Letter No. XXI.
Camp Near Chattanooga,
October 24th, 1863.
To Mrs. Theodore Stark, Columbia, S. C..
Yours of the 13th inst. came to hand about three or four days ago. You are mistaken in supposing that I stint myself to send a little money home once in a while. There are so so few chances of buying anything that I really have no use for money. Most of us spend money for tobacco, but I use so little that it does not amount to an item in my expenses, and when we are out of rations nothing to eat can be purchased within ten miles of us, so you see it is useless for me to keep money on hand, as I may lose it; besides I would rather it be used some time or other for Mary and the children—in case I should get beyond the reach of money.
I have a good pair of shoes now, and an extra jacket which I use as an overcoat. I have other articles of comfort for winter in my carpet-sack at Richmond, but do not know when I will have an opportunity of getting them, and a great many of our men have things deposited at the Fourth Texas depot, of which they stand much in need, and I suppose after a good many die of cold and pneumonia the authorities will take some steps to have the winter clothing brought to this place. But you need not be uneasy about me; I am getting on very well now, though not so well as for the first five months. It has been raining for the last three weeks, and I have not been thoroughly dry in that time. I forgot to tell you that I have found my Texas blanket, which some one stole from me on the cars six months ago near Kingsville, South Carolina. A man in General Mart Gary’s regiment had it. I have been offered seventy-five dollars for it. You know that Gary and I were in college together. I went to his headquarters to see him, not having seen him in eight years. While talking to him I recognized my blanket spread out on some bushes to dry over a hundred yards off. The claimant seemed as much surprised to see me as I was to see the blanket. He gave a very satisfactory account of his possession, which made the history of the blanket quite interesting and strange. This blanket was woven for me in Texas out of native wool, and 1 prize it greatly. Love to all in Columbia. Your son, truly,
John C. West.