This letter was written by 18 year-old Charles Chauncey Richardson (1844-1864) of Co. E, 2nd Vermont Infantry. Charles wrote the letter ten days after the Battle of Fredericksburg in which the regiment participated on the skirmish line “under a furious storm of shot and shell.” They repulsed the charge of a rebel brigade and held the ground all day until they were withdrawn under cover of darkness.
Charles C. Richardson was the son of Sylvanus Richardson (1797-1872) and Laura G. Goodhue (1804-1858) of Jericho, Chittenden county, Vermont. He mustered into Co. E, 2nd Vermont Infantry on Sept. 15, 1862. Charles went missing in the fighting around Spotsylvania Court House, Va. in mid-May, 1864, and is presumed to have died as a POW.
He wrote the letter to his older brother, Lorin Tyler Richardson (1836-1918). In the letter, he refers to another brother named Abner Stanton Richardson (1841-1882) who served as a sergeant in Co. A, 7th Vermont Infantry.
Camp in the woods near White Oak Church
December 23, 1862
Thinking that you would like to hear from me, I thought I would try & write a few words. I have been in good health until about a week ago. I have got the jaundice & I do not feel very smart today.
We have had a great deal of marching to do this fall & some fighting. We were in a small fight on the 13th of this month when we were on the front. We was a support for the skirmishers and we laid right where the bullets flew very thick & fast. There were two in this Company that was wounded—none killed. I tell you, I have seen enough of war to suit me.
I got a letter from Mary last Saturday. She said Abner had his discharge & was on his way home. I was glad to hear that & I hope you will get yours, for it is getting to be a disgrace to anyone to be a soldier. I should like a discharge myself if I could get it, but there is no use to try to get out of the service now. Mary said you was not in very good health. I hope you will get a discharge.
Elias Burns—on the morning after the battle—shot his two fingers. I do not know whether he done it on purpose or not. The boys think he did. ¹ I think I shall not write much more this time. I do not feel very well.
When you write to me, you direct your letters to Co. E, 2nd Vt. Vol., Washington, D. C. Goodbye for this time. I hope we shall both see Vermont once more. From your brother that was told [by] you a good many times not to enlist, but I did & now I must suffer the consequences. I hope this war will not last a great while.
From your Brother— Charles C. Richardson
to Lorin T. Richardson
¹ Elias Burns (1832-1916) was also from Jericho. He was transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps on 1 July 1863 where he served until July 1865.