Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

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Camp Butler, Newport News, Va.Friday Evening, July 26th, 1861My Dear Wife:

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I begin a letter to you tonight altho' if I should consult my feelings I should go to bed. I have been pretty hard at work today and am tired. We get up pretty early and most of the time go to bed late so that we need a nap in the middle of the day. I got only a short one today. I sent to the fort fourteen "contrabands" this morning. Five Seven of them were children and the oldest was but seven years old, altho' they youngest did not all belong to the same family. The youngest was but three months old.

Saturday P. M. July 27. I was too tired last night to finish this letter so must do what I can today. Just now we are having a gentle rain and I sit here on our bed rolled up in a heap, covered with a rubber blanket so that it may not get wet. The Capt. is just going to write too. I have been rather busy today as well as yesterday. I sent twelve negroes down to the fort this morning, seven of whom were children, of about the same age as yesterday.

You complain because I do not tell you of what is going to happen. I wrote to you a week ago that we had an order to be ready to move in three days.

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I did not write you that we were going to fight or march to Yorktown, for I did not suppose we were to do either, and I have as good a chance to know as most who write home. I dont write to create a sensation or to make our friends at home feel unnecessarily anxious when there is no need of it. Some of those who write are quite fond of making themselves heroes before anything happens, by exaggerating the danger and frightening their friends. I dont wish to alarm you unnecessarily by always writing what we are going to do, so I wait one day and write what we have done, and in that way many times save the trouble of writing at all. We have some fearful souls among us who are alarmed at every rumor and think the enemy is upon them at the report of every gun. Now I dont want you to be alarmed at any reports. I shall always keep you informed of every thing of importance. Dont believe half the newspapers predict.

Gen. Baxter of Rutland stayed here last night. He is the finest looking man I ever saw - six feet and three or four inches tall and handsome in the face. He came down to see about our being mustered out. We shall not remain here after the 2d. or 3d. of Aug. or about a week from today. There is some talk of asking us to stay a month longer but the men will not stay. You need not be at all alarmed about anything of that kind. One of our regiments left here yesterday for Washington

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we suppose, and we learn that four regiments have left the fort. Some of the boys will probably write home that we are in danger of an attack. The enemy have too wholesome a regard for our big guns to venture any such thing.

I am glad that you have so good courage in regard to your health. I must have made a mistake of a month for I am thinking all the time of Aug. instead of Sept. I shall not feel quite so much anxiety in regard to you as I have had, altho' I have had trouble enough about it. I wish you could have some older girl than Jane but I suppose she can cook and do all that is necessary when she is well. Dont be in a hurry --

July 28. New regiments have come to the fort and we are to have another here today. That is the talk this morning.

Sunday morning, 28th. I dont know what I was about to say when I left off above, and now I have forgotten what called me away. I believe, however, it was a "contraband". Last night I got a letter from Laura and one from Damon. Laura talks as tho' she was not coming home again. I cannot see the reason that you and she cannot get along better togather. You, neither of you, have any consideration for the other and I am out of all sort of patience with you both. It seems strange that you two cannot live togather in peace. If you cannot live togather it will be very unpleasant for me. I wrote to her telling her some things that I thought & felt. She seems to feel grieved & thinks she is abused, and you feel the same. For my

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part I do not know who is to blame. I wish it could be different. I shall continue to write till we get home. You need not direct your letters here after you get this. - We shall probably leave here by Sat. or Sunday at farthest, and any letter written after Wednesday will not get here before we leave.

I shall not write many letters except what I write to you before I get home. I am getting tired of writing so many. I dont seem to have much that is new to say. You must take good care of yourself & not worry too much.

I just learn that Gen. Baxter sent up a line from the fort to Col. Phelps, last night, that we leave here next FridayAug. 2d. for home by the way of New Haven unless there should be some delay on account of want of transports. We are to keep our guns. So we shall reach Brattleboro by Monday and we shall have our papers all made out so that we can be mustered out and paid off in two or three days. The time is near at hand and if nothing happens we shall soon see home.

We are having a delightful morning. It rained a little in the night and is now as cool as Vermont. I have never suffered a summer less with heat than I have this. I dont know whether it is because I am tougher or because it has been really cooler.

Love to all.
Yours affectionatelyRoswell Farnham

P.S. My regards to Blakely.