Washington, May 12, 1864.
Dear Mother, — I reached here last night from Fredericksburg. I was hit the second day's fight in the Wilderness, just above the right temple. The ball glanced off, only making a slight wound. I was stunned for a short time, but was carried to the rear just in time to avoid being taken prisoner. When I fell, I wrenched my stump so that it has been very painful, and I am not able to wear my leg. Otherwise I should not have left the regiment. I have been living ever since (this was Friday, sixth) in an ambulance, on nothing but hard bread and whiskey. I had a bath last night, and a bed, and shall soon be all right. It has been continual marching and fighting since we left Rappahannock. Little Abbott you know is killed. Macy wounded, leg. Bond wounded, and hosts of others whom you don't know. Our greatest loss is Sedgwick. I shall try to get a few days' leave to go on, get my other leg, and have it fitted. It has been the hardest fighting of the war, probably the hardest in history, those two days in the Wilderness. Our loss is estimated from twenty to thirty thousand.
With much love to all,
W. F. B.
SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 101-2