Will Fisher to his mother
Camp Stoneman, Washington, D.C.
February 3, 1862

Dear Mother,

I haven’t received any letter from you in some time but, however, I will try & communicate a little tonight.
It has been snowing a little all day & there is now about an inch of snow. It seems odd enough to see it here.
I wrote to Jim Sherman today. Jimmy says that his mother has been quite sick but is better now. Jim answers my letters quite prompt. I guess he likes to hear from me. I do from him. I got about all my money into the postage stamps today. I have only about a quarter left now but I am well supplied in that line. How is Will Sherman?
Feb. 6th
I commenced this letter the other night but I have been so busy that I could not finish it. During the time that I delayed I received a letter from you & was proper glad to hear from you but I was not only sorry but mad to hear that Jim Esmon had told you that I did not like it to have Jim’s word considered better than mine. I think you must put a good deal of confidence in Jim Esmon’s word & I say again that I never got but a quarter of him & don’t think I ever played a game of billiards in Jim Esmon’s presence. I never had anything work me so. If I was there I would like to settle it with him myself. Talking about billiards, I never played only up to John M. Stevenson’s with Hal & down to Troy last spring. I wish if he wants to get any more he would write to me about it & I would answer it & his mother too. I suppose he had to give his mother some account of money which he had when he went to Camp Strong. I think he might thought of some better excuse than billiards.
You say John has not wrote you since he left. I think he was naughty. As you say he wrote to me. He was then at the Bardwell House at Rutland. I have written three letters to him since I received it & he has not answered any of them. I do not know as I direct them right. I do it after this manner — Putnam, Washington Co., NY. Please let me know when you write. I think he could find certainly that time to write as you. I tell you I do enjoy a letter from home. You better believe it is a treat to hear Wats McColboosh coming down the street calling out “W. G. Fisher, N. B. Holden, letters.” I got two last night. Our mail time is 5 PM.
I suppose you do not enjoy one privilege which we do & that is to have someone call at your door with & for mail. I think of you going to the office with a letter for your boy & when I hear of the snow being two feet deep I think of your shoveling paths. But you have no cow to look after, but you have to shovel to put out your washing. I think you are doing as much for the country as I.
About our washing, we wash our own stockings, towels, handkerchiefs & our shirts, & heavy washing Mrs. Swing does. She is one of the company’s wife. She washes for 5 ct apiece & does it good. I had about 40 ct worth when we were paid off and 15 ct since.
In our tent there is Nelson, Chaney Baker (the one that lived to Nelson’s), Frank Esler & myself, four of us.
Our tent is just like the roof of a house set on the ground, that is the eaves set on the ground and it is 8 feet square & four of us tent in that, & the first night I was here there was 8 of us in one tent. We have got a tent to ourselves now so we took & drove four posts in the ground & boarded it up, making it a little pen four feet high & 8 square & then set our tent right on top of it. This makes quite a house.
Then we made a couple of bunks in the back side, one right above the other, so Nels & I sleep in the upper one & the other ones in the lower one. The bunks take up half the room & then we have a little stove in the other part & a broom & wash dish, everything convenient & nice. Our stove, 4.00, a dollar a piece. We draw wood from the government.
We have a nigger to cook for the company. He cooks quite good, but he is cross and crabbed. We will have to tumble him outdoors some day.
The Chaplain is the Postmaster. The orderlies of the company take the mail all to him & he has a boy that carries it to the city to the great Post Office. The mail goes out at 1 PM & comes in at 4 PM.
It has been so muddy lately that they cold not drill any, but when it does not rain we have to dress parade which is all I have to do. It takes about half an hour. The regiment is all formed in line & the band march the whole length of the line & then the sergeants of each company report whether their men are all present or accounted for & then all the important military news is read as the soldiers are not supposed to have any newspapers. The parade is been dismissed & that is all.
You speak of my reading your writing. I can read anything now, even John’s, & can spell a great deal better than I could.
We expect a great battle soon. You have heard a good deal of firing canons on the day of the fourth of July, but nothing to what it was here that day. The ground was in a constant jar all the time.
Chris Greene has been over here a week, just gone home. Mrs. Morgan, or McCoy now, is over in the 22nd Regt. now. She is the one that was music teacher at the academy last winter. Her husband is a capt. in that regt.
I had a letter from John a day or two ago. He is well. He said my sister sent her respects to me & would like to see me. I guess he does not write very much does he. I had a good long letter from Libbie Sherman too. I wish you would write me Uncle Soloman’s address. I would like to write to him. There is a company here from that part of the country & one that tents with us that come from West Leyden, Lewis Co. that thinks he knows him. Is that the place?
About that Fleet business, I have given up going for it over not turn out as I expected. I sent you those papers to let you see one of the best papers ever published. I shall not send any more for I suppose you get the news before I do & I have not got any more change, only post stamps & only about 10 of them. I think they will last till pay day for I am beginning to slack up on some of minor importance. I shall answer all you write any way. I like to get them from you the best. James Skinner writes some with lead pencil that I can hardly read.
The disbanding excitement is stronger than ever. The officers are beginning to talk about it. I think without a doubt our regt. will be disbanded or else the best men picked out & consolidated with other regts. “Look for Will by the first of April.” But I do not want you to make up your mind too strong so as to be disappointed, but this is my candid opinion. I don’t think we will have to stay a great while if we do, till the war closes. I think they will throw up the sponge before long.
You said that Uncle Skinner wanted I should write about Jim. Well the capt. is getting his discharge papers ready & will probably send them to him. He ought to write what he wants done with the money. He pretends that he did not know that he would draw pay, but any fool knows that when he is a soldier he draws pay wherever he is. If he is such a lover of his country he can send for the money & give it to you or somebody else that has got folks in the army.
Perhaps I shall be home to cut that wood. You had better have enough drawed to last all winter without burning green wood. I get enough of that here. We draw wood every day that is about two sticks to every tent. A regt. draws 240 cords a year. That is all in the winter. One day we have green & the next day dry pine, chestnut, oak & everything else. I do not drill so the boys make me cut all of it.
We have to go about as far from our house up to the brook for water. For a back house we have a ditch about 2 rod long & a pole over it. But I don’t like the style any better than I did at home.
Perhaps you would like to hear the order of exercises in camp. We get up at 7 o’clock & have breakfast at 8, guard mounting at 9 & drill at the same time. I have to practice at the same time till ½ past 10, then blow the recall from drill, & dinner at 12, drill again at one, & practice too. I practice till ½ 2, & the others till 3, dress parade at ½ 3, supper at 5, roll call at ½ 8, go to bed at 9.
Nelson wrote home for a box of things. Barton got a letter this morning that they had been to their house & ours & they was all going to send something. I don’t want you to be to so much trouble for me as you are now, but I suppose the box will be here before you get this. They said it was going to be sent Wednesday night. If you do get this in time just put in a tooth brush and a piece of chalk about as big as a walnut to scour brass with. I want to clean my teeth too.
How is Aunt Sarah now? I suppose you will be ready to take that ride when I come home. Have you been out a single time this winter or had a sleigh ride? I have not seen a sleigh down here.
How does the Cambridge people like Trenton for a hotel? Do they like him any better than they did Clark? I heard Jim Livingston had dissolved partnership with Carpenter. How is Mr. Shortt’s folks? I wrote to him but he has not answered as yet.
Everybody writes that James Skinner has experienced religion & wrote to Jim about it & he says that it is not so. Says he has not been out an evening this winter.
Am glad to hear of Will S.’s health improving so much.
Do you find any difficulty in reading my writing. I can read John’s or anybody else’s writing now.

Write soon,
Much love from Will