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

July 27, 2013

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

Fort Duncan, Md., July 27, 1863.

Dear Family:

We have received no letters since we were at Fred. June. We have been on the tramp ever since and by several counter marches we are at length in old Maryland again, on the hill that Co. C garrisoned last winter. I should have written before, but have been unwell and have been so on the whole tramp; but I have made out to keep with the Co. all the time. We have been with the “Artillery Reserve” until last week, when we received orders to report to the Comd’g officer of Harper’s Ferry. We were at the time at a small village called Unionsville in Va. about 29 miles from Harper’s Ferry; we started at 7.30 A.m. and made 6 rests until we reached Berlin, this side of the river, 23 miles distant from Unionsville. The doctor had something to say on the tramp. The major was going to put us through to B. without any thing to eat, except hard tack which we carry in our haversacks; but the Dr. said he must stop and let us make some coffee; of course the Major obeyed. We reached B. at 8 P.m., where we took mother earth for a couch with a rubber blanket under and a woolen over; of course slept sound, woke in the morning rather stiff; during the whole tramp did not stop in one place but twice, only for a day; we have got so now we can stand quite a tramp, they say we look like “old soldiers.” I have nothing but what I have on my back, except rubber and wool blankets. We were for a while all split up into different batteries in the “Reserve Artillery.” George Bricket was detailed into the 5th Regular. It left us at Berlin, was put on the cars and started for N. Y. to help put down the riot, seventeen others are in the same battery; those from other batteries have all been recalled and are doing duty in the Co., the rest of the Co. were guard for Genl. Tyler (high position for a battalion of Mass. 14th H. A.!) I can assure you it cut the Major badly; he was down on us probably for the game Col. Green played on him. He was drunk one quarter of the time, and when he is in that condition he comes down on the men hard, ties them to wheels and trees, fences, or any thing he can come across; it is shameful for a Genl. Comdg. over 200 pieces to do so. Genl. Meade gave him a jawing one day before the whole of us, for cutting up Genl. Kilpatrick’s train; it was the second offence and when we left, heard that he was under arrest. We also saw Genl. Pleasanton with Genl. Meade. The men in the co. are glad to see men drafted at home; but wish $300 would not clear them; but then this is a rich man’s war; the poor man has to do the fighting. We have been kicked about so long that no one knows what we are.

Lieut. Hervy has gone to Washington to try and get us back to the regiment. I hope he will succeed, most of the men want to go back, officers of course want to. The papers have just come, the news is what you might call “Bully.” The cloud has passed over and things are looking more favorable. I for one would like to see this closed before winter. It greatly depends on Genl. Meade’s abilities. As we stand a chance of going to Washington, you better direct there. We have travelled in all between 150 and 175 miles; good for new beginners?

Much love to all. Hoping this will find you well and enjoying things as they come, I remain, Yours truly,

L. Bradley, Jr.

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