ŇOur men keep going off by sickness and death about as fast as everÓ
Camp near Potomac Creek VA
Sunday, February 22, 1863
[sketch of Winter Scene on Potomac Creek with eagle and banners of 146th and The Army of the Potomac, shield ŇDrawn by Peter Lewis DumontÓ]
I am well today and I hope these few lines will find you the same and all the rest of them at home. Last night we went to bed and it was clear but cold, but this morning when we came to get up we found about 6 inches of snow on the ground and so cold it is impossible to keep warm. You see we have got these government shoes and the minute we step in the snow our feet is wet. Tom has been reported fit for duty although he says he donŐt feel well at all. He looks a great deal better now and he can eat like a horse.
The boys are suffering from cold here very much today. Most of them was on detail yesterday building forts and this morning the snow was so deep, and it is so far to go after wood, it leaves a great many of them without it this morning. We have to carry all our wood on our backs and go about a mile after it and lug it up a pretty steep hill at that. It makes pretty hard work for us although when we first came in Camp here the woods was thick and close to us. But there are so many of us that they clear off a large piece of woods in a small amount of time.
About an hour ago there was great excitement here in the camps. All of a sudden the boom and rattle of a thousand cannons was heard and the general opinion was amongst the Boys that the Enemy was coming. Some went so far as to say ÔI should think they might wait until a pleasant dayŐ but soon the word came that it was WashingtonŐs Birthday and that soon quieted the minds of them very quick. They had forgot all about the 22nd entirely.
Monday morning: I had to stop writing my letter yesterday so I will finish it this morning. This morning the sun is out in all itŐs glory but there is a sharp keen and cutting air. I came near freezing one of my fingers yesterday afternoon going after wood. It stuck out of my glove and it was all turned white but it ainŐt hurt much after all. Joe Durgen from Utica came here last Saturday night and he says they havenŐt seen any more winter up North than there is here at present. Mr. Deming has not arrived here yet. Mr. Dennison the shoemaker was here on Saturday morning. He says he left Demming in Washington trying to get transportation.
Our men keep going off by sickness and death about as fast as ever. I canŐt see much difference now to what it was a while ago. With this letter I guess Tom will mail one for Julia. He asked me this morning to write one for him. Dear Clara, we suffer from cold weather a great deal here. You see our little tents are not any bigger than a tablecloth and are not any thicker than a cotton handkerchief. The cold and snow blows right through them.
But I must close. Take good care of your self and my little ones and give my love to all inquiring friends. I hope to see you all again. So goodbye till you hear from me again. God bless and protect you all.
I remain yours truly until death,