Will Fisher to his mother
Elk River, Tennessee
April 17, 1864

Dear Mother,

After another lapse of a few days I will try and write again. I have rec’d no reply from former favors later than March 3rd, I think was the date of the last one of yours.
Lem is now at Decherd as I wrote in my last as hd. qrs. guard. He has been up and stayed two days on a pass this last week. He likes it first-rate.
Today is Sabbath day, am not informed yet whether the C.C.’s delegate will preach today or not. He has preached the last two Sabbaths to the largest assemblages I have ever seen gathered in the regt. He is from Argyle, Wash. Co., NY, and I think he is settled in Dr. Schooler’s old congregation. I tell you he is smart and he preaches anything but a military sermon. He preaches a plain practical sermon.
You very often hear the enemies of Mr. Gordon’s stay with us say that his sermons were all military and enjoining the men to obey their officers and to tell the truth. I think myself that his ministration here was very unsuccessful indeed, although I was very well satisfied with him, but everything seemed to work against him. In the first place the officers did not encourage him in his duties and he did not receive no treatment due to his position. In the second place, as one instance in which they did not encourage him in doing his duty, every Sabbath when the weather would possibly admit of holding service they would have the whole day taken up with inspections &c.
Another thing which grieved him much was that so few invited him to “tents of sickness.” He told me himself that he felt bad about this. He wanted to visit the sick but he had to find out the best he could where the sick ones were. There was a good many sick men died and he never asked to the deathbed.
I have always said that Mr. Gordon would have been very foolish to stay where it was so apparent that he was not wanted. But the great point with the blowers is that he stayed till we went into battle and then skedaddled, but I deny this for there was no more prospect of fighting at that time than there had been before but it so happened that the regt. went into an engagement and after we came back to Stafford Camp. While the minds of the regt. was softened by recent events, it certainly would have been a good thing to have had a chaplain with us. But this was all chance.
Very often when he would preach, there would not be a corporal’s guard present and everything was very discouraging for him. It is an established fact that troops are altogether the roughest at first and he was here just the worst part of the time. This winter, after what we went through, what we did last summer, you can readily see a great difference in the regt. They heard no one speak of anything of the kind and since they have displayed an eagerness to attend any such meeting. We have had several preachings here and they have all been well attended.
I don’t know as I told you or not, about my belonging to the choir. There is several of us organized into a glee club, and we sing two or three nights a week. I have learned more about singing here (i.e. by note) than I ever knew before. James LeRoy Cummings, one of John’s old Putnam associates, is the leader of the glee club. Lem was one of the members, of course, while he stayed, but now we have to do without him.
Day after tomorrow, if well, I shall have a pass to go to Dechered to spend a day with Lem. The rumors around camp are about the same as usual. I see no more prospect moving to the front than a month ago.
Gen. Slocum has issued his farewell order to the 12th Corps. I have almost forgot whether I told you in my last letter about the change or not but I think I did. I do not know where Gen. Hooker is now. I suppose now we are the 1st Army Corps. but you must direct as usual until you see some notice in the papers of a change in the directions or until I send you word. There is no 12th Corps in existence now and never was only this one so there is no place that a letter could go only to this corps. so there is no danger of missing us to direct as before.
I wrote to John, Aunt Eliza Taggart, Lib Sherman, Don Stevenson, and one or two others during the past week besides thirteen (13) letters for outsiders.
Gen. Slocum made a speech at Decherd night before last as he was passing through on the cars. The troops there were paraded to receive him. Lem heard him speak.
I don’t know how they will arrange the matter of our mark. You know we have always worn a star as a mark. The 12th Corps mark was a star. The 1st Div. wears a red star out out of red flannel and the second Div. a white one, a good many wearing a silver one, the third Div. wearing a blue mark. All the corps of the Potomac had marks and the three divisions of each corps are designated by the color of his badge: the First Corps was a round mark, the 2nd Corps a club, the third Corps a diamond.
How does Aunt Sarah do? I hope she is more comfortable than she has been. How does Suzzie Collins and William, Johnie and Lottie Sherman do? And finally how, according to the latest account, does the two new recruits get along? What does Fannie intend to call the boy? But I must close, write soon to your ever loving son.

William G. Fisher

P.S. 11 o’clock and no sign of preaching yet.