Charles C. Canning to William Wirt Henry

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Camp in the Woodsopposite the enemyMay 26th 1862Friend "Henry"

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I have been hoping for a long time to receive a letter from you. you of course have read in the paperss from day to day of our progress in the Peninsula. we are now within eight miles of Richmond, on the banks of the Chikihomany Creek. about two miles on our right we have forces across, and I trust it will not be many days ere we shall be across and in the city of Richmond. we have heard this morning that Genl. Banks has been defeated, but have no particulars. I hope the report is false.

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Our Regiment has received more sad news than that. “Lt. Col. Stannard" has been called from this Regiment to take charge of the new one which is to be raised. I wish I could follow him. Do you know where the companies are to be raised (that is what towns)? I wish I could be called (through the influence of some friend) to take command of a company. I think I am competent to handle one. I can have any amount of recommendations from this Regt. I have found one thing to be true, if a man wishes promotion in the army, he must work for it. You know whether I would make a captain. I wish you

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could get recruiting papers, get up a company, and get me in command of it. I do not wish to remain here, after Col. Stannard is gone, still I shall not resign unless I am sure of a better position. I do not wish to leave the army until this question is settled.

I will tell you what I will do, William: if you can find me a chance in any Co. for a captaincy and get it, I will give you one hundred dollars in cash, and the moment I do not suit the co. after trying me, I will resign. You can see by that I am anxious to be in “Stannards” Regiment. Please look arround a little, and write

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to me. if you are at any expense about the matter let me know and I will pay all bills, and if one hundred will not pay for the commission, I will give more. Your friends are all well. Lt. Gregg is liked very much by the Co. now, but Lt. Clark is perfectly hated, there is nothing to him. Captain Johnson is thought much of. My health is first best. Since we left Yorktown we have been marching through a beautiful country. My best regards to all friends. Excuse haste. Hoping to soon hear from you. Believe me

your old friendCharles C. Canning
Co. “I” 2nd Regt Vt. Vols.
Washington D.C.
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P.S. If Gov. Holbrook will promise to give me recruiting papers, I will get my discharge here. I think I could raise a company, quicker than a citizen could. I have seen considerable fighting, any abundance of drilling, so that is experience will fit a man to take charge of a company, I think I am qualified. Let me know what you think about it whether you can help me any. Could not Paul Dillingham obtain the papers for me. I think he might. I would pay him and you well for obtaining them. There will I think be a good deal of wine working in our different Regiments to obtain office

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in the new Regt. I want to be on hand as soon as any. Do all you can for me. Since commencing this letter, we have received orders to have 3 days rations, to be ready to march at a moments notice, without knapsacks, wagons and every thing to be left behind until we get across the creek, and have every thing sure. From the reading of Genl. McClellan’s order, we have got to have a most bloody fight. He is ordering all detailed men to have guns and fall into the Ranks, for this march. We have got to charge upon them. Look out for a bloody battle as soon as this reaches you. Yours