Camp of the 140th Regt. N. Y. Vols.
Near Poplar Grove Church, Va.
October 22nd 1864
Yours of the 16th has been received ^ read with much pleasure after nearly one month has passed since hearing even one word from any of your pens—in my estimation, a very long time to go without hearing from home, particularly when sickness is around and has been lately in the town of Gates & vicinity.
I was very glad to learn by the referenced letter of yours that all were well as heretofore. As for myself, I am in my same usual health as heretofore mentioned. The weather for the past five days has been very cold & as for the nights, they are so cold that not one passes without a large frost. One requires plenty of clothing these nights to keep warm. This is what the greater part of the army lack at present. There is no doubt plenty of clothing but the Boys do not like to draw it at present for no one knows the moment we may have to pack up & move & then a great deal of it would be lost entirely.
Myself & Ansel Booth has been fixing up our tent a little & which has made it a great deal more comfortable. There is no use of laying out too much labor the very reason which I have mentioned before. If we only knew how long we are a going to remain here, we could make up our minds what to do but when we are to sure of remaining in camp over night, it is hardly best to fix up much.
A great number of the boys are today to work fixing up their houses a little & preparing for colder days. Providing we remain here any length of time, I have an idea another grand flank movement will take place ere long & which will at all probability be the last movement towards accomplishing what we understood by the last flank movement as the Southside Railroad lies not a very great distance from the left of the Ninth Corps.
The other day myself & a friend which is now in the sharpshooters took to ramble to the extreme left of our line which point lies not over two miles from the Southside Railroad. The walk was not only a very pleasant one but beautiful & from which I had a good run of view the surrounding country, also from which I obtained a good description of our line & a part of the enemy’s. How greatly surprised was I in arriving at the 9th Corps picket line which lay about one half mile from the main line of battle to find either side’s pickets in so close proximity—not over 40 yards apart. There is no firing on that part of the line & they seem to be very friendly toward each other. They converse with each other often and sometimes exchange papers though prohibited. But the aid of a field glass I could see encamped in a piece of woods what seemed to be a very large force of them. Their line of battle is about 2,000 yards from our picket line & a strong line of works. There is two large forts which hold our forces in check from advancing any further at that point, only captured by one of the Heros grand strategic movements which would throw the possession of the Southside Railroad into our possession/ I have an idea it will take place ere long & in which if were successful in gaining will fetch them to terms.
Only for a moment reflect and look back & see what has been accomplished within the last few days by Sheridan in the Valley. On the eve of the 20th inst., a dispatch came to every Corps headquarters & which was read off to the troops along the line that the enemy had attacked Sheridan’s left & driven him 4 miles, but getting his cavalry together, sent them on the enemy’s flank at the same time rallying his troops around & defeated the Rebels finely, capturing 43 pieces of artillery & a large number of prisoners &c.
Last eve we received another dispatch that he (Sheridan) had found the enemy & captured 50 more pieces of artillery & 1600 prisoners. Is not that cheering [news] to every loyal heart? We (the soldiers) hear the news when so great a one is in our favor sometimes before you as it is immediately telegraphed to Corps headquarters & a dispatch written off and then taken to Divisions & Battalions, then to regiments where it is read off to the troops. Of all the cheering you ever heard never can begin to compare with what took place on receiving intelligence of such a victory.
I was glad to hear that father had most all of his fall work finished for I do not want anything to do when I arrive at home for at least one day.
General Warren has just passed up the line. It has the appearance of snow at present as it is terrible cold this afternoon. Everything is quiet in our front & in fact has been for some time past. Heavy cannonading has been kept up on our right for some days past. In the evening the shells can be seen passing from one side to another. They look beautiful at the same time are not very pleasant to those over whom they explode.
My writing power is nearly exhausted & I must close for the present. From your loving brother, — Charles
The pickets have commenced firing. Please send me a pair of gloves. I have received both papers.