Today I type his letter of March 18th, 1863:
"Camp near White Oak Church
Sunday March 18th 1863
My Dearest Roby
Although I do not hear from you yet I thought I would write you & send you my likeness. They are melainotypes. I had them taken day before yesterday. I had the fun of tramping through the mud about 12 inches deep 2 miles to get them taken. They are considered very good pictures especially the one with the gun that is the most natural. I have the full dress uniform on with equipments and standing at Parade Rest ~ a very easy posture ~ I might have been a little more military had I stood at Shouldered Arms but I thought this would answer (?) The back ground is very pretty and natural except the fences ~ those are played out in this section of country. Those two round tents in front are Artillery & Cavalry tents those little ones farther back are the kind I make my home in though look rather large in the Picture. My Sergeants stripes on my coat sleeve you can but just see they are faded out bad, they denote active service --"
(I'm not sure if this picture still exists as we have so few of them in our possession but after reading this, I am going to check with family for them.
The picture I use for this blog seems to be of him at the time of enlistment.)
His letter goes on to describe the weather: "rained all night & this morning but it has cleared up fine but the wind blows a perfect hurricane..."
And he tells of small pox exposure from a young black boy just in from Washington whose "father died with it & now he has got it after exposing us all to it. I hope it wont spread any farther ~ My vaccination does not work. The stuff was not good. I guess I am agoing to try it again as soon as they get some more but the whole Regt may have it before that..." but he reassures Roby that "we are all well here..."
Join me tomorrow for the conclusion of this letter ~ what he eats for dinner, troop updates and a possible deployment to Texas!
Hope to see you then!