Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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Camp in the field near Warrenton VaJuly 29th 1863My dear Wife:-

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Most welcome were two letters from you, and one from Helen yesterday the first I have received for nearly a month and to learn of your continued good health was extatic. To know the real value of letters from friends at home one must be placed in circumstances similar to ours. The long waiting, the hopes and fears, and the many anxieties that we experience when we wait so long for news from home, gives a thouand fold value to the letters we receive that no other circumstances can produce We look at the letter almost dread to open it, you impatient to devour its contents, then when we have preread them it would make a friend at home proud, and happy too, to see the elated joy depicted on our countenances. Then we sit down in groups and tell little bits of news we got from home, each one having some little home incident to relate that adds additional happiness to that already received. Though we suffer many hardships in the field

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we can if so disposed find many things that that is pleasing and lightens our burdens matinally. For many a day we have lived on hard tack and salt pork, and some times not enough of that, yet we enjoy it. We sit down to eat, and cad our fool by all the names that an [       ] would like to feast upon. We think of the luxuries of home and often wish we sit down to our own table if only for one meal. We have not seen an ounce of butter for a month and I do believe I have forgotten how it tastes. Do not think that I tell this in a spirit of complaint far fromit I am better off than many others and to complain would be folly. But I should just like a small piece of your nice bread with some good Vt butter spread all over it. It makes my mouth water to think of it. Since I commenced this we have had another mail come in and 3 more letters from but older than those I got yesterday but none the less acceptable I can assure you.

We have laid here 3 days now and within 10 minutes the troops have commenced moving to Catlitus Station on the railroad some 20 miles from here. You wanted to

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what relation we hold in the 3d army corps. You already know the Division and Brigade. The Corps Genl is Genl French, the Divis Genl is Genl. Elliot and our Brigade commander is Brig Genl Morris.

I have seen George and Eugene a number of times lately, but do not know where they are now. Eugene is with his company and will.

Your little budgett of news are very interesting and particularly your account of the children . You keep telling me about what a smart looking boy yours is, but always forget to send me so much as his picture, and I dont know how many times I have asked for it. I think I have received all your letters I have received 8 yesterday and to day.

You ask me what I think of Genl Mead? Well it is not an easy matter to tell what a man is by a first effort, but so far he promises well. The real cause of Hookers removal was drunkeness. A man told me who saw him at the last Frederickburgh fight that he (Hooker) was so drunk that was unable to stand, and Dr Childes wife told me that he dined at the same table with her at Poolville after our Regt, left them, and he got beastly drunk on the Dr.

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Whisky, this was only a day or too before his removal from the army. It is many such cases as these that has brought so much disgrace upon our arms. Our Army is very hopeful now and are ready to go, or do any when any thing for the cause.

I have received the "Newport News", and must say that I was surprised to see one of my foolish letters in it. My letters are for you and I say a great many things that would not look well in print.

I was much pleased with Helens letter, tell her to write often and when I can I will answer them. Tell the children how much I want to see them and how I love them. Remember me to Mrs Parker and Miss Frost, and all other friends. I cant write them is so much confusion about me, train after train of artillery passing within 2 rods of me. You cannot have the slightest idea of the stir and hubbub of a moving army. I will try and do better next time.

I am very well.

Your affectionate HusbandJ.C. Rutherford