Civil War Letter Collection, Alexandria, LA - Aug. 2, 1862
Office of Post Quarter Master
August 2nd, 1863
My Dear Parents,
Another week has past, and I, as faithful as ever, am going to write you. ... Now mother, I haven’t anything to say atall that is of serious importance, except that I am just as well as I could wish, but yet when I think of it, it seems some consolation to think that I have a mother to whom I can tell over all my little changes & frivolous "ups & downs," without for once supposing she would get tired listening. Now I know Father would desire to hear something substantial, and that had some weight to it, and you know when I hear anything of that nature I certainly will write it gladly.
Well I think that is preface enough for one little letter. I told you I was well. Next think to tell you is – I am doing well. I will give you a little history. When I came here I was thinking nearly as bad of this place as I did of ... at first, but I now think I would like very much to stay here We first put up at a Mrs. Mayhall’s, but she charged $100.00 per month for board and we furnish our own towels and candles. After looking around I saw but one alternative and that was to go into a mess at $40.00 per month and pay my own washing and lodging extra, or board at a Mr. Goodman’s at $50.00 per month & get also lodging, towels, candles, and everything except washing thrown in. So there is where I and Maj. Ford are. I tell you Alexandria is a dear little place, though I don’t like dears like that! But to reconcile the matter somewhat, there has been an act of Congress passed that all clerks west of the Mississippi get $3.00 per day untill the 31st day of December, 1863. That will be $90.00 and my other pay will ... all amount to $125.00 per month. I can make out on that, it leaving me $75.00 to pay for washing, etc., with.
Well now I must say something of the kind of board. We have about as good a table as any in town, far better than our $100.00 house. There was more aristocracy and show there than substance, and you know I always did despise it, so that I was glad to get away. I will tell you of a few things we have, firstly beef, fresh though and well cooked. Then we had different other kinds of meat and all kinds of vegetables—tomatoes, beets, squashes, that name used to be hard to spell, you know - also green corn, etc., etc. Then for dessert we have these big .. peach pies with spice in them, and preserved peaches, a little like you fix them, mother, besides honey, molasses, etc. Yes, I must tell you we have okra though I despise it, it looks so slimy and nasty. I never have tasted it nor do I intend to, & this is Sunday Morning and we had fish, big catfish, for breakfast. We, that is Major and I, have a large room all to ourselves.. a splendid bed for each with good "mosquito bans," which are an indispencible article in this boggy country. The mosquitos did annoy me awfully at first but I don’t mind them now much more than I would a fly. You recollect that I got regularly initiated into the mysteries of "mosquitery" at New Orleans, when I could get more than half the sidewalk all to myself. Well that’s all, I expect, about my "boarding news."
Now at the office - everything goes on swimmingly. Maj. Ford, as I told you in my other letter, is Post Quarter Master at the Port of Alexandria, La. And by the bye, I have been made Cashier. There are several clerks in the Department, some have charge of Transportation, some the forage, some Labor, some vouchers, some the Abstracts, and I have charge of the &Safe Key.& Right responsible place and I know it, but I try to fill it satisfactorily. I suppose I must have paid out $50,000.00 Fifty thousand dollars this last week. Yes! More than that! I like the business very well. ...All of Gen. Watkins’ Division will be here tomorrow. What a bustle we will have of it. Col. ex-Governor Clark of Texas walked in here this morning & he and Maj. Ford went off together. Our ex-Governor is a fine looking old fellow.
We have no war news worth telling you. We hear of heavy riots in New York, Philadelphia, and other places, on account of the "conscript act" trying to be enforced. They resist it there, they say, with a "vine". We sometimes hear that Johnson has whipped Grant two or three times lately, then ‘tis contradicted. We also hear very gloomy things from Lee and Meade. We hear that Meade drove Lee back in 25 miles of Richmond, and was fighting him hard there. We hear it contradicted by some, though every person acknowledges that our Confederacy is in a gloomy state at present. There is also strong talk of a raid being made into Texas ... from the northern borders. I can only hope it is not so. Red River is falling very fast at this point; they say by day after tomorrow transports will not be able to get below the falls just above this place.
The citizens of this country round here have suffered very heavily from the Yankees, when here getting a great many things..., and they still suffer. All their wagons and teams and negroes are being impressed for the use of the government. I tell you war and the rules of war is the most tyrannical power ever usurped by any nation, and I am really glad you are where you are. ‘Tis far better to have but little & be able to keep that little than have some more, & have all taken away. Don’t you think so?
O! Yes! Let me tell you. I am getting very anxious to get a letter from home!!!! …
Good news! Great news! Glorious news!!! I hear James Bond and Tom Flemming & others I know are only 2 miles from here. I am going to see them this evening.
I tried to read this and I find so little punctuation, I can hardly make sense of it. You can excuse a hurry if you want to.
Previous Letter: Undated 1862; Jackson Port, Jackson County, Arkansas
Next Letter: August 30, 1863; Office of Post Quarter Master, Alexandria, Rapides Parish, Louisiana
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