Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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South bank of the river Po. VaMay 17th 1864My dear Wife,

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I received from you last evening 4 letters dated up to the 10th. Tongue cannot tell how glad I was to hear from you. It had seemed like an age since I had heard a word from home. I was somewhat surprised that such rumors should be publised that we had [] the Rapahannock. We have constantly been on the advance, never falling back one inch. We have had some hard fighting, last thursday was the hardest fight of the whole was. Thousands were killed and wounded in that battle.

May 20th We have been on the move for the last three days &

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have done some fighting. This is the only day since we crossed the Rapid an that we have not had a battle. You ask me if the 10th has done any thing? there has not been a day since we have been here but they have been in the front line, but it has been their good fortune not to be where the hard fighting was though they have been in a number of actions and not with the highest praise from our guards for this gallentry and courage. Lee has entrenched himself at [], and Grant is begining to dig him out, and he will do it. Grant can afford to wait but Lee cannot, and Grant wants Lee to attack him now. This morning I rode around our [] works. When the 6th & 9th corps are

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stationed. I could see the Reb Sharp Shooters in the trees in forest of our line and our Sharp shooters occasionally bring one down faster than he went up. I wanted to pick one off this morning but the Col would not let me. I did want to draw a bead on the skunk I can tell you. There are so many things I want to tell you that I cant begin, and I and writing on my knee after dark, and have got a bayonet for a candlestick. The most I am tell you is that I am well and safe. But we live tough, have enough such as it is. I would give aheap for a good dish of pork and beans. When I got a chance to write so that I shall not have the [] all the time I am writing I will answer all your questions

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The army is in noble spirits and it is stronger today than when we crossed the Rapidance. We are going to Richmond this time if it takes all summer to [] Lady lightfoot has got and honorbly wound, if is behind. A bullet just scraped across his breech just enough to make it bleed.

Baxter has been here and we met on the battle field when the shell [] fearfully. The 11th is in our corps, and I see sargent most every day, he has been in our action and came out safe Tell his wife that he is well. He has no chance to send letters yet

Give my love to our dear children, and may God bless you all

Your everJ.C. Rutherford