Jan 4th 1863
Your very kind letter was duly received and its contents well pondered. We have no news here of importance. I believe our victory is not all to gather as…. As it was represented to us by the first report. We were all at hearing the fate of th Monitor which sank off cape Hattess.**I carried some deserters to the Army last Saturday. I went within 4 miles of Fredericksburg to a little place call Hameltons Crossing. There I delivered my prisoners over to the Provost Marshall Capt Scott
I left Gordonsville on Friday evening and got to Hanover Junction about 4 o’clock. The tranes not making connection there I had to lie over all night there being no accommodation there. We had to lie on the ground and the worst of all one of my prisoners escaped about midnight. I expected Major Boyle would give me a hauling over about it though he did not. One of our guard received a letter from Capt Chambers stated that the pickets were firing at each other constantly and that he thought the prospect very good for another engagement very soon.
Capt Chambers once belonged to our guard. He was elected Capt of a company through the influence of his cousin. We have lost 4 of our guard quietly lately by promotion and JF Fraley will probably leave us soon. The young Gentlemen and Ladies of the village are going to have a …. Friday night for the purpose of making up money for the sufferers of Fredericksburg. There are about 6000 in all. I suppose who are thown out and destitute of homes. We have hired a most excellent cook and are living tulerbly well. Mr Balentine one of the clerks gave a New Years supper. It was the nicest supper that I have set down to in many a long day. I will tell you what the supper was composed of Baked Turkey, chicken, chicken sailet, cellry, Real coffee, oysters, pickled and stewed, cakes & jelly and – other good things too numerous to mention. After we had got thorugh with supper went to another room where we amused ourselves for a while at cards and checks. In a short time the eggnog was handed round which was very nice. It was then about 2 o’clock. After singing a few spiritual tunes the crowd dispersed. Dr Craig (Hill) of the post Surgeons and some of the wardmasters and the Guard went to the crowd for supper I reckon must have cost Mr Balentine $100, which is right liveral for a solider drawing $17.00 per month. No more at present. I very affectionately your loving Brother
I would very much pleased to hear of you and George starting to school.
** The ironclad USS Monitor sank in heavy seas off the coast of North Carolina near Cape Hatteras on December 31, 1862. Some sections of the ship have been salvaged from the wreck and are being conserved in at the Mariner’s Museum in Norfolk, Va. For more on the Monitor, see here
Sources: Christopher Watford, ed. The Civil War in North Carolina: Soldiers’ and Civilians’ Letters and Diaries, 1861-1865, Volume 1. Original in the Catherine Hanes Collection, Southern Historical Collection, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.