Albert J. Barnard, 1 August 1863

Camp Niagara, Baton Rouge, La.
August 1, 1863

Dear Lewie,

My last two letters were to Mother so this is your turn. Your letter dated the 10th July and one from Other finished the 12th were brought up here night before last by our post master after I had gone to bed but I got up and read them for I could not wait till morning. I am real sorry to hear that you and Mother were sick, but know you are better for John Dobbins received by the same mail your letter dated the 13th and I hope Mother is well long before this. She will miss Kitty Adams very much, I guess, for she has so much to say about her.

You probably know before this that John [Dobbins] and I have resigned, and by my last you will know, that not wholly on account of sickness. I have heard that my resignation was approved as far as General Banks, and am now expecting my discharge by every bat. John’s [resignation] has gone as far as Division Headquarters and I am confident will go through this time although a little behind mine. Of course I will wait for him. He cotinues about the same, feels weak, and bad all the time, and worries about his papers. He is afraid they will not be approved. He does not leave the tent very often, once in awhile, goes down to see Gray or Cottier.

I think I am better though it is hard to tell for I feel quite smart one day and am down the next.

Perhaps you will see Capt. [Wiliam] Wuerz, before this reaches you; he is sick, has had “chronic diarrhea” and has had to resign, after being treated like a dog by Hutchins. He is a real honest, faithful fellow, and wants to get a situation, and when I get home shall recommend him to Mr. Kipp. He is a machinist but he has had a first rate education and has been in the employ of several governments as engineer on war steamers and you know what they are generally. Capt. W. left here several days ago via Cairo. Has a note for you that I wrote on the wharf. He was very kind to me while I was sick. Col. Chapin thought a good deal of him.

Our Chaplain [Welton M. Modesitt] has resigned and started for home last night.

Sunday evening. Thus far, when Gray and Dr. [Uri C.] Lynde came in, and stayed till supper time. Gray came up without his crutches so you may know he is improving. He was also up the day before and we passed the time eating a splendid watermelon. We have some splendid ones here and the Drs. all advise most of the sick men to eat them. Just before dark last night, our whole brigade arrived here from Donaldson and tonight our camp looks quite as it used to. Col. Dudley’s Brigade came up the night before and Col. Goodings has just landed. Baton Rouge is quite lively again.

John and I moved into our old quarters but hope we can leave them for good before long. Dr. H. called on us this afternoon and made John the same offer about a leave of absence that Love did, and as if he felt a little guilty, apologized for not approving his first resignation. Higgins has gone to New Orleans. Love is in command of the brigade and as I am not fit for duty, Sizer runs the regiment. I imagine Sizer treats me a little cool but I don’t care. I feel very independent some way or other.

Oh! I am so glad that I resigned and that the prospects are so fair for my getting home. All here tell John (that is , H & Co.) that he will feel mortified when he gets home to think that he resigned and that his Father will also; that he will be well before long and in every way are trying to keep him. Do not think that they will keep his papers back, for that they dare not do. They are obliged to forward them. I am only afraid Love will write Mr. Dobbins and he will think that I influenced John in this matter, but then when he sees John I feel that it will be made right. I think I can see through this whole matter now, and you were partly right about its being a trick, and I fear Sizer was knowing to the whole matter, though was not one of the movers. I only regret resigning because Mr. Ganson and Mr. Seymour got me the promotion and now to have to give it up so soon. But I shall be grateful to them and as proud of the place as if I had held it for years; for I fel that it was my right, and that I earned it on the battlefield as well as in camp life.

Will Seymour has spent most of the day with us, and is now very anxious to be relieved as Ordnance Officer. He thinks he will be very lonesome here and says if he had seen the service we have, should almost wish he was going home with us. Dr. Lynde is going to resign as soon as he sees the boys safely through this month. I tell you, the surgeon’s are pretty busy here now. There are nearly five thousand sick and wounded here, ten thousand in this department. I presume the troops here will lay still now for at least a month, but still they may be getting ready for another move.

A large force of Grant’s men are just this side of Port Hudson, variously estimated from twenty thousand to sixty thousand.

Our regiment was paid off at Donaldsonville the other day but the paymaster has not made his appearance yet to pay the sick and wounded. we expect him this week.

I must now close this letter and my eyes too. So goodnight! Give my very best love to our dear Mother, Grandma, & Grandpa, and Aunt Julia, and don’t stop writing to your brother, — Albert

Monday evening. No mail left here today so I am going to add a few lines. I am feeling real sad tonight. Dr. H. and Love have prevailed on John [Dobbins] to accept a leave of absence on the ground that his Father will be better pleased to see him than if he resigned. They say he can resign when he gets home if he wants to. So Dr. H starts for New Orkeans with the necessary papers for him and Gray. Dobbins’ discharge may be made out and on the way here before this. If so, H. will be too late. This worries John a great deal. I am sorry they did not leave him alone for he had made up his mind that he wanted to leave the service. I don’t think he will be sick long after he starts for home for a change is the most he wants. He has felt like going home for a long time and when I resigned he seemed delighted and said right away je would not stay if I went. I know Love thinks that it was my doings and I fear he will write his Father so.

I do wish my papers would come for I fear Gray and John will get started before me. I don’t think he would wait for me though he knows I would for him. It will not take the Dr. more than two or three days to get the papers through. Oh! I can’t keep my mind down to it. I wish I could see you and Mother or even hear what you have to say about my resigning. Though I can’t help but feel that my friends at home will look at it in the right light. Most of the officers have told me that they are real sorry that I am going home. They all seem to have very little confidence in Higgins. I am sorry now that I did not wait till I heard that my discharge was certain before I declined my Lt. Colonel commission for if by some hook or crook my resignation is not accepted, I must go back to Captain. You see when my commission came I was not able to get out to be mustered and so resigned as Captain. I nevertheless was Lt. Colonel as long as I held on to the commission. But now the Governor can appoint another. I told this in my letter to hi and he may think and speak of this to the Governor and he may wait till he hears that my resignation is accepted.

I hope he will though could not ask it. It would be rather mean I thought. Love advised this as the easiest and quickest way, as a friend, but I have thought since he was too much interested. You see as soon as this paper was forwarded to the Governor, a nomination could be made to fill the vacancy. This I did not know at the time or I should have hesitated before sending it.

Well, I don’t fear but that it will be all right in the end, but there is no knowing but that my resignation may be delayed a month. If Hutchins was at all accommodating, he could shove my papers through when he is down to the city about John’s.

My head aches and I cannot write more so will bill you once more, Goodnight!

— Albert