Headquarters General Summers Camp California
Commanded by General Howard
Regít Jan. 12th 1862
Well dress parade is over and I
can write a few more lines before dark. Well we left Washington last
Tuesday morning. We had six hundred mules to draw our luggage so we
soldiers only had our guns and rations to carry. We marched twelve miles in
the forenoon. On our way we passed through the city ok Alexandria & saw the
top of the house that Elsverth was shot in. But there is no sign of rebbles
there now. But it is some consolation in seeing where they have been, if we
canít get a shot at them.
Candlelight. Wells Hugaboom
cooked the supper for himself & Henry Van Vlack. Then George and I had to
cook ours. So now it is pretty late. James P. [Pettit] has been in hear
quite a spell this evening. He is the only one of the officers I really
like. He seems just the same as us. He told us tonight we could get our
pay Tuesday or Wednesday. Tomorrow we have a chance to fix up our tents.
We intend to build a stack pen about three feet high & set our tents upon
it. Then we will have plenty of room. I presume you think that these tents
are cold. Well they are not Ė Nor do they leak any. The inspector
was through our Regít this morning. He said it looked very well for the for
the time that we had been here. Lieut. P. thinks that we will be hear
something to next month. Our artist has got his tent up, so when we get our
pay I will send you one more picture.
But mother, I think
that it would be pretty hard work & a great deal of trouble to send home my
remains if I should be killed or die with sickness. It wonít matter but
little where I am buried. You would feel worse if I was sent home than you
would if I was buried down here. I donít know how much it would cost. I
think you had better use the money for things you need. If I was in your
place I would get me a new dress with that five dollars that Mrs. Sawmill
Allen gave you. If I can get some of the money that I have lent out in this
Co. I will send you enough to buy you a new dress & tie or three pairs of
shoes. I owe Mrs. Nia over twenty dollars. Then there is the Asylum debt,
[probably Orphan Asylum Cattaraugus Indian Reservation] but I shall let that
be until the last one. I donít see how I can help in that place any.
I am very glad if Will
has quit drinking. I hope he will be a comfort to you and father. I may
never return. I am willing to die in defence of my country if it is
necessary. But I donít want to die in a hospital. I came here to fight and
if the 64th ever has to fight I want to be in with the rest of
them. Tell Will I wish that he would write to me often. You folks at home
donít know how pleasant it is to get a letter now and then. If you had to
write under as many inconveniences as we soldiers do I would not blame you
for not writing. If we are not smart enough to steal or find a board then
we have to write on our knapsacks. But somehow or another I have got the
knack to get a board or anything else if it is to be had. If a soldier
finds anything he want it is not called stealing for him to take it.
Yesterday I was on guard inside of the lines. My post is where the barn
used to be. ĎTis not built yet but the boards and the shingles are there.
During two hours I found about four quarts of corn so we have popcorn. Then
after dark I went to the quartermastersí tent and found three loaves of
bread and quite a decent sized piece of pork. So Today we have lived.
Well, ma, I have
filled two sheets & as I have not slept any since night before last I think
that I had better halt this time.
Please give my
respects to all of my friends & write as soon as you can to your own son