[near Fortress Monroe, Virginia]
June 17, 1865
I will try and pen a few lines for I have nothing else to do but I don’t know as you can read it for I am so nervous that I can hardly hold my pen. I shall not try to get discharged till my time is out for the paymaster has ad orders not to pay any bounty to veterans that get discharged—only the installment that is now done. So if I should get out of the army now, I shall lose $140.00 (one hundred and forty dollars). I find it very pleasant here for I have nothing to so and they can’t put me on any duty for I am only a sergeant. It is too high an office for my doctor to set at work and all that they can do if they want me to do anything is for them to send me to my regiment.
I went to a funeral to see seven soldiers buried last night and I find when they put a fellow under ground, they do it with as little ceremony as possible. They carry five at a time in a box [ ] and five or six men goes with them to fix over the graves and a chaplain to pray and two drums and a fife for music, and four negroes to fill up the graves. And they only put them three feet deep in the ground. When a man dies here, they have but little sympathy for them and we never see a minister—only when we go to meeting or they come to distribute tracts and then they seldom have anything to say to the sick men. They are all nigger lovers every one of them and will talk on that subject at any time. They say that the nigger has more right to this country than the whites has. I believe that we shall have a nigger insurrection in less than ten years and we will if these Abolitionists keep on talking to them as they do.
We have had some bad weather of late and the [Hampton] Roads is filled up with schooners and it makes me feel homesick to look at them. And I am in hopes that I can be in one of them before long, if I do lose a hundred and forty dollars by it.
But I will close for I don’t want to write but half a letter this time for fear that you don’t want to hear from me for I can’t hear from you so I can’t tell how your mind is and I don’t know but what you have run away from your Chetty, oh my! I hope this will find you well. Give my love to all that want it, and if you can get any paper, send us a line for old acquaintances sake for I am anxious to hear from you.
Good day, my pet. Write soon. Your loving husband, — Chester A. Chapman