The Boys are Most Generally Well

This lengthy letter to Charles Cock came from his friend, Charles H. Swartout, who continued to serve with the 8th Michigan. Swartout wrote from Frederick City, Maryland where the regiment was then stationed. Charles Cock, on the other hand, has now returned home to Augusta, Michigan. One month earlier, he had been discharged as a result of the wound he had suffered in June.

Swartout, from Prairieville, Michigan, had received a letter from Cock earlier in the month and was now responding. In his letter, he tells Cock about what all the men have been up to. He mentions those who were wounded, those who have apparently deserted, and those who have been promoted.

Between the Battle of Secessionville in June and October, Swartout writes that they were engaged in six battles. These included the 2nd Battle of Bull Run, Antietam, and South Mountain. Although they took casualties in all of those fights, the 8th Michigan did not suffer as severely as they had at Secessionville.

He also writes that there has been tension between many of the men and Captain Nelson H. Walbridge of Company F. At one point, Walbridge attempts to demote Swartout, although no details are provided. Swartout appeals to a court-martial is upheld, and he is restored to his rank of Sergeant. He was ultimately promoted to Captain at the end of the war.

Swartout returned to Michigan after the war but re-located to Emmet County at the tip of the Lower Peninsula. He died there in 1887 at the age of 54.

 

 

Dear Friend Charlie                                                                      Fredrick City Oct 15th 62

I received your kind and much welcomed letter nearly a week since, & at the first opportunity hasten to reply. Indeed I was glad to learn that you was getting along so well. & hope that you may continue to improve until you are restored to perfect health.  The boys are most generally well, Kightinger, Wellman & Holen & Easten have been in the hospital for nearly 3 months.  Beadle was in but left without leave & was reported dead till presently he turned up in Jackson Mich where Lt Muller (who was on recruiting service) came across him & sent him to the barracks at Detroit Lou Bennett shot off his fingers at Centreville & went to the hospital where he managed to get home   it is to be hoped he will stay there. Davis was killed at Chantilly & [J] R. Beebe, W.K. Wheeler was wounded and taken prisoners, Bill Beebe, Garry Garrison has deserted as nothing has been heard from them in 2 months  The rest of the boys are all well & feeling well. There has been some changes in the Co since you left us.   Al Nye is Orderly.  Sumner has at last got promoted to 2nd Lt.  but there seems to be a rumor currant that he will never get his commission, Newton is 5thSergt. & Burdick, Perry. J. Smith. Runyon & McKenzie ar corporals in addition to the old ones.  I suppose you have heard that the Cap & I had a slight falling out & in consequence he ordered me reduced to the ranks, but I demurred & appealed the case to Gen Burnside & Col Trenton & had a court martial the result of which was that I was

General Ambrose E. Burnside, 1864

 restored my old position & Capt Walbridge was put under arrest, where he has been for three weeks.  Last Saturday he had his trial for cowardice & the result of which has not been made public as yet.  He is not with the company.  I leave you to judge upon the merits of both parties The Cap has misused the whole Co He jumped Dunk & several others & it seems to be the universal wish of the entire Regt that he will be Dishonable discharged, You of course are conversant with our late hard fought battles of which the 8th have a conspicuous & honorably part as usual. We arrived here at this city the day before yesterday & it is rumored that we will stay here for some time I hope so. It would be nothing more than justice to our Boys, as you know that we have seen pretty hard times. We were on the march for 44 successive days & in the time was 10 days under fire & fought 6 hard battles. Well enough of this for this time. I wish you would tell Will Thomas that I wish he would write to me. I have written him two letters since I have heard a word from him. I guess he has forgotten us altogether. I hope Charlie you will be more prompt for you know how a letter cheers the heart of a poor soldier far from home & friends.  If you should go up in our neighborhood please inform my dear wife that I am well & my compliments to your Father & Mother & my best respects to all my friends & acquaintances. Please write soon & often.  Direct to me Fredrick City Md.  Burnside Division 9th Army Corps.  P.S. I suppose you know that Frank Huntly is wounded.

 

Your Friend & old Comrade in arms.

C.H. Swartout

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