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The Civil War Letters Of
Charles Harvey Hayden
Patriot & Hero
97th New York Volunteer Infantry
Donated and transcribed By Al Grenning

Editor's Note: In this letter of March 5th, 1863 Charles writes to his sister Laura from the same Smoketown hospital that he was sent to in October of 1862. Discouraged with continuing poor health, chronic diarrhea and pain from his very severe wound, he is concerned about not being fit for regimental duty. He expresses a clear fatalistic tone and acceptance that the future is beyond his capacity to control.


Smoketown Hospital
March 5th 1863

Dear Sister,

I have been waiting some time and have not written because I expected to leave here soon, either discharged or sent to the regiment. But I do not see anymore prospect of going than I did two months ago. There are some discharged and others sent to their regiments every few days. My health is not very good and I have had the diarrhea for six months most of the time and my side and breast (are) weak and I have some pain when I lay down. I find that I do not get over a wound as soon as it is healed. But, it is liable to bother - long after. I do not think that I am able to go to the regiment and do duty as soldier but perhaps I shall be sent.

I mean to try to keep my trust in Him that has preserved my life through the bloody conflicts that I have passed through where many have been called from health to the grave in a few moments – and if it is His will that I shall be discharged it will be so if not He can give me strength when I return to duty to do what is required of me.

I am glad that you have found a friend and I hope that he may prove kind and true. Still I would all ways have you put your trust in that friend that can never deceive but will always do that which is best for us if we put our trust in Him although we may not always think so at the time.

The weather here has been wet and we have had rather bad weather but today is warm and pleasant. The grass is just beginning to start. We have a nice little chapel where we have meetings three times a week and we have a very fine man for chaplain.

I was sorry to hear that Pa had lost his dam but was glad that he had it repaired. I hope he may have success and be prosperous.

Dear Sister I hope the time may soon come when war shall end and we shall meet at home again.

Direct Smoketown Hospital
Washington D.C.
Via Sharpsburg M.D

From your loving
Brother Charles H. Hayden


These first appeared in the Boonville Herald and Adirondack Tourist, Boonville, New York in 2005. They are posted here with permission.


New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs: Military History
Last modified: October 25, 2011

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