Albert J. Barnard, 19 January 1863

Camp Love
Greenville, Louisiana
January 19th 1863

Dear Lewie,

This is a wet, disagreeable day—nothing going on on account of the mud and rain. It commenced raining early this morning and pretty lively too. I am thankful that all the men have floors in their tents, else they would have been washed out. If the ground wasn’t as har as it is, the ditches wouldn’t last half an hour.

I am sorry that this is not a pleasant day for more reasons than one. In the first place, I am in command today. The Colonel being president of a court martial at Greenville. The Lt. Col. is “General Officer of the Day,” and the Major is on a court martial at Carrollton. Capt. Higgins and Gray are with the Major, but where us the fun if it can’t swing the battalion? and then there will be no dress parade because the mud is so deep. So you see all I have to do is to sit in the Colonel’s tent and sign papers and put on airs. Just imagine me in command of a regiment. Who would have thought it six months ago. Well you needn’t laugh. It’s a big thing! Here we are under orders to “be ready to march at a moment’s notice, without tents, or knapsacks, and two days rations”—each man to carry one hundred rounds of ammunition. These orders were received night before last about one o’clock and we haven’t gone yet, but still we may go at any moment. But such orders to not scare is any now—we have had so many of the same sort.

You can’t imagine how delighted I was to receive your letter, commenced December 31st containing Mother’s picture. I think it [looks as] it often did, and so does John, and all who have seen it. It looks as if she might speak. Now if I only had yours, just put one into your next letter. And then your last was so interesting—and a good long one too. you deserve a good long credit mark. I am real sorry they keep you so busy. It is a shame that Mr. Kip keeps Jim Smith so long, when he knows what he is. And then to think that you had to do his work New Years. I tell you I wouldn’t stand it. I would let Mr. Kip know just how things work. You will have his place. There is no danger of his putting anyone else in there.

Now don’t say anything more about joining the army. You say you found an officer’s life about what you expected. At Camp Chapin and on the Atlantic, it was a regular picnic—and we can’t complain now—but still we  have more work to do and I confess, have not as easy times. But still we have more work to do and I confess, have not as easy times, but still can’t complain. Don’t think that I am tired of “soldiering,” but it is not much like being at home. No, if I could go home this minute as much as I want to see you all, I would not. This wicked rebellion must be put down and we have got to work to dit it. I do not this southern country and people are worth the blood that has been spilled for them, but still it is part of our country and we must keep it so.

The southerners are an ignorant and mean set, generally, and the more I see of them the more I dislike them and I would not live here for any consideration. While down in the city the other day, it made me feel sad to see so many ladies, and children dressed in deep mourning but you can put that feeling all aside when you think their relations were killed while in rebellion against this glorious government, and then perhaps just as many sorrow for friends killed on the other side. There is not as much of the secesh feeling shown here as expected to see. But in passing, you can’t help the feeling that most everyone hates the very sight of you.

We have just received the particulars of the repulse at Fredericksburg and the glorious victory at Murfreesboro. We are all sorry for poor Burnside and hope he may be more successful hereafter.

Hurrah for McClellan! We all, here in this regiment at least, have every confidence in him and believe he will yet show himself to be our greatest General. All are glad that he again has a command and felt from the first that it would not be long before he was again called on. He may be slow but every move he makes is sure.

I am very sorry to hear that Mother is sick, and I really hope that my letter did make her better. Am glad she was well enough to write a letter to send with yours.

I am a little surprised to hear that Coz. Mary is still in Buffalo. Presume she must be enjoying herself. Is Mr. C. as attentive as he was at first? and does Mary like any better than she did?

I am real sorry you have not been to see the Misses Norton’s for I know you would have a real pleasant call. They would be real glad to see you.

It is too bad that the Light Guard could not “run herself” and really hope that when the 1st of May comes round, that she will right up again on to an even keel. When you see Townsend or Sage, please give them my kind regards. Also to Mr. Hayes and tell him that I was sorry not to see him at Fortress Monroe.

Has Will Sizer joined his regiment? And remember [me] to Mr. Kip, Mr. Topping, Sizer, and Ed Ingersoll. Also Mr. Wasson.

Our regiment is looking up again. Last Sunday on inspection we turned out a very few over five hundred. On inspection days, everyone turns out except the guards. I had out fifty-three men which is more than I have had out since we left Camp Chaplin. There I used to turn out about ninety men. I heard from Fortress Monroe the other day, two out of the twenty-three that I left there have died—one discharged. The rest are doing well and I have now but eight sick here.

Oh! “Old B” still “holds her own” against them all. Col. Cottier makes no bones of calling it his pet company and the Major doesn’t try to cover up his preference for it. Col. Chapin has told several (not in his regiment), that “B” was the company.

I spoke of Higgins and Gray being on a court martial, Yes, they received a summons yesterday, and Gray was “as nervous as a fish out of water”—so afraid he was junior officer and so would be Judge Advocate.

John Dobbins is all right but every time he hears from home he has a real blue time. He got a letter Sunday with photographs of his sister and Father, both first rate. One thing I think very funny—he hardly ever says anything about his Mother, always about his Father and sister. According to her letter, Buffalo must have been very lively on New Year’s Day. He imagined plenty of snow and rather a cold day. We were on the river, started from New…

[paper ripped]

I must close now for I have got to [go] with the new Officer of the Day and show him where to dig a ditch that the Colonel wanted to have done as soon as possible. It has stopped raining and the ground is a little soft so this will be a good time.

Give my love to Grandma and Grandpa, Aunt Julia, and keep a heap for yourself and our dear Mother. From Albert

Write again soon and if I have time I will send Mother a letter by the steamer that will carry this which leaves tomorrow afternoon. — Al