Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

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Camp At Union Mills Va.March 29th 1863 Dear Sister

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I recd your letter of Mar 24th this P.M. & as I have nothing else to do (you know we are generally very busy) will answer this evening. We have got our tent fixed up so we are as comfortable as when we were at the other camp We have a good board floor & a stove, & our bunks are better than we ever had them before. At the other camp we had them made of small poles laid on crutches drove in the ground, two lower ones, & two upper ones so you see they took up no more room than two would any way being one above the other like bunks in a steamboat. This time we took the fly to one of our tents & stretched it across the outside poles & it is as easy to sleep

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on as almost any bed would be. The weather since we came here has been quite cold with considerable rain. to night is clear, moonlight, & freezing. The cars do not run beyond this Station, the next is Manassas Junction about 3 miles from here. There is an iron plated car with a six pounder in it stationed at the bridge across Bull Run about half a mile above here. The bridge is a poor thing and not safe to run cars across alowing we wished to. Our picket line runs along this bank of Bull Run up to Blackburns Ford about 2 miles from here where we connect with what was Du Tasseys command. I have not been on picket yet since we came here. The 15th & 16th releive each other every other day 1 Capt. 3 Lieuts. & 125 men sent out each time.

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To day Lieut Lawton & myself crossed the R.R. Bridge where the car is stationed & passed the picket line (no pickets the other side of the stream) & reconnoitered in the direction of Manassas Junction. We went within about a mile, & in sight of the Junction, saw dead mens bones laying around & retreated to Union Mills again. Wanted to go to the Junction but as there was only two of us did’nt think it safe. Lieut Williams arrived in Camp yesterday with Dr. Parks. He has entirely recovered his health I beleive. Mr. Amsden is all right; the Rebs hav’nt got him,so you can tell his folks they need’nt worry about him. Those that they did take are all back (paroled) except the Gen.

I shall write to Ellen within a few days. I asked you if Carrie

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was in Newburyport because you know I thought prehaps she might have come home with Ellen, or come up since. Yes Wallace & I did manage to save 3 cts. Who told you. I like W- first rate he is a very sensible fellow. He & I have got our arrangements all made about what we are going to do when we get home. In the plan we have alowed ourselves until April 1864 to complete it. If there is any one in particular you wish to ask you can do so. We think some of taking Brink (not Maria) into the arrangement too, and in that way you see, being three of us, we think we can save 3 cts more. I will write no more to night. Love to all.

Your Aff Brother Joseph Spafford