Scottsboro, Ala., March 12, 1864.
I have been tremendously demoralized for nearly a month in consequence of a terrible cold I caught by some of my carelessness, I suppose, but am now coming out of it all right. Weather is most beautiful. Not too much duty, excellent camp, remarkably good health, and everything so near right, that almost think a soldier who’d grumble here deserves shooting. Were I disposed to complain am sure I could only find two little topics whereof to speak; one being the fact that ’tis impossible to get anything to eat here excepting regular army rations, not even hams can be had, and the other the long-continued absence of the paymaster. We are hoping that both these matters will be remedied ‘ere long, but have been so hoping for months. We have a division purveyor now, who pretends that he will furnish us in good eatables. We have had but a few articles from him, and I’ll tell you the prices of those I remember. Can of strawberries, $1.75; cheese, 80 cents a pound; bottle (about one and one-half pints) pickled beets, $1.50. If I could draw the pay of a brigadier general, and then live on half rations, think I might come out even with said purveyor for my caterer.
Everything perfectly stagnant. We did hear day before yesterday some quite rapid artillery firing for an hour or two; it sounded as though it might have been some ten or twelve miles southwest of us. ‘Twas reported by scouts a few days ago that the enemy was preparing flatboats at Guntersville to cross the river on, with intent to make a raid up in this direction or toward Huntsville. The 15th Michigan Mounted Infantry was sent down to look after the matter, ran into an ambuscade and lost a dozen or so killed and wounded. That’s all I heard of the matter. We were very sorry that the loss was so light, for they are a miserable set. We are going to have a dance here in a few days. Think I’ll go. Anything at all to get out of camp. I’m as restless as a tree top after marching so much. You don’t know how tame this camp business is. Am afraid I will get the “blues” yet. Hurry up the spring campaign, I say.