April 1, 1864 I am well with the exception of a bad cold.

Stephenesburg.  Apr 1st 1864


Dear Mother.

I got your letter of the 27th & the papers a few minutes ago. I was glad you sent the papers. I do not see why you should be so anxious about my health. I am well with the exception of a bad cold. Bill Pershall was here when I got your letter he came down & eat supper with me. he has been examined & they are going to through him out of the service. Jim Vantuil is Capt Sprolls water & dresses as fine as any Officer. Lt Sergeant is as good an officer as is in the Reg & I never have heard of his being drunk. I do not often see Frank Aoxdel but he is in the 5th all right. as for clothes I am all right.  Tell sis that I had her picture on my table in the shanty and Gen Custer came around to inspect the Quarters & as he goes into evry shanty he went into mine & see her picture. he asked me who it was & said it was a very pretty little girl. Sis you must write me a letter & next time the Gen comes around I will show it to him. I do not think of more to write now & as I rote day before yesterday I will — close so good by from Spencer


Stephenesburg. Apr 14

My Dear Mother.

I have received no letters from you or any one for most 3 weeks and I am homesick and lonesomb on account of it. Oh if you only knew how much cheer your letters give me dear Mother prehaps you would write often. I am among a heartless set of men who have it seems no pity or remorse. (not that they do not use me as they do one an other) for I always can command respect and even love (if they have any) while among them. But it seems as though I wanted something els I do not know what and then when you think you will remember that am all alone. no other man in this co came from Kalamazoo and it really makes me realy feel good to go over to the 5th Mich and talk with some of the boys that I know. I remember you asked in one of your letters what was the character of my bunk mate. At present I am with a fellow that ran away from his folks (in Mendola Ill.) and went to Grand Rappids and enlisted while we were there. well he was sick last summer but came to the Reg this winter. He once belonged to the Baptist Church but I guess does not profess much now. but he is very tidy and petricular which I like very much for I must confess that the general run of soldiers cant brag much about neatness. Yet prehaps it would surprise you to see how comfortiable I make out to live and how clean and neat I can keep both my self and little shanty. My former bunk mate is in Richmond so this makes the second mate of mine that has gone to Richmond the former one was a Sergt and a fine fellow. use to be with him at Warington junction & Falmouth. I expect we will not stay here long but will brake Camp soon for the Sutlers have all been ordered to the rear and we have just turned over all our old — horses and drawn a lots of new arms. evry thing looks like a general —- move. The Inf are lying all around our camp and on evry hill & in evry road have built breast works. So that where we lay now is literly hemed in with forts and stocades. The most of the artilery are under marching orders but where we will go I can not tell. At present there is a good deel of excitement about going for the Cav service into the Navey. I presume if they would take them half of our Reg would go & enlist for the navey. but for my part I shall stay for the present where I am & when I want to go where I can only here once a year from home & my friends I will enlist for the Navey. I can think of no more at present so I will close hoping you will write me as soon as you get this. I am verey ansious to get the Kalamazoo papers please send me the Gazett next time.  So good by. tell sis to be a good girl & write to me.

From S. F. McOmber


Curator’s Comments: Spencer writes a short note acknowledging a letter from his mother and mentions some Kalamazoo area men he has just seen. He also tells his younger sister that Gen. George A. Custer saw her picture on Spencer’s table and remarked that she was a pretty girl.

A second letter is dated two weeks later and Spencer complains that he has not heard from home. He expresses a bit of self-pity, noting he is the only one from Kalamazoo in his unit. He then discusses the soldier with whom McOmber shares a shanty, remarking on his neatness. He notes there is a lot of activity which suggests to him that the army may be preparing for action. Finally, he closes with an odd discussion of some men considering leaving the Cavalry for the Navy, something he won’t consider since he would get mail very infrequently.


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