1862-4: Charles C. Bark to Family

These letters were written by Pvt. Charles C. Bark (1842-1891) — a member of Captain Warren P. Edgarton’s Battery E, 1st Ohio Artillery Regiment. Charles was the son of Francis Bark (1805-1880) and Lucina Granger (1804-1891) of Royalton, Cuyahoga County, Ohio.

Charles wrote the letters to his sister Eliza Lucina (Bark) Edgerton (1839-1916) and her husband William Edgerton (1839-1914) of Brunswick, Cuyahoga County, Ohio. In the 1880 Census, William is identified as a “Bridge Builder.”

The 1st Ohio Light Artillery was organized Camp Dennison near Cincinnati, Ohio and mustered in for a three year enlistment on October 7, 1861. The regiment was organized as early as 1860 under Ohio’s militia laws, under Colonel James Barnett. A summary of battery’s service follows:

Action at West Liberty, Ky., October 23, 1861. Expedition into eastern Ohio and western Virginia after Jenkins’ Cavalry November 23–29. Moved to Louisville, Ky., December 2, 1861, thence to Bacon Creek, Ky., and duty there until February 1862. Advance on Bowling Green, Ky., and Nashville, Tenn., February 10–25. Occupation of Nashville February 25, 1862.

Reconnaissance to Shelbyville and McMinnville March 25–29, 1862. Advance on Fayetteville April 4–7, and on Huntsville April 10–11. Capture of Huntsville April 11. Advance on and capture of Decatur, Florence and Tuscumbia April 11–14. Action at West Bridge, near Bridgeport. April 29. Destruction of railroad bridge across the Tennessee River. Relief of 18th Ohio Infantry at Athens May 1 and dispersement of Scott’s Forces.

Negley’s Chattanooga Campaign May 27-June 14, 1862. Duty at Battle Creek June-July. Action at Battle Creek June 21. Occupy Fort McCook August 20–25. March to Louisville, Ky., in pursuit of Bragg August 25-September 26. Pursuit of Bragg into Kentucky October 1–15, 1862 (SEE LETTER ONE). Lawrenceburg October 6. Dog Walk October 9. March to Nashville, Tenn., October 20-November 7, and duty there until December 26, 1862. Reconnaissance from Lavergne November 19. Advance on Murfreesboro December 26–30. Battle of Stones River December 30–31, 1862 and January 1–3, 1863. Battery captured December 31, 1862. (SEE LETTER TWO)

Ordered to Nashville, Tenn., January 20, 1863 and duty there until September, 1863. (SEE LETTER THREE) Moved to Stevenson, Ala., September 6; thence to Battle Creek, Anderson’s Cross Roads and Chattanooga. Chattanooga-Ringgold Campaign November 23–27. Battles of Chattanooga November 23–25. Garrison duty at Bridgeport, Ala., until July 1864, (SEE LETTER FOUR) and at Nashville, Tenn., until July 1865. Battle of Nashville December 15–16, 1864. (SEE LETTER SIX)


 

LETTER ONE

[Louisville, Kentucky]
October 5, 1862

Dear Brother and Sister,

I thought I would write a few lines to you to let you know where I was. We came in camp today. We are in a good place.

The old battery came to Louisville and we all went to it the 26th of September and stayed there for two days and then we went to Shelbyville. And when we got out of town about ten miles, we saw a lot of rebels and we fired on them and Ed and I was in the fight and we went on till we got to Shelbyville and then we stayed two days and then we went out on a scout — our batteries and a lot of infantry.

We went out about 8 miles and had a little brush and took thirty prisoners and killed seven. I saw one that was shot four times. He was on his horse and the infantry saw him and he fell and he had four holes through his body and he had a shotgun for a carbine.

We came back to a field and camped till today and this morning we came to this place. Charles Furness and Samuel Steavens [?] is in State Prison in Indianapolis and Charles has wrote to [Stephen W.] Dorsey, the lieutenant.

I can’t write anymore at present. Answer this.

From Charles to Bill and Eliza

Direct your lines to Edgarton Battery, Louisville, Kentucky


 

LETTER TWO

Nashville [Tennessee]
January the 17, 1863

Dear Brother and Sister,

It has been a long time since I heard from you. Till I got this letter wrote the 30 of December, I got a letter from father and mother that was wrote on Christmas. I have wrote two letters to you since.

I got those mittens from you but the secesh has got them, I suppose. I had one wrote and had it was in my packsack and the horse was shot and the letter went with the rest of the things. Everything that I had and some money [too]. All I have is a shirt and drawers and a pair of pants and overcoat and the rebels got the rest of the things.

I suppose you have heard of the stampede that we had ¹ and so I will not write anything about it but I will tell you what a New Year I had. I was going to Nashville on a old horse and I wish you could see me the last day of the old year. I had arose and run a horse ten miles and the secesh was close [up]on us all the way. The reason of our running was that they flanked us and they got lots of our boys and some of them is paroled that was wounded and I got through safe and sound. Now we are on a siege piece [a siege gun?] in Nashville.

You wanted to know what was the matter of Ed. ² He was sick with the fever and died in the hospital the 22 of December. Poor fellow. Alvert ³ was here and saw him and got him to go to the hospital. I can’t write any more for it is so cold. So read this if you can for my hand is so cold. Write as soon as you get this and write all of the news.

From Charles to William and Eliza
Edgarton captain

Direct your letters [to] Nashville, Tennessee in care of Lieutenant [Stephen W.] Dorsey

¹ Captain Edgarton’s Battery E was attached to Colonel Kirk’s Brigade at the Battle of Stones River. For a detailed account of the battery’s role in the battle, see Battle of Stones River by Robert Cheeks. A concluding paragraph of that article states:

For the unfortunate Captain Edgarton and his gunners, Stones River held no moments of glory. Captured, discredited and dishonored, Edgarton would be exchanged a few months later and then be called upon to report why he had sent half his horses to be watered on the morning of the fateful assault. Laying much of the responsibility for the battery’s terrible location on his slain brigadier, Edward Kirk, Edgarton requested, As I have been charged with grave errors on the occasion of the battle, I respectfully request that I may be ordered before a court of inquiry, that my conduct may be investigated. Such an investigation was never completed, but a note was made of Edgarton’s performance at Stones River and placed in the official records: Edgarton, captain…Company E, 1st Ohio Artillery…was guilty of a grave error in taking even a part of his battery horses to water at an unseasonable hour, and thereby losing his guns. Edgarton’s military career was over, but at least he had his life–unlike many soldiers who were there during the rout of the Union right that cold December morning in 1862.

² Edmund Clafin enlisted at age 20 on 9 August 1862 to serve 3 years in Battery E, 1st Ohio Light Artillery. But he died four and a half months later on 22 December 1862 in a hospital at Nashville. Edmund was the son of Daniel Barzabel Claflin (1806-1892) and Sally Fuller (1810-1847) of Royalton, Cuyahoga, Ohio.

³ Alverton Claflin  (1837-1920) was an older brother of Edmund’s. Alvert Served in Company E, 65th Ohio Infantry. He was married in 1861 to Esther Ann Pumfrey (1840-1920).


 

LETTER THREE

Nashville [Tennessee]
[February] the 15, 1863

Dear Brother and Sister,

I received your letter and was glad to hear from you. I am well and a doing well. I have got those things you sent me. I tell you that I live now. We have got a stove and plenty of wood. We are a going to be paid off in a few days. I forgot to tell you that I saved my mittens. I let one of the boys have one pair and he fetched them out safe out of the battle and I fetched the other pair out safe. I want you to tell me what I shall do with this pair when I get my pay. I will send them to you for I can’t wear them.

All the boys are well here but Alvert Claflin. He has been pretty sick but is a getting better now. I am a going to see him today and take him some things. I am a going to meeting tonight.

There is not much a going on here. I think we will stay here a spell. The story is that we are a going to stay here and guard the State House. I hope so. Write as soon as you get this and write all the news.

From Charles to William and Eliza


 

LETTER FOUR

Bridgeport, Alabama
July the 30, 1864

Dear Brother and Sister,

I received your letter and was glad to hear from you. I am not very well. It is so hot but I am on the gain.

You wanted to know how the soldiers will vote. They all go in for Old Abe and Johnson — whole hog too. They are a fighting hard to the front. There is a great many wounded going through here every day. I wish the copperheads of the North was in my power. It makes me so mad to see how they act.

There has been a lot of blackberries and everything else to eat. Green corn is just right to eat.

There is no news to write and I will close. Write to a fellow.

From Charles


 

LETTER FIVE

Nashville, Tennessee
September the 10, 1864

Dear Brother and Sister,

I thought I would write and let you know how I got along. I am well and hope that you are the same. I got your letter two weeks ago but had no paper to write on and so I could not write. There is no news to write. We are in camp in a nice place. The weather is cool today.

There is four or five large shade trees in our camp and we can sit and take the cool refreshing breeze and talk of the times we have had and the pretty blacks that are a running round here loose. Some are a peddling milk and others are selling ______ _____ pies without sugar but not without price — 10 cts. apiece and take off the crust and there is nothing left. What we could buy for a dime cost a dollar now here. Chalk and water sells for milk — ten cents a quart.

A. Coats ¹ is a driving mules now. Bruce is sick. The rest of the boys are well that you know.

I want your pictures sent to me. Send them. Write of[ten], will you? Tell the folks I am well and hope they are and if they ain’t, how can I help it that what is the matter.

I must close. Write soon. My best respects to all and if you see any of my children running round, buy them a new shirt.

So goodbye from Charles Bark — the old fool.

¹ Appears under Battery E records as Ashbill or Asbill W. Coates.


 

LETTER SIX

Nashville, Tennessee
November 28th 1864

Brother Bill and Eliza,

Beings I brought your grist up, I thoughtI would write a few lines to you. I am well and hope you are the same. I got your letter the other day and glad to hear from you. I thought you had forgot that I was on the face of the earth but I am here in Tennessee yet and it will not cost only three cents to write to me and I want you to write once a year.

Well it rains today and it is mud all over our camp. We have not had any cold weather yet to speak of. There was a couple of cold days.

I suppose [brother] Granger is at home. I would like to see that gal of yours. You need not feel so big over it. I will show you how in about two years. Ha Ha Ha. Get out snaks [?].

Charles [E.] Strong is well and the rest of the boys you know. Old Billens is here a beggin around the sutlers. There is no news to write and so I will close by asking you to write soon.

From Charles Bark of Skiberee

From Kack bow valley

 

 

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