Sunday, February 10, 2013

1863 February 8 camp near Fredericksburg

                         Camp Near Frederickbg.
                                Feby. 8th 1863
My Dear Father
                   I have not re-
ceived a letter from home since
I wrote last, but I don’t believe
either of us would ever obtain
the position of master of cere-
monies in this respect at least.
If I could get twenty letters a
day from you all I would
find time & pleasure in reading
them. The mail is very irregular
      I have been unable to get the
vaccine matter you sent to take
on myself, that I tried it twice
I vaccinated some 12 or 15 & it
took only once, on Bob Knight,
& then very slightly. Nearly all
however had a good mark
on them. There is no alarm
in the army as to the small pox.

[page 2]
     Everything in camp is very dull.
The larger portion of our
company amuse themselves
pretty constantly either in smoking
or making pipes out of Ivy
root. Those of us who are disposed
to read generally are able to find
some readable matter for the
little spare time we have; tho’
it is not always as suitable to
our taste as if we had a lib-
rary to select from. There are      
several copies of Bulwer’s new          
novel, “A Strange story” in camp
& that is going the rounds.
     There is a rumour afloat
this evening that Mc Lellan
is again in command
of the federal army, but
it is not believed. I don’t
suppose they would decapitate
Hooker so soon without giv-
ing him an opportunity of

[page 3]
his caliber more extensively
than he has yet done. I don’t
expect to find him a good
general – but think him a
better one than Burnside.   
I think he was the greatest
fool ever placed in so prom-
inent a position. Every step
he took while in command
seems to me to have been
a blunder. McLellan  is their
best man – hardly equal to Lee
however – but I do not expect
soon to seem him in command
again. But I believe he would
be mean enough to accept
it if offered to him & policy did
not dictate a refusal. I can’t
conceive why the Yankees are
Lyonising Burnside so, unless
it be that the North is full
of factions & his faction is doing
all they can for him. I am

[page 4]
firmly convinced that a little
common sense is all that is
necessary to make a good gener-
al - & there is less need of an edu-
cation technical than there is in
any other calling.
     As to our future movements I
have some doubts. We can hold
this position easily I think if we
can subsist our horses. It is
very difficult to get forage – Some-
times our horses have gone three
days without anything to eat - &
when we get rations it is generally
corn for two meals a day. I am
afraid that food for both man
& horse will be scarce.
     Lan is perfectly right in saying
the lawyers who remain at home
will get the practice. Pecuniarily
it would be best for me to quit
the army. I have not the least idea
of trying to do so however. It is the

[Written upside down in the top margin on page 4:]
duty of every southerner to remain in
the army, & quit it only when our
cause is triumphant. God grant
that hour may come soon.

[Written upside down in the top margin on page 3:]
     If I had the conscience to leave
I have no doubt I could make a
fortune in a very little time by

[Written upside down in the top margin on page 2:]
going to Richmond – I don’t mean
by my profession. But I had much
rather remain poor. My dear

[Written upside down in the top margin on page 1:]
father farewell. Give my best
love to mother, George & all.
           Most affly. Yr. son. W. H. Perry Jr.

William H. Perry, Richmond Howitzers

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

MSS 7786-d

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