January 12, 1864 I am not very well at present

Stephensburg.  Jan 12th 1864

Dear Mother

I received a letter from you yesterday also the Testement which you sent and I am glad to get it.  Three days ago I got that harpers Weekly that Sis sent it was a very good Christmass present.  tell her I thank her & will send her something one of these days.  I have got a ring made for you and one for Jane when she gets back which I will send.  Never mind about that box of things just now.  I am not very well at present and have bad cold which has settled in my limbs and it makes me lame & sore all over.  The Capt was here to the Co yesterday & today went back to Washington.  I understand he is going back I shall try and get a furlow for I can bribe the Capt to do anything.  I dont think much of this new three months arangement to go to Richmond.  for the Rebs are able to hold two millions of men away from Richmond for more than Six months if we judge by the force that now holds back the Army of the Potomac.  All they have is a picket line with no support.  but they are perfectly safe for it is so bad going that no Army could travile over one mile a day here.  I have been all day going 3 miles with a good horse here & it is imposible for Wagons to get out.  We had some snow day before yesterday about 3 inches it came in the night and the next night it was very cold we were on picket & I caught an awfull cold that night.  I had to patroll the lines for 3 miles with 10 men.  I told you I was Orderly Sergt.  but it was acting so. until Rowls comes back from Richmond.  I get the same pay & preform the same duties.  I was a duty Sergt but am so no longer.  I had a muss with the Second Lt.  he is under arest now for reducing me.  I was under arest for thrashing him for two weeks but the Major released me for private favors.  I am now in the ranks but have a Sergt duties to preform & also have a Sergt priveliges I shall get my old place again as soon as the Capt gets back.  but I do not much care how it is  I am in favor with most of the Officers & as long as this is the case I shall have it easy enough.  I do not think of much more to write now so will bid you all good by for the present hoping you will answer this as soon as you receive it.

I am your aff. Son

S.F. McOmber

Curator’s Commentary:
Finally, McOmber describes some disagreements within the officers of his company. He and the second lieutenant have bickered to the extent that each has been arrested. McOmber’s rank, pay, and privileges seem to be at stake but he professes not to be concerned since he is on good terms with both a major and the captain. Spencer doesn’t really make clear the underlying grievance but he seems quite nonchalant about the matter.

As all soldiers did, he complains about the bitterly cold weather and how poor his health is.

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