Justus F. Gale to Mother

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In Rear Port Hudson La.Co. A. 8th Regt. Vt. Vols..July 1st 1863Dear Mother;

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I will try once more to write a few lines to let you know that I am yet in the land of the living - and enjoying good health. the other day when I wrote to Lyman I wrote that I was a little unwell; but I have got over that and are with my Co. now. We remain nearly in the same place that we occupied 4 weeks ago or more; our army have been to work verry buisy digging entrenchments - planting guns &c getting ready to storm the place and take it as soon as pos- sible; I havent been in any engagement since the 14th of June. night before last the rebels und- ertook to take some guns our men had planted near the river. our men on the left repulsed them and drove them about half a mile. I havent heard what the loss was on either side.

Deserters are coming in from the fort a most every day or night. they report the rebs to be getting verry short of provisions and many of them are getting short sick and tired of it. they come in 25 or 30 to a time.

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A Lieutenant and 25 men come in the other day they were sent out to do picket duty - so they thought they would come over into our lines to do it; they said they had three ears of corn a day delt out to them and they might cook it as they were a mind to; also they had a verry little poor fresh beef soup with mule meat put in with it peice it out longer; how much of this is true I can tel you - you have it just as it come to me. I guess the truth is they are hard up at least.

To day is the 1st of July - and I believe it is Lyman birth day - but I cant tel whether he is 31, 32 or 33 years old. I have forgot most all I ever did know (that want much) if I should stay another year I guess I should forget that I ever had a home. It is verry warm and dry to day; but I dont think the hot weather is going to affect us so much this summer as it did last.

I looked all day yesterday for a mail - but it dident come - so I thought I would write to day let the case go as it would; perhaps it will come before I get ready to send this out; the latest letter I have got was from Lyman & Mira the 7th of June. Lyman said you had gone to carry Samantha to Montpelier and was going to Barre to make a viset; how did Samantha stand the ride - and how is her health now.

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I hope you had a good viset; I should like to been there too. I recd a paper the last mail but from Reuben Nichols but could not make out whare it was mailed- only Mass;

I dont know as we shall ever get around whare we can be paid of again; they owe our regt 6 months pay now: but when it comes there will be the more of it. I suppose we have lost our knapsacks and all our clothing that we left to Brashear City; there is a report here that the rebs have made a raid into that place and destroyed and took all the stuf that our troops had there; Col. Thomas sais he wishes he could get one clip at them with his brigade – by the Eternal says he, I d wipe them all out of Existance.

After noon

Since I wrote the above it has been contradicted about our knapsacks, so I dont know whether they belong to the rebs or us; if they have got them - they have got both pair of the new socks you sent me last fall; but let that be as it may I will send you and Almeda one dollar in this letter to pay you for them and this dollar I got to day for some Confederate mon ey that I got out of one of their house’s up on the Teche - so I think I am even with them on that dicker; Every thing is about the same around the lines as common; they keep popping away at the rebs every few minutes all of the time.

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The Elmore boys are well - all that is here; Wesley is to Batton Rouge yet; the last I heard he was getting better; I expect he has been pretty sick but I dont know how sick bad he has been. we have enough to eat and drink- and are getting verry well; I think you will hear of our being in Port Hudson before long - or else you will hear of some hard fighting perhaps both;

I dont think of any thing more to write this time - and I think there is more now than you will want to read. Excuse this poor letter and bad writing; give my love and best respects to all and except the same yourself.

Please write often and oblige your unworthy boyJ. F.. Gale

(To his Mother)