Thursday, October 27, 2016

Brigadier-General William F. Bartlett to Harriet Plummer Bartlett, August 5, 1864

Prisoners' Hospital,
Danville, Va., August 5, 1864.

Dear Mother, — I will write a few lines in the hope that they may reach you at some time. You know, of course, that I was taken prisoner, that my leg (wooden) was crushed; the man next me was killed by the same shell. I was very much used up and have been very weak from diarrhoea since. I was brought from the prison to this place night before last. The other officers were all sent to Columbia, S. C, yesterday, Colonel Weld and Captain Amory included; so I am all alone I shall be sent there when I am well enough, I suppose. I am in a tent here, and have plenty of fresh air. I hope no blame is given me for the failure of Saturday. I certainly did all in my power. I held the pit with, hardly any force after the rest of the line had been retaken. The rebel flag was within six feet of mine, just the ridge of dirt between, for nearly an hour. It was impossible to withdraw without sacrificing all the men, so I held on as long as possible in hope of reinforcements. The negroes were crowded into the same pit with us when they retreated in such confusion, and we have been treated worse, an account of being taken with them.

I shall get better here, I think. I don't suppose you will be able to send me anything. Tufts, the Massachusetts Agent in Washington, will know. Write me. Not more than one page is allowed, I believe. Address Prisoner of War, Danville, Va. Has George got home yet? And my horses? Take good care of Ned. I made arrangements to have him sent home in case anything happened to me. The Chaplain and Dr. White promised to see to it. If you can send me a small box with something to eat and drink, some tea and coffee, I should like it. It might get to me. Send it through Tufts, Massachusetts Agent in Washington. Send this letter to A. P. I shall not be able to write any more at present. I have Uncle Edwin's “letter” with me, and may be able to use it. Don't be worried about me, I shall be well soon. I shall get a pair of crutches made so I can get about soon. My half-dollar pocket-piece did me good service; brought me eight dollars confederate money, with which I bought a tooth-brush. Milk two dollars qt., etc. My love to all. Let them write me often; some will get through.

Your affectionate son,
W. F. Bartlett.
Brigadier-general U. S. A., Prisoner of War.
(Envelopes, $8. a package.)

There has been some talk of exchanging sick and wounded prisoners. I hope it will be effected.

SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 121-3

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