Letter No. XXVII.
Camp near Morristown,
December 25th, 1863.
My Precious Wife:
My first word to-day shall be to you and my little darlings. A merry Christinas to you, and may God grant us a happy reunion and many pleasant hours ere another twelve months passes by. I shall leave you now and see what a Christmas our soldiers are enjoying with their bare feet and ragged clothes.
December 26th: Well, I had a piece of fried chicken for breakfast, but no bread; but in passing through the regiment found Bennett Wood (brother of Aaron) and his mess had made big hominy, besides having obtained some fresh pork and pure coffee (the latter captured from Yanks). I breakfasted with them and discussed the prospects of getting home this winter and having our Christmas after awhile, as the rumor still floats that we will be sent across the Mississippi this winter. From our regiment I went over to Jenkins’ brigade to see Jim Whitner, my old college class-mate. He had succeeded in getting two eggs, and Henry, who is on the general’s staff, had sent him some brandy. We made a “tom-and-jerry,” and enjoyed it very much while we talked over old college days and of friends who have passed to their last account. They were busy as we were in building winter quarters, but Jim insisted on my coming over to dine to-day, which I did, and have just returned. We had a first-rate chicken pie for dinner, backed by genuine coffee sent from home. Was not that glorious for a soldier? What better could he have, unless he was at home with a sweet wife and obedient children?
Sunday, December 27th: The axes still ring busily chopping logs and splitting boards for cabins, as it is said we will be here two months yet, if the Yanks do not run us off. Be cheerful, keep your Latin and music and the little school moving on. It may be a blessing to you some dark day. Trust in God and keep your (powder dry) courage up.
Your husband, faithfully ever,
John C. West.