Albert J. Barnard, 23 November 1862

Steamship Atlantic
off Fortress Monroe
November 23rd 1862

Dear Mother,

Day before yesterday I received your letter dated the 15th after we got ashore with the regiment. We have had more men sick since we came into this ship than ever before. Yesterday the surgeon’s report showed eighty unfit for duty. Only one of these is from my company. He has a fever and I had him taken to the hospital. He went there on Thursday. On the same day I saw Will Sizer [155th N. Y. Vols] who was on his way home as he had a leave of absence for two weeks. I tell you, I felt I should like to go with him. He got his permission only from General Corcoran—should have been from the Secretary of War. If he is found out, it will cost him his commission.

I fully intended writing you every day after receiving your letter but as we have had to go ashore, have not had the opportunity.

Yesterday we marched to Hampton and while them men were resting, I borrowed the Lt. Col’s horse and went to see my man in the hospital. Found him better and very comfortable. He said it was the best place he had got into since he left home—that he had all he wanted and the doctors are very kind. I have got to stop here as the order is go ashore.

Monday morning before breakfast. I was in hopes to finish this yesterday but could not find time. We got back to the ship just at dark and as soon as I got my supper, had to tend to getting aboard of ten days rations. I had forty men at work till ten when we took in the last box of hard tack.

While ashore yesterday, I received your letter dated the 19th. It is pleasant to hear from you so often but I am sorry you worry so much about me. I have not had any very hard times yet since the first two or three days that we first came aboard the ship, Have had plenty to east and of the best kind. The purser told the Colonel that all the officers that chose to could eat at the Captain’s table by paying two dollars a day. I thought this rather steep. Will S[emour], John Higgins, the Colonel, Major, and Quarter Master commenced at the two dollar table. The first two days the rest of us had nothing but hard crackers or whatever else we had with us. Then we made arrangements with the cooks to cook some coffee, beans, and pork. The first day they were not cooked enough. In the meantime, the purser had told the Colonel that he would divide the expenses equally among those at the table and that it would not be more than one dollar and twenty or thirty cents [per day] so I thought it would be cheap for me to go into that mess as in the other. I had to keep buying something of the sutler and what I got was not of the best quality. But I live high now and the only objection I have is that it takes something for you. Had I known we would have been aboard this ship so long, I would not have commenced at that table.

I have been very careful about spending much money and had just enough to carry me through till payday and I only regret that I did not have more to send to you for I fear that you want more than one hundred dollars to make you comfortable. If you do, let me know and I will send you some that I have kept.

I should like to have seen you and Lewie before we left Baltimore and had I known that he had any idea of coming down, I should have written for him to do so, He would have found me all right and comfortably situated.

Mason and I have a room together—rather a dark one, but we are not in it except at night. The first night is seemed funny to sleep in a bed with sheets. I couldn’t get to sleep for some time. Am going to carry my dirty clothes ashore today to be washed. Have had none done since we came aboard.

It is too bad Mary Jarvis is not more friendly, but still I don’t know why we should care for her. Presume she has learned her lesson at 79 Swan [Street]. Hope she will have a pleasant time at the concert with that gay youth. Uncle Sam is a dear, good friend. Do you [know] whether he ever received my letter or not? Lewie has come and the troops are ready to go ashore and I must close to write again soon. Love to all from yours in haste, — Albert