Joseph Rutherford to [Hannah Rutherford]

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Camp in the fieldDec 10th 1864My dear Wife:-

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I saw in the N.Y. Herald a notice of the death of our Brother Lucien. I was prepared to hear of his death at any time, but I did not think of it through the press. I have not recd any letters from you since we left the Valley, therefore the announcement of his death from you has not reached me.

It is hard to part with him, and never to see him again, and the circumstances under which we last parted makes the parting more sad to me. I should have been glad to have taken him by the hand me more in that mutual friendship that once existed between us. But the cold hand of death has placed a [] between us for a reason. If the soul of the departed are permited to read the hearts of those left behind he will see how truly we all loved him & how much we would have done to make him happy. We must all soon travel the same great high way, and I hope that we may be permited to meet in that

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happy union that know no parting.

It would give me great pleasure to have you give my a full account of his sickness and his feelings concerning us. Every thing in fact concerning him. You know how deeply I sympathize with you in the loss of your dear Brother and wish I was with you that I might share your sorrows more fully.

We are now laying about 25 miles south of Richmond and a little south west of Petersburgh. Our line of battle is about 40 miles long and very strong. We have very little firing in the day time, but the night is made hedious by the constant rattle of musketry and roar of artilery. Yesterday I had a visit from Petersburgh of a shell that passed directly over my cabin, and I can amuse you it was a very unwelcome visitor. Yesterday was a very cold day, and last night it snowed all night, and when I went out this morning the crust was strong enough to bear me, something very unusual in the parts. I suffered very much with the cold and wished myself sitting by a snug little fire at home. We moved into very

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poor quarters here, and have nothing but green pine wood to burn. While I write this my fingers ache with the cold. I dont think you would write with such cold fingers, nor would I but for feeling it my duty to do so. Our move has deprived me of the privalage of going home and I do feel the disappointment sadly, and no doubt you do too. I suppose I could get leave to go home, but being so far from home the cost would be more than we could afford just now, and the money could better applied in paying for our home and making you comfortable this winter.

We have a railroad that runs the whole length of our line and the cars pass here every hour. I should think by the distant report of heavy artilery and the vibration of the earth, that then was hot work a Dutch gap, which is about 30 miles north of here. It must be gun boats in action. You can judge that a gun that you can put a common rigid water pail into will some noise & jam when it goes off, and can be heard at a great distance.

There has been an order issued by Genl

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Mead that any man exchanging papers with the Rebel pickets shall suffer death. This is to utterly prevent the Rebs from getting any information of war movements. There is a big thing to be done soon judging from appearances.

I suppose you must need some money, but we are not to be paid off till after the 1st of Jan. Every thing is very high here in the army. A pair of boots costs from 18 to 23$, and every thing in proportion. I wont buy them though. The boots that I am wearing have holes in the toes. But I dont care a crap for that. I feel just as good, if I dont get my feet wet.

Give my love to the children and tell them that I shall come home to see them just as soon as I can. Accept the reward assurance, of my continued love to your dear self, and may God bless you all. Did I tell you that Major (now Lt Col) Chandler was disminished the service for drunkness and cowardice?, and that my much esteemed friend Col Henry had redigned?

Your EverJ.C. Rutherford