October Monday 20th 1862
[letterhead of tree made of American flags and word “UNION” in red, white, and blue]
Feels pretty well, slight cold and headache, all broke out in face and hands and swelled up in blotches. “The Docters [sic] is puzzled to tell what ails me some tell me I have got the itch but I hope not there is a great many sick ones here at present”. Blames the march to Washington. Sick include Fletcher (Dimbley?), Tom Thickens, George Whitten, John McGuire, and Ed Lomis who shot his right forefinger: “I cant say whether it was accidental or done it to cheat the government he did not gain his effect because he will have to stay.” Rumor that Fordis Phelps drowned in the river on the way from NY.
Peter went to the Arlington house, “formerly the residence of Gen Geo Washington but lately the house or residence of the Rebel Gen Lee I picked some rose leaves from his garden which I send to you….Swertfinger give me some apples blows which I send also there is plenty of them here.” Complains of lying on the cold ground at night with no straw available and too warm during the day. Has to get up at the call of the drum at daylight at half past five and cook breakfast before daylight so to be on duty at sunrise. “I don’t see the fun in a soldiers life at all. I hope you will cast a thought on us once in a while when you go to your beds and tables and think we endure hardships never seen in our homes far away. Our Col does not get any better as I see yesterday Col Corcoran passed by here with his brigade of McMickeys I had a good sight of him they are encamped close by us a fine lot of soldiers as ever were.” Misses her, no fences or houses, all you can see is soldiers, “you cant get a sight of a woman at all.”