St Augustine Dec 21st 1862
Sunday Dear Wife & Children
I put one letter in the Office yesterday so that I might be surely in season, if the Boat went out before advertised. We are having another Big Blow a Norther, perhaps the Boat will not go out for several days.
I am in fair health but Bilious [ ] to sum it up in a word I have got a liver complaint aggravated by the Climate & Food; I have no doubt if I could live as I do at home I should be hearty. If I knew that I was to stop here a year I should be tempted to have you and the Children come here. It would be a hard journey for you all & I suppose it is no use to think of such a thing as you would all feel the loss of home comforts extremely. Lt Lane & Corp Davis of Co. C. expect their wives every Boat. I should like soldiering much better if I could have you all with me. Providing you could get along with one pot (cook meat in) Frying Pan Coffee Pot tin plate knife Fork & Spoon apiece & lay on the ground or floor occasionaly as the case might be. You must not think the Officers escape the Floor & ground as now we are having a very easy time. but I have to lay on the Floor or set up all night once in ten nights on Picket, the old fashioned rules for taking cold are strictly complied with in the Army, last night I lay with the wind blowing on my head all night & I wore my nightcap for the first time since last spring.
22nd I am thinking that it is your Birth Day if so, I hope the next year will prove happier than the last; & my dearest hope is that I may see you before it ends; at our age, time passes quickly, but it seems long to look back to the time we parted. The War wears a bad look; but I still hope for the best, that it will end honorably to the North, my own personal convenience I count as nothing, as compared to the great general result. I continue to feel the same in regard to my duty to my Country as a man & Citizen & no man has ever known me to falter or repine & am ready to agree today, to serve during the War (or my life) if it lasts twenty years.
23rd Good Morning it is very pleasant here just comfortable, I presume it is "Cold Winter" with you, barring the fleas this is just the winter to suit me if we had home comforts to go with it.
I am cross & mad & havent had anything decent to eat for a week & I am bound not to stand it any longer. if I cant get in a Mess I shall get my Meals at an eating house or go to the hotel there is a man that came from N.Y. that keeps an Eating House I think of trying him, if I dont get in Capt Rollins Mess. I have spoken to him and he wished to refere it to the rest of the Mess; if they dont want me, my style will not let me tease them. The Steamer was obliged to wait for wood & will not sail till morning at 9. There is quite an excitement here among the Blacks the Chaplain of the 9th Me is here getting names of those who wish to enlist. I hear he has some hundred names the Negroes are willing & anxious to enlist & I think there will be no trouble in filling the Regt there is quite a rush for the Commission among the Segts & Corporals & some of them from the regt will get them I think. I had a little rather command white soldiers than black. I told Adams at noon that I should not be there to supper & I have no place decided on yet, they had soup for dinner about half-cooked & Bread rank poison with [ ] you know how I like that in Bread I eat a few spoonfuls of soup & nothing else we have had no butter for a fortnight there is none in the City & applesauce (dried) is my utter detestation. Such apple as we get here, we had a piece of cheese last night the first for several weeks. I write this for want of something better to fill my sheet write all the news every time, I am anxious to hear about the Boys from [ ] the Potomac I send you $ 5.00 to pay for the last time at Manchester which slipped my mind I think it rather high seeing I paid your board; but you have waited so long I wont complain about it.