August 24, 1863 Trading

Banks Ford Aug 24th

4 miles from Falmouth

Dear Mother                      I am at present on picket at this place.  I have been down to camp today and received your letter of the 18th with the most of pleasure also those Kalamazoo papers.  I will send you some Reb papers which I got of them yesterday.  I had a picket post with Six men down to the ford and yesterday I swam across the river to them and traided papers with them.  two of them swam across and ate supper with us.  they wre hungry buggers you better believe.  we had Salt por which we fried on the coals and some hard tack & coffee for Supper.  they thought it was a real treat.  I sold a quarter of a poind of tea which I got of the Cap for ten plugs of tobacco which I can sell to the boys for 50 cts each.  teas is worth with them in camp 15$ per lb.  I will send a little change I have and I want you to send me postage stamps send two in each letter for it is hard to keep them here  you will get them stold or have to give them away or they will get wet or Something so if you will send a couple evry time you write I shall be much obliged.  I had to get the post master to send my other letters through without putting stamps on them for I could not get them.  I could sell them for a quarter apieve here some times.  I think I shall get part of that money I lost for Maj Granger has money which belongs to Anderson and he says he will pay us if the Col is willing.  the Col has gone to Michigan.  he started last night.  I can get a furlow for 30 days & 400$ if I will enlist for three years in the Regulars and go to Texas.  what do you think of it  would it be best.  the Lieut Col made me a Splendid present today.  I captured a horse of a Citizen and gave it to him without a brand on him.  it was a beautifull horse the Lt Col went to Washington with him & brought me backa pair of Cavalry boots worth from 15 to 20 dollars.  he is considered the best Officer in the Reg  his name is Litchfield.  I stand picket twenty four hours and am relieved twenty-four.  those seeds you sent me are of no account at present for I can get no whiskey but if you will send some Campher gum it will be just as good.  at present I am not troubled with virment but am liable to be evry hour for both the men & horses have them.  I have all the green stuff that is necessary.  Apples & Green Corn & sutch things.  You nead not be afraid that Cav will ever get the skervy while out on post.  tell Sis I was very glad to get her letter.  I wish I could see her.  I seldom see Children here.  All men.  Curseing & Swearing & laughting & hooting.  SIck men groaning & dyeing.  we had a man in the Co that was bit by a spider & nearly died had it not been that the Dr happned here he would have.  we keep our horses saddled ready to mount any moment night or day to Skermish with the Rebs.  the house that I am now in is a house which a Mr. Banks once lived in  a Congress man from this state  after him this ford in the River was named  it is a beautifull house large as Wm B Clarks & a nice.  the family left a few weeks ago for Richmond.  the Soldiers now occupies it and the place is nearly destroyed.  rosewood Chairs & Settees are used for fire wood, doors all knocked out and burned  windows & caseings burned so all is left is the bare stone walls.  there is a beautifull Pianio in the parlor which the boys have broke of the peddle from and Spoiled two kees  they say that when we go away they are going to take the wires for halters to feed horses too.  there were some beautifull pictures left which the boys have disfigured.  Oh War how it will destroy property & lives.  but I must close for I have writen a long letter on sutch paper as I could get.  please excuse my bad spelling & mistakes for I am in hast.

I am your dutifull

Son  Spencer F. McOmber

P.S.  The way I got clothing was when we fell back from Colpeper as our brigade was in the read we found the road strewn with overcoats napsacks blankets canteens haversacks & evry thing which Soldiers have.  You would laugh to see the rebs run last night when we came up to the Inf.  We were so tiared we could hardly  set on our horses & as we came out of the woods out to Gainsville the Inf three ranks deep fired into their Cav just as they made a grand Charge on our rear.  Oh how they Skedaddled you could not see them for the dust they made.  Please make me a new needle book & I want an other testiment but we have but little thoughts of religion here.  the last preacher I saw was in Grand Rappids.  there is not a Professer of religion that I know of in the Reg.  we dont know when Sunday comes only as have more duty to do or harder fighting or some thing which is rong.  I often have thought whare you were on Sunday when I was out facing the enemy or on picket Sunday nights.  one Sunday I was sent to get some fresh beef and the boys were just driving of an old womens last two cows & she came out to the gate & nealed down & prayed for us.  I would not let the boys take them but we went six miles further & got some better beef.

I am very comfortable as I have got more clothing cince I last rote.  We will get more pay the 1st of next month.  It was ten Dollars for that watch of Janes want it!!  & you may give her a Dollar or so for Interest the other or what is left you use for your self.  I am going to Washington in a few days to see about that Money I lent Lt. Anderson if I get it I will have 75 or 100 Dollars to send home.  tell Mr. Gun I will write to him the first opertunity but the mail is so Irregular that you can not send a letter always when you wish.  So good by for the Present.  I am you Aff Son    Spencer

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