General Sedgwick’s Headquarters
July 31, 1863
I wrote you a letter yesterday but as I have time & a little news. I will write you some today. The 37th Massachusetts Regiment & the 5th Wisconsin have been ordered to New York City. ¹ They started this morning. I saw them when they went by but did not want to go with them. I could have gone by requesting to be sent back to my regiment but I like my place here too well for that. I had rather take care of cows than go North to fight.
I think this country is going to the Devil as fast as it can when there is an open rebellion both North & South. And I believe that if the draft had been on the rich as well as the poor, there would not have been any fuss. But as long as they make laws to grind & make slaves of poor men & let a rich man off for 300 dollars, they must expect trouble. I do not know why a poor man’s life is not worth as much as a rich one’s. All I have got to say is let them serve all alike & then if a rich man is drafted, let him hire a substitute if he can get one. If not, let him come himself. It is no worse for him than me & not as bad for his family. But I will not write no more on that subject for fear I will say too much. Time will tell what it will amount to.
I wrote a letter to Hannah yesterday. I did not know then that Joseph was drafted. I got a letter from you last night dated July 26th. You say you wish we would drive the Rebs up there. I think you have got enough of them there already. There is a few names among the drafted that I am glad to see [and] others that will come hard on. Joseph will of course pay his 300. I think Clarence is getting along pretty fast. He must be careful how he drives or he will get hurt. He is rather young yet but I am glad to see him try to help his mother.
I saw [George C.] Clark & [Sgt. Edward D.] Hooker when they went by this morning & I saw [Sumner L.] Niles yesterday. They were well. There is 5 of us left here. All the rest of the detailed men are ordered back and gone with the regiment. The names of us here are [Clavin S.] Cooley of Wilbraham, [Cyrus W.] Cross of Ludlow, Munyon of Northampton, [Henry A.] Searle of Southampton, Mansfield of Leminster, & myself. We all prefer to stay rather than run the risk of getting as good a place again.
August 1st & a very hot day at that. We rather expect to move about a couple of miles today into the town. This Corps is expecting to stay here & guard the town & railroad a spell till the conscripts are brought out but then we may not. An order is given one day & countermanded the next so we must take it as it comes.
I see they are beginning to pack up so I must close this letter by sending love to you all & as many kisses as you have a mind to accept for yourself & the children. So goodbye, dear Alida. If we stay around here, I shall write again soon. From your husband, — Wm. A. Bartlett
I got those papers last night.
¹ Thomas Porter, Jr. served as the Quartermaster Sergeant for the 37th Massachusetts. A letter he wrote on 9 August 1863 to his wife describing the journey to Fort Hamilton in New York Harbor may be at 1863: Thomas Porter, Jr. to Harriet (Robinson) Porter on Spared & Shared 13.