Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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Camp in the field near Washington VaOct 13th 1863My dear Wife:

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We have marched a long distance since I wrote you yesterday and hear I am now where we are ex-pecting a battle every moment writing on the head of a drum with the hot sun drying my ink as fast as I write, and one would think by the look of the writing a little faster, but I [      ] the letter will be none the less acceptable for being poorly written on an dirty paper. It is as I [    ] get and I [     ] this in my medicine knapsack which will account for it being soiled.

The enemy are but a short distance from us. They may not order an attack, but it is thought they will. Our men are in the best of spirits and are ready to go in I could move see how more could we anxious to go into a fight where the chances were that they would be killed. But I can understand it now, yet I cannot explain it. We have our artilery in position, I can stand on a rise of ground near where I am writing and look over the field and see all the troops and it is a grand sight I can tell you. To tell you how indifferent we become to danger, will be to tell you my position and now writing. If the Rebs should open their battery on us

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the shell wound come whising over my head, but you would see me "up and git" mighty quick I can tell you. Our officers are all laying around me some talking about one thing some another and some are sleeping as unconcerned as if in their quiet home. Such is the nature of man. I dont know as this will be of any indirect to you, but I dont know how soon I may have a chance to write again, and I have nothing else to do now. As for myself I take a pleasure in writing even this, I expect to war the [        ] of a shell every moment and it is not a time to have every commited thoughts or very steady nerves. You will think of me as I [        ] myself till you hear from me again which will be very soon if nothing happens to prevent.

Remember me to our dear children and kiss them all for me. Tell them that the center figure in the mala-motype is me. Give my regards to all our friends. I wrote Betsy aon friday last, a long letter. Perhaps she wont think me for it but I did the best I knew how.

God bless you my dear wife,
As Ever Your affectionate husbandJ.C. Rutherford