Before Richmond, Virginia
December 2nd 1864
My Dear Kate,
You are a great deal too good for me, to write me such nice long letters in return for such hasty meagre epistles as I have been able to write during the past two weeks and yet I have really tried to find the time. Night before last I received your letter with Clare’s enclosed which I read and burned. I am glad to know that you and she are as good friends as ever. I know how much she loves and admires you. I like Clare very much. She is so unselfish and so strong in her attachments. Poor child! She seems to have cause for sorrow which she does not confide to her friends.
I think I appreciate and understand your annoyance that evening at the Fellowe’s. I have see such operations before.
I have just come in from as inspection of my regiment and have but a moment before the mail goes. I have recently received a lot of new green conscripts—eighty-nine out of two hundred which left New Haven and such a set of men! Now for the pleasant task of making them into soldiers. I think I should rather fancy it if we were only in garrison, say in Fort Richmond or Hamilton. It would not be a bad arrangement while you are at Brooklyn.
Our old 10th Corps is no more, except in the glorious record it leaves behind it. The 10th and 18th are to be consolidated, the white separated from the black, and two new Corps formed—the white the 24th, the black the 25th. The order has not been promulgated yet but is determined upon. It seems a mistake to extinguish a glorious name in this way if it can be avoided. I can never be so proud of the 24th as I am of the 10th. What would the “fighting Sixth” be under the name of the 32nd? Nothing but a handful of conscripts and raw troops instead of the veteran remnants of a gallant regiment whittled down by hard fighting to the little band it now is. No, give me the Old 10th or my discharge.
The box with my boots and coat and tea came two days ago, all safe and in good order. The tea is pronounced excellent. Now then, fortified by sundry cups of this invigorating but not inebriating fluid, and clad in my warm, thick coat and tall boots (coat and boots just meet), I can defy the cold and wet. Let it rain now!
I wish you could see the interior of our pleasant, but larger and better than the former one. Mr. Tiffany has been decorating it with holly which you know is so beautiful with its dark glassy leaves and bright red berries. At one end of the hut a neat little cross over our heads and over the fireplace at the other end the victor’s (?) wreath. He has been employing his leisure time un papering. In default of French paper, we go in for home productions. The “Times” and “Herald” divide the honor about equally of keeping from us the winds of heaven and covering the cracks. The Illustrated papers play a conspicuous part in the decorations, while the “Independent” and other offerings of the Christian Commission are posted conspicuously for everyone to read. So you see we are making ourselves exceedingly comfortable. I dare not paint the luxuries and conveniences and charms of the log hut in as strong colors as the subject may warrant for fear of inducing in you too strong a desire for Chengurataua [?] and log cabins.
I am feeling in very much better spirits as the difficulties that stood in my way are being surmounted and annoyances removed. I hardly dare look ahead so far as seven weeks though. Goodnight, dearest. Yours in haste, — Alfred