Camp Austine, Oct. 14th, 1863
Dear wife -
I now seat myself to write you. Since Saturday I have been hard at work. I had a gun to clean and more brass to fix up than I wish to see again. Sunday was cold and unpleasant. I got a pass and went over to see Susan. Found them all well. Mary Ann commences her school next Monday. She teaches 13 weeks at $3. per week and boards herself. She is going to board with Susan. I enjoyed the visit much. We had a grand good dinner of boiled victuals, and Susan filled my haversack with apples. The battery M boys have left Monday. There were a lot of prisoners sent off yesterday, the Captain of Company A, a corporal and four men with them as guard. There are a few left in the guard house. Gaskill's brother was sent off. He was court martialed here and has been sent to the 3rd Regt to serve out his time. I do not know all the particulars. Hear that he has to serve without pay. You may wish to know what we are doing here – guard duty and drill. There is enough to do to keep us pretty busy. I suppose there will be occasionally some men sent off as guard, to guard deserters and other prisoners that are sent to the front. There are more men expected here soon. The two companies that are here now have a pretty hard time. Alba Warren is here in the same company with me. He is well and is very steady, learns the drill fast. His family has moved to St. Johnsbury, mention it to his friends in Charlesten as I think he has not written. He wished me to write that he was here. How does the house get on? I have not written to Mr. Cole as I have had no time to write. I cannot write in the evening as we are furnished with but few lights, and those that have a chance to write at their bunks monopolize all the light. I have taken time this morning. What the consequences will be I know not.
The company is out on drill and I am writing. I have received another letter from Mr. Martin. He is in the 3rd Regt. He says that his health continues to improve, but still he does not consider himself fitted
by health, character, temperament or education for a soldier. I do not find as many men here whose society I enjoy as I did on the Island, though taken together they are a better set of men, but there is not a man here whose company I can enjoy. There were many worse, some far superior, on the Island. Many of the men here receive calls from their wives, some hire their board in town. I wish that you could come here. How lonely I feel. I do not know when I shall be paid off, I expect the last of this month or the first of next. It is harder for a man to find out anything in the army than out of it. I have been into the village but once since I came back. I might, perhaps, go oftener, but the officers must be annoyed by so many men asking for passes. I saw Henry Tinker when I was in town. He gave me an invitation to come down and spend the evening with them. I shall try and go down soon, he can probably tell me something about pay day. I wish that I was at home to work on that old house, fix it up comfortably, and try to enjoy yourself as well as you can. As I said before there is but little enjoyment here. I like the drill best of anything here. There is no enjoyment for me in the barracks. I have a few chestnuts. I wish I could send them to the children. I shall somehow, if I can get them dry here. How is Joseph? Write soon. I have not heard from home since I came here. Kiss the children for me and accept a thousand from me. Oh, if I could now press you to my heart, and feel its beating against mine it would give bliss indeed. Never mind the time will come some time. The company have come in from the drill. I am all right. Have just received orders to fix up for drill by the captain. Boots and shoes must be blacked, brass rubbed up all clean and nice, so we go.
Here I must sign my name.
(The transcript typist notes that those last 2 lines were squeezed into the left margin, as the pages were full)