December 27, 1863 Merry Christmass no mistake

Sunday Dec 27th  63

On Picket

Dear Mother

It is twelve oclock midnight & we are on picket just below Mortons Ford and we have been for 5 days.  Christmass you would have laughed to see me on an old wagon with a couple of our saddle horses hitched in to draw lumber to build a shanty to live in this winter.  Oh what a time we had the horses would bawk & we had to help draw.  We carried our lumber (which we got by pulling down an old barn) to Stephensburg & got to camp about 12 oclock at night and had to take a load of Grain back to the boys before morning.  Merry Christmass no mistake.  I got you letter today with the money & was glad to get it.  Tell sis that it make me feel bad to hear that she had been sick & also I am sorry to hear that the old cat had so sorrowfully kicked the bucket.  But I think if she is carefull and takes good care of one of her kittens she will still be able to rear a venerable race of cats before I have served three years unless sooner killed.  I have the Ague regular here but aside from that think I am well.  The Rebs played us a trick today one of the Sergt in Co M went down to the bank of the river for some thing & a couple of the rebs sl ied across and took him prisner & made him cross with them.  If you have not sent that box befor you get this please send me some writing paper & envelopes in it also one of my old phelt hats any old hat never mind if the lining is out any old hat is better than a cap to keep out the rain.  dont buy a new one for an old one is just as good.  The Rebs are getting saucy tonight for the boys that just came in off from the posts down by the river say that they fired at the Relief as they went around.  But I guess it does not amount to much for it is now 4 hours later & I have been with a heavy squad of men to all the posts & have just re-turned but could not get the johneys to disturb us.  It has been a sorry night for Pickets very cold & has rained all night without stoping.  And you dont know what a Virginia rain is until you come to see & feel one.  but this place is ver good for picketing for it is in the Reserv a couple of old nigger houses where we can build fires & cook out of the rain.  Do you think I could get Mr. May to help me to the Gov if I should get a furlow this winer.  they are going to give a few furlows of 15 days & if I thought he would I would try & get one.  Mother dont sell my skates for I may have a chance to use them yet.  I guess I must stop now for I have finished the sheat.  Tell that girl that I know Brownell well & the last time I saw him he was doing well.  So now Good by

S.F. McOmber

Curator’s Comments: Christmas has come and gone and Spencer finds humor in the fact that he spent the day hauling lumber to build winter housing.

McOmber wonders if Mr. May – probably the attorney Charles S. May – could use his influence to persuade the governor to grant him a 15-day furlough.

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