Baton Rouge, June 13, 1863.
Dear Mother: — I have improved very much within the last few days. My appetite has returned, and I feel much better every way. My arm is suppurating very freely under the application of warm woollen cloths, which act like a mild poultice. All the doctors who look at my arm say it is doing finely. Even those who thought it was impossible to save the hand at first, think now there isn't the least doubt. It will be a long time getting well, on account of the little pieces of bone, two of which came out this morning. I have no pain in the wrist now, except when it has to be moved. My foot is doing very well, almost all healed up. I keep simple cerate on that, some of my old supply. I had a long letter from Anna yesterday, from Baltimore. It was quite an interesting letter, — all but the writing; and that was amusing. You must write to Sallie for me a few lines. Had a letter from Little too, dated the latter part of April. Have they published the account of our storming the works? The New Orleans papers have not been allowed to mention it. Didn't want to gratify the many rebs there. General Augur told one of Banks' staff the other day, in speaking of me, that I “was the best colonel in his Division, and he had rather have lost any other!”
Talk about your one leg, I don't see but it is as good as some people's two. I have heard other things, which, as the “correspondents” say, “I am not at liberty to divulge at present.”
I don't want all those strawberries to be gone before I get there. They have the meanest strawberries and the meanest tomatoes here that you can imagine. It's a mean place anyway, the whole State, and I wouldn't live here for it.
I long to get out on to salt water; that will set me up, I expect. Well, it won't be long now, I hope. I suppose you are all worrying yourselves at a great rate, by this time. You ought to have got my first letter now.
Love to all.
Your affectionate son,
W. F. B.
The other officers, as far as I can find out, are doing very well. Ben is well, at least he was a day or two since.
SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 87-8