General Hospital Leavenworth City Apr. 12th/ '63
I once more sit down to address you but in so doing it is impossible to write you all my thoughts or feelings. There are discussions on the war and its probable results here every day and there seem to be almost as many opinions as there are men, and time for a short period frequently passes off very agreeably. But family and its endearments are ever uppermost in my mind. I received your very kind letter of the 5th yesterday and was thankful to hear that you were all well. We should prize health as the greatest of Heaven's blessings. I hate to tell you that my health is again on the decline. I have the diarrhea again as bad as ever. For the last week I have taken medicine not only every day but from two to four times a day. If I had all the medicine I have taken since I was first taken sick I could set up an apothecary shop of my own.
We have news of a terrible battle fought at Charleston, S.C. with what result is not yet known. Our gun boats were repulsed and the iron clad steamer Keokuk sunk by the Rebels. By the last telegram we learned that the fearful struggle is yet going on with the land forces. There is terrible slaughter on both sides. What the result will be time can only determine. I am afraid that the government of the U.S.A. do not know the magnitude of this rebellion. Yesterday all of the men started to their commands from the hospital of the Third Wisconsin cavalry that were able to do duty, 14 in number. I think some were sent that were not fit to go. Tears filled the eyes of some as I took them by the hand to bid them farewell. Their thoughts were probably running in the same channel as my own, that it probably would be the last meeting with some and perhaps all of us on the shore of time. I can only say that I parted with the boys with many regrets and asked the doctor's permission to go with them. His replay was "Not by a damn sight, Sir, till you are better than you are now. I shall send you to Wisconsin somehow if I can. I think you are more homesick than anything else". The doctor is a kind hearted man though he is a little rough in his manners. He is a Virginian by birth and his head is as white as snow. He was taken prisoner by the Rebels at the battle of Shilo and kept for several months in the Rebel service as a surgeon. While with them he amputated over a hundred limbs and all got well. I have seen him cut off two legs and one arm. They are now nearly well. I suppose you will think it unnecessary for me to give you an abridged history of an old army surgeon, but you will excuse me when I tell you that he is a special friend to me. He has written to William A. Barstow, Col. of the Third Wisc. Cavalry, stating to him that it would be very beneficial to my health to send me to Wisconsin for two or three months to recruit for the regiment. The Colonel would send me if he could but thinks the Conscription Act takes all without recruiting, that is all that are liable to do duty.
I do not think it would pay to send sugar to me for I hope and believe that I shall be in Madison by the Middle of May, but I have often been disappointed. If I am sent to Madison I can come and get some sugar with you myself. But thank you for the offer. There is plenty of maple sugar here at twenty cents a pound but I have not tasted any yet. We have so much sugar and molasses in the hospital that I am tired of the sight of Muscovado sweets. If I had a little money I would send it to you if I knew I would not be sent to Wisconsin before the next pay day, which will be between the 1st and 15th of next month.
I received a letter from Manly day before yesterday. He was well and doing well. I shall answer his today. As you have asked my opinion in regard to the war I will give it although I do not know it is better than your own. When I last wrote to Manly he asked me the same question. I wrote him that I thought from circumstances the war would soon end. In answer to me he was of the same opinion. My reasons were I thought that the Rebel resources were nearly exhausted. Since that we learn that the Rebel government has obtained a large loan of money from the British and not only so, they, the British, are fitting out iron clad vessels for the Rebs. If we are whipped in the next great battle I have but very little doubt what England and France will interfere in the fight. I think if we have European interference in behalf of the Rebs we shall have a speedy peace, and I fear with not much honor to the North. Some of the cursed Nigger-heads say at home -- we can whip the Secesh, England and France. I mean the Abolitionists who stay at home and howl They are equally as bad as the Copperheads. I think we have our hands full with the Rebels without France and England. But enough of this.
Tell Amos I think that as he and Cordelia sleep together and he is our son-in-law and I never had any objection in th least to all this I should be very much pleased to have him write to me. Give my kindest regards to old Mr. Foster and all of his family and all other inquiring friends. Give my love to all members of the family. And retain the greater portion for yourself. And remember me as your affectionate husband.
Chas. N. Mumford.