Roswell Farnham to Laura

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Camp Butler, Newport News, Va.July 9th, 1861D
Dear Laura

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I was very much surprised to hear of your being in Boston, but if you can get any help for your deafness I shall be glad that you went. I have felt considerable anxiety in regard to the condition of your face and ears since I have been here. Mary write me that your neuralgia was relieved by the loss of that last tooth. I am glad that it is so. I hope that you will be able to be under the Doctor's care long enough to make the improvement in your hearing permanent. Mary writes that they are all well but she is rather lonesome. There is nothing new in Bradford. She will probably write you more of things at home than I can tell you.

Here we are living about after the

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old sort. There is considerable of excitement here at Newport News, - much more so than at Ft. Monroe for we are nearer the enemy and more exposed. The troops near the fort in case they are attacked by an overwhelming force can retire within the protection of its walls, while we have no retreat except into James River. Of course matters assume a much more practical aspect with us than with the boys immediately under the guns of the fort. There is another fact, which at present, offers food for discussion among the men. There are at least four batteries on the opposite side of the river within sight of us. One of them, and perhaps two, we can reach with our rifled fun. The important query is, can they reach us? They have as good guns as we, but not the Sawyer projectile. If they can reach us we have either got to evacuate or take the batteries. We dont fancy being in the condition of the forces at Sewells Point who are within reach of the gun on the Rip Raps. We dont want

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to be disturbed every morning while at breakfast by a shell knocking our things into a cocked hat, although we might be pleased enough to do the same for them. The weather here is getting to be rather warm, tho' I have not seen a thermometer since we came into camp and dont know the exact degree of heat. It is at least warm enough for military coats buttoned up to the chin. Our boys have lately received a package of straw hats, sent from Vermont, but they refuse to wear them and stick to their caps. We have also a bale of blue drilling pants which they are already wearing, to save their uniforms to get home in. But I am writing particulars uninteresting to you. I have been so in the habit of writing bare facts that I make no distinction with any of my correspondents.

I went down to Ft. Monroe yesterday for the ride & to do some little business. Had a pleasant but not very lively time.

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There is considerable movement at the Fort, indicating preparation for something. None of us know what is to be done or when. It is very probable that we shall remain where we are for the next four weeks, when our time will be out. Our boys look forward to the time when we shall return with a good deal of impatience. We shall undoubtedly be glad to see the hills of Vermont again.

I suppose from what you write in regard to the time you expect remain in Boston that you will return about the same time that I do. I hope you will have a good time. Write me as often as you can. Has Cyrus written since I came out here?

My regards to Richard Morse and wife and all the friends that you meet.

Your affectionate brotherRoswell Farnham