General Hospital 3rd Division
[Newport News, Va.] ¹
August 15, 1862
As I am feeling much better this morning. I thought I would answer your letter. I have often thought I would do it but my head was so bad I could not do it. I was a long time looking for my box, but it would not come until just as I was coming away to go on the boat. I met the wagon coming with it. I tried to get it but the Dr. would not let me have it, so I had to leave it. I was very sorry for I did not know what was in it and I did so much want something from home. It would have tasted so good. Now I am out of money. I wish you would please Tell Mary to send me some. I wrote to her yesterday on purpose to send for money and forgot it. Don’t forget to tell Mary to send it. She has my money and can just as well send it as not. Tell her to send it immediately. I can [get] anything here at New York prices. While I was sick in camp, they could give us nothing but hard crackers and coffee and I had to board myself and everything was so dear it took all the money I had very soon.
Where I am at present, there are 4,000 sick and wounded. It is a very pleasant and healthy place. It lays up from the level of the James River about seventy-five feet. We have a very fine breeze from the James River & the bay. It is very refreshing to get up early, go down to the shore and take a good wash and a sniff of the salt breeze. We have good quarters, good beds, good fresh bread (butter if we want it [but] we have to buy) & good nurses. Mr. James Onderdonk ² sleeps with me and I fare pretty well. He has plenty of money but how hard it is to get a bond with him. He is so [ ] most everything. If I go to tell anybody else, he will contradict or say it is some other way. Then if I want to quarrel, all I have to say is that he knows nothing about it. But I let him have his own way to have things go smooth. I do not like to be quarreling with him all the time. Sometimes he is so ugly. I have to have let him have a good quarrel with me. Then after he cools down, he is as good as a kitten. He has often threatened to give me a broken head or a good whipping but my head is whole yet and he has never undertook to give me that awful licking. And I think he had better leave that alone for if he ever lays his hand on me, I will give him enough to remember all his life.
I am afraid it will [be] very hard for me to get home. If I do not, I shall go back to the Battery as soon as possible so I can help finish this war. Then if the Lord will permit, I shall wee you all. Please remember me to all. Tell Mother I am getting better.
From your sick soldier, — C. V. H.
My address is General Hospital 3rd Division, Newport News, Va.
Save my old wine.
¹ In his book on Battery B, Michael Hanifen wrote (p. 30) that the Battery’s sick men were sent on 9 August to the hospital at Newport News. The Battery then, on “August 15th, left Harrison’s Landing, and marched by way of Charles City court-house to Coles’ ferry on the Chickahominy, where we were placed in battery to repel any attack the enemy might make. After all trains had crossed on pontoons we marched, via-burnt ordinary and Williamsburg, arriving at Yorktown August 19th. We remained there awaiting transportation until the 26th, then loaled guns and men on steamer Star, horses and wagons on schooner D. W. Vaughn. The Star took the schooner in tow. That night we anchored at Cedar Point, then up the Potomac to Aquia Creek, where we were ordered to Alexandria, Va.”
² James Onderdonk of Battery B was discharged for disability on 21 October 1862.