Roswell Farnham to [Mary Farnham]

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The enclosed leaf came from Mt. Vernon -Head Quarters 12th. Regt. Vt. V. M.Camp Vermont, Near Alexandria, Va.Nov. 14th. 1862My Dear Wife:

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Tonight I received by mail two letters from you & the paper containing the collar. One of your letters was mailed the 5th. the other the 12th. I wonder the first one did not get thro' in better season. I was glad to hear from you by so long letters & I was indeed glad that you was very fortunate that you let Mr. Chamberlin have the house, as it makes company for you & will be company for Laura after you get out here.

I should have been pleased to share your supper with you, with Mac & puss by your side. I have almost forgotten how the little scamp looks, that is, the expression of this countenance tho' I think I should recognize the crook in his tail. I should think you might take comfort there at home alone. When will you do with Mac when you come out here? Will

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you take him with you or will you leave him in Mr. Chamberlin's care?

Col. Blunt's house is nearly finished, so is the Major's. They are built of timbers set upright in the ground, roofed with boards. The Col's has two windows in his, & a good fireplace & he can be very comfortable. I have not yet commenced mine but shall do so soon.

Yesterday I rode down to Mt. Vernon the home of Washington. I wish you could have been with me. It is about six miles from here & we had a delightful ride. The day was warm & now the roads are good. It must be a delightful country here in the summer.

Mt. Vernon looks as I had expected it would, tho' there was more of a forest in the vicinity than I had supposed. We caught sight of the house as we approached the lodges each side of hte old gate-way but lost it again by the winding of the road until we came close upon it. The buildings have been kept in nearly the same form in which they were at the time of Washington's death. The grounds are however much overgrown with trees & shrubs. The garden is laid out as it was by Washington himself. The green house contains three plants that were in it when Washington was alive, viz; a century plant, an orange tree and a palm.

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But every thing looks dilapidated. The tomb is open with an iron grating in front. The remains of Washington & his wife are contained in two marble sarcophagi or coffins which lie in sight. The old tomb is empty I believe, the remains having been moved to the new tomb thirty years ago or more.

There is but little to be seen in the house the furniture having been moved away by his nieces after his death. A great deal of it was in Arlington House, nearly opposite Washington, in the hands of the rebel Gen. Lee who lived there & married Miss Custis I believe. After the war broke out & our soldiers encamped about Arlington House & Lee was gone many of the relics were moved to the Patent Office Washington.

The key to the old Bastile France still hangs in the passage. In the dining room was an old harpsichord, shaped some like a grand piano, & something like that old piano that we had at Franklin. It was a present from Washington to Mrs. Lewis, one of his nieces, on her birthday. In the same room were his holsters and some good sized saddlebags to carry stores while in the army. I wish you and Laura could have been with me. I had a very interesting time.

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Geo. Andrews & Murphy came here today - Geo took supper with me.

We have had a fine battalion drill today - The first one we have had in a long time - Our Regt did very well indeed.

Willard Farrington came into my tent a few days ago. He is looking well & belongs to the Cavalry Regt.

I wish you would tell Charlie Harding that I want him to come out here & stay a week & I think I can make it pleasant for him. He had better come now it is good going. I will go down to Mt. Vernon with him, that is outside of the picket line, & if there is a chance he shall have a hunt with the rebels - I want to see somebody here that I care for from Bradford. I should like one fair representative. You need not tell this to any body else. Had you not better go up & see Seym. Brown & see Mrs. Blunt & arrangements about coming our here together? You must be ready for I expect the Col. will send for his wife as soon as the house is done.

Your affectionate husbandRoswell F---