1864: Sarah Wells (Hibbing) Rose & Thomas Stagg Rose Letters

How Sarah might have looked (Rob Morgan Collection)

The following seven letters were penned by Sarah Wells (Hibbing) Rose (1830-1874) of Cherry Grove, Hamilton county, Ohio, and her husband Pvt. Thomas Stagg Rose while he served in Co. H, 138th Ohio National Guard (ONG). Sarah wrote letters 3 & 4, Thomas the other five.

Tthe 138th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry mustered into service at Camp Dennison, at Cincinnati, Ohio, on 14 May 1864. The men in the regiment were to serve one hundred days. The 138th consisted of Licking County’s 5th Regiment Ohio National Guard, Hardin County’s 32nd Battalion Ohio National Guard, and one company of Lorain County’s 37th Battalion Ohio National Guard.

In mid-May, authorities dispatched the regiment to Washington, DC, traveling via the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Upon reaching North Mountain, the 138th disembarked due to an impassable railroad bridge near Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia. After a delay of several days, the regiment arrived at Washington on May 22, 1864. Officials placed the 138th in Forts Albany, Craig, and Tillinghast south of the Potomac River. The regiment garrisoned these fortifications until June 5, 1864, when authorities ordered the 138th to White House, Virginia, where the regiment served on guard duty and supervised Confederate prisoners until June 16. The regiment then boarded ships for Bermuda Hundred, Virginia but disembarked at Fort Powhatan on the James River, twenty-five miles away from Bermuda Hundred. The regiment completed the journey on foot, arriving on June 19, and officials assigned the 138th to picket duty at Point of Rocks and Broadway Landing, Virginia.

Authorities soon ordered the regiment to the Cherrystone Inlet on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, where the 138th garrisoned several communities, including Eastville. The regiment protected telegraph lines connecting Cherrystone to Wilmington, Delaware and also patrolled for Confederate blockade-runners—duty so light and enjoyable that Thomas confessed that it was “more like a picnic than soldiering.” In late August 1864, the regiment traveled via the Pennsylvania Central Railroad to Camp Dennison, where the 138th mustered out of service on September 1, 1864. During the 138th Regiment Ohio Volunteer Infantry’s term of service, eight enlisted men perished from disease or accidents, while no soldiers died from wounds received on the battlefield.

From Sarah’s letters we can gain some small idea of what it was like for the work-a-day lives of the wives and mothers who were left at home while their husbands went off to serve their country. At the time these letters were written in the summer of 1864, Sarah had four children ranging in age from four to fourteen to take care of, an elderly mother, and a large farm to manage. What she does not reveal in her letter—except to hint by writing, “I find it inconvenient these warm days,”—is that she was eight months pregnant at the time carrying her fifth child, Alice Rose (a.k.a., “the little stranger.”)

To read other letters by members of the 138th Ohio National Guard transcribed and published on Spared & Shared, see:

George Gaddis Myers, Co. C, 138th Ohio (Union/1 Letter)
J. Henry Hine, Co. H, 138th Ohio (Union/1 Letter)
William Budd Shinn, Co. H, 138th Ohio (Union/2 Letters)

Letter 1

Martinsburg, Virginia
Co. H, 138th [Ohio National Guard] Regiment
May 20, [1864]

Dear wife, children and mother,

I am now sitting away upon the side of a mountain in a pine grove where there are thousands of beautiful pine groves. I have been on the top of the mountain and looked over a beautiful valley called Happy Valley where the rebels went up into Fredericksburg, PA in the North. The Blue Ridge Mountains [can be seen] in the distance commencing up in the west running away round to the southeast. [Looking] east, the scenery is beyond mortal [man] to describe.

I intended to give you our trip in the form of a diary but my paper is precious and paper is very scarce and high here so I will write little and often.

Old George Martin was raised here at this place. The town is nearly burnt down. It was burnt by the rebels. They also burnt any [number of] places along the railroad. Last week they burnt a portion of the town of Piedmont. 1

The drum is beating before Battalion Drill so I must go.

Supper is over. I am now close to camp by a little mountain stream. I never enjoyed better health in my life. There is several of our company sick but they are those that don’t take care of themselves.

We had prayer meeting last night up on the side of the mountain. That the best drill for me since I left home. We have another tonight. It is delightful to hear hundreds of voices singing praise to God but prayer and war of not go together with me. I would rather be home plowing corn and praying with you at home. I count every day and think the rime will roll around.

We have beautiful clear weather here and warm. I have no news to write about the army. I expect you are better posted than I am. Our regiment has taken several spies or bushwhackers.

I must lose as I must be careful of paper. John is well. He is on picket today. I want you all to remember me and all write. Your dear husband, — T. S. Rose

1 “At Piedmont the rebels broke and burn up a number of cars, and threw four of five engines off the track, damaging them to some extent, and burnt three or four buildings in Piedmont, including the square workshop and the paint shop, with tools and machinery, belonging to the railroad company. A portion of the round top workshop was also destroyed. They then went to Bloomington, a station on the road, two miles west of Piedmont, and there threw off the track several engines, and damaged a number of cars. They took no prisoners at either place. They then left Bloomington, and retreated down the country.” The Wheeling Daily Intelligencer, 9 May 1864

Letter 2

White House, Virginia
June 11, [1864]

Dear wife,

I received a letter from you this morning and how glad I was. [When] the first letters came up, there was none for me so I went and laid down in the tent. [But] in a little [while], there came up another lot and one for me. Now I am alright [and] enjoying the best of health. I don’t want you to give yourself any uneasiness about our starving. Sometimes we have been short but have plenty now of bread, pork, beef, rice and potatoes and hard tack. I don’t think we will starve and don’t be troubled about our going to the front for this morning two regiments came in from the front that went there and offered themselves [but] Grant told them he had no use for such troops.

I wrote to you yesterday telling you that we had to cook five days rations. It may be that we will leave today or tomorrow and may stay here. If we leave here, I rather think we will go to Bermuda Hundred on the James River. There is a great many rumors but I don’t believe anything I hear or hardly what I see.

When you write, the best plan I think is to direct to Washington D. C., to follow the regiment. Then we will be sure to get them wherever we go. There was two letters came for John this morning. He is out on picket but they have gone to him.

Now Ma, be of good cheer and I will do the same, trusting in the Lord. Now I must close and go to dinner. Give my love to all my friends. Tell Emma that John is well. I must close. Yours forever, — T. S. Rose

Dear Hettie,

I received a letter from Ma and you this morning and was very glad to hear from you and very glad that you are all well.

I am sitting under a tree on the main road that leads to Richmond near our camp where there are hundreds and thousands passing every hour—footmen and cavalry and wagons. Their teams here have but six horses or six mules. I cannot give you the faintest idea of the camp and scenery here. There is hundreds of acres here covered with tents and wagons. This morning there was from ten to twenty thousands of wagons in our camp alone and four miles around the same. It must take an immense amount of provision for such a large amount of men as Grant has besides men. There is an enumerable amount of horses and the feed and provision is all to haul and all have a plenty and to spare.

I am close by the grave yard where [they] are busy all the time covering the poor dead soldiers. Poor fellows—they shall know no more of war or sorrow. I wish [you] could be here for a little while to see the country here, to see the beautiful trees and flowers. There was a man just passed with the [finest] bunch of flowers I ever saw.

Now I want you to be a good girl and take care of yourself. So goodbye for this time. Write often. I will do the same. Your Pa

Now Anna, I hardly know what to write to you so I will tell you that I just [looked] towards the woods and I seen the largest drove of cattle that I ever saw. It looks like a large cloud. I also saw two women pass by. They are from the Christian Commission. The most of them are from Cincinnati and are the finest and best of women. They go all around the camps and wherever they find a sick man, they bring him anything they want to eat or drink, any kind of preserves or anything they want.

I am glad that you have such a good Sabbath school and so many comes. Mr. Sheldon wrote a letter to the school yesterday. I will write one some of these days if I can. We have the finest weather here I ever saw. It rained a light shower Thursday evening. It’s cool and pleasant in the shade—a fine breeze all the time. I want you to be a good girl and write when you can and let me know how everything is getting along and how much you have made picking berries. Goodbye Anna.

Now to my little Ella. I don’t know what to write about. I can say that I am glad you are well and go to Sunday school and get so many verses. Go on and learn all you can. I wish I was home to go along with you but I [am] over twelve hundred miles from home the road we came. But every Sunday morning I can see in [my] imagination [you] getting ready to go [to church] and I think I see you out in the strawberry patch picking the large berries and Oh! how I wish I was there to help you gather and eat them. But I’ll have a good time when I come home eating them big fellows that Ma has put up for me, won’t I? When you get through picking, tell me how many you had.

Now Ella, I want you to remember me and pray for me. If I could, I would like to send you some of the Sunday school papers we have here. The Societies have very nice ones here. I will send some if I can. When you write, tell me how big the chickens and guineas are for I feel a great interest in them. And [also] how high the oats is. Now Ella, excuse this and next time I try to do better. Goodbye Ella.

Letter 3

Cherry Grove [Ohio]
Wednesday night, 29 June [1864]

My dear husband,

It has been a rainy afternoon and now everything begins to look up. The children are at home today. The berry crop is not sufficient to keep them picking every day. I suppose by this time if you have luck, you are in your new quarters. I hope you will find it a pleasant place and more of more safety that your last one. I think you have been a little too near the front to be very safe but I hope you got away from there before the battle came off. I have not heard of any battle yet but suppose there is one expected & perhaps before this time many more poor soldiers have laid their bodies down a sacrifice to this cruel war.

Thursday, the 30th. The children have all been picking again today. It is very warm but I suppose that is the kind of weather we need now to make things grow. The berry picking harvest is coming almost together & that makes it still harder to get hands enough to get the work done.

This night I received another letter from you but it was written before the last one I got so I don’t know yet about you all or whether you have left Spring Hill or not. But it done me good to get it. I could sit and read letters from you all the time & never do anything else. It pleased Ella to think you had got her little card. I don’t know what possessed the child to want to send it but every letter we sent she would come with it and want to put it in. At last I sent it just to please her.

I see by referring to the map that Point Lookout is a good way from Spring Hill. If it is on the Chesapeake Bay, I hope you are there by this time for I expect to hear of a great battle on the Fourth of July & I want you to be as far away from there as possible. I am glad you have plenty of coffee and sugar for sugar is a luxury we can’t indulge in very free. It is 23 cents per pound here. Calico 30, muslin 60 cents per yard. As you see, we have to pay for what we get, but I was lucky enough to get what I got in the dry goods line before the raise so I did not have to pay so much. I feel more encouraged that I have since you went away for I know now that the time is half gone if you do not begin to count till the day you have mentioned in which was the 13th of May. I suppose if you have got all the letters I have sent you in the last three weeks, they must be very tiresome to you to read them all for I write the same thing over and over in nearly every one of them for I thought perhaps you would not get more than a quarter of them.

If we have good growing weather from this [time] on, I think we will have as good crops as any of our neighbors for it is all in good order now although it took a good deal of work to get it so. The children are looking for a good time on the Fourth of July. Aaron has promised them a big treat & fireworks at night if they will pick for him. That day there is to be no celebration of any kind around here.

[Clement] Vallandigham is to make a speech in Batavia on the Fourth. I suppose they will have a great time up there. What kind of a time will you have, I wonder. I know how I will spend the day. I expect to be alone and plucking raspberries to dry for I will not have enough for anything else. I have sold one drawer. I want to trip and sell one more & then put up & dry the rest for we will not have any other kind of fruit as there is no blackberries and but very few apples. I expect berries will taste good to you this fall. I think you will be here in time to east some of those roasting ears with us yet that was planted just after you went away. I hope so at least. Our hard work will soon be done. Now and then I will only have one more duty to perform and then await patiently for your return home. Oh how I wish it could be before this month was out but I dare not hope. I suppose the 10th of August is as soon as we can begin to look for you.

Thomas Fitch and family & Ann and John are all to Aunt Nancy’s. They came last night and went this afternoon to Mt. Washington to buy a farm. I do not know whether they succeeded or not. Tell Bill Potter his wife is well, picking berries every day. She and George’s family are all well also. I suppose all the rest are. I have not hear of any sickness among any of them. I saw Emma & Harry tonight. Harry is got to look so well again and as playful as ever.

We are all well & I am better than I expected to be at this time. So don’t be uneasy about me. I have no doubt but I will do very well. All I mind is being deprived of your company at this time. If you were in a place of safety and in good health, I would not mind anything else. I thought in the course of a two or three weeks I would get Willie to stay with us at night. Be sure and take the best care of yourself you can & try to keep a look out of danger as much as possible.

As it is late, I will close for this time. So good night, my dear husband. Still try to press on in the right way & still continue to pray for a safe return home. I still try to pray for your protection day and night and still believe the Lord will grant us our desire if we only trust in Him. I feel that I have much to contend wit but the Lord is able to deliver & feel like trusting in Him.

Your affectionate wife, — S. W. Rose

All your friends send their love to you.

Letter 4

Addressed to Mr. Thomas S. Rose, Co. H, 138th Ohio National Guard in care of Capt. Kline, Washington D. C. Follow the regiment.

Cherry Grove, [Hamilton county, Ohio]
Saturday night 23rd [July 1864]

My dearest one,

I received another letter from you last night—the one you wrote just after landing at your camp. It gave me more pleasure than any letter I got from you since you left Fort Craig for I know you was certainly in danger as long as you were so close to the fighting. But now I feel that you are in a place of safety & I believe in a healthy place. I would like to be with you when you are eating some of those crabs and oysters. I was looking at the map to see where you were situated. I can’t imagine what they want with troops in that out of the way place. I guess you had your usual luck in getting away just in the right time for I see by the papers there was a hard fight at Point of Rocks a few days ago & I believe that is near Broadway Landing. I would like to have a few of those pears you spoke of for fruit is something we won’t have for a year. Our berries are gone now & we have not another thing in the shape of fruit except a few grapes. I saw four blackberries yesterday. I picked or ate them so I could have it to say I had some this year.

It is so very dry—nothing can grow. The farmers are all discouraged. They say there won’t be any corn & potatoes are not good. Altogether I think it will be a hard winter to live.

Sunday morning, 24th. I am alone again as usual. Grandma went with the children to Sunday school. The nigger preacher is going to preach little George’s funeral today & she wanted to go to hear him sing.

I would like to see what you are doing just now but I have an idea you are employed just as I am in writing to those you love. I can see you in my imaginations although so far away & I hope in three weeks more to see you in reality. You need not give yourself any uneasiness about this draft for our township is very near clear. Mr. Jones told me yesterday there was no doubt but it would be. Tomorrow evening will be the next important meeting & that will finish it. They are raising money sufficient to hire substitutes enough to fill the quota & will succeed without a doubt.

I was glad to see conditions of compromising in the papers the other day but it turned out just as I expected. Our President would not receive them though. I suppose you get the papers & know as much about what is going on as we do.

The children was pulling weeds out of the late corn yesterday. I have not had but one days plowing done for three weeks, it is so hard to get help. T. Clack was sick & it was harvest time & hands were not to be had. It looks strange that every time I get a field plowed, it has to be weeded. It was not so when you plowed. I think sometimes if it was done right, that would not be the case though I did not have to weed after T. Clack so much. But that is all done now, I hope. I will have to give up making a turnip patch back of old garden as I and the children have to dig the potatoes ourselves. I do not feel blessed at present to undertake anything so hard as that but I will have some planted among some very late corn that we have out by the gate. I think they will do just as well. But if it does not rain, it will be no use to plant or try to do anything.

We have the prospect of a very hard winter at present the way things are selling. We can only get three pounds of sugar for a dollar and in most places it is 35 cents a pound. Coffee I never inquire the price of. Meat is very high. But I don’t think we will have any of that to buy for a long time. I have to give 20 cents for a spool of thread and everything else accordingly. So you see we have sutler’s prices here too.

Our tomato & pickle patch son’t seem to grow hardy a bit anymore although there is not a weed in them an inch high. They never was plowed much but we tended them pretty well with the hoe. The tomato was plowed once; the pickles none. I think they would be nice if it would only rain. Jim says he will stack the oats if I would get someone to help him. I spoke to Mr. Jones about it and he said he would help so that is the last I will have to do.

Sunday night. Grandma went to Aunt Nancy’s today. She has all her children at home now. It has been quite cool for several mornings and evenings but it is very warm again tonight. Old Mr. Stephen Woodruff is dead. He died with the cholera. Only lived 5 hours after he was taken. Sam Morrison is dead also. He died somewhere in the army with consumption, I believe.

I forgot to tell you that some of the men about here have been fortifying themselves against the draft by getting exempted. Sam Johnson, Orse Clack, big John Bogart, & several others.

As it is getting late, I will bring my long letter to a close. This paper is so bad I can’t write on it so you can read it. I feel so thankful that you have got away from the main army. I sincerely hope you will be in a safe place the rest of the time and continue in good health. We are all well at present. I find it inconvenient these warm days but I am perfectly well. Grandma has got over her little spell. We all still remember you in our prayers, day by day. I try to pray that God in His mercy will keep and protect you from danger & still give your to feel His divine presence, although surrounded by trials and temptations, and soon bring you home again. I am looking for you in three weeks. Is that too soon? Good night dearest one. — S. W. Rose

Letter 5

Cherry Stone Inlet, Virginia
July 23, [1864]

Dear Wife,

Our mail came at last yesterday morning 22nd. It came after being gone more than a week. I received three from you [and] one from Seven Johnson. I was very glad to hear from you once more. I began to feel the blues coming but it all disappeared at once.

We are at Cherry Stone [Inlet] yet. This is a finer place than I thought at first. There is a large frame house on the bank with a garden in the rear. In front [there are] large locust trees with rows of fig trees nearly all around full of figs, peach, plums and apple trees full of fruit and everything around is lovely. Mr. Colter talking very strong of buying it.

Every time we move, we get in a finer place except White House [Landing, Virginia] and that was a prettier place than [Fort] Craig 1 but it was the most loathsome, stinking places I [ever] was in. We was nearly fenced in with dead horses and mules which stank so one could hardly breathe. Then Spring Mill was a very pleasant place but there we was in some danger and working in the hot sun and dust. Broadway [Landing, Virginia] was a still finer place out of the dust, but hard work and dangerous work loading and unloading shot and shell which is very dangerous work.

Here we have no work, no picket duty to perform, and our guarding don’t amount to anything. We guard the well to keep the privates from drinking too much and the garden and orchards to keep privates out of the hospital. I hardly know what for unless it is to keep the sick from coming out or keep their friends from giving them something to eat. The officers are not at all strict here. We do about as we please. This morning Wardle, Sheldon, Ralph and I went out in the country three or four miles to a store after some notions—tobacco mostly. Things are cheap enough here considering. Lettuce 30, muslin 30, sugar 25, everything I thought cheap enough.

We saw fields of cotton growing & the largest fields of corn I ever saw and nigger women plowing. While at the store, I saw some of the Virginia Bloods going to church—some in buggies. And I saw some ladies dressed to death almost, in old rickety carts with rope lines jogging along up and down like our boat did on the Bay.

Colonel [Samuel S.] Fisher says Co. H may go on Cobb’s Island which all say is the finest place in the world. It is a small island ten miles distance from here. Some years ago a man from the North bought the whole of it and built a large hotel there for a summer resort. But since the rebellion has left it all a loss.

While sitting here the boys say we leave at 5 o’clock this evening. I want to go there to see the ocean shore and see the shells and catch the fish and eat lobster. I cannot see for the life of me what we were ever sent here for unless it was to show the strength of the army. There is no rebel here nor never was. This will be our last move until we move towards home. I still believe we will get home by the 15th unless transportation is hard to get like it is at this time. I [hope] that will not be the case.

I would like to have a road through the Burdsall property but still I don’t care much about it. I am very anxious to get home now and be with you but as it is, I cannot be there for awhile so you keep in good spirits and trust in the Lord and all will work for our good. My prayer is grant us grace and health and happiness here on earth and home in heaven. Now I must close for this time.

Goodbye my dear wife. — Thomas Rose.

I am enjoying the best of health.

Now Ella, I want you to keep the stock [ ] covered and don’t drown all the guineas. Don’t work in the hot sun and get sick. Eat plenty of pudding every week and I will soon be home. Then we will have a rousing big one. Tell Grandma I want her to keep well. Anna and Hettie, when I get to Cobb’s Island, I will write to you. When I come home I will fetch some sea crabs if there is any there. So goodbye for this time. Your Pa, — T. S. Rose

1 Fort Craig was one of the 33 forts on the Virginia side of the Potomac River built as a defensive perimeter around Washington D. C. A 17 May 1864 report from the Union Inspector of Artillery noted the following: “Fort Craig, Major Holt commanding.–Garrison, two companies First Massachusetts Heavy Artillery–15 commissioned officers, 1 ordnance-sergeant, 280 men. Armament, one 24- pounder field howitzer, four 24-pounder siege, five 30-pounder Parrotts, one Coehorn mortar, one 10-inch mortar. Magazines, two; dry and in good condition. Ammunition, full supply and in good condition. Implements, complete and in good order. Drill in artillery, fair. Drill in infantry, fair. Discipline, fair. Garrison of sufficient strength.”

Letter 6

Accomack county, Virginia
August 5, [1864]

Dear Wife,

Yesterday was a day of rejoicing with myself and many others. We received [our mail for] the first time for two weeks. Our Colonel was kind enough to bring it up from Cherrystone. I received three letters mailed on the 22nd July, 25th and 26th. I was very eager to know the contents and how rejoiced I was to hear you was all well and in good spirits in the first two letters and O! how much more rejoiced to read the third one from Eliza bringing the news of a little stranger there. O! how I do want to e there to see it. But here I am bound. But I thank the Lord it is only for a few days more. Then I shall be with you and with the little stranger.

I was glad that Emma in her letter to John spoke of you getting along so well. I feel like singing—“I want to go home. I want to go home.” I want you to keep in good spirits and one of these nights with my knapsack strapped upon my back, [I shall come home] singing now my hundred [days are over]. we are expecting orders for home every day now. We may stay here for several days yet. The farthest any put the time of getting home is the 22nd. I thin we will be there before that time.

We are now camped in a beautiful place near one mile from Drummond Town on the sea view road. It is very pleasant if there was no mosquitoes to bother us at night. But we manage to keep them off by smoking them off. If we do not get enough sleep at night, we sleep in the day time. The weather continues very dry here. It is pleasant in the shade.

My health continues very good. I never was so fleshy in my life nor vainer. Feel so well. I hope that I may continue in good health. Our duties here are very light. We drill about two hours in a day and have a camp guard at night sometimes. The balance of the time we put in as we please. Col. Fisher and his wife came up yesterday and paid us a visit. They went down to a place by the name of Sea View in the evening. They came in camp and we gave them a grand reception. We had every tent illuminated with three candles and candlesticks all through the trees and a large camp fire in the center and all the soldiers sitting around in a large circle and of all the times of our soldiering, this beat all in singing all kinds of songs that one ever heard till 1 o’clock when the Colonel made us a little speech when all was quiet again.

Well, Ma, as I don’t expect to get more than one more letter from you, I will just say you must keep in good spirits and take good care of yourself and the dear little one. Do not be uneasy if you should not hear from me more than this time. I hope we will leave for home by Monday. I will write as often as I have opportunity. Goodbye, my dearest one. — T. S. Rose

Dear children. I wish I knew what to write to you that would be interesting to you. I will tell you what I have been doing today. I came off guard this morning at 7 o’clock and then I [went] over a little way from camp to a rich old doctor’s. His name is Satchel. 1 He has two large farms here and of all the places for fruit I ever saw, this beats them all. There is an old darkey attends to it. We go there and give him a dime and he gives us a peck of peaches, pears, and the largest and best plums I ever saw. I was all through the orchard and eat until I could eat no more. In the front yard there is more than an acre of all kinds of trees that grow nearly. I will say those trees [are] from all the old countries. Rare beautiful fig trees and all manner of fruit. I wish you were here to eat fruit ands the yard now.

I have made this so long, I will have to close for this time. When I get home, I will tell you of all I have done. So now goodbye. I would like to know what you have named that little pet for I expect it is a pet already. I believe you ought to wait until I get home and let me help name it. You must take god care of it until I come. Tell Grandma that I am well and kiss her for me and don’t forget to kiss the little baby for me also. John is well. All the balance of the boys are going around. Goodbye. Your Pa, — T. S. Rose

1 The rich old physician was undoubtedly Dr. Southey S. Satchell (1801-1873) of St. George’s Parish, Accomack county, Virginia.

Letter 7

Drummon Town, Accomack county, Virginia
August 8, [1864]

Dear Wife,

I have just received three letters from home. How glad I was to hear you was getting along so well. I would like to see the little baby. I am over anxious to get home how. We have but a few days more to spend in Old Virginia. Then soldiering will be played out. I think we will start for home by Friday this week anyhow. Some of the boys are getting very homesick. J. O. Johnson and J. F. Martin are [the] laughing stock for all the company. They are complaining all the time. They complain that they have no appetite when they are eating all the time.

The weather has been very dry here until Saturday night when we had a very heavy rain. Least Saturday Mace Parker, John Hancock, [&] Ben Stewart of Co. E, G. Sheldon and I went to the ocean shore. We left camp at 7 o’clock a.m. and walked two miles to an inlet where we chartered a little boat. We tried to charter a pilot but failed to get one so we concluded we would try it alone so we jumped aboard, hoisted the sail, & wit Parker to steer. The wind and tide being against us, Sheldon Stewart and I each [took] the oars and pulled away down the inlet about four miles to where we crossed over to an island to the broad Atlantic shore. This was the grandest sight I ever saw yet. I had to stop and gaze in wonder and amazement.

But I soon went to looking at the shells on the shore where they laid in piles. But I was somewhat disappointed. There was plenty of shells but not very fine shells. I gathered some, then went in swimming. This was the nicest swimming or bathing I ever had. We would wade out in the water until a large wave would come forming like a soap suds. After we got tired of our fun in the water and of gathering shells, we got in our boat and started back. While we were on the island, there was a heavy thunder came very near us but did not quite reach us. That was all such a grant sight.

On our way back, we had a very pleasant time. The wind being in our favor, we glided up the inlet beautifully without using the oars and reached our camp at supper time. Yesterday, Sunday, was rather lonesome. in camp as nearly all went to the ocean shore. Nearly all the rest were strolling over the country. At night we had a pleasant time. We came together and sung all the sweet old hymns that we use to sing at home. When we got tired of singing, we built our mosquito fires and went to bed or laid down and slept sound all night. While we were on drill this morning, the mail came. The captain dismissed us and all went to reading and now are all writing.

I am sorry to hear that the dry weather continues yet. I begin to fear there will be short crops and hard living this winter but I will not complain now. All I want is to get home and be with you all once more. I have no name yet for the little baby so you will have to wait until I get home for I want it to have a pretty name. I have thought of a name but for fear I might find a nicer one, I had bette not tell it. I expect this will be about the last letter I will write from this place so don’t be uneasy of you should not hear from me so often.

We are having a very easy time here. It is more like a picnic than soldiering. We have all kinds of fruit in abundance and melons. Then we have the finest fish I ever eat and nothing to do but cook, eat and sleep. Now I close again wit my love and prayers to and for you all trusting and hoping in the Lord it will not be long until we shall meet together.

Your dear [husband], — T. S. Rose

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