Ransom W. Towle to Family and Friends

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(No. 10)Headquarters 4th Vermont Regiment,Co. ECamp GriffinJan. 29th 1862Dear Parents & Friends,

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Miss Lauras kind letter No 9 was duly recd two Days ago I have just come in from a foraging expedition two miles into the Secesh Country for Rails the Result was [] five big Rails we are not allowed to burn fences here but as no wood is furnished us we tear down the fences and then burn the Rails that we find afterwards The results of this kind of

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foraging has made the Country within a radius of two miles from here all into one field. The Timber also has been all cut within that distance to build Stalls for Horses make wood for Cooks Officers, etc. This gives the Country rather hard look and is one form of the Desolation of War. Before the war there were some splendid beautiful swells just right for beauty of Scenery and advantageous Cultivation with fine buildings and magnificant yards and grounds. Many of these farms are now desolated Houses with broken windows doors standing open front yard trees cut down and fences burned up. this looks too bad but if Secesh Will be Secesh they must take the consequences There are many Citizens still living in their homes by professing Union Principles who I believe to be at heart full-blooded sympathizers with the Southern Cause but who think it cheaper to profess unionism then be driven from their homes and property. We are still lying idlel from drill on account of mud it has been the muddiest time for the last four weeks. Old Settlers say it is more rainy than usual at this season

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though winters here are always Rainy Inside you will find a Sprig of Laurel which came off from a small tree the root of which I made a smoking pipe out of it is a [bully] big one and will hold enough for a good family smoke if any of you were smokers I would send it home but as you are not I suppose you would not appreciate it. I thought perhaps Miss Laura might like a leaf [of] it for a mark for her book and when she looks at it she may think that I am smoking from a Pipe made from the root of the Same Tree, but the drum is beating for Dress Parade and I must go.

good bye,Ransom