Hiram H. Barton to Melissa Barton
I now take my pen in hand to let you know that I am well and hope this will find
you the same. It is now past 1 at night I am on gard and thought it would keep
me awake to write a little There is no great news or interest about here except
that the the blacks and whites are coming in all along most every day I took 14
white men to the Provost Martials yesterday there was no old ones yet they are
all men grown they come down the river in a scow they took
[the] oath and 3 of them enlisted in the Cavelry before I
left and had a full suit of blue with belts swords and revolver ready for
service some wanted to go to little Washington to join there with their friends
there part of the N. C. Union Cavelry are here and part there They say the
rebels are forcing every man they can get into service they rather leave home
for the Union than rebelion They say there is plenty more that will come if they can 2 of the 14 have gone back for another load they flew to the woods and the rebels set the woods on fire to smoke them out the most of them have been in service some of them over a year they say the rebel army is kept short a great deal of the time $30 a head would be paid to the man that would capture them They are smart looking men and large but they talk that Nigger brogue it sounds like baby talk They are from Bertie County I rec’d your letter of April 5th. I am sory that David had such a time of it trying to be a soldier but I had rather go through that much than what I have been through but I would not like the credit it is true it looks hard to see a deserter shot through the head and it is equally bad to see the fields strewed with brave men tore and mangled in all ways I remember one rebel that had a 3 inch canon ball shot through him, it went in at the back and out of the centre of his chest his heart lay on his breast close to his chin part of his liver lay on a pile of rails I think he was killed by one of their own shots this was Williamsburg but this dont compare with other battles
We expect to hear that Vicksburgh is taken or Grant the news dont say which yet it will be hard fighting on both sides I supose it is done before, now but we dont get the news here in less than 30 days or less if we stay here till our time is out we will have to find our way out our selves for I dont believe the government can find us There is considerable said about Lee going into Pa they think here it will be a good thing to rouse the North to what they are to come to unless they do something There is some sort of a moove in motion in this Dep artment but soldiers dont know any thing only what they see when they go to bed at night they dont know as they will stay till morning June 24th I was too sleepy to finish this after coming off gard I thought I would sleep in the day time for the musketoes dont let us at night it wont take many to weigh a pound they trouble us more than the report that the reb cavelry was coming We are on the South side of the Roanoke River about a mile above Plymouth this place is called War Neck the Indians had a big battle here or near by a great many years ago a little above here was a Chief buried There has been a crew of darkies driving spiles to blockade the river so the rebels cant come down and surprise us if they have any thing up there.
The 96 left Newbern the 5th May I joined that day we commenced a fort when we first came here and it is most done There is one 32 pd’r in it (rifled) and another on the dock to be put in smooth guns This is the best camp we have been in since we have been out I got a letter from Almira & Nelson they are all well and just got into the new house They are going to have great rejoicing in West Port when they hear that Vicksburg is taken But if they hear that Grant is taken they will be ready to secede I supose I got a letter from Father a few days ago the folks are all except L Woster They expect Co H 34th N. Y. V. home the report here is that the 2 years Regts of N.Y. had volunteered to go to Pa. to fight Lee I hope that Lee and Vicksburgh will be taken and then if it is followed up it will give them a hard blow but if neither is taken it gives us a hard blow It is believed here by some that our time is out next April but I dont I dont expect to get out of service less than a year and a half but I hope we will for I am tired of soldiering and killing is worse than all the rest, but that is not my folt if men risk their lives and try to take others in trying to destroy the best government the world ever knew I have no objection to their being killed and think it is no loss to the Country There was another boat load come down the River this morning 11 of them and say there is plenty more wants to come they say there will enough for a regt come if they can get away before the rebs get them To get white men away from the Rebels does them some hurt but the have all the Nigger they want all that can work to advantage I dont think they care much about what comes into our lines and they are no use to us I have wrote all the Nonsense I can on this paper from your brother Direct to Plymouth N.C.
Hiram Barton Co. C 96 N.Y. Volunteers