Saturday, December 22, 2012

1862 December 22 Belle Plain, Va.


Camp opposite Fredericksburg
Dec 22nd 1862
Dear Sister Helen,
I have just received
your letter of 18th but had been looking
for it for a day or two, we have our
mails regular now but for the week that
we were fighting all mails were stopped
both ways and perhaps that is the –
reason that Mrs Catlin & Pratt have not
heard from William and Aaron for
they say that they have written most
every week. they are both well with
the exception of colds which most all
the boys have got and which can’t be
helped as they have nothing but shelter
tents to protect them from the cold,

the weather is pretty cold now but we
have had no snow yet. Every thing
is quiet in Camp and I guess we shall
go into winter quarters some where
soon as wood is getting very scarce
and there is very little water here – will
probably move back towards Aquia –
Creek into the woods and build log
huts and mud chembleys.[sic] I have very
comfortable quarters. I sleep in the
Col’s tent where we have a nice fire
and don’t have any thing to do all
day long but sit around and do
some little errand once in a while
Irish John cuts all the wood brings
all the water and blacks the boots
of the crowd The Staff Officers have
a “Mess” and I eat at the 2nd table
and we have very good feed but
all along on the march down here
and while in and about Fredericksburg
until now I had nothing to eat except

raw salt pork and hard tack, so that
my stomach got so sensitive that
I could keep it down no longer
but we fare very well now.
I wonder what is going
to become of this country.. the rebels
seem to be whipping us all around,
Seward and our Generals are resigning
and things look rather bilious to me
but we will hope for the best but
the boys are rather blue and dis-
couraged and all “want to go home”
hope Congress will fix the thing up
in some way before spring..
Mr Ives arrived here day before
yesterday – had a good deal of trouble
in getting further than Washington
but finally got a pass he brought my
boots safely but it must have been
a sore job for him to carry so much
hide so far.. they are rather large every
way but will answer very well if I

have my health and strength to carry
them around am very thankful to
get them for they are a scarce article
down here.. D.Hilaller [?] is going to
Washington to night to get some things
for the Regt and will get my boxes
but they would have reached here pretty
soon any way as there is an Express to –
Aquia and our wagons go there most
every day – my Thanksgiving dinner will
be in nice condition I guess but the other
things will be all right I guess..
John Ives said that there were some other
things on the rode for me – what are they?
and when did you send them? William
Pratt was here yesterday in camp he looks
quite well but limps some yet..
The boys are all well I believe except
Eugene he is sick in the hospital has
got the lung fever I am very anxious
about him as there are so few con-

[The last part of this letter is written on the top margin on page one.]
-veniences here for the
sick, he is pretty sick
but I hope he will be
better soon..
“Things is quiet”
here don’t expect
more fighting soon
am in no hurry for
another..
I shall write
home often now
and shall expect
letters frequently
Tell Chas to write
and also to send
some papers
Your loving brother
Jim

James Howard,  15th Connecticut Infantry

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS  12668

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