St. Augustine Apr 17/63
My Wife & Children
The Neptune leaves in the Morning with the Mail & I will write a word; but dont know what to say; there is no news nothing but the humdrum of garrison life I wish the rebs would just scare us a little if nothing more. My health is pretty good & I hope the next letter from you will report you fully recovered. Capt Cotton grows more intimate with me I sometimes think it is not because he likes me better but that he likes Hooper less there is one thing he has found out that I know my biz pretty well & he leaves all the drill of the Co. to me, he is the best posted of any Capt in the Regt but the men refer knotty points to me the same as they used to in Co. C. the Rebs offered Mr. Riddell $50 for his Boots & the same for his Hat which cost $2.00 north he could have sold his cloths for $150 which did not cost him $25, so there is no mistake about their being short. he fared as well as they did but went without food for 48 hours once then a reb soldier divided a peice of pork with him which was all the poor fellow had afterwards he got a Breakfast & bot 4 loaves of Bread at '50 cts each & divided with the soldier in return one man gave him $25 in Confederate money & others gave different sums or they would have suffered severly. Prescott went north with them, & has been exchanged as a prisoner, I hear; perhaps he may escape the penalty of desertion, by getting back before Apr 1st, if so he is a lucky fellow, they left Cate in Jail at Charleston he felt very bad when the rest left, he shook hands with them but could not say a word, I need a Chest or large Trunk but cant get boards enough in this poverty struck place to make one. there seems to be one advantage to Slavery; wherever it is, People get along with very few conveniences, but in this land of spontaneous production, the Beggar is surer of something to eat than the day laborer at the north; if business is dull, I would write to the children if there was anything that would interest them, it is a hard case to write letters from a Prison & this place is about as isolated. I have rigged out a Hat pro tempore, with the help of Mrs Riddell which looks quite gay, it is a privates hat with two feathers, & other fixings, & I will do very well till I can do better; the fates seem to be against me on the hat business. There I think this letter is full long enough for the kind, & badly enough written & I will leave the other page for the Girls to write on. Yours Clar through.