Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

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Miss M. J. Spafford
Upper FallsVermont


Camp Griffin Va.Jan 15th 1862My Dear Sister,

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I have not written you for some time, I think my last letter was dated Jan 5th or 6th. When I finished that letter I thought perhaps I might not have an opportunity to send you another for some days, but it so happened I did, but have not written since for the reason that there has been nothing in particular to write about. Just as I finished that letter (10 oclock P.M.) I heard the order going round to the cooks of each Co. to prepare 24 hour rations immediately. I knew by that that we were to start somewhere early in the morning & I judged on a long march, as never before on

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any of our marches (& we had been out 10, 12 & 15 miles) had we been ordered to take more than one meal with us, our dinners. Lieut French was in command of our Co that morning as the Capt had not then returned. He told all that could not stand a long march to stay at home, as we should probably have one. He asked me if [I] thought I could stand it and I told him I did not see any reason why I could not. We started at daybreak and as we got fairly out of camp I could see Regts coming out from all quarters and I thought likely the Army of the Potomac was going to make a move at last, & that we should certainly see fighting before we returned to camp. We filled the road for a long distance and

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as we got 5 or 6 miles from camp I could see another column at a distance moving in nearly the same direction we were. We had cavalry, and a battery of heavy guns with us I think some of them must have been 32 pounders. I could not see the use in such a forminable army going on merely a foraging expedition, but it turned out that that was all tho’ I supose they were in hopes the rebels would attack us as we were so well prepared for them. We went out about 10 miles to near Drainsville, and formed a line of battle, waited about 2 hours there and marched back half a mile or so and formed again and waited an hour or so there and then after the baggage wagons had gone in (poorly loaded) started home again.

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Mother says she thinks this army will move soon, prehaps, she said before I recd that letter. My opinion is now that it will not move for some weeks and I am quite sure that if it does I shall not for some days yet. I am in Qrs. at present. I think it would be a good time to hav ing picture taken to send home you would think I had grown fleshy in the face. I have got the mumps and my face is swelled considerably on each side. Corp. Whittock has them also & is about as I am. We are almost as comfortably off here as if we were in a house. This is the fourth day since I was taken. I feel well enough except a little pain in the jaws once in a while. I shall probably be all right in a week.

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The weather here has been very unpleasant for a few days past. Day before yesterday it snowed about an inch and the same again yesterday To day it is raining but has not taken the snow all off. – The Capt arrived here last Teusday, a week ago yesterday rather. He has got a stove in his tent and I am going to live with him for the present. There was nothing to any of the stories you heard in regard to him He has never struck a soldier, and was not sent home as being incopetent. On the contrary I think the Col. esteems him as highly as any Capt. on the line He went home on a furlough on account of sickness, nothing more, nor less.

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I recd a box from L- last night. I[t] arrived just in the right time. I[t] was not as long coming as the one I got from home was. What does mother want I should write a letter for the Vt Journal for? I dont care about doing any such think & even if I did, can not see any thing at all interesting to write about.

I had not the least idea they would allow an Orderly Sergt to go on the recruiting service but I learn that 1st Sergt Gale of Co. F. is going These places are all taken up now. The boys all have some one they wish to appoint to draw their State pay, either father uncle or something.

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I have not been to Washington yet as there has been no [air] saturday since the day I intended to go. I dont know now when I shall. – Do you receive the papers I send you? I will write no more to night but try and write you again within a day or two. Give my love to all who inquire after me. write me soon & believe me always

Your Aff brotherJo.