Joseph Spafford to Homer White
Homer White Esq.
678. 6th Avenue(Care of H. H. Thomas)New York.
Army of the PotomacCamp Griffin Va.Feb 7th/62My Dear Homer -
In the first place I will ask your forgiveness for not writting you sooner. I
recd your letter a long time ago, when we were at Camp Advance I think. Since
that time I have thought of you, and of writing you I cannot tell how many
times, but for some reason I cannot tell why, I have not written. What are you
doing this winter? I am doing the same that the rest of this army is, and you
know what that is as well as I can tell you. We have been here now nearly 5
months, and tho’ we have not seen a battle I think we have lost our share of
men. There is, and has been all the time since we
came to Va. much sickness in our Regt. The cases are mostly Typhoid fever and they are fatal cases generally. Our Co. has lost 5 men by death, 4 of them by typhoid fever, and the 5th heart disease. We have discharged 3 and shall soon discharge 2 or 3 more, and have now 6 cases of fever in Hos. of which I think 2 at least will die. This is what I call whittling a Co. down pretty well for so short a time. The Regt. together have lost between 50 & 60, and they are dying off like flies in the fall, every day. My health has been good all the time since I left Vt. except about a week when I had the mumps. – Feb 8th I could not find time to finish my letter last night so will do so now. I dreamed of seeing you last night, probarbly
for the reason that I was thinking of you so much yesterday. Yes Homer tho’ I have not written you I have thought of you often, as my best friend, as one whom I shall not forget even by years of seperation. Tis not so with those who become our friends after we become men; a few years pass by without our seeking them and they are forgotten but friendship formed in childhood as yours and mine was is lasting and not eaisly broken. How many times the Capt and I have sat in our tent evenings and talked of you, wondered where you were, what you were doing &c. I have often wondered why you did not write me a second time tho’ I had not answered your letter. Where Homer are all those who who were children with us, who were our schoolmates at G.?
Look for them. Call the roll and see how many answer, and where the answers come from. Of the boys 3 are in the Army. Dan White, Nels C. and myself The rest are scattered here and there few, very few still remain in dear old G. – O how much would I give to see you to night. I have many things to say to you, “O many the changes since last we have met” but Homer I feel that we shall meet again, and then we can make up for all this time lost by seperation. But as Congdon would say – Presto. – We are living very comfortably here now having enough to eat stoves in our tents to keep warm by and plenty of bed clothing to cover us. I live as well as I would at home and sleep as comfortably. Tho’ all the men do not, but the Capt gave me the priveledge of tenting with him, which is very much better than it would be to tent with ten or a dozen.
I tried that for a while, and slept for a month or two on the ground with nothing between my body and that but a thin rubber blanket, we could not even get straw then, tho’ we all had small bed ticks furnished us but they were of no account when they had nothing in them. Now we all have got our ticks filled so you see sleep very well. The Capt and myself have a cooking stove in our tent so have plenty of warm bisquet, fresh beef, fresh pork, sausages &c. – in fact live as well as we should at home.
We are thinking to night that we shall have a chance to try our Enfield rifles on
the Heathen tomorrow, things look very much that way, still we may not. I will
tell you why we think so. Hancocks Brigade
which is encamped on the right of us, is just starting out with the intention of going to Fairfax Court House and see what is doing there; they intend to get there by 4 A.M. (it is now 10 P.M.) Two Regts of Cavalry go with them. If they should find the enemy there (which is more than probarble) and they (the rebels) should feel disposed to give battle, very likely they would send for Brook’s Brigade (which is the Vt Brigade) to reinforce them in the morning. We do not know, tomorrow will tell. One Lieut from our Regt has gone over to go with Hancocks Brigade to night so as to make a sure thing of it. Fairfax C.H. is about 12 miles from here. – - How is Ed prospering with his eyes? When are you going to Vt? If you should
ask me that question in regard to myself I could not very well answer it at present. I would very well like to go there for a few week to see my friends, but I am not sorry that I came here. If I had staid at home, I never should have felt satisfied with myself for it. I should have had it to thought of all my life time. I am not afraid of dying before my time comes let me be where I will and then whether I am in Vt. or Va. there is no dodging it. You know that was always my doctrine.
I have two more letters to write to night so will close soon. Is Fred Smith in
N.Y. now? If so and you see him give him my love, tell him to
write me and tell him company C. and myself are all right. Give my love to Ed and every body I know in N.Y. – I wish if you receive this Homer you would answer immediately, thereby returning good for evil. I wish it convenient you would send me a N.Y. Dispatch with some of your poetry in it once in a while. It would be very acceptable here in camp.
Direct Co. C. 4th Regt Vt
Vols. Washington D C.
The Capt sends respects. Write soon and believe me as ever
Your true frienJoseph Spafford