Chalker describes a scouting expedition and the Battle of Natural Bridge
Baldwin E. Fla.
March 15th 1865
Miss M.A. Bardin
My Dear Mattie, yours of the 6th inst. has been received and I am very sorry that I could not answer it sooner. It was handed to me when I about to start on a scout to Middleburg after some Negroes and deserters and did not get to camp untill next day, and the following day I was detailed to go to Middleburg as a guard for a wagon, and when I got there I kept on home, and did not return untill yesterday. Mattie, I have no news to write you that would be very interesting or amuseing. I presume you have heard all about the fight at the natural bridge. We lost a very fine man out of our Co, Corpl Hawkins. Capt Jones got his new hat ruined; the darkies shot the top of it off for him.
It is pity they should ruin a man that way. If they had killed him it would not have been much worse for then he would have no use for his hat. But to shoot up a man's hat that way when they know they are so scarce, particularly a fine one, is indeed a shame. That shows they are very careless about the way they shoot. If I had been there they would have tried to kill me like as not. I must close.
I am, Dear Mattie,
Your Affectionate & devoted
The violet loves a sunny bank
The cowslips love the lea
The crimson scarlet loves the elm
But I love thee.
The sunshine kisses mount and vale
The stars they kiss the sea
The west winds kiss the clover bloom
But I would kiss thee
[Poem adapted from Bayard Taylor's "Proposal."]
*Transcribed with original spellings and punctuations.