Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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3d Div 6th Corps HospitalFeb 19th 1865My dear Wife:-

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I am sitting here all alone with a good cheerful fire and nothing to do having just made my evening rounds of the hospital and thought that I could do no better than to write a few lines to you. But I hardly know what to write about.

This afternoon I called on Genl Grant (our Blackstern friend) and had a very pleasent time talking over old times together We handled Dr Kimball rather roughly, and some others.

It is no small matter in a military sense for one of my rank to be on equal terms with a general. It makes my social position much pleasenter

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than you would rationally suppose. Not but I think myself as good as any of them but such an military rebs and etiquette that such attentions have their due wright.

The feeling is graining ground daily here that war is nearly done with. Some think there will be some big fighting yet but more think otherwise.

I am inclined to think that Lee will make one more desparate effort though he knew for a certainty that his destruction, would be the result. It would be the desperations of a quietly [].

Deserters come in daily and at all hours of the day, and they do not come singtely as [] but in squads

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There is a general good understanding between the two picket lines. They get together and trade knives and tobacco or any thing they have. Soap is a very scarce artible among the rebs, and they will trade any thing they have for it.

This morning one came over and wanted to trade a knife for some soap. After the bargain was made the Union soldier got the soap to hand to the reb when the reb looked round behind him to see if any of his companions were looking, and said never mind the soap yank. I am going when there is plenty of it and started and me into our lines as fast as he could leg it. The rebels pickits

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sung out lay down Yanks we are going to shoot. The deserter said you never mind there they wont hit any body, they fire for that, they want to come as bad as I do, they'l fire over our heads, and sure enough they did high in the air. This speaks volumes for the feelings of the rebel soldiers. And I think it a [] kind of warfare any how But it is much pleasenter than constant shouting. There are some singular incident connected with our picket duty here, some of which I have related in a letter to Helen.

I saw a letter today written by Dr Thayer to the Surgeon of the 11th Vt, in which he speaks very complimentary of me, and says

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that I am to have the first chance. There is a prospect of a vacancy in the 5th Vt. The surgeon of that regiment went home on a leave and has now been gone 20 days over his time, and is reported absent without leave, which will knock him higher than a kite. It may not be hardly christian to wish it, yet what is one man luck is another misfortune, and if he is a mind to be such a fool I am perfectly willing that he suffer the consequences, and if I should get his place he has no one to blame but himself. The general belief here is that I am going into the cavelry, but I should prefer an Infantry regiment.

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Feb 21st 1865

My dear - I received yours of the 14th last evening. Was glad to leave that you were all well, and as usual you have done well.

I was very sick last night, but am all right to day, except a slight diarhea. I have written all the news, except was we got to day and you will have them before this reaches you, of Charleston being captured. We had a salute of 100 guns at 12 oclock to day.

I will a letter again in a day or so.

God bless you all
Your affectionate
HusbandJ.C. Rutherford