Today, we are pleased to welcome back guest author, Dan Welch.
William Child, surgeon of the 5th New Hampshire Veteran Volunteer Infantry, had decreased his writing of letters during the twilight of 1864. Few letters passed between William and his wife, Carrie, from late November and December. Despite William’s own admittance of a lack of “work” in the field hospitals and aid stations that dotted the front near Petersburg, not only had the number of letters decreased to Carrie, but also their usual length. One interesting theme, however, is William’s continued talk of leaving the army.
On November 26, 1864, the surgeon wrote, “If I should be able to get out of the service this winter….” This is a striking notion considering he had just received his commission from assistant surgeon to surgeon, and had reenlisted for three additional years not a month prior.
In addition to his sentiments of longing for his family and home, William relayed a conversation about “ladies” by “men of the moustache and brass button order.” One can only imagine the true words from that overheard dialogue. It was nearly three weeks later that William composed his next letter to Carrie. We continue William’s story with that letter 150 years ago today.