Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]
I received yours of the 8th inst while on a march 3 days ago, and have not had a
chance to answer it 'till now. Such a time we had I never saw and never want to
see again. It was in the night and so dark that it was impossible to see any
thing and I never saw (or rather felt) it rain so hard in my life. I had charge
of the Ambulance train with the sick of the Brigade. You cannot conceive the
condition we were all in when we got to our destination. No shelter for my sick
nor myself. But I did not rest 'till I found a house and Genl Morris and myself
took posession of it. I got my sick into it and made them very comfortable, when
they yet remain. We have made it a Genl Hospital and I have charge of it. The
house was before the war one of the grand mansions of Va called the "Wallack
Mansion", and I am now writing in one of the chambers. The place and the
surrounding country is grand in the extreme even in their ruins. We are in the
extreme front, their being no troops (of Infantry) between us and the enemy. Who
are prowling about us on all sides. It is not safe to go outside our camp guard,
and what is more we are in danger of being gobbled up at any time.
While I think of it, if any such thing should befall me dont forget the scent writing.
You ask what has become of my Indian blankets & & When we left Harpers Ferry last June we had to destroy nearly every thing we had, for the want of means to cary them. I only kept one suit of cloths and that on my back and two blankets. Your think that my inginnity was sufficient to supply all di-ficiencies, but if you could see how severly our inginuity is taxed you would think I had gained in the respect to make myself as comfortable as I do. As for getting things from the Hospital, we have a scanty supply for the sick, and I could not think of depriving them of a single comfort to gratify my warts. These trials are the fortunes of War and the only way to do is to make the best of them.
I had lots of things to write to you, but Capt Dillingham and Ruff Tabor and in the room cutting up their shins which rather confuses me. But these thing occur to my mind again them I will indite[ ].
I had a good hearty laugh when I read of your surprise at the sight of the woman
and child Photograph, and I dont wonder at it either, thought it was purely
accidental in putting them in together. I told Dr Childe about it and he was
amused. The child looks very much as George did at that
age. I had a long letter from Rebecca the other day she says she has written to you. Her husband has been sick all summer and she has had the whole charge of the farm &c &c Col or Dr Smith is at home and they are all well. Speaking of of Col he was Asst Surgeon in Friends regiment and Friend told me that he does well, but his wife got into a stew about his coming home and nothing to do but he must resign. He was so well liked by the men that they shed tears when he left. Friend tried to have him stay. The Dr has since regretted very much that he left.
Speaking of your comforts at home lightens my burdens and hardships more than any
thing else could, it is just what I am laboring for, and to know that my efforts
are accomplishing what I desire to do is all I can ask. My prayer is that you
may enjoy them to the fullest extent, and if I should be spared to return to my
home my enjoyment will be doubled by the knowledge that they my
efforts have not been in vain and have contributed so much to the comfort and
happiness of my dear family. You ask me if I ever regret entering the Army? No!
As to my opinion when the War will close I think that it cannot continue longer
than next June. Our Army was never stronger nor in a better
condition, and we are pressing the enemy hard on all sides, and it is not possible for them, to hold out much longer.
I am glad to hear so good account of our dear children I have not seen old [ ] for some time, as he has got sick of coming to me to get rid of duty He is an old. S-- well no matter what. I see Joseph, or rather Corp Daggett often and he is looking finely. I am not writing this on a tin plate, but on a real table, but have got an old box for a seat. Oh! I must tell you one thing that will make you stare. We had greens for dinner yesterday real greens and they were good too. Just think of that, having greens in the mouth of Nov.
You do not write as often as you did, which is a great [ ] to me, for it is the greatest comfort I have to get a letter from you, and you certainly can write much [ ] than I can and oftener too. My dear dont deprive me of this source of comfort.
Remember me to the children and kiss them all for me the dear creatures. Give my regards to our friends &c I have got my pay again and will send you the money as soon as I can get to the express officer. I send Jacob a new 25 cent [ ] and a 10 cent to Helen, for they are neat things. God bless you my dear wife.
Your ever affectionate husbandJ.C. Rutherford
You get a letter with the black dash under my name remember that there is more in it than can be seen.