John Lester Barstow to Laura

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Head Quarters 8th Regt. Vt. VolsBrashear City La.Dec. 14. 1862Dear Laura

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I again sit down to write you, not so much because I ahve anything new to write as because I want to let you know that I am still well. As you will see by the date, above I have not yet changed my stopping place - though there is no knowing, how soon I may do so. -

About the time I closed my last letter we had news of the arrival of Gen. Banks and his army in the river - he has since superseded Gen. Butler and the excitement every where is intense - Gen. Butler has known for a long time (say 4 weeks) that he was to be superseded - but did not know, who by - I had been told so by some of his staff offices & was not so much suprised as almost everybody else. The commotion is very great part of his army have gone up the river, with most of the stores - a small part have stopped at New Orleans - all the old regiments at N. O. have gone up - if we had remained at Algeins, we should have gone, without doubt - The Gun Boats move in the night & no body knows thier number or force - The Head Quarters of the Department are to be moved to Baton Rouge as soon as that place is thoroughly re-occupied - orders are given of the most unexpected and imcomprehensible characters, and Emphatically - no one knows "what a day may bring forth" - for my part I can say "let it bring" I am equally ready to go to Galveston, or Vicksburgh. I am glad Gen. Banks has come - Gen. Butler, with all his ability, & just severity towards rebels has allowed, or winked at the most extensive & disgraceful speculations, (not to call them

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by any worse name). I have not room to tell you much about it - but every officer could by buying sugar, carrying on plantations &c make great sums of money. - a great many have done it - Gen. Banks will put a stop to it - he has done so already in many cases and the guilty are shaking in their boots - this is why. I am glad Gen. Banks has come. - I think Mr Lincoln shows that he has a good deal of old Andrew Jackson in him, when he takes off the heads of such men as McClellan & Butler - they both deserve it, and I hope he will keep on till he finds honest go ahead Generals. As yet. the new General has made no difference with us except the usual number of new reports, rolls &c that have to be forwarded every time there is a new General over us. Either Major or Brigadier -

Since I wrote you last our pickets have captured one of the rebel officers that I saw when I went up with the flag of truce - we have almost daily, little skirmishes with their outposts opposite here, and they are frequently without any loss of life - the orders being on both sides, not to have any fighting among pickets, as it does no good, and is but little less than murder. The weather is warm during the day, but the nights am cold - When shall I be abe to get away and go home is a question I ask myself every day - but cannot answer it - it does seem as though these immense armies must close the war soon, Lt. Day (Since I wrote last) sent in his resignation with a certificate from both Surgeons, saying that he was permanently disabled from doing Military duty by reason of hernia, brought on in discharge of his duty - Gen. Butler, instantly accepted it - adding in his order these words - "this office having resigned in face of the enemy is not fit to hold another

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commission" - so he goes home, another office of this Regiment - not honorably discharged. I rather think you had rather have me stay here a long while than to come home in this way - at all events I think it will be a long while, before I do go hi that way. I have torn of this peice of paper so as not to write enough to tire you How is Freddie & all your folks - I think of you all, almost constantly - & long for the time to come When I shall see you all once more. Give my love to all & beleive me

as ever your most affectionate HusbandJ. L. Barstow