Valentine G. Barney to Maria Barney

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Sunday May 24th 1863My Dear Wife

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It is a week to day I think since I last wrote you and you no doubt will wonder at it- You know when I last wrote I spoke of our being under marching orders. Well the order came on Wednesday and since that time we have been out here in the country. first we went to a place about 10 miles from Suffolk called the Deserted House from there we went to Windsor abt 5 miles we remained there one night and then came to this place which is called Barbers Cross roads which is abt 10 miles from Suffolk and 5 from Windsor we have had rations sent out to us and no knowing how long we will remain here. At present I am in the parlor of

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Mr. Ely sitting at his desk and using his ink which is very poor I presume you have seen his name also his wives mentioned in the papers as being virlent secessonists They both openly state that they are in favor of the South and that their simpathies are with the Southern people but at the same time they use us all with respect and do every thing they can to please us for they know it is for their interest to do so. The reason of our coming out here is to hold the different roads while the rail road is being torn up and taken to Suffolk which is the one leading to Petersburgh. Nearly the whole force from Suffolk are out at different points but as the rails are nearly all taken in I presume we will go back in a day or two. We have had but little trouble from the Rebs yet

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and I presume we will not. a few of their Cavalry approached a picket post last eve and a few shots were fired one of the Cavalry sergts got wounded in the hand which was all the harm that was done to our side. We have taken 3 prisoners here and sent them in They were stragelers from the Rebel Army We got our mail here last eve I got one letter from you one form Matt Nichols & one from Father also a St Albans paper from you. You will probably start for home tomorrow I wish I could be with you to assist you on your journey taking care of Carrie & Fredie I tell you it would be a pleasure but I presume you and Mary will get along finely together and get through safe. I am afraid your flower garden will be rather late this year as well as last

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I wish you could see the one here at this house it is perfectly splendid and the flowers are all in blossom. Mrs. Ely just came in very much excited and said the men had set fire to their barn I ran out and sure enough it was on fire but a little labour put it out. The men dont feel very kindly towards the family. I see they have painted their wagon with tar, which will not make it very nice to ride in. I have no way of sending this to camp so I will close it as soon as we get in. -

May 27th 1863Dear Maria,

We are at last in camp after an absence of 7 days and I found it very pleasant to get back where I could get a few potatoes to eat and a tent to sleep under. We arrived here after a march of about

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thirteen miles at 12 oc last night. When I commenced the letter we were at Barbers Cross Roads but we moved from there that day and went abt 2 miles to the N. E. to a Grist Mill and guarded the road till we were ordered in. I did not live very high es- pecially the last two or three days as my rations gave out and I had to live entirely on hard bread and coffee. On arriving here I was surprised to hear that Col Andross had resigned and is to start home in a day or two and Maj Ripley is Lieut Col. I dont know what our Reg. is coming to but perhaps

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everything will turn out well yet. I recieved two letters from you on getting here the last written after the wedding. I hope Silas does get a good wife for he is deserving of one and no mistake You no doubt are at home at present and in your snug little house how did you stand the journey, you are probably and have been looking anxiously looking for a letter from me as it is some time since I have written. I hope you will continue to get along as well as you have in the past and that you and the children will be blessed with good health. Kiss the dear little ones for me and give my love to Mary.

Truly Your Aff Hus.V.G. Barney