ÒWe took some Rebel Prisoners and I had quite a talk with themÓ
Camp near Potomac Creek VA
Sunday, March 1, 1863 [says 1862]
I hardly know what to say in this letter, but I suppose I must tell you the truth. I am reduced to such a state of weakness I can hardly write you this letter. We have been out on picket duty again and while there was attached by the Enemy but our Regt did not get in the fight after all although we expected to all the time and every moment. Before we went on picket I was taken with the diarrhea and it has got such a strong hold of me now it will be hard work to stop it. I have to run about once every hour and I have fallen away in a week so that my jacket is a great deal too big for me. My eyes stick out and my cheeks have fallen in so I hardly know myself. There is nothing but water passes my bowels and that is all I have lived on for two days past. My appetite is gone and I canÕt bear the sight of victuals nor couldnÕt if it was the best in the world. Dave Reese came in my tent this afternoon and he said he hardly knew me. Oh, it is only a short week ago that I was enjoying good health and now I am miserable. Dear Clara, my best and only loved on Earth, may be that I do wrong in telling you how sick I am but I canÕt help it.
Demming was here yesterday and I did not feel strong enough to have much to say to him. Oh, I wanted to write so bad to you immediately after I came off from picket but I felt so bad I could not and it is hard work for me now. But, Dear Clara, you know I have a strong constitution and with the blessing of God I hope by the time you get another letter from me I will be a great deal better.
Monday, March the 2nd: I had to give up my letter yesterday because I was tired but I feel bully this morning. I have not run out to the rear in all night and this morning I feel like eating a little. Oh, never fear Dear Clara, I will soon be well again.
Yesterday there was a large lot of boxes came here for the boys. You wanted to know if we would have to stay here for 3 years. I hope, my love, that it will be the shortest 3 years that ever you or me saw. I suppose that if they mean to carry this thing through until they lick the South we will have to stay 3 years and more.
While we were on picket and the Enemy attacked us we took some Rebel Prisoners and I had quite a talk with them. They were well dressed, better than we were. They were intelligent and talked freely upon the war. They say they are getting better pay than ever and they will talk fight right in your face while they are a Prisoner. They are grit to the backbone and are bound to never give up and they said they would fight harder now since Abe issued that Proclamation than they did before.
Dear Clara, Julia seems to feel hard about something toward me and it frets me almost too bad after I done all I could for Tom. She accuses me of feeling too big to do anything for him because I am Sergeant now. I donÕt feel any bigger now that I did before, only I feel proud that I am earning more for you and my little ones, being that I have got to stay here and spend my time. She says I might afford to give Tom some of that turkey. God knows, I tried hard enough to give him some. She says you got money from that ward and could afford to buy turkeys. I wrote a little piece and put it in her letter. I donÕt know whether she will give it to you or not. I would like to know what money you got from that ward. Please write and let me know. She says she paid half on that box and you sent the biggest half and she donÕt think it would hurt me to divided with Tom. I wrote a letter and thought I explained everything satisfactorily but some folks wonÕt be satisfied any way.
That neck tie you sent me comes very handy. I like it first rate. Take good care of your health, my Dearest one, and my little ones and may God bless you all and may this letter find you all well at home. Goodbye until I write again which I hope will let you know I am well again. I remain,
Your true and loving husband,
Please send me a few postage stamps. I am all out. This is the last one on this letter.