Will Fisher to his mother
October 20, 1864

Dear Mother,

I will write again today although the mails are very irregular as yet, & for this reason I cannot tell when this will reach you. We had one or two mails get through before the road was cut the second time & I got a letter from you dated Sept. 22nd which after a month’s isolation from all communication I tell you was a treat not to be sneered at. In said letter you set the matter of correspondence quite at rest. I could not have given the record half so well, but I see the difficulty is in the length of time taken for a letter to get through, for all the questions asked in your letter was answered in letters which were then on the way, and which you have probably received before this time, but should they not reach you, I will say here that all the articles spoken of as sent to me have been received. The letter contained three envelopes and stamps, for which much obliged.
I think before you get this I shall have been paid, only eight months however, for the ten are not up till the 31st of Oct, but I am sure I shall not be particular about having them wait if they once get the fit on to pay, for I have waited long enough & I guess you have.
You speak of envelopes & I think you have done remarkably well all summer in sending so many as you have & as for the delicious old “fine cut," well, I have to practice for two or three hours after I get a package before I can refrain from swallowing it at once. It is so much better than the native tobacco. The tobacco in this country is all natural leaf and not sweetened any. Commonly called “plain," and plain it is.
You spoke of Ab bringing in my letter and then reading it, now I might write a dozen times and not write anything but what I should be willing to have seen and then again I might. I think you had better look them over first and then if there is nothing in them, let it go around.
I feel rather sorry for poor George Willmorth for he must feel bad to loose such a prize, but then I would not have the other match miss for nothing in the world.
Tell Min she must send me their photographs taken together if Ab doesn’t & have some of the wedding cake put in with my boots when they come & a little scrap of the wedding dress just to look at.
If we get paid within a week I shall send for my boots forthwith, and also a pair of shirts made of ladies flannel like what Lem had last winter to Elk River. I suppose they will come quite high, but I think it will be the last clothing I will have to send for – woolen at least. Aunt Rodha knows the kind of cloth I mean, that rich dark gray just like that sent to Lem exactly, with a straight snug collar for buttoning on other collars. All soldiers in the army keep paper collars for sale & when I fix up for a parade or to go visiting I can button a paper collar. I want one pocket on the left breast and buttons to match the collar, that is some kind of gray buttons. I want also a military vest made at Robinson & Walkers.
That you may not think me too extravagant I will explain a little. Non-commissioned officers are expected to wear a little better clothes & in every way to be models of tidiness & the most of them do, such as wearing a nice vest & cap, having their pants altered & trimmed neatly & they wear dress coats while the privates wear blouses and jackets.
There is something about military that no civilian can understand, nor can I tell it to you, every person in authority in military must carry at all times a dignified air, or an air of superiority or else he is run over immediately. You know it is not my disposition to domineer or show authority unnecessarily but you must carry your point here or you are dished. These soldiers are a kind of reckless set of fellows and sometimes when you are on duty amongst strangers you have got to exercise all the firmness you possess in order to avoid mutiny.
These things will all be economical in the end except the vest & that I need to keep me warm. I have worn the other vest all summer besides all winter.
I don’t know how we will manage to send home our money this time probably by paymasters checks to Jim Thompson where you can draw it the same as the other time. It would not be safe to send by mail, as uncertain as they are now.
I think a soap box will be the best thing you can get to send the stuff in, when you get ready. It will be plenty large enough to hold all. I think I told you who the other pair of boots were for, they are for a friend of mine, John Bently. He is to be in every way responsible for his boots coming through, and all, and is to pay half of the express charges on the box, so that in any emergency I will not be any loser by his being in.
There has orders just come in for the regt. to move in the morning at 5:30 AM to go out foraging for four or five days. I don’t know whether I shall go or not as I may stay to take care of the capt.’s things. It got rather dark while writing the above and ran off the line a little.
Perhaps you would like to hear some of the prices we have to pay when we buy anything here. Well, tobacco is $2.00 per pound, butter .70, cheese. 50, and none to be had of the two latter. About all the eatables we ever buy we get at the commissary. The government sells provisions to officers at cost (upon certifying that it is for their own use to prevent speculating on it) & by getting an order from the capt. or any officer, you can go and buy anything in the army line as follows: sugar 20 ct, bread 5 ct a loaf, beans 10 ct per lb, rice 12 ct, flour 4 ct, meal 2 ct, candles 30 ct, pork, beef and all accordingly, in fact, just as cheap as at home. When I can, I always buy of the commissary, but you can’t always get an order when you want it for the officer giving it has to tell kind of a “white lie” to get it.
But I will close & if I go out on the expedition, will wait till I come in from that. Good night.
Friday, Oct. 21st
Mother, well they have all gone and I am here alone in command of the camp. They will probably be gone four or five days so that I shall have nothing to do but eat, sleep, and write. The capt. has left about as much writing as I can do in an hour’s time. He is very good to me now.
How does Aunt Sarah get along? I am looking forward very anxious now to the time when I shall come home, which, if I live, will take place in about ten months. I can hardly realize that I have been gone so long. I have almost forgot home and all such things, but what I feel the worst about is not having any thing to improve my mind such as reading, for since the mail has closed, I have not had any papers or in fact anything. I think after I get paid, I must have some paper to read for the winter. With you it is very excusable for you don’t have such things around, but there is lots of the rest of the folks who have any quantity of reading such as the literary and political documents that are appearing every day & they might as well send them to me occasionally as not.
In your next tell me of anyone (any of the friends, if there be any) have turned their politics in favor of McClellan & who are the McClellan men generally. I have made out 50 soldiers votes to send off and 48 out of that 50 voted for Lincoln. The two McClellan men were complete slinks, never do any fighting. One of them reduced to the ranks last summer whose place I now occupy.
I shall want a towel, 2 packs of envelopes, & a pair of gloves in my box. Excuse these scraps for I did not think I should write so much.

Love to you & Aunt from your boy, Will.
Will Fisher