Will Fisher to his mother
Camp Stoneman
January 23, 1862

Dear Mother,

I guess I will write a little, irrespective of its being your turn next.
I am a little tired tonight on account of a tedious drill & standing on guard last night. There was an order read the other day on dress parade that buglers and saddlers should stand guard on account of so many being sick. I do not think it will last long. I hope not, for it is tough on one account, that is the place that the guards have to sleep in bed tents right down on the ground & the mud is two inches deep & we can’t go to our quarters to sleep.
Yesterday there was a regiment of cavalry came from over the river & camped right side of us. When they got here they looked hard. They were covered with mud from top to bottom. They had been three days coming over. The first night they slept in the streets in the city of Washington & they had then been in the saddle 36 hours & the next night they slept in the Soldiers Retreat where we stayed the night we got into the city & then to come up here & camp in the mud up to their knees. I tell you it looked dreadful hard.
I don’t suppose I know much about soldiering yet but I hope I shall always like it as I do now. This regiment coming back from over the river don’t like our being cavalry when they have got horses & armed to the teeth & we haven’t got nothing but sabers, that is, swords.
You know the officers want to keep it going as long as possible to get their pay back & that is all that keeps us here. So they may keep us here some time. All there is about it that I don’t like is that a person don’t feel as much as though he was serving his country when he is enduring hardships & making mothers feel anxious for the sake of gratifying a few officers & being all the time a great expense to the government.
You know nothing about mud up North. I hear you have a good deal of snow up North at present.
I got a letter from Prof. Beales last night, he was quite well.
I suppose my box is at the express office now. I expect there is some tobacco in it from Jim Sherman. If there is I shall sell it because well as I have stopped using tobacco. I quit because I have not the money. I have invested most of my money for postage stamps & stationary, but I’ll write some more tomorrow.
Good night.
Last night the box came & I brought it up & Jim & I opened it & slept under the clothes last night. I also got the letter. I was glad to hear from you.
You wondered at Nelson’s having $40.00 & me only $39. There was lots of mistakes like this, for Ab only got 20 dollars & he gets 21 dollars a month & Nelson got 49. That was the most any private got & some of them enlisted on the first of October. The next payment, which will be the first of March, we will all get alike just 26 dollars for two months. We are to be paid every two months.
You see Nelson had so much coming to him is the reason he sent so much home. He had nearly 70 dollar in all so he could well send home 50, I think. Since I started from home the last time I have done the best I could in money matters & now I have quit using tobacco so I could write all the letters I want to.
I had to help fix up our tent for winter & get a stove or else freeze to death.
Nelson is a little sick today, nothing but a cold.
I told you them “cookies” is nice & the meat & clothes. I can’t express how glad I was to get them & how good it made me feel.
I suppose you have heard of the late victory in Kentucky & the death of General Zollicoffer. I begin to think we will see peace before a great while. I think it will come to a crisis before long. There is another thing in our favor, that is the time of the southern soldiers runs out in the spring & they will not enlist again.
How do you think you would like to live in this city under martial law? They have to go by the sound of the drum as much as the soldiers. They have to have the lights all out at 9 o’clock.
But I must close. Give my love to Aunt Sarah & all the rest. Write soon,

From your own boy,