Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

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Newport NewsJune 30th 61Dear Maria

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It is now one week since I last wrote you but when you hear my Excuse for not writing sooner you will forgive me I am sure. Last Monday I was taken with one of my old fashioned sick spells and form that time till yesterday I have not been able to do anything to speak of but now I am getting along finely and will in a day or two be able to go out on drill I feel now about s well as ever but am pretty weak and live on rice altogether as the hard Crackers and Sale Beef are rather to solid for my Stomach. Our Company are out scouting to day and I would like to have gone with them but did not feel able. The reason of their going out to day is that there has been an army

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of abt 6000 Rebels within abt 5 miles of us and they would have no doubt attacked us yesterday had it not been for the heavy rain we had night before last and yesterday morning. we were all in and expected ever hour to see them advancing upon us but we got news along towards night that they had gone back and have probably given up their purpose for the present and it is well for them they did go back for six thousand men would stand a small chance to take this place for while we were letting into them in front a large force from the fort would in a few minuets be for playing into them in the rear, but probably we shall not be fortunate enough to see them here in front of our breast work but the boys say if they do come we will make bullet tell and not one be lost

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Yesterday abt noon our picket guard brought in two prisoners they were from the rebel Army and were from a regt of Zouaves from and dressed so nearly like Col. Durgees Zouaves that the difference could hardly be distinguished They said they were put on picket guard when the Army Encamped the night before and were not in the morning and supposed the Army had marched on this way and left them so they came on and were taken by our men. there were two others of the same taken towards night by a Company of Hawkins Zouaves and brought in. they were all blindfolded before bringing them inside the breastwork and then handcuffed and taken on board the gunboat “Daylight” which lies here off the shore What will be done with them I dont Know but they all say they will never go back to fight for the South for

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they say they have been nearly Starved and not had any where to Sleep but out doors and on the ground The boys have just got back without seeing anything of the Enemy but they went to where they Encamped night before last and found some of their blankets &c and saw where their Horses had been hitched &c They are all pretty tired and hungry and are doing justice at present to the Crackers and beef. The Enemy have Erected batteries on the opposite shore from us but have not yet tried them in this direction but tomorrow we will probably see our rifled Canon fire a few shots at them but it may be to far off being abt 5 miles for us to reach them but without they have got Extra rifled guns they will not be able to reach us. at any rate fighting at this distance cannot be very destructive but if we can throw one shell in twenty inside their batteries it will be a great annoyance to them and they would be obliged to leave and therefore prevent them from mounting any more guns to bear on us or our boats.

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I have just recd a letter from you dated at Uncle Roberts and am glad to Know you are still well and Enjoying your visit. I dont Know but Aunt Ruth has been making you believe a little truth with regard to Carrie. you Know what I told you before we left Swanton that she Could not be beat The little darling how I want to Shake her And old puss he must be awful mischievous if he is any worse than he was when I last saw him I should think the warm weather would take the flesh off him some. I guess you will think it has me for I weigh abt 16 lbs less than when I left home. My weight now is but 140 lbs I don’t think our regt are improving in health any yet and the Surgeon told me yesterday that he thought there was not half the strength to it that there was before we left Rut but none are dangerously sick as I understand. One of the Middlebury

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Co. died a few days ago down at the fort and the Company went down and attended the funeral I believe he was a student from the College and a very nice young man. I believe he is to be sent home in a coffin I had a letter from Father last night and he writes that Samantha Bower is dead and was buried the June 26th. He was in very good spirits when he wrote and says that they Expect Lu home in July. I hope she will remain till I get back but you have not written yet whether you intend to stay in D- until I get back. I think you had better for probably in four weeks from to day I will be with you again and perhaps a day or two sooner. I think our garden will be all right as the Doctor Keeps his horse there and is there often to see to him and he wrote that he Kept watch of the gates and saw that thing was safe. if you want any money you must borrow some of Silas and I will see it paid when I Kiss the Children and give my respects to all.

Your Aff. Hus.Val.