[New Dorf, Staten Island]
[June 19th 1861]
I know that you, above all others, will be glad to hear from me. I can say thank God that I am as well I think as I ever was & that my faith in Him is as unshaken as ever, knowing that He ever doeth all things tor the best. I have put my trust in Him for several years and I know that He has guided me. I have heard a great deal of swearing since I left home & when I hear it, I can thank God with my whole heart that He gave me a kind and Christian mother who guided my feet aright, whether they go so or not. You, dearest of mothers, have done your duty toward me.
I have found some kind friends since I have been here. I have seen some very hard times since I have been here but they are growing better now. How long they will last, I do not know. I hope to return home to bless your declining years but God only knows whether I shall ever see you again.
I am on guard again today. Last Sunday when I was on guard, one of the citizens who lives about 2 miles from here came along & entered into conversation with me & when he left, he wrote his name & place of residence on a piece of paper & handed it to me with a very pressing request: that I would call & see him (he knew how we fared). I enquired but could not find out where he lived when one of our boys spoke to me about a man who saw me on Sunday. He (one of our boys) strolled up where he lived & one thought that he would like a drink of buttermilk so they went in. The man enquired for me & they said I was in their company. When he requested that one of the boys would show me the way up there & then gave the boys a cup full of butter.
Last night we went up for supper. He appeared very glad to see me & invited us to take supper. So they gave us a glass of warm new milk & a cake. When we left for home, they done up 6 boiled eggs & gave them to us. He wants me to fetch one or two more boys with me & take dinner & they will give us butter & I do not know what all they will want us to take but, “they must be good honest boys,” and you know that I have got two with me. He said come up and take dinner Sunday.
Monday I went to take my clothes on the place to be washed where I had been before & they wanted me to stay to dinner & so I did. We had a good dinner of baked beans & other good things. Among the best was some boiled fat & lean pork which was good. I suppose you will laugh over the last line but I can’t help it. I used to think that I was hungry but I don’t think that I was very. I would like to have you send me the Independent. I have read one book since I have been here. It was Headley’s Vicars—a good book. The gentleman where I ate the pork and beans was down to camp last night & offered me the reading of a daily paper. I have one in my pocket now.
Your affectionate & obedient son, — Charlie