Horatio P. Bruce to Smiley Bancroft
I received your kind letter of date June 3rd and was glad to hear from you once more, but it was with sadness that I perused its contents. I was not entirely unprepared to hear that Chas. was dead for I had seen so many cases of the Typhoid feaver terminate fataly that I have been forced to consider a soldier no better than dead who is afflicted with this fatal disease. during the time that I was in the hospital at Alexandria as many as 40 cases of Typhoid feaver came under my observation and every case resulted fataly. I would rather have the yellow feaver or small pox than typhoid
I would gladly speak sum words of consolation to you in your days of sore affliction
but I hardly dare attempt it. it is not for every one to invade the sacred sanctuary
of the harte in the hour of trouble and sorrow with words of sympathy and
consolation. it is often better that we are left allone for those who would gladly do
or say some- thing for us are not capable of comprehending the nature of our sorrow,
and their would be sympathy only opens the wound annew in our harts and it would have
been better had they never been spoken. I am well aware that I am writing to a man
who is able to bare the the affliction which a kind providence has
has seen fit to visit upon him although they are peculier and severe, and in the present case you have the consolation of knowing that Chas laid down his life in defending his Country from treason and traitors and although he was not permited to die on the battle field, yet his death is nothing the less glorious and the service which he rendered to his country are are none the less valuable or honorable. it is to be regreted that so many must die of disease here in the army but it is ever the case that more die of disease than by the hands of the enemy. I think that I comprehend in a measure the nature of your loss you have lost an only son one upon which you hoped to lean in your declining years and you have good reason to expect mutch from him for he was indeed a moddell of a young man, and none who knew him could say ought against him, but why say more he has dun his hole duty in life nobly, and died like a man and a hero, and at his post, and has gon to a brighter and hapier land than this and at no very distant day at the longest we must join him their. I am not skeptical on this point. I believe that the final end of all mankind is hapiness and that all will be permited to sing praises to God and the Lamb forever. the doctrin of everlasting misery for any part of the human family I entirely ignore. I believe that the supreme being is a God of mercy and of justice, and in all his dealings with us “doeth all things writen” and in this view I do not think that you will differ from me very materialy. Eternal justice is one of the great atributes of God.
My health is very good now indeed I have not been tougher since I left home than I am now, but it is quite different with our Co. we have only 18 men and one commissioned oficer for duty now the Captain and first Lieut and all the rest of the Co being sick Co E. when they left Vt in Nov. last numbered 101 men they now number 74. 24 having been discharged and 2 having died 18 for duty and the remainder in the hospital rather a sory record, and what is true of Co. E. is also true of the Regt. out of 760 men which composed the Regt their is now something less than 230 for duty at this time. we have either got to disband or recruit and in the pressent aspect of affairs I think that the Regt. will be recruiting We have changed our Colts rifles for Sharps so we are now armed with Sharps bes improved rifle they are indeed a splendid gun perfectly, for 600 yds and can be loaded and fired 20 times a minute with care.
Their is a vast ammount of sickness in the army at this time and I fear that it will
increase with the cumming summer I am of the opinion that full 30 per cent of the
Union army are on the sick list you would be astonished at the state of things here
but I do not complain the cause in which we are engaged must Triumph at at whatever
cost of life and treasure. I am well aware that the soldier is not the only one who
has to suffer but those at home suffer scarcely less in their anxiety for those that
they have sent fourth from their homes to do battle for their country but they must
be of good cheer
hopeing that the end will be soon. with the fall of Richmond the Rebelion must be virtualy at an end, but Richmond is not yet captured and their the crowning victory is to be won. That our army is able to take Richmond at any time when it shall please Gen McCleland to say forward boys, but he is not agoing to commence before he is thouyourly ready but when he does moove you may depend that the Rebells will have to skedaddle in a hurry the officers and men in this Corps of the army are expecting to be ordered to richmond by land it is only abot 60 miles from Richmond and we could march their in 4 days I hope that we may go but I am not certain that we will.
I hope that this will find you all in the enjoyment of good health and as happy as it is possible to be in this world and again you will please accept my harte felt sympathy for yourself and family in your berevement hopeing that you will be able to bare it with that resignation which is necissary in the dark hour of affliction
Write as soon as convenient as a letter from you at any time will meet a warm reception In writing this I made a mistake in the paging but I have numbered them so that I guess that you will be able to find it
Write all the news tell uncle John and aunt Clara Bruce that I am in good spirits (but not [ardent])
H. P. Bruce
P.S. Direct Augurs Brigad Kings Division Washington D.C.