Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]
I have just received your letter of Nov 20th. It really made me feel bad to have
you feel so anxious about my going to Texas. The fact is there is not the
slightest idea of our Regt go to Texas. It is simply a camp rumor without any
ground for it. There was a few days ago the probability of our joining Banks
division but no one knows when he is a going. But that is all [ ] over now. I think we shall have work enough to do near
here as a considerable force of the Rebels have crossed the river and extend
Poolsville to day, and that is about 9 miles from here. About 3 hours ago we
sent a body of Cavelry and some Infintry up the river to cut off their retreat.
Which will in all probability bring on an action. And how do you think our
bogsful? Let me tell you there is no boasting Nagaducia,
but a [ ]. As I write my ears are channel with
as firm singing as you could with to hear I think I can safely say that
happiness is the prevailing [ ] in our camp to
night. This feeling among soldiers on the eve of expected actions speaks more
for their courage than all the swaggin and blustering that in the
world. We are 4000 strong and every man has 40 rounds of ammunition with the
"mini ball" a terrible missle. It was a mini ball that took off Moulton tour.
After cutting them off it passed through a shutiron jail, and the holes it made
were as large as the bottom of our common ink stands, just think of that passing
through a mans body, for men have practiced firing at targets until they are
men. John Piper is the best marksman in the whole regiment, and - now dont smile I have him detailed as my body guard. He carries the field knapsack, which contains medicine [ ] lint bandages candles for operations in the night, and instruments. On the march or on the field [ ] haves me. Which in camp he acts as Hospital mechanic and he makes himself very useful. It is a good thing for him toas he draws extra pay. It made the brave Capt Steele a little testy to loose him but he could not help himself, as I can take any man I see fit to detail.
I will tell you another thing, the War department has issued an order that Surgeons in time of action shall remove themselves as much as possible per danger, and will forfit his portion if he disregards these orders. So you see my dangers are not so dangerous as might at first to expected. The regard to our going farther south, you said in your letter that it was optional with the officers. A moments reflection will show you the absurdity of such a thing. The War department dont stop to ask officers of regiment, or rather regimental officers if they want to go this or that way - but it is go here or go there, and always at way short notice.
Our chaplin has written a letter to Royal about Murks sickness. I wish you would
ask him to at you see it. If such a letter does not indicate me from all [ ] then I am mistaken. If it could be published
in the Standard. I think it would do me no harm. I think it will be somewhat
flattering to your pride too. If it is published I would like to have you
send me a copy. You ask me why I do not send you some money? The reason is I have not received a cent yet from Government, but not [ ] that the moment I do which I expect will be next week you shall have all but a little for my necessary expenses, and it will be a [ ] little sum. I shall save but a little to my self, I am to work for you not myself and all I get will be sent immediately for your own use When you get from 300 to 400$ in your pocket you need not care for any of them, and more to come as fast as we are paid off. I have felt your need of money I can tell you, and have felt vexed to think we have not been paid off before. You ask me to get a leave of absense to go home, would I not like it? but it is impossible to do so. Our Lieut Colonel went to Genl Heinselman who is our division commander, to day to get a furlough to go home a few days, and the Genl told him he would best grant him or any other officers are if their wives lay dead at home. So you see if would be utterly useless for me to make the attempt. If we remain near Washington this winter I shall be able to get a leave of absense by and by. You and the children do not want to see me more than I want to see you and them: God bless you all, As for writing to you I promise to write to you once a week let me be when I may, I shall [ ] after manage to have a little more time to myself, by letting my associate Dr Clark, who is my junior do a little more of the work, he is young and is more able to stand the night work. In fact I have not done any of the night work for a few weeks past except in urgent cases in the Hosptial. We have the nicest field Hospital that can be found in the
army, and I feel justly proud of it too, as it is all my own arrangment and that aint all I have the whole credit of it, [ ] surgeon takes pleasure in telling all who [ ] it that they may give me able the credit of the matress of its arrangment, without the slightest show of selfishness. I speak of these things because I think you will feel as much pleasure in my success as I do myself.
I am my sorry not to have your pictures. They would really be a great comfort to me to have them, I must have them if you have to send them by mail.
My health is good with the exception of a slight cold which is getting better, and if you believe it I am actually getting fat, and with all a little grey. George Newcomb is in Hospital with the Typhoid fever but I think will have it light. He has a cough that is rather troublesome. I have seen him since dark and he is feeling quite comfortable. If you can let his Mother know about him, as I proved to be a friend to him of he was sick. & tell her I will keep her faithfully informed of his condition. George had just commenced the study of medicine with me. My dear I think you cannot complain of the length of my letters if they are not so often, and I have written this after doing double duty for two days. Dr Clark being in Washington as a visit. I wish I could be with you thanksgiving, but get up a good dinner, and thank God in all sincerity for our present blessings and continued good health. Cant you get another girl? You will soon have money enough to pay one, in your economy you must not injure your health No.No. not if it takes all I can earn. Keep of good cheer, for my health has not been so good for a long time.
Kiss our dear children for me, and accept the deepest love of your affectionate HusbandJ. C. Rutherford
There has been firing all day over in Virginia. I should think about 20 miles off, and yesterday was the same.