Camp on Little Doe River,
Johnson Co. Tenn.
2nd Dec 1862
Your kind favor of the 7th has arrived last night with Capt. Gillespie on a detail of fifteen days. You seem to think there were a few words, “Superfluous words,” I think you called them. I reckon it must have been written to the Col. I don’t think I ever use any superfluous words when writing you. I am very particular, knowing that I catch Thunder if I should fail to. Well if you wish me to write without using such words, you must quit cross writing or underlining. When you fill your sheet, get another or quit. I don’t care much which.
I am very sorry sisters bird made its escape but I am not surprised and would not have been had both of them been killed or got away. I suppose there’s no use fighting about things unavoidable but I would note had that bird to have got away for $50 in Confederate. Which one was it? I had much rather Frank had not been lost, Females not being so valuable as males, nor in so much demand, however, he will have to be replaced.
You say if I need anything I need not be any ways backward in asking. Well if I must tell you my wants, ill procured in the first place. I want a No. One Six horse wagon with six good mules to draw it. I then want it loaded with cooking utensils, axs, Blankets & clothing for the Co. Then I still want about fifty thousand dollars to keep the Co in horses and to keep them shod. There are a few of my wants. Can you do anything for me?
So far as I am individually concerned, I believe I need nothing particularly. I would like to have another good blanket or two, but I can make out very well. There are two men in the Co that I know have no blanket, and how they keep from freezing I cant tell, for this is a pretty cold country. Snowing or raining pretty much all the time. I intend coming home in about two weeks if i can get a furlough to see Thee and if I do come I think I will buy a two-horse wagon. We have about 72 tents and cooking utensils enough and cant get transportation for what we have. I’ll give up that this Battalion is a little the worst managed concern ever I have seen. We have had 4 little one horse guns with the Battalion since we left Greenville and but three or four government horses, they are generally worked on the wagons. Our horses have never been valued, consequently the boys got tired of working their horses to the artillery. When they refused to put their horses in the guns, the Col goes made cusses every thing and every body unloads the wagons, tents, cooking utensils, trunks, and every thing else, puts the wagon horses to the guns, place a guard over the wagons. He will place a guard over the wagons and will not let themen hire horses and take their equipage, but geos off without anything. I am tired of such doings as this. Spann wont do anything, in fact he is never here. I am going to get me a wagon & haul my own tent, cooking utensils, and haul what I can for the men. Tell the Col to please look around a little for a good light two horse wagon and a pair of heavy set mules. If he can ascertain by the time I get home where such a concern can be had, it will probably save my company.
I am certain to come if I can get a furlough and will be up there Christmas and I want something good to eat and no small quantity of it. I have two very particular reasons for coming. One and the prime one is to see Thee. The other is to get a wagon. When I left I was fully determined to never come home until the war was over and if that would not have come I guess I would not. I don’t know that I will anyway but it shall not be my fault if the Col does not let me go now while Thee is there I shall not come at all.
We have lots of measles in Camp—75 cases or more. Three or four have died and others will. Capt Gillespie started the remains of Parker, a member of his company, home this morning.
Baxter Headden is about well of them and Mant Hood is just taking them. John Orr is very low but I think not dangerous. Wesley Siniard is also quite low & I think his recovery very doubtful indeed. The Doctor seems to think he may recover, but I don’t, though I’m no Doctor.
I remain your brother affectionately
Sources: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 2. (Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2003). Original in the Mary Gash papers, North Carolina State Archives.