Albert Bancroft directed this letter to his younger brother, William J. Bancroft, who was in Grand Blanc, Michigan.
Plymouth, North Carolina
July 15, 1863
Dear Brother Willie,
Yours of the 28th came to hand last night and found us as well as usual and the papers bring news worth reading but you have heard it ‘ere this and I will not stop to tell it. There is nothing done here of any amount. We have made a few raids and destroyed some property. We went on one with the gunboats last week and captured some bacon and a large quantity of salt, burned a cotton house and gin with two or three tons of cotton, and a number of new seines, and the boys appropriated the poultry which was legion, and I have an old hen in durance vile awaiting further orders. We arrived in camp alright and seeing nothing of the enemy.
The weather here is very warm but we have occasional showers to cool the air and we stand it very well.
You write that you are contented. I am glad of it. It is the first step to happiness. You spoke about buying a piece of land. I like your idea but I think it would be better to wait until you have got a larger capital and the war is settled for the taxes will be high and the interests on the money is worth as much to you as anyone and is good at any time. But it would not do any harm to go and look at it and be careful and note the quality and quantity of the timber, of the soil, and see if it is well watered — or good chances to obtain water — and do not be too anxious about buying. See what the money would do paid down. If he is hard up, he could afford to drop $50. But after the land is bought, there is to be a great deal done and one would need teams, tools, and help, and it will be returning nothing for a year or two and it costs to live in a new country. So that you see that the interest on the money, the taxes on the land would make you better off than the land would. And you are young yet and may find places where you could lay out your money to better advantage. According to the righteous, this war is not destined to last forever and there will be government land to sell and teams too — and good ones — and they will be sold cheap. I have seen farms [here in the] South where everything is ready for the plow and the returns will come in the first year. Negro labor will be cheap and plenty if anyone takes hold of the matter right. But I prefer the North to this place and after the war is over, we will make a break for some parts and make things go if they do not knock my head off before then. I will trust God and keep the powder dry.
I had a letter from home yesterday. They were all well. Myra is going back to Edward’s to stay a while. There is not much going on now around there. The 33rd [New York Regiment] boys are at home now. No one got killed from Shortsville. I see by the papers that O. J. Herendeen ¹ was killed in the late battles in Pennsylvania. It will be a sad stroke to his friends. The regiment suffered severely there too but I have not seen a list yet.
Since my last, our Colonel has resigned and our Captain was promoted to Lieut. Col. He will fill the vacancy full as well as it has been filled, I think, and he is liked very well through the regiment. But I cannot think of anything more at present unless I send a list of our clothes prices for this year — some in advance of last.
Uniform coats … 7.21
Trousers … 3.55
Drawers … 0.95
Flannel shirts … 1.46
Boots … 2.05
Blankets … 3.65
Rubber blankets … 2.55
Stockings … 0.32
Sack coats … 2.40
Forage caps … 0.56
Great coats … 8.50
Regulation hats … 2.02
And the clothing is of good quality and is the universal one price store furnished by Uncle Sam. But it is supper time and I must close for the present. Write soon and remember me as ever. From your brother, — A. H. Bancroft
We are having a fine thunder shower and I guess it will rain all night.
¹ Orin J. Herendeen (1835-1863) served as captain of Co. H, 126th New York Infantry. He was killed along the Emmitsburg Road near Gettysburg by a sharpshooter on 3 July 1863. He was the son of Lyman and Nancy (Smith) Herendeen of Farmington, Ontario county, New York.