Will Fisher to his mother
Elk River, Tennessee, Camp of the 123rd
April 9, 1864

Dear Mother,

I was very much gratified night before last, to receive another good letter from you, date of March 23rd. (Excuse these mistakes for I don’t know what I wanted to write.) I don’t know what makes the letters so long coming through. They sometimes get along in six days but this one of yours and some of mine seem to be double that time coming.
You cannot realize the regret that I feel in writing you the changes that have been made in our dept. You probably heard by the papers that the 11th and 12th Corps have been consolidated into the 20th Corps. That is to be the name of the new Corps and to be under command of Gen. Joe Hooker. If that don’t have a slight smell of saltpeter or gunpowder, I don’t know what does.
Gen. Howard of the 11th Corps has been assigned to the command of the 4th Corps formerly commanded by Gen. Gordon Granger. But Gen. Slocum the very idol of the old 12th Corps is ordered to report to Gen. Sherman for duty.
I never saw the like, the affect that the news has on this regt., it casts melancholy over every one in the corps. Gen. Hooker has been a very successful general, but he is a strong fighter and for my part I am willing to follow him on to speedy victory. I am not afraid, as some are, that he drinks so as to unfit him for service, for I have never seen him drink and don’t think he does, to excess, at least.
President Lincoln told Hooker when he started for the West, to beware of Bourbon County, Kentucky, which makes quite a joke on him, but I don’t think he is guilty. I think his appearance gave rise to the story in the first place. He has a very red face and looks more like Andrew Wood than anyone I think of. Therefore, except Gen. Slocum, I would rather be under Hooker than any other general.
I think it quite probable that we will leave here for the front within a month. Can’t tell whether we will go to the front here or go back to the Army of the Potomac but would prefer the latter because it is so much more convenient to a great many comforts than in this dept.
I have come to the conclusion that the armies are going to see hard service this summer, but will also see the end of this unholy revolt of barbarism against liberty and Christianity.
My firmest hope is in the reelection of Mr. Lincoln or some equally as good man. If he be elected, the Rebels know his policy too well to hope for anything else but a continued prosecution of the war, even to extermination itself, until they come to their reason again. On the other hand, if a man be elected who has his black heart as full of treason as any Copperhead that I ever knew, why then all of this four years fighting will be lost and this as miserable a nation as figured on the face of the earth. But I suppose you are as well aware of all of this as I, so I will write something else, but cannot help spouting sometimes about it, for it is of as much importance as any coming military campaign and although I am just a boy that can’t vote, next fall I shall use my influence for old Abe if he is nominated. This regt. will poll at present standing nearly six hundred votes and at least five hundred and seventy five would go strong for Lincoln.
It seems as though it was destined for Lem to leave me, he has at last gone. He has been detailed for headquarters guard at the brigade hd. qtrs. It will be a good situation for him for he will get his load carried on the march and on the battlefield they will have to guard the hd. qtrs. baggage, guard prisoners, and pick up ”shysters” or shirks, those who run for the rear, so you can see it is not quite so dangerous, which is something of a consideration. This will not separate us entirely for we will see one another occasionally, but I hate to have him leave me.
I rec’d a letter from Lib last night and it was a real good one, I tell you. She tells me all the news. She said Sarah Jane wanted her to tell me to send her my photograph and she would send one in return, of hers. I should like to know how I am to do in the matter for, to commence with, there is no place or opportunity to have one taken, and besides I have never seen a picture yet taken by these army photographists that I would be willing to send to a friend.
The engineers and mechanics are building a kind of blockhouse or stockade so that a less force can guard the railroad bridge. It is very ingeniously constructed and is bullet and bomb proof.
I have not heard anything more from John since he wrote personifying his boy. Lib says they have a good deal of fun with you when you came after the papers about grandmother. I did not expect to be promoted to uncle quite so soon but however feel proud of the title and think it must make you feel quite antiquated as well as myself. You don’t know how much I would like to be at liberty to come home and see my new relatives as well as some that are older.
There was a woman just at the door begging for something to eat. She had a snuff stick in her mouth, and the little boy and girl who were with her were both chewing great quids. They beg their tobacco as well as their eatables of the soldier.
I should think that you would need some wood soon. I suppose you will have transportation (excuse the military phrase) for it some way by wagon if not by sleigh. I do not want you to wear your life out though on those old chunks you have to burn. So Jack Tearny (one of the boys was just talking about Tom Beadle and you see I wrote above and had to scratch it out)
Hiram King who died, Lib said eats 10 lb of candy a week. I know he is or was the greatest man to eat sweetmeats when he was in the army.
When I get home I want you to have Gen. Slocum’s photograph saved.
I have received the stamps in both the letters, six in the first and three in the last. I have borrowed nine of Lem since his box came and have not paid them yet. I get one quite frequently for writing for other boys.
But I must close. I suppose I will not write you many more times from this dear old camp and I want to urge you to write often when I get to moving around. I feel like leaving home to think of leaving this camp. It is strange what an attachment we will form for a camp in a few short weeks. But if we are to take part in the grand performance this spring one cannot hope to stay here much longer and I see the people up there are getting impatient to see the armies jamming around again.
And how does Aunt do? I hope better. My best love to her & you.

Your aff’t & loving son,