Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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Camp in the field near Sulphur SpringsVaAug 20th 1863My dear Wife:-

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Here I am sweltering in the heat of a Southern sun at midday trying to collect thoughts enough to write a letter to you but I must confess that it is rather up hill work. Not but there are [       ] enough, but there is a want of energy to put them on paper.

I received your last letter accompanied by one from Helen, both of which gave me much pleasure to read. I thank you for your sympathy for my wants. But you should bear in mind that these deprivations are the exceptions, do not occur very often. You think you would manage to live from the country where we are. That is easier said than done. As I have told you in one of my letters, that there is positively not enough here to feed the inhab-itants. And when I tell you that the country is very thinly settled, and the nearest town from where we are is over 12 miles, that is

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Warrenton. The destitution of the country is awful to contemplate. The ignorance of the native is beyond the conception of us northerners, and we can hardly realize that we are in a land of freedom and live in this en-lightened age. But such are the facts. You have often heard me speak of the ig-norance of the mass of the Southern people, before I came out here, but I must confess that my ideas when were hardly the shaddow of the facts. This deplorable ignor-ance is not attributable to their want of means to obtain an education or even to first principle of one, on the contrary they have every means so far as wealth is concerned to get the very best education that wealth can [       ]. But their ambition does not [   ] in their [      ]. Their great disire in life are to see who can own the largest number of nigger the greatest number of acres of land, & keep it in the family. The consequence are that it is the common habit to intermary, and as always the case in the violations of the laws of nation their offsprings are of very low grade as

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as to physical and mental capacities. So much for our Southern brother.

I will now answer those questions which you have asked me so many times. 1st Why did I send J. Piper back to the ranks? Because he is one of that class of men who cannot bear prosperity, nor does he know how to conduct himself when necessarially made the companion of a savivor. In other words he got the stout for his place and pressured too much upon my indulgence. The way we have of making such cases is to send them to the ranks. I sent one of the best nurses I had to the ranks last monday because he used improper language to one of the sick men when on our last march. Perfect dicipline is my rule and there is not a Hospital corps in the whole army of the Potomac under better dicipline and keep every thing in better order than my own, and I am proud to say it, and others say the same. What shall I say of Lady lightfoot? All I need say is she is ------ not dead, but one of the nicest little spirits you ever saw. Faithful and [    ] to the letter. Has endured

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the marches better than any other horse in the regiment and is as fast and sleek as an otter, and just as full of play as a cat. I have got another horse and a Mule. the mule is a little beauty if there is beauty in such a thing. I use him to pack my traps for cooking and a tent. These things come into our possession rather mysteriously, but as it is not in order to ask questions why we remain in ignor-ance.

Tell Helen not to despair of getting a letter from me for I will write soon. I was very much pleased with her letter and hope she wont wait for me to write.

Give my love to all the children. My health is good again and what is more I have resecured the charge of the regiment again Dr. Childe being Medical Director of Brigade.

Accept much love from your loving
HusbandJ.C. Rutherford