Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

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Yorktown Va Oct 8th 1863 Dear Maria

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I got a letter from you yesterday and it was a good long one and I fear you will not get so long a one in return- I have been very busy for a day or two making out Ordnance returns but have got them mostly finished now. Maj Jarvis is at present here but as you suppose it does not make my duties any less for I am still in command of the regiment My duties are not very hard but still I dont see so much spare time as I could wish. The health of the regiment does not improve much yet and what we generally dread we at present are longing for and that is cold weather for we expect when it come s to see our sickness decrease and the regt be of some servise. At present we report only 83 enlisted men for duty and 18 officers. I stand it very well and am quite fleshy but dont feel real tough and active and there is not a man here that does. I have warned Lester to take care of himself well, and not over eat or drink much water but to see his apetite is of the Barney sort and he cant refuse good food We expect soon to be ordered away

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from here and relived from duty to recruit up and get able for next Springs work. I am still in command of Yorktown but having but our Regt and Three Batteries under my charge have had but little to see to. I put and officer of the day under arrest yesterday for negligence of duty & one of my Lieuts also for getting drunk- The commander of a regiment has some perplexities you may rest assured, but I have got along very nicely since I have been here in comd I expect Genl Wistar back to day so I will be relieved from some respon- sibility. He has been out with a Cavalry & negro Infy Regt looking up guerrillas and I hear he has had pretty good luck- The negroes are pretty green yet but I think the 60 who, are on guard here will get way wised some as this is the fifth day they have been on without being relieved but they can stand that better than our men can to do nothing. You still enjoy a fishing excursion occasionally and no doubt have grand times with Uncle Stearns & [Latroush] for beaus, as it is customary on such occasions to take along a little whisky I presume you do not exclude it. Which one of you women can drink the most and not get tipsy? but perhaps one will think the other the worst off

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I wish, you could be here to go out oystering with me, as they are very plenty just now and good- Why dont Uncle Franklin take his new wife up to Swanton and let his country friends have a glance at her? or is she so fine that it would injure her charming qualities, I hope is he not ashamed of his relatives but I presume he is of some of them and perhaps was afraid of having a lot of rediculous stuff poured into her ears as there was his a year ago I have written for the clothing box and expect a fine pair of shirts- I hear from Danby occasionally and according to your account Hattie must be quite a hand at hard work to command so large a price how does Coz Mary get along I have not got her letter yet. I should think from your account that what few men are left at home are pretty busily at work and especially nights- I will send you one of Harpers Monthlys and all for one piece. I hope to see you before many months and dispense with this tiresome way of communicating my thoughts

Love to All
Your Aff Husband V.G. Barney