1862: Charles Griswold to Lucy Ann (Griswold) Davis

This letter was written by Sgt. Charles Griswold (1841-1921), the youngest son of Joel Griswold (1796-1879) and Polly Bartlett (1801-1876). It was written while Griswold served in Co. E, 15th Connecticut Infantry. In January 1864, Charles was transferred to the 29th Connecticut Infantry (Colored) where he became captain of Co. B. The 29th Conn. Vols. fought in the area of Beaufort, South Carolina and Richmond, Virginia in 1864 and were camped in Brownsville, Texas at the war’s end in 1865.

Serving with Charles in the 15th Connecticut was his brother Joel Griswold (1836-1892). Another brother, Edward Griswold, served in the 1st Independent Battery, Connecticut Light Artillery.

This letter was written by Charles to his older sister Lucy Ann (Griswold) Davis (1820-1905). Lucy was married to Daniel “Loper” Davis (1820-1896) — a farmer in Guilford, Connecticut. Loper enlisted at age 42 as a musician in the same company as Charles and Joel Griswold but was discharged due to disability in February 1863.

A cache of letters written by the Griswold brothers are housed at the New York Public Library — See Griswold Family Letters, 1862-1879


Addressed to Mrs. Lucy A. Davis, Guilford, Connecticut


Washington [D. C.]
Friday, August 12th 1862

Dear Sister,

I was very glad to receive a letter from you and to hear that the boys are getting along so finely. I think they will do things up brown. I feel little anxious to know how the draft stands in Guilford. I suppose Secesh escaped the draft pretty much. I think I can have time to finish this letter today as I have nothing to do until dress parade as our company has gone down to guard Long Bridge. The reason I did not go was because I was on guard yesterday & last night. [I] was not relieved but two hours during the twenty-four. Lieut. [William C.] Burgess ¹ was Officer of the Guard and as it rained last night, we had anything but a pleasant job of it.


     William C. Burgess

You must expect something going on when we are encamped in the center of the  city almost. We arrested seven last night and put [them] in the guard house which consists of a small square spot about 12 feet square — a guard on each side without any enclosure or covering — and the poor fellows were soaked alright in the rain. Two of them were crazy drunk and insulted the officers and could not be made to stop. We throttled them until they were black but it done no good — only for the time being. Finally we put their hands behind them and handcuffs on and gagged them but one of them would get it out of his mouth. We worked an hour and a half in the rain to gag one fellow but finally succeeded. One of them got his gun somehow and loaded it and said he was going to shoot Lt. Burgess. We took it away from him. All of them, I believe, were Irish. It is about the first time I have seen any of our men drunk.

The Colonel [Dexter R. Wright] is very particular with us. If we do not have our boots blacked and white gloves on at dress parade, he send us back.


Gen. Silas Casey

Gen. [Silas] Casey’s headquarters are across the street from us. We see him most every day. I am not very sorry that Jackson has got behind us. Perhaps ‘ere long he will wish himself back in Richmond.

I have not a word from [brother] Ed[ward] nor any of the boys at Beaufort since I enlisted. I hope before  I close this letter that I shall receive some letters from Guilford as it is about time for the mail. I am disappointed this time. No letter for me but one for Joel. He is down at the bridge. Therefore, I have no news from home. [Your husband] Loper has been unwell but is getting better.

Be particular and address C. G., Co. E, 15th Regiment Connecticut Volunteers, Washington D. C.

It is very warm here just now. I must close and get some some sleep. Hoping to hear from you again, I remain as ever, — Brother C.

¹ William C. Burgess enlisted in July 1862 as the 1st Lieutenant of Co. E, 15th Connecticut Infantry. He was promoted to Captain of Co. D in May 1863. He was a prisoner of war and paroled in March 1865 at Kingston, North Carolina.

Sgt. Charles Griswold

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