Sept. 30, 1863 Supplies for Winter

Hailings Mills Sept 30th 63

Cav Outpost 7 miles south of Colpepper

Dear Mother.  It has been a long time cince I have received a letter from you.  I shall send you a check of 35 Dollars which I want you to use as you wish.  give Father that $10.00 and take some of it to buy me the things I want sent in that box.  I do not think that it would be safe to send a box until we go into quarters for the Winter.  I want when I do send to have you forward the box, two pair of woolen drawers, two pair of long woolen socks.  one pair of best buck skin Gloves.  lined with lamb skin.  they are to have gauntlets.  these gloves I kneed now to ride in when we are out nights.  I also want a fine pair of Spurs with half inch wheel.  and if posible a pair that screw into the heel behind.  I presume there are other things which I shall want sent that I do not now think of.  if so I will send in my next letter what els I want.  we got our pay to day.  I was paid $42.03 and send hoe home #35.  I must have a little money to buy paper & envolopes with.  As to that bounty money of mine I cant tell whether I shall get it or not.  Maj Granger in Washington is to settle Lt Andersons business.  but whether I shall ever get that $65.00 I let him have or not  I do not know.  he, that is the Lt. is in Mich. and will probally go in the 10th Cav as Capt. but the matter will be decided at his first pay day or els if not it will before.  I have been in some pretty hot places cince I wrote you last.  I suppose you have read all about where Kilpatrick and his Cav have been.  but I presume you did not know that 19 men of our own Co were taken prisners the first Lt.  the Orderly Sergt & one other Sergt our Co were deployed as Skermishers and had left our horses back in the woods.  We crossed a small but rockey steep banked creek and with only one place foardable.  and when across a little while the Reb Cav charged on the ford & took it.  I was at the ford with six others to guard it but we were obliged to run when a hole battalion of Cav charged on us.  all that were on the other side but us at the ford were taken prisoners/ that was last Tuesday.  our 1st Lt. got away & came back.  our Capt Douglass in the same fix.  We have for the last week been on one continual raid.  I went out of camp yesterday for half of an hour & while I was gone the Rebs drove our reg out of camp back two miles when I came back into camp an hour after the Rebs had left & had taken my Satchel my House Wife my tooth brush my shirts my socks my coffee pot my knife for & spoon & plate & frying pan.  ha. ha. ha/ all the furnatur I had in the world.  but I see I must close so good by.  write soon.  from you aff son



Sis write me a letter a tell me all about your school.  the Rebs captured a letter i was just going to send to you  Spen

I suppose our Gen, Gen Custy was at the state fair if he was how do you like him.  is he not a fine fellow.  He was wounded & went home.  that fellow is a good as he looks.  Spencer

Curatorial Commentary:

In his longest letter of the month, Spencer provides a list of specific items he wants his mother to send him before winter. He sends home $35 to cover the cost of these things as well as to repay his father. He also seems resigned to the fact that a Lieutenant Anderson has defrauded him of a $65 bounty to which McOmber felt he was entitled. [During the Civil War, men were frequently offered bounties or bonuses to enlist. Spencer’s anticipated bounty would have been worth more than $1000 today.]

It is only later in the letter that McOmber mentions that he was nearly captured along with 19 other members of his company while out on a skirmish a week earlier. It was only because he and a few others had been left behind to guard the ford or crossing point of a creek that they were able to avoid being taken prisoner. On the day before he wrote this letter, while out on a raid, Confederate soldiers raided the 7th Michigan, Co. L camp and Spencer lost most of his personal kit. That, too, may have focused his thoughts on what supplies he needed his parents to send him before winter set in.

In his short postscript, written upside down atop the first page, Spencer makes reference to Gen. Custy. He means Gen. George Armstrong Custer.

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