Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

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Head Quarters, Provost Marshal’s OfficeCamp near Winchester, Va.,Aug 20, 1862Dear Maria,

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It is now one oclock at night and here I am in the provost marshalls office. The reason of my being here is that I am Office of the Guard and I make it my head quarters during the night it being just near the Guard tent and comfortable than out doors. I have one Lieut to assist me and we have charge of over 200 men who are stationed around the encampment. I have just had a knap and now the Lieut is asleep and so we shift during the night which make it quite easy for each

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I received your letter last eve dated the 15th. It seems that they intend making a clean sweep of all able bodied men about Swanton and in fact all over the U.S. well I think it is the best thing that can be done if they ever intend to crush this rebellion. When one is in the army it seems that not half as much is being done as might be while at the same time at home it would look as though every thing was going on finely. the fact is those New York papers missrepresent things and the people of the north are more or less deceived with regard to the condition of things in the south. I spent nearly the whole day yesterday here in the P. Marshalls tent and it is very amusing to

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sit and listen to all that is going on during the day here Probably over 100 persons have some kind of business to transact with the P.M. from morn till night a great share of them come and take the oath of allegiance and are given papers to go out of town and to return as they may wish while others (and they are not few) who refuse to take the oath are sent back to town and are obliged to remain there as there are pickets stationed all around the City. Those who do not behave themselves and are talking secesh are put into the Guard house and when they get that full they are sent to Baltimore and

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I dont know how much farther There is now 15 of them under guard and the officer of the guard has to take charge of them and see that they are kept close and they get them food and water We make them bring their own water and cook their own food under guard. they have to sleep without any blankets and on the bare ground Yesterday there were 8 or 10 men besides women and children direct from Richmond here for papers to go north they represent things to be awful there and their story corresponds pretty well with the paper accts. They say that coffee is $2.50 pr lb and shoes $15 pr pair and other things accordingly so when I think of this I come to the conclusion that we of the north are in a pretty pleasant condition in comparison to the South

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Since I last wrote nothing very startling has transpired you of course get all of the news from about the country as soon as we do here and have do doubt heard of the Battle at Baton Rouge where the 7th Vt Regt were engaged The Phila papers say that the Vt Reg behaved very badly all but the officers The Col was killed and I dont know how many more. The health of our Regt is not improving much and probably will not as long as they are kept at work so hard One man died day before yesterday from Co D. and I expect that by this time one of my men is dead as he was not expected to live 3 Hours at dark last eve his name is Joseph La’Mondy from Bakersfield he is a good fellow and one of my best Corporals He has a brother here who will mourn his loss as shall we all much I have 3 men who are some sick but not dangerous and I am in hopes that as the weather is getting cooler and our work nearly completed that we will pick up a little and that the health of the regt will improve and it no doubt will I am very well feel full as tough as when I left Vt I hope I shall continue so and I expect that when those bitters get along I will fat up in a hurry as they sem to do me so much good I shall expect to get the box by

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the latter part of this week. Since I quit writing I went out to get the Relief guard off and while at work I heard the discharge of a gun up in Quarters I sent up a sergt up to see what was the trouble and found that a man in Company I. had shot himself (and probably purposely) right through the body while lyeing down, he died instantly His rammer lay by the side of his gun which he most likely used to get the gun off with. I may learn his name and more about it in the morning. I also was sent for by Gen White and he gave me instructions to arrest all persons attempting to pass the Guard with or without the countersign as he suspects some officer of being a traitor so he told me so I have but sent a sergt around the lines which is now 1 ½ mile to give particular instructions to the sentinels I tell you this is a life of excitement and nothing but what is full as much exciting as what we daily encounter will attract ones attention so reading and such like is not thought of at all It is now nearly 4oc morn and it seems darker out than it did an hour ago but it will soon be light and some pleasanter doing business. Some two or three hours ago I heard someone crying up in camp and have just heard it was Moses La’Mondy crying on account of the death of his brother so he is gone poor fellow I will write you again soon. Kiss Cad & Fred and tell Carrie that I shall expect to get a letter from her soon.

Your aff Hus, Val