Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for Army letters of Oliver Willcox Norton.

Army letters of Oliver Willcox Norton.

November 27, 2013

Army letters of Oliver Willcox Norton (Eighty-third Pennsylvania Volunteers)

Chapin’s Farm, Va.,
Sunday Eve., Nov. 27, 1864.

My Dear Sister L.:—

I have been pretty busy the past week in getting my new house done in addition to my other duties, and to-day I have just moved in. I could not get my “details” to-day, being Sunday, so I had to turn to myself and put the floor in this morning. Perhaps you think it bending the Sabbath to build while I should be at church, but I cannot see it in just that light. The colonel burned up his tent the other day and to-morrow we have a new major coming and I have to give up my tent to him, so I made the excuse of necessity, rolled up my sleeves and finished my house so that I could occupy it, and moved in, and I am so comfortable to-night! I have a little the most gorgeous residence I have had since I came to the army. It is about the size of your parlor, perhaps a little larger, with a canvas roof which also serves for window, and then the beauty of it is the fireplace, a regular old-fashioned kitchen fireplace that I can have a group sitting around and enjoying themselves.

To-night while I am writing Lieutenant Colonel Cooper, One hundred and seventh Ohio (Captain Cooper of the Eighth), is with me making out his returns preparatory to leaving for his new command, which, by the way, is down in Jacksonville, where we left them. They are supposed to be having a soft thing down there.

I was just sitting down to dinner when a gentleman of color approached bearing in his arms a box which he desired me to accept and give him a “ceipt” for it, which I proceeded to do, and opening it I found the sheets and the fruits and the pickles, etc., in the tip-toppest order. You sent just what I wanted, and you may congratulate yourself on having accomplished a feat that very few who send boxes to the army do. Almost every one sends something that will mold or sour and spoil the rest. I had not the least idea when I asked you to send me sheets that it was going to cause you much inconvenience. Shows how much I know of such things. You must thank Mrs. Ploss for me and remember that I did not think of sending to her for sheets.

Did I write you that Williston Tyler was dead? He died in Louisville, Ky., where he had gone to work for the Government. Denny took the body home. I received a letter from him yesterday containing his photo. He looks just as he used to. Frank says she has heard from you after a long silence.

I suppose you have heard about the Thanksgiving dinner sent to the army. Our part of the army did not get theirs till Friday, but it was good when it came—most of it. The “Field and Staff” of the Eighth got two turkeys, one of which came into my mess, and a cake with a pretty name and Jersey City address and ‘”Tell me how you like my cake” on the bottom of it. I shall proceed to praise the cake (and it would bear praising) after finishing this.

I have got your picture framed and hung up in my new house, and Ed’s and Etta’s and several others.

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