Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

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Yorktown Va Oct 11th 1863Dear Maria

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I will now devote a little time to you for I know you will be glad to have me although but two days have passed since I last wrote. To day is Sunday and the wind is blowing real cold and I doubt if it is any colder in S- to day than here. Lester is here with me but as yet I have not furnished him with much to do. We are expecting orders to leave here every day and I presume by two or three days we will be down in North Carolina at Beaufort or Newbern. The reason of our going is on account of the great amount of sickness in the Regiment and it is thought we will be better by a change of climate, for that last few days we have had one or two deaths per day but with all our sickness we have not suffered from it as much as any other Regt in this vicinity

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The 16th N. York Battery numbering only 80 men have lost 17 within six weeks. My health continues good and I expect now that the cold weather is coming on to escape having any very serious sickness. I recd a letter from you yesterday and it seems you still keep up good spirits I am glad you have got the con- fidence of Uncle R- for when he is friendly he is a good one. I have thought some times of writing to him but have never got at it. do you think he would be pleased to have me. You relate the incident of E-s refusal of strong drink and cigars. I am really proud of my Brother I assure you and I would we had many more such men in the Army and at home but alas! many are very far from coming up to his stand point- As far as refusing cigars, I could relate to you a thousand instances of my own but at the same time I can enjoy seeing men ( when having a social chat) smoke their cigars or pipes but I have no taste for tobacco in any shape and it is not probable that at this day of my life I will commence

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its use. It seems too you have a great deal of anxiety about me and although you dont express any fears about my getting in a habit of drinking intoxicating Liquors you speak often of its use and warn me against it. Of course this is perfectly natural and right and I am glad I am possessed of such a good temperance wife as well as good in all other respects, and had I no other reason for abstinance than to please you and be faithful to you, that would be sufficient, but I have many reasons to keep from the use of Liquor and one of the greatest is that I have no taste nor desire for it. you must remember that the desire for strong drink is hereditary to a great degree and I am so very thankful that my Parents did not inherit any such taste or dispositions. Maria one thing is very certain that that is had I ever been going to become a drunkard I would have been one before now for very many many times have I passed through more trying places than I am now in and no person can say that I am or ever have been in the habit of drinking, or ever been to any extent under its influence, and now how very foolish it would be for me to

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begin to make myself & family miserable at this period of my existence. Now Maria I dont propose to try and decieve you or in any way have you believe what is not true of myself but I do want to gain your full confidence so that your mind will be entirely at rest with regard to me on that subject. I dont like to tell you of all the times or under circumstances in which I have been placed when I have refused the intoxicating cup for it looks to much like self praise but they are many and it is a very easy matter and from my constitution always was and no doubt always will be. And let me impress in your mind that (although I may be much below what I wish to be in other things) you husband will never be a drunkard or even approaching to it now dont you believe me? Since what I my promised you to you I have lived up to it but it is no credit to me for I have no desire to break it and only for purposes of health have I taken even ale. now dont be anxious on that point for if you are it is merely trouble borrowed I have said much more than I intended when I commenced but I did want to get you to think me perfectly free from what you so often speak of, and enjoy your perfect confidence. Love to all and kisses of the children

Your Aff Husband V.G. Barney

dont let others read this.