As he approaches the six-month anniversary of being wounded at the Battle of Stone River, Joseph Dewaters writes home once more to his niece, Ann Dewaters. As with the month before, he is still in the hospital at New Albany, Indiana.
Frustration at the lengthy hospitalization shows through as he complains about the doctors and their reluctance to grant furloughs to the injured soldiers so they can visit their families. He suggests he’d like to string the doctors up by their neck, calling them the meanest officers in the army.
Joseph tells Ann that he has heard recently from her brother Harrison and that he is doing well. He tells her that his leg is improving, enough so that he has gone into town and had his picture taken, which he’ll send to her with this letter. He inquires again about his children and, noting that there will soon be a draft for more soldiers, he advises her to make sure that Albert can avoid the draft.
June the 17 /63
New Abney indiana Hospitel Mi Dear neas i now take mi pen in hand to let you Now that i reseved youer Kind leter last sunday And i was vary glad to hear froam you and i was vary glad to hear tha you was All well mi lage [leg] is doin vary well i can get a round on one cruch mi lag is som stif yet it has parish a way oam but i hop it will get well after soam time i reseved a leter froam Harisoan last sunday and i Was glad to hear froam him He rot [wrote] that he was well And harty and was contentyd he sad that tha had marchen orders at a minets notes i Wish i was able to be with Him i had rather be in the regment then to be in a Hospitel wee far a good deal beter in our rigment and Hav more to Eat if wee died Not bye things for our selves Wee wood moast starved all wee hav to Eat is beef and bred And —- stuff tha col te [cold tea] but it is nothen but warme water i wood like to see all The doctre in the arme be stree up by the neck tha ar the menest afeert wee hav in the hol arme tha misuse soam of the poor sick soulgers [soldiers] vary bad thar is sick men hear tha lives in 30 or 40 miels froam hoam and tha cant get a farlow for 3 dayes to goe hoam tow see a dier wife or a dier son or a daughter And still tha ant noe use hear thar is men that has ben in hospitel for six to ten months and ther is noe prospet of tha Evry ben Eney beter and tha cant get thar Discharge the doctre keep them hear untill tha die soe tha can hav the privleg to cut them up i went in towen yestda and got mi likness [i.e., he had his picture taken] taken for you and i will in close it in this leter i hav trid to get a farlow to com Hoam for a few days but i cant soe i hav giv it up and i am contented to stay i wood Like to com hoam long a nuff To see to mi childoan then i woond not car i wood like to see them in a difrrent condisen then i wood be satified but i will lev it for Mr. soule — and jermiah to see to i want them to do the best tha can and i will be satifid i think tha will be taken good car of to gather plae if jermiah doant Want to take them i want them to stay to Mr soule And i will pay thar board i havt heard froam jermiah sence i sent the boax i sent harisoan soam invlleps [envelopes] and 12 shet of riten paper bye a man that belong to his comptry
let me noe How tha get a long with the Draft Doant let albert goe if your foaks can help it — For the drafet men will Far vary hard rit all the Newes Noe mor at present so good by Drect to New Albney indiana Hosptel
No 6 Joseph De Waters