1865: Edgar B. Bennett to Mary E. (Marsh) Bennett

Edgar B. Bennett

Edgar B. Bennett

This letter was written by Edgar B. Bennett (1842-1918), the son of Smith Bennett (1807-1875) and Susan Snow (1809-1851) of Monroe, Connecticut. He served in Battery K, 1st Connecticut Heavy Artillery. He remained with his battery until March 25, 1865 when he was slightly wounded and taken prisoner during the Battle of Fort Stedman ¹ (in front of Petersburg) and confined in Libby Prison for five days until he was paroled. On April 9, 1865, while on parole, he married Mary E. Marsh (1849-1919), daughter of Lewis and Evaline (Stone) Marsh.

This letter was written one month after Edgar returned to his company following his marriage and thirty days’ furlough. Though the war was essentially ended, the First Connecticut was tasked with removing the Confederate guns from the batteries along the James River throughout the summer of 1865 before their discharge in September. Fort Darling was a formidable confederate stronghold on Drury’s Bluff that controlled the James River and access to Richmond. The fort mounted two eight-inch and one ten-inch Columbiad (sea coast) guns — the latter probably being what Union soldiers referred to as the “little fellow.”

TRANSCRIPTION

Fort Darling, Virginia
June 6, 1865

My Dear and Loving Wife,

One month ago yesterday we parted but little thought then either of us that we would be separated this length of time but my dear, I hope it will not be another month before we can be together again. The remainder of the boys got back Sunday night — 9 of them. They left home on the 27th of April so as to get their discharges but was used worse than we were that stayed our full time at home.

I am glad to hear you were well and hope you will continue so for I should not like to hear you was sick but I was afraid when you told me how fast you had grown poor. I was afraid you were going to be sick. Yes, my dear, I will know how to sympathize with you in sorrow when I get home and in joy for we have been parted and know what it is and in place of our thinking less of each other, our affections are fixed stronger upon our hearts and will continue so if we both are true to each other. And I know we both are.

Fort Darling in 1865. One of the Columbiads is seen at right.

Fort Darling in 1865. One of the Columbiads is seen at right.

I mentioned in my letter on Sunday that I would be on patrol Monday. I was not on the one I thought I would be and I was glad of it. I was on police around camp while H Company with 16 horses went after what we call the “little fellow” — that is one of the Reb’s large guns. It weighs 21,745 pounds and they got stuck with it and could not get it along so they are after it again today.

But it is no so warm today. We have plenty of good ice water here now. The officers send off after ice to the farmers here and get it and so we have all we want but it is not out of reach.

I went cherrying and got all I could eat and then we went and got a lot of mulberries. Wortleberries are ripe. There was some in camp today for sale — only 25 cts a quart. There is everything here mostly to buy.

I will now close as I have made a mistake in writing. Give my love to all. My warmest love and a kiss to you. I remain your true, faithful, and loving husband, — Edd


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