Pvt. Charles Henry Tubbs served in the 27th Massachusetts volunteers during the first years of the Civil War and in 1863, due to a lingering illness, was transferred to the Invalid Corps – a group of men who were not healthy enough for combat duty but were well enough for garrison duty. Tubbs’ first service was in North Carolina, where he spent a little more than a year between 1862 and 1863. After the riots in New York City in the summer of 1863, the Invalid Corps was stationed in New York City to keep the peace. Tubbs wrote letters to his wife Minerva (Nerve, as he called her) in Massachusetts from his post in Brooklyn. Tubbs transferred one last time from Brooklyn to Washington DC as the Invalid Corps was moved to help guard the Nation’s Capital after the Confederate raid in the summer of 1864.
While in Brooklyn, Tubbs visited P.T. Barnum’s show and sent a detailed description home to Nerve. His letter gives an interesting view of the show as seen by someone who was contemporary to the event. His account is even more interesting due to the recent success of the current movie about Barnum’s show.