Will Fisher to his mother
Bridgeport, Alabama
January 3, 1864

Dear Mother,

I just mailed a letter to you a day or two since, but, however, I will not waste the time today when I know it will give you pleasure for me to improve it in this way. But I have bad news to tell you. I am afraid we have got to leave this most comfortable of camps. The reasons are these, active service is done for the present and they are distributing the troops for winter quarters & they do not need so many troops at Chattanooga so they are sending some back where it will not be so hard to subsist them.
Well our Second Div. has most all re-enlisted, all but 2 regts. & have gone home on their furloughs, so what is left are just sufficient to hold this place. Well, this is not the only reason for our moving. There has several regts. out of our own div. re-enlisted & left the places they occupied vacant, so to have each div. together they will draw us back to some station left vacant & have the 2nd Div. take this place. I expect we will go in a few days and Tullahoma will be the place. We will go on the cars so that we can carry everything with us & if there is few days of good weather so that we can get up some quarters before a storm it will be all right.
I never dreaded to move so much before as I do now and now while I write there has a regt. come in on the boat. I shouldn’t wonder if it was the one that would relieve us.
I have just seen a copy of the county Post dated Dec. 25th & in it I seen a piece which I wrote awhile ago signed “Chattanooga." You can see it by referring to that number of the Post. I was prompted to do it by the absurdity of the idea of it.
I see King puts in a note helping me, but I guess it was a false alarm for the new lieut. cannot come until the regt. is filled up. They cannot have so many officers where there is so few men.
Well it is night again my favorite season. My fire looks cheerful and everything looks comfortable and then it makes me dread to move again, these cold nights, but it can’t be helped. I suppose it is a good deal warmer here than it is with you, but still I feel the cold as bad as I ever did. I am clothed as warm as need be, two woolen shirts and drawers and everything else that I need to wear for if they don’t get it we can help ourselves here to all we want for we are on guard over lots of them every day.
The whiskey barrels are tapped most every night, but this is something which I don’t care about. I have not drinked a pint of any kind of liquor since I came from home, and we have drawn rations several times. One thing is certain, the army does not make any drunkards. There is not half so much liquor drank in the army as there is at home and it is a good thing, for it raises the “Old Harry” with soldiers. There is never a court martial in this regt. for anything except desertion, except the cause of it is rum.
Well, I was talking about the cold weather. For two nights back there has been ice two inches thick but no snow. The wind is what cuts us so, & such sudden changes too. I have seen troops marching here, that have just come in from the Knoxville campaign, that were bare footed and not half clothed either. I tell you it looked hard, but all I could do for them was to give them some hard tack to eat. I never expected it would be our good fortune to be doing duty in the rear and see other troops banging around and us looking on, but if the war lasts I suppose we will have our turn some time.
I suppose Jim Skinner is about leaving you again. I hear he is going to Lyons again this winter. I suppose he is done working to home. Lem says he is twenty one now.
What is Nate going to do, is he going to keep house?
I heard that my sister was to spend the holidays in Cambridge. Oh how I would like to have been there with you. I should like to see her very much. John, I suppose, would be with her if he was not drove so. I feel very much hurt by his neglect of me. Certainly he must think I like it. I persuade myself that is his great press of cares and one thing and another or carelessness, but still I cannot feel none too well about it. His wife must think he is very attentive to his own folks when he can’t write to an only brother in the army for over five months. And he need not say that he did not know the directions for he can write the Co. and Regt. on it and not put no directions on at all and it can’t be lost. I have made up my mind to one thing and that is if he wants to get any more letters from me he has got to write. I should like very much to write to them and give them some interesting descriptions of camp life, and I feel sometime as though I had ought to write to her, and for that reason I should think he would write once more and answer my letter and kind of turn it over into her hands to do the corresponding if he has not got time. If she is to Cambridge you can tell her to answer the letter for John and I will write to her.
How does little Lizzie Culver do? I should like to see him but cannot at present, the same with John Sherman. I suppose he has gotten to be quite a boy and likely has forgotten me. Alex Robertson says his little Fred remembered me for a long time, but had quite forgotten me entirely now. I suppose it is childish, but I cannot but feel bad to think all these little favorites are forgetting me, for you know I was quite a hand for little folks.
Sometimes these long winter evenings I want a Bullion’s Latin Grammar and Reader the worst way to study for I don’t want to forget all I ever learned about it for I expect I shall want to use it some day if I live to come home. I have forgotten whether I have a Grammar & Reader to home or not, I think not.
Oh, how I would like to see you all and go to Mr. Beals to school once more. I hope he never will leave Cambridge until I have a chance to go to school again to him.
But who can tell what will happen before I get home. A great many changes have taken place since I left and undoubtedly many more will. Very many have died that I was intimately acquainted with, but you and I and those near and dear to us have been spared. I hope we feel thankful to the right source for these blessings.
I think sometimes, and in fact, I am pretty sore that there is not an equal number of persons to home as there is in the regt. but what there has been a greater mortality than we have had notwithstanding we have been in two battles. I tell you there is no more dies in the army than elsewhere.
Are they going to draft in Cambridge or not? I hear Jackson has made up her quota by buying the men at Albany. Great victories for old Pete McArthur small army and some others pay them $500 and then tax John Marshall and Hiram Brown’s property to pay for it. You pay the same taxes to buy men and send a boy. Now don’t you feel big because I am in the army. I don’t see what they will do when it comes down to the must go. I am sorry that there isn’t a few more that are not fools enough to enlist. I don’t mean to cast any reflections on anyone that told me that, for I think they have made up their minds that I was in earnest about it.
Well how does Aunt Sarah do? She I hope is better. Lem sends his love to her & you both. Has Libbie received my letter yet? She must not neglect to answer it. I have most always neglected to say anything to Mr. Short you may give him only best respects as well as any other friend. I may write to him soon also to Mr. Beals. Tell Julia Whelden she need not wait any longer to answer that letter.

I am, with much love, your boy,