Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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Camp at Whitesford MdJan 23th 1863My dear Wife

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I have received your two last letters dated the 13th & 21st with the picture and you cannot tell with what unqualified satisfaction I look upon them. Helens is so very perfect with that calm sweet smile of hers. It does seem that I shall never tire of looking upon it. And you can hardly imagine the compliments you get from those I have shown it to. Then Jacob's picture is so good, and has much an honest look. It seems as though he was just going say "papa, take me up", and would I not like to take him up? He is a noble little fellow. They both seem to have grown some. Helen the most. But what is the use I cant say half, no nor 1/100 part what I feel, only that I want to see them very much. When you send the others send yours too. I shall take it unkindly if you do not, and send them as soon as you can. You can send them in our letter just as well.

I feel relieved to learn that you received the money It would be superfluous to tell you to pinch it hard for it is hard earned, nad money is money now. You have asked me how much pay I get a month? The regulations allow us $123.81 but Congress has passed a law cutting it down to 110.00, though not bad wages (but not enough for the responsibility) yet it is too much to lose. With the exception of being away from home and the liability of the dangers of the battle field there is no way that the same amount of money can be so easily obtained. I suppose it would be almost are utter imposibility to any money for practice at home now. And I feel that the time is not far distant when I shall be promoted. There

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is not an officer in the regiment but would petition for me to have the Surgeons position if Dr Childe should be promoted or called to some other post. And Dr Childe would use his influence in my behalf too. Dr Childe is well liked, no mistake. Then my pay would be increased some 50$ But this is building castles, a [       ] I have not indulged in before since I have been out here.

We are going to move from here to Poolsville this week and a Mass regiment is going to take our place. This will relieve our regt. of some every hard duty, but Col is in Command of the Brigade and his head quarters are at Poolsville and he wants us with him. The Mass Col was in command and he roughed us pretty hard, thinking Vermonters were of no account, but he has found us to sharp for him.

Jan 27th. I had got this far with my letter night before last, when I had a call to go to the right wing which is some 3 miles north of this, to see one of our Captains who was very sick, and did not get back till yesterday evening, and by the time I had looked after matters and things, and had my ambulance drill I was too tired to write. This ambulance drill is a school for the Hospital attendance. Where they came to put on bandages do up wounds stop bleeding, carrying wounded men on litters (strechers) and men of the field with them and putting them in and out of the ambulance in such a manner as to give the sufferer as little pain as possible.

Our Col made a dinner party a few days ago & I was invited and we had a first rate time, all the big guns of the Brigade was present.

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You tell how bitter cold it is with you, and it hardly seems conditable. The weather is so warm here that for 3 or 4 days past we have needed no fire in the day time, and our nights are very much such as we have in the early part of June. The soldiers get out in squads & make the air sweet with their fine singing and mery laughter. We have no gambling among our men, and what is very remarkable then has not been a half dozen men punished for [         ] I do not believe their is a regiment in the whole army that are so little intoxicating liquor as ours.

Two of our commissioned officers disgraced themselves by getting drunk, and one of them was our first Lieut Col - and Col Jewetts told them they might have their choice to resign or be dishonorably discharged, they chose the forman. The Col says he wants evry officer to so conduct himself that he can associate with him. And this has a salutary influence upon the conduct and [      ] of the officers, and through them the men.

There is one man that we cant (I say we because I have used my best efforts in his behalf) make any thing of. I have beged of the Col time and again to give him a chance to improve, but it is of no avail, for he (the officers) knows so much more than any body else that learning any thing ever of good breeding is out of the question. I shall plead with the Col but onece more for him then he may go to thunder. The Col knows why I take so much interest in this man and he appreciates my motions, therefore has listened to them repeatedly. His last officer was to countermand his superior officers commands and say that such orders were all d - d [      ], and I am afraid

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he has got his foot in so far that he cant get it out. If he is court-marsheled it will be a bad pop - Verdict dishonorably discharged the resoir You can guess who this is - a Capt from our county. This is strictly confidential, nor must you alude to it in your letters. I would be glad to shield him and see him do bitter but if the cuss let him slide.

I would fill out this sheet but my dinner is ready and the mail is going out immediately.

Remember me to the Childeren and kiss them all for me also give my regards to our friends and particularly to Mr & Mrs Page.

My health is tip top and as [      ] as a bear.

Your affectionate husbandJ. C. Rutherford