Fort Davis, Virginia
October 12th 1864
Yours of the 2nd was duly received. I was very pleased to hear from you and home. I am very thankful that I have got such a kind Father to give my wife and little one a home. Father, I do not know what I should do now if it was not for you. I know now that Molly has a good room and the best of parents to watch her. Father, I do not know how I am ever to repay you and Mother for your kindness but I will do all in my power to be a good and dutiful son and I know that will go as part to repay you as anything I can do. Father, I never shall forget your kindness to us for it comes now just when we need it the most. I thank God that my boy is so well. I hope nothing may happen to Molly to pull her back. I told her after that she would come out all right and she has. I shouldn’t wonder if she got to be as big as Aunt Effy yet.
Father, what so you think of the name? I like it first rate. I am very glad you are getting along so nicely with the house. I only wish I could be there to live in it this winter. I tell you I would take care of the baby and its mother too, and I could help you a great deal yet in putting in the fall crops but I can’t come. I do not [think] Dr. Craven has thought about me again. At least I have not heard from him yet. I should like to have him say something if it was only no! It would seem that he cared little for me but I suppose I must wait.
Father I have the honor to state that Albert has at last arrived safe and sound. He came last night and he had not been in the fort for more than two hours before the Rebs opened and we had quite a brisk cannonading for awhile. He says he feels like an old soldier already. Father, he will make a good soldier, I am sure. He stood it first rate. He is one of the real stock regular Van Houtens. He has not seen a sick day since he left you. I am writing to you while he is writing to his wife. He says I must tell you he has been sleeping on the ground through rain, lice, bed bugs, fleas, and horse turd, and comes out all safe.
I am not very well at present. I have the piles quite bad but Albert brought some ointment and that is helping me. But I must close. Give my love to my little wife and boy. Tell Molly I will write to her again soon. Tell Mother all is well while I remain your soldier son, — C. Van Houten