Near White Oak Church, Virginia
January 3rd 1863
My Dear Wife,
As I am at leisure, I thought I would commence a letter to you although I sent one last night. I do not know as I can write much of interest. I expect you are all aware the 5th Maine is on their way home -- or at least the New York papers and some of the Maine ones say so. But we do not see it as the boys say.
It is one of the loveliest days I ever saw. The sun is as warm as summer but the nights are cold and the ground freezes quite hard. I am now a going to ride and will close this at some other time.
Saturday evening. I have just come from a ride from the picket line. I had a nice ride and a fine time with Col. Burnham of the 6th Maine as he was on picket. He gave me an account of the immortal 7th. He told me of which I have always heard, that the fight at Antietam was all they ever saw. I like Burnham much. He is a good working man but no fancy soldier.
I wrote you yesterday all the news so have nothing to write you in this of interest. I have not yet received that awful box that has caused so much trouble and I do not know as [it] ever will turn up. But as it has left Maine, I think I will find it sometime. The little scarf you sent in your last letter is all the clothing I have yet received. I thank you for it but should much rather have your arms around my neck than that.
I think if I cannot get leave of absence to go to Maine, I shall try for one to Washington. If so, I will send my trunk by Express to you as there is something in it of value to you & the children. I will write to the children in this so goodbye.Yours, -- C. S. Edwards
Colonel Clark S. Edwards of the 5th Maine enlisted early in 1861, initially commissioned as the Captain of Company I, The Bethel Rifle Guards. The regiment served from First Bull Run through the Petersburg Campaign and captured more Confederate battle flags than any other Federal unit. Edwards led the regiment at Salem Church, Gettysburg, Rappahannock Station, The Wilderness and in Upton's Charge at Spotsylvania. In this letter, Edwards tells his wife of riding the skirmish line with Colonel Burnham of the 6th Maine. Burnham would later be killed at Petersburg. Edwards however, survived the entire war unscathed and lived a long and very successful life until his death in 1903. Colonel Edwards had been through the thickest of the worst battles in the Civil War and was a very tough soldier.