Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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3d Division 6th Corps HospitalMarch 12th 1865My dear Wife.

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I got a letter while I was writing this

Another mail has come to us without a letter from you, I do not know but I am asking too much of you to have you write twice or three times a week, but it does seem so long between the reception of letters that I get uneasy and restless. I would not have you think me exacting, for you very well know how you feel when you do not hear from me as often as you think you ought to. It is my anxiety to know of your welfare, more than any selfish motives.

For the last 14 or 15 days I was very much under the weather and I did begin to think I should have to give up and cave in and really be sick. It was bad enough to have the mumps but to have a sickness follow right upon this was a little rough. There was one time I was afraid the I was going to have the small Pox I had a case in the hospital of the real rotten article and I had charge of it. The man has got well and gone home on a leave, and I have escaped having the disease. I have got so I can eat again, so I think I am all right. I eat for my dinner to day some thing less than 1 ½ yards of jony cake, and I made it myself too, and a better one I never tasted. I have a craving for corn break and it seems as though I cannot eat enough of it, it is so deliciously sweet. As long as I can eat this kind of food I think no one need be alarmed.

I have nothing to relate of war news, as there is nothing doing, but if this weather holds (very fine and warm) you may expect to hear of startling

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events. It is my wish that this pleasant weather will not last, for I believe the end of the rebellion will be brought about as soon by holding Lee where he is, as if we were to fight him. The longer we lay here the weaker he is getting, and there is no sacrifice of life to accomplish it.

We have just had religious exercises in the Hospital by a Christian Communion man, one of your big mouthed Methodists, but I will give him credit for restraining himself while preaching to the sick. He made himself very interesting to us all.

But I would give more to hear Mr Hale or Mr Tyler than all the Christian Comn here in the army, and I think Newport is highly favored in having two so good men to dispence the Gospel to them.

I have about made up my mind not to sell Lady, I some times think it is too much money to have in a horse, but I get on to her and ride off I think that she is none to good for me to ride than for some one else. I have got to have a horse and it will be difficult to find one that will suit me as well. Good saddle horses are very scarce, I dont know as it will hurt me to ride a good horse more than any one else.

10th We are having a most splendid day, so warm and pleasant, it seems so much like summer. Last evening I received a letter from you and Helen. I wish you could know how much I prize these letters from home. So full of love and kind sympathy. You may believe that I am proud of them.

You seem to be in a rather melancholy mood let the past take care of the past, the present

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let us enjoy to the best of our abilities, the future we have no business with. We have never lessened our trials nor troubles one particle by fretting over them, on the contrary we make them more burdensome and harder to bear.

If our lives are spared we may yet enjoy all that it is for poor mortals like us permited to enjoy. When I ever get home again I hope to enjoy the remainder of my days as becometh a man and a Christian. To be sure fate has handled us a little roughly, yet we have many things to console us.

You requested me to write some articles for Royal. I wrote one last evening, but I ahd not much to write about, as there is nothing particular going on. But I will endeavor to give him something interesting next time. What was the extract you gave him from my letter? Send me the paper that contains it, or rather the extract itself.

There has been an examining board appointed for the Corps, of 3 Surgeons, and I am one of the three. For me to be selected as one of three from the whole Corps is highly complimentary to me and I have reason to feel proud of it. You can tell Royal of it and he can make it a bit of news and not injure any body else. Tell him to arrange it to suit himself, but don’t let him know that I had any hand in it, have it all happen by accident. I do not see why I need not blow myself as well as others, and I find others make it pay too.

I have heard nothing yet from my promotion, but I am expecting my commission every mail, for the

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17th Regiment. As soon as I get it I will let you know. You see I reckon some on getting it relying upon the promise of the Gov and the Surgeon Genl. I am exceedingly anxious to get it, and if I should fail to get it, it would nearly kill me, so sensitive have I become about it. I should feel that my lot was certainly a hard one. My pride is involved in the matter, and a disappointment would be terribly humiliating. I cant bear to think of it yet my mind is constantly dweling upon the subject. Let us hope for the best.

Now my dear I have written you a conglomerate mess but so sadly dry are we for any thing interesting that it is nothing but scraps I can treat you upon. But what I cant give in interest I make up in quantity. While I was so unwell I could not bring my mind to think of any thing but as I am feeling like myself again I hope my brain exhibit a greater amount of intiligence.

I want you to tell Helen that I will answer her very excelent letter in a day or two. I would do so now but I have me completely out of stock. Writing to you and Royal was a [] big [], for me. Tell Helen that I felt very proud of her letter it was so neatly and handsomely written, it is really a credit to her hand and mind. Give her my love and dont forget Jacob and Kitte. How much I do want to see you all. Remember me to Mr & Mrs Page, also to Mrs Parker, and other Friends.

Your affectionate HusbandJ.C. Rutherford