Justus F. Gale to Sister

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Near Port Hudson. La.. 8th Regt.. Vt.. Vols. Co.. A June 7th 1863 Kind Sister:

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I will improve the first opportunity to answer your kind letters up to the 18th of May. I recd letters this morning from you Mother, Almeda Lyman & Almira and had a good time reading them. I was glad to hear that were all so well as what you write you are. I am enjoying good health and thus far have escaped the cold iron & lead - although I have been several times whare it flew thick & fast & friends fell on my right & left. we stil occupy the same position that we did when I last wrote; the infantry are holding the ene- my while the our men are planting heavy guns to seige Port Hudson; there is more or less firing every day; our regt hasent had but one

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man killed since the first day and a few wounded. we have laid here this is the 11 day. our men are going to have guns enough to throw about 200 shells a minute into the fort; I reckon it will make warm work for them. when we charged on the rebs and drove them through these woods we came to one [log] breast work whare the rebs was one side of it and we the other with each others guns over the logs firing and charging on them; but they soon left and if ever I see men skedad dle it was then; they fought well but ou numbers being much greater than theirs they were obliged to leave. I expect our men will commence to bombard the place in course of a day or two; how long they will stand it I cant tell; but according to deserters reports they cant hold us a great while; there has 350 deserters come into our lines since we came here. we are within 25 rods of the rebs force whare they lay behind entrenchments but they dare not show their heads much for if they do they get them poped in short order.

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It is getting to be verry warm weather here - there hasent been but verry little rain here this spring; we have laid out doors every night since the 9th of April. I think we shall get so that we shant need any hou- ses to live in if we should get home.

We get plenty of fresh beef -some salt beef and pork - hard bread in abundance & occas- sionaly beans; your little papers of cayene come in play nicely; we have so much fresh meat now that it neads some such thing to go with it once in a while.

I cant begin to give you a discription of all our travails since the 11th of April I shall have to wait till I get home before I do that if I am so lucky as to live thr- ough this war. I have just hear that Sergent Ransom Eaton of Morristown is dead; he went to the hospital 4 or 5 weeks ago and died with the chronic direhea. Major Grout was to Brashear City the last I heard from him. he was unfit for duty, got the blues some I guess with the rest.

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I suppose it is Saboth day; but you could not distinguish it from any other day in the week in the army; we have marched about 400 miles since the 9th of Apr - and have done some of our hardest days marches on Sunday. I should like to go to the old meeting house to meeting to day; but war and meeting are not much connected.

I think Lyman made a good trade when he swapped oxen; I should like to have a ride after Jennie colt; whare is the waggon this sum- mer - do they use it or is it under good cover washed up clean; how many lambs have they got this spring; please write all about affairs. Tell Mother & Almeda that they must excuse me if I dont answer their letters verry soon for I cant tel to day what the morr ow will bring forth; give them my love and best wishes - and all enquiring friends and except the same for yourself. please excuse all mistakes - and remember me at the alter of prayer - for I trust in him who heareth the prayers of the hum- ble - and turneth not the riteous richeous empty away.

This from your unworthy
Brother Justus. F. Gale