Leverett Bradley: A Soldier-Boy’s Letters

[Captain Bradley returned home in October, 1862. Leverett had been clerk of the company for nearly a year, and he had shown great ability for taking pains and accuracy. He learned to write very evenly and picked up knowledge at every turn. The clear perception for which he was noted in after-life can be traced here. The discipline in a camp where petty jealousies and quarrels filled the leisure hours consisted in keeping free from them and rising to every opportunity for responsibility. He also developed his ability to keep his temper and learned to hold his tongue. He was very thoughtful of the family at home, and felt the care of his brother Jere, the drummer-boy, who at this time was fourteen. Leverett was sixteen. The restricted circumstances of the family during the war made him conscientious about self-support.—Ed.]

Oct. 29, 1862

To the family at home:

How would you like me to get in the navy? You know I spoke of it before I left home and it has been in my head ever since, 1st for, and then against it. I don’t know as I could; but would try hard. I think you could do all you could there, and I, here; but I would not do it against your wish. Mr. G. is one of them to get a chance at and I did n’t know but what the Capt. and he could talk and I would see Asst. Secretary Fox, of the Navy here. It is the only service that has done anything since the war. I don’t know as I could get out of the army, into it; but think I could. I, perhaps, could pass no kind of an examination; but I think I could get very good recommendations. Now don’t say “pooh,” but just think it over and see what you think of it. It is the place to bring up a boy anyway. There are land services and sea services. Now, please ponder and weigh the subject well and give only your opinion. You may think I have changed that “California” note; but by this means I could stand a better sight.


The beautiful morning sun is just peeping into my tent quite cheerily. It was not very cold last night and I slept like a good one. Have answered roll-call and built a fire and now can write. Can Frank go through the sword exercise?

I hope you will meet with success in your great speech to be made shortly. Have everything on your tongue’s end that you are going to say and then let them have it; but I don’t know as I can give you any advice.

[He was sixteen, writing to his father.—Ed.]

Leverett Bradley: A Soldier-Boy’s Letters (1st Massachusetts Heavy Artillery.)

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