ÒI and Fletch stood ready to go anywhere but either one of us would of rather been somewhere elseÓ
Camp on Potomac Creek 4 miles from Fredericksburg
Saturday, December 20th, 1862
I am well at present and hope these few lines will find you all at home pretty well and comfortable which is not the case with us at present. There is a great many sick and I have heard there is a great many dying from exposure to this kind of weather. It is very cold and wet down here at present and living the way we do down here it canÕt be expected but what we will get sick and die off. Tell Julia Tom is pretty sick with the Bloody Disentary but I think he is getting better. I for one dear Clara have never felt better than I do at present since I have been down here with the exception of cold weather. I canÕt stand the cold weather like I used to. We are pretty well off at present. We have got a fireplace in our tent now and when we are inside we can keep warm but I suppose by the time we get things comfortable we will have to tear up and move. I donÕt hear anything about renewing the Battle of Fredericksburg and I think we wonÕt know until we get orders to strike tents and march.
There is going to be a general Court Martial in our Regt on the account of deserting in front of the enemy. One of them was Norm Maffit and we havenÕt seen him since. Tom Kirkland and Mike Keating left us but came back again. I was coward enough but I wouldnÕt have the name if I had got killed in the Battle. Yes, I and Fletch stood ready to go anywhere but either one of us would of rather been somewhere else at the same time.
Yesterday we had a general inspection of arms, ammunition and clothing and we all thought we would all have to go again but today everything is peaceable and quite in camp but it is bitter cold. We are expected to be paid off every day since the fight and we havenÕt got it yet. I have got fifty cents left yet and I think that will do me until I get paid off.
Dear Clara, I havenÕt heard from you since we crossed the river for the fight and I have been looking for a letter 3 or 4 days now. I am afraid you donÕt write as much as you used to do. Please write for my sake. You would, I know, if you knew how much I thought of getting them from you. Write and let me know if you are going to have money enough to get along with. Tel our folks I think they are very kind for giving a way to let us in the house and not asking any more for it than they do. Ask father if he couldnÕt write to me once in a while. It would seem kind of good to hear from him once in a while. I have not received any answer from any letter that I wrote to Bill yet. Tell him that I think he might answer one once in a while jus as well as not. Let me know if Willie donÕt walk yet. I had almost forgot about his walking. Tell me if the children grows any and if Ida and Charley has such times as they used to have. If they do I think it will try your patience.
Dear Clara, take good care of your health and [the] childrenÕs for I hope to see you all again and I would not want to see you worn out to a shadow. Give my love to all and give me a place in your heart. I remain yours truly and faithfully,
Tell Sarah Graff I send my best respects and she may thank the Lord that her Jake never came with us. Poor fellow, I miss him very much. He is, I hope, better off.
A hundred kisses to you all and may God bless and protect you all. Tell FletcherÕs folks he is well.