Fort Richardson, near Washington
Arlington Heights, Virginia
24 December 1861
My Dear Little Pet Wife,
With pleasure I now take my pen to write you a few lines and I hope they will find you well. I think now that you are in Westerly [Rhode Island] or you will be before night and I hope that you will have a good time tomorrow. I wish that I could tell you what kind of a time I shall have but I can’ tell. I suppose that I shall be out on the parade ground with my old musket on my shoulder. I wish that you could see how we live and what we have to do for we have got one of the [strictest] colonels. He keeps us on some kind of duty all the time and then he wants us to keep our gun, clothes, and brass work just so clean [and] if we don’t, then we go in the guard house for a week or two and have a month’s pay stopped. If a man has the least bit of dirt on him when we are on inspection, het gets court martialed and tied up to the wheel, Some of them gets tied up by the thumbs as high as they can reach.
That box that you sent me has not come yet but I hope it will before long for I want the things now very much. But I had rather see my pet than to have anything for I have not forgot the time that we stood in the back door when I left home. Oh, how bad I did feel when you began to cry just as I was leaving. But I could not stay then for it was time for me to leave for I had to go. But if I had known as much about this kind of a life then as I do now, you would have seen me a going the other way. Oh, if we could have a chance to fight and have this work done with once more, how glad I should be.
I got a letter from Edward Sisson last night. He seems to be as discontented as I am. He says that they live on sand, hard bread, and pork. I wrote back to him that that we had plenty of hard bread but we hain’t no sand to scour it down with. I will send it in this to you for you to keep for me. [See Letter: Sisson to Chapman] You can let Judith see it. Poor fellow. He don’t have the chance to hear from home that I do. Let me know which way Henry Jerome has gone for I want to hear from him very much.
My daguerreotypes left here yesterday for New London. I wrote to you about it before but the letter may miss carry so I will tell you how to get them in this. You will get them by going to New London. They will be in Potter Street in the care of Thomas Gough. He will be there about the last of this week. Be sure to ask for Thomas Goff when you go after them.
Give my love to Mother and the girls. I will now close this with my best wishes to you and all. Good day, my pet—my dear, dear wife.
From your husband—the cold soldier boy, — C. A. Chapman