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

September 6, 2013

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

Md. Heights, Sept. 6, 1863.

Dear Family:

Yours rec’d and contents noted. Glad to hear of your good health. Lieut. F. said you were looking well. Rec’d shirts by corp’l Frye. I wore them three days and was obliged to take them off or pass for a black man. The black came off in profusion. It took nearly half a day to wash it off my body. I would really like to hear that piano. I presume it would sound very unnatural, as I never heard one in the old house, and I believe I have not heard one since I have been out here. I often think does the poor old pear tree bear well this year? I used to think it was the nicest fruit on the farm.

I got a pass Friday, for the purpose of obtaining all the information I could in regard to growing tobacco, as that was your desire. After about an hours work in getting through the chopped down trees (to stop the rebs) I at length reached the valley. I asked one of the assistants about it and he referred me to an old negro, who had grown tons of it in his day; but by his looks, should think he had done about all the work he could do. And now, if the reader will give me his entire attention for a few moments I will explain all. (How does that sound?) A side hill or slope where the sun shines most of the day is preferable, new ground is the best; burn bush over the ground, in order to kill the weeds; then grub up the ground, working in ashes, “the more the better;” rake the ground up fine and then sow the tobacco, raking it well. After raking and cross raking and rolling (as you do most of your land), I suppose that the tobacco would grow well. It neither needs wet not dry soil, but about the common soil. It greatly depends on the season, about the last of march is the time for planting in this section; it is sown the same as grass seed, only not so thick. It is not necessary to use manure.

The heavens are assuming a dark and cloudy aspect, and the low thunder rumbling in the distance, from the Alleganies, gives tokens of a refreshing shower. It is a beautiful sight to see from this point the wind and rain come rushing down the valley, seeming to the looker on as if he were above them all. Since we have been here I have seen a thunder shower below me in the valley.

Hoping this will find you all well,                                                                    I remain &c.


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