December 20, 1863

December 20, 1863

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Letter No 23

Matagorda(?) Bay, Texas Dec 20th 1863

Sunday afternoon

My Dearest Hortense,

I recd four letters yesterday. One from E.B., one from Bill, one from Wm Willcox and No 15 from you. Wasn't I glad. Bill never told me before what his

army corps was so I never knew how to direct. He had recd a letter from me at least. Wm Willcox is well, and was at New Iberia when he wrote, but I think I shall see him here soon for

a part of his brigade came here three days ago. He wrote that they had had two two fights there since I left and had taken over two hundred prisoners, Good. I didn't understand by his letters whether he was in the fights but presume he was as I know he will not run from one is Powells(?) home(?) and is about the size of Ealva(?). It is rumored(?) that the officers who came in under a flag of truce I mentioned in my last brought propositions to surrender the state provided they were allowed to retain their slaves and for a time and they would lay down their arms, come back into the union and would adopt the gradual emancipation system and so in time be a free state. I am inclined to believe it for the officers are here yet and the flag of truce boat is here & the dispatch whatever it is has been sent to NO to Banks, so it must be of some importance. We have all we want to eat now. As soon as Gen Benton(?) came he had over 1000 sheep drove in and butchered for us, and he issued an order for us to be furnished full rations. Gen Warren(?) found the 1st brigade a ragged set and he told the officers to make out lists of what clothing was wanted and they told H him they had done so but Banks would not allow clothing to come here till after the old horses belonging to the officers were brought and Warren said he would have clothing for his men or he would ship them all to NO, "for his men were not not going to suffer for rations nor clothing until it was necessary. You and Mary wrote in the letters I recd when I first came here that people were having a great fair for the benefit of the "Poor soldiers" through the agency of the sanitary commission. I hope I may never see in any of your letters or Marys,,(and you tell her I say so) the words Soldiers aid society, or sanitary commission again, you dont want me to swear but every time I see those words, I have to drop my letters and go out of my tent, catch my boots by the straps to hold my self together and then swear off the presence(?) till I can smell brimstone. EB mentioned it in his letters and I have in addition to the above remedy had to go out twice and plung (sic) into the Gulf regardless of the sharks and stinging eels in order to cool off. I never saw a soldier who was in any way benefited by the sanitary commission, and I never saw any one who had seen any one who had rec'd a cents worth of stuff. Right here in my mess are two fellows who have been nurses in hospitals and they say they have seen thousands of cans of fruit which was sent by soldiers aid societies sold to the sick soldiers for $1.25 per can and jellies for $2.00 per pint. If you women wont believe me will you believe all the evidence I can pile up? Pierce(?) was nurse at Vicksburg all the time we were there and saw as many as 5000 wounded and sick soldiers in that time and he is one of the nurses spoken of above. Tucker(?) is the other and he was nurse in Mo three months and was also nurse at Vicksburg. Now once for all let me advise you never to say anything in a soldiers presence about soldiers aid societies nor sanitary y commissions for he will be sure to say something impolite and which Ladies should not hear. Hortense you must, you shall have your washing done. If you dont say in answer to this that you will I wont write to you again. I dont want to come home and find you worked down and you can certainly earn enough by sewing to pay for washing. I expect we will be paid the first of Jan, but I shall not draw my pay. I can be mustered and then wait till next pay day then I will get four months pay at once. A great many boys are going to do the same for it is not safe to send money now. I will send the money that is in NO as soon as I get a good chance. I have been offered $400 to enlist for three years in the veterans service for three years. My old bounty $100 was to be paid up and a commission was offered as among the probabilities which I think is almost a certainty. I refused. Did I do right? I can accept yet in two months and have a three month furlough in the bargain. Advise me. I will be guided entirely by you. Say nothing to any one about it. And now my good wife good bye. I always love to get such letters as No 15, it was so full of love for me, and I always try to be a better man after reading such. Give me all you please of that kind. Love to all, I am as ever your loving husband.

John M. Follett

Kiss F & F for me. Tell them I will come home one of these days and hug and kiss them oh so much, Good bye,

John

I recd two stamps in No 5 & 2 in 16.