Will Fisher to his mother
Head Quarters Provost Guard, Bridgeport, Alabama
November 20, 1863

Dear Mother,

Before I hardly know it another week has flown past & I expect you will be ready to hear from me again by this time, so as I am favorably situated today, (or night I should say) I will do a little in that line.
I am on provost guard down by the railroad about 30 rods from camp. My business is to guard about 40 prisoners, also to patrol the place and see that those staying here have passes & proper authority & in short, I run the town, & what is more, the most reliable sergeant out of about a dozen which go on duty every morning is picked out for this post. Ahem!
About 20 of the prisoners are Rebel deserters, the rest are in for various charges such as stealing government property. Let me say here that our regt., is guarding here daily more stores than you could pile in Uncle Zina’s meadow & Gen. Hooker, before he left here, placed this particular regt. here as being the most reliable regt. in his command, so, in order to remain here & in his esteem, we are very strict, arrest every man stealing & put them in under guard to await trial.
Some of the prisoners are caught here while their regts. are at Chattanooga or some other place. These “shysters” also “go in” so, take it all together, we have a very interesting lot of them. They have to be guarded to the sink, for wood & water. Call the roll three times a day. Today I had to arrest some half a dozen squads of gamblers who were loitering about the place. This is a very prevalent evil in the army.
It is now about 11 o’clock at night & raining quite hard, but I am in the large “provos” business office, nice, warm & dry & it is the first time I have written on a table in a good while. It seems quite awkward to me. I had no paper down here & picked this up here on the table which accounts for the variety. It is quite a task to sit here all night, more so than it used to be to home when I was out to some “shindig,” so writing & reading are & will be very pleasant pass times these long winter nights if we only stay here to enjoy it.
Since I last wrote, I have got a splendid “shanty” built & a very nice fire place in it. The cost of the latter was one dollar which was very profitably spent.
We have also been paid again, two months pay, but I am sorry to say the clothing had to come out of this payment which was $16.00. You see the soldier is allowed $42 per annum for clothing and the first year he will invariably use more then the second or third because he has to have a full suit to start on &, until he learns, his eyes are bigger than his strength about carrying them, and, to obviate this difficulty, they most always (especially where the soldier has a bounty due him at the expiration of his time) allow the account to run along so that by economizing he can make up the second year what he loses the first. But this did not seem to be the order of things for us. I guess it was because we had such large bills they were afraid of us. The paymaster said we had the largest bills of any regt. he ever saw. There was some six or seven who had bills amounting to $120 and $135 but myself & the majority of the company bills were about $75, and we had all we lost at Chancellorsville allowed to us besides. There are several who did not draw any pay this time & won’t for four months to come. There were three who are uncommon easy on clothes and did not over reach their bounds. These were Theodore Derby, L. S. Skinner, & John Larmon. There were no two who received the same amount. There were some who had a few cents due & other from $1.00 to $10. Your son received $8.00 and some cents &, I think I have learned how to use money a little better than I used to, and I think I had better keep this by me for the present & see whether I need it or not.
Now I don’t think of anything else they can charge to us next payday unless Gen. Gilmer should burst some of his siege guns & they should charge some of them to us.
I am very anxious to know if you got the letter I wrote you about the box. If so, you probably have started the box before this time. If not, I wish you would go to the druggist, Jim Robertson’s & get a bottle of that diarrhea medicine such as he makes for Skellie’s folks. Send the price of it.
I received another letter from you the day before yesterday with two stamps, also four in the one preceding it, also an envelope in each one. You said I had not spoke of receiving those photographs. Now I think you must be getting forgetful for I think I have often spoken of them and while I think of it I guess I will send them back awhile for I have no place to keep them & am spoiling them. You can keep them & when I want to take a look at them I will send after them again as it does not cost anything. I received those gloves you sent the same day I did the letter, so you see the express comes through quite regular.
The boys are all well at present. Susman Thomas, I suppose you knew was sick sometime ago. He went to hospital at Murfreesboro when we were at Decherd. He is recovering again, complaint diarrhea. John Ketchum & Jones Bassett are both here, came a short time ago. Bassett is perfectly blind in one eye & John has no use of his arm nor ever will. Dr. Kennedy went to Murfreesboro tonight, detailed to take charge of general hospital.
I wish you would send me some good reading matter. It is hard that soldiers do not have more to read, most of them are crazy to read.
The regt. is pressed very hard for duty now, on duty most every day, Sabbath not excepted. The running of boats from here up to the army throws all the supplies in here where they have to draw from the cars to the boat landing. They have millions of property all the while which we have to guard & sometimes do fatigue duty of loading, etc. The army in front are well fed now. You may look for big doings in this quarter before long & when you hear of Joe Hooker’s doing anything remember he is our commander, that is, of our noble Second Div., God spare them.
I wrote two full sheets of foolscap to John the other day & told him I should like to hear from him once more. I don’t remember as he has wrote but once since he went back this last time. He used to write every time I did but he is careless.
How does Aunt S. do this rainy night? Hope she is comfortable. Tell Johnny Sherman I will take him out riding when I give “Johnny Reb” a few more rides.
Tell cousin Bockmaster I have been looking all over to find Hiram but can’t. There has been two corps from Grant’s army of Vicksburg under Gen. Sherman moving through here but could not find him. I thought it was the 5th Iowa he belongs to but he was not with them.
But it is 3 o’clock & my eyes are getting blurred & I must close. Give my love to all friends.

I am,
William Fisher