Description[6th Connecticut Infantry]. Union Soldier Halsey Bartlett Letter Archive comprised of over fifty letters spanning the years 1861 through 1864. Halsey Bartlett enlisted in the Union Army as a private on August 21, 1861. On September 3, he mustered into Co. "A," 6th Connecticut Infantry. Finding himself in an army camp four days after mustering in, he wrote a letter to his mother and sister (the majority of the letters contained within are addressed to them) and describes life in camp, including the singing of hymns, the rations for the day, and the name of the regiment's commander, Col. John Chatfield, who was "in the Bull Run Battle." By mid-October, Bartlett and the men of the 6th Connecticut find themselves heading south to join Gen. Thomas W. Sherman's Port Royal Expedition, South Carolina. While aboard the Steamer Marion on October 27, 1861, he wrote to his mother, echoing the sentiment found in so many early Civil War letters, that he does not believe "this war will last more than six months. Fremont has a large force under him. He is coming down the Missippi [sic] River and this Division under Gen. Sherman of 75000 is to meet him and one Great Battle is to be fought which will end the war."
That "Great Battle" was never realized and on January 16, 1862, he writes that his regiment has "not been in any Battle yet," but that would all change three months later, with their participation in the Siege of Fort Pulaski, "April 7, 1862 . . . While I am writing I can hear Heavy Cannons firing from some place. It sounds up in the direction of Fort Pulaski. There is a battle somewhere." The regiment was engaged in the Battles of Secessionville and Pocotaligo before taking part in the second assault on Fort Wagner (Morris Island, South Carolina, July 18, 1863), where their commander, Col. Chatfield, was wounded and later died. Seven weeks after the failed assault, the Union Army was still laying siege to the fort. In a letter dated September 6, 1863, Bartlett, writing from Hilton Head, states that he was "on Guard last night and I could hear the Guns from our Batteries on Morris Island and it seemed that they had opened every Gun for such a noise I have never heard in the shooting line . . . no cessation whatever from Eight o'clock last night until daylight this morning." Later that night, the Confederate garrison abandoned the fort. Eight days later he writes that "Morris Island is all ours now and hope other strongholds about Charleston will ere long will be ours."
The following spring, the 6th Connecticut moved north into Virginia where they participated in the Bermuda Hundred Campaign. Writing again to his sister on May 29, 1864, Bartlett thanks He that "ruleth the whole Nation above and below that I am still alive for I have been in some very hard battles since I came here . . . Many who came here with us who were in the best of health are no more. Oh this cruel war when will it be over?" Sadly for Private Bartlett, his war would end less than three weeks later. In a letter from Sergeant Earl W. Fisher to his uncle (likely Bartlett's father), dated June 18, 1864, Fisher relays the sad news: "It has become my very sad duty to inform that cousin Halsey was Killed yesterday while on Picket-duty in front of our Battry. He was instantly Killed by a Rebel sharp shooter while in the Rifle pits. The ball entering in the right side and passing up through the heart. He only spoke and asked the boys to carry him off quick and died. . . . I thought you could break the very sad news to Aunt much better than I could so I write to you the facts as they are to me." In addition to the preceding letter, there are several letters concerning the death of Bartlett, one of which is written by the lieutenant commanding the company, Hiram L. Grant, regarding the pay that was owed to him when he died and the fate of his effects. Aside from the expected age toning and foxing, this collection of letters is in great condition.
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