(Bradley Family Correspondence)
Civil War letters of Sgt. Charles E. Bradley, Co. I, 32nd New York Volunteers, with later incoming correspondence to his daughter, Kate M. Bradley, Vassar graduate and teacher, written by her mother, siblings, and friends, 1861-1893

169 letters, 683 manuscript pp., (118 retained mailing envelopes), dated 2 May 1861 to 8 May 1893; plus 22 pieces of ephemera, including 4 cdv photographs, postcards, used envelopes, circulars, etc.

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An interesting 19th century family correspondence which contains three substantive sections: a group of Civil War letters, a substantial women’s correspondence, as well as letters from 19th century Florida.


           Description of Correspondence:

            Letters written by Sgt. Charles E. Bradley:

        41 letters, 162 manuscript pages, (18 retained mailing envelopes), written by Sgt. Charles E. Bradley, of Co. I, 32nd NY Volunteers, dated 2 May 1861 to 11 April 1864, and 6 March 1889 to 27 November 1892; 9 letters are not dated. The bulk of Bradley’s letters were written to his father, Lyman Bradley, at Spencer, New York from 1861 to 1863, while Sgt. Bradley was serving in the Civil War. He wrote two letters during this period to his mother and one to his brother; 5 letters were written to “Maggie,” Margaret E. Bush, Sgt. Bradley’s future wife. They married in 1863; the letters to her were written from February to April 1864 after he mustered out of service; a couple of the letters appear to be incomplete. There are also 3 letters (14 pp.) written by Charles E. Bradley to his daughter Kate Bradley, dated 1889 to 1892; written by Charles from his home in Spencer, New Yok to his daughter who was then a student at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York.

        Letters written “to” Kate Bradley from her family:

49 letters, 156 manuscript pages, (44 retained mailing envelopes), written by Mrs. Margaret E. Bradley, to her daughter Kate Bradley, dated 28 November 1889 to 17 April 1893; three of the letters are not dated. Mrs. Bradley writes from her home in Spencer, New York to her daughter at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, or in Albany and Chautauqua, New York, and later in New Castle, Pennsylvania. Kate Bradley graduated from Vassar in 1892 and took a job teaching in New Castle, in September 1892 and worked there until April 1893.

4 letters, 18 manuscript pages, (3 retained mailing envelopes), written by Margaret “Madge” J. Bradley to her sister Kate Bradley, dated 1 August 1887 to 15 December 1892; one of the letters was written by Madge from Thousand Islands, New York to Kate at home in Spencer, New York; the other three letters were written in 1892 to Kate when she was teaching in New Castle, Pennsylvania and Madge was home in Spencer.

         Letters written to Kate Bradley from friends:

2 letters, 11 manuscript pages, (2 retained mailing envelopes), written by Agnes May Bissell to Kate Bradley, dated 4 July to 8 September 1887; Bissell wrote from Norwich, New York to Bradley at her home in Spencer, New York; the letter by Bissell dated 4 July 1887, has two C.H. Gallup (Poughkeepsie, NY) Stamp Portraits glued to first page of letter. These stamps, with a portrait presumably of Agnes May Bissell, were popular for a time during the latter part of the 19th Century. They were miniature photographs made to look like postage stamps. Agnes appears to be another one of Bradley’s friends. She is also friends with the other women.

4 letters, 20 manuscript pp., (4 retained mailing envelopes), written by Anna Cooper to Kate Bradley, dated 4 July to 9 September 1887; letters were written by Cooper from Ithaca, or Springdale, New York, to Bradley at her home in Spencer, New York; Cooper was one of Bradley’s friends. Cooper is mentioned in letters of Ada Hawes as well, and Cooper mentions Ada in her letters. The three women seem to be mutual friends.

3 letters, 10 manuscript pp., (3 retained mailing envelopes), written by E. Frances “Fitchie” Fitch to Kate Bradley, dated 10 July to 12 September 1887; Fitchie writes from Fredonia and  Norwich, New York, to Bradley in Spencer, New York.

10 letters, 54 manuscript pp., (8 retained mailing envelopes), written by Ada Hawes to Kate Bradley, dated 5 June 1887 to 27 November 1892; Ada writes from Danby, New York and Stoughton, Wisconsin, to Bradley in Spencer, NY and New Castle, Pennsylvania.

4 letters, 31 manuscript pp., (3 retained mailing envelopes), written by “Lillian” to Kate Bradley, dated 30 June to 18 September 1887; Bradley was in Spencer, New York, and Lillian wrote her from East Saginaw, Michigan. Lillian appears to be one of a group of women, including Ada Hawes, Anna Cooper, E. Frances Fitch, and Stella, that corresponded with Bradley.

5 letters, 24 manuscript pp., written by S. L. F., or “Stella” to Kate Bradley, dated 6 August 1887 to 29 November 1892; Stella writes from Lynchburg, Virginia; Greenville, South Carolina; and Boston, Massachusetts, to Bradley in Spencer, New York, and while she was teaching in New Castle, Pennsylvania. Stella is another friend of Kate Bradley, (one of her circle of friends: Lillian, Ada, Anna, Fitchie). In all likelihood the women were all school mates from the Spencer, New York area, as their correspondence began in 1887 before Bradley went away to Vassar.

25 miscellaneous letters written to Kate Bradley, 110 manuscript pp., (21 retained mailing envelopes), dated 4 June 1887 to 8 May 1893; two of the letters are not dated. These letters are written by various correspondents to Bradley while she was at home in Spencer, or while she was in New Castle, Pennsylvania teaching, one letter was written while she was at Vassar. The correspondents write from various locales in CT, FL, IL, MA, MN, NH, NY, and Canada. Several letters are from Poughkeepsie, presumably women she knew from Vassar.

        Letters written by Lyman Bradley:

16 letters, 68 manuscript pp., (6 retained mailing envelopes), written by Lyman Bradley to his parents Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Bradley (11), or his sister Kate Bradley (5), dated 3 October 1892 to 2 May 1893; Lyman writes from Jacksonville (4), Pensacola (2), Tallahassee (1), and Gainesville (1), Florida; he also wrote from the West Coast: from Seattle (5) and Kirland (2), Washington. Lyman Bradley worked in the office of U.S. Marshal, E.C. Weeks, Northern District of Florida; his letters discuss the various prisoners he has arrested and taken to jail; the letters also comment on political matters in Florida.

        Miscellaneous Letters

6 miscellaneous letters, 19 manuscript pp., (2 retained mailing envelopes), written by various correspondents, dated 1 March 1862 to 16 January 1889; three letters are not dated.  One of the letters is dated “Camp Newton” 1 March 1862, and concerns the Civil War, the writer is likely the brother of Charles E. Bradley, and sent to their father; another letter is likely written by “Maggie” or Margaret E. Bush, Charles E. Bradley’s future wife, she writes from Angelica Academy to Bradley in Spencer, New York; it is unclear who wrote the third letter.



22 pieces of ephemera, including  4 cdv photos, two of which are identified; 7 used envelopes, which could likely be matched to some of the letters in this collection; a couple of school circulars, an invitation, some manuscript notes, 3 used postcards, etc.

         Charles E. Bradley (1842-1915) and Family

Charles E. Bradley was born 13 November 1842 in Danby, New York. He was the son of Lyman Bradley (1808-1884) and his wife Mary Ann Hill (1808 -). Lyman Bradley was a native of Tompkins County, New York. He was listed as a laborer in early records, then later as a merchant (1850 and1855). In 1860 he was listed with a personal estate of $4000 and real estate of $6000. In 1870 he was listed as a dry goods merchant and by 1875 he was listed as retired and living in Spencer, Tioga County, New York, where he had been living for some time. Lyman Bradley died on 26 November 1884.

Lyman Bradley married Mary Ann Hill (1807-1882). Together Lyman and his wife had at least two children, Charles E. Bradley (1842-1915), and his sister Mary Ann Bradley (1846 -). Charles E. Bradley served with Co. I, 32nd New York Volunteers. He enlisted 7 May 1861 at Ithaca serving two years. He mustered in as private on 31 May 1861, was promoted to Corporal 17 March 1862, and then promoted again to Sergeant on 7 October 1862. He mustered out on 9 June 1863 as a Sergeant with his company in New York City. He was commissioned a second lieutenant 9 May 1863, but was not mustered with rank from January 6, 1863.

 The 32nd New York Volunteer Infantry Regiment, also known as the "1st California Regiment", was an infantry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Col. Roderick Matheson, was accepted by the State 22 May 1861. He organized the regiment at New York City, and it was mustered in the service of the United States for two years on 31 May 1861, at New Dorp, Staten Island. The Empire City Regiment and the Cerro Gordo Legion, incomplete organizations, were merged into it. On 25 May 1863, the three years' men of the regiment were transferred to the 121st Infantry.

The companies were recruited principally from these cities, as follows: Co.’s A and I— Ithaca Volunteers — at Ithaca; Co.’s B and D at Amsterdam; Co. C at Johnstown; Co. E at New York city and in Tompkins county; Co.’s F and G in New York city; Co. H in Tarrytown, and Co. K — Capt. W. H. Robinson's Company of the Empire City Regiment or Guard— at New York City.

The 32nd Regiment left New York for Washington, D.C. on June 29 1861; was quartered there for a week and then encamped near Alexandria, where it was assigned to the 2nd brigade, 5th division, Army of Northeastern Virginia. The regiment was engaged at Fairfax Court House, Bull Run, and at Munson's hill, and spent the winter at Fort Ward, in Newton's brigade of Franklin's division. In March, 1862, with the 3d brigade, 1st division, 1st corps, Army of the Potomac, the regiment moved to Manassas; then returned to Alexandria and embarked for the Peninsula where it was engaged at West Point (Battle of Eltham's Landing), with a loss of 67 killed, wounded or missing, and soon after was assigned to the 3d brigade, 1st division, 6th corps, with which it engaged in the Seven Days' battles; then went into camp at Harrison's landing until 16 Aug., when it returned to Alexandria. The regiment participated in the battles of Crampton's Gap, Antietam and Fredericksburg. It went into winter quarters at Belle Plain; participated in the "Mud March," and on 28 April 1863, broke camp and joined the light brigade of the 6th corps for the Chancellorsville campaign, in which the 32nd lost 43 members killed, wounded or missing. It returned on May 8 to the camp at Belle Plain and on the 25th the three years' men were transferred to the 121st N. Y. Infantry. The two years men were mustered out at New York City on 9 June 1863.

After the Civil War, Charles E. Bradley was found enumerated in Spencer, New York. He went into business with his father and took it over after his father retired. He is listed a dry goods merchant in the 1875 New York State Census, and as a merchant in the U.S. 1880 Census, in Spencer. Charles died on 24 December 1915 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery, Spencer, Tioga Co., New York.

Bradley was married in 1863 to Margaret E. Bush (1842-1904). She was born 10 June 1842; and died 17 September 1904, and was buried in the same plot with her husband. She was the daughter of Richard Platt Bush (1813-1853) and Jerusha Beers. Together Charles E. Bradley and his wife Margaret (Maggie) had at least three children; Kate M. Bradley (1868-1935); Lyman R. Bradley; born 1871; and Madge Bradley, born 1876.

         Kate Bradley Beziat (1868-1935)

Kate Bradley was Charles E. Bradley’s oldest child. She was born 12 December 1868, in Spencer, New York. She graduated from Vassar College, 1892; she also studied at the Sorbonne and at Johns Hopkins, and received her A.B. in French/Spanish in 1920 from Cornell, with a thesis on “Social Problems in the Novels of Rene Bazin.” She was chairman of the French department at Ward-Belmont College, a women’s college in Nashville, Tennessee.

Kate married Andre Beziat, Ph.D., in 1895. He was born 30 December 1870, at Orthez, France, the son of Jacques Beziat and Letitia Marsillac. He was naturalized an American citizen in New Orleans in 1910. Beziat became an associate professor in the Department of Romance languages at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. During WWI he served with the 66 Battalion, 23rd Artillery, of the French Army and worked with the YMCA in the U.S. Army in hospitals in France; he died in 1924. Together Beziat and Kate had at least one son, Henri Beziat, who was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on 8 August 1910.

After the death of her husband in 1924, Kate Bradley Beziat moved back to Spencer, New York, where she was a school teacher, and her son Henri, now 14, attended school. She died in 1935 and was buried in Evergreen Cemetery in Spencer. This collection includes 113 letters written to Kate Bradley Beziat from her parents, siblings, and friends.

         Lyman R. Bradley (1873-1955)

Charles E. Bradley’s second child, Lyman Bradley, was born in August 1873. From his correspondence in this collection (c1892) he became a Deputy U.S. Marshall working under Maj. E. C. Weeks, the U.S. Marshall of the office of the Northern District of Florida. Lyman writes to his parents, and sister Kate, from Jacksonville, Pensacola, and Gainesville, Florida. After the election of Cleveland as U.S. President, it appears that Lyman was either forced out, or decided to leave and head west. It looks like he took a job with the Bradstreet Mercantile Agency’s Seattle office (c1893), he writes from Seattle back home describing his new work. Later he (by the 1900 Census) had moved back to Spencer, New York, and was married to a woman named Katherine Lewis (1873-1961), they had several children and worked as a cigar maker, later becoming a cigar manufacturer (by 1910) at East Hartford, Connecticut. By the time the 1920 Census was taken he was located at Leon County, Florida, where he had a cattle ranch and later (1940) went into real estate. Lyman Bradley died in Florida in 1955 and was buried at the Oakland Cemetery in Tallahassee. His wife Katherine died in 1961. There are 16 letters, 68 pp., written by Lyman in this collection, written from his time (1892-1893) as a Deputy U.S. Marshall in Florida and when he was working for the Bradstreet Mercantile Agency in Seattle.

        Sample Quotations:

“Ithaca May 2, 1861

Dear Father,

You will doubtless be surprised to learn that we are in Ithaca yet. We have been waiting for Mr. Burton…There has been a misunderstanding about his being Cap of this Co. Gen Baker is trying to get up a Co. of horse men all of the men to be returned Cal. & accustomed to riding & the life of Rangers in general & burton is one of his aides.  He (Burton) explained the reason why he is not to be the Cap & the rest of the matters very satisfactory. He said he would not advise this Co. to join the Cal. Reg neither would he not… When he said this, we were all drawn up in line like soldiers & he said that he had seen about 25,000 men within the last few weeks & he had not among them all seen a better company. The inspector was here today & they (Burton) were talking together when Burton said ‘if you would take the uniforms off from the 7th Reg & put on to this Co. they would look as well as they.’ We were inspected today. I was the 58 one inspected when the inspector said, ‘You have 58 as good men as I ever saw together.’ Burton told one of our officers that the Cal Reg was composed of hard fellows, so we shall not join them. Our papers will probably start for Albany tomorrow. We have 62 members on the inspector’s roll & there are some who were not present. I have a good place to board. We all board at P. Jones’. He lives upon the hill so we have a fine view. We drill 2 or 3 hours fore & afternoons of each day & are allowed to rest once, but must not leave the ranks. Our place of drill is on Omega St at one of the Hall’s. Most all complain of a pain in their back. I with the rest…, but it leaves me when they let us march or soon after we are through. The muscles on the front part of my leg from my knee to my feet were sore the first day or two, but are all well now. We have different ones to drill us, but most of the time we are drilled by a graduate from West Point. There is a fund here in town for boarding the Vol. & so it does not cost us anything for board. We expect to go to Elmira or N.Y. in a few days. I think we have got a good Co. & good officers. Seymour’s mother is dead. She died this morning. May 3. We are all through now, one of our Co. starts for Albany this afternoon. The first Co. go to N.Y. this afternoon. We escort them to the depot. We expect to go Monday, but do not know for certain. Our Co. voted to go to Elmira all but one & he was Wm. Beers from Danby. We think we shall have better quarters than at N.Y. The Cap of the first Co. told some of our men that we would not be excepted & afterwards told our Cap that there would be no trouble about our being excepted. Our Co. is full (77). Hod is raising a lusty pair of whiskers. We have lots of fun with him about Miss Beers (all at home). We went up to the tunnel & paper mill this morning. We are all well & feel fine. Give our love to all. C. E. Bradley”

“Alexandria, Aug 21, 1861

My Dear & Affectionate Mother,

I am thankful to Almighty God that he has spared me to again write you a few lines. Above you can see the emblem that I have sworn to defend & with God’s help I will as long as life lasts & I can raise an arm to strike a death blow to one of its enemies. It is just 30 days today since I had the privilege of standing on the battle field, though in one sense I did nothing in reality I helped considerable. The bullets flew over our heads & cut the boughs from the trees & nothing but our presence save a portion of the retreating army. We have had a very cold rainy time, but the clouds have passed away & the sun once more shines bright, as I hope it will soon do over our distracted country. Last night was very much such a night as the one before the battle of Bull’s Run. The sun set was one of splendor, such as is rarely seen in N.Y. & after that the moon rose over the eastern hill & shone so bright and beautiful that one could hardly stand it to remain in his tent. The moon shone so bright that I could read laying in my tent. We are now on the eve of another battle which may decide our fate as a nation. I do not know what position we shall be assigned to fill. We are now filling one of importance namely watching the telegraph wires from Washington to Alexandria. My hopes are as bright as ever. I have enjoyed the best of health since I have been in the service of my country & do not regret in the least what I have done, though know that I have made a few hearts sad yet if I were in your places I should feel much better to know that at least one from the family had done what he could and to fall in noble honorable battle is better than to remain at home & have the best government on earth overthrown. Time has never seemed to pass so swiftly as since I left home. The diseases that were slowly fastening themselves upon me have gradually disappeared. I used to have catarrh, but do not now. My kidney & liver I think are very much better. There are a great many peaches here & some the largest I ever saw. I like to go to the market & see the manners & costumes of the people…Write soon for the mails may stop. Respects to all….Chs. E. Bradley”

“Camp Newton Oct 3, 1861

Dear Father,

I rec’d your letter soon after dinner today. I was engaged putting a pocket on the inside of my new coat & I think I did a very good job. I intend to put two in my over coat on the outside. I am not surprised at what [Baragar] said or what Taylor told Uncle Walter. It is no more than I rec’ almost every day, but it is as you said I am to young, there are but few in the Co., but what are older than I. I shall not be 19 until the 13th of Nov, but I intend as I ever have tried to be a true gentleman. [Baragar]I guess drank pretty hard while here. When I went to see him, he had his tent down already to move. Hod & I set down on a seat where his tent had stood & talked with him a few moments & when we had got a short distance from him I happened to look on Hod’s coat & there was a large [louse] on the outside I think we got it there. Most all of the boys use tobacco & some liquor, but they know where I stand & respect me as much if not more.

Parker want each a pair of seven (7) boots & insoles. I will send my measure taken by our tent mate who is a shoe maker. I wear seven (7) shoes & my last boots were the same. I want good insoles too. All to be made of the best Kid, good thick soles put on with pegs & heels heavily nailed & legs that come plump up to the knees for we have had to wade some already & the prospects are that we shall have more before spring. We shall need gloves very much not to work with but to handle our gun with when on guard & on the march a [literbuck] skin or something of the kind. Send me a good hair brush. Our coats come up high in the neck so we do not need any [tippets] but if you have got any good dried beef put a good size pieces in my boots…yours Chs. B. Bradley”

 “Camp Newton Mar 23, 1862

Dear Father,

I rec’d your letter a few days ago. You seem to think that I could write ten letters to your one. I think at that rate my stamps would soon play out, or you could not write any. We were reviewed last week by Gen McClellan up in that piece of ground by the fort. There are some ten or twelve thousand in our Div. Franklin’s & Newtown’s headquarters are in the seminary & after the review while we were in line the last two named Gen’s McClellan & staff rode by us & we gave him three hearty cheers he took off his cap to us, it made him laugh. Hintzleman’s Div has gone down the river. I saw part of it embark a week ago tomorrow. The Gen has about one hundred transports going back & forth from Alexandria to – I do not know where. We expect to go soon when we do you will receive no more letters from me for some time as the mail has been stopped from all the troops that have advanced in VA so that there will be no way of the Rebs getting the news. Since I have been writing this letter two or three batteries of artillery have gone past towards Alexandria. We were on guard last Thursday. I acted as corporal of the guard as I was about posting my relief, Lieut Jackson called to me to come to his tent; when I got there, he said that an order had come to appoint from this Reg. two orderlies for Gen. Newtown & that one was to come from Co. I or Co. I had the privilege of sending one. The adjutant said it was a good post would have a horse to ride carry a sword &c but there would be no chance for promotion. The Cap said I could have it if I wanted it. At first, I said I would take it then I changed my mind & said to Cap that I did not want to leave my Co. that I came out with the Co. & if I lived I wanted to go back with it about this time one of the other boys came in & he wanted it so the Cap let him have it. He had been a good steady boy since he belonged to the Co. that night he left expecting what I have just written the boys all wondered that I did not go especially those that wished promotion for they knew that I stood first. Well before roll call this fellow (John Lewis) came back very much disappointed he was sent to an artillery battery & was to drive a caisson (ammunition wagon) & he would not stand it so he came back & some one out of another co. was sent from another co. The next day I was made 3rd Corporal there are two more to be appointed below me the first Corp went down to the city stayed over his pass, got drunk & had a fight, he was made Corp in Ithaca. Ben Spaulding (2nd Corp) was made 5th Sergeant & the other two Corp’s raised to 1st & 2nd. I am very well satisfied the 1st Corp has a brother that was offered Serg’t in Ithaca, but would not take it but his friends tried hard to get 3rd Corp for him, but no go. I guess that he will be 4th Lieut…Gen McC headquarters are near here we serenaded him last Friday night. He made a short speech & right to the point. King’s Div lays up along the Leesburg road ready to ship…. Chs. E. Bradley”

“About 5 miles beyond Manassas, April 7th, 1862

Dear Father,

I will write letters as I have opportunities & sent them the same way. Yesterday was Sunday with you but not with me. About 15 minutes to nine we gave three cheers for our old camp & took a farewell look at Washington. We went to the R.R. (the one that we crossed when we went up to the 26t Reg) & stayed there until about half past two in the afternoon. It was a beautiful day. The cars run very slow & a more crooked road you never seen. I hope that Virginia is not all like the part that I have seen if so it is not worth fighting for though it is not land but principles that we fight for. Fairfax Station has a few old houses & a church. The camps around the latter place were made of [cornstalks], but at Manassas they were good substantial log houses & the camps laid out in streets like ours. The soil is red of iron or some other mineral & the houses or huts were mudded up with [xxxxx] some of these they had tried to burn but the logs were green & only the shingles (which were made bustard fashion) burned. They also had tents which they left standing. The fences were all gone the fields are free of stumps & look better than any other part of VA that I have seen. Dead horses laid strewn along the fields & in the little knolls were the graves of the soldiers that had died here. They had some very good forts that commanded the rail, but no ditches like ours & we could carry them at a charge bayonet on a good run. There are about half a doz houses at the Junction. As we passed through some of their camps we almost had to hold our breathes it smelt so bad. We are now about 5 miles beyond the Junction. We got here about 8 o’clock last night. Got off the cars & pitched our tents near the R.R. & ours is within a rod of a grave but the body has been taken out…Chs. E. Bradley”


“May 21, 1862

Dear Father,

I have just rec’d both of your letters mailed the 19th. I am glad to hear from you. I guess that my sitting up with H & being on a transport where it was very noisy indeed my head ached very hard the day before we landed, but I am now much better I could hardly sit up when I came here but yesterday I was out & walked a little about the city. I had a slight fever at West Point & I got very week & am week now, but gaining strength slowly. I think that I shall try & go back the first of June if I am able if not I shall stay but I think I shall be all right. Before that, I am glad that H & O are in N.Y. you had best get them home as soon as you can as they will do better there than in N.Y. The boy of our Co. that was missing is here with me. He is [Denis Osborn]. He was shot through one leg the ball passing through the lower part of his privates & into the other leg & he was taken prisoner. I guess I wrote about in my letter to Mother he is doing well. After we were driven out of the woods they were shelled by our gunboats & batteries after which the Jersey Brigade & I do not know but one more Reg went in but found no enemy of any amount as they had gone. We did not go in again. Our Gen complimented us the next day on our soldierly conduct as we were about to advance. There is no need of your coming down here all that ails me I think is being broke of my rest & getting tired out. I am so I can walk about quite considerable. What was said about the fighting our Reg did…Chs. E. Bradley”

“June 6th 1862

Dear Father,

I have been out a couple of hours this forenoon. I had talk with a market man about dried apples. He was retailing at 10 cts, they cost him 6 or 7 cts…I do not know when we shall leave if at all. I suppose Horace has got home. I am getting along slowly… I am a soldier. I am not willing to fight for to free the slaves. I have seen enough to satisfy me that a gradual emancipation is the best for them. You say you would take them in the army. I would not. It would cost more money than for three of our regt, etc. & take a whole year to get any kind of discipline. As soon as you liberate the slaves every union man in the south is ready & will take up arms against us while now they are inactive. If the Abolitionists of the north are going to have their way, they had best to begin to raise their army for I can assure you that the ‘Army of the Potomac’ will not do it for them. They are a poor God forsake lot of stay at home fools & when we have put down this Rebellion our next duty is to march north & make war on our next greatest enemy the Abolitionists. There is many an office holder now that is holding his last office if these soldiers ever get home. They are known we are not so large fools as not to know a friend. Will you explain to me why it is that there are none of these Abolitionists in the Army? They are a set of cowards. I do not know of a single soldier but what likes Lincoln’s policies, but to arm the slaves is a thing that can not be done for a long time. There are but few of them that know any thing as you may say. It’s a fact that to liberate them would stop the raising of funds &c. but would that be worth as much to us as to have the union men stay at home & then we have got to feed these Negroes that we set free & that will make you fellows at the north scratch dirt…Chs. E. Bradley”



“White Oak Church Jan 27th 1863

Dear Father,

We are back again in our old camp & in snug quarters once more. The day after I sent my last letter we were set at work drawing out Pontoon boats with a drag rope. It took about 100 men to a boat. It was so bad that the horses could not draw them out so they hitched up us soldiers we had to draw them about two miles. The mud was very deep. We got through about three o’clock & started for home but did not go but a few miles & stopped for the night. It rained that night & we had orders to be ready to march at half past seven but did not go until about noon & then started for camp which we reached about dark. The roads were very muddy & we had a very hard march. I saw Dana Kelsey he is well. John is at Richmond as prisoner. He was taken at Dumphries by Stuart. We have things fixed up again in very good state but not as good as before. It is raining tonight. We go on guard tomorrow…Chs. E. Bradley”

“Tammany Hotel, June 10th, 1863

Dear Father,

I am once more a citizen & no longer a soldier. We were mustered out yesterday forenoon our Co. being the first in the Reg out. We can not get our pay until Monday morning. I suppose that you are very anxious for us to get home & we are equally as anxious to get there. I saw Seymour last night from him I learned some little news. I think that we shall get into Ithaca about 8 o’clock Tuesday morning still it is not a sure thing but that is my opinion. All that we are waiting for is the paymaster. I am almost on mind to let some one draw my money & go home tonight if it was not for going into Ithaca with the Co. I would do so. I went over to Greenwood Cemetery yesterday. It is a very pleasant place. I almost wish myself back in the Army rather than to stay in this city with nothing to do & nowhere to go. Seymour goes back Friday I think he told me. They will keep us here until we spend all our money & then send us home. I begin to think it is all a contrived plan. I don’t know who but we should have got home long ago still they have served the other Reg in the same way. I hope that we shall not have to stay longer than Monday…Yours Resp. Chas. E. Bradley”

“Spencer, N.Y. May 24th, [1892]

My dear Kate,

This is the third letter I have written you today. I send you the cards which I forgot in the other letter – about the ribbon – that of which you spoke is very little, so I send that, that was on your winter hat, if you want it for a hat, it had better be used, rather than to buy new, but seems to me I would not use it for some fixing unless it will save your buying new. I have read your letter to your father, and told him what I wrote you. He approved of it only said if you wanted to study Greek better go to Ithaca and study with some tutor that was right up with the times perhaps you could manage by going out once a week, but you want to investigate the matter, I would want to know if it was a school where you could be happy, and where every thing was all right, about the pay, how far you would be expected to take scholars in Greek &c. &c. you could go on studying with a tutor the whole year if you thought best seems to me if it is a good situation the pay is fair, and you can get it, I should hate to lose it just for one subject, but you must manage as it seems best to you, I say these things so you can think them all over and do what seems best of course. I can not lay down a positive rule because it may be very different from what it seems to me, but you are old enough and must use your own judgment, only I know we often do not know what we can do until we try, you did so well in making up your studies, I think you can do most anything you undertake if your health holds out. I hope Madge can go to Poughkeepsie as you wish and I think she can if nothing happens. Glad you had a nice visit with Louise, I presume it will be a great disappointment to Ada if she cannot visit L. I saw Minnie E. go past today, with much love, M.E. B.”

“Spencer, N.Y., Jan. 22, 1893

My dear Kate,

We have been having quite a little excitement night before last. They broke in the store and about 7 o’clock there was a man came and rang our bell and told Papa his back doors at the store were all open and he went right over and found they had blown the safe door all to pieces and had taken the drawers out and had gone with them, had opened the money drawer and got all the pennies and five cent pieces, and each a pair of shoes and rubbers and had gone. The knob of the safe had been blown right against the desk and with such force as to stop the clock and knock the pendulum off and so we could tell just what time it was done and the clock said half past three. There was one man started out at once to see if the could track them and he tracked them to the rail road where they had gone through the drawers and had not found any money and had left all the papers as far as Papa can tell. They sent men out at once as there was no train they could go on and they traced them as far as Waverly where they were seen to go past the station at 7 o’clock. We know about who it was as there had been three strangers around here for about three weeks, off and on, and seemed to be taking the town in pretty well and people had been watching them a little. Papa sent John out over the hills and he came back as drunk as he could be, Papa never thought of such a thing he was in such a hurry and busy. They think they were a crowd from Waverly. You remember the time they broke in Sagers well they think is the same gang. Papa only lost about ten or fifteen dollars beside the safe…[M.E.B.]”

Office of U.S. Marshall, Pensacola, Fla. October 28, 1892


Dear Father,

Court is in session. The Asa McNeil trial comes off tomorrow. They are trying our case and the jury is out on another, the Ferrell case. Ferrell was a man who carried the mail in the country near Tallahassee. The Marshall has not returned yet. I just had a telegram from him.

Sunday Evening. The Marshall has not returned. I think he went from Tallahassee to Jacksonville to meet Mrs. Weeks. I got along with every thing all right. McNeil case was tried yesterday. His attorney made a very strong defense. I think if he had had better attys or if those he did have had worked harder than they did he might have been acquitted. But as it was he was found guilty. He has not been sentenced but he will get the full extent of the law probably which is six years.

I think we will probably be here about three days more. I have been up early and late for the past two days and am very sleepy now. We had two juries yesterday. So, you see we have been rushing things. Write and let me know how the election is going. I never was in better health than I am now as the weather gets a little cooler I get a little heavier. Green and Huntington, especially the former, have been doing a good deal of work since we have been over here. I got Huntington his appointment and helped Green to get his. I may come over here after a while for some time but you need not say anything about it. If I do I will have more business with not so much writing. Charge of the deputies and their work and the work in the city, together with this office. I have not made up my mind. If I can make more money I may do it. That is if the Maj. Will let me. With much love to all. You son, Lyman”


“Tallahassee, Fla., Nov 2, 1892


My dear Father,


Court adjourned yesterday or rather last night at about nine o’clock. I stopped off here until the ten o’clock train tonight as we had a prisoner for the Leon Co. Jail. McNeil was not sentenced as they want to use him in making affidavit against some others of the same gang. So, he will not go up to Columbus until Spring probably. There may be some from Jacksonville. Green has been doing a ‘land office’ business since we have been over to Pensacola. I expect Johns, a Deputy at [Starke] to come in any day with some prisoners. Pear, the post office inspector, told me he had some good post office cases. So, I expect we will have a pretty good court in December. Dr. Pollock, a gentleman I have known ever since I have been in Fla invited me up to his house to spend the evening one evening last week. I had a very pleasant call. He has a very pleasant daughter, or as the southern people would say ‘very sweet.’ Maj. Weeks came over Monday night at 11 o’clock the Petit jurors was discharged Monday afternoon. I payed them off alone together with a good many witnesses. Mrs. Weeks wishes me to tell you that after you have put what things she ordered in the barrel to send here to fill it up with granulated sugar, ivory soap and some laundry soap. She would like about 100 # of sugar if you can get it in. After you have placed it in sack she says you can go up to Malissies and get a pillow case and put the sugar in that or in two if necessary and then there will be no danger of its leaking. Have the barrel full – I have to go back tonight as we have been away so long. If it was not for that I would go out to New Hope. I think after I fix up the account of last Court it will be so I can come up here and go out then and have at least a day. What do you think about election? I think it is going to be pretty close. They don’t say anything against Harrison. I don’t take any more interest in it than if I was not going to lose my job if Cleveland was elected, still I expect to be ready if there is a change. It is six for one and half a dozen for the other with me. I met quite a good many crackers at Court that I met up at Cerro Gordo. They all seemed very glad to see me. The first day of Court as I went in the building I met one of them he shook hands and wanted me to know how I was etc. I introduced him to Maj. And he said this young man was up to the Bluff one day with Matthews and McNeil and help us eat a good third-party dinner. I never saw a man change as McNeil has. If he keeps on he won’t live long. Mrs. Weeks says some nice dried peaches would be nice if you could get them in. Kate says put her in one pear. And wants to be remembered to you all. Write soon with much love to all, Lyman”



“Office of E. C. Weeks, U.S. Marshall, Northern District of Florida, Jacksonville, Nov. 9, 1892


My dear Family,


I suppose Cleveland is elected without a doubt? It was a very quiet election here. Quite a good deal of betting. I went down to Bronson last Saturday. That is the place where I arrested Jim Hathcox. Nat went with me, we stayed over night and brought back three prisoners the next day. They were already in jail. They broke into a post office. Will probably go to Columbus. We went to a regular Southern darky camp meeting Saturday night. They are a very wild affair. I stayed up until about one o’clock last night hearing the returns. I am invited out to a little private dancing party tonight. The people here are very much pleased. Every little way on the street I am stopped by some acquaintance and asked how I feel or if I am looking for a job, or that they feel very sorry for me. The men that feel the worst are those good democrats who did not dream that Cleveland would be elected and bet their money on Harrison and lost. Of course, bets have not been paid and every one is a little uncertain still up to this time it looks as if Cleveland was all right. I suppose Mr. Fisher is glad as he will probably have the post office again. I think it is a good thing all around that Cleveland was elected but I of course do not say so. Maj. W. is in Tallahassee. I am weighing about 150# now. Mr. Walter lost quite a little money. Sneed took it about as hard as any one although he does not lose his job. (Nov. 10) I went to a wedding at our church tonight. Benedict Huntington two young ladies and myself. It was a very nice affair. It is very cold here. Yesterday I worked without a coat and had on my thin under wear. Today have on my heavy underwear and wear my overcoat. I never saw such a change. Write me all about the election. With much love to all, Lyman”


“Jacksonville, Fla., Nov 18, 1892


My dear Sister,


Your very nice letter received Wednesday. Also, one from home. I won’t come North until early Spring probably if I come at all.  We have one prisoner to take up now and probably will have some from the December Term. And if we are in office when the Spring Term comes off then will be quite a good many. I will come if I possibly can. Mr. Green, Mr. Axtell’s brother-in-law, who is a young lawyer and in Mr. Axtell’s office, is rooming with me now. He is also a Deputy Marshall, having taken Mr. Roger’s place. He is a very nice fellow. Has invited me down to his home in Ocala for Thanksgiving. I am going if I do not play in a foot ball game. Green and I both handed in our names to the J.S. I. (Military Company). They have not voted on our names yet as they have to be posted for a certain time. I get up every morning at five o’clock and go and practice foot ball for about one hour and a half. I do it for the exercise as it has been over a year now that I have had very little out door work and I feel the need of some. Of course, I do not like to play such a rough game. We have some old college players and quite a good many are Englishmen. A good many lawyers as most of my friends are. I wrote home that I thought I would be through here by the first of May, but I hardly think it will be as soon as that. I weigh 150# now and am in splendid health. When I get through here I expect to go West. We are having beautiful weather. I wish you could be here to enjoy it. Do you think you will be down this winter? The Northern people have not commenced to come much yet. I am glad you had such a pleasant time at Pittsburg. I can tell you many interesting things I think when we meet.

Nov. 19. I had an invitation out to a little dancing party last night, but did not go as I had another engagement to call on a young lady.

Nov. 22. I think if I keep on I may get this letter finished sometime. Went and saw ‘Erminie’ last night. Green and I are J.S. I’s now. I went to church twice Sunday. Was invited up to Mr. Axtell’s to dinner Sunday, Green & I. I am very busy. Huntington just went off this morning. Green goes this noon and if Huntington comes back today I go in the morning. Meet Green at Ocala Thursday and spend the day at his home. I would rather come up and see you in the Spring than now on account of the weather. With much love, your brother Lyman”


“Jany. 31, 1893


My dear Mother,


I am on my way to Seattle. Left Portland at five o’clock. I have not been doing much since I came to Portland except to look into the work. Sup’ts Hilliard and Rodgers have both been very kind to me. I think I wrote Margaret that my head quarters were to be at Seattle. I have the work of all the Sound country. I do nothing but report. It will be quite a change and I think I am going to like it very much. I am engaged for no definite length of time, as none of their men are engaged that way. The conditions are that you can be discharged at any time. And you can stop work at any time. Do not have to have any notice either way. I think this is the best way. Last night Mr. Hilliard, Mr. Rodgers, & Mr. Rodgers, Jr., and myself went to the theatre and afterwards went and had some oysters. After waiting sometime in the theatre, it was announced that the company had not yet arrived as their train was snowed in. So, we did not see any play. Mr. Hilliard and Mr. Rodgers are both two splendid gentlemen. I am directly under Mr. Rodgers. He is an Englishman I believe and one of the strictest businessmen I ever saw. Some might think he was a little old maidest that way. He save me $7.00 this evening I thought they should pay my R.R. fare to Seattle because I was to report at Portland and not at Seattle. And in one of my letters from the Pres. he said that I should bear my own expenses to Portland. Mr. Hilliard had a letter from the Pres. say that I should bear my expenses to the field of work. After talking the matter sometime, he said he would split the difference. I said alright.  But we talked some more and then he said he would leave it to Mr. Rodgers. Mr. Rodgers said he thought the company should pay all my expenses to Seattle. So, I got them. I am to go over every town in the part of the state twice during the year and report every business man. Find out every thing about and in connection with his business. Even find out where he came from, how old he is, if married, etc. the work in a new country is much harder than in an old settled country. I did not have time to get my supper in Portland so have just been in the dining room car. I expect to be in the office at Seattle for a few days and then go out in some of the neighboring towns…Lyman”