Joseph Spafford to Mary Jane Spafford

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E. Bristoe Station Va May 16th 1863Dear Sister,

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This is a beautiful sabbath morning in a beautiful country. I am thinking that you at home are preparing for church at Perkinsville about this time. I am sitting here in the chamber of an old deserted house writting home. We are still stoping here guarding the bridges as I wrote you before. Lt Gillett stays at the Kettle Run bridge all the time now & I stop here with Co. E. This is not

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much of a place; never could have been anything of a village, tho’ there has been quite a number of houses destroyed & burned down. There are now only 3 or 4 left within half a mile & those are not inhabited. Back 2, 3 & 4 miles from the R.R. we find now & then a family trying to stick by the old place & tough it through. At almost every place we find pretty girls, which I notice is generally the greatest safeguard they can have for thier chickens pigs &c. This is a very level country; from Manassas Junction through to Warrenton Junction the R.R. is so straight we can see almost from one place to the other as we

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stand on the R.R. here. There is an old Wind Mill here, I think about 50 ft high; through the day time we keep a look out stationed on top of that with a spy glass & he informs us if he see cavalry coming at any time, & we fall in & wait to find if its ours or Rebs; we have seen no Rebs as yet. In the night time we post 5 or 6 men for a kind of a picket & the rest of us go into two block houses which our Regt has built here. They are made of 8 inch timbers laid one top of another, a little higher than a mans head with several holes to fire from in each side, then there is a floor laid & another story put on this way [drawing] so it corners are all pointed diferent

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ways so it gives us a chance to fire in all directions. We can stand 10 times our number a good pull. We live very well as we send out about a mile to a house & buy milk, eggs, &c. Yesterday Horace went into Camp & got us a nice large piece of fresh beef & last night the cussed dogs carried it off. The dogs are as thick here as sheep are in a sheep pasture in Vt. We have killed several. We have had occasion to fire at persons lurking around our pickets several times but as yet I guess none of them have many bullet holes in them for they make off lively. Our boys all came out with us & not one of them is sick or has been since we have been here. None of us want to join the Regt again until our time is out.

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Fairfax Station Va. Mar. 1863

You see I commenced a letter on this some time ago but did not finish it.

Eben Haskell is well & tough as a bear but has not spoke a loud word for nearly 4 months. The boys are not so fleshy as they were in cold weather but they are tough & getting black as fast as possible.

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What are they going to do about the draft in Vt? I dont expect we will get home until about the first of Aug. tho’ many in the Regt still stick to it that we shall start the 10th of June. Realy between you & I, I am almost afraid that after the 10th of June the Brigade wont be good for much tho’ I dont want you to say as much to anyone, but if you should hear the boys talk (& it cant be stoped) sometimes, you would agree with me. Many say they will not do a thing but will lay in the guard house after that time. I understand they are talking louder

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than ever since our Co left the Camp. One Corp. reduced to ranks for talking &c. Col. Veazey had an order published on dress parade, stating that thier term would not be out until the 23d of July, which set them to going.

I have not hear from home since I have been out here; look for a letter to day as Az went into Camp yesterday & is coming out on the train to day.

Tell Mother that because I send all my letters to you, she must not think I do not write to her just as much. You know it makes no

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difference who a letter is directed too, it is intended for you all. Love to all.

Write often to
Your Aff Brother Joseph Spafford

P.S. 12. M. Az has just come up from Camp on the train & brought my album with your letters &c in it. We are to remain here for the present.