This letter was written by 29 year-old Sgt. Charles Ernest Delamere (1833-1901) of Co. H, 13th Michigan Infantry. Charles enlisted on 12 November 1861 at Kalamazoo for three years. He was discharged at Murfreesboro, Tennessee on 20 February 1863. His death record indicates that he was born in the West Indies.
Charles wrote the letter to his wife, Amanda E. (Buys) Delamere (1838-1910), the daughter of Cornelius Buys (1811-1895) and Octavia Crouch (1811-1869). Charlie and Amanda had four children; their eldest child, Jane (“Jennie”) Lula Delamere (1858-1944) is mentioned in this letter.
The 13th Michigan saw its first action at the Battle of Shiloh. They then advanced on the vital rail center of Corinth, Mississippi. By 25 May 1862 (a week after this letter was written), Halleck’s cautious army had advanced five miles in three weeks to a position where they could lay siege to the town. With low morale and inadequate forces, Beauregard opted to evacuate the town rather than engage Halleck’s army.
Addressed to Mrs. Amanda Delamere, Kalamazoo, Hale County, Michigan
Picket 2½ miles from Corinth [Mississippi]
May 18th 1862
Having a little leisure time before my tour of duty, I thought I could not employ it better than in writing home to you. Charlie [Remington] has written this morning and I do not want to be behind him. The rebels are within ½ a mile of us and our boys and them are peppering way at each other pretty lively with but little loss on our side so far. Some think the rebels are evacuating Corinth and that there will be no general engagement here. According to all accounts, their troops are demoralized and that there is considerable trouble in their army on account of this conscription act. Some of their men’s time expired on the first of this month and they refuse to let them go home. Their men are coming into our lines daily and appear satisfied to get clear of their own army and to get to ours.
Yesterday afternoon we had to come out on the double quick and take up our position in line of battle, but the fighting was pretty much done up and nothing going on but a few dropping shots from the pickets. There are four companies from our regiment in advance about 80 rods of us and they give a good account of themselves. A secesh cannot show his head without receiving a Lincoln Pill (as father calls them) from our Springfield Rifles, and I tell you the 13th cannot easily be beat on a long shot. We would have been paid off today were it not for this skirmish and I do not think we will attack them at all. The policy appears to be to draw them from their entrenchments and to let them attack us. If they do so, our flanks are in such a position that we will soon close them up and finish the affair. When we are paid off, I will send you a draft and you can get it cashed at any Kal[amazoo] Bank.
I am in good health and feel as if the sooner this thing was over the better for all our boys are anxious for a fight.
I received your letter of May 4th and am glad to hear that you have received my letter and that you are all well. I write to you often and shall continue to do so, but do not be uneasy if you do not receive my letters regularly, for the mail is detained very often by order of the General Command.
[Charlie] Remington is well and I think if Dr. [Foster] Pratt does not recover soon he will resign, and if he does, Charlie will become Adjutant Surgeon. ¹
Write to me often and give me all the news. We are so shut up in camp that were it not for the drills and the skirmishes with the enemy, it would be monotonous. But men who claim to be sick at drill time, the moment there is a prospect of a skirmish, they turn out in a hurry.
Give my love to Father, Mother, Myra, Mrs. Remington, and the little one, and accept a good share of it for yourself. Now keep up good spirits for every day lessens the time of our separation, and I feel more confident than ever that the war will soon end, and then we will have a good time once more together. I think I have made friends amongst both officers and men which will benefit me someday. I have not seen anything of Cornelius Buys ² since and I cannot go to his division, but soon we will all be in communication with each other soon. Tell Jenny Pa Pa will soon be home to play with his little girl once more and to tell her stories and sing songs and dance with her. I would write a description of the army and the movements of same to Father but I am afraid the letter would not go. All the reporters have been turned out of camp already by order of General Halleck and all new suppressed but what they chose to let go forth.
Now Amanda, keep up good courage and all will end well. Please God, if I thought you were suffering it would make me miserable. It is bad enough to be away from you without having you sick at home and suffering you with the blues. Give my love to Aunt Betsy and remember me to all Uncle Peter’s family. I will now conclude hoping to hear from you all soon.
I remain yours forever, — Charlie
P. S. Do not be surprised if you should see me gazetted a Major General.
¹ Charles Wilbur Remington (1827-1898) earned a medical degree from the Geneva Medical College in Geneva, New York in 1850. He served in the Mexican War; the U. S. Navy; and in Nov. 1861 enlisted as a pvt. in Co. H, 13th Mich. Infantry Rgt. February 1863 hospital steward; Dec. 16, 1862 assistant surgeon; Jan. 25, 1864 discharged for disability; March 16, 1897 applied for a pension while living in Wisconsin (application #1187581/no certificate # may have died before pension approved); buried in Westfield, Wis. Cemetery. The 1870 US Census has Charles W. Remington as a doctor at Quincy, Branch County, Wis., c.1828 born in New York; wife Louisa Remington, c.1832 born in New York; daughters Lula Remington, c.1855 born in Michigan, Carrie Remington, c.1860 born in Michigan and Bessie or Bell Remington, c.1865 born in Michigan. The 1880 US Census has Charles W. Remington as a doctor at Stevens Point, Wis., c.1828 born in New York; wife Louisa Remington, c.1832 born in New York; daughters Carrie Remington, c.1860 born in Michigan and Bessie Remington, c.1865 born in Michigan.
² Probably a reference to Amanda’s cousin, Cornelius Buys, who served in Co. C, 3rd Michigan Cavalry.