February 8th, 1863

Stafford Court House, Feb 8th

Dearly loved wife,

This is the first day that has seemed like Sunday for many a week but this is such a Sabbath as I have ever loved. Still, quiet, and grave, the bright sun shining through the smoky air and the voice of nature hushed as if in obedience to the divine command “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.” It is just the day to bring to mind home and all its Sabbath association and the soldiers after many weeks of turmoil and hardship seem willing to rest. The camp as is quiet and orderly as a Sunday at Mt. Carmel.

Since I wrote you last we have had a long cold rain and snow storm in which many have suffered in health not having proper shelter but I and my mess took time by the forelock and made us a hut so that we were comparatively comfortable.

My health still remains good in spite of your forebodings but I have been very anxious about you, the last two letters1 I got from you, you were not well. I looked for a letter from you today but was badly disappointed when the mail came, if you got sick I hope you will promptly let me know and if it is a possible thing I will get a furlough and make you a visit, but I hope it will not be necessary for me to come on that account. I pray God He may spare your health whatever other trouble He may see fit to send I fear I should desert if I could not get home without if you were sick.

I guess I shall get a letter from you tomorrow when I hope to hear you are well, and Louise too. O how I wish I could see the little chatter box, I dreamed that I saw her last night playing with my boots. Would to God the dream might prove true before many weeks, but we must wait in patience for the end of this war will surely come and that soon. We have already learned to put not our trust in princes but have appealed to God and the right. I know there are many in the army as there were in the army of Gideon that are not humble enough to get on their knees to drink, but I trust there is enough (as there was then) to tumble the Walls of Jericho (slavery) to dust.

You wanted to know in your last (written last Sunday) how my money held out. I had some left and did not borrow any though I did not pay for my watch ‘till we were paid. The Capt. has paid me. I sent you five dollars in my last and should send you the same in this but when you last wrote you had not received but two letters since we came here where you ought to have had four so perhaps I had better wait a little before I send any more. If we had our full pay I should have sent by express which is the only safe way to send money.

You spoke of sending me a box if we stay here, I don’t know how long we shall stay here but probably a month, it will be as long as that before the army can move by land and I don’t think we shall go by water. I can’t think of anything in particular that I want sent, my boots are getting poor but I hope I can get along ‘till warm weather when I can wear Government [unintelligible]2. I can’t afford boots on my pay, I have two pairs good stockings which will do ‘till the first of April. My pants are getting poor but I can draw some more in a few days. My over coat is a little soiled for I have had to sleep in it or on it all winter, the cloth is whole but I don’t like the looks of it but I shan’t draw another, not this winter. We have never drawn dress coats, I think Uncle Sam must owe me something for clothes. If you send a box I have a great mind to have you get me a cap, mine is looking the worse for wear and the Government caps are worse than they used to be.

Joe says put him in a couple of mince pies (I suppose he means from home), his were spoilt, they must have got wet. I should like some ginger cakes, a loaf cake would keep good and if you can get it handy, a bottle of pepper sauce. Now I think of it I would rather have mustard, it would go better on salt horse or pork, a small piece of dried beef, a little butter, and few other eatables can be disposed of down here, but we are not in so great need of them as we have been sometimes.

You think I have slighted Joe in not writing about him, the fact is Joe don’t need praising much, he does his duty faithfully and his conduct is all his friends could wish.

You think Ace not such a fellow as I could like and I will say some of his faults are unpardonable but he has a better disposition than I supposed before I got acquainted with him. It is a fact that I can’t account for that the men that were considered the worst and most unmanageable seem to think the most of me and obey me the best it is not because I take part in any of their games or names but I can assist them in trouble and you do such people a kindness they never forget it.

Dear wife, will take leave of you to night and though this letter is short, it must serve as an answer to your three days letter, when I get to writing to you I hate to stop it seems to bring you near but it is seldom I can sit down [to] write without being disturbed so I have got a habit of scribbling off fast whatever comes into my mind. I wish I could get time to sit down and write you of all my thoughts and aspirations and vain imaginations, but perhaps if I did I should get sentimental and foolish, perhaps I should write you of love and the time when we were young and took moonlight walks and built air castles and all that sort of things but I am reminded of the reality of life by the rattle of the infernal drum, so good night with much love and many kisses


[P.S.] Tell Mrs. Ives Brained is well and has his box but most of his stuff is spoilt.

  1. The letters of February 1st and 3rd

  2. He is certainly speaking of the Federal issue brogans (or bootees).