November 8th & 10th, 1862

Blue Ridge Nov. 8th 1862

Dear Wife,

I commence this letter today but don’t know when or where I shall finish it. We have been on the move for the last ten days but have not got far into the rebel country. We were sent up the Shenandoah to guard a ford1 and then on the mountain to do picket duty, then up to Shannondale, and now our regiment has crossed the mountain, all but this company, and that is to follow tomorrow.

We have seen a few Rebs and some of our men have been shot at but no one [was] hurt and I don’t think we are likely to lose many men in that way, but why quit ourselves like men and the more discouraging our prospects the higher should rise our courage. We are in for it and there is no use of whining.

You spoke of sending me some pills in a letter. I don’t know whether I shall want them or not, I have no cough for some time and am growing fat in spite of my living and I stand the cold pretty well. I guess you have tough times doing your chores these cold mornings. I hope O’Brian don’t let you have much to do outdoors. I wrote you a while ago to turn the potatoes you sold to Keith with Henry if you could, if you can’t do so you had better pay him, get a receipt. Any way you can settle I will be satisfied with.

I wrote you that I might come home this winter, the Col. thought there might be a chance for me then but it don’t look much like it now, but it may be we shall all come home and the war be ended. I wish you would send me a paper once in a while, I am as ignorant of what is going on in the world as the people in this country, which is useless.

I told you in my last something about the people here and the way they live. Since then I have seen some of a better class but they are not better educated nor cleaner than Wales Dickerman’s folks. I went into a home to get something to eat, the woman was very talkative and very good looking for this place, she said her husband had been forced into the Rebel army and had deserted and was now in Harpers Ferry. He hid in the swamps and mountains and she carried him food for six weeks. He had 3 children, good looking, but dirty. She gave us to eat bread and honey (they have no butter here) and bacon and what they call “hignum”, it is made of onions and tomatoes and in a very good pickle this was the best she had in the house. It tasted good, good to me, but I could not have eaten a mouthful of the best fodder in the world in such a place when I first left home.

I shall have to adjourn this ’till tomorrow so good night, may you have sweet dreams of peace and future happiness.

Loudon Valley, Nov 10th

Dear Wife,

I expected to finish this yesterday but when I got here, tired out and [with] no place to stay but to lay down on the snow I felt too blue to write, so I must add a few lines this morning which is Monday. What a Sunday yesterday was, a twelve mile march with load enough for a mule. It did not seem much like a New England sabbath.

I suppose you think that we are some distance down into the heart of Virginia, but you are mistaken, we have traveled for the last two weeks and have got back to Harpers Ferry five miles from where we started from. They say we are to stay here some time, if so, we can hear from home often but I have not had a letter in a week from yesterday. I must close this for the mail starts in a few minutes. I have sent Will to get an envelope directed for. I have no pen and ink, if we stay here I will write soon.

Kiss the baby for me and give my love to all friends.

Your devoted husband,

Cecil A. Burleigh

  1. This would have probably been Manning’s Ford.