Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

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Leverett Bradley: A Soldier-Boy’s Letters

May 24, 2015

Leverett Bradley: A Soldier-Boy's Letters (1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery.)

Camp 1st H. Arty., Near Arlington Mills, Va.,
May 24, 1865.

Dear Family:

I have hardly kept my promise about writing; but I hope you will excuse me, for we have slept most of the time since we got into camp. We lay on a ridge right near the old mill, a mile from the road in a splendid oak grove. It has rained for three days and we hope that it will clear before tomorrow; for on Tuesday we are to be reviewed in Washington. We all dread the march, for it will be a long one and if it should be hot, many will faint. We have begun making out the muster rolls for the men whose term of service expires before Oct. 1st. If you should hear the stories that we have in camp you would laugh out right. One day, they are favorable for the recruits, and the next, for the veterans. Now Mother I hope you will feel easy about me, at least for the present till we hear what they intend to do with the veterans. We draw soft bread every day now and vegetables are more plentiful than at the front. George Frye [the cousin who was taken prisoner] has got back to the regt. now, looking finely. The country along the road has changed a great deal and it is lined with sutlers’ shanties. Some of the 4th “Heavies” have been up here; they look as if they had been playing soldiers for a while.

A year ago I was enjoying myself at home among friends and relatives. It does seem as if I never felt happier till I heard that the regiment had lost such numbers. I was shown the very tree where George Bricket and others sat under a few hours before that awful fight [the Wilderness]. I should have gone to the ground itself; but we were moving on another road, until it made a junction with the main road, three miles from the battle field. The thunder is beginning again; we were caught in that terrible one, just after leaving Falmouth. The trial of the assassins is developing a great many important facts which the government intend to take advantage of. I wish they would bring Jeff to Washington in the same clothes that they caught him in.

With much love to all, I remain as ever,

Levehett Bradley, Jr.

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