Tuesday, January 15, 2013

1862 December 28 Camp near Falmouth, Va.

                                                   Camp near Falmouth, Va.
                                                                Sunday Dec 28th 1862
Dear Sister Nellie
                                                    This being inspection day
and there being no drills of any kind it gives me an opportu-
nity to write you although you are I believe indebted to me
one letter.  Everything is quiet about here, and no prospects of
a move that I can see.  There are a great many soldiers
dying about here, of various diseases, among which arre a great
many cases of typhoid fever, and a disease of the feet.  The feet
commences to swell and turn black, and it is a gone case
with the patient.  The doctors are at a loss to account for it
and do not know what to call it.  The 146 N.Y. of our brigade
are loseing two and three every day.  As yet we have not lost
a man, although our sick list is quite large and increasing
I never enjoyed better health in my life, although I am down
to fighting weight, weighing only 158 lbs..  I weighed 176 lbs when I
enlisted.  It is better to be at feather weight you know, in case the
rebels get us on another Chain bridge skeedaddle, I can out run
them.  I received some money from the bank, and have been living
quite high since on beefs liver and fresh bread.  They ask $1.00 for
liver and a shilling a loaf for bread about the size of two of your
biscuits.  I also bought some coffee & Sugar and am enabled to

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to have coffee three times a day, and sweetened to so that you
can perceive it.  I tried to buy a ham to day but a pair of
shoulder straps slipped in before me and bought it.  He only paid
35 cts a lb for it. things are extremly low here.  Butter is 50 a lb and
cant be had at that.  Christmas was a very lonesome day in
camp to all except the officers, who were fully 4 sheets in the
wind,and some of them couldent see a hole through a forty
foot ladder.  The privates were served out with a ration of
Whiskey (1 gill) at tattoo.  I suppose it was some that was left
after the officers got full!  New Years will soon be here and I will
soon be out of the service, it dont seem twenty months ago since I
inlisted.  Only think I shall be 27 the 15th of next month.  I declare
I dont see where the years have gone to, and I am an old batchelor.
I guess I will always be one to, for I dont want to make anyone
miserable on my account.  General Meade has command of our
corps (the 5th) now, I dont know that I ever saw  him, so I cannot
tell youwhat kind of a soldier he is.  By theway, there has been
an express office established at Falmouth and all the boxes that
were sent to the regt at Harrisons Landing came here, and such
a mess as they were in.  I got mine that was sent last (21st) July
am I excavated two pocket hdkfs. from the ruins, and I dont think
they will need any "eau  de" for a year by the way they smell now.
They have been taking a list of all the old 2 year men in the regt.
I dont know what it is for, but I have understood that they are
going to offer some of the old serjeants commissions if they will

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re-enlist for the balance of three years.  I dont think the bait
will take with me however, for patriotism and star-spangled
is about played out with me, and I am getting fairly disgusted
with the proceedings at Washington.  I have about made up my
mind that the war is a money making concern for our "tailor &
hatter" Gens. and that they intend to prolong it as long as they
can possibly.  That Fredericksburg affair "cooled my coffee"
considerably.  If they intend to continue to plan such "slaughter
pens" as that in Washington, I am not fool enough to offer myself
up as a lamb for the sacrifice - If, I should, after I get my discharge
feel like killing anybody, I should try a gun-boat or a battery,
for I am of an opinion that pedestrinism is all well enough-
for those that like us, but prefer a horse or a steam engine
to travel with, especialy in this uninteresting country.  I am
afraid that I am not much of a christian, but I did feel
"awfully" like giving thanks to the Lord when we got out of
that Fredericskburg murder.  The 4th Maine lay about one mile
from here, but I cannot get a pass to visit them, as no passes is allowed
to the men to leave camp.  I think it is hard, that we cannot get a few
hours leave from camp, when our officers get 4 & 5 days absence to visit
Washington & Baltimore.  I suppose that you are having fine sleighing
and skating down east, while here it is has been a regular indian
summer for three days.  We had it cold enough just after fight though.
Do you know where Frank is, I wish that if youdo you would write
him to come and see me, for I suppose he must be somewhere in this

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vicinity,and probably can leave his battery better than I can this
regt.  Tell him that I am in Buterfields old corps Sykes division and are
with the Regulars, Hookers Grand Division and about 3 miles directly
behind Falmouth on the line of the railroad to Aquia Creek.
And if these directions wont fine me, tell him to enquire of Websters
unabridged dictionary, in two volumes, bound in calf.  We have heard the
report of several cannon to day a great ways of and it appears to be on our
right.  I hope it will not amount to anything, although it begins to grow
more distinct at this moment.  I dont want to fight any more, "I want to
go home," (as the boy said).  Captain Cartwright of our company died suddenly of
lockjaw in Washington last Friday, from an old wound received from
a piece of a shell at Gaines Mill June 27th.  The wound had never entirely
healed and he caught cold in it.  He was on recruiting service in New York
and came out here for his fathers body (who is chaplain in the 40th NY) that he
understood was killed at Fredericksburg.  The report of his fathers death was
false however, and he was on his return to New York, when he died.
The Capt was only 21 years of age and was promoted from the ranks through
influential friends.  He was a very smart officer.  He was wounded at Big
Bethel.  We now have eight vancant[sic] commissions in this regiment
and if I could get a commission, without enlisting for the balance
of three years, I shall not accept of one.  Give my love to Mr & Mrs Singer,
Ida, Ned, & Elisha and Mrs [Sucat?] when you see her, and except this letter
with the assurance from me that you never shall be bothered with
such a lengthy piece of nonsense again, for I have got no more paper
of this size.  Write me soon and dont cut your letters short, nor
make them quite so much like angels visits
                                                                Your loving brother
                                                                           in the army

MSS 10571

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