Justus F. Gale to Brother
I take my pen this morning to write a few lines to let you know that I am well except I have got a sore on my left hand that isent quite as pleasant as it would be without it; it dosent pain me much but looks as though it would be some time before it would be well. Today is the first day I have been excused from duty for a long time. I have been looking for a letter from you but it hasent got here yet - I recd a letter from Almeda dated the 14th. She said she had been down to your house a few days before - she
Jan 5th my hand is on the gain to day. I have just wrote to Father and an other letter to Frank Olmsted
said Herbert is getting to be a great boy and as rougeish as he can be; I shall send some money before long to pay for his picture - and I think while I am about it I will have a fam ily picture so that I can see you all. I should send my degarotype home but there isent any chance to get it taken since we left New Orleans and then I was rather short of money. There was a thunder shower here last night - it thundered as hard as I ever heard it - this morning it has cleared of pleasant as June; I like the climate here much better this winter than in the summer season. The Elmore & Wolcott boys are all well as usual; I dont know but you think strange that I never mention Capt. Grout I dont have much to say of him that is verry good nor any thing verry bad - the I can say of he likes the Southern Ladies as well as any - and
I expect Capt Grout will be promoted before great while Maj Grout
that is generaly the cace among the officers. When the Capt isent hip and out of fix the boys like him well but when he is out of sorts he is pretty crusty and uppish but he always used me well enough. There was a report here last night that Vitchburgh was taken; they said our men fell back sevn times then they drew the rebels out of the City into open field - then they put the shell grape & canister into them at a great rate and took the City; there may not be any thing to this report if there is we shall hear more about it when the cars get up here from the City to night.
I want to hear from you and find out how you settled with Father and what he is
going to do; Samantha said that Father claimed the Premium heifer for his cow; I
dont see hardly how he can claim her for she was only two years
old when we made writings and I never told him that might have her; but dont let that spoil the trade - but it dont belong to him. I suppose they dont  my pony any this winter - I had rather she would grow this winter and next I shell be there to break her myself. (if) I dont think of any thing more to write this time - write often as you can - remember me to little Herbert tel Almira to write again if she can aford to write to a Southerner. my love to you all.
This from your affectionate brother J. F. Gale