Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

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Camp Hamilton nearFortress Monroe April 12th 63Dear Maria

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To day is the Sabbath but it does not seem much like a Sabbath used to when I was at home and stayed with the children while you attended Church and when you came home and found things strewn around generally and thought I was a poor house keeper and felt inclined to scold a little of my indiference to it This does not seem like those old and pleasant times but I cant say that I am situated here very unpleasantly for considering that I am away from home and those I hold most dear I dont know as I could be more content or surrounded with more pleasant associations. This is one of the pleasantest days I ever saw and the warm sun gives us a new vigor and life and it seems like a day in June used to in Vermont. I am “officer of the day” to day for the whole camp and have just got in from making my rounds and that was no small job as I have to travel about 7 miles in order to visit

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every point where our guards are posted I would have to have done it on foot but our Quartermaster was kind enough to let me take his horse so I had a horse back ride for the first time in a great while but when I make my rounds this eve I shall do it on foot as it makes me so lame to ride, but I can do it and not feel awful tired as my health is good and I can stand most any thing. We have rumors of fighting at Suffolk and that our forces are getting badly beaten. I dont know the truth of it yet. Hawkins Zouaves were ordered there yesterday and the report is that Col Kimball got killed in the fight. I cant vouch for this but these are the rumors we get here and we hear heavy canonading occasionally. Col Kimball is a Vermonter and able officer. I received three letters from you yesterday which were brought from Chicago and I hope to get one from Washington in a day or two as we have written there for our mail to be sent on here and I presume you have written and directed there some of your late letters. I also got one from

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Father. As regards my feelings by the late promotions in our reg. I am perfectly satisfied and feel that I am not a [curse] to the service but hope I am of some benefit and shall continue to think so even if others of more influence can carry their points to my disadvantage I have no idea of resigning yet and hope I may be able to go through this campaign without being obliged to, but as consolidation of regts has commenced I would not wonder if our was consolidated and half of the officers thrown out or resign before hand I dont know but I would be one of the unfortunate ones but I will be thrown out before I would resign as I consider it more honorable. I dont think we can muster over 500 men in our regt. and if we fall short of that we will be consolidated no doubt. I will write no more now as my duties call me away but will finish in the morning before the mail goes out. Monday P.M. I did not get around to finish my letter this forenoon as I intended as we had muster rolls to make out to be ready for this afternoon.

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so having that and my monthly returns to make out my time has been pretty well occupied since I was relieved at guard mounting I am very lame to day for having rode so much yesterday on horse back I think I rode about 25 miles in making my rounds 3 times and posting pickets, out on Fox hill and not being used to riding it almost used me up but I can eat my allowance just as well. but the trouble here is to get enough to eat and of the right quality – to night I made out my supper on Bread & Molasses and a little rancid Butter but this goes well and I enjoy my meals well Mr. Jewett is yet at the Hospital but is quite smart and intends to come here to camp tomorrow and remain here Lieut Livingston & Vaughn of Co “I” are now messing with us and we have some very pleasant table conversations I wish you could just step in and visit with us some of these noon times and partake of some of our rich dishes but I will not invite you now as I presume you would refuse my invitation but wait till I can step in and visit with you which time I hope is not very far distant

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I have not yet sent my trunk to you as I have had no chance to buy a valise yet and I dont know when it will be so I can. but as soon as I can get one I shall send the trunk for I dont suppose I will be allowed to carry it this summer when we come to move. I am glad to hear that mother is improving and hope she may entirely recover I think Emma will be of servise to her and probably a relief to Louise. How is Lester I dont hear a word from him and how does Hattie get along – We will probably get paid 4 mos pay pretty soon now at any rate I hear news to that efect I hope so for you need money and I know I do. We dont get any more news from Suffolk but here heavy firing quite often in that direction I am afraid we are not strong enough for the enemy there but hope so I hope to get a letter from you soon and do doubt will and I would not be surprised to hear you were about starting for Danby how I wish I could be there to visit with you. Kiss Ped & Cad and tell them Pa thinks of them every night and the last thing before sleep, and hopes they will be good. Accept a kiss and a hearty good night.

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I have just learned that I B Bowditch was drowned by the cars running in to a creek over near Suffolk. We have a report here that Charleston is taken. I send you two Photos
All well
affly V.G.B