Will Fisher to his mother
Stafford Court House, Virginia
January 26, 1863

Dear Mother,

After so long a silence I will again give you a little information as to our whereabouts. We have had to go through another long siege of tramping since my last letter. We started from Fairfax Station Monday, the 19th, & marched 5 days arriving the last night at Stafford C. H. It is 12 miles from Fredericksburg, & the place where Gen. Sigel’s army has been encamped lately. It is very pleasant here. Gen. Sigel’s men had got their winter quarters all built & we just moved right into them.
Gen. Slocum says that during this march we have endured as severe hardship as any soldiers in the American army. I will now give you a little description of the affair.
The first day we got down as far as the farthest point reached on the other march. The second day we got to Dumfries & that night it rained & blowed all night, but the next morning we had to start & just as we got out in line the wagons got stuck in the mud, & there we had to wait till most noon for the wagons to get out, it raining all the time and cold. I had nothing but my government shoes on & the mud right in the open field or any other place was up to a man’s knees. You have no idea of mud till you see it in Virginia.
Well, we only got about 5 miles that day & camped at night in the woods & then we had to cut boughs to keep us from sinking into the mud. We had taken 3 days rations in our haversacks & this completed these & we had nothing left but a little coffee so we drank this & prepared for the night thinking that the supply train would come on before morning so that we could get rations.
Well I had just dropped to sleep when I heard the order for Co. I to fall in with all their things so we had to get up & wring out our blankets which were all wet, & pack them up. We then learned that we had got to go down to the river about a mile ahead & build a bridge which had been washed away, the water being very high.
As we passed along the line of the brigade three cheers went up for Co. I. It was now about 9 o’clock & the darkest night I ever saw & we waddled through the mud & tumbled down two or three times into the mud out of sight with knapsacks & all on. Well, after awhile we got to the place & went to work with torches. The water was deep & we had to get right into it all over. But one thing encouraged us, that our little Brig. Gen. Kane with his cork leg was there with us all night & made coffee for us, but would not give us any whiskey. He is very strict when he tells anyone to do anything, for, if he don’t mind when he speaks, he draws his pistol, & if they don’t start he shoots right off. But he is very pleasant & kind to his men.
Well, we worked all night till 4 o’clock when we bunked down till daylight when we started on again without any rations & all wet & cold & had to keep up with the rest of the troops. It still kept on raining all the time & we could not get any rations that night when we stopped, only some fresh beef which they always drive along on a march, but we wanted bread.
The fifth morning we started on again without any rations. Every time the Gen. would pass along the line the men would yell to him, “Hard tacks,” meaning hard crackers. Well, that night we got to this place, & the teams started off & got some provisions, & it was dealt out to us about 12 o’clock, & before I went to bed I fried about 2 pounds & I never tasted anything so good in my life. I could not help thinking of eating pancakes & fresh meat gravy at home. The idea of some kinds of victuals that I used to like so well at home makes me feel hungry, & when I get it it don’t taste so well as I expected.
We got a mail the first day we got here & I got a good letter from you. The letters you speak of receiving from me are all right up to that date, but there is two more due after that now only a day or two apart. The last one I sent by Mr. Wilson, who was down to see the boys. You spoke of sending the box. The last word I sent was not to send it, but I don’t know as there will be a better time to send it than now.
Did you think of sending the things together or send two boxes? Lem better have a box & Jim & I one. The box is worth a good deal after the things are out. We think a good deal of a few little pieces of boards in the tent, & you must remember that a box needs to be well secured to stand the jamming, but you may do as you like about the matter. You have all the directions necessary in my previous letters.
I had a letter from John the other day, he was well, but I must close. I will write more another time. Love to Aunt S. & all friends. Jimmy & Lem are well.

From your boy, Will.