Charles Ewing to His Father (1)
July 16, 1862

In this letter to his father written in the summer of 1862, Charles Ewing expresses his displeasure and shame at not being posted to a regiment serving at the front.

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Alton Illinois

July 16th 1862

Dear Father

                        After all that has been done, and said, and promised—we are today, apparently, no near leaving this place than we were on the 7th of February last. We have endured this affliction, if not with patience, certainly long enough. For six long months we have been in this detestable place and fr[om] the first have relied on Hallecks promises to relie[ve] us, but it is impossible for me, ev[en] of my temperament, to hope on for ever, when all that I can see and hear tends to the conclusion that he never had an idea of relieving us fr[om] this dogs work. We have been here too long—an order now to join the army in the field would be the most [welcome?] news I could receive and not to run alone but to every other officer that knows what discipline is, and has any pride in his regiment. Our company has been reduced by desertions, and other casualties— the spirit of the Battalion [?] and its discipline but I have had twenty desertions—all of [?] my oldest & best drilled men good soldiers but poor jailors—I dont blame them for going they would have staid a life time in the field—

                        If I had entered the service for the sake of the office I could be contented here, but that was not the object. I wanted to serve the government and in the Regular Army I thought to do the greatest good and see the most service, for I thought, as who did not who thought any thing of the organization of the militia, that the armies of the Republic would be built in Regular discipline, that Regiments of the Old army would be the foundation of Brigades & Divisions. I wanted to be in the Old army for the power that its discipline gives, not for the reason that its commissions are permanent. But I was mistaken, at least our regiment has not been [?] as I thought it would. The great army of the Mississippi has been reunited, organized, armed and marched by us to the conquest of this great valley, and us poor devils, regular soldiers are left here to do the duty of the Civil [Police?], and worse than that, we are left here whilst Ohio sends out her Police, armed with short clubs & brass knuckles to drive invading Rebels f[rom] Kentucky. I can endure this no longer until I have made every effort to free myself fr[om] the shame of lying here idle, when there is such pressing want of our [able men in?] the Country. I want if possible to get into the state service and wish that you would get me a place in the new Regiments for which you think me competent. I have no idea what your influence is with the Governor, but what ever it is, if you think proper, I hope you will use it. If you think proper to do any thing in this [matter?] do not stay f[or] any [?] of any being ordered Off. if the Battalion was on its way to Memphis I would gladly [leave?] it to go into the Volunteers.

                        To stay in this Regiment after the war is out of the question, it is disgraced for ever. There is not an Officer that can provide for himself but will leave it and I must work my way up in the new increase of the army [ignorant?] of the service All of our Officers who have any prospects are securing places in the Volunteers, and Col Burbank will oppose any of us leaving in whom he has any confidence, but his opposition is nothing. I can have leave from the War Department I hope to hear from you soon

 My best love to all at home

                                                                                    Your loving son

                                                                                                C. Ewing—


ALS, Thomas Ewing, Sr., Family Papers, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.