Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

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Camp Butler, Newport News, Va.Wednesday, June 19th, 1861My dear wife:

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Your letter written last Thursday was not received till last night. I suppose before this time you have received at least two letters from me written since the battle at Big Bethel. You must have all felt considerable anxiety in respect to us until you know exactly how we were after the fight. I am glad that you keep up so good courage, and hope you will be as brave as ever till we get home. There is now some talk here of the third Reg't coming out to take our places in the course of a few weeks, so that we should be discharged before our time is out. Of course you will be glad of any such arrangemtn as that. Most of here however would prefer to remain the full three months. I am sorry that you are any ways unwell. You will have to take good care of yourself through the warm weather.

You complain that I do not write often enough. It seems to me as tho' I wrote pretty often, but I suppose that you rather expect a letter every night the same as I do. Within a week I have written you often and I believe I get two letters a week from you and one from Laura on an average. I should like one every night. You need not put on your letter

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"Via Baltimore" as they come straight enough without.

I wish you could be very particular to save all my letters as I shall bind them into a book or copy them. And if you can get any letters written to others that they do not want to keep, keep them. Take good care of all the papers too. I hope you have not let every body run into my office. Keep the key yourself and be sure you know what is taken out. I have some books there that belong to Mr. Corbin of Wells River, but he owes me about enough to come to them, so I dont want you to let them go. When I get home I shall be glad to have a quiet time, and shall enjoy a little rest. I can tell you. When I think of the lounge or arm chair it almost makes my back ache. I have not sat down in any thing with a buck to it since we left Ft. Monroe. I am now sitting on my trunk with my portfolio in my hand, writing, all curled up in a heap. We only take any real comfort when we go to bed. Some sheep with a portion of their clothes on, but in our tent we undress and get in between the blankets. Our bed is rather hard, for we now have a floor to the tent, and the straw in our ticks is rather fine. But we can stand all this if it does not rain. I wrote Mr. Strickland how we got drowned out Sunday night. You can see his letter.

I am glad you got the money by Mr. Batchilder as it will perhaps be all you will need till I get home if you are prudent with it. The more I

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think of it, the more I am inclined to be angry that Geo. Hardy and Col. May called on you for that money. I shall tell Mr. Hardy what I think of him when I get home. You need not pay a debt to any body as I left my affairs in a pretty good condition when I came away and there was no one who could not wait. You dont write me about Mr. Ormsby and wife, nor your father and Murphy. How are they all getting along? I dont think Ormsby made much of the Tim Morse affair, especially if he looks to Dow as paymaster. Will he do much better from the Murphy business. Murphy is not a man who cares to pay much out to lawyers. How are your grandfathers folks and your grandmother Rodger? Charlie Peters does not like camp life very well, and wishes himself out of it. If Zeke was here as a private he would see sights that he dont see in Vermont.

There is a rumor that another of our men, by the name of Philander Lougee, is dead at the hospital at Ft. Monroe. He has been sick for some time. We have but four down there now, tho' Taylor Chamberlin's partner, is going down in the boat tonight. He is about used up. He has kept up and still keeps up good courage but the fatigues of camp life are too much for him. There are now but four at Ft. Monroe, in hospital, viz: P.S. Chamberlin gaining, Childs of Fairlee, who is well and was up here last night but is retained at the fort as a nurse, Williams of Piermont, well, but determined as a nurse

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and Lougee, reported as dead. There are none in the hospital here. So you see that our company is on the gain. There are some who are excused from duty for a day or two at a time, but on the whole the health of the company is much better than it was.

Major Worthen now messes with us, tho' he still continues to sleep in his tent. I have furnished him with a black boy named "Pompey Wind", about three degrees blacker than charcoal as a waiter for him. His horse is here and the best in the regt - the best on the ground. The men are today on fatigue duty cutting down trees so as to give the columbiads on the bank a fair sweep up the river. There is to be another mounted soon and then we shall be ready for almost any craft that may want to come down upon us.

Remember me to Uncle David when you see him, and of course you read him my letters. Love to Aunt Mary and Uncle Clark. Tell the folks that we dont forget any of them, and we dont think they have forgotten us, judging from the amount of provisions sent us, tho' there is some complaint that letters are not answered very promptly.

Two copies of Mr. McKeen's sermon were received in camp last night. It is printed neatly and looks very well. I have had no time yet to read it over. Capt. Andross just read the passage where Mr. McKeen was so affected. Love to Laura. Tell her to write - write soon.

Your affectionate husbandRoswell Farnham