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.

December 7, 2012

War Letters of William Thompson Lusk.

Camp Near Falmouth, Va.

December 7th, 1862.

My dear Mother:

We are still lying quietly in camp — no signs of a move yet, but general suffering for want of clothes, shoes in especial. The miserable article furnished by the Government to protect the feet of our soldiers seldom lasts more than three or four weeks, so it is easy to understand the constant cry of “no shoes” which is so often pleaded for the dilatoriness of the Army. I am, happily, well provided now, and can assure those of my friends that contributed to the box Capt. _____ brought me, that the box contained a world of comfort for which I heartily thank them. I think I have acknowledged the safe receipt of the box and its contents already, but a letter from Lilly says not. I will write Uncle Phelps that it came all right. I have had a rare treat to-day. Indeed I feel as though I had devoured a Thanksgiving Turkey. At least I have the satisfied feeling of one that has dined well. I did not dine on Peacock’s brains either, but — I write it gratefully — I dined on a dish of potatoes. They were cut thin, fried crisp, and tasted royally. You will understand my innocent enthusiasm, when I say that for nearly six weeks previous, I had not tasted a vegetable of any kind. There was nothing but fresh beef and hard crackers to be had all that time, varied sometimes by beef without any crackers, and then again by crackers without any beef. And here were fried potatoes! No stingy heap, but a splendid pile! There was more than a “right smart” of potatoes as the people would say about here. Excuse me, if warming with my theme I grow diffuse. The Chaplain and I mess together. The Chaplain said grace, and then we both commenced the attack. There were no words spoken. We both silently applied ourselves to the pleasant task of destruction. By-and-by there was only one piece left. We divided it. Then sighing, we turned to the fire, and lighted our pipes, smoking thoughtfully. At length I broke the silence. “Chaplain,” said I. “What?” says Chaplain. “Chaplain, they needed SALT!” I said energetically. Chap puffed out a stream of smoke approvingly, and then we both relapsed again into silence. I see a good deal of Capt. Stevens now, who says were his father only living I would have little difficulty in getting pushed ahead. He, poor fellow, feels himself very much neglected after the very splendid service he has rendered. It is exceedingly consoling, in reading the late lists of promotions made by the War Department, to see how very large a proportion has fallen to the share of young officers whose time has been spent at Fortress Monroe, Baltimore, or anywhere where there has been no fighting done. Perhaps our time may come one of these days, but I trust I may have better luck in the medical profession than at soldiering. However, I suppose when I get old, it will be a proud memory to have fought honorably at Antietam and South Mountain, in any capacity. I feel the matter more now, for I have been in the service so long, and so long in the same place, that I am fairly ashamed to visit old friends, all of whom hold comparatively high rank. I do not see why before the first of January, though, I should not be the Lt.-Col. of the 79th Regiment. In trying to be Major, I attempted to be frank and honorable, and lost. Now I shall try to act honorably, but mean to try and win.

I feel sad enough about Hannah. You know what inseparable playmates we were when children. God help her safely, whatsoever his will may be.

Love and kisses for all but gentlemen friends.



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