Justus F. Gale to Father
Mr Jonas. Gale
Elmore LamoileCo. Vermont
8th Reg. Vt. Vols. Co. AAlgiers La.August 8th 1862Dear Father.
It is with much pleasure that I seat my self to write you a few lines in answer to your kind letter of the 5th of July. it came to me the 6th Aug. I was verry glad to hear from you & that your health is so good. I was also glad to hear how you was getting along with the work on the farm. I was glad to to hear from the rest of the folks and was so pleased with little Herberts & Chas. pictures I hardly knew what to do with myself. they looked so natural that it seamed almost as if I could see them. I send you all my richest thanks for the nice token of all your love toward me although I am a great ways from you and in an enemys land. My health is verry good now much better than it was a few weeks ago. I am able to do duty now & hope I shal be blessed with good health while I am engaged in this war. I think I never realized how great a blessing it is to enjoy good health as I have since I have been here where there is not so good conveniences for takeing care of sick as we have at home.
take good care of the little poneys and keep them if you can
the health of our regiment is as good as can be expected here in this warm climate & low sunken swampy country. there are not near as many that are sick as there was a few weeks ago. there is some dying off along but not so bad as I was afraid it would bee. I think if we can get along a few weeks longer til it gets to be a little cooler we shal bee tough & harty as bucks. you wanted I should give you a discription of country & of the crops about here. I hardly know what kind of a discription to give you of the land around here. as far as I have seen it is low swampy land although there are some nice plantations and raise large crops of corn & sugar cane, which are the principal crops in this State as far as I have seen. there is no wheat raised here some rice & some sweet potatoes. all of these large plantations are cut up by diches through them once in 5 or 10 rods, so as to drean off the watter. there was some corn ripe so that they harvested it by the 4 of July & I had some new potatoes the first of June that I got by passing the guard in the night and diging with my fingers in an old planters garden. there has been a plenty of water & mush mellons here for six or seven weeks but are most played out. I havent eat but few of them for I think I am as wel of without them
give my love to all enquireing friends and neighbors
There is plenty of woods about here, and most or quite all of it is wet & muddy
so that a man wil go into the mud from ancle to hip deep. a few days ago 5 Cos. of
our reg. went out on a scout and they said the Col. & Major got all covered with
mud the awfulest looking site they ever saw. the Major got into the mud so they said
he had to have the nigers pull him out, but I guess the wood land isent all as wet as
that. there are some verry large swamps that are all covered with tall coarse wild
grass from 6 to 10 feet tall; a regular watter bog hole: worse I guess than any thing
you ever see out west. along near the Mississippi river there is some good land &
pleasant places. I suppose that further up the river that it is much better country
than it is near the mouth of the river. I havent seen any thing yet that looked verry
enticing for me to live on yet takeing all things into consideration. It is verry
warm weather here most of the time. there is not so many sud den changes as there is
in Vermont. we have had a shower a most every day for some time & it looks as if
there would bee one to day. I dont think I could pitch as many loads of hay here as I
have in Vt some days. corn and cane & other crops are not verry heavy this year
here it has been so dry. it is not time to harvest cane yet.
as to what you said about the farm I think I had rather have the old farm for me to live on than any thing I have seen this side of Mass ajusetts. I think we had better keep the farm yet, for if should live to get back I shal want to eat some of them good old potatoes & corn cakes that grow on the old place I think they would taste so good. then I should know their value. but I have no reason to complain for we fair as well as I expected to when I enlisted. I must vairy my subject a little. Capt Grout is sick now has been for a week or more he is getting better now Chas Cooper is in the hospital yet he gaining some now think he wil come out all right in a few days now. Rufus Clark has the diptheria now not verry hard although the rest of the Elmore boys are well as common I received brother Chases letter. give him and his family my respects. I dont think of much more to write this time. please write as soon as you can, and except this poor letter as from your affectionate son & friend and may the blessing of Almighty God be with us all and uppon all that we do that is right in his sight and may we live in his fear while we live & when we die may enjoy that peace that remains for the people of God.
we havent received any more pay yet dont know when we shal
this from your SonJ. F. Gale