Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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Camp on the Potomac - and no.When in particules.Oct 7th 1862My Dear Wife,

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I have just recieved your letter dated Sept 29th & 30th, and I was right glad to hear from home, and such good news too. We have to take our chance for getting letters. This is the first mail we have had for more than a week. It seems you have not, or rahter had not received my long letter when you wrote. It is getting to be very sickly in our camp with fevers, and I have to work very hard. But it certainly surprises you to see how well I stand it. I am just as touch as a not, have not lost a day yet, and for the last three days have been all alone. The other Asst Surgeon has not been able to do a days work since we left Camp Chase, until yesterday. But as long as I feel as well as I do now I can put

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up with it. One object in sticking so closely to any business is to earn a claim to a furlough after we go into winter quarters. Surgeon Childe was in Washington Sunday and saw Dr Jed Baxter, and the he Baxter spoke in the very highest terms of me, which you know was very flattering to me. You would laugh if you could just look into my tent and see the picture it presents. I am sitting by my table writing, with a bayonet for a candle stick, said bayonet hanging on the corner of the table, the chaplain sitting in the door of the tent smoking his pipe, and at feet lays asleep one of the blackest little contrabands you ever saw. Why he is so black that his face fairly glistens and a better and more attentive boy never lived. He is as bright as a lark and will sing as well. He was sold in the spring at Richmond

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for 900$ and run away when our army left Richmond. He is 17 years old. The weather is very hot. I go more than half the time without coat or vest with nothing on but my pants and woolen shirt and [    ] as that soem of the nights are very cold. We had a great scare on Sunday morning word was sent in from the Picket that the Rebs were croping the river in large force, at 4 oclock. Now I can tell you that if things were not picked up in a hurry then I am no judge. It proved to be some of our own troops. So we composed ourselves again and all has been quiet since. Wednesday morning 8th. The sun just rising finds me writing. Perhaps a sketch of my daily duties would not be uninteresting. Usually our mess cook comes to me at day light and gets his directions for breakfast & dinner. Then my Moses goes and

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feeds my horse. Then he comes back slacks my boots brushes my clothes, brings a pail of water, and by the time it is fairly bright day light I am ready to get up. Then I see that my saddle bags are properly filled by the Steward. We got our breakfast at six oclock. After which my Lady lightfoot is brought to my tent and saddles, for we all keep our saddles where we can lay our hands on them at any time. While this is bring down I visit the Hospital as a rule. Then I mount & am off to visit the different parts of our pickets. By riding fast and working quick I can get home by dinner time which is 4 P.M. When I sit down to a dinner the cooking of which I had the direction of and with an appetite that any dispeptic might envy. After dinner we all sit down together and have a very social time in talking and [        ] Then comes the time to look after the

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sick in hospital and make out the reports of the sick. Then there are constant calls for medicine and advice and it is seldom that I can sit down quickly before 9 oclock, at which time you could readily conclude I must be pretty tired. Yet for all this I feel the best I ever did in my life.

Oct 9th. This is the third attempt to write this. News came yesterday that we were to be ordered to move and must hold ourselves in readiness, but where we are to move to we cannot find out I thought of a thousand little things yesterday that I intended to say to you but this moving operation has knocked other end ways. I would delay any other day but the Post boy will be here after breakfast, and I shall not have a chance to send again for 3 days. IS this not rather singular now we are within 3 hours ride of the Mchopolis of the Union, and yet

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it takes us 3 days to get our mail from the General P.O. There are no roads for cariages. But I have not time to give a description of the country now.

I should like to have been there and taken kitten with her kitten up in my arms as she did the kitten. She is a good little lady. I am glad to learn that you get along so well. I should think Helen could write to me once in a while, or has she forgotten her Father? I know she has not for she loves me too well for that, but she does not know how lonely I feel sometimes while riding alone through the Rebels country. Tell Mr Baker that when we get into a position that we are seen we shall stay 24 hours I will write to him. I am writing this just at sunrise and it is so warm that a coat is more than comfortable, I am so glad that our garden

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does so well. I am now called to breakfast, and if I can steal time after it I will write mroe I must close this now hoping to write a longer letter next time.

Hinan Steele has been sick with the Typhoid fever is about now. Give my regards to Mrs Sargent and Mrs Parker also to all of our friends.

Give my love to the children and accept an unlimited amount for yourself.

Ever your loving husbandJ C. Rutherford