24 June 1861

Camp Massachusetts
Alexandria, Virginia
June 24th 1861

Dear Friend,

I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and I hope that this finds you enjoying the same blessing. We have not had any fighting yet and I begin to think we shall not see much if any. I think it very doubtful if we see any. The Ohio boys had a little brush about ten miles from here. There was nine or ten killed and quite a number wounded. It was at a place called Vienna. I suppose that you have seen an account of it before this time. They went from this place out to guard the railroad and run into a masked battery of the enemy’s and was driven back. It was another Great Bethel affair and it shows us that our officers don’t know much about war. If they did, they would look out for such things as them. We was kept under arms a most all last week and for three days we expected to be attacked any hour. We was called out and formed in line of battle two nights last week but nary an enemy made their appearance and I don’t think they will. The danger is passed for the present—at least so says our officers—and our boys begin to think they will have to go home without seeing any fighting.

There was one of our boys shot yesterday. It was an accident. He was loading his pistol and it went off and the ball went through his left breast. I don’t know whether he will get well or not. There is a little hope of his getting well, the doctor says. ¹

It is very hot days here and cool nights. I never saw any hotter weather in my life than I have seen here. But it is a very pleasant country, I think. In fact, I like it so well that I think that I shall come out here and live after this war is settled if I can get a certain person that I know of to come with me. What do you think of that?

There has been seven of our regiment wounded by their [own] pistols since we came out here, which is more I think than will be shot by the enemy. But there is nothing certain in war. Perhaps we may see some pretty hard times yet but I don’t think we shall.

Lydia, I don’t know of anything that I can write that will interest you so I guess I might as well stop. Give my best respects to all of Grandfather’s folks if you please. Write soon and let me know if you are well. Please to write often if it is not more than three lines. I must close now so goodbye for this time.

Yours most truly, — S. M. Bragdon


¹ The soldier with the self-inflicted pistol wound was William H. Richardson, “a Stoneham boy of Company F, only eighteen years old.” He died on 7 July 1861. “The boys chief regret was that he had run away from home to enlist.”

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