St. Augustine Feb 13th 1863
Dear Wife & Girls
Yesterday about 10 I took my glass & went up in the Tower thinking I might see a Steamer. & I did away in the Fogg could just discern the form of one, in three hours she was at the Wharf, but no Mail, but the little black Neptune came blowing along in an hour with One, & I was very happy in the rect of yours of the 24th & 27th with those from Ada & Annah, also one from Ned & Paper & Pamphlet. I am very happy to hear that you are all comfortable in health; My health is some better, so that I have been on duty for some time. The Inspector Gen came down & today we have had a general inspection that lasted most of the A.M. Col Abbott came in the "Cosmopolitan" he has you will recollect been home recruiting, but brought none with him not even his Wife; I expected the other Rectng Officers back with him but none came. There is quite a number envy me my glass as it is the best one in the regt & the most portable. I am very glad I have got it as it will help me to see Rebels at a distance. I hope you wont think that I am afraid to see them except at a distance but it is sometimes of advantage to know where they are a leetle sooner than with the naked eye. there are rumors of a row between Hunter & Foster if the service is injured by their quarrel I hope Abe will turn them both out to shift for themselves. It makes me feel a little silly to have you praise me for my Patriotism for I dont see how a man can be otherwise & be a good citizen & genuine lover of his country & its Liberties, it is simply my duty & I deserve no praise for it. if a man changes his mind in regard to the war because he suffers hardship as a soldier, he is not fit to have a country or Family unless he has got the pluck to defend them & their Liberties. I should feel a little diffident at your showing my letters to anyone except Mr Huse but he is an old & tried Friend & Patriot & I have no secrets I wish to keep from him; prehaps if I had known that he would see my letters, I should not have written in so loose a manner, as I supposed they would only come to your eye, as you know I am apt to say what I think, which I have done many times to the sorrow of us both.
Colbath our Clerk who is in N.H. recruiting, writes very despondingly; that, recruiting is played out that the Army of the Patomec is demorilised distrust their Genls & are in a bad state; and the letters from soldiers you speak of go to prove the point; also that Leut Chase is on bad terms with the Monied Men & threatens to resign. also that the present "Political Canvass" in N.H. is the most bitter he ever knew. & that everybody is downhearted & disponding; if these things are so the future looks dark indeed. the Free-Press speaks words of cheer also the Journal & Herald & Mr Gilmore; if the North has got to go down by the pressure of the Rebellion So & submissionists No. I thank God that the Republicans stand true to the "Flag & to Freedom" let them die in their Harness with their faces to the Foe. I cant believe & will not, it is too humilliating that the North has got to bow to Slavery. & end the war by compromise or acknowledging the independence of the Confederate States.
Feb 14th It is a very Foggy morning & decidedly gloomy I have just been drilling the Co on Bayonet Exercise the Capt is on Ct Martial; I am in comnd, it being Sat I am pretty busy writing passes &e. The Col has put it to me twice to know why I had not got a Hat I have been expecting one every day for six weeks; Riddell the Sutler went to N.Y. when we were pd off, three months ago, but none of his goods have arrived; I am nearly out of patience waiting; but this is the way with everything in the Army, and what the Country is greatly lacking is this same Patience. I would write to all the Girls but have not time this mail A & A. write fine letters they have improved very much I feel very much gratified for their improvement in writing & spelling they must pay particular attention to spelling; as a badly spelled letter however perfect in other respects carries a bad look. It has been quite warm here for a week past the grass is starting up green Dec & Jan seem to be the winter months here, the buds on the Peach & Fig trees are swelling which gives evidence of the rejuveniating power of a three months rest. I notice you direct your letters to Flo it should be Fla. P.M. there has a schooner just been in sight the Fogg has shut her from sight now! the Pilot has gone out! I hope it is the Sutlers with my Hat, the Col is very particular about the uniform of his Officers, & I like to please him if I can.
We were all dissatisfied with our appearance yesterday the Col made two mistakes which is very unusual for him. then Col Abbott tried to Drill us & broke down & the Capts blundered as usual House in particulur. the men done well as they were told it is vexing to shame by Blundering Officers Lt Bennett & Uncle Dud the two lowest rank had command of the reserves of skirmishers and did not blunder. in some regts the Inspector Genl calls out some of the Co Officers to Drill them; I wish he had called on Bennett or myself, it would have taken some "cheek", but I believe we could put some of our superiors to the Blush without much difficulty. I have got four Oranges on one stem, as big as a cats head; I wish you could see them, but they are sour, I keep them for their good looks. I dont know what to write about tonight I will quit till tomorrow "Good Night"
Sunday Morning 15th We have just come from Inspection; it is very Foggy misty damp & dark most everyone is in bad humor, I was so long eating Breakfast that I was late to inspection, did not get there till the Regt had wheeled into Column, & opened ranks; the Col just turned round in season to see me draw sword & take my Post; being in the 1st Co, my Post is on the right chock up to the Field & Staff; but I guess he will not find fault for I am usually on time, the men are cross because they were short of Cartriges & the Capt has ordered some of them to the Gd. House but they have been told times enough to keep 40 rounds in their Boxes, they take them out they are so heavy & forget or neglect to put them in again,
I wish you would send me in a letter 2 Sewing Awls not very large & a straight one I think they call them Harness Awles one of each & a few needles one darning two for linnen & two for cotton thread more or less, these I have got are so rusty I cannot use them most of them are broken, I need a Watch extremely, I think when I am paid again I shall send for a cheap one say $12, $15, & have you pack it in a paper Box & send by mail.
Remember me to all enquiring Friends. & believe me Yours as Ever