Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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Camp Briggs near Poolsville on the upper PotomacSept 28th 1862My Dear Wife -

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Your letter dated the 21st is the only one I have named since we left Brattleboro. I had almost dispraised of hearing from you, and should felt very uneasy had I not known that if anything was amist you would write. You complain of not hearing from me but I have written every week, and shall continue to do so if possible. I have a great deal of work to do. The other asst Surgeon has been away and sick the last 10 days. He came back to duty to day or I should not have had a chance to be writing this. Our Regt is so spread out that I have had to ride some 16 and 20 miles a day to see them all. The surgeon has done his share of duty besides. There is not a particle of shirk about him and we work together in greatest harmony.

I am enjoying excelent health it would do you good to see your [      ] sunburnt husband riding railroad spread through the line of Pickets from moving till night three come to head quarters, and find a smoking hot supper awaiting him, and see with what hearty [      ] he acts it. And you would laught to see him come into camp with a turkey or a squealing pig across his saddle and the next day see him across the lawn. I have laughed at the picture I must make when in such a plight. But the best joke was to see our Lieut Col come into camp night before last with a great squaking goose across his saddle, but we

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thought it no joke when we had for dinner yesterday, and it was good and made me think of Home. I had it cooked as you cook them. We have dinner at the fashonable hour, 4 P.M. I suppose you would like to know how we manage to Bake our Pigs and fowls. It is rather primative I will allow but the results cant be beat I will assure you Our ovens are made by diging a hole some 1 1/2 foot wide 3 feet long and 2 feet deep, lay some [     ] stove in the bottom then build a fire in it and let it burn about 3 hours. Then clean every thing out but the stone. The we place the Pig goose or turket into to it in it lay a board over the hole and cover the whole with dirt. This will cook our meats in about 2 hours to a turn, and this is the way we bake our beans. Our head is generally hard head and hard enough it is too, but it is very make 2 hours, at any rate I feel that I am getting very strong as it. By the way my little horse is a perfect jewel, in fact is it acknowledged to be the best horse in the regiment. She aint afraid of nothing can go like the wind and is as tough as iron The staff often go out together and when riding over the large plains we get to racing and the result is my little mare will take the lead. And she likes me, will [           ] she sees me coming I can let her loose and she will stay round and come up to me when I want her. The Hospital Steward has just bought me in a tin [    ] full of very delicious grapse. How

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I wish you could help me eat them. We get an aboundence of Peaches and grapes here but the apples that are raised her are not of much account.

Sept 30. I did not have time yesterday to write any. Dr Clark having had a relapse. Today there hardly any sickness in the Regt, but there is a regiment that came here at the same time we did / the same day who have 27 in the Hospital 64 in Quarters that is in their tents and has lost 7 men by death. We have 7 in Hospital not more then 10 sick in quarters and have lost only 2 by death one of these died before we came here, or rather he died at Fairfax Seminary Hospital. This is truly a community upon the differance in which men are cared for by Medical officers of differant regiments.

I must tell you that I have got a very curious pet, and such a one as you could [    ] guess what it is, well it is nothing more nor less than, now cant start a hive of Bees, and as I sit writing I can lay my hand on the hive, the air is full of them about my head. The way I come to have [    ] is this. There is a clump of bushes just back of our tents when we keep our homes. I happened out there one day last week and saw some bees hanging to a little bush. I went and found a little wax and shook the bees into it and when it was dark I went and got them and set them back of my tent. In the day time we raise our tents up from the bottom to let to air [cesculate], which brings the bees within reach. This is not all, I had a nice little dog come to me the other day. He is of the same breed as Mrs Cushings but not of the same

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color. He is a mighty nice little fellow follows me every where and seems to have formed a very strong attachment to me, but I think most of my Bees. This is the hotest day I ever experienced in my life it is impossible to find a cool place. I have put off doing any thing like work till night rather than risk a sun stroke. There is a large Island in the middle of the Potomac directly opposite our camp and within 3/4 of a mile from us, a large number of Rebel Cavelry were on the Island, and you can judge that there is some stir in camp.

Did you know what a beautiful picutre you [   ] of a home [     ]? Nothing could surpass it. I could every thing just as vividly as if there in person.

I am so glad that Jacob was pleased with his dinner, there the two little jokers kitten and Joseph and the other listening. Poor Helen I am sorry for her eyes. I am very glad you did not send her to school you must have her temples blistered and one a week give her a dessert spoonful of salts. Do not let her read any by candle light. Now I must draw this to a close. We do not have an opportunity to send letters but twice a week and this is the morning (Tuesday) for the mail to go out.

Friend is Colonel of the 97th Illinois Regt. I will write to Hull about that wagon, and just as soon as we are paid off I will send you some money. I should be pleased to have Helen write to me. I have a thousand things to say but no time nor space to say them now.

Your loving HusbandJ. C. Rutherford