May 27, 1863 Commisary business is not half what I have to tend to

Lee Barracks  May 27th 1863

I have just received your letter of the 24th (wait a moment folkses till I can call out about 30 men & see them drilled) I have just seen that they were all in their proper places and given them in charge of our drill Master.  I give all the passes & sign them for the foficer [i.e., officer]  of the day so those in camp that want to get a pass to go down town must come to me and if I say no, no it is.  I get up in the morning & call the Roll then march the men down to the River and have them all wash for Breakfast.  then we come up to camp & get our Breakfast  we have good Breakfast too.  But when I first come I could hardly stand the fare.  But when they made me Commisary Sergt I look in to the mater & found we did not draw half of our Rations.  & what we did draw was of Poor Quality  So when the old Contractor sent us up some fresh Beef that stunk we sent it Back & threatened to ride the old fat fool out of Camp on a Rail  well he came up here and said we should have no better & brought the meat back.  the boys all got around him & Lieut Henry Cried!  boys get a Rail.  & you better believe they did get one.  the old Contractor run for headquarters & as luck would have it Col Smith from Detroit was here & came in that morning   he is the Man that is over the Military Movements in this State  he is an old Regular  well he came out to the boys & showed that he had got $5000.00 bonds on the contractor & told the contractor before the boys that he would draw on the bonds if the very best of food was not furnished and all that was necessary.  then the Col swore at him when the boys showed him the meat  the old contractor had brought us & told the boys that if the same thing occured again he would make him smart for it.  so now we have plenty to eat & we have saved by Selling Rations  we could not eat money enough so that yesterday I go 50 lbs of ham for the boys & 12 dozen of Eggs.  & 12 lbs of Rice & half a Barrell of Milk.  I invited all of the officers at head quarters to come & dine with me which they did.  & we also saved money so we drew 10 lbs of tea.  but the commisary business is not half what I have to tend to.  I have the morning Report to make out & the Details to set on duty all such as 4 men to cary water  one man to cut wood  2 men on horse duty.  appoint one man as Corporal of the Guard & two men on Guard  4 men on Police duty  that is to Keep the Barrack clean——to be continued ha-ha

Oh I must write a Pass & I will send one to you to see.  it is an exact coppy of the one that I have just given.  We will be mustered as soon as we can get about 12 more men here & they come in every day by two & upwards proberly by the middle of next week & perhaps by the last of this week.  I have the Promise of a furlow of two days after we are mustered & shall come home.  I shall have the Place in Capt Sprolls Company of 1st dury Sergeant which is next to the Orderly which I now hold (that of the orderly)  and if ONE fellow does not get his papers from the other company I shall be orderly & his Captain Swairs he shall not have them.  but I don’t care must I am all sound where ever I be the boys all like me and if we were to have an election of Officers I should get the Place almost unanemous.  I get very little time of Idleness  I am up till 11 oclock evry night making out my details.  Perhapps you know the Minister of the Baptists Church here the one that was in Kal helping Rev Hascall through a revival—he is a tall man & never wares whiskers with black hair & always talks so plain.  Well he came up here to camp last Sunday Afternoon & things were going on as usual—about twenty men out on the Common playing Ball  30 more in & out of the barracks playing Ucre  here & there  a Lieut that was playing Ucre for money   well he came into our barrack & the moment he came in I knew him by sight.  I had just sent the Corporal of the Guard after a man that refused to go on duty & the Corporal brought him in the same moment that the minister did.  I says to the man (by the way he was pretty drunk)!!  Will you go Amediately on duty.!!  No!!  then take him to the Guard house for twenty-four hours.  The Cor started but the minister stoped them & talked with the man & with me & the man went on duty & we had no more trouble.  with him that day.  the minister left the Cristian Herald in the Place of the Cards for he said he would trade with the boys.  but it did good for but a short time for there are eight playing cards now in my room.  but I mist close for the Boys have come off drill & want various things of the Orderly—so good by

Spence. F. McOmber

P.S.  I think I have beat all the letter in camp this time & I would like to have you follow my example

S.F. McOmber

Act 1st Sergt

Capt Sprolls Co


Direct letters to Sergeant S.F. McOmber & I will get them quicker


/don’t send letters in care of Douglass for he is in Galesburg with his family.  Send them in care of Lieut Anderson/


Addressed to Mrs Marsha Jackson



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