Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

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Camp Near Fairfax C.H. VaTeusday Eve Dec 30th 1862My Dear Sister

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As my last letter was rather abruptly closed, tho’ I have not heard from you since, I will write again to night. When I wrote that letter we were under marching orders, & before I closed it (which was about 8 o’clock P.M.) the Co. was falling in. I thought it was useless to say as much in the letter for if I ended my letter that way it would be left as the continued stories generally are in “The Flag of Our Union” &c. i.e. leave the reader thinking & wondering what next until the next number comes. George did not go with us & said he was going to write home that night and I told him he had not better say that the Regt had gone out, but as usual, he had to tell all about it, so he told me to night. It was a beautiful moonlight night & the whole Brigade was out, the 15th on picket at Bull Run the 12th & 13th at Fairfax C.H. or near there & the 14th near there in another direction & we (the 16th) down to Fairfax Station. Each Regt lay on thier arms. We were drawn up in line along side of the Catholic Church which had had all the pews taken out & been used as a hospital, it was empty when we were there so our & some other of Officers from other Co’s went into it &

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slept. The station is between 2 & 3 miles from the C.H. I slept so soundly that I did not even hear the firing at the C.H. which was done by the 12th 13th & the Battery that was with them. Sometime in the night, I dont know what time, some Co’s of the 12th & 13th which were stationed by some old breast works discovered the Rebel cavalry passing & fired into them with no further results that we know of, than killing one of thier horses, & taking one of the men prisoner. The Gen. ordered some shells flung after them from the 6 pound guns which were there, which was done, but to no effect it seems. Our Regt stayed down to the station until about 3 P.M. The next day when we came back to camp & have been here undisturbed ever since. It makes me so mad I dont know what to do to think how they can slip round among our troops & not get taken. It seems almost impossible that they could pass right through among so many of us here and recieve no further damage. The prisoner captured states that thier object in doing so is meerly to capture what sutlers stores they can so they are getting hungry. I presume you will see an account of it in some of the papers before you receive this. There is something of an account of it in

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to nights “Philadelphia Inquirer” which I will send you tomorrow.

Tomorrow is the 31st day of December & consiquently “muster day” with us. Day after tomorrow is our time to go on picket again for four days. I like it & had rather do it than to stay in camp. This is good fun to what it is staying back to Alexandria or somewhere else where there is no excitement & nothing to do. I am looking for a letter from you tomorrow night so shall not finish this letter until then.

Wed. Eve Dec. 31st Did not receive the letter I was expecting from you to night so will finish this & mail it in the morning. I think the picture you sent me in your last letter a very good one, still I like the Zouave better, however we will not mind about changing until I come home. I think this last one looks too much as thos’ “Johny had gone for a soger” The weather is somewhat colder to night but I presume will be warmer again tomorrow. Three of the resignations in our Regt have been accepted. The Capt & 2d Lieut of Co. H. (Felchville) & Lieut Sherwin of Co. D. (Townsend) There are 4 more which will doubtless be accepted before long. I think Geo Clark stands quite a chance for a Lieutenancy. I would not take

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a Captaincy (not that there is any propect of my getting one) on any account. I consider a 1st Lieutenancy altogether better.

This is the last letter I shall write in 1862 Tomorrow another year begins I wonder if it is to be a year of so much suffering as “62 has been.

We have got a [splendid] Gen. & the Gen has a splendid staff. The whole Brigade are very much pleased with him.

I have nothing more to write this time so I will close. My love to father, mother, Grandmother & all inquiring friends. Good night.

As Ever Your Aff BrotherJoseph Spafford