Charles F. Bancroft to Family

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Camp Griffin. Va.Nov. 16th 1861Dear Folks at Home,

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Your letter of the 10th inst. was received last Thursday night as usual when one is started on Monday & of course was read with pleasure, but I will confess that the good advice & fatherly counsel you gave me started the tears to my eyes. I have never realized how much I was thought of at home until now & it does seem that you feel as if you could not do too much for me it seems as if anything I want of you can be had for the asking and I hope that I shall not make you too much work, but fear I shall as you were always ready to run & work for me & I fear at times I have been too ungrateful to you but I do hope that it will be Gods Providence that I may return to my home ere long to spend the rest of my life in taking care of you & so make returns for your kindness Perhaps as you say it is the ordering of Providence in sending me out here to duly appreciate the privileges I have left in Vt. & I have wished many a time that I had stayed at home & helped you this fall we could have had such a nice time & I could have fixed up things a good deal but if I get home some time the debts will be paid up some & then we can get a long nicely but if I do escape the sickness here, & get home well it will convince me that God does have something to do with the affairs of men for we here lost 6 from our Regt. already & 9 of our Co are in the Hospital besides 18 here unable to do duty. I have great reason to be thankful that my sickness has not been any worse for if I had had the fever it might have gone hard with me as a great amount of green bloody and diseased matter has passed my bowells & if it had happened to have taken a different turn it might have gone harder & different with me still I may not escape but I hope I may & think that if I do not take cold that I shall not have a fever. For a few days back we had rough weather Yesterday Friday it rained & to day the wind blows as hard as it ever did at Uncle Lamberts & it is rather cold too. Our Co, all that were able came off of picket this morning & a hard time they had of it. I did not go & I am

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glad I did not have for it was a muddy & cold time & many of the boys got their feet badly wet. I have no war news now to write respecting the movements in our immediate vicinity, but I think that we shall either go into winter quarters in barracks or tents here or fight still those that have been here longest think that we at this place will not have much fighting to do but we cant tell You have probably heard before this of the successes at Port Royal and of the Arrest of Mason & Slidell the Confederate Ministers to Europe these things are going to forward matters rapidly & if we gain a few more important victories the war will be closed by spring. We are having good success in the west & I hope that our moves will be such that will ensure us success & that there will be no more Bull Run Affairs. I think that the removal of Genl. Fremont is one of the worst things that the Administration could have done as he had gained the confidence of the West & great hopes were centered on him. I fear our Govt. goes to getting up all sorts of quarrels in these times it cannot be productive of any thing but evil effects but it may be all for the best yet. It would not be strange if J C Freemont should occupy the next Presidential Chair & that is probably what the Blairs are afraid of, I think.

You wanted my opinion as to your management at home & as I have no news to write I will devote a portion of my letter to discussing private affairs I think after looking the matter all over that you have done a good thing in selling the steers & sheep for as you are alone you want a good team one that when you hitch onto anything it will come along & such a team is far more profitable than one that is not capable of anything. If I was at home it would be different but as I am not you do not want to have to stop & lift & pry on [     ]ry thing you hitch to start it, & the oxen make you a complete team

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As to the sheep they such jumpers that it was a good plan to sell them though I should want to get some more before summer so to have more wool then you can get from one sheep You know we have a good supply of fodder & it would be a good plan to winter enough stock to eat it up or nearly so, & if you think best to do so sell the yearlings & put the avails into some cows. A dairy is one of the best things we can have for it is profitable & butter will come up I think, & then it makes a great deal of good living for a family, & the sooner we get into a good dairy, the sooner we can pay our debts. besides we can have plenty of milk butter & cheese to use & can make good hogs too much cheaper than if we do not have any cows & you being alone it would I think be an excellent plan to cut the team down to the oxen, & put the rest of the stock into a dairy (keep the horse, of course) then you will have something that you can manage to first rate advantage but I will not say you must do as I say, you I am sure will manage things well & if I am spared to come home wont we have a good time. keep things picked up well & get up the wood & get all the logging done before the snow gets deep so that you will not have to be out in the cold too much I am glad you are getting some plowing done this fall & would like to know where you are doing it. I hope you have done or will get to the parlor plaster ed as it will be a nice room for you this coming winter & if the mortar is kept so long it will freeze or get spoiled some way Be sure & take up all the little trees in the Orchard & Nursery so that the snow will not break them down, & when you put up the wagon clean it up nicely & put the cover on. Aura Lyford is getting his discharge & is going home this week. I saw him a few days ago he looks slim. Alonzo Pierce is not very well but Orion is & weighs a hundred & 80 or so. I saw Brooks McLoud a week ago & he was tough as a pine knot & had been well, & is in first rate spirits.

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Sunday, Nov. 17th

I will finish this up this PM & in fact I have written most of this to day. It is cold & windy to day & I should like to be at supper with you & then haul up around the fire place but I cant so no use in ishing. W have a fire in our tent & with our clothing we manage to keep quite warm. I get off once in a while to the other Regts & get some-[    ] bread & to night I am going to have some warm biscuit & butter & stewed raspberries the biscuits are baked in our Regt & are good we voted to buy an oven a good while ago but our officers do not get it yet. if we had one we might live much better than we do the bread has all been given me & is good too. I wrote a billet the other day & enclosed in a letter of Henry Martin & directed it to be sent to Mr. Blisses & you have probably got it by this time in reference to a bed quilt or comforter & hope you will not fail to send it but do not want you should go to sending the sleigh tick for you will want it & again it isn’t what I want. It is coming on cold weather now & you can send me a good supply of stuff & I should like a good bit of butter & before I get the box probably we shall be in winter quarters & I can keep it. If not too late when you get this I wish you would go to Cabot & get a 2quart sheet Iron pail made with a strong [nice boil] to it & a cover to it have it made flaring. I want this to cook in & I can carry it & I want a flaring tin round dish such as mother bakes Johnny cakes in & perhaps you might bake me a mince or Apple pie in it or something else & in the pail you can cook up some thing a boy here had an Apple pudding and I shall like a good loaf of Brown Bread & wheat bread if it would not sour & perhaps a loaf of Gingerbread could be baked in the pail if you cannot get an Iron pail get a tin once & have it flare like our sap dipper if it holds a little more than 2 qts no matter but after all that size I guess would be best I would like some hoarhound candy & some crackers as they cannot be got here, & would like to have you send me all the eatables you can get up at home a lot of mince pies could be sent but want you to be sparing of too much expense on my account but what you can get up at home is different & some hominy & Indian meal I could cook to good advantage. If you could get it I should like to have an Iron pail insted of a tin one as it would be much more durable & if I had a sheet Iron flaring dish with a handle to slide into a loop or slot on the side it would be a nice thing to bake in & fry flapjacks &c & I would like a flaring pint cup with ring handle on the side so that I can carry it better than the one I have, & I would like some cayenne pepper in a tin pepper box & a supply of hominy & meal & some flour & you may send me a few Apples if you have any. I will write to Lucinda soon & want you to answer this soon for I like to get a letter every week. as to my picture I can get no Photographs taken, but Ambrotypes half length 50 cts, full length $1 & I do not want to send quite so many as you mention for I want to send you some money but will get you & Nancie one each. why do you want 2 at home. my health is improving [     ] I guess you might have pail hold 2 ½ qts made in the style of the sap with a cover like a tin pail cover.

Yours trulyC. F. Bancroft