Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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Camp near Brandy StationFeb 22d 1864My dear Wife:-

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I received your letter of the 16th on the 20th. I really do think that my powers of discrimination are of no mean order, and that my impressions of a certain indi-vidual are correct, and that the knowledge I have obtained of him here has not in the least bettered my opinion. I called him a Vagabond, when I should have and the more mild yet none the less expression word reprobate. I must confess I feel anoid when I think of him, and was in hopes his memory would not be recalled again. As for the attractions of a certain in-dividual. I must say I have not overrated. When I think how how attractive that person is to me I can see how they may be attractive to others. I love to have this person ad-mired, but I should choose to have the admi-ration of a proper character and from a

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people of unquestionable character. I feel that there will never by any reason to regret the cautions I felt it my duty to give - notwithstanding the appearance of a sort of care to shield the skunk, and the evident annoyance it gives a certain person to hear any thing that reflects upon his character.

Please me by giving the whole thing the [    ]. Your little batch of news was quite interesting and I am glad to have you mention all the little things that interests you. Home never was so dear to me as now, my thoughts wander to you a hundred times a day and with them a longing desire to be with you, and were it not for [       ] reasons I would pack up traps and go home at once. A week ago yesterday our regiment was out on picket and I was with it. We could see the enimy occasionaly passing too and fro before us. In my rides along the line which was 5 miles long I had occasion to stop at a house where some of our men were posted, and here I saw one of the beauties of

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slavery. The owner of the place was a man 72 years of age, a perfect wreck of a man his wife was nearly as old. She had the ap-pearance of once being handsome. They were the F.F.Vs There domestics or rather slaves were one old black wench five milatto girls each one of these had from one to there young ones, and then milatto boys. The mistress of the mansion never had any children. The milatto girls and boys were the children of the black woman. The master of these black was the Father not only of the girls and boys, but of Father to the children of these girls. These facts are well known to the legitimate wife, and yet they all live under one roof, with as much quitude as a sow with a litter of pigs. These things are winked at by the neighbors. Beautiful is it not. Wonder how a wife or a northern lover of slavery would like such strays exist in their family? It was really disgusting to me. This is but a specimen of many such instances in the slave states.

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I have not seen any letter from Helen yet expect one every mail. Tell her she must not forget her poor old Father way off her alone in a strange land midst the perils of war and carnage. We begin to feel that the time is not far distant when we shall be called upon to face the enimy in deadly strife, and many who in the full vigor of manhood will lay his burns in the soil before the falling of leaves again. It is sad to think of - but we do not allow ourselves to think of these things much.

I have all I can do from morning till night and I get very tired. It is hard, when I might have help just as well as not. But it wont do to complain. I am very low spirited to night, and want to see my wife and children. Home! Home!! Home!!!. Ever dear to me. God grant that I may be with you all before many months. Give my love to the children and kiss them all for me over and over again. And you precious one how much I would give to lay my poor head on your sympathizing heart, but this happiness is at present impossible. Think of me often, and here is a kiss for you. God bless you all.

Your affectionate HusbandJ.C. Rutherford