Will Fisher to his cousin Julia Whelden
Bridgeport, Alabama
November 6, 1863

Cousin Julia,

As we are temporarily settled again for a few days I have been thinking a little about my correspondence and in regard to your case I cannot decide, but for fear of my being in debt I will write to you tonight.
I have been pretty busy today but had a very pleasant duty to do, viz: guarding Rebel prisoners which have been taken recently upon Lookout Mountain. There is seventy of them. They are the worst set I ever had to guard. I have ten men around them with fixed bayonets and there is a great crowd around ready for argument and dispute which is against orders to allow anyone to get into any political dispute with them. Every once in a while I hear “You lie you d____d Yankee,” or “Rebel,” as the case may be. Then I have to make the crowd stand back, and keep their mouths closed. I expect they will go to Nashville tomorrow. I tell you it is very nice work to guard Rebels, but not so pleasant to capture them.
I can hardly realize that we are so far from home now but we are down in Alabama. I tell you Ky., Tenn. & what I have seen of this state is mighty hard looking country. It is all overgrown with bushes, weeds, and hardly anything growing except a very little tobacco, corn and sweet potatoes. I have not seen hardly a man at home that was fit for military duty, nothing left but old men, cripples, children and hosts of women. They are the most afflicted set of human beings I ever saw. They have nothing but what they get of the government. They like Uncle Sam’s pap mighty well if they don’t like his style of government.
We had a very pleasant journey coming out here but it was rather fatiguing. We were just seven days aboard of the cars day and night, and were on freight cars with fifty or sixty in a car, but there was so much to be seen that we didn’t mind it much. We passed some splendid places, such as Columbus, Dayton, Xenia, Newark, Zanesville, Indianapolis, Franklin, Jefferson, Cambridge, Dunkirk and Louisville, Ky.
The ladies were very bountiful in their gifts to us. Many of them engaged in giving out pies, cake & bread. I tell you, it was delicious to get hold of some good old fashioned bread & butter or milk. Our living is now nothing but plain field rations and it seems as though the eternal fat bacon and grease would kill us all. We get nothing but bacon (which I can tell you is not ham, it is the plain sides and fatter than lard) hard crackers sugar & coffee, one spoonful of sugar is one man’s rations for a day, and 12 crackers or 1 lb is a day’s ration of bread. The crackers are made of slacked lime & water. They are like the boy’s tobacco, “swell in the mouth.” Let a cow or hog eat all they will and when they become moist they will swell so as to kill them. I don’t see why we don’t draw camp rations such as beans, vegetables, etc.
But I must close. Be sure & write soon. Tell Johnny that I think if he was big enough to be drafted he would not be such a sneak as some of them are. Remember me to all the family & Lem. Accept this from Will.
I burned the top of this sheet drying it.
Love to Sadie and Willie. Tell mother to hurry up my box and put in plenty of stationery. I had a letter from her today.
We are 28 miles from Chattanooga and 122 from Nashville Tenn. and are right on the banks of the Tenn. River. Address me Co I 123 NY Vols./2 Div. via Nashville, Tenn.

Yours etc.,
Cousin Will