Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

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Camp DouglasChicago IllDec 7th 62My Dear Maria

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This is the third time I have seated myself to write you and now I may not finish before I shall disturbed as we expect to have to sign the pay roll this after noon and that is no small job but as it looks like getting paid off it is not a disagreeable one. I have just finished my dinner which was composed of Oyster Soup and Bread & Butter and as my appetite is just as good as it was when I left you can imagine somewhat how I feel but food does not taste quite as well as it did while at home and on my way back I tell you Sgt Meigs is well also Sartwell but S- is pretty homesick.

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I had high living while at Danby and at Syracuse I find that Lucy is an excel- ent house keeper and evry thing went off fine Philo was not very well so Lu, Em, & I took a walk around the City I left there on Monday morn at 5 oc. We are now quite comfortably situated in good barracks and have 4 coal stoves to the Co. but there is always something to make things disagreeable and here the Rats and Lise are the source of our troubles Rats abound in millions and only last night one of the boys killed 17 in a few minutes and brought them in by the tail to show me they run over us nights and go in droves from one building to another but as to me I prefer Rats to Lise for after running

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over us they do not leave us but stick as close as a brother. Last night one of my men died Alfred Burrows of Belvidere of Diptheria and will be buried this P.M. The rest of my Co are in a very good state of health, much better than most other companys as I have but one in Hos- and in all there are between 50 or 60 there & Burrows is the 4th who has died since I got back. I have been up and paid Mrs. Snow and been down to the City to the Theatre once and for the last time for I have seen enough of their Love sick stuff. The weather is pretty cold but we have had no snow yet and as we have to drill 3 ½ hours a day we have a good hard smooth surface to walk on

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but the cold winds make our ears tingle occasionally and I think I will have me a fur collar sent when the boots come and a pair of socks & Pillow I will write to Lester and have him prepare the box. We hear nothing about being exchanged and we are most likely destined to stay here all winter and I hope by Spring that the war may be at an end and that from here we will go to Vermont and to our homes but no knowing what is in the future. I hope by the middle of the week to be able to send you abt $500- Dollars to fix up those accounts and I think it will be so for things look favorable now I hope to hear from you soon. Kiss the little ones and accept one for yourself

Your affectionate HusbandV-