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Holmes Brigade, USV, Inc.
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My Dear Wife
The officers have all gone to the City and I am left quite alone. I believe there is but one officer in Camp besides myself. I suppose they are having a good time but I thought I would stay at home and read and write you a letter. This is probably the last letter I shall write you from this Camp for we are ordered to St. Louis Wednesday.
It has been a beautiful day; the first spring like day we have had since we have been in camp. The soldiers were paid a part of their Government Bounty to-day and they are feeling wild. Drinking, wrestling, eating, singing, and fiddling have been the order of the day. How strangely some men act when cut loose from home and the influences of home. I wonder if they don't sometimes think of loving wives and little ones and of mother and sisters. There are now over a thousand men in this Camp. A party of soldiers set fire to and burned up a house of ill fame located near the Camp the other night since which time we have not been troubled with abandoned women. You hardly have an idea how wretched and depraved these women are. They used to come into camp in the night and crawl away into old nasty deserted barracks and into the straw and even under the fences to have intercourse with drunken soldiers. Sometimes the guard would catch them and put them into the guard house or "bull pen" as the boys call it.
It is almost impossible to believe that a woman, who when pure and good is the very beau ideal virtue and goodness and loveliness can become so miserably depraved and wretched. I never hear a woman swear without a shudder. I feel quite gloomy and lonesome to-night and I can't tell why I feel so I tell Sis what I would like. To sit in a rocking chair and have you come and sit in my lap and put your arm around me and put your face close to mine and sit so far an hour or two without hardly saying a word, in a sort of half dreamy state without thinking of anything except that I was holding you close to my breast. Some of the happiest hours we ever spent together (at least to me) were passed just in that way although I don't know that I ever told you so before. I enjoy writing to you very much and I shall write as often as I can. It seems to be a sort of relief to me to sit down and write to you and tell you how I feel and what I am thinking about and I wonder what you are doing and what you are thinking about. I suppose you are a bed and perhaps asleep now for it is twenty minutes to ten o'clock. I have just been reading your letter again. That is the first letter you ever wrote me. I was really a little curious to see what kind of a letter you would write.
Without wishing to flatter you I really think it is a good one. You must write to me often Sarah. You can hardly imagine how much I prize a letter from you. Write once a week at least and oftener if you can. As soon as I get to St. Louis I will write the first moment I can get. How does our little Lilly getting along. How pretty and interesting she is. She will be quite a little girl when I get back. I do not believe you are sorry now that you had a baby are you sis. How badly you used to feel when you first found out you were going to have Lill. I love you better Sis on Lill's account. I never shall forget a couple of lines of Coleridge's. They are quoted somewhere in Lamb's works. They are I believe as follows
the child for the Mother's sake
I wrote you a letter last night and sent it up by Mr. Reed. You will probably get it tomorrow. But in as much as I can write to you for some days I thought I would write you again to-night. Uri and George are sitting by the stove smoking as contented as tow kittens. Please call on Mrs. Kimball once in awhile. Read and study all you can while I am gone Sis and write me about it. If I run across any books that I think you would like to read I will send them to you. And now good night and good bye my sweet little wife. Kiss Lill for me and I kiss you a hundred times in this letter.
Alf talked badly about me. The boys tell me because he did not get a commission. He certainly is in the wrong and I have written him about it.