Bivouac 26 N.C. Near Petersburg Va.
Aug 7th 1864
Shff R.B. Paschal
Ere this will reach you the excitement of the election shall have died away and you elected. I hope you will be able to give me a correct statement of votes given at each precinct of the county. I am anxious to hear that old Chatham has thrown off the disgrace of being connected with that hatful diabolical order the H. O. A. while in Chatham I entertained no doubt but Holden and his tratorous crew would be overwhelmingly beaten in Chatham, I hope he and his supporters will sink so low that not even a buble will rise to tell where they went down. I hope North Carolina will show to the world that she means never to abandon the contest or give over the struggle till the glorious object for which we fight shall be obtained. We as soldiers of the sunny South can without shame exclaim we are North Carolinians, point with pride to the Old North State as the bravest of the brave I heard it remarked by several NC soldiers that if Holden was elected they would apply to Jeff Davis for a transfer to some other state troops. But this election will dispell every suspiscion concerning the loyalty of N.C. Shff I am so void of news I know not what to write. While I write once and a while I can hear the music of Grant’s Cannon, and a continual fire of the Sharpshooters. The weather is extremely hot and dry. The troops suffer much lying in trenches. Our Brig- is now held in reserve in the third line. But still we are near enough to hear the minnies come through our ranks, and an occational shell comes whistling over us harmlessly. We don’t mind shells nor a few minnies to keep up time. The boys are getting very impatient thinking this bloody campaign will never end. Old Ulysses has found out by sad experience that he can not whip us on the top of the earth has gone to undermining us. Last Sadurday while a good many of our boys were asleep he finished a mine under one of our batteries by tunneling and blown up four pieces of artillery and killed 100 men and at the same time charged with his whole line. But was repulsed with great slaughter. Negro troops led the charge crying out as they came, “No quarters.” Old Bob and the little Frenchman too has been trying the came. Yesterday evening we blowed up a portion of the Yankee lines. Gen Lee found out they were lying undermine a portion of our works. He went to work and dug blew them (yankee) and blowes them into the air. I suppose Old Grant will quit this manner of war-fare. He will see it is a game that two can very effectually play at. In the engagement Sadurday we lost twelve hundred from all causes most by wounded, of whom three hundred was prisoners. From the enemies paper we see they admit a loss of 6 thousand. There much uneasness felt by a few here about this minding business. We can make bombproofs and protect our selfs from any the enemies missiles. But who can escape this cruel mining. I think it is not honorable war fare. But after all it will accomplish nothing. But makes any one kinder uneasy to lie down to rest and sleep where he is not certain but Grants mines may be under him. And when he goes asleep he does not know which world he will wake in. Our army still keeps up a lively appearance. All seem to be confident and cheerful. Though our rations are rough there is no crumbling among the troops except those who are living better now than when at home. Our ration consists of one pound of corn meal one third pound of bad pickle pork said to have come from Nassau and some shugar coffee and pease. Corn bread goes tolerably hard to us after being at home on furlough living on the fat of the land. Shff if it was not for the bright expectation of better days coming, I see nothing to make life worth possessing Here we are in the hot sun nothing to protect us from the heat. When night comes on and we attempt to sleep along comes the inevetable musketo. And we have an other species of vermin here called Soldiers Companion. And I can assure you they stick closer than all other companions. Our much bloved Gen Kirkland is absent wounded. And a devill by the name of Mcrea has command of us. He is a perfect tyrant in evry sense of the word. While we ar not fighting yankees killing lice and fighting musketos this old scamp has us rubing our guns drilling cleaning off camps and many other petty annoyances. The only redeeming virtue about him is that he is not a coward. He delights in fighting, and will see his men well taken care off. He put our whole regiment on double duty a few days ago, we went on Dress parade ten times in one day. Our boys was mad. Shff I suppose I have already tired your patience. I hope you will excuse this bad writing, I have no pen fitting to write. I cant read what I have written my-self but presume you can as you are accustomed to reading all kind of hands. Write soon if convenient and except the kind wishes of your friend &c
Shff R B Paschall
James M. Brooks
P.S. Buck and Isaac are well J. M. B.
Source: North Carolina State Archives, Civil War Collection, Society for the Historical Preservation of the 26th North Carolina Regiment Collection.