Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

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Camp Douglas Chicago Ill Feby 15th 63Dear Maria,

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This is a lovely Sabbath morn and it is with the greatest pleasure that I seat myself before the window to write a few lines to you. We have just got through with inspection so my duties are done for the day till Dress Parade at 4 oc P.M and as it is so pleasant I think I will take a stroll (after finishing my letter) up to Mrs Snows as I have not been there for three weeks past and I dont know but they will think I have forgotten them entirely Corpl Cleveland is going with me and we anticipate a pleasant day, but, Dear could I but be at home and with you and the dear little Fred & Carrie how good it would be. how I would roll on the floor with them pouncing upon me and enjoying the sport so well as I When I think over all the happy times and the pleasures of home and of those who are so dear to me it almost makes me wish I was out of the Army, but when I think of the disgrace it would be to me

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to remain at home while in good health and do nothing for the salvation of our union I think perhaps I am in the right place and should not even look back- but I am living with the hope of some day seeing this war closed and I permitted with thousands of others to return to our homes to live in peace and happiness- I received two letters from you day before yesterday one dated Feby 1st the other the 8th so you see I dont get your letters any more regularly than you do mine I am sure there is some great neglect somewhere in the P.O. department but it seems letters get through always after a while safe I am glad you got the $80- safe and I hope that when I am paid again to be able to take up the rest of those notes according to Mr. Bullards wishes but I dont know when that will be but some think pretty soon-

Since writing the above I have received a letter from you giving an account of the time you had with fire and how near you came to being burned out and destitute of a home. I am glad it is no worse and hope Father has ere this got the House insured so

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if anything of the kind should happen again it would not be so much loss You say Father thought the damage was abt $125 but it looks to me as though it is neaerr $75 though $15 for the Bed & Bedding in these times must cost $25 or 30. besides the damage to the wood work and plastering but I am thankful it is now worse and we must keep watch in the future I did not get the house insured because I took so much pains to have it perfectly secure and thought it would ever be safe but as Grandpa says we are never sure of anything till we get it between our teeth- I think you had better have a different Register put in this time and one perfectly sure against fire-- I have just got back from Mrs. Snows and will now try and finish my letter Corpl could not wait till I finished and so I let it go till now. we had a very pleasant visit and a good supper which was done justice to and the walk was fine it being about one mile up there. It does me much good to get out of camp occasionaly and were it not for having a visit now and then with some friends I dont know but

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I would be discontented and perhaps homesick and as I have some acquaintances who are always pleased to see me I take much pleasure in visiting them and find it greatly to my advantage. I would have liked much to heard Fathers lecture on New England and presume it was good. I think the people in Chicago generally are true friends to New England and would never consent to her being left out in the cold as they tell of- You spoke of how changeable the weather is in S- well it is the same here and such a winter the inhabitants say they never before saw Hoping you will not experience an- other such time very soon as you did last week I will close. Kiss the children for me and believe me you

Affectionate Husband V.G. Barney