Will Fisher to his mother
Camp Stoneman
February 8, 1862

Dear Mother,

I received another letter from you last night so I will proceed to answer it. I will answer this question which you asked first. The reason I didn’t get any more than a private is because that is all I am entitled to. The corporals only got fourteen dollars a month & the sergeants seventeen. They all expected a great deal more than this. But the reason that one private got more than another was on account of the carefulness of the officers in making out the payrolls. Nelson got the most of any of the privates & some of them enlisted in August. Albert only got fifty & he gets 21 per month. You see there was carelessness about the time of enlistment. I have asked other regts. about it & they say that buglers get the same as a private, so you see it isn’t negligence on my part. I was sadly mistaken about getting 23 dollars & if I had not owed so much I should have sent home 30 dollars. But next payday I shall get as much as any of them, for then it will be even time.
Well, about what we have to eat for breakfast. We have coffee (a cupful just such cups as your quart cup to home) & bread (we draw a loaf every night about 6 inches square) & for dinner we have fresh beef & potatoes (sometimes). A ration is a piece of beef about as big as your fist and one potato. For supper we have coffee again and frequently rice & hominy with molasses.
We get up at 7 o’clock in the AM & go to bed at nine PM. Breakfast at 8, dinner 12, supper 5. Today (Saturday) is always allowed to wash & mend (by the way I have had no mending to do yet except darning a pair of stockings for Nelson). We have all drawed a new suit of clothes including shirts, stockings & everything. They are not half so good as the first ones, but the underclothes are good. We have bunks built up so we sleep first rate since we got the quilts.
I can’t express the gratitude I felt in words, for those things which you sent to me & I hope in some way or other to repay you for them. I had a letter from John yesterday morning by an extra mail. he had been unwell but was about well. He wrote me a good long letter. He spoke of writing to you soon. I don’t see how he can live without it. I guess he does not like to write so well as I do. I think when I get home again I shall write more letters than I did before.
There is a fleet fitting out now in Brooklyn & guess the 22nd Regiment & some others are going. There is an opportunity for those desiring it to be transferred. I shouldn’t wonder if Nelson would go. He has got a fever for it. A person would see a good deal if they should go out in one of those fleets. I think I should like to go if I could go with the position of a bugler & it would be a great deal better service to the country in this way than in lying here in this dormant state just so that a few officers can get big pay. It will be some time before this fleet will start.
James Skinner, I guess, will not get any 100 dollars bounty & corporals only get 14 per month. The capt. Means for him to get a discharge from military duty, not that he is sick. I suppose the captain will send him his papers (that is his discharge) in a few days. I think he can be satisfied with that without any bounty.
In reply to Aunt Sarah’s question whether we sleep warm. I do & have no fault to find anything with anything now.
Every day I become more convinced that this abolition war is soon going to end. I was in the Senate yesterday. They were working to lower officers’ wages & raise privates’. I hope so, for I think if these confounded officers did not get more than half as much, they would not be so anxious for the war to continue.
There is somethings in the other letter which I forgot to answer. There was no men taken prisoner on guard out of our company, but night before last there was a man shot, out of our regiment, in a drunken row down in the city. He is living, but there is no hopes of him. The ball entered his bowels & the surgeon cut in and found the ball on the other side. He cut in about 2½ inches.
You need not mind the cap cover for we have drawed new caps & covers. The money for my boots I do not get till I leave the service. There is 47 dollars allowed for clothing a year, & if we do not use it all we get pay for it. This 47 dollars is for all that a man needs.
Our stove is a little hot stove with 2 griddles so we can cook on it if we want to.
I wrote to Mr. Short the same day I wrote to you. Write soon. Love to Aunt S., Uncle Zina’s folks also.

Good bye from Will