Loudon Valley, Nov. 13th
Dear loved Wife,
I did not intend to write you again this week but I received two letters last night, No. 19 and 20. No. 18 has not come through. I got what you sent in the Capt’s box, it did not get to us ‘till today. One of the bottles was broken and the contents had spoilt the paper you sent and nearly effaced the content of your letter but the butter came through in good shape and I think more of that than anything else. It makes the hardtacks (hard bread) go very well. I wish I had some all the time, but we get along well now for food. Not so well as at home, but our appetites are good and we can eat anything.
Your letter of the 7th inst.1 I did not like the tone of. It was full of distrust and you seemed to think that I did not care for you or anything else or that I did not have any interest in your troubles. You say you think you know me well enough to know that I won’t worry much about you. Now, I think I have sense enough not to borrow unnecessary trouble but I have been very anxious about you for the past week and have tried to think of some way to lessen your care but have not been able.
You say that you would rather I never come home than become intemperate. “Is thy servant a dog that he should do this thing”? You say you feel like telling me your little troubles (I suppose it is because I have more). Now, I like to hear all about your and your troubles (though I would rather that you had none) as well as your comforts if you have any. You say that my Sunday letter was not like what they used to be, now could you expect it when there was a battle raging within hearing? I did not mention the Devine Service for I wrote before that. We did not have meeting ‘till four o’clock and I was obliged to close my letter suddenly to attend to business as I often am.
Co. I2 did make most of the congregation for most of the other Co’s were ordered out on picket. I was there and took great pains to get my Co. within hearing of the Gospel. After church I got the Co. together and inspected their arms and ammunition then we were ordered to lay on our arms all night for our brave Col. was afraid of an attack. So, you see, I had enough to spoil one letter.
You seem to think that we are all becoming savages, but the fact is a man can be a gentleman here as well as anywhere and there are a good many that have improved with us. You must imagine that I have greatly changed in looks since I left home, you would like my picture if I looked like your own dear husband. Now, I don’t want to be rough, but what in thunder do you think I would look like if not your husband? I shall not part with the picture you sent me but if we stay here I will send you mine.
I have not come to your questions, I think I have answered them all before but I will answer them now. I wanted to allot you part of my pay but could find no one to attend to it before I left home and there is no way to do it here with safety.3 We have not been paid off yet and I don’t know when we shall be but expect to soon, when I will send you some of it.
The Capt. showed his egotism in what he wrote for neither himself or his Co. are the pets of the Regt. On the contrary, they are not liked so far as I can judge.
Sherwood ought to know which book belonged to me for my name is in it and it was wrapped up in paper with my name on the outside. The title of the book is Revised Army Regulations (one of which I am breaking in sitting up late to write this letter). It is a large book.
We have not our coats and I have told you so before.
Ezra has paid me part of the money he borrowed but is short and I have sent him back some of it. He will pay me when he is paid off.
The Bologna sausage was very nice. I have the condensed milk yet but shall use it soon if we stay here for we can’t buy milk here. As for your sending things it won’t pay to send by Capt. Hinsdale. He charges too high and I hear that the Express Co. won’t take boxes to Harpers Ferry. You can find out in New Haven if they will take the box, it will come through sometime.
I have not asked you for wine nor I don’t care for it and I hope I shan’t be sick enough to need it here for it is a miserable place to be sick in. You think you had a hard time there but some persons that have just come from Chesshire say that it is colder here than it is there. I don’t think so but it has been so cold that it has frozen the water in our canteens solid when they lay by our sides, but it is quite warm today. The weather changes very suddenly, we have more snow then you did but it is all gone now. We have not lain under any kind of shelter but four nights in two weeks and then it was very poor shelter.4
Tomorrow we have got to go out on picket or I would not set up so late tonight to write this letter. I believe I have fully answered your letter and I hope to your satisfaction. I think I shall know how to suit you better hereafter, that is to write about you and things at home and not about myself and what is going on here.
Dear Wife, if there is anything in this that you don’t like I hope you will exercise patience and charity and recollect that to err is human and to forgive is divine. I may have been mistaken when I enlisted but I supposed that I was serving the cause of humanity and justice and in that belief I have cheerfully borne all the hardships of my lot and am ready to bear more, but my patience is nearly exhausted.
I long to see you once more and my dear child, and take my place as a husband and father in the hearts of my family. I am very sorry to hear that our dear mother is not so well, may God spare her to you and me. You must take good care of her for you can never repay her for all she has done for you. Remember me to her, tell here she’s much in my mind and that I hope to see her again. Remember me to all our friends. Good night, as ever, your devoted husband Cecil.
P.S. I forgot to speak of the gloves, they are better than nothing but not very good to handle snow with, still I like them for most weather. I am not in want of a bed, if I have got to carry it.
Yours and etc,
Sadly, we do not have this letter anymore. ↩
This is the company that Cecil is in. ↩
When soldiers enlisted, they were given the choice to have a percent of their pay sent directly to home instead of having it all sent to them. ↩