A Confederate A Federal

William Wallace van Amber
Civil War Diaries & Letters


Letter dated December 20th, 1863

Letter Dated 12/20/63

Dec.20th, 1863
Virginia, on picket

Dearest wife,

I received your letter Friday night at eleven o'clock. I now sit down to answer it. I also got the gloves and other things the same time, for which I am very thankful. They are very nice. I was very sorry to hear that you had been sick and was happy to hear that you was better now. I hope that my little girt will not get sick or forget her papa. How I would like to see you both once more at home as of old, but I must not let me thoughts go there, but look at the likeness and be content. I will send you my likeness if I can get it. There is no chance here now. They are going to move us on to a better campground. We expect to move every day but it has rained for the last 3 days and it is so cold now that we can't move. It is very pleasant today but it is so cold that as I sit here with my back to the fire I have to stop writing and warm my feet and fingers every 2 or 3 minutes. I am out on picket today, for three days, about 2 miles from camp. I am sitting on a piece of board that someone has tom from a house with my knapsack on my lap writing to you. I have to go out and stand 2 hours then come back sit by the fire 4 hours, so I improve that 4 hours in writing. I got a letter from Tom and one from H. Knox the same time I got yours. H. Knox says he is coming back and wants me to have a good shanty built. I am as well as ever but my eyes bother me a good deal in the smoke and wind. I cant hardly see to write. I wrote to you to send me a box, if you can't pay for all the things I sent for get Smith to and I shall get pay by the 15th of next month and will send you 15 or 20 dollars. They talk of our getting twenty-five dollars of our bounty the next pay so I can send you more. There is some other things that I forgot that I would like you to send me. One is a paper of 4 oz. tacks if you can get some honey, get a quart cup with a cover and a bail to it and fill that. I want the cup to cook in. I have nothing but my plate and pint cup to do all my cooking in except I pick up some old can that has had preserves in. They hold a little over a pint, they must be nice (I think you say) to cook beans and pork in or rice or potatoes. Well they are. I can cook just enough for one meal to time besides making coffee. How would you like to cook so? Hay, don't put any cooked vittles in the box but dried berries or such things. Put in what you like, remember the sugar if you can get it there. I have got to go and stand my two hours now in the cold wind without the fire from 3 till 5 and so on all the time for three days and nights. 2 hours on and 4 off. Today is Sunday. I can't write any more now so good by. Write soon

From your affectionate husband
to his dear wife and child

P. S. Do you want to knit another pair of gloves just like mine for 2 dollars. If so send them along.