On board Schooner “Recruit”
Annapolis Jan. 3rd, 1862
Having been expecting a letter from you for over a week and not seeing any likelihood of sending to camp to see if perchance there might be one, I again take my pencil to write you. My last was mailed the 30th. As you will perceive from the heading if this (sic), I am differently situated than when I last wrote. The day I last wrote you, myself and about 120 more of those that were nearly well were carried aboard the “Scout”, another schooner lying in the harbor. We had been there two days when the doctor came and looked us over and those that were fit for duty were selected, some for duty there. 20 of us including myself were carried back on board the hospital ship for guard duty. I can tell you we should have been much better suited to have been conveyed on shore and sent to camp. I had volunteered with others to stand guard upon the “Scout” before we left and as I was put on guard as we got aboard I thought that I had done my share of guard duty. The order now is for the first relief fall in so that it seems by that that we have to stand another 24 hours. The guard duty is easy but it is cold on deck at night. At 11 o’clock today, water froze as soon as it touched the deck. We take turns about standing on deck so that it is quite an easy job after all. I am now standing over the water bucket (?) dipping water for every one that wants to drink and writing when I get the chance.
Secesh brig towed into port Jan.1st. The Capt. had gone ashore and left two of the crew on board somewhere off the coast below here and they ran her in here and gave her up. “Bully for them.”
The Captains of many of the regiments are here with the payrolls to be signed before drawing pay. Sexton is on board quite sick with the jaundice. I do not believe he will go with us. Everything looks as if we should leave for “Dixie” in a short time. The crew are bravely at work tightening the ropes and making everything “taut” for a start and at the camps they are paying off the men as fast as possible. There has been a great deal of trouble among the zouaves with their officers, partly because the Col. would not allow them to be paid since they enlisted (which has been 4 months) and partly because the officers were all Frenchmen and the men were all Yorkers (?) and Irish. Many of them have sworn to shoot him in the first engagement they are in. Rumor from their camp today is that the regiment is to be dissolved and the men distributed among other regiments. Probably part of the rumor is true and part false.
I expect I must have quite a number of letters at camp for I have received none for a week and I have five due.
Our accommodations aboard this boat are good. The only fault I have to find is that the floors are all of the time wet making the craft very damp all over and the vessel is so close upon the lower deck as to be almost stifling.
There are all kinds of coughs here from the common cold, cough to the consumptive and from the whooping cough to the crazy hack. It is amusing to be awake and hear the different kinds of hack and to count them. There is no smoking allowed except in the steerage, but I can tell you I improve that when I have the opportunity after inhaling the sickening odors around in the craft. If I can get hold of my money before I go I shall send it home. I have sent word to camp today to have it drawn if I am not there.
Write soon directing as before. The mails will follow us wherever we go. Remember me to all inquiring friends.
From your brother,