Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

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Sunday, April 19th 1863Maria,

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Since I wrote you last we have mooved around considerable and we are now in camp in a pine wood about 3 miles from Suffolk down the Nansemond River. but I presume we will not stay here more than a day or two for as yet we have mooved about every 12 hours. I have not had a whole nights rest since we came here. night before last on arriving at a place near here, my Co was detailed to go on picket out on the backs of the river and as our position was a very important one we got little or no rest that night. our orders were to watch the the opposite shore and see if any attempt was made to cross the river or lay a pontoon bridge or any move made in the way of erecting a battery, and report every hour to Col. Donahou how things progressed. Every thing was as quiet as death all night but it was pretty cold and we all got pretty well chilled through. About noon yesterday the enemys sharp shooters on the opposite shore commenced firing at us and at some others were throwing up

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earth works to protect some artilery near by and though none of us were hit some of their bullets came so near as to make it rather uncomfortable. As I was looking through a field glass at the opposite bank an orderly stood at my side and about a foot from me and one whistled right between us and struck in the ground about two rods to our rear. I had not thought of getting behind any thing before but then I was not long in getting behind a tree but while watching again another struck abt 3 or 4 ft from me which I picked up and now have. for some time every one of us who showed our heads got fired at but no harm done, but we returned the fire and our artilery fired a few rounds or there and we silenced them for a hour or two when they again opened but accomplished nothing more than to prevent our men from work for a while. we were relieved at dusk last eve and we came here and found our new camp in the nice little pine thicket, and our cooks had got our tents up so all we had to do was to drink our coffee and eat our crackers or pork (which by the way is all we can get here) and crawl into our nests which is a Rubber blanket laid on the ground and a wool blanket over us with our coat for a pillow. To keep warm we snuggle

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up close together and get along fine. we had fairly got to sleep and were enjoying it finely, when the order came to be ready in one hour to moove and to have two days rations in in haversacks and though such an order was extremely hard for me to obey and for all of us, we were ready at the time without grumbling and after forming our battalion we stacked arms and lay down by the side of them and those who could keep warm slept some but that was rather broken we remained there till morning and then came back to our company [qrs] the reason for this was that some 3 or 4 thousand troops had crossed the river and we were kept in this position in case of being wanted immediately. What was the result I dont know but we were not called upon. this is a very pleasant day and the same shining very warm and while I am writing the boys are cleaning the rubish off from their parade ground and it begins to look like something My company are very fortunate as regards sickness and of the 42 men I have with me every one is able for duty and all are tough as knots but this is not the case with all the companys. I dont know as I shall ever get a chance to send my box home as the R Road here will not carry any thing but gov [stores] at present. I dont know as this letter will get to you very soon as there is some

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danger of our mail being captured and it is not every day we are allowed to send letters I dont know what we will see here yet but this skirmishing has been kept up so long and our folks so well prepared for them I presume I will end as it began I am anxious to hear from you but should not be disappointed if I did not for a month. I presume you are enjoying yourself visiting with our folks in Danby, and I would enjoy it too could I be there but as I am not must enjoy myself here which I do for I find first rate. I will close as I have but a minute to get this in the mail

Affly Yours Val W. Barney