In high spirits, the fresh faced soldier described his accommodations in the quartermaster’s department as “…a building with a good stove good bunk and everything nice and clean.”
When not engaged in drill, McOmber worked as a clerk, and then as a Commissary Sergeant attending to provisions. In his letters, he wrote extensively about his work duties and promotions. Off-duty, the men played ball on the commons and passed time playing Euchre. During these early days of service, Spencer’s letters displayed positivity and determination, as expressed in such comments as, “I like it here first rate.”
May 13th 1863.
I have not had a chance to go to town to put my letter in and dont know when I can I am on the jump all of the time I have writing to do for the Whole Camp I write passes for the boys but they wont let me go down town because they want me here all of the time. I like it here first rate. We will be mustered in five days so says the Major. I have all my Soger Clothes on and make a fine Show. You need not be surprised if you see me day after muster ride into Kalamazoo aboard of an old Calvery horse on a tow days furlow. but I cant be shure. We are having bad times here about some things part of the men are under a Capt here which we all hate & they will not muster under him. I think Douglass will get most of his men. Capt D. will be in K tomorrow & next day. he left here last night.
I am. & so
Camp Lee Barracks
Grand Rapids May 13th, 1863.
Dear Mother I think I can immagine some what you[r] anxiety about me. I have not had one chance to send my letter to you because there is no post Office unless you go down in the heart of the City. And they will not allow Me to go for I am so busy. last night the Major Came with the Adj and called me one side said that for the present I would act as Clerk for the Camp. And they gave me quarters in the Quartermasters department. I am the only one in a large nice building with a good stove good bunk and evrything nice & clean. I also Act as Commosary Sergent and make out all of the Provision Requsions of our Company (that is all that do not belong to the Capt we put in the Guard House. Which is half of the men in Camp. We have about 140 men here now so you see I am busy but I am Gay you better believe. We will stay here all summer and the Maj has sent for 200 horses & Sadles so we can drill. We will be mustered in 4 or 5 days. please send by Express all of my Shirts What so ever & my Clothes Brush a small looking glass a Comb & Brush & all of my neck-ties. I guess I can get the Lieut to take this to town today or some of the Boys.
Adress. S. F. McOmber
also the same in your express package
Your Aff. Son