Identifier

MSS.6.261

Date

12-18-1863

Subjects

United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865; Bruen, Luther Barnett--Correspondence

Notes

4 pages

Transcription

Camp Near Bealeton Dec. 18 1813 Oh, but ain't I a disgusted Maw! Your letter of the 13th, my dearest, reached me last night, and in it you say, you have need no letters from me. What the plague is the matter with the mail? I wrote you on the 7th + 8th + both ought to have reached you before the 13th, even at poky rate at which our letters go and come. Then I have written at least three more and to think the dear things are wandering around the country in only mail bags is too bad. I've had a bad spectacle in camp today - a military execution. The man had been tried by a court martial of which I was president and *walts* from others sentenced to be shot. The others were *experienced*, but he was executed this afternoon. All the troops of the Divisions were paraded and drawn up on three sides of the square. The doomed man was marched around the square, the band playing *Reyel's Himn*. He walked along in a very gamey, defiant way, keeping time to the music, with the *visor* of his cap, thrown up, + looking around at the soldiers with apparent unconcern. I thought he was not quite so indifferent as he seemed. Two men carried the rude box which was to hold his dead body behind him, the priest was by his side. The column marched to the grave + the firing party was drawn up before him. The order *condeming* to be executed was then read to all the regiment, and after that the priest had his talk with him. Finally, he bandaged his eyes + left him. The officer of the firing *party* took his position, the men brought thier pieces to the shoulder, a puff of smoke, a rattle of muskets + the man was gone The General turned to *us* said "Sir, see if the sentence has been executed." He rode to the firing *party*, was told by the surgeon that the man was dead + so reported. We were then dismissed. Our Brigade *mached* by the victim and saw the *incinerated* body lying on its face. He had sprung from the coffin on which he was kneeling, and died without a groan. The *excal's* case was a curious one. He had deserted from the 11th, gone to Washington, sold himself for a subsitute, and was sent down to us at Culpepper, where he was assigned to the very company of the 11th from which he had deserted. -- You see it is only one week to Xmas, may be the day will come before you see these lines, so there is little prospect of seeing me on that festive occasion, or I have not yet applied for a leave. New Years, I suppose will also find me floundering in the Virginia mud. Gen. Meade said the other day that the leave was so short and the coming back so painful, that it was hardly worth while to go. I confess I feel some what that way myself. So, I have been hoping that I would soon receive a notification of my promotion which would take me out of the Army + give me a chance to go home to spend more time with you, if it did not lead me where I could be with you for some time. I shall probably know whether I really am entitled to promotion or not, in a few days, tho' I have little hope of receiving my notification for some time yet. Bad as it is, I shall be driven to applying for a leave, so that I can get away early in January. I shall try to get the privilege of asking for an extension, so as to make it thirty days instead of fifteen, with little hope of getting the privilege, however. Dec 19th No mail last night and none this morning, so I am no wiser than when I stopped writing. Now I have only time to write you a Merry Xmas + send you oceans of love. Thine, LBB

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