Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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Two lettersCamp HeintzelmanMay 13th 1863My dear Wife.

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I received yours of the 3d night before last. I had been to Washington again and got home in the night and found your very acceptable letter on my table. If you are suffering so for the want of rain I wish you could have some that we have, for it rains here most every day. We had a most terrific thunder storm yesterday.

I was in Washington on Friday last. When the wounded from the last battle was brought in, and on Saturday I worked in the Campbell Hospital nearly all day dressing their wounds which had not been dressed since the battle (the Sunday before) and you can

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not imagine the pleasure I took in relieving the poor suffers, and how grateful they were for my kind attentions. Some had lost a leg some an arm, quite a number were shot through the breast, and some through the belly, two through the head and a great many through the arms and legs, one man had 4 wounds in the body. It was astonishing to see with what fortitude they bore their sufferings and how cheerful they all were. I never want to see any of our regiment cut up as these poor fellows were. Dr Baxter wanted me to stay over Sunday with him, but I could not as it was necessary for me to be with my own regiment. That little notice you sent me from the paper was very gratifying and what is better I feel that does me no more than justice.

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I can say that I have the [      ] and pleasentest Hospital that can be found in the field, and is acknowledged to be so by all visitors. How much I do wish you could see it, and be with me when I visit it and see the pleasure manifested by the patients as I approach their beds. Well there is no use in talking. I do feel proud of my success, - Cant help it - You ask why, if I do surgeons duty that do not have surgeons pay? It is the same with me as with a Lieut of a company. If he is left charge it is supposed that the honor will pay the difference, and such command qualifies him to some day take command. All officers are paid according to their rank duties or no duties. A week ago last Saturday I sent you $500.00 and I have had no reply from you about it. Have you received it. Let me tell you

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one thing my dear wife pay for your house before you pay for any thing else, and I can pay my debts much easier afterward. Secure yourself a house let the rest ripe Shelter yourself and children while you have a chance, use this money for this purpose as it is paramount to every thing else. You wont have house rent and the [     ] and ale to pay them. I say again look out for yourself and children. I do not wish to be understood that I would compromise my honor by so doing but I do mean you shall have a house first of all. If you have [                 ] think of your houseless children, and you have the means in your hands to put a roof over them. The dam will fight for her young. If I live I can pay my debts by and by. If I die, that

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Pays all debts.

May 19th

The foregoing was written last week just before I received your last letters and that of Parkers. You will see what I have written to him before you get this. I think that we may trust him in this matter only have the papers made out strong. You shall have the money to redeem just as fast as I can get it.

I have not time to write much this morning. I wrote a long letter yesterday and have concluded not to sent it till another time taint of much account. I enclose in this $25. for the children I had saved it to get myself some things but I can get along without them. Give my love to the dear [        ] and tell them to be

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good children for Papas sake

My health is very good and every thing is lovely here very little sickness, but the weather is getting very hot.

Dr Childe and his wife has been to Washington and returned yesterday (18th) He made me a beautiful present of a pair of large gold shirt sleeve buttons. There is a border of inlaid enamel with a small shield with nice chasings around it in the center, one of the shield is the emtial letter of our respective names ie C. & R. One button has C on it the other R, they cost him $10 In fact it is a splendid token of regards. No news - only we are not gobbled up yet.

Ever thineJ.C. Rutherford