8 January 1863

Franklin’s Headquarters
Fredericksburg [Virginia]
January 8, 1863

Dear Wife,

We still remain here and I am glad of it. I like here better than any camp that I have been in although it would be a lonesome place it was not for the Army. There is not but two houses in sight and them are not much more than hovels. The women are a poor, miserable looking set as ever I saw. I have not seen a decent looking woman for the last three months.

We live better here than we have lived before. I think that is one thing that makes us feel better although it costs us something for some things are high out here. I will give you a small list of the prices that we have to pay here for the luxuries. Flour $8 a barrel. Onions $2 a barrel. Fresh beef 9 cents a pound. Rice & dried apples 8, Sugar 12, Molasses 40 a gallon, tobacco 1.50 a pound, apples 10 cents apiece. Apple pies 25, bread 25 cents a loaf, butter 50 cents a lb., cheese 1.00 & dry goods out of sight. So you see that we can not afford to buy much. Flour & molasses is the most that I buy and make griddles. Tonight I had a loaf of wheat bread which cost me 25 cents and a piece of beef steak with a flour gravy which I think is the best supper I have had since I came away from home.

I have just been out to see a balloon pass over. It was so dark I could not see much. ¹

I thank the children for their kind letters. I received your and Ann’s letter of January 3rd last night. I have sent no letters without postage stamps on them. I broke my watch yesterday. I think [I will] do it up and send it home by mail. You can have it fixed or not, just as you like and keep it unless I send for it. It is not the one that I brought with me from home.

E. Janes has been sent to the hospital at Washington. (A. has got out of the guard house. He was fined 13 dollars and 30 days fatigue duty. Lucky for him.)

Our boxes have not come yet. The captain ² has gone to Washington to see if he can find them. I do not know what the postage will be on the watch. I shall have to let you pay it when you get it. I have no more room so goodnight. Love to all.

From your husband, — William A. Bartlett

The boys are all well. Enclosed I send 10 cents for Clarence to buy me a lead pencil and send it to me in a paper. I want one marked A. W. Faber No. 4. H. Clark sends his best respects to you and says he will call and see you when he gets home.


¹ The New York Herald on 11 January 1863 reported that it had a correspondent make a “Novel reconnoissance of the enemy’s position and the late battlefield at Fredericksburg from Professor Lowe’s balloon at an elevation of a thousand feet.” Likewise, on 12 January 1863, the Richmond Enquirer reported that “the balloon reconnaissances go on by night and by day. The Professor was up on Thursday night for an hour or more. There is scarcely a day that these aerial voyages [are] not taken.”

² Possibly Capt. Algernon S. Flagg of Wilbraham. He was the first captain of Co. D, 37th Massachusetts Infantry.

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