Justus F. Gale to Sister

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8th Reg. Vt. Vold. Co. aBayou des Alamandes LaJuly 18th 1862Dear Sister

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Having a convenient opportunity I wil try and answer your kind letter of the 26th of June I was verry glad to hear from you and that your health is as good as you write it is. I came from Algeers last Sunday and am now doing duty here to the Bayou or as we call it musketoe valley. my health is good now; I can eat like a pig and are fatting every day on hard crackers and salt meat with occaisionally a flour pooding and sometimes a good meal of confiscated beef that we pick up among the old planters.

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a few nights ago some of our boys went out and killed a good dry cow & brought in so we had all the fresh meat we wished for. yesterday I was on picket guard about ½ half a mile from our quar- ters by the side of the bayou. all we had to do was to keep watch to see if any boats passed that way. we had a good shady tree to sit under and nothing troub- led us except one small aligator about 3 feet long and we killed him; some of the boys have killed aligators from 10 to 15 feet long. when we are on picket we have to stand 12 hours without being releived: there is generally from 3 to 5 together. In your last letter you wanted to know how much I weighed a few days ago I weighed 159 lbs. so I guess I havent been as sic as you immgined I have been.

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we have to stand gard once in 3 or 4 days and that is all we have to do of any concequence. Stephen sits here cleaning his gun ready to give the rebels a pop. he sends his best respects to all. Horrace sits on the other side writing he send says tel them he is tough as a bear and is all right. Wesley is well and on duty. the rest of the Elmore boys are well I beleive. Charley Cooper has got through cooking he hasent done any duty since he left the cook ing and guess he dont mean to go into the ranks. I wouldent if I was in his place; five of our Co. have been discharged and gone home; our 2d Sargent is verry sick if living his name is Chas. C. Martin from Stowe his disease is infermation in the bowels. there is a report and has been

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confirmed several times that Rich mond & Vickburgh are taken; they say that Gen Beauregard has said that his only hope is Richmond & Vickburgh; I dont think of much news to write. our regiment have a plenty of guard duty to do. I received a letter & paper (Green Mountain Freeman) from cousin R D Nichols a few days ago. his letter dated June 26th paper June 17th he said Azroe & Calista had got home safe from their visit the weather is pleasant this morn but not so hot as it has been some of the time; day before yesterday it rained hard most all day. I have been wating verry patiently for an answer from some letters I sent brother Chase & Putnam and some others but have got none yet. give my best respects to neighbor Chase & family.

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I suppose that Father & the rest have got to haying by this time tel them if they wil send some of their haying down here I wil help them some about it. you cant immgine how much we think of musketoe bars if it was not for them it would bee almost impossible to sleep in the night but they keep them of verry well. I have been thinking about getting my picture taken to send you but dont have much chance to do it and then I have had my whisk- ers shaved off & that would make me look so odd that you would hardly know me. our letters and papers go verry regular now I should like to have you send me a Freeman once ner while and the New York tribune if it comes handy I think they wil come strait now.

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tel Mother I havent forgot her although it has been some time since I have wrote to her; I wil write to her soon. how do things in Elmore go this summer; do they have singing in the galery is there a good large gongregation on the Sabboth day; was there any thing going on around there the 4th; has any one enlisted from there for the ninth regt. tel Charleyt to write often and all about affairs at home and about there for I had rather sit down and read a letter than to eat my supper; another thing has Lym got the fifteen dollars I sent him and have has Charles got the 5 dollars I sent him; (I beleive I sent it to him.) I wil send you a little tract that Reuben sent me; I wish I could say that

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I have sot as good an example as this Soldier Maybin. although I may not bee as faithful as he yet I hope that if I should be called as sudden from earth away I may share with him in the joys above; I hope and trust that I have the prayers of Christian friends that if we neve meat where parting senes wil come no more. I must close this poor letter; excuse all mistakes and poor writing. give my love to all; tel them all to write often & you please do the same. please except this & my love from your brother and friend

J. F. Gale