Fort Hovey(?), Jan 28th, 1862
Dear Folks at home,
Your good long letter came to me last Friday, and at the same time I got one from Hortense. I tell you I was glad to get two such letters from home. I should have answered your letter same day (sic) but was detailed as an extra guard for that day, and could not write to any one. We heard that Jeff Tompson (sic) had united with Price and that both were moving on to this place with their force. All the pickets were doubled, and the regimental guard also. The boys were to pack knapsacks, clean arms and put everything in (trim) so as to be to march at a moments notice in case we were not attack (sic) here. We were all ready for a start and wanted to go, but we had no orders to start and the next day we got the news that Col (Ross) of the 17th had marched for(?) the Cape, and had cut off a part of Jeff's forces and that he was retreating south again. Good for him. I wish they would attack this place. We would play them a live time I tell you. But they wont come, I begin to think there is no chance for us to have a fight. The 21ST regiment will leave this (fort) in the morning. The 1st Ind cavalry went out Sunday. Schofield's battery is ready to march at any time but I guess they will have no chance(?) I some expect (sic) to go up the railroad(?) in a day or two to help guard one of the bridges. The Col says he wants ten men, a corporal, and a sergeant from each company to go up and stay for two weeks and then be relieved. That just suits me to ___, and Capt McKenzie says I may go first, and gave me the choice of a corporal. I chose Geo Goddard for he is just one of the best corporals in the regt. He aint afraid of any one, and is as generous and open hearted as can be. I do not know what men will go with me but hope Ike and Geo will be sent, but cant say as they will. It may be that I will not go for the first two weeks as we commenced to day learning a new drill. That is Skirmish drill, and the Cap does not know any more about it than Chambers and I do. So he said to day he did not know but he should keep me here, and let Sergeant Laird go first, but I hope he will let me go. You can direct your letters here, for when I go I shall have my letters sent from here to where I am stationed. Abb is out on picket this week, and is having a (grand) time for it rains most all the time, but he has a good rubber blanket, and only has to stand three hours each night so I guess he will stand it. I had a letter from Mell last week. He expected to start out to have a fight with Gen Rains(?). I hope he will have a chance to fight. Poor fellow he has run around long enough for nothing. Fanny said in her letter that Lew was not very well that is all she said about him. Well I have told you about all I know this time. Kiss my Fanny for me a thousand times, and remember I think of home, and all its (comforts) very often, and all the loved ones there, but do not
st want to come back till this infernal war is ended. Accept a share of love for each, and all, and write often to John.
(written upside down at top of first page)
I will send Fanny a (paper) this week. The boys buy them and sometimes they give them to me, and sometimes I _____ _____ ________.
Enclosed I send some (percussion) fuses or caps such as we use in an Austrian musket.