8 pages, 5 x 8, in ink, written by Lieutenant Benjamin Wright, to his wife Abbie. Excellent 1863 Charleston, South Carolina campaign content.
Camp 10th C.[onnecticut] V.[olunteers], Seabrook Island, S.C., June 15th, 1863
My Dear Abbie,
Here it is the middle of June. One summer month will quickly be gone. Well, I can say "fly quickly round ye wheels of time and bring the welcome day" that is when our time shall have been served or when our country no longer needs our services. This morning I intended to have written several letters today, but I have done nothing at it. I canít plan want of time necessarily for I have done but little of importance all day, been fooling around. Tomorrow I shall probably have to go on fatigue. I came off guard yesterday morning. We come on duty about every three days.
16th: Quite unexpectedly I did not have to go on fatigue today. Would probably have had to have gone but instead of sending two officers on fatigue there was only one sent. I hardly think I shall go tomorrow unless the officers are all sick. I think about half of them are on the sick list now. We are having pretty large sick lists at present. Nothing very serious however. Mostly chills and fevers, but that pulls the men right down. This hot weather makes the duties also come heavier on the men that are for duty. I am afraid our list will be growing longer all summer if we stay in this department. I have great cause to be thankful. Somehow or other this southern climate seems to agree with me pretty well. I donít think I have had the Dr. prescribe for me in a year. Hardly another man in the Regt. I think can say that. I feel very thankful that I have been preserved. I pray that my health may be continued, but health is very uncertain in this climate. Lieut. Tomlinson was quite sick for several days but he has recovered. Sergt. Peck is quite sick. He occupies my tent. We were reviewed last week by Gen. Stevenson for the benefit and entertainment of the gun boat officers as we suppose. A number of them road with the Gen. After the review we were drilled in Brigade drill so as to show the gun boat officers what we can do, show them some of the evolutions of the Brigade. We would like now for them to show us something, some of their evolutions in taking some battery. I think we are entitled to some entertainment. If they had wanted to have seen some double quick we should probably had to have done it. We received a small mail this afternoon, not very late date however. I received none at all. I think it came on the boat that brought Gen. Gillmore. This afternoon heavy firing is going on in the direction of Folly Island. They say there has been more or less of it going on for two or three days between our batteries on Folly Island and the Rebs on Morris Island, and that some of our gun boats had taken part in the affair. There is some pretty heavy and fast firing. Gen. Hunter left the department on Sunday for the North. His staff clerks, etc. only numbered sixty three. It is a wonder that he never did anything. It could not have cost anything to run his machine, but he has gone. May peace go with him. May he never have command of another department. Gen. Gillmore that has taken [his] place was in command at Tybee Island when Fort Pulaski was taken. I think he belonged somewhere in this part of the country before the war broke out. One thing he comes here in a department with but few troops, so few that he will not be able to do much at present. He may worry the Rebs some, however I think probably he will be here in a few days to look after us. We hear that he has gone up to Stono. I think Admiral Foote will trouble them some after he gets here. I donít think quite as many will run the blockade as have heretofore. It was high time a change was made. I donít believe these gun boat officers will have quite as easy times laying off as they have had. Foote will bring them right up to the scratch. If he had command of the monitors when the attack was made on Charleston they would never backed out as they did. He would have taken Charleston or lost every one of them. He has faith in them. Nathan received a letter from Jared Finch today. Jared talks right up to him like a father. He is faithful to his old friend, tells him what the Lord has done for him. He urges Nathan to come out on the Lordís side also. I am in hopes Nathan will. I believe Nathan was converted a year ago last winter, but he never had confidence to take up his cross. All he needs I think is confidence. He is a very good boy, very conscientious. His brother William has written him a very plain letter. I hope we may yet see of the Lordís doings in our midst, but the army is a poor place for a man to make a stand to serve the Lord surrounded by companions of all sorts, no place where a man can go in secret. It requires a good deal of determination to make a stand. Tonight is our regular night for prayer meeting. I anticipate a good time. Our chaplain preaches Sabbath afternoon. There was a large turn out. He also attended the Sabbath school. He was not out to the meeting in the evening. I have just succeeded today in getting Dr. Newton to make out the certificate for Mr. Edward Meade that I called for a week ago. I am about disgusted with the way things are done in our Regt. I am greatly disappointed about some things, had hoped they would be different. The field and staff must have a mess tent. If they have to take the hospital tent there must be a barn built for their horses while the old hospital tent is like a pig pen not fit for a hog to stay in. Of course horses are of more account than men. I donít complain on my own account as I can get along here. So few have trouble in the hospital, but I want to see the men treated like men. I have a feeling for them. If I was capable I would write a letter to some of the Conn. papers that would raise a breeze. I would not be surprised if there was some letters come out soon. It ought to be done. It might have a good effect. It could not hurt to say the least.
17th: I am on guard again today this morning about 5 oíclock. The Sergt. Major came around with an order for a review by Gen. Gillmore at 9 oíclock, Regt. to form at 8. We got all ready, the Co. fell in waiting for the band to strike up for us to march out, to our gratification the recall was sounded for some reason the Gen. had decided not to [have] any review. It was sensible in him for the morning has been very hot. There begins to be a little breeze starting up now. Some how or other I seem to have the luck of getting on duty these hottest days. Tomorrow morning I shall have to come off and go up on picket and then be on duty part of tomorrow night. We shall be on the out post. I think we shall be very short of non-commissioned officers which is going to make it come hard on us. I think also we shall be short of men. Our Regt. has to do just the same amount of picket duty with the men we have got as the 24th Mass. with nearly as many men. We have to finish just as many men for the trenches and if any men are needed for fatigue such as on loading Qtr. Master goods or anything of the kind. The 10th [Conn.] is called on for them and our Col. submits to it. The thing of it is Gen. Stevenson was Col. of the 24th [Mass.] and they have just what they want. Any men on his staff came from the 24th [Mass.]. I think him about competent to command the 24th [Mass.]. The chaplain attended the prayer meeting last night. We had a good meeting but not as many present as we have had sometimes heretofore. I think some of Co. I men are feeling quite deeply. I wish there could be a meeting held in the Co. I think it would do good, but as it is, there is no place, the tents being those little A tents. Paul Ferris promised me last night that he would give up playing cards. I think there is hope of Paul yet. He was very intimate with William Husted and Silas Finch, and it makes him think some on his ways there being converted. I think there is others that are halting between two opinions going through the Co. In the evenings you will see a number reading their testaments. It looks good. I hope we shall see something come of it yet.
Very fine condition, with some light staining, excellent content, very newsy, 8 page, 1863 South Carolina letter. The letter is unsigned, however, I guarantee that it was written by Lieutenant Benjamin Wright in his very distinctive handwriting style. It came out of a large group of his war date personal correspondence that I bought many years ago. I will supply you with Xerox copies of a group of other interesting items related to Benjamin Wright some of which have been signed by him with his full name and regiment to corroborate the ID.
Lieutenant Benjamin Wright, was a resident of Greenwich, Conn., when he enlisted on September 13, 1861, as a sergeant, and was mustered into Co. I, 10th Connecticut Infantry. He was promoted to 2nd lieutenant, January 8, 1863; 1st lieutenant, June 6, 1864; and mustered out of the service on October 17, 1864.
PRINCIPAL ENGAGEMENTS OF THE 10TH CONNECTICUT INFANTRY:
Roanoke Island, N. C., Feb. 8, 1862.
Newbern, N. C., Mar. 14, 1862.
Kinston, N. C., Dec. 14, 1862.
Whitehall, N. C., Dec. 16, 1862.
Goldsboro, N. C., Dec. 18, 1862.
Seabrook Island, S. C., Mar. 28, 1863.
Siege of Charleston, S. C., from July 28 to Oct. 25, 1863.
St. Augustine, Fla., Dec. 30, 1863.
Walthall Junction, Va., May 7, 1864.
Drewry's Bluff, Va., May 13 to 17, 1864.
Bermuda Hundred, Va., June 16, 1864.
Deep Bottom, Va., June 20, 1864.
Strawberry Plains, Va., July 26 and 27, 1864.
Deep Bottom, Va., Aug. 1, 1864.
Deep Bottom, Va., Aug. 14, 1864.
Deep Run, Va., Aug. 16, 1864.
Deep Gully and Fuzzells Mills, Va., Aug. 28, 1864.
Siege of Petersburg, Va., Aug. 28 to Sep. 29, 1864.
Fort Harrison, Va., Sep. 27, 1864.
Laurel Hill Church, Va., 0ct. 1, 1864.
Newmarket Road, Va., Oct. 7, 1864.
Darbytown Road, Va., Oct. 13, 1864.
Darbytown Road, Va., Oct. 27, 1864.
Johnson's Plantation, Va., Oct. 29, 1864.
Hatcher's Run, Va., Mar. 29 and 30, and April 1, 1865.
Fort Gregg, Va., April 2, 1865.
Appomattox Court House, Va., April 9, 1865.
Source: Connecticut: Record of Service of Men During War of Rebellion