John Lester Barstow to ?

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Head Quarters 8th Regt. Vt. Vols.New OrleansMay 18th 1862

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I wrote to Laura a few days ago, & supposed that my letter would leave here the same day that I wrote it - but the steamer that took the mail met with an accident and had to return here for repairs so that I have a chance to write again - We left Ship Island on the 6th & after hardships and privations too numerous to tell off arrived here in 7 days, instead of 2, as we expected - The city had at that time (5 days since) been occupied by Gens. Butler & Phelps and 4000 men, for about 10 or 12 days, and great fears were entertained, that either the people here would rise against them, or that Gen. Beureyard would come down by Rail Road from Tennessee and ripe the little army out of existence, and it is still very much feared, that some such attempt will be made. Since I wrote Laura we have changed our Quarters from war the river to a higher & far more pleasant locality we are now in the Mechanics Sustitate a large new building, more than 4 times as large as the Town Hall in Burlington and 4 stories high, and also occupy 2 other large buildings adjoining. My office is a [    ] room on the second floor 25 feet square, and I am infinitely more comfortable than at any other time since I left home. I think I wrote you

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something of the high prices of every thing at Ship Island - but I find every thing much higher here - Before we came here there was no Flour for pale in the city - now it sells for $30 per Barrell - Beef steak 60c a pound, Eggs 75c a dozen and so on - coffe 80c Teas 2.50c a pound - but this cannot last long as chips are coming from Havanna and other places, and the country people - finding that we harm no body, and pay for every thing we want in gold are beginning to come in with chickens &c - Lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes and all garden stuff is plenty - but they the [      ], are afraid to sell to us for fear that we shall leave the city and then they say the rebels would kill every one that helped us to any thing. A few Union men visit us at night - but there is no open Union feeling in the city, and I do not believe there is much that is genuine, any way - The poor people were actually in a starving condition when Gen. Butler came here - he has given away more than 3000 Balls of salt beef that he captured from the Rebels - to the poor of this [   ] - At first, no officer iswas allowed to go out of his quarters without being armed, and having an escort - but now two officers are allowed to go out together - carring revolvers and [    ] knives - I have been in nearly every part

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of the city on business, and have met with no trouble worth mentioning - but do not go out after 8-o-clock in the evening at all.

When we landed the wharves and property that the rebels burnt - was still smoking and in many places I have wacked (with the Regiment) where the ashes of the burnt cotton, was ankle deep. The negros are plenty and of course civil - but seem to be chiefly glad to see us, because they think that provisions will be cheaper - They appear to be as happy and contented as any class of people can be - but, of course. I have no chance of knowing) any thing about it. - I in common with the other officers am called Wassan Linkum, 20 times a day - they say "God bless you, we're glad you come" &c, If I should write you my experience for a single day, it would no doubt, prove every interesting, but my office thronged all day, and [no one can stand the labor in this hat - climate that they can North &] when night comes I am tired enough to go to bed - My duties are arduous and responsible but I hope I have proved myself adequate - Give my love to all & write often addressing your letters in addition to what is printed - New Orleans. -

From your sonLester