich I suppose. I have been very well since leaving Annapolis, with the exception of qualmishness. Hatteras Inlet Jany 28, ’62 on board H. D. Brookman I am getting so lazy doing nothing that I can hardly get up the spunk necessary to write home, & for all I have written considerably the last four months I dons find it any easier than at first. I still have to study & blunder away at it. I am long - ing for the time when we shall be settled in camp again & I have my regular duties to perform. The Regt being on board three different vessels and communication between them so uncertain I do not even make the morning reports as formerly. we get up about breakfast time after that meal is disposed of go on deck & note the changes during the night whether any vessels are in sight outside or any inside changed position got aground or afloat, then go back to the cabin & long for dinner time, after dinner go on deck a while longing for supper time, after supper lounge round til bed time & so the days pass. There is general ly a party ashore each day & we talk over what they have seen & heard, tell stories & play checkers. we are yet in the dark as to the destination of the expe dition. Dr. Storrs & a party ashore yesterday visited the house of one of wickens who inhabit the island & conver sed with him, he said he was engaged as pilot by Genl Burnside & his vessel would go up towards Roanoke Island but most of his neighbors were engaged to pilot vessels down towards Newbern. This looks as though the Division was to be divided which I think very probable I believe I have not stated in what I have previously written, our exact position here & one cause of this delay. As I have before said we are inside, but inside of us is another bar called the swash” over this & you are in Pamlico sound proper. only vessels of very light draught can pass it (that is drawing but about eight feet) & therefor we shall be obliged to disembark & shall probably be placed on a couple of schooners one is along side now receiving our freight. It is a great circumstance to get this great fleet over the swash, vessels are continually getting aground there & then must be pulled off or over so that they get but few over each day. when this is finally accomplished I suppose we shall start for - somewhere. A large part of the fighting I judge will be done by the gun boats some of them have cannon that they claim will carry six miles but I cant credit it. I often wish I had a little pocket diary here, it would be so interesting to review it when I get home though I should not write a week before I should get tired & quit it I fear. I cant get over it that I missed sending a letter by the steamer to Fortress Monroe the other day though I find there were only a few lucky ones. our captain inquired of Burnside’s aid & he said no mail would be permitted to go North by that vessel but he the caps carried a package to the vessel itself & it was taken aboard just as they started. the Agent promising to mail them at Fortress Monroe. we are all longing for letters & papers from home for we have heard nothing later than the 9th inst. except by the Herald of the 27th (the receipt of which I mentioned before) giving an account of the decisive battle in Kentucky. That particular paper was a mighty acceptable one to receive though for I suppose you hardly have such news every day. I hope we can figure in the papers before long as doing our part towards crushing this great rebellion & that we may be away the means in God s hands of putting our end to this dread ful war & that we may soon all be returned to our homes in old Conecticut with honor & in perfect health & strength. vening our sutler eo. Moore arrived safely yesterday & since writing this morning the schooner with the Signal corps has come in & as it passed us I saw both Charlie eereed & Marvin wait on the deck so they are safe & well & so we learn of one thing & another turning out all right which we learned was all wrong when we first came inside. It was certainly not intended to move forward before this time for within the last day or two several vessels have arrived which surely it was not intended to go forward without so all this delay that so many of us have complained of was designed from the first & I think in the end we shall find that this expedition has progressed thus far with as little loss of life & property as is possible in such a connection. Here let me give Harland s opinion of the design of this expedition & his ex - planation of the delay as he broached it for the first time to the ma or & myself this morning. He thinks it more than probable that Genl Burnside is having communication with loyal men on the main land & is giving them time to organize that they may receive us with open arms & also be prepared to defend themselves assisted by this Division. Is not this a magnificent prospect & is it not probable. It certainly explains many things not otherwise quite clear & what a death dealing blow it would be to the secession cause & how much better and how much more affectual than many bloody battles. If all this proves true how glorious to be connected with this branch of the army. I almost seem to stand several inches higher in my boots when I think of it & much as I have thought of it during the day. Harland said he did not mean by this that we were to have no fighting but he thought we should have some though perhaps no general engagement but this is giving us allies when I did not expect them & I think must show our opponents the rotteness of their cause. I am quite elated at the prospect. I tell you Col Harland is one of them. He does look at things with clear eyes than common folks. I am every day supprised at his extensive & varied knowledge it makes little difference whether you talk physics or theology history or morals since he is on hand & fully posted Lieuts Treed & wait have )ast called are looking very well indeed & feeling ditto. Think they had rather a rough experience at sea, their vessel made Cape Hatteras three times & each time was driven to sea again. Have received three little batches of letters to day & in one was your letter of the 9th inst. directed to Annapolis & was welcome indeed. Ellen’s sheet was most acceptable am pleased that sergeant Toffall played his part as well. glad you sent nothing by the commerce boat, it would have been too late. what’s the matter with uncle George you say he is not well am very sorry please make my best regards to him. I have been meaning to write him each day I feel that I hve no excuse now. Steve & Ed Clapp also, but I am so lazy that I cant get at it & it is so hard to write I cant judge here whether or no it is best to pay the L. Hammondin note, it seems to me best that Eggleston should have some of the buildings though George should do most of the work, dont think that these matters trouble me I want to know about them. I would prefer you should not mention Harland’s view of the expedition at present as he gave it to us privately. I inclose a branch of Palmetto & a sample of sea Island cotton just from South Carolina by a schooner just arrived here, wish I could send more Dear everybody Good night.
Keywords/Subjects: Civil War;, Military History;, Union Forces;, Infantry;, Union Soldier’s Letter;, Soldier’s Letter;, Literature and Language Arts;, Sports and Games;, Maritime;, Transportation;, Union General;, Military Camp;
Sub Era: The American Civil WarOrder Image