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.

January 2, 2013

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

Friday, Jan. 2, 1863. We did march in about thirty minutes after I wrote that last line, and I have not had a minute’s time to write since. We went off on a reconnoissance, or “reek-o-nuisance,” as the boys call it. We went about fifteen or twenty miles up the river to Richard’s Ford and came back yesterday. We had a tough march—such a march always is, for we don’t wait for trains, and when we got into camp we were all tired, I assure you.

You were asking me if my present position entitled me to more privileges than a private—the privates seem to think it does. It entitles me to have my knapsack carried on a march, and—to go without my blankets if the trains don’t come up. It entitles me to a horse if I want it, but I don’t want it, so I am dubbed “dam phool” by said privates. But all in all, I guess I’d rather be chief bugler than private.

I saw Alf a few days ago. He was looking well, and this morning I had a good long chat with Mrs. A. She arrived last night. It was the first time I had spoken to a civilized woman in six months, and you may imagine my “phelinks.”

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