December 31st, 1862

Fairfax Station, Va, Dec. 31

Dear loved Wife,

I have been to work all day (that is all the time I could get) building a hut. We have got it done and it is quite comfortable. We have a stove that Mark stole for us1, now if we stay here we can live again and if we had a box or two from home2 it would not be mocking for you to wish us a happy new year.

I got the letter you wrote you me Christmas, I must have written you a very lugubrious letter from the way you write me now. I told you that we had nothing to eat but salt pork and hard bread, that was so, but I told you at the same time that it tasted good and if it tasted good it is just as well as if it was chicken. Now, I don’t want you to feel so bad because I have some hardships to bear, it is no worse than I expected. The worst part of it is we are separated from friends and home. We can bear all we have to bear but it is hard for me to be away from my wife and child and I often think that I would be willing to give my life to see you again but I try to be contented with my lot and if things were conducted as they might be I should be willing to bide my time.

I have not been out of money but when on the march, I could not buy anything to eat but in camp I spend a little for victuals and I think it a good plan for it is better for us to do so than to get sick for the want of a change in food. I should like some of those nice sausages you speak of, I wrote you to send something in the Capt’s box3, but I don’t know but you got my last letter before it started. If so, you probably did not send, that is the only letter that I am sorry to have written but I did not know but we were to move for good. The Gen. did not consult me.

I suppose you have heard all about our reconnaissance, how we went with 25,000 men down most to Dumfries and captured 3 rebels while they (the Rebs) came up here and tore up the railroad track and cut the telegraph wires so we did not get any letters for two days, but it is all right now.

I can’t write you much more tonight but will try and answer some of your questions. I think you had better take the Tribune for I see by your letter you are much better posted than you used to be on the war. You had better take the Palladium4 also. You asked me what I threw away, my cotton drawers and a woolen blanket. I have all the flannels you made me and would not part with them for anything.

The drum beats for roll call so goodnight, much love, and many kisses to you and the baby.


  1. The act of “drawing” building supplies from nearby residences became an art-form for many of the soldiers. 

  2. Getting a box from home was always a highlight for the soldiers. These care boxes often contained pies, baked chicken, medicine, mittens, and the like. 

  3. In Cecil’s letter of the 24th:

    The Capt. tells my he has written home for a box and he says he told his mother you might go halves. No you need not send anything very valuable, but you may send something to eat and the medicine.

  4. The Daily Palladium was a newspaper in Connecticut.