Camp on Near Falmouth VA
January 4, 1863 Sunday
Is well. “I have at last heard from you and oh I was most tickeled [sic] to death to hear from you and that you was all well.” Tell Julia Tom is very sick in hospital and wasted away to almost nothing. He goes to visit him as often as possible and there is a notice that says no admittance. Tom doesn’t want him to tell Julia how sick he is for fear she will try to come and there is no place for her to stay. He hopes he’s not doing wrong telling Clara the truth.
“Dear Clara I done something last new years day which I hope I shall never have to do again. I made a coffin for one of my tent mates Jacob Breish and yesterday I put a head board to his grave he was a good boy and I liked him very much. I have written to his folks about his illness and death and I suppose by this time they have received the painful news. Poor fellow he had bright hopes for the future but he said to me in Frederickburgh [sic] that he had given himself up to god and if it was his will he was willing to go but he would rather not die yet he dident [sic] at that time that he would come back in the same camp and die so soon he was onley [sic] sick a very few days I had onley [sic] been in the tent a couple of weeks. Previous to his death he has wanted to tent with me ever since we left home.”
She had asked who he tents with and he says Joseph Corrigan is the only one left because “fletch and me got divided on the march from Warrington here and we have not been together since although there has not been any trouble between us I like him just as well as ever. Most all of our officers are resigning and by the time you get this there will be about 15 of them that has left us since we left rome.” Sending another picture of winter quarters that looks better than the original. Asks if Willie walks, poor little fellow, wants to see him.
“Let me know in your next letter how Bill came to work in the observer office.” Hurt his back when a log he was carrying fell on it. “You musent [sic] think it is so easy to get clear from here as you think for a man has got to be half way in the grave before they let him go. I tell you there is no sympathy for a sick man here at all he has got to stand up untill [sic] he falls down and then they will pick him up to fall down again.”