26 October 1861

Camp Duncan
26 October 1861

Dear Father,

There is a continual firing off in Virginia this morning. It commenced about 4 o’clock this morning. I think we will hear some news pretty soon. We have been very busy since we arrived here getting our horses and other things we want. We started Tuesday morning as we expected and arrived in on Wednesday night at dark and then we had to pitch our tents yet to sleep in. It had been raining Tuesday afternoon and night and the ground was very wet and muddy but we had to sleep in the ground with no straw. Then I felt the good of your present—my rubber blanket. I caught a bad cold that night which made me sick a day or two. I am quite well at present. I must stop to go on guard.

It is now Sunday night—the first chance I have had since yesterday. This morning the Captain kept us busy arranging the different positions to all the men but me. He chose all the corporals but he has not given me anything. It is not because I was not drilled for the Lieutenant. I am drilled better than some of the men that are chosen or it is not because I have too many bad marks for I haven’t got one bad one so I don’t know what is the reason. He has not said anything to me about it yet. There is only one position open yet and if I don’t get that, I will be very much disappointed. Yet I do not expect it. I have no reason to. I wish you would write to him and see what he means to do. It won’t do any hurt to write anyway. I wish you would write to him. I think he is real mean. I think I have done everything right as far as I know how. If I do not get a position, I will make a fuss. He will find out he has not got a nigger to deal. I was brought up as good as he was and I think as much of myself as I do of him. I won’t stand it at all. I think if you will write to him, he will do something for me. I will be shot before I will be his nigger and let him do as he pleases. I [want to know] what to expect if I do not do my duty. If he does right, I will do the same. I have worked hard for him and so have you. I want it so much for you as I do for myself.

We have not been paid yet and I am out of money and everything else so I wish one of the girls—Tilly or Amanda—would speak to some of the girls [and] get them to send some tobacco and other necessaries. They need not say that I spoke about it but do it the same as if they thought of it themselves. I don’t want them to think I am begging. You can send it in a box and I will get it if you direct it right. Mary will send something for me in the same box. If you send me anything, please let her know it. She is at No. 110 Oliver Street, Newark.

I wish you would go and see my wife. I suppose you know that Mary is your daughter. I told Albert to tell you and Mother and [to] keep it a secret from the rest. I expected to see you and Mother in Newark. I had quite a hard time of it. I had nobody to help me. Albert was just like a wooden man—he did not know anything. I tried to get some money off him but I could not get it so I had to run all around to get some. I don’t know what to think of him. If you see Lib, I wish you would tell her I did not get that thing Fanny was to send me. It was something to keep my letter paper in. I don’t know whether she sent it or not. Send these things as soon as possible to Camp Duncan, Battery B, New Jersey Artillery, Washington D. C. in care of Captaincies. J[ohn] E. Beam

Give my love to Mother. Tell her I would like to hear from her and to hear that she is well and all the rest. Good night. I remain your dutiful son, — C. V. H.

(paper is scarce)