For Leavenworth, Kansas, May 12th, 1862.
Dear Family: We left St. Louis Mo. on the evening of the 6th and arrived here last night at 5 P.M. without accident. We came on the steamer Sioux City and I assure you that it was the hardest time we have had yet. There were 500 men and 120 horses and mules on the boat besides 200 tons of freight. I slept on the upper deck every night from choice. It was so hot in the cabin you could not sleep there. Most of the men caught a bad cold from having part of their blankets (closed? MJM) up. I had my blankets all out. Slept warm, but got my clothes and blankets burned some from the cinders from the smoke pipes of the boat. My clothes have been injured more on this trip than two months of wear. We slept on the deck with only one blanket under and two over us, two men together. The bed was a hard one to lie on for five nights and last night we slept on the ground. The men complain of their hips being sore and the trip made some of them wish themselves home. I am well with the exception of sore eyes which was caused by the cinders falling in them in the night. I think they will be well soon. This is a beautiful place and said to be the healthiest ones in the army. I should like very well to stay here, but report says we leave here in two days for Fort Kearney or somewhere west. I doubt not we shall leave (for some place? MJM) where we shall see some active service. All of our arms, wagons, and teams are here. Our horses are not all here yet; they will be in a few days. Our battalion went on shore at several places. We went up to view the battlefield at Lexington, Mo., where our army of 3,000 men under Mulligan had to capitulate to the Rebel Price with 20,000 of his crew of Rebels. I do not think the newspaper account of the battle was true which stated that our little army surrendered for want of water; for it would have been impossible for our little army to hold out longer than they did. They were surrounded on all sides and were driven into their entrenchments and into the buildings inside of the works, and good judges say the buildings would have fallen over their heads in hone hour more. The main building occupied by our troops was a college building 80 by 120 feet, six stories high, with the basement, which was entirely below ground. The building was a splendid, costly edifice of brick. The five stories above the ground were completely torn to pieces by 6, 12, and 32 pound shot. The east side had holes broken in, by cannon balls, 7 or 8 feet in diameter. The ground was covered with the bones of horses and mules. The sigh afforded me thoughts for reflection, but it is impossible for me to write all that I could tell you if I were there.
I received two letters only from home since I was at home. They were dated the 9th and 19th of April/62. I have written 7 or 8 home. You ought to know that I am very anxious to hear from you, as there are many to hear from, while on the other hand, you have only one to hear from. We have not been paid yet. Do not know when we shall be. I hope soon, as I have no money to buy any thing with. I will send home a little as soon as I get it.
My love to you all, and though deep river and broad prairies separate us, I think of you daily and nightly. Frank, you must be a good boy and mind your Mother. Mary and Jane and Baby, you must be good girls and try and remember me as I think it will be a long time before we meet again.
I stopped there to go on Dress Parade. Ordered on Dress Parade by Brig. Gnl. Blunt, Commander of this post (Seem some words omitted. MJM) that Co. A of the 3rd Reg. Wisconsin Cavalry leave tomorrow for a picket guard 35 miles from here towards Kansas City. We may go soon on picket. If we do your letters will be sent to the Company. That is if any comes. May this find you all in good health and happiness Letters will be gladly and thankfully received from any and all of you at any time you think best to write.
I do not think there is any prospect of the war ending before next Spring. The Rebels destroyed 12 hundred million dollars worth of cotton at the capture of New Orleans in La. which shows they are as much determined as ever.
Col. Barstow wants to go to New Mexico. He told me coming up on the boat that if he found a place there that suited him he would never go back to Wisconsin and that he wanted all the good men of his Reg. to settle there if he did. The Col. is a good and true man to his friends, but he is the devil to his enemies. Col C. C. Washburn has tried his best to break down the Reg. ever since it was formed but Barstow outgenerals him every time. He is so well liked by him men while Washburn's men despise him. Remember me to all friends. I shall look for a letter from you as soon as convenient for you to write. It seems a long time since the 19th of April, the last from you.
I do not know how many troops there are here. There is a great amount of cannon from 6 pounders to 120 pounders.
I must close and may Heaven bless all of you in well doing.
I am your affectionate Husband and Father
Charles N. Mumford
Direct Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
3rd Reg. Wis. Cavalry Co. M.