January 31, 1864 I got that box a few days ago

                                Stephenesburg. Jan 31st

Dear Mother.

I received yours of the 24th and also I got that box a few days ago. Oh how I laughed evry thing you put in was safe. the pickled peaches taisted the most like home. the butter was exalant & the cake I could hardly believe was made to eat it looked so nice. I must not forget to tell sis that her candy was very nice & that I have still got a piece of it in my pocket. the dried fruit is exalant I have not used it near all up yet. the same day I got my box I had a visit from Mr Glover. of Kal. he came over here with John to see me he looks well & says that Wm Shakespeare is getting better. I got the papers that you sent with you letter & have all that came from Kal but none which Jane sent. We will not get our pay very soon & have had none for most 4 months but wen it does come it will only be all the more. My Rubber overcoat is the best garment I have got to keep out wind & rain & it is so long that it reaches down to my boots when in the saddle so that it keeps my legs warm & dry. the weather is beautifull here now just like midsummer only for the mud, but the first rain will drive evry thing into the ground. Yesterday there was heavy fighting on the right of our line in Gen Beaufords division. the no of deserters does not decreas & if any thing I think they are more & more comes over all the time. It is Sunday today but what of that we have just as much work to do & altho we have had a chaplin here for sevral months I do not think he has ever preached but once & dont know that he ever will again. he lays around head quarters plays chess & sleeps the rest of the time. if we have Chaplins sent to us why not some that will visit the sick & talk with them & do some kind things for them & not lay around camp a drone while evry one els is busy. he does not seem to think that the two niggers that he has is sufficient to wait on him so has men detailed to poliece up around his shanty pointing with his delicate jeweled finger where he wants the mud cleaned up. but I have writen enough for now. please answer as soon as you get this

I am you Aff son

S. F. McOmber


Curator’s Commentary:
Spencer seems to be revealing himself as a highly opinionated young man, just as he had in his previous letter. His letter closes with a lengthy denunciation of the chaplain whom he describes as lazy and rarely concerned with the men, especially the sick and wounded.

Earlier in the letter, though, he does have some interesting news. He has received the box of foodstuffs from his mother and is delighted, describing how delicious various items were. He also has received a visit from a Mr. Glover of Kalamazoo and brought news that William Shakespeare, who had been seriously wounded in combat, was recovering.


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