March 23, 1862
I received your letter a few days ago. You seemed to think that I could write ten letters to your one. I think at that rate my stamps would soon play out, or you could not write any.
We were reviewed last week by Gen McClellan up in that piece of ground by the fort. There are some ten or twelve thousand in our Division Franklin’s & Newton’s headquarters are in the seminary & after the review, while we were in line, the last two named generals, McClellan & [his] staff rode by us & we gave him three hearty cheers. He took off his cap to us & it made him laugh.
Heintzelman’s Division has gone down the river. I saw part of it embark a week ago tomorrow. The government has about one hundred transports going back & forth from Alexandria to—I do not know where. We expect to go soon. When we do, you will receive no more letters from me for some time as the mail has been stopped from all the troops that have advanced into Virginia so that there will be no way of the Rebs getting the news. Since I have been writing this letter, two or three batteries of artillery have gone past towards Alexandria.
We were on guard last Thursday. I acted as corporal of the guard. As I was about posting my relief, Lieut. Jackson called to me to come to his tent. When I got there he said that an order had come to appoint from this regiment two orderlies for Gen. Newton & that one was to come from Co. I & Co. J. [He] had the privilege of sending one. The adjutant said it was a good post—would have a horse to ride, carry a sword &c., but there would be no chance for promotion. The captain said I could have it if I wanted it. At first I said I would take it; then I changed my mind & said to captain that I did not want to leave my company—that I came out with the company & if I lived, I wanted to go back with it. About this time one of the other boys came in & he wanted it, so the captain let him have it. He had been a good steady boy since he belonged to the company. That night he left expecting what I have just written. The boys all wondered that I did not go—especially those that wished promotion for they knew that I stood first.
Well before roll call or tattoo, this fellow (John Lewis) came back very much disappointed. He was sent to an artillery battery & was to drive a caisson (ammunition wagon) & he would not stand it so he came back & someone was sent from another company. The next day I was made 3rd Corporal. There are two more to be appointed below me. The first corporal went down to the city, stayed over his pass, got drunk & had a fight. He was made corporal in Ithaca. Ben Spaulding (2nd Corporal) was made 5th Sergeant & the other two corporals raised to 1st & 2nd. I am very well satisfied the 1st Corporal. He has a brother that was offered sergeant in Ithaca, but would not take it but his friends tried hard to get 3rd Corporal for him, but no go. I guess that he will be 4th.
Lieutenant Ferrand came down at night & told me that Lewis had got back. He said that after the orders came, that Jackson spoke up & said there that will suit Charlie Bradley or the Jones. The Captain said we don’t want to lose them but it is a good place so Jackson called for me. I had the first offer.
Gen. McClellan’s headquarters are near here. We serenaded him last Friday night. He made a short speech & right to the point. King’s Division lays up along the Leesburg road ready to ship. Direct my letters as before. Do not put on Corp. for it is not used here & it would make a laugh. Say nothing about it at home. Let someone else tell it before you do. — Chas. E. Bradley
I am well as usual. I suppose you gave the people a graphic description of camp life on the Potomac.
P. S. Smith’s Division has been loading today at Alexandria. I think that we shall go within a week. At least I hope so.