Charles F. Bancroft to Family

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Sunday Afternoon April 6th 1862Dear Father Mother & Sister.

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It is a beau- tiful afternoon now. it is warm & the sun is shin- ing pleasantly & a cool breeze is moving the trees about me (for I am in the woods) and the whole aspect of Nature is little in keeping with the scenes that are being enacted at no great distance from me. All day so far I have heard the noise of war in earnest although our Regt has taken no part in the fighting yet. I presume you are read ing in the Palladium now about our late moves & won dering what we are about to day but before I give you the details of to days opperations I will finish up for yesterday. It was cool nice marching & we pressed on in the direction & on the same road that we took the 27th of March & went 9 miles in little less than 3 hours & about 1 Oclock we took possession of a place called if I am informed right Shelmans Mill Our Regt deployed to the left of the road on which we were marching & went through a body of woods through thickets mud holes & [a wire] fence & when we arrived in the open field we had not the

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straightest line that ever was but we soon formed & under the order guide sentre commenced moving across the field. as we came out of the field woods the Rebel works stared us full in the face they consisted of quite extensive earthworks Rifle pits & breast works enclosing a large number of barrecks & a grist mill. For a few moments I thought there was going to be a fight in earnest but as there were a few rebels seen but I soon saw that there was no flag flying on the works & no appearance of artillery & the rebels left after firing a few shots wounding a man in the 5 Vt. Regt in the shoulder & this shot passed near our Cols head & also near our colors. We ordered to charge bayonet & on we went through the mud & through a brook where the water was nearly knee deep & over fallen trees & [formed] in the works & planted our standard on the breast works We staid here 2 hrs or more & looked about some The Rebels had nice log houses built here with fireplaces in them & good nice rooms & in some of them fires were burning in the fireplaces I walked around & found some peices of the Richmond

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Examiner & a bottle of Linament made of Hartshorn Spirits of Turpentine & sweet oil & have it with me now & a round musket ball some men in the 5th or 6th found a box of cartridges marked Confederate La Cavalry Richmond Va. We had not been here long before a fire broke out in one of the houses & soon communicated to 3 or 4 others but it did not burn many as they were in a quarter separate from most of them. wheth er our boys set them on fire or not I do not know Towards night 3 Cos of our Regt were thrown out on picket & ours was one of them We went out about 2 miles deployed a line of skirm ishers & at night part were put on picket until 1 Oclock the rest of us were put on until morning when we all advanced again I com- menced with this writing this when on this post but did not get a great way with it before I had to fall in with the rest of the Co. I commenced rain- ing soon after we started accompanied with thunder & lightning & we halted & put on our rubber blankets & waited until the shower was over but it made bad marching

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About 1 Oclock we were halted & were formed in line of battle with woods in front & we [went] on a ploughed field Pretty soon firing commenced from our batteries & after we had held it about an hour we went into the woods & formed in line of battle again. & then camped for the night there was a good deal of firing yester day & is to day but we are driving the rebels although I understand that they have strong works on our front I have heard that our loss was 27 killed & I dont know how many wounded but probably by this time our loss is more This morning we started & marched about a mile all the way in the woods & halted & now are laying around with our knap sacks & other rigging off & probably shall stay here to night we have heard some firing now but it is not much Co B went out as skirmishers this morn ing & just now Co C has gone out & Co B has come in with no loss I presume that some of our boys will write home & magnify our opperations into a terrible battle but I dont think yet that we have done a great deal (that is our Regt) but I guess before another week is out that we shall fight if we ever do. My health is first rate & I stand the marches & sleeping on the ground on a rubber blanket first rate & I like crackers & raw pork too to day noon we had 10 crackers a piece & a chunk of pork & half a cup of coffee & the same of sugar served to each man & to night we are going to have rice & boiled beef so we shant starve yet the tea you sent me is worth its weight in gold I made a cup of green tea this morning & it was tip top there is nothing better for a soldier on a march than a cup of tea but I will stop for to day

so good Afternoon C F Bancroft