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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: No sooner was Charles settled in his new hospital at Frederick, Maryland than events began to over take his destiny once more. The Gettysburg campaign was now under way and Robert E. Lee’s 85,000 soldiers were on the march north. It was feared by the Union that Frederick would be overrun and captured. One response was to move as many convalescing patients as possible out of harm’s way. Many were sent to Baltimore’s Jarvis Hospital, in which city fortifications were being expanded to resist the coming invasion. Union concern was certainly justified and although Baltimore itself was never attacked, the two sides did clash at a place called Gettysburg. He notes that those patients well enough might be given light defensive duties should it become necessary, but questions whether he was fit enough to do so. He also suggests that others might be sent even further north. One thing was certain, because of the pending invasion, government and the general population was close to panic.

 

Jarvis Hospital
June 22nd 1863
Baltimore

Dear Sister
I take this opportunity to write a few lines to you. We left Frederick a week a go yesterday. The rebels were supposed to be advancing on that place so all the patients that were able to be removed were sent here. I believe a bout three hundred and fifty - a few being left. The rebels have been there and paroled over those that were left but did not destroy any property – this city is being fortified so as to be prepared in case of an attack - but I hope that the uprising of the north will surprise the rebels as much as they surprised us and I began to think it has and if they put off their advance much longer they will not go far.

Many of the committed have gone to guard the city. I do not think that I am hardly fit for that duty yet. I am quite comfortable but am not capable of much exertion. This hospital is situated on an eminence overlooking the city- everything is kept very nice and clean here. But things are arranged more for comfort and less for show than at Fredrick. Our food is as good as at Fredrick which consists mainly of bread and coffee for breakfast and supper and meat and soup for dinners. Our coffee is very good for those that do not like trimmings but I like them. But we must not mind the trimmings when we are solders-

We have a good library of religious books which I take much pleasure in reading – we have preaching (on) Sabbath afternoons and prayer meetings Wednesday evenings. And the religious soldiers meet twice a week and have a little prayer meeting among themselves.

Baltimore is quite a large city. I got lost in Fredrick and I should not be surprised if I should get lost here when I go out. We have to take out turns about leaving the guard. My turn has not come yet but (I) shall probably go out this week-

If the rebels should attempt to take this place we should probably either be set at some light duty or sent farther north according to our ability – there are about one thousand Negroes at work on the fortifications which with the three forts already here will make a formable resistance to the enemy should they attempt to capture this place- - -

I want you to write more particularly about yourself. Are you able to be up or are you obliged to keep (to) your bed part of the time. Tell me just how you are getting a long. If you are in need of a little money write me soon. I will send you some if I have it. I expect to be paid next month. I can direct some to be sent to you whether I have any or not. If you need write soon direct

Jarvis General Hospital Baltimore - US
MD

P.S I sent you a letter from Fredrick since I received yours - before I left there.

 

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 27, 2011
URL: http://www.dmna.state.ny.us/historic/reghist/civil/infantry/97thInf/97thInf/97thInf_Hayden/97thInf_Letters_Hayden09.htm

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