Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

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Miss M J Spafford
Upper FallsVermont


Camp Griffin VaJan 2nd 1862My Dear Sister –

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I want to write you a long letter but know I have not time to night, so will write as fast as possible and use a lead pencil and by this means I think I can write at least half I wish to. I recd to night your letters of Dec 20 & the paper & register & album. I was very much pleased that you sent the register for I have wanted one on a number of occasions. How every thing you send comes handy. I found after [] the Co all over, one 1 ct stamp to put on the paper I sent you today. The suttler is out of stamps 3 quarters of the time and if a fellow is not lucky

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enough to have any on hand he must borrow, if he can find them, or his friends must wait a few days longer for a letter from him. I was thinking to day if I could be lucky enough to get some to send you some papers tomorrow, as I wish to do so. The stamps enclosed in the register settle the difficulty.

I know nothing more about the Capt coming back than you do. He thinks then that promotions are based entirely upon merit. Perhaps they are but I must beg leave to differ with him. If he had said entirely upon favor I could have said Amen to it. Faxon was our Sergt Major The first vacancy of a Lieut in a Co, he had the benefit of. He is a sort of a cousin of the Cols. I believe 2d cousin. Hooker

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a private in the Brattleboro Co. took his place. He was a good penman and had been doing writing for the Adjt. – Charly Read is writing for the Adjt now and has been for a long time. He has nothing to do with the Co. now, tho’ is still reckoned as a member of Co C. He is an excellent penman & has more brass about him then a little. He will always manage to get amon the big boys. If he was a Lieut a common man could not touch him with a rod pole, as they say. He has been promoted to Signal Sergt. (i.e.) he has to whenever we go on a march go with the Adj’t. and does not carry a gun or Knapsack, but has to carry the signals, flags in the

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day time, & different colored lights in the night. The Col. likes him well (to take his word for it) and I think very likely tis so, as he is just the Cols kind. I think when there is a favorable opportunity, he will be Lieut and I notice our Lieuts thinks the same. An Orderly Sergt stands about as much chance for promotion as he does of being shot, nor any better certain. I would not wonder if I could have done better if I had come as 2d 3d 4th or 5th Srgts. As you say I would not change places with the Capt. As far as that is concerned the pay is nothing to do with the question. I understand that all these Caps will loose two or three hundred dolars apiece as they have not looked after the Co affairs close enough. I do not doubt it, and I am quite sure that Captone Capt will.

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I wonder when he Capt A. is coming back. The boys, most of them do not like him at all and have as leif see the Devil coming as him. Remember this letter is strictly confidential I would not write the same to any other than you. – I think that he, or either of our Lieuts will favor Charly Read before me on any occasion. You mistake my meaning in regard to what I said of officers. I did not mean Dan W. he has always used me like a gentleman; when I look at it in an [] light I cannot blame him so very much. He wanted the place, and worked hard for it, and got it. That is the amt of it. He never tries to

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show his athority over me, but as I said uses me like a gentleman.

If ever these soldiers come home they will steal everything they lay hand on, they will get so used to it here. It is so through all the Regts I know any thing about. It is the fashion. A man that cant do it isnt smart, and a man that trusts a shirt or any thing on a line over night is quite sure to loose it. I know these things to be a fact. Fellows that are nice sort of young men in Vt. make it a rule to do so here I know many such ones in Co C. – Mother asks about my tent. I have no fire in it, but would have had one had I not suposed the Capt would have been back before this time. A fellow by

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the name of Hancock lives with me. He is as good a little fellow as there is in the Co. He was waiter for the Capt before he left. – I keep my things in my knapsack and one of those [] cloth sachels that one of the Co. gave me. – There are news boys through the camp every day with daily papers. – I have seen Hen Spafford this evening he says he shall not go home as it will take some time to get a furlough and by the time he could get home his father would be better or not alive. – I do not think that picture is a very good one do you I think it was poorly coppied. I guess you had better send the original. I shall send this one and the Album. I think that a nice thing to keep pictures in. If I go to Washington saturday I

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shall get another, and all the Sergts & Corporals in the Co. will have their pictures taken for me (13) and I shall send it home so you can see the Co. C’s non commisioned officers. –

I learned the other day while talking with the Orderly Sergt. of Co. I. that he was from Jamaica. I inquired of him in regard to C-. He said he knew him well and that he was a smart fellow enough, if he would not eat opium so like the D.C. I asked him if he thought that was so. “Yes” said he “I know it is. I have known him to be under the influence of it for 60 hours together” He knew nothing who I was, and so of course his story can be depended upon. I like C- well enough but when we know such stories to be true, and all the time he swears to you to the contrary I cannot help thinking you have had