Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

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Camp Dodge NearSuffolk Va. May 9th 1863 Dear Wife,

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It has been nearly a week since I last wrote you but the reason is because we have been for three days past out in the country leveling down the fortifications which the rebels threw up and left and it being five miles out we did not come back to camp till last eve after finishing our part of the job so it has been impossible for me to write you till the present time. You no doubt have heard of the evacuation of this part of the world by the rebels. They left last Sunday night, and since that time most of the troops have left here but as we are in the reserve brigade we will probably remain here for some time probably No doubt Longstreet left here to reinforce Gen Lee as Gen Hooker had made an advance We have all sorts of rumors here with regard to Hookers operations. The last was that Hooker had retreated back across the river but I hope it is not true for a victory now is so much needed. The N.Y papers speak

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highly of the gallant Vermont brigade and the charge they made which saved our Army from capture or annihilation under Sedgwick. I hope soon to hear from Elisha and of his safety and will have some anxiety till I do, so let me know the first you hear from him. I shall write him to day. During the three days past we have had pretty hard work and the most of the time rainy weather but as we had to forage for a living (not having taken but one days rations with us) we had quite a gay time and the sheep, Hogs, geese, chickens, &c had to suffer for quite a distance around the country I was lucky in finding about a bushel of sweet potatoes so we were well supplied with vegetables as well as meat we occupied a large dwelling house as our barracks and found it full as comfortable as our shelter tents especially in the rainy and wet weather. The works were very strong and things indicated that a large force had been in that vicinity, though the main part of the rebs were farther to the south west. As we are at present situated we are in no danger at all, more than you are except from disease and this I intend to guard against with much caution.

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I found it pretty hard to carry my blankets, over coat, & Rations on our marches lately so have hired a Darkey to do this as well as to work about camp and for the past week I find he has paid his way twice over. he is not one of the most intelligent kind but can carry as much as a mule and this is what I want. He has got a blazing fire going at the front of our tent now and I am drying my socks and roasting my shins while I write this but it is clearing off and we will have no need of fire pretty soon. When I got back last eve I was happily surprised to find Wm. Cooney here. he had just arrived from Chicago with some others from the regt I had not seen him before for seven months he has grown some and is as fat as a Pig you had better tell Mr. Marvin when you return to S- about him. Coney tells me he has not written home for five months. I found a cousin a few days ago in the 118th N.Y. by chance. He is a son of V.R. Goodrich of Essex, Essex Co. N.Y. His name is Rathborn and was next younger than Lydia who I presume you have heardour girls speak of often. He had grown so and changed that I would not have known him but he knew me.

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I sent you a receipt in my last letter for $100 but I dont know as it will be good at a bank. if not you can send it to the state treasurers office and also an order to draw the amount. remember and or if some one was going to Rutland you might send up by them and draw the amt from the treasury. I will enclose you an order for my allotted pay which is $240.00 you can endorse it out and sent it to J.B. Page with the Recpt and you can get a check on any bank you desire. I want all my debts paid and Father paid what he has paid our for taxes and with what remains I want a barn built. I have written Father with regard to it. Also the cistern finished and [eave] spouts put up so it will be all used up without much effort - - - I got a letter from you last eve written at Uncle D- 's on the 4th inst. I am thankful you and the children continue in good health and I think we have been very fortunate in this respect since my absence. I have commenced once or twice to write to Silas but have not made our yet to finish a letter Tell him to be sure and set his bed against the door. Give my love to all and write as often as convenient and all the news

Affly YourV. G. Barney