Camp California [near Alexandria], Va.
September 4, 1862
Dear Brother [Leonard],
I received your letter last night. Glad to hear you were all well. It seems you are obliged to come. Well I can tell you a few things. You want to wear a good pair of boots for you can’t stand the Virginia mud with shoes—though they may tell you you will not be allowed to wear them there but that is not so. As to shirts, you can get some if you think best. Get good woolen ones & you had better take stockings. It will save you so much on your clothes bill & they will be better. And you want a pin cushion & thread, comb & pocket looking-glass, But above all, get a good pair of boots. You cannot get along without them. Have them set well. I wish you would oil up my boots for I may send for a pair this fall. Tell Mother to see to my clothes.
What are you going to do with the farm & where is Mother going? I think you better let Mr. Drew have my Notes & take a receipt with a description of each & Philo the same & give that to Mother to keep. I don’t know whether I shall draw my State Pay or not hereafter. My Allotment Pay will draw 5 percent to let it lay. If Mr. Drew will take our State Pay in amounts of $40 or $50, I think we will send them when they get that amount clear.
If you can any way get off, do it for soldiering is going to be of the hardest kind. There will be no going into camp this winter as we did last. Camp life you must learn for I can’t tell you—only to take good care of yourself.
We got orders to pack & be ready to move this afternoon but hardly think we go today, Where we go, I can’t tell. Some say Centreville way & some say up the Potomac above Chain Bridge.
It is fine weather now. Yesterday we got our knapsacks. Been gone about 4 weeks. We have had nothing but a rubber blanket & half tent to cover us. Boys were glad to get them. Who shall we write to after you are gone. Can Mother read our letters & will she get to write us? Tell her to keep up good courage for we hope it will come out right. Love to all & good luck to you. Write often.
— Edson Emery
[in another hand]
I send Mother General Brooks’ portrait. If you go away, Mother must get someone to write for her. I suppose she can read our letters. I was detailed this afternoon to go to Alexandria to unload some vessels but not feeling very well, I got a man to take my place. Each of us yesterday sold one month of our State Pay received for the 2 months, $12½. Shall buy us some shirts & things. Love to all, — Philo
P. S. I just received a letter from Page Potter. He is in the 11th Vermont Regt. & will leave for Washington next Sunday, Write soon & often.