Camp Gordon’s Brigade
Dec 30th 63
Near Guinea Station, VA
I received your kind and interesting letter of the 21st inst. was glad to hear that all was well &c. Since the death of my esteem Brother – John, I am more anxious than formerly to hear from home and kind relatives & friends there. Never do I expect to find another such friend or Brother, while I remain in the Army. Many times while on long and fatiguing marches we used to divide the last cracker or bit of meat with each other; it made no difference how small or mean his rations was he would never eat it without being satisfied I had some. And I always divided with him. I miss him very much, but I know it is useless to wish him back again. He was kind generous and agreeable to all who knew him, and was universally loved by his company and acquaintances in the Army. He remarked only a few days before he was killed “that he felt like it was time for him to be wounded or killed; as he had been in so many engagements & never received any wound.”
I cheerfully join you in “thankfulness to God for my preservation from bodily harm in many engagements while many of my Comrades have fell upon the field of carnage, while contesting with the enemy in defence of our homes friends and Liberty.” Don’t give yourselves any further uneasiness about me. I feel prepared to meet my fate whatever it may be. I shall indevor to do my duty to my country; and my God, and I hope to be victorious; and ere long arrive safe at home. We are all as well as common at present. I regret to learn that two of our company have died from disease who went home on detail after horses in Nov. Thomas Howell of Wake Co. and Francis M. Brown of Chatham are the two.
I have heard nothing from JM Hadley since I last wrote to you. He was then near Mortons Ford with his regt. that is about thirty miles from here. I would like to see him but we are not allowed to pass more than five miles from camp. We certainly do have very hard masters in the Army. They equal or exceed taskmasters of the Isrealites. But I hope there is a time not far distant when me will again be upon equality.
I sent by Mr. May John’s pistol overcoat & several other little tricks. Which I suppose you have rec’d ere this.
I presume you recollect that I wrote to you about 2 months before he was killed that I had bought his horse for $300.00 and paid him that amount. He kept the money a few days and handed it back to me to keep yet (subject to your orders). His detail came approved a few days after he was killed. But; alas, too late for him to enjoy it. I asked the privilege of going home on it but was denied on account of being an officer. Gen. Gordon gave it to one of his couriers. And he went home after a horse on it.
When old Rock feel down in the charge at Middlesburg, Va and crippled himself John proposed to swap with me for a sorrel maire that I had captured, which I agreed to that he might be mounted and go on to Pennsylvania with us. But before we reached Gettysburg Pa she lost show shoes & got lame by marching so far on turnpike roads. When he captured the Bay horse, I bought, he turned the mare loose and left he there & told me to keep her or sell old Rock in her stead, which I have done for $250.00.
I desire that you hold my grain and brandy until you see or hear from me again. You need not dispose of any of it unless Mr. B. Carter calls on you. If he does please furnish him.
I still hope to get home soon but I can’t name any time when I expect to be there. This leaves me very well no news of interst all quiet about here.
Your Ob’t Son
Wm. C. Hadley
(Please write soon)
Pencil notes in margins:
We have had a rather dull Christmas. Some have enjoyed themselves very well. I have better than I expected too. Give my love to the family.
Please excuse my changeable ink. I have to keep it … to make it black all the good goes to the bottom. Good Bye. WCH
[Separate memo enclosed in letter]
Acct of Bro. John’s Burial and effects
Nov 9th 18631 Coffin & Plank $29.00 1 Jacket & Pants 12 ½ 25.00 1 Pr Glove 5.00 Board for detail at Orange CH 12.50 $71.50 Cr by cash in Pocketbook $30.00 Drawed from Q. Master for Mo. Pay & clothing 79.50 Cash in hand for Bay horse 300.00 1 Order on C. Basel Poe from Alois Biddle 43.75 $381.75
There is now 8 days pay due him which you can draw at Richmond Va he had assigned the Rolls up to Nov 1st before he was killed & I rec’d the money and have it now.
He is charged with a Saddle Bridal & Halter and I have returned his in the place of the ones he drawed. I have his Saddle pockets is all I have except what is herein accounted for.
Your Ob’t Son
Wm. C. Hadley
He had only 1 Pistol & I returned his sabre & his gun was lost where he was killed
Source: Hadley Collection, Chatham County Historical Association.