Ransom W. Towle to Family

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No. 8Head Quarters 4th Reg Vt Vol.Camp Griffin Fairfax Co. Va.Jan 20stDear Sister and Parents,

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Tonight I Recd letter No. 8 which did me a great deal of good It was such a good letter full of news &c. Hope poor Willie is over his Rheumatism it seems worse for such a little Chap then it would for a Person of Riper judgement especially so painful a Disease. I shall lay awake nights thinking of the little fellow. I write tonight on the impulse which your letter gave me for I was feeling decidly tough not homesick that dont trouble me at all but yesterday morning I went on Picket at Six and came in this morning at Eleven Picketing in favorable weather is bad enough but on this occasion it rained all the night before and all Day, which in addition to mud occasioned by the frost in the ground caused an amount of mud that would surprise a Vermonter. In no case was it less than Ankle deep and from that up to the tops of our Boots. The distance from Camp to the Main Reserve of the Picket

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Station is about three miles from there to the Outposts two more the way Picketing is done two hundred men are sent out by Reg. each day. It comes our Regts turn once in five days - to the main Reserve where they are divided into two Reliefs, one staying at the main Reserve all the time, relieving once in four hours. the relief that is on goes to the outposts or near there where it is also Divided into two Reliefs, relieving in two hours. Every man while on is required to walk his beat - challenging all who approach and fire on any who may not have the Countersign. Such a set of fellows you never saw as came in from Picket this morning. Sleepy, dirty, and covered with mud from head to foot, wet and soaked, and some so unfortunate as to be with shoes. They might as well have been without them entirely for every step took us in over Shoe and boots would soon soak through for there was no getting out of the mud on Picket Today many of the Boys came in sick as might be expected. My Duty on Picket is to call out the Relief at the propper time number them off when the Corporal Posts Them and I have to visit the

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Sentinels on their Posts to see that they walk their beats properly, challenge right have the correct Countersign &c. Last night I found some of the Boys frightened half to death one fellows voice trembled so that he could hardly challenge me. Every bush and stump was to him a skulking Rebel just ready to fire upon him I pitied the poor fellow so that I stopped half an hour with him on his beat Some Dozen of the Boys fired at these imaginary Rebels and made quite an alarm. But the weary night at last wore away and at nine this A.M. we were relieved by the Vt. 5th About the boots if you can get them into some box that is coming to some of the Boys you need not send much else now - a little Stationary if convenient - if there is no chance to do this send some Thurowort Ginger, Butter Dried Apple and a little sugar to sweeten it, Brown bread, a little Corn Meal and what you please, one pr woolen Socks would come in handy. If you send Butter send fifteen or twenty lbs well packed If it is not convenient to send some of these articles you can omit them. I am now relieved from the Orderlies Duties

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which is quite a relief. My health is quite good with the exception of being troubled with Virginia Quickstep which is equivalent to back Door trot This is very prevalent in the Reg some dying with no other apparent cause This Co. has buried three within the last ten Days. Geo Chase from Barnard Curtis O. Fisher from Bethel and Nathaniel Leavitt from E. Barnard this five in all Volney Flanders is quite slim with Lung Difficulty, he never will be any better here if anywhere. The no. of Deaths in the Reg I think has been 45. Jared and Harry Simonds are all right also Dan Rob W. Benj. Wood and most of the Boys Harry Washburn went on Picket last week and had a pull back but is now gaining slowly Capt. Terry is unable to do Duty and is troubled with a Chest & Lung trouble that may require a change of Climate. Tired and Sleepy I will stop

Good byeRansom