17 October 1862: “I, who always tryed to shirk everything in name of work, had to hatch up something to do, so I hit upon the plan of making a set of chessmen, I have whittled out quite a number out of Black Walnut…”

Item description: Letter, 17 October 1862, from William H. Broughton to his father.

More about William H. Broughton:
William H. Broughton mustered into the Union Army on 4 August 1862 and was later made captain of Company D, 16th Maine Infantry Regiment. He was captured at Weldon Railroad, Va., circa August 1864, and mustered out on 5 June 1865.

Item citation: From the William H. Broughton Letters and Other Materials #5346-z, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Item transcription:

Camp near Sharpsburg October 17, 1862

Dear Father,

I received your letter of the 13th inst. last night, was very glad to hear from you, when I received it, the rain was pouring down good.

Heavy cannonading was heard at intervals all day yesterday, we had orders to have two days rations cooked and in our haversacks, and be prepared to march at any moment, but I guess we shall not march until sometime yet. the occasion of the firing yesterday, I do not know the cause of.

That paper you sent me I have not received yet, but shall probably get in a few days, if you will. I should like to have you send the Portland Press quite often and the Boston journal occasionaly.

Lieut. Eustis has not received his discharge yet but will probably received it before long. it has to go to Gen. McClellan and through a string of [?] fixings, but he will get it fast enough. the next thing in the programe is my chance if I don’t get it. I shall try for the Serg. Maj. position, that is if he gets the chance, if I don’t get either, all I can say “Let her rip.”

We begin to do something now in the way of drilling. We go out on Brigade drill about every day. We have got a new Brigadier General, his name is Taylor. he is the finest looking military man I ever saw.

It has been a lazy life in camp here for the last month, it got so tiresome for me to do nothing. [?] S., even I, who always tryed to shirk everything in name of work, had to hatch up something to do, so I hit upon the plan of making a set of chessmen, I have whittled out quite a number out of Black Walnut, if we don’t move before long I shall have them all done. 

Capt. Raine has not been heard of for two weeks.

It is getting late and I must close by bidding you good bye. Give my love to Mother and all the rest.

From your son,
William H. Broughton

P.S. You will observe that I have directed this letter to myself should change it, but envelopes are scarce. 

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