March 7, 1864 – Mortons Ford

Mortons Ford March 7th

My Dear Mother

I have received two letters from you in the last few days. We are picketing here (all that is left of us) while the rest of our Brigade also the 1st Brigade in our Div are with Kilpatrick now with Gen Buttler before Richmond. they left here over a week ago I was on an expedition with a few of our boys to protect the picket line when they left. Our Reg were the first to Charge into Gordonesville and we should have heald Richmond now had it not been for the treatchery of a Negro Guide whom Kil hung while within the 1st line of Fortifications of Richmond. our Lt. Col. whose name is Litchfield is either a prisnor or is dead they say our Reg lost 100 men. Old Kilpatrick has joined Buttler & they together think of Gobbling Richmond. hope they will!! they talk of sending us there & hope they Will!! We have had a hard time here on picket & no prospect of Relief we have three hours to stand post & only three hours relief. You will probably read an account of all these thing. we are all very impatient to return to the Reg. It is my Opinion that we (our Div) will go to the Peninsulia & join Old Kil there. perhaps to stay with Old Buttler all of the time. We are having most beautifull weather here warm as june only nights a little chilly. I shall I suppose loose most all my traps when We Break up camp but don’t care. I am in favor of your buying out Darwin & will help you what little I can. When do you make the first payment & how much is it. If I had what pay is coming to me and what the boys owe me I think I could raise 60 or 70 Dollars. I have been thinking of bying a horse of my own from Government & then I can draw 12 dollars. a month extra for my horse so when I get payed each two months I shall have 51 dollars evry pay day. Most all the old Soldiers in the 1st Mich Cav have private horses & draw pay for them. If you buy the place I suppose you will move on to it. but I do not exactly like to have you sell the old house & lot. perhaps you can rent it & make it pay to keep it. Tell Father I was very sorry to here that he had heard ill of me and that I do not know what he means. but if I have done rong I am very sorry for It. I have been ronged very much by two officers in this Reg. One is Lt Anderson who has my bounty money. the other is Capt Cliperton our Capt. but I think I have tried to do my duty. I have not drank a Gill of liquor since I came into the State of Virginia altho many times I have been pressed to take some, ask Father if he wont write & explain & tell from whom the charge comes, but I must close so good by write soon.

From your humble & Obedient Son


Curator’s Comments:

 He begins by recounting the story of a raid on Richmond, the Confederate capital, in which men from his unit were involved, although he was away on picket duty when it occurred. He claims that had an African American guide not betrayed the Union forces, they could have captured the city. In actuality, this was no more than a harassing raid too small to have occupied Richmond in all likelihood.

He turns to an investment in some property his mother is planning to buy. He asks what it will cost her and tries to calculate if he can pull together some of his funds to help her. He thinks she is making a wise investment and encourages her to keep their home and use it for rental income.

Spencer expresses regret that his father is hearing negative reports about him back in Kalamazoo. He apologizes but says he doesn’t understand what the issue is. Two officers have wronged him, he says, and he also denies that he has been drinking. But he never clarifies the issue.


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