Charles F. Bancroft to Parents

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Camp Griffin VaDec 20th 1861Dear Father & Mother

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This Friday PM I will sit down & use the pen holder & pen which you sent me & let you know about my box &c. I promised to write you soon as I got it & doubtless you will expect a letter this week certainly, but I did not get the box until Wednesday night, & I had so much drilling to do yesterday that I could not write until now & I do not think that I shall get this off until Monday. I do not know how I can sufficiently express my thanks to you for your kindness in making me up such a box of things. I do really think that you care more about my comfort & welfare out here than you do about anything else in the world, & I hope that I shall get home some time to do as much for you if I can. The box was a long while on the way oweing probably to teams from our Regt not going to the city for some time & it was laid back & fresh arrivals were heaped on to it & so it has laid there. that is what I think but lately boxes have come up at the rate of 4 to 6 loads a week, & boxes that started lately have come in 5 to 6 days one to Sergeant Stone from Danville in 6 days.

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The things were in fine condition with the exception of the bread which was a bout spoiled & the currant wine which although done up nicely had worked & nearly all had oozed out of the bottle. I was very sorry but the other things were all so nice that I could not scold much about it. The Quilt is a fine thing as I found by testing its virtues last night it is much warmer than a blanket the Butter was nice & the jelly & maple Honey & I might as well say briefly that every thing you sent suits me first rate. the shirts are splendid & in fact I would not take 25 dollars for the box or rather its contents I believe I shall make me a cup of Real coffee to night, most all of the stuff is such that can keep it a good while & you may be sure that I shall make last a long time but there was one circumstance that befel me last night that has thrown a shade over my feelings & I have been in a quandary all day about saying anything to you on the matter knowing that you will feel as bad as I do, but I guess I will let you know what some of our men are. I will tell it briefly. Last night my bottle of Brandy was stolen from my box before I had even drawn the cork from it. The circumstances are as follows. We have been reduced to 6 tents in

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in the Co. & it so happened that mine was the one taken & so my [     ] is broken up. I got the box Wednesday night after I had gone to bed & in the morning carried to my old tent ground & opened it just enough to get some butter & then nailed it up & went to drill and at noon I took most most of the things & some of the boys happened to see the bottle sticking out of the shirt & noised it around that I had got some whiskey, & at night when I came in from Brigade drill I just opened it & got a little butter & then nailed it up & took an axe & went & cut a chestnut pole to put into a log cabin (4 of us are going to build a cabin instead of tenting with others.) & it was duskish before I got back & when I did I saw that the box had been broken into & on examination found that the brandy was gone & nothing else was touched. I immediately went to the Lieuts. (the Capt being on picket guard) & they thought that it would be impossible under the circumstances to apprehend the thief but said they would try their utmost & Lieut Fisher has offered $5.00 for the apprehension of the theif but we do not find him yet. I have felt so bad about it that I have cried about it but all to no purpose. it was a mean trick & we are generally satisfied who did it & if we ever do find out who did it he will be punished so that he will get sick of his theivery.

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You cannot be more sorry than I am about the loss of the brandy for I have needed it for a long time & do now I felt pretty nice to think my box had come in so good shape, & the things were all so nice but now I think of it all the time I had not tasted a drop of it but I know it was nice & it would have lasted me 3 months for I should have been very choice of it. O I would have rather lost my boots. You have been to so much expense & trouble to send me things that I hate to ask you for another bottle but it is a thing that one ought to keep by him against sickness & exposure & I needed it last night the hardest kind for I had a cold & severe pain in my stomach & hard Diarhea too but to night I am very well, & I have come to the conclusion that if you will take some of the money that I sent home so that it will be at my expense & get me another bottle of the same kind & send out by the first box that comes to our Co that you may do so & Ill warrant it wont get out of my hands. now write in your next whether you will do it or not, & let me know what the bottle cost which you sent me. You wanted to know in one of your letters how Capt Foster is liked he does not understand tactics so well as some do but no Capt. in the line is liked by his Co more than Capt Foster is for he looks out well for his men & sees that they have what they want. he got a very larg oven for his Co, but our Capt got a smaller one but we have all the bread we want & it is good too. so we live well, & when we draw beef we have nice boiled beef, & we have had Potatoes 2 or 3 times this week, but after all I had rather live at home. About 2 weeks ago we moved our camp about a mile & a half to a body of pine woods where it is much warmer & healthier, & it is a beautiful location too. There is a street laid out through the centre which is surmounted by evergreen arches to each Co bearing the letter of the Co & on one side are the Field & line officers tents & log houses & on the other are the Co tents. some of them are on sidling ground but the boys level the ground & erect their tents on stakes about 3 feet & bank them up & this makes them [     ] & gives more room but I must wind up for to night & write some more another time.

Yours TrulyC. F. Bancroft