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Chapman, 28 July 1864

Camp near Petersburg, Virginia
July 28th 1864

Dear wife,

I will now sit and try to pen a few lines hoping that they will find you in well good health for they leave me at this time quite unwell and have been for some time for I have got a slight touch of the chronic diarrhea and it has reduced me down to one hundred and forty-two pounds which is lower than I have been for ten years before.

I have just returned from the mortar battery where I have been for nine days. It is very hard work to stay so long under fire without a change of clothes or a chance to lift up one’s head for as sure as a head is lifted up to see what is a going on, over it goes with a bullet in it. The thirtieth of June was the first time that I ever took part in a fight and it was a hard one too and I only wonder that I am now alive and writing to you. But thank the Lord that I am yet alive, if not well.

I got two letters from you since I went to the Battery. One of them I got while I was there and I thank you much for that chew of tobacco. And if you can send another as well as not, it would be very acceptable. You can send quite a package by mail for it don’t weigh much. You must write as often as you can, pet. I am very sorry that you have got the headache and wish that you could lay your head on my shoulder.

We only fired a salute of thirty-four guns at the city from our different batteries on the Fourth [of July]. Otherwise it was still with nothing but picket firing all day. Give my respects and love to all the folks. My love is ever yours, my pet. Let me know if that little one is still in the docket for I want to know if it is to be.

I will now close wishing you well and praying that God’s blessing may ever rest on my pet.

Ever your husband, my pet, —Chester A. Chapman, Co. D, 1st C. V. A., Washington D. C.

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