Thursday, May 31, 2012

1862 June 1 Fort Albany

Fort Albany,  June 1st / 62

Dear Wife
I feel this afternoon as though
I want to write you a few lines but it is
so awful hot and muggy, that I feel almost
to lazy to attempt it,  The weather today
is like unto some of the days that we have
at home in dog-days, one that makes a fellow
feel sticky and dirty. I went to take a long
walk this forenoon, and to get some strawberr-
ies. We found plenty of them, large, ripe, and
lucious,some of them were very large, being
an inch through or more. I could not help
feeling kind of mean, while eating them for
it seemed to me that I ought to pick, and
save, some of the best of them, to carry into
the house, for you and the children,  I
could not do it though, so you must take
the will for the deed.   You would be surprised
to see the orchards of Peach trees that we passed
by on our route, loaded down with green
fruit.  Blackberries I think must be very plenty

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here in the season of them for the bushes
are very full of blossoms  We'll have some of them
if we are here when they are ripe. I was very much
disappointed last night (Saturday) in not receiving
a letter from you I expected one sure, I like
to receive word from you on Saturdays, because
I can have it to read and "reread" on Sunday,
which is kind of a leisure day with us, but I
"reckon" you are always busy in the discharge
of your duties, on week days, and that is
the reason. I dont find any fault you know,
only I thought I would mention it for the
sake of having something to write about.
                                   Sunday eve 6 o'clk
It is very pleasant, but quite warm yet.  We have
just heard that Gen Bans and Shields has got
the rebel Gen Jackson surrounded so that he
cannot get away, it may be nothing but a
story, we shall hear tomorrow, whether it
be true or not.  To-day a company of cavalry,
belonging to the Michigan 1st Regmt, passed
by here on their way to Leesburg, after rebel
prisoners, and are going to bring them back this way
                                      (so they said)

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I wish you could be here now Priscilla,
if it were only for a few moments just to
see how very pleasant it is, and how very
beautiful the trees and bushes look, every-
thing looks so green and thrifty, there are some
very large black walnut trees, that I can see
as I sit here, writing, at my tent door.  How
I'd like to have your Father out here now. I know
he would enjoy it so much, walking about the
country, there are so many different directions
he could go and every time see something new,
and, so much different from things at home.
We have here, at the Fort, between forty and fifty
"contrabands" at work, upon the Fort and the
roads. George Ed Stone is their overseer for the
present.  (I shouldn'nt want the job)  I believe that
Government pays them about forty cents per
day for their labor, they are a lazy pack of fellows
and wo'nt hurt themselves with work, I am sure.
They seem to be very glad that they are freemen.
some of them are very intelligent. one old darkey,
among them is a preacher, and can preach a very
able discourse from the Bible, although he cant

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read or write a word, he has preached to
us, in camp, one evening, and I can assure
you, he did do first rate.  We were all of us very
much interested, his discourse that evening was
upon the union, and union soldiers, after
he was done, we gave him three rousing cheers
which pleased him very much.  I tell you we
have some pretty jolly times with them, they
have got quite well aquainted with now,and we
get some of the smartest of them to come to
our tents, evenings, and make them dance, run
foot races, wrestle, and tell about their Masters
and Mistresses, down south.  We give them all
the spare bread and meat that we have, for which
they are very gratefull, thay think there is nobody
like union soldiers,  Well I guess you will
will[sic] be tired of my scribbling about "Niggers"
but I could'nt scratch out any ideas of my own,
and now, I've been trying for the last two minutes
to think of something that might interest you,
but I ca'nt, and I have got all of a sweat trying,
to do so, I shall have to give up in (despair) or hopes
that i shall be able to do better next time. I believe
now that after you get this yo will be indebted
to me three or four letters, and I shall expect to
get them, if, I receive them (and you write them)
I should like to hear from you every day but as that
is a blessing that I do not think I shall be permited
to enjoy, you will please write when you have an
opportunity and receive the thanks of your ever
faithfull and loving--
a Kiss for you, and the children

Robert, of Lynn, Massachusetts, an unidentified soldier in the 14th Massachusetts Heavy Artillery

MSS 1242

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