John Lester Barstow to Laura

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Barrier Croquette Bayon LaOct. 25 1863

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I have not much store of news to write you nor am I much in the mood for writing, but I know that if you do not hear from me [once a week] you will think I am not keeping my promise & so I sit down on a rail with my feet towards the fire & attempt to tell you how I am & what I am about. We are now 8 miles from Opelousas (beyond) the place where Capt. Craig died when we were here before & no one seems to know where we are going or what we are to do. The water is so low that boats can not come here or near here from N. O. & the roads are so bad that a supply of food cannot be brought fr by wagons & so we lay up for a week or so until we get two or three days rations ahead & then march one or two days & wait again

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The hardest duty we have to do is picket duty & the Generals are very particular about having it thoroughly done, for it seems that Gen. Herrons defeat was owing to his pickets getting asleep so that the rebels formed a line of battle between the army & it picket before they were discornerd & the whole camp was suprised. The day's are very hot when the sun shines, but the nights are very, very cold. I have a heavy overcoat & 2 wool blankets - but I can not keep warm nights - night before last, I had to get up twice in the night to make a fire to warm myself & it is very cold every night We are encamped in a cane feild grown we mite needs - the ground is very [        ] & we are uncomfortable every way, do not get any mail or papers & not much to Eat. We can neither buy, or steal - that is we cannot forage & get sweet potatoes & beef, as we used to, Gen. Franklin is in commands of the whole expedition has under him. Gen. Ord & Washburne of Gen. Grants army with the 13th Army Corps

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Gen Franklin is very unpopular [& no body likes him]

Octo. 27. - We have had a mail - I recieved one Letter from you & two Burlington papers, which I was very glad to get, although there was nothing very new in the papers. It makes me trouble to open a Letter from you, for [      ] you or Freddie may be sick - [I am sorry to hear that Curance is so bad I am afraid she is none off, than any of you think. I had not be suprised to hear that she is worse for I think she will worry so much, being away from home, that she will grow worse] It is now said to be dicided that this army will go back to New Iberia & there stay for some time - until Rosecrans fights another battle & something more favorable can be heard from Blunt & Nerron - been twice & a good many wagons captured by the rebels, perhaps some of your Letters have gone - it is not yet known whether my mail was lost or not. I have some money

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that I want to send home but I am afraid to send it by mail & there is no chance to send it by express. Write me what Fred is going to do. I weighed myself yesterday & weighed 156 - which is more than I have weighed in a great while. You need be worried if you do not get my Letters regularly or very often. Especially if we go ahead instead of buck - If we go back & Col Thomas comes back soon as we expect he will I shall have strong hopes of going home soon. As it is now, it is worse than useless to think of it unless for disability.

I hope you will do every thing to make yourself comfortable [      ] & I sincerly & constantly hope that the time will soon come when we can again begin to live together. & under peaceful government. In about 1/2 an hour I have got to go on picket & there is evry prospect of a hard rain.

Do not fail to write often to your
Affectionate HusbandLester