29 May 1861

Staten Island & the Narrows, 1861

New Dorp, Staten Island
May 29 [1861]

Dear Father,

I suppose it is my duty to write home whether I ever receive a letter from home or not. It is one month today since I enlisted and I am not sorry that I did so though I have seen some hard times caused by the poor food we were obliged to eat. Our food was good last night & this morning and I guess we shall receive better hereafter. The farmers here are very kind to us. One of them said to me (& he has a farm here) that he was mad enough at the man who fed us to whip him & he is not the only one. I think that if the landlord had not given us better food, that the citizens would (if we had not) taken the matter into their hands. Our officers have done as well as they could. A great many of our company have declared that they would not swear-in but I am one that will swear in. I never would have thought that I could have stood it so long as I have on such poor food & I do not know as I could if I had not had some money to buy something to eat.

Most all of our boys have been sick since they have been here & some of the officers. Money as you are aware is scarce among the boys, though their friends begin to send them some. I understand that the people of Ithaca are preparing us some clothes. If so, I wish you would help them for it would not be right for them to send things to their sons & I partake when you are able to do something. The people of Ithaca have sent us a trunk of large Wide Awake capes since we left. They are very nice, We marched down to breakfast with them on this morning for it rained.

Sunday I was on guard all day & night, 2 hours on & 4 off. There was a drunken fellow got on the ground & began to hollow when the officer ordered him arrested. When the officer of the guard took me with him to take him, the old fellow started to run off when the officer collared him on one side & I on the other. When the officer called another guard & we walked the old fellow between two men who carried the musket.

When I was on guard about 12 o’clock at night, the Major [George Frank Lemon] came along. Say’s I, “Who comes there?” and draw down my musket to his breast. He said an officer with the countersign. I said to advance to the point of the bayonet & give it. He advanced & said he would have to think a moment. I let him think when he gave it, “Author” & I let him pass. I knew who he was all the time [but] I would not let him pass without he had given it (I don’t think).

We expect to be sworn in today—those that will & I guess that most of them will come to it. Alvin C. Bradley lives about 3 miles from here, I am told.

We have some great heavy course shoes. I am a going to return mine & take the money if I can. Some have sold theirs for $2 but I want more. We have got a shirt & I bought a spool of thread to sew it over again. We had radishes & onions that night. Onions were large enough to eat when we first got here. Cherry trees grow here a good deal like the butter nut trees in Spencer. I never saw such trees before. I have received but one letter since here & that from Pitt. Send me some papers. Write if you have got any time or paper. All well.

— Chas. E. Bradley