Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney
It is now three days since I have written you and had I wished I could not have written you before as I have not been off duty for three days till last eve I was on picket one night and on the afternoon and night of the 24 we were kept as a reserve while Gen Corchran made a reconnaisance in force with about 10,000 men. we went abt 4 miles from here and joined abt 15,000 and all lay in rifle pits while he was out and some longer. He found the enemy in some force and drove him back a mile or more captured a few prisoners and returned with the loss of abt 50 killed & wounded I dont know whether every thing was accomplished they desired or not. We came home at midnight through a very deep mud and rough country and it was with difficulty that we found our way. I got a few hours sleep but was put on in command of a labor party to work on fort early yesterday morning and I was some what tired last eve and glad to lay down and sleep as you may imagine.
And the Adjutants voice did not sound very good this morning when he came around
at 3 1/2 oc with the order to have every man in line immediatle, but this is nothing new for that comes every morning when we are in Camp and we get out and remain till daylight in line. I suppose attacks are generally made early in the day so we are ordered to do this to be on hand in case it should be. To day the companys are all out on picket again but as only 3 officers Capts. were wanted and I having been on duty yesterday was allowed to remain in Camp. There is no telling whether we are to have a battle here or not, but I think we have force enough here to keep back twice or three times our number as we are very strongly fortified for a number of miles on the river and back from it. and I understand we have abt 20 miles of rifle pits and from what I have seen I think there is no doubt of it. We can see an earthwork the enemy are throwing up just opposite here and our artilery give them a shot occasionally. since I commenced this letter I have had a dozen rounds fired but there is so much of it going on night and day that we dont notice it and can sleep just as soundly as though every thing was quiet. While we were at work yesterday on the fort a rebel sharp shooter got behind a large tree on the other side (being abt 500 yds off) and fired
a number of times at us but we did not think him a very good marksman as he was not able to hit any of us while about 150 men were exposed all the while. Our men fired their muskets at him a number of times but he cared but little for them but when a twelve pound solid shot was put though the side of the tree he took himself away as fast as his legs could carry him. They fire considerably at our men but as yet have hit but 3 or 4 in this vicinity. There are Regiments here from almost every northern state but we are the only Vt. Reg. here but we hear reports that the 10th are ordered here I would jump for joy to see them come We are still in our camp in the woods but tents are of little account as we lay out about half the time. I got a letter from you day before yesterday also one from Elisha I hope your head will not bother you so much you will not be able to enjoy your visit. I presume Hattie will keep one of the children with her most of the time so it will be easyer for you. does she intend to return to S- with you? I hope she will go back. it will be so much more pleasant for you to have her with you and the children like her so well too. but if Father thinks he cant spare her you will have to get some other girl and get along the best you can. You did not write me whether or not you were going over to Poultney & Granville or not but perhaps you did not know yourself and you
did not say how long you intended to visit there but in your next you must tell me how long I am to direct my letters to Danby Tell Silas I shall write him soon I would have written him as well as others before but my accomodations and time for a few weeks past have been so limited that were it not for you I dont know as I would have touched a pen to write a letter to anyone. I shall write to mother also, and presume a letter will find her in Syracuse for some time to come and I hope in good health. No wonder it seems good to you to be there at Uncle David’s surrounded by your friends and I wish it was so you could be there during my absence if it would be more pleasant to you but I hope I will not be gone from you long enough to pay for moving back & forth beside it would be a great undertaking for you. I dont want you to have any anxiety about me here or borrow any trouble for I am not the least worried about myself and feel as though nothing will prevent me from again seeing you. Give my love to all my friends where you are and continue to write as you have. Kiss the boy & girl and tell them to be good to please Pa, and have Cad write again some time. The wind blows cold to day and my fingers are cramped up and my writing is poor . I remain your
Aff & devoted Husband W. G. Barney
Apr, 27th Maria
We were paid off this morning and in a few days I will send you a reciept for $100.00 which with your name on the back will be good at any Bank. I will also send you an order on the State Treasurer for $240.00 which you can enclose and send to him, and state on what Bank you desire a check in a letter sent with it We were pd to Mch 1st so this is still due me nearly two more pays. Val
Send me a few Stamps, Val
Our reg. is to be put into a Brigade with 4 or 5 other to be a reserve and I presume we will be sent down near the City in a few days we will be under a N.Y. Col.