Will Fisher to his mother
Kelly’s Ford, Virginia, Camp of the 123rd NY Vols.
August 21, 1863 & August 26, 1863

Dear Mother,

Today I find myself almost alone. The rest of the company has gone on picket and there is only two or three of us left in camp, and I have been writing a good share of the time today, so I guess I might as well keep on and write a little to you.
The day is very warm which makes a shade rather desirable although the nights are quite cold and heavy dews fall. There has nothing new taken place since my last. The same old duties right over and over again. One hours drill in the morning when we first get up, and the same at night. When we first came here we did not drill at all. But 2 hours is nothing more than good exercise for them. I do not drill any now, for I am commissary sergeant and have the rations to tend to, neither do I have to go on any picket, or guard duty.
I draw the rations from Clark Rice and issue it to the men. There is about 40 men to draw for now, and about 26 out of them are privates for duty. The remainder are “dead beats” on the government, and the noncommissioned officers making out the number. This is considerable of a falling off from the original number which was about ninety.
I don’t know which I had rather be, duty sergeant or commissary. The later is the easiest, but you have to take the d___ding of the whole co. because you cannot give one as good rations as the other, especially with the fresh meat for we draw it all in a chunk, bone and all, and you always have to take some neck and shank with it. So you see, someone has to take some rations that ain’t quite so good. You see that there is something to quarrel about everywhere, but I never seen a fight in this co. since I belonged to it which is something that there is not many cos. can say. They have spats and quarrels of course, but nothing further ever takes place.
Our clothing account counts up pretty high this year because we have been marching so much, consequently throwing away a great deal. It may seem foolish to throw away our clothes on a march, but let anyone who thinks so just come into the ranks and march a few days and try it, if he don’t change his mind.

August 26th 1863
After writing thus far I have made a halt and this morning we received the long looked for pay so I will give you the necessary instructions about it. You will observe that the allotment roll does not work this time for the following reason: this paymaster is a different one from the one that paid us before and he said that the other paymaster did not hand over a copy of the allotment roll to him. Consequently, he knew nothing about it till he came to the regt. So he gave us checks to send it by. I, wanting to send mine as well as a great many others, asked the capt.’s permission and went to work and got a paper and put down each man’s name, and the amount he wanted to send and the person’s name who he wanted to draw the money. In this way, I raised $1565 dollars, gave the paymaster one copy to send with the money, and kept one copy to show of the other should be lost. I then had the capt. pay the money back to the paymaster, and he sends it all to the Com. Valley Bank so you will go to the bank and Mr. Thompson will pay you 40.00 dollars. The company can thank me for devising this plan, for it is very unsafe to send it by mail now, for it is robbed every week.
In the rest of the companies, they each man got an individual check for the amount they wanted to send home and had to send it by mail to their folks and then they go to the bank and draw the money on the check. You see he got in a hurry and would not give a check only in a body. The paymaster’s name was Maj. Porter, used to preach in New York City. He is a very nice man. He gave each company a good long lecture when they went up to be paid. He spoke very feeling of the trials of the private soldier and how well we had earned the paltry sum with which we were compensated for our labors. He said he had lately been to his native state (New York) and we could be assured that our achievements on that memorable day the third of July were highly appreciated. I hope they are. He also spoke nobly in regard to our property lost on these severe campaigns, Chancellorsville in particular, for they most all lost their knapsack and everything in them the first Friday night’s fight.
You see in this way our clothing bill has run up to from 60 to 120 dollars this year and the yearly allowance is only 42.00 and, unless the government will allow us for clothes lost in this way, we would have to pay for all over that amount at the last payment of the year. But Maj. Porter says that we shan’t pay for them, for, when he goes back, he will see about it. Says it is his duty to do so. The knapsacks lost at Chancellorsville were lost unavoidably, they being ordered to leave them while fighting and the Rebels driving us. Consequently they had no opportunity to regain them.
Last night Vet Warner brought me over a bundle that had come in a box. It contained more bountiful gifts from an ever thoughtful Mother. I tell you Mother if I have been undutiful to you at times, my mind wanders back to those times with fullness of pain and regret and would give anything if those memories did not exist. The shirt was very nice indeed only a little snug around the wrist, not enough to hurt anything. The walnuts were good although I hardly tasted them. I could have sold a hundred of those handkerchiefs for ½ dollar apiece, but they suited me too well to part with them.
I think I have improved some in writing since we stopped, don’t you? The capt. has no clerk now. I do a good deal of writing for him. I have got to make out all of the next two months muster rolls now, this week, which will keep me busy for two or three days.
Lemuel is well and on guard today. He is very healthy indeed.
It is getting so dark I can’t follow the lines and will have to stop.
I can imagine how delighted Aunt S. would be to go up on the hill in the wagon. I often think of her in her affliction. Give my love to her and Aunt E. and Uncle Z.
You need not send me any more note paper till I direct, for I will use fools cap when I can get it, but send the envelopes.

From your own boy,