Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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[December 1863]Camp near Brandy Station VaMy dear Wife,

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I have but a few minutes to write, and one writing under some dificulties viz- a very sore thumb. These days ago while getting some wood in the dark I knocked a little skin of my thumb. Yesterday without thinking I dressed a mens arm who had Erycipelas . Last night my thumb began to swell and pain me very much and it has been very painful all day to day. While I write it is paining me and I have it done up so it is with difficulty that I hold my pen. But I felt that I could not let this opportunity pass without writing. It is the

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first chance I have had to send a letter any where for a long time, so it seems to me.

I did write a scrap in pencil just after the Battle but had not much hope of your ever get-ting it. We had a tenible battle and I had a number very narrow escapes. I did intend giving you a full description of the battle but I cannot do so to night for two very good reasons, first, my thumb wont let me & we are all packed up for another march, and it is darker than Egypt.

I received 3 letters form you last evening and 2 from Helens.

As regards those business matters you can do as you think proper about Mrs Baxter, perhaps you had better pay her. You can have the money again. As for Mr Childs

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I have got to have a personal reckon-ing with him. He undertook to swindle me out of about 50 dollars on that wagon. I found out that it was an old one fixed up. But no matter about that now, wait till I come home.

I wish I had those now shirt you am making for me, and how I do wish I could have one good nights rest in a comfortable bed I have not slept warm a single night this fall. Before morning I have shivered so my teeth would chatter just think of that. But God knows that I am thankful that my wife and children are comfortable. Do you suppose my dear wife that many would have me to stand in front of 20000 muskets, and they belching forth leaden messangers of death, with

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such rapidity that the air was constantly full of lead for 3 long hours? The noise was so [       ] that a man standing close be side you could not be heard without a great effort. I came very near getting shot while in the act of mounting my horse. I stood ready to spring into the saddle when a shot came and went with a sharp spit night across the seat of the saddle, where if I had been in the seat it would have passed though my kisses. I must confess I tend a little pale. But when I can with less pain I will describe it in full. Remember me to our dear children and give them my love, and accpet the undying love of your

Affectionate HusbandJ.C. Rutherford