Fort McClellan, Suffolk Nov. 23rd, 10 A.M. Sunday

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Fort McClellan, Suffolk Nov. 23rd, 10oc A.M. Sunday

Dear Frank:

I have been listening to the mingled sounds military and ministerial exercises. The voices of devotion come to my ears blended with the sounds of drum, fife, and bugle, the camp of the soldiers is a strange mixture, and good and evil are intimately joined in such ever-changing proportions. That none but the Omniscient Eye can trace the lines of separation. That there are good men in the army need not be doubted and it is equally true that there are others whose equals for baseness are not easily found. The Creator for some wise purpose allows the wheat and loves to grow together. It is not the office of finite beings to pass judgment on any. The designs of an infinite wisdom; enough. He has pointed to us the road to happiness with such plainness but if we fail to secure it the fault is ours. The same being that made the Rose, the pink and kindred flowers and objects of beauty and sweetness has also caused the poisonous Nightshade to spring up from the soil, but notice the little bee is taught unerringly which to chose. Think you the good and wise creator is more kind to insects than men? Ah no, but the inward teachings of spirit are often drowned as it were by the gross and more clamorous calls of the outward senses. They are disregarded till their influences; which should be given us becomes almost imperceptible. … …

… … Col. Drake and Lady visited the fort lately. She rides with him in a buggy, looks like home. You see, buggies are used about here. They ride horse back or in a cart drawn by a horse, a mule or cow. One…old…much goes by regular with her cart and bay. The twills are fastened to the yoke. A rope to each harness and she sits as firm as can be. Some of the officers had a landscape view with her for a paragland [sic] taken by “our own artist”. It shows the negra in high life to good advantage. I started to give you a rough pencil sketch of my cabin and out street but it is too windy and my hand has forgot how �ing (if ever had any). It reminds me of Plurbasta bye the by I came across a man well acquainted with the author of it. I had good times with the Lowell boys. Frank when we get ready we will visit Lowell [Mass.] just for a diversion. I have seen some of the Secesh quality last week. I don’t think much of them. I have not seen one that I wish to make the acquaintance of one that belongs here. Not one male or female. Yes, one old Quaker Darkie I rather like, he is a good mechanic and was a slave. Oh! Frank, I hope we shall never be mixed up with slavery, for a curse is sure to follow it. There are more slaves owned in this place than I supposed. I do not wish to live here unless slavery is abolished, if it is I think we should rather like a home here. The minister-Chaplain is just here distributing papers to the men they bring them every Sunday, about like the one Dilly takes. Does a heap of good I suppose. … …

… … My coffee is just boiling and the boys ask what we are having for supper? Coffee, bread and cold boiled fresh beef, I tell them. “Bully for you”. Well I want to send something to Ma, Anna, Pa and the rest but can not this time. Why don’t they write? Seems a good while since I got a letter. Frank don’t let anybody see the picture. Well I had to stop and give out the meat while Shirley gives the coffee; now I will finish this then have something for myself. Guess I’ll take a little toast with mine.

To my own wife Frank Good Bye O. S. Allen