Fort McClellan, Nov. 14th, 1862
It will be nothing if this letter is rather interrupted for the paper has been steeped in whiskey. It was sent to Andrew Durham in a box and some cans of preserves, a gallon can whiskey…[Lost Line in fold and stains]…Bully for the whiskey it would have sold for 10$ quick, say whiskey here is 3$ a pint, poor at that. Whiskey is gone… for there is no liquor to be had here. Frank I am in good health and enjoy myself as well as possible, still away from you and children part… I should be nearer to home… …for not… the thing it is impossibly sad, banish the thought. I am still cooking for the garrison…I am their “chief cook and bottle washer” all that and other things for washing but I do not wash my own plates. I have two men “detailed” to help, they do the work I “must over see”. I have a little piece of paper that says O. S. Allen as cook at all times, [signed] Nov. 11, 1862 [by] Lieut. G.F. Mount, Commander of Detachment, Fort McClellan and a pass that takes me in and around town. It is quite a turn around. I think quite strongly of getting a lot for a home for winter. What do you say? Will you come down and keep house for me or shall I get a “Keeper” from “Da Colored element”. But Frank I do think the weather most delightful here, perhaps it is so there but if it is as cold as usual, this decidedly preferable. Warm and dry, nice pretty weather.
Our boys are still working away at their “houses”; it takes quite a city to hold 25,000 men many more than that. There is here I don’t know, they make a racket with their hammers, axes, and trowels. The muscles of our tribe are making a “brick” range for me today. … ..
… … .Frank, I expect my letters are a day affair but really I hardly have the minutes time unmolested, someone is wanting something most of the time, fact is I am a man of a family, but then the boys and officers treat me with respect and that’s more than every one can say. Soldiers do not stand on rules of etiquette, but than I am careful to give each his due, both in rations and compliments. That’s what the matter when the boys come in hungry and cold from guard (for the nights are chilly) I have something left for them. They remember it but Frank this is a “world of change” (I don’t mean postage stamps) it is especially true with the Military World. Today we have them… …no one controls his… …to enjoy the present wisely is the best philosophy for all. How did Anna relish her letter? Is Cyntha with Ma, yet does the children go to school this winter? Who takes care of grandma Wade? Giver her my respects. Kiss Aunt Molrina for me. … ..
… …Major General Dix was here the 11th, to review the troops. They made a splendid appearance. He is an older man, tho I supposed his head is quite white. Frank I am going up to Camp Allen this afternoon to see the boys, it is 2 weeks since I was up there. The boys are down here every day, so I hear from them, but have not had much time to visit places. I had seen before to many new ones. You must “Smooch” little Dilla for me, my little boy will come up… … .
… …Well I must finish up this, wish I could think of something sweet to say. Speaking of sweet I have all the sugar I can stand, saved sauce for dinner. Sent flag Mrs. Durham to Andrew. That with toast and good Chautaqua butter, cheese made a good dinner. Here come the Lieut.
O. S. Allen