Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

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In Camp near Harpers FerrySept 6, 62Dear Maria

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I will now at my first opportunity write you a few lines I cant tell how long it is since I last wrote but much has transpired since but I can tell you but little, we were very unexpectedly orderdered to pack up and get ready to leave last Tuesday night at 9 oc and at 10 oc were on the march we came away in quite a hurry but the reasons for so doing I do not fully understand I lent a good share of my bedding & Rubber Suit with many other things belonging to Lieuts and myself. also quite a number of Guns and Equipments Lieuts Jewett & Sherman with Sgts Halbert & Smith & 10 Privates were left behind through some neglect or some thing else in the Hospital and no doubt are Prisoners among them is Chas Walker of Swanton the rest are from other towns I am left alone with the Co. Every thing was burned that was left and that was no small amount The

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Engineer estimates it as from 100 to 150 Thousand dollars worth including Heavy Guns, Ammunitions, Tents, Guns, &c &c &c. When we got about 4 miles away the magazine exploded and it was a grand sight, such as I could not describe if I should try. Well we marched pretty steady all night till 7 oc the next morning when we stoped 2 hours and eat Breakfast and rested some we came on again and did not stop more than 10 minutes at a time till we got here, which made us a very hard march and my company were very tired so that they as well as myself just lay right down and did not move for some time after we stoped we were all very foot sore and I have not been able to get my boots on since ten this morning. A great many threw away their knapsacks and have been obliged to lay out without Blankets. I was lucky enough to find a good Wool and Rub blankets just before we got here so I fared pretty well. All my Company that started came through but about a half dozed from other Companys fell out and were taken prisoners and parolled they

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got here last night. We were about 20 hours on the way and by coming a roundabout way marched 40 miles We have now but 4 Tents to a Co. and 1 small one for Officers which is all that is necessary for me one Capt and one other Lieut were left and in all about 100 of the Reg H. Meigs & Sartwell are well and I feel first rate since I got rested. since we came here we have moved Camp 3 times and will move again to day I expect, we are getting used to it and can moove very quick There is about 8000 troops in this vicinity and there are some fears of being attacked but perhaps we shall not be, but come what may I am ready and willing to meet it. I am perfectly resigned to any thing that is ordered and dont care which way we move or when. And all the boys say that they had rather fight every day for a week than retreat another inch The fact is we are all mad to think how we were obliged to work to fortify ourselves and then to come away as we did and leave so many behind but such is the fate of soldiers. I have heard nothing from

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Elisha since the heavy battles but presume he was there and I feel anxious to know how he as well as other Swanton boys come out of it but perhaps I will not hear for a month to come as I hear that no letters are allowed to be sent either way and perhaps this will never go through. I shall write to J. P. Jewett with regard to Lieut. he was quite sick and will do doubt have a run of fever. Whether they will be parolled or not I dont know but probably not very soon. I got a letter from Father, & Silas & George a day or two since but have heard nothing from you for some time, but hope to soon As I am in a hurry I will write no more now but will try and keep you posted with regard to our moves. I presume you will not think I am in very poor health when you know of the labor I have performed for 4 days past and I assure you you would not think so if you could see me at my meals and how hard bread & Salt Pork vanish before me Give my love to all and kiss those dear little ones for me and think that though I am placed sometimes in exciting circumstances that you are often in my mind and the dearest object on Earth to

your aff Hus Val