Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

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Camp Douglas Chicago IllJany 11th 63Dear Wife

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Again it is the Sabbath and I will try and write you a few lines. We have just got through inspection and so the duties of to day are through with except Parade to night Lieut Sherman has just gone to Church with Sgt Halbert and I would have and accompanied them had it not been for an invitation I have had to spend the afternoon at Mrs. Snows I have not been up there since Christmas so you see I do not visit there very often even if I do think them nice. I expect to hear soon whether or not we are exchanged It was thought by some we would be the 10th inst but from statements I have seen I am afraid the time for exchanges has gone by and we are either to be kept here as prisoners or be mustered out of the service and I hope that one or the other will be done before long for to be I mean exchanged or mustered out for to be kept here is very demoralizing to the men as well as some of the Officers You speak of being very lonely and I

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sorry that you have to suffer in that way but at the same time I am glad to know that I am missed at home and that I am blessed with so loving a wife as to be very lonsome in my absence Yo[u] appear to think that with me all is a fine as we could wish and that when I get lonesome all I have to do is to just step in and see some of my brother Officers, I tell you Maria I see more lonely hours than I have ever told you of and one reason is why I did not is because I did not want you or anyone else to think me homesick and in fact I am not but as we are situated here with but little to busy ourselves about I naturally turn towards the most loved spot on earth and many of my leisure moments are spent in thinking of those who make it so beloved. I visit but little with anyone aside from my own company but we do occasionally we have a very pleasant time together I find that Orderly Whitmore and Sgt Halbert are as good company as I can find any where and then with Lieuts S. & Jewett tho most of my visiting is done. We spend some very pleasant hours playing Muggins a game of cards and although Lieut Sherman was

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at first very much opposed to cards and found it so disgusting to have them played in his presence he would leave the place, he now plays a great deal more than any of us and seems to be bewitched to pay all the time and we laugh at him a great deal about it The health of our Regt is very good at present and in my Co. there are but two who can be considered sick one of them has got the small pox but is getting better fast quite a number of the regt have had it and all get along well, it goes very light with them and does not pit their face at all I am not in the least afraid of it though I do not go where it is. Probably the deaths will be fewer for the next 3 months than they have been for the past. According to the Surgeons report we lost I think 43 men the last quarter making one death every other day nearly, You say Father has sent the Envelope on with new depositions. I hope it will get here before long for I want to find out whether I am going to loose the money or not and so that I will not be obliged to be troubled in mind as regards it. The Chaplains Envelope is on the way here the same as mine and I presume our cases will help each other and we will be more likely to recover it.

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Then the Doctor is really going to leave Swanton. How does Nell feel about going away. I hope he will succeed and come out all right in the end. I have had letters from Father but have not answered any of them yet as I write every thing to you and I presume he gets all from you so in fact there is no use repeating it to him. You have not told me lately how mothers health was I hope she is well also Grandpa he is such an old man I am afraid sometimes I will never see him again. It seems you are having fine times there skating I would like to have seen Father and Judge Sowles have a skate they must have enjoyed it. The Weather here is very mild and in fact we have not seen what we could call a cold day yet but as you say we expect some very bitter weather yet. You gave me quite a minute acct of your expenditures. You are very equinomical and I wish I was as much so. You say you suppose you must give me an account of how you expended it. You need not suppose any such thing for I am sure I would sooner trust you with money without an account of it than myself with. Kiss the children and accept the best love I am a capable of having for any body.

V.G. Barney