Ransom W. Towle to Parents and Friends

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Camp in the Field 11 Miles From RichmondMay 23rd 1862Dear Parents & Friends All

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Poverty has prevented my writing sooner for I have not had a red[cent] for six weeks and no writing materials Yesterday I made out to borrow 15 cts with which I bought 3 sheets of paper one of which I swapped for an envelope. We have not been paid for four months which makes us pretty short as we have usually been paid once in two and calculated accordingly. Consequently money is very scarce. Prices are very high Flour $15 per bbl. Coffee $1 tea $3 to $4 Bacon $0.50 Cheese $0.50 Butter $0.75 and other things in proportion. The Rebels kill and drive of all the Cattle Sheep and hogs belonging to Planters along their route so that things

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look rather desolate as we pass along on the track of the flying Enemy Our army do nothing in the way of desolating the Country compared with theirs. We are strictly forbidden under the severest penalties from touching any kind of property even to a rail to make fire to heat a cup of Coffee Every house we pass there is a Guard Stationed to prevent depredations. We camped by the side of one old fellows house that Rebellion stuck right out of him. He even refused to let his Niggers sell hoe cake to the Soldiers yet his property was most scrupulously Guarded by our men. We Camped four Days on the old Custis Plantation fifteen miles from here where Geo. Washington did his Sparking and married. The same house is yet standing since we left Yorktown we have passed by some splendid Plantations and very [] Dwellings Some wheatfields of one to three hundred acres knee high or higher some Clover fields just bowing out look splendidly Corn is not quite so forward - is a little bigger than at first hoeing in Vt. the weather is as hot as the hottest of July in Vt. And it takes hold of the men pretty hard Our Co. has now 17 sick Som Companies have more than that We are near Neighbors to Rebel Pickets. Some think we are to have a big fight here but I think the Rascals will leave if we only give them a chance but if we do have a fight we shall have a big one. The Niggers dont seem to be afraid of the dambed Yankees half so much as their Masters. They line the fences as we go along chattering and grinning

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They talk freely and apparently tell all they know without hesitation They look fat and happy most of them are left on the Plantation pretty much to themselves their Masters flying with the retreating Army The retreat from Yorktown seems to have been a thing entirely unlooked for from the evident haste in which they left. All sorts of rumors are about with regard to the Vt Brigade being Discharged Some say Preparations are now being made at Burlington for Mustering us out how is it Write as soon as you get this and let me know

Give my regards to all who enquire.
Ever the same, Ransom