Justus F. Gale to Sister

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8th Regt. Vt. Vols. Co. A Camp near Alexandria La. April [May] 15th 1863Dear Sister Aleda

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I wish I had a picture of just the position that I now occupy to send to you - I think you would think it enough with out writing a word. I sit leaned up against a tree with a bark for a chair and my catridge box for a desk - and you can see by the writing that it is just as good as any thing of a nicer quality would be. I recd you kind letter of the 12th some days ago and was verry glad to hear from you once more; and I am to tel you that it found me happy and well - and was in full persuit of the rebs; we have drove them until we have completely run them out and scattered them to the 4 winds.

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We are now stopping here for a few days how long we shall be here I dont know, or whare we shall go to next I dont know. we had quite a shower yesterday and last night - but the sun is coming out this morning. Steph, Wes and I made a shelter of our ruber blankets so we kept dry and slept dry as as the boy in the garret. Yesterday I saw the hardes scene I have witnessed since I have been in the army; the first thing in the morning I heard the report of a gun in camp close by – and was followed by the shrieks and groans of a wounded man; on going to the place there lay a man by the name of James Hill of Co. B 8th Vt with ball put right through his bowels; he was shot by an irish man of his own Co. he took his gun right in cool blood and told Hill he had got to die - and shot him on the spot Hill was teamster in that Co. he has a wife at home. the Irishman is in safe keeping - I hope he will have to stretch hemp. Hill lived about 10 hours

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I should like to have been there to helpt you eat sugar - but we get considerable cane sugar that we melt over and eat sugar and hard crackers - and that makes out to be pretty good living for a soldier;

The last news we got from Vicksburg and Gen. Grant was quite cheering; I think by what has been done by the rest of the army together with what Gen Banks army has done lately - that it looks a little as though this war might come to a close some time. I was verry much pleased with the lock of Jennys main you sent me; I think she will do as well as she wou ld if I was there if she dont get so good care - for if I was there she would have draw me around some in that new waggon. I suppose Maj. Grout is going home if he hasent already gone; his health has been poor for some time.

have you got the letter I sent home backed with a led pencil - it was the best I could do then; I cant write half I want to say so you must wait til I get whare I can talk.

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I get a letter occasionaly from Em Taft which is verry acceptable. she sais she hears from you; I wish I could see her. I havent heard from Emma Gale for some time – and never have heard a word from Orrison yet. I wrote to Joseph Camp when I was in the hospital but havent had any answer from it. he or any one else can do just as they please about answering them; I will assure them of one thing - Old Gale has got grit enough so he can hold even hand with them a spel yet. I wounldent write another letter to a friend in Elmore that cant be to the trouble to answer it if it would save their propperty and guilty souls from destruction.

I shall write to Mr. Chase again before long - give him my best respects and wishes. I have been looking for some time for little Herberts picture but dont see it yet - Oh, about Ira & Saphronia - Maj Grout told me that Ira couldent make his plan work. he said Saphronia was a nice, smart girl – but Ira came the nearest to being a fool of any one he knew of that thought he knew so much. Wesley says he could told Ira better if he had asked him. I must close for this time; give my respects to Mr. Wells and family - and all others that shou enquire after me - if any such there should be. Please write often and all the news. give my love to Mother & Samantha and except the same yours self.

I will send you a leaf of a Sicamore tree and a feather out of my bed.

this from your BrotherJ. F. Gale