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

Post image for War Letters of William Thompson Lusk.

War Letters of William Thompson Lusk.

October 19, 2012

War Letters of William Thompson Lusk.

79th Regiment, Camp Israel,

Pleasant Valley,

Oct. 19th, 1862.

My dear Mother:

It is some little time since I have had an opportunity to write you, for a few days ago we were suddenly sent to Frederick for the protection of that place, apprehensive of an attack from Stuart’s troopers. While there, we had no conveniences for inditing epistles, little to eat, and plenty of exposure. When I left for Frederick, I was quite ill with camp dysentery, but it left me very soon, although I have no doubt, could you have seen me lying out of doors without shelter in the cold night air, you would have predicted certain death to me. I find men don’t die easy, unless they are shot. Atmospheric exposure doesn’t kill. Men grow and thrive with hardship.

Well, so I am another Uncle, bless my heart! As well as the little heart of the new youngster who wouldn’t be a girl for any consideration! The female sex don’t seem to smile upon me, but then boys are such “rare birds,” as Dr. Tyng said of Billy Willson’s Zouaves. There’s some consolation in that. I think I shall accept the Uncleship of Ellen’s baby, so that when I get old and a busybody, I can make a match between this last nephew of mine and little Miss Dodge. Hey! Won’t it be fun! Give the small boy a good kissing, tell him I am going to arrange all his love matters for him when he gets old enough, and most charming of all, will buy him a new drum as soon as he can handle the drumsticks. For the rest I do not doubt but that he is a phenomenon of a beautiful mottled cherry color, in fact beyond comparison, unequalled by any other baby of his age living. Give my congratulations to Hunt and Mary, and tell them, like a good, brother I rejoice with them, and only wish I could be present with them for a few days to share their joy.

It is raining hard to-night and we think that cold weather will follow. As for promotion, I do not bother my head about that. I have enough to disgust me in a thousand ways to make me sick of soldiering. However, duty is duty, so I put my nose to the grindstone and say, “Grind away.” . . . My own tent—we are five of us together—has a pretty good set of fellows. The only trouble is, with the exception of my old first Lieutenant (appointed Capt. today), they sadly lack interest in the cause they are engaged upon. These new Regiments have destroyed the enthusiasm of the old. The newly enlisted men have already in advance, in the way of bounties, received more money than old soldiers can hope to earn in the entire war. The old officers who have been in many battles and by hard service have learned their duty, are obliged to receive instructions when on picket or other extra duty, from some Major just entering on military life, who very likely pegged shoes for them, without an inspiration for military glory, a year ago. These things are hard to gulp down, and unless the sense of duty is very strong the murmurings are loud indeed.



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