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.

August 27, 2015

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

Office A. A. Q. M., Second Division, Twenty-fifth
Corps, Ringgold Barracks, Texas,
August 27. 1865.

My Dear Sister L.:—

I received your letter dated July 23d, by the last boat (23d) just a month from date. I cannot tell you how glad I was to hear from you again, but I can tell you that you must not expect many long letters from me, till I come home. There is not much to write, anyway. I have already written a tolerably full description of the country, and now I have no time to write anything but business letters. I am division quartermaster and post quartermaster at the same time, and you may judge I have something to do. Since the other quartermasters left I have worked night and day. To-day is Sunday and I and my clerk have written thirty-one business letters, besides inspecting my train. I am supplying forage to six hundred horses and mules, and have thirty-five six-mule teams of my own to take care of. I have estimated the value of the property for which I am responsible at $350,000 and I cannot take care of that without some work.

The only recreation I have taken lately has been to attend a ball over in Camargo, Mexico. General Cortinas and General Espinosa, of the liberal army, were in town, and the merchants got up a ball to bring together the United States and Mexican officers. The “baile” was “dedica a los Gefes y Officiales de los Estados Unidos del norte”— of course, you know what that means.

The senoritas were numerous and of rather a different style from these peon Mexicans. Their papas had thousands of silver “pesos” and they were as well dressed and well behaved as our girls at home, to say the least.

I am getting quite well acquainted in Camargo, where I am known as “Don Olivero el Quartelmaestro.” Every one is known by his first name only. Charlie there would be “Don Carlos.” Oh, how these girls can waltz, and how I can’t! I didn’t enjoy the dancing much, except looking on. I could only schottische a little.

It would amuse you to see what a man of consequence I am in Camargo. A brigadier general is nowhere beside “El Quartelmaestro.” “Why?”—Because he don’t make contracts for lumber, coal, grain and hay—the quartermaster does.

There are a thousand things I would like to tell you about, but I haven’t time. I send with this the July Atlantic. I have had the August number two weeks and have not cut the leaves yet.

Previous post:

Next post: