Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

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Camp Butler, Newport News, Va.Thursday, June 27th, 1861My Dear Wife:

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Your welcome letter of Sunday and Monday June 23rd & 24th was received last night. I also received a copy of the Tribune from Mr. Strickland. Capt. Andross got a Missouri paper from Mr. S. also. Some of us get the Aurora and Telegraph every week within a few days after they are printed and I tell you they look good to us. I find I did not write very full and I have written Mr. McIndoe another letter explaining some matters. He will probably get it in season to publish next week. I was glad to see the extracts in the Telegraph. I would write more for Chamberlin but at first I supposed Taylor would write and since then I have had all I could do to write the letters that I have felt to be necessary.

I wish you would write me whether the commissioners had a sitting on father's estate at my office May 25th. If they did please write me what was done. I shall write to Judge Stebbins soon in regard to the next session July 25th. If we are to be discharged before that time all well, if not then I shall try & get the time extended a month.

I never gave Barker any leave to cut the hay at holbes. He only took the garden. If Uncle David Brixby can cut the hay and Henry & Ezekiel get it in or

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some one else. There is no need of its costing half of the hay to cut it. We shall get a little hay if we have visitors. I dont know what the trouble can be with the water. Is the well clean so that there are no sticks or anything get into the pipe? You will have to be economical in the use of money for I cannot send you any as we do not get our pay till our time is out. The three years troops are paid every month, but the three months troops not till the end of their term of service. Any thing that you can get charged I want you to do so. How is it with Geo. Searer. Had you taken up what was my due before he failed? Is the store open now? You say that the mill is not going when Mr. Hurlburt who works in it writes that it is going. How is there such a mistake.

I wish you did not feel just as you do about my being here. It is a delightful climate, altho' warm, and nobody takes cold. Our tents are not perfectly proof against the severe thunder storms we have here, but by the help of rubber blankets we keep ourselves and bedding dry while the shower lasts. We have learned by experience so that now we do not suffer as we did at first. My cold is growing better, and in a few days I hope to be entirely rid of it. Sleeping in tents does not hurt me. Speaking of my own health reminds me of the other sick boys. At Fort Monroe are now four sick ones. P. S. Chamberlin who is getting better and will soon be up here, Taylor, who we learn is improving, L. M. Tubbs of Topsham who went down several days ago with a lame back. He has been cooking for us and has probably lifted too hard.

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Ezra Clark of Newbury went down in the boat this morning. Philander Lougee who has been quite sick is now in camp. He came up last night and was here through the storm in the evening. I think he will get along. We have no sick ones in the hospital here and our company is in a very good condition. Geo. Flanders shoulder is getting along well.

There was great enthusiasm in camp the other day on the return of Parker of the Woodstock company. He was among the missing after the Great Bethel fight and it was supposed he was killed. He was taken prisoner and carried to Richmond where he was kept eight days in jail, altho' he says he was well treated. He was exchanged and returned to camp where the boys of his company almost carried him upon their shoulders from the boat to his tent.

You ask if there is any danger of our being attacked. We think not. We are well entrenched and fortified & have no fears of six thousand men - for ourselves alone. With Fortress Monroe in our rear we have no fears of ten thousand men. We have no great apprehensions of an attack, do we expect to be called out to fight as it is said that Gen. Butler has orders to keep quiet.

There was some little excitement created yesterday by the repeat that seven men of our camp who had gone out to take a sail were taken by the enemy on the opposite shore. They were said to have sailed within reach of the enemy's guns at Pig Point and to have been compelled to leave to. The whole story was upset however by the appearance of the boat and men and the excitement subsided

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I believe I wrote you sometime ago that the Col. Phelps had command here and that he was appointed Brig. General. I was mistaken - from what Col. Washburn said to Capt. Andross. Col. Phelps is in command, but has rec'd no appointment. There are five regiments here and he should be Maj. Gen. instead of Brig. Gen. Although some of the other Cols. were inclined to find fault, yet as they know Col. Phelps they acknowledge that he is the right man in the right place.

While I think of it, I wish that you would be sure that good copies of the Aurora and Telegraph are saved. I dont want them used up and then laid away. I want you to lay away a good copy even if you have to buy one. Save a whole copy and also cut out the letters from other copies if you can get them for a scrap book. You dont know how much I think of this, if you did you would take special pains to please me. The papers are very valuable, and as I cannot save them I want you and Laura to do it. It is not enough to simply throw aside the papers that are in the way, but I want you or Laura to look them over, every week or two and see if the set is complete, and if there are any missing get them just as soon as possible for if the set is not kept good it can never be made good.

For a couple of days I have not been quite so busy and have written and slept considerable. We have delightful weather. Love to all.

Your affectionate husbandRoswell Farnham

P.S. I have just rec'd Laura's letter.