Manuscript Group 582, Charles Ried (1827-1862) Papers

New Jersey Historical Society Library

Manuscript Collection

Manuscript Group # 582

CharlesRied (1827-62) Papers

Letters, 1861

10 items

Sullivan, 2-2000 

Scope and Content Notes:

Civil War letters in German and English, written by Charles Ried, a German immigrant, to his wife and children in Lumberton Township, Burlington County. Ried served in the 3rd Regiment, New Jersey volunteers until his death in combat at the battle of Gaines’ Mill. The letters have been transcribed, translated, and annotated.  The letters have been transcribed in their original German, and these copies are included in the data file.  This finding aid contains the English transcriptions.


The letters contained in the Charles Ried Papers were donated to the Society in 1962 by Miriam E. Oatman and Rachel Oatman Kallen on June 27, 1962.  This date marks the one hundredth anniversary of Charles Ried’s death in the battle of Galnes’s Mill.  Miriam and Rachel are grand daughters of the late Charles Ried.


The ten Civil War letters by Charles M. Ried here collected were written in German, with one exception, a letter to Ried’s children, written in English on September 15, 1861, illustrates perfectly the reference by Stephen Vincent Benet, in John Brown’s Body (1928, Book Four, p. 183), to certain Northern soldiers as Germans who learnt their English under the shells, or didn’t have time to learn it before they died.

Though few in number, these letters clearly show their writer as a simple man of deep family affections, ardent devotion to his adoptive country, sound intelligence, and good powers of observation.  The letters permit an inference that before leaving Germany Charles Ried had seen military
service, or at least had received military training.  Thus, in the first letter of this collection he writes:  “I am satisfied because I knew full well how it would go.” In the letter of October 20, 1861, Is the statement: “I  gladly submit to God’s will; He will bring out everything
for the best.”  Let these words be Charles Ried’s epitaphs

Biographical Note:

After the European uprisings of 1848, many persons left the Old World in order to start life anew elsewhere.  At this time several parts of the United States, including areas in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, received an influx of Germans.  On the whole, these newcomers were intelligent, literate, law-abiding, industrious and thrifty.  Hence, they were generally recognized as valuable additions to the citizenry of their adoptive country.  Among the Germans who came to the UnitedStates in 1849 were two families from the state of Baden, named respectively Ried and Bischoff.  Only one member of each of these families is important to this brief note.

Karl M. Ried was the son of Matthias and Magdalene Rled.  He was born at Langen, Steinbach am Durlach, Baden, In July, 1827 . By occupation he seems to have been a journeyman shoemaker.  As soon as possible after his arrival in the United States, he was naturalized here.  Thereafter he tended to use the English form of his Christian name, ie. Charles.  He always retained the German spelling of his surname, although persons not familiar with German often spelled it Reid.

Wilhelmina Bischoff was the daughter of Michael and Therese (nee Beier) Bischoff.  On March 25, 1826, she was born in Dietllnger am Pfortzheim, Baden.  Charles Ried and Wilhelmina Bischoff were married on October 7, 1850, in the German Lutheran church at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the following decade they had five children;  Edmund Frederick, Henry William, Matthias, Wilhelmina, and Charles Michael.  At the outbreak of the Civil War the family lived in Lumberton, Burlington County, New Jersey, a small town near the county seat of Mount Holly.

When Company H of the Third New Jersey Regiment of Volunteer Infantry was formed, Charles Ried enlisted in it as a private. This took place on June 1, 1861.  The final enrollment of the regiment was completed at Trenton, NewJersey.  The Third Regiment was soon moved to Virginia. Ried’s letters from various camps in that state indicate a belief among the soldiers that the  Jersey.  The Third Regiment was soon moved to Virginia. Ried’s letters from various camps in that state indicate a belief among the soldiers that the war would be short.  A certain tone of “Let’s get it over with” is evident.

Slightly more than one year after his enlistment, and just before his thirty-fifth birthday, the war was over for Charles Ried. On June 27, 1862, he was killed in the battle of Gaines’s Mill.  He died from a rifle shot wound in the side, and was buried on the field where he had fallen.

Only a few of Charles Ried’s letters from his various military stations are known to have survived.  Two of his granddaughters have decided to make the small collection of his letters now in their hands available to the public, as a slight contribution to the history of our Civil War, and as a memorial to Charles Ried.  Among their reasons for doing so are:  1) The fact that these letters corroborate in many ways various descriptions of Union soldiers, their ideas, activities, and concerns; 2) The interesting person­ality of the writer, as shown in this correspondence; 3) and the evidence of complete assimilation to the Northern point of view,

in a man who had been born, reared and educated in Germany .  These reasons are self-explanatory when the letters are examined; but certain striking examples of the first one will be mentioned.

There are found in the letters gathered here illustrations of the following attitudes, characteristics or typical experiences attributed to Northern soldiers by Bell Irwin Wiley in The Life of Billy Yank, which forms the first part of his remarkable book, The Common Soldier in the Civil War, published by Grossett and Dunlap, New York, 1952s

Brief Descriptions of the Letters:

1.  Worry regarding the needs of families and dissatisfaction over lateness of pay.  (Wiley, Chapters II, XI; Ried, letters of June 5, 1861, and November 11, 1861).

It is superfluous to point out to anyone who studies these letters until some insight into the personality of the writer is obtained, that the remark in the first letter; “If you do not get anything I will not remain in the army … because I counted on it that you would be provided for,” is not a threat to deserts The further words, “You may say this publicly”, as well as the whole nature and character of Charles Ried, indicated rather that he was resolved not to re-enlist unless his family received the help which had been promised by “the Committee.”  Presumably such help was given, since no further reference to this matter appears.

2.  The desire of soldiers to send their photographs to dear ones.  (Wiley, Chapter I et passim; Ried, letters of September 15, 1861; letter of October 20, 1861, postscript),

3.  Drill and parade.  (Wiley, Chapter II; Ried, letter of September 15, 1861; letter of November 20, 1861).

4.  Disrespectful language toward superior officers.  (Wiley, Chapter VIII; Ried, letter of September 29, 1861) .

5.  Drinking by soldiers.  (Wiley, Chapter X; Ried, letter of October 20, 1861).

6.  Religion.  (Wiley, Chapter X; Ried, letter of October 20,

1861, et passim).

7.  Stealing and foraging.  (Wiley, Chapters IX and X; Ried, letter of November 17, 1861).

8.  Grumbling in general.  (Wiley, passim; Ried, letter of June 5, 1861; letter of November 20, 1861).

9.  Desire for letters from home. (Wiley, Chapter VII; Ried, passim, nearly all letters) .

10 . Wiley ‘s Interesting discussion of foreign born soldiers (Chapter XII), and in particular of men from Germany, seems applicable in many ways to Charles Ried as these letters show him.  The language difficulties mentioned by Wiley are strikingly exemplified by Ried’s letter in English to his children, dated September 15, 1861.

11 . Some of the hardships experienced by the “Yanksn in respect to clothing were felt by Charles Ried.  (Wiley, Chapter II; Ried, letter of November
17, 1861).

12. The introduction of stoves or fireplaces or some sort of Improvised heating arrangements into chilly tents was also among this soldier’s experiences.  (Wiley, Chapter II; Ried, letter of October 29, 1861).  In the final letter of this collection, dated November 20, 1861, Charles Ried gives a brief glimpse of President Lincoln.

It should be added that Mrs. Ried devoted herself to rearing her family after the husband and father had been taken from them forever.  This was not an easy task, as the very small Federal pensions allotted to the widow and the orphans hardly covered the barest necessities of life.  By heroic efforts, Mrs. Ried brought the entire family to adulthood. All married and had children.

The only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Ried, Wilhelmina, became the wife of Rev. Johnson Oatman, Jr. This marriage had issue;  A son, Charles Percival, and a daughter, Bertha Cline, both long deceased; also the undersigned. Until her final illness, Mrs. Ried maintained her own modest home in Lumberton.  She died at the residence of her daughter in Riverside, New Jersey, on February 22, 1905.

Miriam E. Oatman

Rachel Oatman Kallen

June 27, 1962

The one hundredth anniversary of the death, in the battle of Gaines’s Mill, of Charles Ried, Company H. Third Regiment, New Jersey Volunteers.



1.   Camp Olden, Trenton, New Jersey

2.  Camp Trenton, Roache’s Mills, Virginia

5.  Alexandria, Virginia

4.  Camp Seminary

5.  Camp Taylor

6.  Fort Worth

7.   Camp Taylor

8.  Port Taylor

9.  Fort Worth

10. Fort Worth


June 5, 1861

July 14, 1861

September 15, 1861

September 15, 1861

September 29, 1861

October 10, 1861

October 20, 1861

October 29, 1861

November 17, 1861

10 .       November
20, 1861


Camp Olden, June 5, 1861

Dear wife and Children

We are now in camp and all are well who came with us from Mount Holly.  I hope that these lines will find you too sound and well.

Dear wife, I have heard that the committee which pays money to the families in Mount Holly does not want to do anything for our people.  Therefore, I would like to know whether or not you received your money.  When you have an opportunity send me a shirt, my muffler, a fine comb, and if possible a little money.  It is rather skimpy here, but I am satisfied because I knew full well how it would go; there are many among us who would prefer to be home and regret that they went along .  For myself I have no complaints, as I like it pretty well.  Later I will write you more, when I am sure how long we shall remain here.  We hope that we can come home once more before we leave.  Our camp is two miles from Trenton and 18 miles from Mount Holly.  There are 2, 500 men here, and there will be 5, 000 altogether.  If you go to Mount Holly by Saturday, ask if somebody from there is not going to our camp; you can best find out in the tavern where we were in Mount Holly, Bodmes Hotels  My address is

Chas. Ried

Camp Olden, Trenton, N. J. 3rd Regiment, Company H.

In any case, write as soon as possible. Many regards to you and all friends .  A hearty greeting also to J. Roos, and you can tell him that I like it quite well.

Charles Ried

If you do not get anything I will not remain in the army.  This is sure, because I counted on it that you would be provided for; you may say this publicly.

I have heard that we will soon get money here, it is said in a few days, but I do not believe it until I have the money in my pockets  We are supposed to get our clothes by the l6th.  If you have no good opportunity you need send me nothing but a little money .  Let somebody write the address for you correctly on the letter.

Your father, K. Ried

Camp Trenton, North East Entr.

(Reached Mills, Va.) July 14, 1861

Dear wife and children:  I cannot refrain from sending you a few hasty lines.  The last letter, which I sent you by horse mail, I had hardly taken to the post office when we received orders to leaver  We were ordered to be ready to go at 5 o’clock the next morning; but it rained so heavily that the time was postponed till 8 o’clock in the morning, then till 5 o’clock in the after­noon.  Finally at 6 o’clock in the evening we left Washington and marched 12 miles.  It rained, and we were dripping wet from perspiration.  At 9 or 10 we came to a place where we passed the night in grass and moss.  We were all up to our knees in mud.  You may perhaps know how the roads are in Virginia. On Sunday at

11 o’clock we received a mug of coffee, and then had to march another mile to where we are now.  The present place is exactly like the one at Short Creek in Ohio. I came immediately to the main guard house, and the next day our whole company got outpost duty or picket guards I just came back
to write to you in this hour.  Everything is in an uproar because there is a big battle only 5 to 7 miles from us, and we do not know what minute we must leave.  Already 20.000 men on our side have marched there, going past our camp. (1) Last night we captured 12 spies; we were 36 men well armed.

Dear wife, if you can, send me not more than one dollar; for when marching it is good to have a few cents.

Address is

Charles Ried, Company H. 3rd Regiment, N. J. V Care of Col. Tailor (2), N. East Entr., Va.

Dear wife, while I was writing this we received orders to march tonight to the place of battle.  In God’s name, farewell.

I will soon write you again Yours

(1)  Evidently the soldiers had mistaken troop movements, artillery practices or other activities for a battle.  Donald H. Mugridge, Specialist in American History, Reference Department, Library of Congress, wrote in a letter dated March 7, 1962, replying to an inquiry:

We find the following passage on page 7 of Camille Baquet’s History of the First Brigade, New Jersey Volunteers (Trenton, State Printers, 1910); “The man were kept busy with drill, guard duty and battalion exercise until July 12th, when orders were received to move over into Virginia.  The Brigade crossed over the Potomac River by the Long Bridge and took up the line of march to Alexandria, six miles below Washington.  Here the Brigade went into camp at Roache’s Mills, naming the camp Camp Trenton.  A contemporary map shows Roach’s Mills on Four Mile Run, at about
the point where today South Lang Street, Arlington, crosses and becomes Old Dominion Boulevard, Alexandris.  There was nothing that could be mistaken for a battle in the vicinity until July 18, when Brigadier-general Daniel Tyler’s Division carried out its reconnaissance in force at Blackburn’s Ford, as a preliminary to McDowel’s general advance three days later, which resulted in First Bull Run.

(2)  Col. Taylor.  Later references to Camp Tailor, etc. should be spelled with y.  The following letter was written in English by Charles Ried to his children, on a double sheet of paper which also contains a letter of the same date written in German.  The English letter Indicates a tendency to use German capitalization, pronunciation, spelling and syntax, as well as to echo the colloquial speech which the writer heard about him, e.g., (“wap,” “whip”) them Rebells,” and “agin”

Alexandria, September 15, 1861

Dear Children I take this Opportunity to write a few lines to you as I have a little time this afternoon, and I hope this will reach you as well and Healthy as I am for I am very well; but I should like it far better if I could see my Dear Children and Mother again, I hope if God keeps me alive, to see jou all, about Christmas Day.  I have been in town jesterday to send jou my likeness but i could not get it taken as there were so many Men before me that wanted thers taken i hope i can send it to jou soon, we are working evvery day 6 hours and are making a strong fort so as we can get into it schould we be beaten in the field of Battle i want jou all to be werry kind to jour Mother, so as she will tell me in evvery letter jou have bin good Children and Love her werry Much.

Dear Children 1 hope we will wup them Rebbels werry soon then all of us will come home agin and if you have bin good to jour Mother 1 will bring you a nise Pressent home. jo (u) must not forget to Pray to God and the Lord Jesus to Keep us all well and after the War is over lead us all together
agin, i want jou to writ me a letter by jourself and kiss over little Charly and Mine and tel her i would like to kiss jou all. so good by 1 hop the Lord will take care of jou all i send you my Love

Jour afecktionate

father Charles Ried

Camp Seminary, September 15, 1861

Dear wife and children

God’s blessing and good health, as greeting to you all; and I hope that these lines will find you as healthy as they leave me. Thank God I am still hale and hearty.  I think you received a letter from me yesterday evening.

Nothing important has happened to use since my last letter. Today, Sunday, in the morning, we had a big parade from 8 to 12: 30 o’clock.  We marched out with everything we had.  It was nice, for there were 4 to 5 thousand men with guns and all munitions on the place.  We did not take our knapsacks from our backs the whole time, and the rifles on our arms made us pretty warm and tired.  This afternoon we had church parade for an hour, and were permitted to rest the remainder of the time.  I wish you would write to Waterford and inquire whether my brother Jakob is also in the army, and ask his address (the regiment and the company), and send it to me.

Yesterday I was in Alexandria.  It is a place somewhat larger than Mount Holly.  I wanted to have a likeness taken of myself, but there are at least a thousand thereevery day; I could not get to it for any money.

Dear wife, it hurt me very much when I heard how badly off my sister was in the city.  I thought, these are God’s fingers; and I pray and wish that they should fare better.  Many hearty regards from Your loving father Chas. Ried

Note;  There is a question whether the above letter should not be dated September 16, as the writer says;  “Yesterday I was in Alexandria.”  The preceding letter in English is dated from Alexandria, September 15, 1861

Camp Taylor, September 29, 1861

Dear wife and children.

The Lord’s blessing and good health as greeting to you; and when these lines reach you in health I shall be very glad.  I received your letter of the 25th of this month and saw that you too are still quite well, and that you received the dresses.  I did not think that you would receive them so soon.  You need no longer give the receipt for them.  With your brother, I think it best if he goes into a fresh regiment, because he does not yet know anything about drill; but he can come immediately to our regiment if he wishes.  However, I would advise him to go to a new one. We were on our feet for 10 days, day and night, and in that time I slept hardly 10 hours.  We were only one night in our tents, the others in the forest on outpost.

Yesterday we moved forward five miles. The rebels escaped when they saw us coming, and fled to their trenches.  We were provided with wagons which carried hay from them to us, and got more than 100 wagons full; but in reality we wanted to see whether they would stop us and fight, because we were close to each other for quite some time, in places only 100 yards apart.  It is forbidden to us and to them to shoot as long as we remain on our posts.

I have recently caught a cold.  I have a cough and a very raw throat so that I can hardly speak, but I can still perform my duty.  We expect an encounter any moment, and I must say that our regiment thinks nothing of it. When I look at it I am very glad one can see our people acting as if no enemy were present, and marching forward as if it were fun. Yesterday I heard a high Prussian officer say to some of our people, “Boys, this is serious and no joke:” whereupon one of them answered, “You damned German fool do you mean we don’t know it?”  He then drew his pistol and told the soldier if he were not quiet he would shoot him down; but the man replied, “Put away your pistol or shoot.  I am not afraid; but count on it that if you miss me you will be in hell in three minutes”; so he had to pocket his pistol amid loud laughter.  I just heard that some New York regiments had a battle on our right side this morning at 4 o’clock and drove back the enemy.  I wish very march that once it would really come off and that there would be peace again.  I must finish my letter with the hope that it will find you healthy and well. I remain

Your loving father, Charles Ried The picture on the envelope is our General.

Fort Worth, October 10, 1861

Dear wife and dear Children:

This past week I received your two letters and learned that you all are still healthy, which makes me very glad.  Thank God I am also well, and hope that these lines will find you the same. I would have written you sooner, but when I received your first letter we were just ready to go on outpost guard five miles from here; and the second I received when I was on guard duty, where I had no opportunity to write.  We returned yesterday evening, after being out 4 days and 3 nights. Nothing important has happened here.  Yesterday and day before yesterday there was a battle about 25 miles from here; we do not yet know how it came out.  It is quite possible that we shall remain this winter where we are now.  At present 40 to 50 thousand of our men are in front.  The enemies are 6 to 8 miles from here.  You must not believe all the gossip, that the French want to help the South.  I believe this will take some time, and believe that the French will rather help the North than the South.  It is very possible that we will not get to the battlefield; we know nothing and cannot say anything a quarter of an hour before it happens.  We know now how it is with the 10 men who shoot best in every company, about which I wrote you.  They were selected to go on ships and to invade the South from another place. There were none from New Jersey; I am glad, because my name was on the list.  We have heard nothing until now as to where the ships have landed.  This explains the rumors about going to Mexico or South Carolina. We have received no money as yet, but I think we will be paid by Tuesday.  We shall get new clothes today and tomorrow; the other companies of the regiment got theirs yesterday.

Dear wife, you write me that the husband of Ricke wants to see me.  I don’t even have his name.  If you can, you might send me his address.  I would also like to know whether Gustav is still in Beverly, and his address.

If you feed the sow with scalded corn and she likes to eat it, I think you won’t need so much; and then again whole corn for a few days.  Will she weigh three hundred pounds when she is fat?  I would also like to know whether Lul is still in Lumber ton, and what work the Grunwald men are doing.  I know nothing else at present to write; but many hearty greetings from

Your loving father, Chas Ried. I am longing for an answer.

Camp Taylor, October 20, 1861

Dear wife and dear children;

I received your letter (with the 2 dollars), and learned from it that you all are still healthy, which makes me very glade.  Thank God I am also healthy and well, and hope that these lines will find you so.  I was on outpost when I received your letter; other­wise I would have answered you sooner,  it is true, nothing important has happened, except that to the right and left of us battles take place every day.  The guns are actually thundering again to our left. The enemies have withdrawn from our front and are now eight miles from us.  There is a rumor that we will all be home in two months.

On our right our people had a battle yesterday.  They routed the rebels and took from them 50 animals and their tents, 144 in number.  We really no longer think much of it when there is shooting, because it is the daily thing and nothing new any more. Dear wife, they say that we will stay where we are, and the 5th Co. and 7th and 8th Regiments from “New Jersey must go to another place.  You asked me whether I have had anything strong since last pay day, or since we left Washington, I have had very little, perhaps 10 drinks all told; and this was when I was at Christof Grualy’s and in Alexandria, we can get gin in our store, but I do not buy anything from them because it is too expensive. They steal the money from us; they ask 20 cents for a drink, Little would be left of my pay if I stopped there often,

We think that we will move on from here soon and that we will be stationed at Fairfax, a place about 12 miles from here, because soon it will be too cold in our tents.  Here I stopped writing for it was time to go to church.  When we entered the church the rites of baptism and holy communion took place.  Two persons were baptized who had not been baptized earlier, and about ten took holy communion, I, too, took holy communion and asked the Lord to forgive my sins and to save me from all sins in the future, I wished we could have gone together to the table of the Lord; but since it could not be otherwise I did not hesitate to go alone, for it is possible that this is the last time in this life.  Yet I hope for the best and gladly submit to God’s will; He will bring out everything for the best,

Dear wife, write me whether our Edmund is going to school.  If he does not yet go, I wish you would send him there, and hope that he will be good and learn diligently.  With this I must finish my letter, I hope to see you again soon.  With many hearty greetings from your loving father,


Write me again soon, for I am very happy when I receive an answer from you.

N, B, The picture is quite good, and my beard has protected me often against a sore throat, C, B,

If I knew how long It will take before I see you. I would ask you to send me your pictures.

Fort Taylor, October 29, 1861.

Dear wife and dear children

I received your letter and learned from It that you all are still healthy and well, which makes me very happy.  Time hung heavy on my hands until I received your letter.  You will surely have received my letter of last Sunday, Thank God I am still healthy and well; I hope that these lines will find you so.  Dear wife, this evening we received orders to be ready any minute to make an attack.  This time I think we will be on the battlefield, when you are reading this letter.

May God grant us luck and victory, and strengthen us in the hour of danger, so that once again there may be peace in the land. Today we wanted to set up stoves in our tents, but we were stopped until we know where we shall be this winter.

There are 100 thousand men in the army where I am, and they have 600 guns.  Many ships departed yesterday to attack the South from the coast.  They are said to have many guns with them, and also land troops .

We do not know ourselves what position we will take in the battle; whether we will be placed in front or in back.

If I stay healthy and if it is possible, I shall write a few lines every day to tell how we are getting along.  Meanwhile I hope that these lines reach you In as good cheer as they leave me. Once and for all it must be decided which party will be the victor, and the sooner the better.  I have nothing to complain about, except that often in the morning I can’t get moving because all the bones In my body ache from lying .  I am much more tired in the morning than in the evening. But I hope that with God’s help it will not last much longer.

Many hearty greetings from Your loving

Charles Ried

Address your letters as usual.  I would not have shoes made for the children at presents  Those of Henry you can cut or have cut open on top of the last, about one finger’s length; then he can put them on if they are still good. If they need new ones, perhaps I will be home In time to make shoes for them.

Keep well and remember me in your prayers.

Fort Worth, November 17, 1861.

Dear wife and dear children

I cannot refrain from writing you a few lines in order to let you know that I am still healthy, and that nothing important has happened here as yet.  I received your letter of the 15th and saw that you too are still healthy, which makes me very happy.  This past week I wrote you two letters, one with the plain envelope and the other in the middle of the week.  I did not stamp either of them in order to find out whether the letters can be sent free or not.  Because so much cheating goes on that one cannot believe it; the whole war is nothing but money.  Our officers steal wherever they can; even our pastor allowed wheat to be stolen so that he would not have to pay for it.  I had no more money, but I could have gotten some if I had wanted to.

We are still in our old place and do not know when we must leave; perhaps tomorrow, perhaps even today. Tomorrow or Tuesday next we shall have a mass meeting of 50 to 100 thousand men three miles from here; what will happen next we do not know.  As I have written to you often, it is just that we do not know what the next hour will bring.  I think you will have received my two letters before you get this one, and hope that this letter will reach you healthy and well as it leaves me.  Until now we have received no money, and I was forced to take 2 dollars from the store.  I want you to dress our children warmly; it need not be anything extra so long as it is warm.  You yourself will do better if for undergarments you put on a pair of drawers and a shirt or chemise, so that you don’t feel cold.  I always have three shirts, a pair of pants, a vest and cape when it is cold.  My socks are beginning to wear out, and if we do not get some soon I must buy.

Write me how much money you still have, because I think you will not have much now.  We are supposed to get paid this week, but it is not definite.  Last pay day two of our company lost their money when sending it home, each 20 dollars.  Let our children read this letter by themselves; I think if they study it they can read it alone.

Quite a number here have drawn 10 to 15 dollars from the store. It is shameful how they use it, for nut cake, butter, cheese and the like; when I know that the families of some are in need.  I asked you already whether Lui is still in Lumberton and what kind of work the Germans do when the foundry does not operate.

When you write you must see to it that you bring the letters to the post office in the morning before the mall leaves; then I would receive the letters a day earlier. I have nothing more to write at present, but that I remain your loving father,

Charles Ried. I hope for an early answer

Fort Worth, November 20, 1861

Dear wife and dear children

I just received your letter of the 17th and learned that you are still healthy, which makes me very glad. Thank God I too am still well; I hope that these line will find you so.  It is now 7 o1clock in the evening, and we have not been even half an hour in our tents.  This morning we moved out and marched with bag and baggage 8 miles from here, where a big review was held. Each one of us had 40 Sharp cartridges.  We believed nothing else but that we would have a battle.  We stood in battle-array with the knapsacks on our backs from 8 o’clock this morning until 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and then we marched again to our quarters.  I feel rather stiff, and the knapsack has pulled back my shoulders quite a bit; for during the whole day we had not taken it off our backs even for ten minutes.  There were 65 thousand men in the field; you can imagine that it was grand.
President Lincoln was also there, and rode through all the lines. Everywhere he was greeted with shouts of joy.  This is the third time that I have seen him.

Dear wife, the bill is the tax bill, and is 1 dollar and 22 cents which should be paid by December 20,  I am enclosing it here; and before you pay it you can ask around whether or not the other soldiers are paying taxes; that is; the ones who have no property.  Those who have houses or land must pay their tax. In any case, you do not pay it as yet.  The soldiers who were shot are New York cavalry, and none of them was from Lumberton.

Yesterday I wrote you a few lines where I mentioned that we had received our money.  I was rather uneasy today because I could not yet send it to you; but I hope that I will soon find a good opportunity.  We can get postage stamps here.  I must close my letter.

With many hearty greetings and kisses, Your loving father,

Charles Ried.

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