Letter to Rufus and Sebra Towle

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(No 4)Head Quarters Camp GriffinDec 29thDear Parents and Friends

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Sunday afternoon gives me time to write a few things which time I have not had for a week between five in the morning and ten at night, and after my Days work I dont feel like writing after that time. Yesterday we were inspected by Inspector Gen Davis and stood in the Ranks four hours with our Overcoats in a temperature that froze the ground four or five inches the night before and did not thaw at all in the sun next Day. The result was that all the men got thoroughly chilled and most of them took cold and are grunting and limping round with Rheumatism etc. This is the worst part of Soldiers life worse than the fatigue. Many times on marches men will get sweaty and then come to a halt and stand perhaps two hours in the Ranks with no extra clothing - for here a man cant take his Overcoat on his Arm but if Overcoats are ordered all must wear them if not none can. So that with all the charms of military there are some things unpleasant and to a Civilian some tough. This morning we had the usual Sunday inspection at eight Oclock.

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Religious Services at Eleven by the Chaplain which is the only time in the week that we see our Chaplain dont think he labors as hard for the good of our Souls as he does for his salary. The enemy in this quarter seem to feel rather sore since their Defeat at Drainsville and are accumulating a large force in that neighborhood and are apparently trying, by driving in our Pickets and other Demonstrations to get us to give them Battle on their own ground and I judge by the accumulation of Artillery and some other things that the prospect of a Battle within the next three weeks is better than it has been at any time before. Yet in two Days the whole policy may be changed, or we may have no fighting at all. it seems to me that the course of the Administrative Power is altogether too tame and dilatory, but hope it will all end right. Don’t like the giving up of Mason & Slidell. if Eng. means war She will find other pretexts for it equally as good as the Trent Affair If Eng interferes my fighting will be done with very little hurt for if we cant whip the South - and a maj. of important engagements have been against us - how can we manage her with the added force of one of the most powerful nations. The health of our Co. is improving

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the sick list for today num. 13 although there are several outside that number just recovering that cannot do duty We have raised our Tent some three feet by driving Spiles just the circumference of the Tent close together and setting the Tent on them then banking up the outside. the advantages are just the same as a 1 ½ to a 1 Story House or Chamber Room only that our Tent is Roof all round so that we now have much more room. We have seven in our Tent four of whom are sick and likely to be at present. One J. Freeland of Bethel will probably be discharged for having a breach in addition to other Difficulties. One Corporal Paige from Barnard is some sick and a good deal homesick he is trying to get a furlough, and then Sergts. Carr and Tupper on the gain from long sickness. And Fay Richardson is now laid up with boils. This makes it some dull with us but Corp. Bartholomew is full of fun dead or alive and we get along very well The West R. Boys are most of them well Harry Washburn is yet unable to do Duty. Danl and Jared Jones are today on Picket I am yet Acting Orderly though I suppose Carr will do it when he gets able as He is the Ranking Sergt. At least I hope so, for doing the work without the Office don’t pay at all

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(Recd Letters to No 4)
A word to Miss LauraDear Sister

Your kind favor came to hand last night and was quite welcome I assure you. You improve in your letters every time in fact your last was as good an one as I have recd, just put in a little more punctuation in future remember that you are young and forming habits for life and should form correct ones not only in writing but in all things. you are not yet aware of the force of habit but it is of great importance that you should form correct habits in everything now. for now you can easily correct errors but some time when you are ashamed of them they will be hard to cure I am glad you like your School and Studies, and in future as in your last write particulars it gives me a great deal of pleasure to hear of the Steers and Calves etc. Letters that begin with apologies for not writing sooner then say - all well no news – then end with apologies for poor writing etc. etc. don’t amount to anything, but fill me a Sheet of foolscap with particulars about the Cats Calves Colts Chickens Steers Babies Girls etc. and it suits me

Good byeRansom