Suffolk, October 17th, 1862
I am in good health and spirits. My work in the cooking department is not very hard and the boys seem satisfied as well with me and everyone else to say the least. It is just past 2oc I have just washed my dinner dishes and stepped into Lieut. Myricks tent to drop you a line. John Stowell is well also Fergason, Randal, N. Parks, H. Bowman and all our friends but D. Waite is remaining quite sick yet, not much if any better. John S(towell) had a letter from Geo. Bates saying our folks were in usual health, Flora gaining. We have had some wet weather since last. Stood it very well as it was not cold, it is now quite warm and dry again, as warm as summer not the hottest days but take the average of them. Oh Frank! I so want to know how you are getting along with “that little old family” of yours and mine. Our boys have high times here when the mail comes in, such grabbing for letters. Some get as many as five at once. Long time I had any, no not two weeks yet came to look over. Well it seems quite awhile, guess I shall get one soon from some one. There does not seem to be much news at present. The contrabands keep coming in groups from 5 to 30 every day. Where they go to I do not know they are sent off somewhere. An officer says just now that there are nearly 3,000 in town yet. I went out beyond our pickets yesterday (not cavalry pickets, they extend to Blackwater river some 20 miles) and got some beechnuts, chestnuts and lots of persimmons. They look like large egg flowers, taste rather too sweet to be good. They seem quite harmless fruit as the boys eat them in large quantities with no bad results. Frank, do you want a little nigger, male or female? If you do I can have one sent to you. I see by the papers you are to have a draft in York State. Well I am not one to dread it. The soldiers think it is not fair to put it off. Still it is too late to do any good with the men this fall. I leave now till tomorrow. The music is loud and close by it rather puts me out.
Well! I have been out to see the men on parade. By walking a few roads we can see 3 or 4 regiments and as they all parade at the same hour it is a pretty sight. I saw too while I was out some of my pupils. Poor fellows, feel very bad as the rebels are taking off, all the Negroes land is free, they are getting ready for Lincoln, so they say. They are docile fellows (the nigs) but rather dull.
I got more time for reading than at home wish I had some good books, works on Abraham or something scientific. Here the books are all relating to war. I went into a Secest home the other day, some books lay on the shelves, took down several. They were older, well 80 years old, some of them theological, at that I don’t wonder the “poor white trash” don’t read. Lt. Myrick is liked well or better by the men than any other officer in the regiment, “he is a gentleman”, that we can say of all. As I write I can see Col. Drake on his horse giving directions to the officers, he extends his hand then he slaps it on his thigh “do it promptly” I hear him say. I have not drilled a day yet but have watched others. We do not apprehend an attack on this place but if they do come we are ready for them at least so say the hoard. As for my part I pity, rather hate the Rebs, but if they come here they take the consequences. Frank, our bread comes from Norfolk; here it is often quite hot when we get it. Takes a pile of provisions for our little regiment, our men eat like horses but I like to see it. They come up to meals like sheep after salt. The way they store away beans, meat, bread and potatoes is a caution to cook. Speaking of cooks I must go back.