Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

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Bristoe Station Va.Friday May 15th 1863Dear Sister,

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Our Co. with a detail of 30 men from other Co’s came out here last sunday. I was on picket at the time they left so came the next day. We were detailed for 4 days, but are to stay 4 days longer, so the Gen. told the Capt. as he passed here on the train yesterday. Capt stoped at this place with Co. E. & I took the odd detail of 30 & went to Kettle Run to guard the bridge there (This is Broad Run & about a mile & a half from Kettle). We built us a shelter out of an old house roof out there so get along well enough rain or

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shine. The boys fish a great deal so have all the fresh fish they want. There is nothing in the shape of rebs in this vacinity except Mosbys Guerrilla squads, which are cutting around every where & at all times to take what prisoners they can; they are seldom seen in larger squads of than 20 or 30, & with 30 infantrymen I will risk double that number of Cav. They always steer mighty shy of Infantry unless they can catch 2 or 3 out alone & pitch on to them with 3 times as many men. The fact is we are living in very much Guerrilla style ourselves here. We receive no orders from any one & do what we please & as we please. We send out a scout of 20 or 25 men every day

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to look about the country for a few miles about us & see who & what they can see & what they can find that they want in the shape of pigs, chickens &c. Yesterday I went out about a mile & a half from the bridge I was guarding with 20 men. we only found one house where any one lived, & there was now one there but an old lady, two very pretty girls & a few small children. how they live in this country I dont see, cant buy, or raise anything. They told the same story that they all tell, “old man off in the field ploughing” or “widow woman”. Yesterday about noon a cavalryman came into our camp (at Kettle Run bridge) devil-to-cut, & said a squad

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of greybacks (about 15 as near as he could judge) had just given him a chase to within about a mile of us. He came from Warrenton & was bound to Fairfax C.H. A Pa. Cavalry man.

We like this kind of life tip top dont want to go into camp with the rest of the Regt. again until our time is out. We have a chance to send into camp by the train every day so get our mail all right. I recd a letter from Alg last night which I will put in this so you can see it. Lt. Gillett. Co. F. was detailed out here with us & he is out to Kettle Run in my place to day & I am stopping here at Bristo. I will close as I am nearly at the bottom of the sheet. Love to all.

Your Aff. Brother J.S.