Camp Fourth North Carolina Reg’t
Near Orange Court House, Jan. 26, 1864
My Dear Folks:
Your letter of the 16th inst. received a few days ago. Mr. Christman and the boxes got here Sunday night. Everything came safely, with the exception of Tom Stith’s box, that got stolen passing through Richmond; the practiced thieves around Richmond can steal anything.
You can’t tell how I prize that middling of meat. It came in the very nick of time. I had just finished the ham and sausages which you sent by Nixson. The things which you have sent me will last several weeks; with what I draw will give me just as much as I want by mixing rations. You don’t know how selfish men become by soldiering two or three years. Two years ago when one received a box from home he was expected to ask the who company up and tell them to help themselves, but that custom has played out. Now when a fellow buys anything or has anything sent him from home, the rest of the company don’t expect to be asked to help themselves. Whoever one is messing with he is all that expects to share it with him; the whole company is messed off in pairs to suit themselves. I have been messing with Lang Mixson since we left Morton’s Ford. He is the best messmate I have ever had. I will never mess with more than one at a time again. When two are together it enables them to cook and draw the rations for each other, when either is on duty. Mr. Winstead, our orderly, will leave in the morning for home. I shall send this by Wm. Barnes, who will leave with Mr. Christman. Give my love to all.
Source: Laura Elizabeth Lee, Forget-Me-Nots of the Civil War: A Romance Containing Reminiscences and Original Letters of Two Confederate Soldiers (St. Louis, Missouri: A.R. Fleming Printing Co, 1909). See also Joel Craig and Sharlene Baker, eds., As You May Never See Us Again: The Civil War Letters of George and Walter Battle, 4th North Carolina Infantry (Wake Forest, NC: The Scuppernong Press, 2010).