Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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Camp Jewitt WhitesfordJan 2d 1863My dear Wife:-

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What is the reason I do not hear from you? It is now nearly two weeks since I have received a thing from home. I have no doubt but you write, but that dont satisfy me. You cannot consiur what a blank it makes to have the mail come in and I get nothing from you. Perhaps you have the same difficulties to encounter, but I can assure you that I have not failed to write to you once a week and some times oftener. I told Mr Newcomb to tell you how it was. Perhaps you have not seen him.

You must feel some what uneasy about our situation if you got my last letter, but all is well we had no fighting. You may believe that we were in a stew for two or three days, and we look mighty sharp in evry direction now. I believe I told you that I had an invitation to dinner on the day of our expected fight which was to win us immortal glory, well we didnt loose our dinner, and such a dinner for us poor devils, but [    ] was a time type of a Southern gentlman, and withall a Union man too. If it was not pot gutted when I went there I certainly was when I came away. I am getting so fat that I told Dr Child the other day that I did not know but I was going to have a litter of pigs. I have not a coat or pair of pants that I can butten around me, and am getting worse evry day. To go round with my pants unbuttened has rather a sluvrnly look, but I declare I cant help it, and as there are no women in our camp it does not seem quite so bad.

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It is now the 2d day of Jan and the weather is so warm that wheat and grass is growing smartly and this evening our camp Glen club are posted on a rise of ground in front of the camp singing, and their songs sound sweetly in the clear air. It i a great relief to the monotony of camp life, and it brings home to the mind vividly home seems and associations and strengthens the heart of the patriot.

Speaking of home I feel as though I must go home and see you, but my dear I do not know how it will be. I intimated to the Col the other day that I should like to get a leave of absense some time this month, and he told me that he would do all he could to get me one. Dr Child wants to go home to get married, and if he goes I cant go until he returns, as I shall have to run the machine while he is gone. It is very doubtful if he gets a chance to go home as in all human probability we are on the eve of some great event, and no man will be allowed to have his port.

The Col has gone to Washington to day on some very important business, which if he succeeds in bringing about will place our regiment in a much better position than we have been in before. I [     ] much desired.

3d before daylight. We are expecting the paymaster today, but like all transitory things it may pass without his making his appearance.

We all dread pay day on one account, the men will be as unruly as there [   ] to be, and they will scatter their money, and unprincipled devils will sell them more.

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Perhaps a discription of our location will be interesting but camp is on a high bluff overlooking the Potomac both up and down, and such beautiful scenery I never saw any where. Let me give you a profile view of our camp ground.

You can see that if the Rebs attempt to shell us from the other side of the river they cannot get a shell into our camp as they either will fall short or go over and if they attempt to crop our Rifles and cannon would cut them all to pieces - the most we have to fear is a night surprise. You may think strange to see our camp outside our entrenchments. We want that ground clear for fighting, and our minute would plan evry man behind the breast works, and as we are there is very little danger from shell.

Jan 6th. The reason this letter did not leave camp three days ago is that I did not get a chance to finish it before the mail left.

We have experienced many changes in our regiment wihtin the last 2 days. Our Col has been made brigade Commander, but surgeon brigade Surgeon and myself Acting Surgeon.

We expected to have a big day yesterday. We send 9 miles to the depot to get our pay master and he was not there as he promised to be. I think he will be here to day, then for some money, wont the gun back look good? I shall not send much at a time for fear of its

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getting lost. Keep on the look out. The weather is delightful here just like May.

Is little Jacob sick? I think it so strange I do not hear from you, not a word for most 3 weeks. - I dreamed night before last that my little Jacob had been very sick, how bad the little fellow did look. My health is good can work hard evry day. We are about to have a Brigade hospital and I expect to have the arranging of it and not very improbable take charge of it for a time.

Give my love to our little ones kiss them all for me Remember me to all our friends and thousands of love to yourself

Your affectionate husbandJ. C. Rutherford