Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

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Camp Douglas Chicago Ill.March 6th 1863Dear Maria

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being on guard yesterday I did not get a chance to write to you but I will try to this morning although I was up all night attending to my duties and feel as though a little sleep would do me some good but the mail goes out at 2 oc and I thought if I laid down I might not wake up in time to finish a letter and have it go in to days mail and I know you would be disapointed too if you did not get my letters regularly I had a very busy time on guard fixing up the guard house &c. it had not been cleaned out for some time and the men could not find a place to rest themselves during the night. I had a general over hauling. bunks fixed up holes in the floor stoped up, new windows put in, new hay got and by night things were very comfortable so that the men rested as well as they would in their quarters when off the relief

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The boys said they wished I would come on guard often as it would be so much more pleasant to do guard duty. I will probably come on about once in 5 days as our Court Martial has adjourned this is not hard in comparison to what the men have to do for they come on every other day and it makes it pretty hard for them but we omit all drills and have merely a dress parade once a day. I drill my men some now in the bayonet exercise and they are learning quite fast and the reason is they are all very anxious to learn it and instead of my calling on them to drill they call on me to drill them. Orderly Whitmore is quite unwell now and has been stopping down in the City at his sisters. he will probably be discharged soon on account of disability. I think his lungs are affected and he will never be able to stand the blunt of camp life again. Sgt Halbert then will be my orderly and if he dont get above his business will make a good one as he is a very smart young man Sergt Bowditch is now acting orderly as Halbert has charge of 300 Prisoners

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Some of the prisoners are taking the oath of allegiance and yesterday while I was on guard 21 passed out who had taken it, they dont seem inclined to join our army at present so instead of filling up my Company with them I will have to wait till they commence drafting in Vermont and I anticipate some sport breaking in some deacon or priest to go through military movements as I believe they are not exempt from a draft and possibly it may be the lot of some of them to be assigned to my care. I am glad the bill has passed and I hope enough men will be immediately drafted to put down the rebellion before another fall. the meanest thing about the draft is that any are allowed to evade it by paying a certain amount. I received your letter dated March 2nd Last eve and I was surprised to hear that Elisha was at home I presume he is enjoying himself finely I wish I could be there and see him but perhaps when we are sent East we will be near each other and see each other occasionally. I hope so, it is now nearly a year and a half since I have had the pleasure of seeing him. It appears

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you women got your backs up considerably on account of Dr Halls absence at this time the small pox broke out. if you could be in the army a while you would get used to such disapointments and delays so that if a man got around in the course of 3 or 4 days you would think you were pretty well used and that he was very prompt. I am glad to know that Hattie is contented and I guess she had better conclude to always make it her home with us but I presume she would like pretty will to see Mother and Father. A few days ago I heard from Wm Coney. he is at Alexandria and as Col. Andross is going there in a few days he will bring him back with him I should hate to loose him for he was one of the best boys in the Co .if you see T. Marvin you may tell him what I say about him. We are all well as usual Sgt Meigs is well also Sartwell To day is a splendid day and how I would like to take a ride with you and have a good talk. I will enclose you another photograph as it is different from any you have if you like it I will send another if you wish How does Carrie like her letter. I suppose I must write Fred one or there will be a fuss. Kiss them for me

Your loving husband Val G. Barney