Letter from Chantilly to Westbrook, Maine

 ***William Roberts 1843-1923 and his brother John Roberts 1837-1917 both served a nine month voluntary enlistment in the Civil War- 25th Regiment, Co E. from Sept 1862- June 1963. This letter was written by William to his mother. The family lived on Saco Street.***

Chantilly, VA Tuesday Afternoon April 28th, 1863

Dear Mother, 
      I received your letter last Wednesday and meant to have answered it before. I suppose that now will do just as well. We were reviewed, and inspected by Gen. Abercrombie this forenoon. He is quite an old man with hair and beard almost white and I heard that he was older than Gen. Casey but he does not look as old. I should think he was somewhere between fifty and sixty. He is a pleasant looking man and looks as if he would not be very hard on the men; on the whole I rather like the appearance of him. Sunday night I was out on picket. It was an uncomfortably cold night and we are not allowed to have any fire. But yesterday was a very warm day so we had quite a pleasant time of it in the day time, we came in last night. It is raining now; it commenced about eleven O’clock just before we started to come in for the review. It has rained about half of the time for the past week but we like it on one account as we don’t have to drill when it rains. It begins to look some like spring here, the grass begins to look green, and the trees are beginning to leave out, and the peach trees are blossomed out, and we have quite warm days, in fair weather. We haven’t found out whether we are going home the 10th or the 29th of June but they say that the officers seem to talk more like going home the 10th lately. It don’t make but nineteen days difference anyhow whether we go home the 10th or the 29th. You ask what I do for darning yarn, I have had enough so far and have got a little left of that, that Ann put in my needle book, or work bag, as it ought to be called. Our fare is fresh beef, salt pork, hard bread, soft bread, beans, or tea or coffee for them that wants it, besides applesauce which we have plenty often, and yesterday they had some bacon and I believe they think we shall have it pretty often now. Our soft bread has not been very good since we have been here until last night we got some as good as ever we had at Camp Casey, and a great deal better than we had at Camp Lincoln. We have got a good log tent all but the top which leaks a little when it rains hard but we can stop this by putting a rubber blanket over the top of it and so we get along very well for shelter, without we out on picket and then we don’t have much shelter. John is quite sick, has been sick about a week, so as to be off duty. I don’t know hardly what is the matter with him, the doctor says he is a little better today and he says himself that he is, he lays down most of the time, and don’t have hardly any appetite; he has not written any for over a week so Martha need not think it strange that she don’t get any letters. My health is pretty good, considerable better than it was week or two ago I hear that General Banks has been giving the rebels fits down in Louisiana, but I suppose you heard of it before we did. There was a force of three or four thousand cavalry  and a battery or so went by here yesterday while we was on picket so that I did not see them as I was most a mile from the road. I don’t know where they were going to but suppose that they are going to make a raid over into the Shenandoah Valley or somewhere in that direction. I heard that they were going to be gone four or five days. 
     Wednesday April 29th
It is morning now and John says that he feels a little better this morning but he is pretty weak, he says that he feels pretty comfortable most of the time when he is laying down, but he can’t set up long at a time, he does not have much appetite and does not eat much. It has stopped raining but it has not cleared off yet and don’t look much like it. I wrote a letter to Ann Sunday and I don’t know whether the mail has been since or not so perhaps you may get this letter by the time she does hers. This is about all I can think of now so I shall have to close for want of anything to write. We shall be on the road for home in two months from today at least if we are no before. Tell Father that I guess we shall get home enough to help him in haying if nothing happens. This is all I can think of so I must close. With much love for the whole family. 
    From your son, William Roberts

Reprint permission with author’s permission @ fiddlinsuz@roadrunner.com

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