Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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Camp HeintzelmanMay 21st 1863My dear Wife.

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I have just received your letter of the 17th and was very glad to hear from you, but was very sorry to learn that little Jacob was so unwell. You ask me what can be done for him? I must confess that I am at a loss what to say.

If I was there perhaps I could tell better. I am inclined to think that he is about to have his second crop of teeth, or it may be possible that he is troubled with worms.

I think you had better call in Dr Richmond or Dr Cunin they can tell better what to do for him than I can.

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Keep him as cheerful as you can and he will get along much better. Tell him of the many nice things Papa will bring him when he comes home, and tell him that I will write him a good long letter, and send him Pictorials &c. Keep me well posted about him and his symptoms and I may be able to direct some of his treatment.

It gives me much pleasure to have you take so independant course with those sharpers, and as for [    ] I have a little Pill for him to take if we both live long enough. No man shall insult my wife and children with impunity. I can swallow an insult to my-self, but you touch mine and just so sure as I am permitted to live long enough I will be

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[      ] on them, and woe be to him if I ever live to get home, now mark what I say.

I wrote a letter to you which you will probably get before this time, containing $25- to make use of as you may think best. If you can I want you to get yourself and children some thing for summer comforts with it. But whatever disposal you may make of it you will please me.

We are somewhat expecting a raid tonight across the river from the rebs, and we are making preparations accordingly. It is now 10 oclock but have had no alarm yet, and hope we shant have. There is not a Soldier in the whole Brigade that knows a thing about, and not

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more than half a dozen officers I was in Col Jewetts tent about 8 oclock, and we happened to be alone and he told me that our spy had come in and told him of the forgoing facts. We have got one of the best spies there is in the whole army. We had an inspection of the whole Brigade last monday, and of course my Hospital came in for a share. And I never was prouder of any thing in my life than I was of it. After the inspector had exam-ined the Hospital and its premises he turned to Dr Childe and said "Dr you have the nicest and best arranged Hospital I ever saw" The Dr turned to him and said "Sir - I am not entitled to the slightest credit in the matter, it wholy and justly due to my friend

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Dr Rutherford". Give the praise where it properly belongs" What made the compliment more marked Dr Clarke was with us. But Dr Childe will know that Clark had never raised a finger to make it what it is. Now this report will go to the War department and from there to the Gov of Vt Upon said report my name will be conspicious. So much for your foolish old husband, but what shall I write if not about my self? You spoke about Eugenes butter bill. I have sent him the money for that, & I wish you would see him about it if you can, for 30$ is a little too much to loose these times. See that you have a good garden if possible

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My candle is nearly gone so I must close for tonight at least. I care any thing should happen before morning I will call this finished with my best love to you all.

Your loving HusbandJ.C. Rutherford

I will write a letter to little Jacob today so he will get it next mail.

May 22 1863

Dearest "we still live" and have a good nights rest, and there seems to be no immediate design of the Rebs to cross the river.

I have recieved that paper the "Newport News" and I must say that I am pleases with its appearance, and its tone. Col Henry & Capts Frost & Dillingham are aquainted with the Editor and say he is a very smart man

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and of fine abilities. Hope he may succeed.

Tell Helen that I will answer her letter soon also Kitties. I have a good deal of work to do now. Dr Clark has gone to Washington for a few days, which leaves me all alone. What sick we have to look after dont amount to 2 hours work a day, but I have an Ambulance drill every day. This is done by taking the Hospital attendance with the ambulances and a good suply of bandages lint &c for dressing wounds out into a large field and there play we are having a battle. I have with me some 10 or 12 soldiers to play the wounded men, some in one part of the body some in another. Once well dress two or 3 nurses will take him up lay him on

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a stretches and cary him out of the way of shot, there dress his wounds under my supervision, than place him in the ambulance and take him to the Hospital. This to any one outside of the Army might look like childrens play. Would to God it was nothing else. Were you to see with what earnestness my boys got through these duties, you could very easily imagine it a reality, and it does my heart good to see how efficient my corps has [      ]. But I am getting on to my old weaknesses talking about myself. You will [      ] me. Oh how do wish you could see the reality and judge for yourself. My breakfast is ready and while I am eating that this will be starting for you. Kiss our darlings for me

Your affectionate HusbandJ.C. Rutherford