ÒIf only the opening of another New Year should bring with it peace and a reconciliation between us two hostile peopleÓ
Camp at Bealton Station
Christmas Morning, [Friday,] December 25, 1863
I received you letter last night and was glad to hear from you and that you was all well. There is nothing going on in Camp today. We have got our pay and most of the Boys are trying to spend Christmas in buying things of the sutter. I am going to send you a Christmas present in the shape of 50 dollars. I donÕt know of anything else that I could send you that would be as acceptable as money, for I know you must want it. The paymaster come when we least expected to see him. We did not expect him before the middle of next month. It wonÕt be but a few days, 6 more, and we will be mustered for another 2 months.
You spoke about my bed. I have got it about 3 feet from the ground and it is made of poles covered with cedar boughs. It is equal to a feather bed compared with what we have had for the past 2 months. I will send you a picture some day of how my house looks, inside and outside.
I am sorry you did not get my first letter for it was a large one and had a great deal of news in it. I have received everything that you sent me, paints, paper, and gloves and scarf. I wish it had been a pocket handkerchief for I am destitute of anything of that kind.
I expect James Handwright of our Co. will be coming home in a few days on furlough. I wish I had something to send by him to you or the children. You must take a couple of dollars of this money and buy something for the children and tell them I sent it to them for Christmas. Steve Lent, I believe, is coming home on furlough.
Oh, how I wish I could be there on New Years with you and the children. But I canÕt, so I will have to make the best of it. But I hope you will all enjoy yourselves and not let the absence of me interfere with your happiness. I wish you all a happy Christmas and New Year, and if only the opening of another New Year should bring with it peace and reconciliation between us two hostile people, what a gladness would fill the hearts of many of our noble men that are now away, far away today, from their homes and firesides. God grant that the coming new year may bring peace and joy to our unhappy land which traitors sought to destroy and overthrow. But I fear the time is not yet come for peace. All we can do is to hope that it is not far distant.
I have been indulging in some cakes and cheese which I bought from the sutter. Apples is 8 cents apiece so we dare not smell of them. I hope they are not so dear you dare not by them.
As it is getting late, I think I must close this letter. You must write just as soon as you receive it, for if you have lost one letter I shall feel vary anxious until I hear from this one because of the money. You must take good care of your health and the little ones. Give my love to all of my folks and remember me to all enquiring friends. Oh, dear Clara, if I could only come home on New Years, how happy I should be. But goodbye for now. Keep up a courageous heart. May a happy New Year be yours, and the blessing of Heaven attend you through this and another world to come.
From yours and yours only until death,
A kiss and a happy Christmas