Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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Camp near Ceder Creek VaNov 4th 1864My dear Wife,

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Though I have nothing particular to write, I feel that I can say something that will be of some interest to you, and having some leasure time I think I can spend it in no more profitable manner than to write to you. There has been no time since I have been in the service that it has been so difficult to receive and send letters as it has been since we have been in the Valley.

The difficulty lays here. We are about 50 miles from Martinsburg, and there is no communication between this and that place except by a very strong escort, and that does not go only when the supply trains go and come. Mosby and his gang an constantly having along the rout to pick every stragler and small squads of men, and what is worse he murders every one he gets hold of. So you see that to be out of the lines is more than a mans life is worth. Our confinement in camp becomes very monotanous. To be sure we get some reading matter but we get tired of that. Then to sleep the rest of our time is

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impossible and injurous, to write without any thing to write about would be unsatisfactory. Many amuse themselves by various games of cards and chess, either of which has no chance for me. We cannot settle down to any thing diffinate as we are liable to be called into action at any moment or to move. The time is fast approaching when we hope to go into winter quarters.

I had a letter form George yesterday, offering to get me a place in one of the Hospitals in Washington, and if I can get the [] of rooms and fuel I shall accept the offer. The pay is more and what is of no small interest to me there is no danger from shot and shell, of which I have seen enough. You may think this a little cowardly, but no man who has been in the field with me can or would say that of me though I am free to say that I am [] when duty does not call me to exhibit, what might appear like bravery. There are many comforts that I cannot get here in the field that would be acceptable. The relations I hold here in our division

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such as to be proud of, no man could wish to be treated with more respect by his fellow craft than I am by the surgeons of the 3d Div. At our last battle I distinguished myself as a surgeon and operator, and the compliments that I have received for the splendid manner in which I aquited myself have ben many and warmly expressed. Gov Smith may stick his commissions up his, trousers leg. I would not give the cerficates that have been offered me by every surgeon in the Division for all the commissions the Gov could carry. Were it not for the marked disrespect and insult, his not giving me a commission implies I would not care a health for one and it is that alone which make me desisions to be promoted. His withholding this is are implication of my mability to perform the duties of a surgeon. But I cannot help myself therefore I shall not loose my temper nor my meals on account of it. I am now holding a responsible position in the Divn having charge of the Division Hospital, a place that [] some

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ability to fill properly. Every surgeon sends his sick that he cannot treat in his regiment to the Div Hospital to be entrusted to the care of our surgeon, and that surgeon must be skillful in practice who has this charge.

I cannot be permanently appointed to this position because I am only an Asst Surgeon, no matter how will I acquit myself. But the solution for the time is highly complementary to me.

I write all this not to exhibit any vanity on my part, but to show you the standing I have thinking it might be a pleasure to you, to know it. If Brother Lucien should be living when this reaches you, do not fail to let him know that all ill feeling is eradicated from my breast to wards him, and that his memory will ever be clear to me. I wrote to Helen by the last mail Remember me to the children, and give them my love, and also Remember me to our friends if we have any left. As winter approaches I begin to feel a strong desire to go home. I do want to see you al very much. I am very well.

Your affect husbandJ.C. Rutherford