Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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Head Quarters 10th Vt VolsWhites FordApr 10th 1863My dear Wife,

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I received yours dated 4th inst about 12 oclock last night. I was asleep when it came but I read it with a mingled feeling of pleasure and pains. It gave me pleasure to learn that you were all so well and a good deal of pain to hear that you have so many things to trouble you. It so strange that some people have so little regard for the feelings of other when they expect so much regard for their own. But I hope the time is not far distant when you will be able to remove from there [        ] and [        ] trials. You ask me what you shall do if the house is not finished at the close of the year? I do not know of any other way than to hire a couple of rooms for a short time. I know it will be somewhat cramped but it will be better to do so than to ask any favors of those you are now living with. You seem to think that it will be impossible for Bogington to get the house done by the time specified. Then will be an advantage in that provided you can manage to live without it a little while, as the Government pay Master are very slow in paying us off. We have not yet been paid the last instalment, yet we are promised it evry week. I tell you we are

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getting very impetient. Then is not much doubt but shall be paid off now in 6 or 8 days. But one thing you may be seen of just as soon as I can get my hands on my money, you shall have it. In the mean time do the best you can poor consolation I will grant but it is the best I can offer now. Evry bodies pockits in Camp are "as empty as a cookkoos nest in March".

I am grieved to learn that Jacob and Kittie are so badly afflicted. But it is this very thing I have always feared in vaccination - poor things. I would think that if you will give them sulphur and molasses it would help them. Make the molasses thick with the Sulphur and give them a tea spoonful evry morning for one week them wait a week and [         ] again and so on. Allow them to eat no meat but beef rare done, not any kind of grass, except a little butter. They should be bathed thoroughly every day. Keep the [      ] soft with the salve. I can think of nothing more now. If any thing [   ] of importance should [      ] to my mind I will inform you directly. You alarm yourself more than you need to yet I cannot chide you for it, but when I tell you that a surprise is next to impossible you will have less fears. The residance of this Mr Trundle is within our picket lines, and the limits of our regiment, and some of the pickets are within hailing distance of the house. And if you could see the gratitude

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expressed as my efforts to help the old man and the tears he sheds when I call to see him you would say - how can you help running some risk in so human a cause. Then Col Henry or Capt Frost go with me, and both feel proud to see me take hold and relieve him of his sufferings. And my dear Wife my own heart will not let me refuse the pleadings of the suffering - nor would you have it. Think of your own dear Old Father, and the heart that prompted your husband to deeds of kindness. I know I am not of much account in the world - but I feel that a divine power will protest me in my efforts in doing good. Yesterday was a glorious day for us here. You [      ] I told you that we were going to have a big dinner and that Col Jewett was coming to dine with us. Well yesterday was the day. It was a fine summer day & we all felt happy. Col J. Dr Child and his wife came down from Poolsville and last [    ] least over of Genl Heintzelmans staff officers came with them and it would have done you good to see how we all enjoyed it. After dinner we had a high old sing. Capt Frost acting as [     ]. Mrs Child took part and such a singer is not often found. But this is not all the amusement of the day (which by the way was our Vt fast day). but regiment has just been furnished with a new kind of rifle.

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Will in the morning the men went out by companies to try them at a target. Col Henry and myself and 4 or 5 other officers tried our hand at it. We were not satisfied with this - so we went out on the bluff and tried to shoot across the river. We tried a great many times before we found out how to do it. I was the first one to strike the opposite bank - the river is nearly 1/2 mile wide. Way beyond in a [         ] some cattle grazing. I told Col Henry that I would hit a grisly Greg yearling, and he laughed at the idea, but I let fly and pop went the yearling. There were 50 men looking on to see us short, and they didnt shoot them I never heard our Col H. said it was a chain shot. I told him to pick out another and I would show him, he selected a little [  ] calf - I drew a bad on it and [    ] it plump - then the Col - thought he would try it and shot at a white ox judging from its size - and the very first time hit him - No one else could get a ball [    ] there. So you see I have shot 2 secesh cattle and Col Henry [   ] the distance we fired was over 1000 yards - or as far as from the top of the "pinacle" to the Line. So the Col and myself care of as the best Shots. Another little incident connected with this was - while we were firing a flock of wild ducks came flying down the river about 1/2 way acropt. A dozen men fired at them before Col an I fired and did not get any where near them - when we fired which disturbed their arrangements very much. I told you of these things thinking perhaps you would be interested in there as a novelty.