Albert J. Barnard, 4 October 1862

Camp Belger
October 4th [1862]
8.25 P.M.

Dear Mother,

I have received two letters from you since I last wrote but I have really been very busy of late; more so the last week on account of having no Lieutenants. Yes, Corbitt (my 2nd) resigned last Monday. Col. Chapin advised it as it was clear enough to us all that he could never make an officer, that the men wouldn’t have any confidence in. Willis is a scamp, and had his choice to resign or be disgraced. About three weeks ago he borrowed my muster roll and carried it to Washington where, through a sharper, he laid claims against the government for about one thousand dollars. He claimed that he had spent about that much for board for the men, from the time they went to Camp Morgan to live; which is all a humbug. The boys are all from the country and lived at home till they went to camp. When Mr. Willis returned from Washington the Colonel sent for him and told him that he knew all about his performances, and that his resignation would be accepted, and the soon he sent it in the better. So in it went and out he went. They, the Lieutenants, are still in camp. Corbitt will probably be appointed postmaster or something else but Willis will have to skedaddle.

A man from the 44th New York (a Buffalonian) will probably take Willis’ place. They say he is a nice fellow and a fine officer. Has seen considerable active service. I believe Henry Sizer knows him. You probably know that John Dobbins has been appointed to fill the other vacancy. Major Love telegraphed him last Tuesday. When they come, they can help me a great deal. It is hard work for one man to look after 98 men but I have got a splendid company. Co. D (Capt. Higgins) and Co. B are without doubt the best companies in the regiment. The Colonel and most of the line officers say that mine is the best.

I believe I never felt better in my life than I do now. Am up every morning at roll call at five, and drill an hour before breakfast. The drilling I shall leave for one of the lieutenants when they get here. We have a great number of visitors—officers from regiments stationed near here. All say that this is the best regiment here. Well we have a bully Colonel. He gets up every morning and drills the sergeants before breakfast. Major Love is a brick. We all like him. He is a perfect soldier and understands the drill thoroughly.

I am real glad you are having such a splendid time in Canandaigua. Hope you will stay as long as you can for Lewie writes that he gets along nicely and I know the change will do you good. Poor Aunt Cornelia must miss Henry very much. Tell her if she will just step into my tent that she may read the Army Regulations or Casey’s Tactics, look over my company books, or help me check up my company descriptive book.

It is raining very hard, the first rain that we have had since we came here. We have had several showers but they didn’t amount to much; did not stop the drilling. This has been a real hot day—the warmest that we have had. But is it very comfortable tonight, without my coat, vest, and collar.

As there was no drill this afternoon, it being Saturday, John Higgins, Will Seymour, and I took a blanket and went over the hill where it is quiet and laid down under the trees to study the lesson that we have got to recite next Monday evening. It is the first hundred pages in the U. S. Army Regulations. We all took turns reading aloud.

Last evening I borrowed Mr. Modisett’s horse and went with Dr. Hutchins over to DRuid Hill Park. It is a lovely ride and coming home the moon shone out bright.

Please remember me to all my Canandaigua friends and ask Julia Phelps and Laura Chapin for their photographs. Also one of Cousin Mary. How I wish I could see her and have another of our pleasant rides. Tell her when she writes, which I hope will be very soon, to write a good long letter and be sure and send me the photograph that she promised me. I wish you and Lewie would send yours. You don’t know what a pleasure it would be to have them. I wish when you have an opportunity you would send me some of that blackberry syrup, or shrub or whatever it is. Will S. has some and I tell you, a swallow of that in a hot day tastes first rate.

Will is very well and enjoys camp life very much. Says he is growing fat. He and I borrowed horses the other evening and had a splendid ride.

Gray has gone to the city this evening with the adjutant. Willis’ resigning makes him 4th senior 1st Lt. which entitles him to be officer of the day instead of officer of the guard, which pleases him very much and well it may for officers of the guard is no easy post out here in camp.

I am going to send home my cotton undershirt and drawers. Also the prayer book that Aunt Carrie gave me as Miss Mary Norton gave one that is smaller and not as nice.

I am a little tired and sleepy so will bring this—shall I call it a letter?—to a close. Give my love to Aunt Cornelia, Aunt Amelia, Cousin Mary, and little Anna Jarvis, and remember me to Uncle Brish, and Uncle Hezz, And accept much love and a good noght kiss from — Albert

I hope you can read this. My ink is used up. Shall have to borrow some to direct this.