Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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Camp among the Pines near Culpepper VaApr 24th 1864My dear Wife:-

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The time is rapidly drawing near for our departure from this. Every thing is riled in mystery and uncertainty, except it is very certain that we are to move to the front. We all feel that may who are with us to day will all human probability will be numbered with the dead before another sabath dawns upon us, and the thought makes us feel sad. To think that those who have shared the hardships and trials, the joys and sorrows of our camp life for nearly two years, those who we have come to love and respect are so soon to be cut off from us never to be with us again, is any thing but pleasent. Is it not a sadening thought? Officers and men all feel it, and this feeling has produced a subdued feeling in us all There has been a sabath stillness in our camp for days past. Men collect in little knots and with a subdued manner and hushed [] talk of coming events. Officers must own

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another with looks that speak loader than words and expressions of feeling that are never the less deep for being noiseless. Oh! this stillness is awful, and ominous. But with all this their is a look of terrible determination in every mans countenance, a look that plainly says, we conquor or we die. It is the calmness that preceeds the coming tornado. And this is not confined to a part of the army but is one and universal.

We all feel that before another Sabath many a loving heart will be wrong with grief, and many a hearthstorm made desolate, and the whole country concealed with sorrow for the noble dead and the mourning living. And do our friends at home express any of these feelings, do they appreciate the momentous trials that their friends who are about to go forth to do battle, and never to return? Are they sending up prayers to the God of battle, for us, to day as they must in their quiet congregation? We would forgive believe they are, for we do feel, a something pervading one atmosphere that is not common, a feeling of strength

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that is not our own. If there ever was a time that our country and our army ever needed the prayer of the neighbors, it is at the momentous moment. This is not written in a spirit of dispondency, nor do I write it to produce any unnecessary sadness, but I think that you all at home have a right to share their feelings with us.

I have seen it stated that the appearance of Genl Grant among us is the cause of so much enthusiastic determination &c. and that we are ready to worship him, dont believe it, we are no hero worshipors, and if we were he has yet to do something to earn our reverance. The time is past when the army of the Potomac is ready to tear the brim of her hat for any Genl officer, and it is a piece of folly for politicians to under take to make any capitol out of any of our Genl. There is too much inteligence in the army to be influenced by any thing they have not sufficient evidence to warrant their approbation.

When Genl Grant proves himself worthy of such honors as now but the soldiers can

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give them he will receive such honors as are due him. That he is a working man there is no doubt, but it is not just to other noble officers to give all the audit to Grant, for all that has been done. He is a noble man and officer and deserves all his honors he has already received. Now let him earn new launells, then be coward with them.

I have filled this sheet full before I was aware of it, and perhaps with matter of little interest to you. You may infer from the tone of my remarks that I am desponding and low spirites, but I am quite the contrary feeling welll and a concious [] that I am with the army to day. We did expect to be ordered to move by tomorrow morning but I rather think that we shall not now. It has commenced raining since dark, which will prevent our moving I did not get a letter from you to night, which was some disappointment to me. But never mind you will write oftener when the time comes that I cannot write to you, wont you?

I have intended to have written about a great many things in this letter but I have filled it up with things I am affraid will be of very little interest to you. But I will try and do better next time. I got my paper this evening and I see by it that the editor is for having a military man for the next President, a thing that I dont think will work. We have no military man that is fit for such a responsible position. McClellan is a good general but is not a statesman. Grant declares himself unfit for this position, and the army cannot afford to loose such men from the field, to say nothing about the dangers of such a change. Let well enough alone. Remember me to all our friends, particularly to Mrs Page and Mrs Parker. Kiss the children for me and accept a world of love from me to your dear self

Your affectionate husbandJ.C. Rutherford