Albert J. Barnard, 16 May 1863

Camp Niagara
Baton Rouge, La.
May 16th 1863
9 A. M.

Dear Lewie,

I have just been out to attend “tattoo” roll call and an now sitting with the front of my tent wide open so as to get all the air I can, smoking my new pipe, and byway of a little treat to myself have loaded up with some of the tbacco you set.

This has been a very warm day but this evening it is very pleasant. I made up my mind this morning to write you today as I got on picket in the morning, but it was too hot during the day to do anything and the first part of the evening Capt. Sizer was here so don’t expect a long letter this time.

I tell you, [Capt. John Mappa] Sizer [of Co. G] is a splendid fellow. I like him all the more the more I see him. We are firm friends and are together a good deal. His tent is next to mine as it has been ever since the start, His face is nearly well. The wound is entirely healed but the swelling has not all gone, and it is a little tender. He is considered one of the best officers in the regiment. The wound I speak of is the one he received before he left the 44th. I wrote Mother on Tuesday, I think, but forgot to speak of the money or the box I sent you. I put them in the office in Monday the 11th. Don’t forget to let me know as soon as you receive them.

I shall send with this the pictures of Lt. Jones and Quartermaster Goslin. Jones is the man who captured the signal officer and five men when the regiment was opposite Port Hudson. With the pipe, I sent five pictures—one of Gen. Augur, the Mississippi—the one of Farragut’s fleet that was blown up while atempting to pass Port Hudson, the Essex, the Genesee, and one of the Penitentiary.

We had a mail today which brought me Mother’s letter No. 14 and yours No. 15. Also a paper from you. So you see I have all the letters except No’s. 1 & 2. I expect they were lost on the Marion. Our fleet is still at Port Hudson and every night they bang away at a great rate. Last night I sat with the Major and watched the flashing of the guns for over an hour. We could occasionally see a shell burst. We still keep two days rations on hand and are ready to move when they want us. Col. Dudley is still up te river and his cavalry having skirmishes with the rebs daily. Yesterday I saw twenty rebels sent in here by them. Three were deserters and the rest were prisoners. They are fine looking men but are very poorly clothed. They say there are only five thousand men now at Port Hudson and they have very little to eat.

I am delighted to hear of Jennie Townsend’s good fortune. Will Seymour was here this evening and I told him of it. He very quietly told me that he heard of it last mail. Maj. Love received a letter from his mother in which she says Miss Porter left Mrs. Mulligans and Lottie something. I am real glad for I guess they need it. She also says that poor Jim is not much better. Do you ever hear from him? Is there any hope of his getting well?

In most of Mother’s she says I do not speak of Gray. I don’t know why it is that I forget it. I see him most every day. He is well and full of fun as ever. In one of Mother’s she said everyone asked who the young man was who asked to stay with me when I was sick. Now this is a mistake. He did not ask to stay with me. John Higgins & Gray were on a court martial when the regiment came up here, and so they had to stay at Carrollton until the adjournment of the court which was about three days after the regiment left. On Dr. Hutchins’ suggestion, the Colonel asked Gray if he would like to stay a day or two longer if I was not better and gave him permission to do so. On the second day Gray told me that he was going up the river. This was the day that the 48th Massachusetts Regt. left and before the 53rd came there, so you see I was left alone.

Before hte Surgeon of the 48th left, he went to see the Surgeon of the 53rd, Dr. Barrett, who said he would look after me, but their camp was three miles from where I was. Well, on the second day, the 53rd moved down to where I was—our old camp—so you see it turned out all right. But when Gray left, I was too sick to be left alone. I was a little out of my head at times and Dick had to put me to bed two or three times. This I did not know till long afterwards. I don’t know why Gray left me. When he told the Dr. how I was, he came very near coming to stay with me himself, but something prevented. The Colonel asked me why Gray did not stay longer. Higgins would have stayed had he known Gray was going to leave me so soon. I feel very grateful to him for staying as long as he did. It was very kind of him for it is no easy or pleasant task to tend a sick person. I shall never forget his kindness but can’t help feeling that he ought to have stayed. Perhaps he did not know how sick I was. So Julia Phelps has gone, has she? Well she must have had a grand time as she would not have been contented to stay so long. I wrote her a letter and sent a paper the frst part of this week.

I received a good long letter from Hote by the last mail in which he gave me an account of the concert for the Soldiers Aid Society. John has just come in and is now puffing away on my pipe. He says, “How many times Lew has sucked away at this! Eh! Give him my love and tell him to answer my letter.”

Mr. & Mrs. Nip must have been pleased with their presents. How I should like to have happened in just at the time the wagon drove up to the house. There! the “bumers” have commenced again at Port Hudson. They mean to keep the rebs awake nights if nothing more.

We had a gay old dinner today. I wish you could have happened in. We had boiled ham, cabbage, beets, strong beans, boiled onions, and good bread and butter. The butter wasa sort of treat. It sells here for sixty-five cents a pound. For supper we had biscuit and butter, eggs, boiled (another treat at ninety cents per dozen), dried beef, pickled salmon, and more buts. ow isn’t that good living for sogers?

Well Lewie, y papers are getting rather weighty and so I must bid you good night. Think of me tomorrow, just laying off in a Magnolia Grove examining passes. Then imagine some good-looking secesh lady coming up all smiles with a pass that has run out thinking I am a clever fellow and will let her in just to attend church. Can’t do it Madam, and turn her back again. I tell you, it is fun to see some of the, when they are refused admittance.

My love to Grandpa and Grandmam with a heart full for our Dear Mother and yourself. From your affectionate brother, — Albert

Do you ever see or hear of Willet Fargo? What is he doing? — Al