[Mansion House Hospital, Alexandria]
June 6th 1862
I have been out a couple of hours this forenoon. I had talk with a market man about dried apples. He was retailing [them] at 10 cents; they cost him 6 or 7 cents & were nice but the core was in. He wished me to write to the boys & see what was the least they would sell at & they deliver deliver them at Elmira. His name is A. J. Ogden. Alexandria, Va., so that if I should leave here, they can write to him if they like.
I do not know when we shall leave, if at all. I suppose Horace has got home. I am getting along slowly. We can buy nice strawberries already hulled at 12 cents.
I am a soldier [but] I am not willing to fight for to free the slaves. I have seen enough to satisfy me that a gradual emancipation is the best for them. You say you would take them in the army. I would not. It would cost more money than for three of our regiment & take a whole year to get any kind of discipline. As soon as you liberate the slaves, every Union man in the South is ready & will take up arms against us while now they are inactive. If the Abolitionists of the North are going to have their way, they had best to begin to raise their army for I can assure you that the Army of the Potomac will not do it for them. They are a poor, God forsaken lot of stay-at-home fools & when we have put down this rebellion, our next duty is to march north & make war on our next greatest enemy—the Abolitionists.
There is many an office holder now that is holding his last office if these soldiers ever get home. They are known. We are not so large fools as not to know a friend. Will you explain to me why it is that there are none of these Abolitionists in the Army? They are a set of cowards. I do not know of a single soldier but what likes Lincoln’s policy, but to arm the slaves? it is a thing that can not be done for a long time. There are but few of them that know any thing, as you may say. It’s a fact that to liberate them would stop the raising of foods &c. but would that be worth as much to us as to have the Union men stay at home & then we have yet to feed these Negroes that we set free & that will make you fellows at the North scratch dirt.
The boy that use to live at Truman Huggs is at work here in the hospital. He cannot find out where he has 5 months pay due him & has made his allotment to Truman & he don’t know but he has gone West or where he is. I have got money enough for the present without you have got some. You know what. If you have, hold on to it until I get settled. We want 2 or 300,000 more men.
Yours respectfully, — Chas. E. Bradley