Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]
I have received your letter containing the scab and extracts. It gave me much pleasure to learn of the continued good health of yourself and children.
I have received a letter inquiring something about how to prevent the face from pitting in small pox. Take anguinture and add to it equal parts of fresh lard and smear the face two or three times a day with it through the whole period of sickness and prevent the patient from scraching his face as much as possible.
I makes me feel bad to have our little ones grieve so much after me, yet my dear I must confess that there is a degree of satisfaction mingled with my sorrow, to know that the little ones love me so well. If we are all spared we shall all know better how to appreciate each other and God grant that I may be permitted to return to our home aide again and and live long to enjoy each others society -
You ask me to write all about evry thing in camp - Well the truth is there is so
and our day is so much like another that I have but very little to say about it. My duties have been very light since my return and I hope they will long continue so. My last weekly report only showed 20 sick in the whole Regt and none of these (but 3) are so sick but they were able to go out and play ball, and there 3 could go out and see the others play. I spend my time in reading writing and playing Euchre
I stayed out of camp Saturday and Sunday night with that Mr Trundle I told you about who is very sick with the erysipelas in his right arm.
He had his old Doctor to look after him and he was killing he by inches, and when
he learned that I had returned (he was taken sick while I was home) he sent one
of his niggers and begged me to come and see him. I did so and found the old Dr
there. (our Col Henry by the way went over with me) - I told the old [ ] that he was doing very wrong and if he did
not change his course the man would die - and did not know but he would any how
now. There was a change came over the spirits of his dream, the change was made,
and the patient is still living. Sunday night he was taken so bad that he
thought he was dying and made all [ ]
propotions for death there send for me - When I got there I found
him in greatest agony of mind and body. I looked the matter over, and told him to clear up he was not going to die at present, and he has [ ] much confidence in me that every one could see that he felt better for me cheerful presence.
His greatest suffering was a great and oppression sence of suffication and pain in his bowels - I gave him a morphine powder and an injustice of landarm to ease his pain, and had him bathed all over to relieve his nervous sensations (he had not been bathed since he was sick) and in about half an hour he went to sleep and slept sweetly all night. In the morning when I got ready to go he took me by the hand and said - "Oh! holy Jesus (he is a catholic) Dr you have saved my life - I know you have and you shall be rewarded for it too, and to know that you do it regardless of any selfish motives makes my obligations a thousand times more binding."
He was secesh our kindness to him has made him and his
family good Union people. This fact alone more than pays us for our trouble. I
say because we officers have all sympathized with him and paid him little
kindnesses - and to know that he has so unbounded faith in me is another source
of gratification to me - This may not be interesting to you - but it may be
gratifying to you to feel that your poor husband has a mission of news and is
it to the best of his abilities even to his mortal foes that was. and I am already winning my reward - the officers in our Regt are placing a much higher estimate upon my abilities, which is no small item I can asure you.
Yesterday I went to Point of Rocks after Dr Child and his wife. He has just been home to get married and we are all very much pleased with his wife. She is not a beauty by any means but she has a highly cultivated mind. But I will tell you more of her as I get better acquainted with her. We had a great snow storm last night and it is snowing now (10 A.M. with some rain - it is not cold however. yesterday was quite a warm day. The probabilities are now that we shall remain when we are all sermon a fact that is highly gratifying to many of us. There is a man who is trying to get a Colonely in a "nigger" regiment and he asked me if I would go as Surgeon with him? I rather think not. I dont like the style nor the stink of the d-ls. I sent the plan just as soon as I could make it which I pressure you have before this time. I hope I may have more interesting news for you next time I write. Why dont my daughter Helen write to me? I want to hear from her often, and it is good for her to write letters. Kiss all the children for me and imagine that I have you in a sweet [ ] and you are kissed as I would if with you -
Your loving husbandJ. C. Rutherford
When I spend the sheet to write on the 2 page I took two sheets and therefore had my letter partly written on two different sheets, but you can read them by the numbers -