February 15, 1864 Skirmishes

Stephenesburg.  Feb. 15th

1863 [1864]

Dear Mother

& Friends

I received a letter from you a few days ago but have had no chance to answer until now. last Saturday morning our Division was called up at two oclock in the night and we drew three days provision of hard bread & pork & started down the river to Eliens ford or Mine Run & the Gold Mines we met Gen French with the 2nd & 1st corps of Inf going to Mortons ford where we picket. our Division crossed the river & went 11 miles in the country next day we came back with some 20 prisoners


The 2nd corps crossed the river & had quite smart a fight & lost 100 men. I am gaining strengh evry day & think I soon shall be as well as usual. I got a letter from Willis the other day which I shall try & answer now. I guess that you doctrine in reguard to niggers fighting would play out if you had been here the other day & seen how that none of them could be prevailed upon to cross the river altho our Whole Division were across & Gen Mead says that our division is as good to cover a retreat a corps of Inf. but I guess that this war will close before the negroes will have much chance to display their fighting abilities. We captured (that is our Co) 2 Rebs in the late raid that said that they had reinlisted in the Southern army for the war & said quite a portion of their army was doing the same. one North Car’lina Reg would not enlist for the war but out of contempt enlisted for life. I think of no more at present to write. I go on picket in the morning. I think if this weather lasts much longer that we will soon be on the go. for the weather is beautifull rather cold nights tho. good by now for the present.

I am your Aff Son

S.F. McOmber


P.S.  I have cince received another letter from you & I think we shall leave this place soon where we shall go I can not say for sertain. there is talk of our going to the peninsula and I am sertain that our Col is trying to get us to Washington to act as provo Guards & it lays between us (our Reg) and the 1st Mich. we I think shall start on another raid soon for all of the horses have been provided with two extry shoes & the blacksmiths are at work night & day. It is raining here now & we do not fell much like leaving Camp this morning we had a Grand Review of all the Cav in this army. Quite a site. but good by now write soon & oblige



Curator’s Commentary:
Spencer really jots down a couple notes in response to several letters he has received from home. He primarily describes preparations although on one mission, possibly to scout for the main body of the Army, a unit other than his fought a fierce skirmish with over 100 casualties. He uses this raid behind Confederate lines to justify his contention that African American soldiers are unwilling to fight.

McOmber adds a postscript which suggests to his mother than his unit is being outfitted for movement which, he claims, is rumored to be a possible transfer to Washington for guard duty.

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