Charles Chase: Report of J.S. Patch

His blanket mate, J.S. Patch, who was taken prisoner at the battle of Drury’s Bluff, writes:

I heard in Andersonville, while there as a prisoner, from a member of the 23d Massachusetts, who was taken prisoner at Cold Harbor, that when the 23d received the orders to charge Charles was one of the first to swing his hat with a hurrah, and the next instant fell with a bullet through his brain.  Charles could have escaped that campaign, as he was sick at the time it started, April 26th, and the surgeon told him it was useless to make the attempt.  He persisted and went along until about May 1st, when he was sent back to the hospital at Hampton, VA.  I was surprised on returning to camp on the Appomattox river after a days work on the fortifications, -May 12, -to find Charles there.  He said the surgeon in charge of the Hampton Hospital was anxious that he should remain there and act as a nurse, but with him his first thought was to do his duty and not to be classed with the scullions.  As I said before, I knew him well, and the ties of friendship formed by the touch of elbows or sleeping under the same blanket, are perhaps stronger and entirely different from any other ties.  I am indebted to Charles for many a dainty dish cooked by himself; he was ever thoughtful of others and always ready to lend a helping hand.  He was much respected in the company and regiment.

[Source: War Letters of Charles Chase, 1862-1864, Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Virginia]