May 24th, 1862
The last mail for this division having been miscarried, we have been a week without mail matter and being tired of waiting have concluded to write again, mail or not. There has been no particular change in the department since last report. The season is advancing rapidly. Blackberries are ripe in abundance and just outside the guard they are plenty but we cannot get at them but the darkies have full swing at them for they can go out and in when they please. The berries are different from those north. They taste more like a mulberry and the vines have not near as many or as long thorns as there. There is quite a peach orchard just outside of camp. The fruit is about as large as a small butternut and grows quite fast. The land here is fertile (or at least looks so) and is covered over with weeds, wild vines etc. in abundance. It looks too bad to see it lie uncultivated when good land is so scarce in these parts, but the owner being “Secesh” thought that he was not wanted and when he heard of our approach “vamossed the ranch.”
The expedition has three engines put together and soon we shall have steam cars running over the rails and things will have a more business like aspect. Rumor says that any gunboats are to go to Charleston; how much truth there is to this remains to be seen. Rumor from James River that the Monitor had a shot put through her and the Galena was riddled and obliged to put back for repairs. Rumor that Beauregard has surrendered with 25,000 prisoners. Can’t quite see it.
I do not think this regiment will see any more service, but everyone has his own opinion. The Colonel reported to the Gen. yesterday that we had but 350 men upon duty and they were not fit for a long march or heavy fatigue. We are thrown out of position in the brigade and are not brigaded at all at present. Many think that we shall never again until we move for Conn.
We have 2 new Surgeons; 1 hired for 30 days, the other for 60. Dr. Please from Thompsonville is one and Dr. Holcomb from somewhere near New Haven is the other. We also have a new Chaplain; he appears to be a very nice man. I do not think he will come up to Dr. Woolley.
Alonzo asked me what was going to the next news of Burnside. We do not know as much of his movements or intended movements as you do. He has at and around Newbern 20,000 men which are able with the immense fortifications to resist a force of 100,000 men if they should slip through Mac’s fingers.
George Lewis is quite sick in the hospital. Benejah is healthy and as full of life as ever.
I was very much surprised and rejoiced to hear that Father attended church again. He will enjoy it much better than heretofore. I should like very much to take a look into the kitchen and see you all if only for a short time but that is not possible at present, but I trust it will be in a few weeks. I was glad to hear Elfrida Case was getting better.
Do you get any news of Gen. Hunter’s division? We have heard nothing from them since the taking of Fort Pulaski. We are daily looking for the taking of Charleston and Savannah.
You asked me to name Alonzo’s boy. I have thought over the whole category of names from Adam to the last edition and I do not find any to suit me. I think if Alonzo wishes to hand his name down to posterity, it is a good time to do it, but I should adopt some other name in the place of Grove. If I was going to name a child I think I should take some fashionable name and pick out the most frenchified different name it was possible to find but everyone to their notion. You might name him after some of our great Generals now in the field.
How does Col. Case take his wife’s death? I reckon it would go rather hard with him, feeble as he is.
My hair is growing out fast; it will be fit to cut in a few weeks. How is fruit this season? Is there going to be many apples? Write soon. Give my love to Julia. Remember me to all inquiring friends, James in particular.