16 March 1865

Camp Upside Down, Va.
March 16, 1865

Dear Father,

We are all ready for a move but do not expect to go till tomorrow. We cannot tell where but it is rumored we are to attack the lines in front of us but I do not believe it. I think we are to move to the extreme right or left and make a grand assault to drive Mr. Davis out whether he wishes to go or not. But it makes no difference to me. I am ready for anything that will bring this war to a close and I guess the most of our army is of the same mind.

I suppose Mary told you about my reception in camp. It is all right with me. I had a pretty  hard time in getting to camp. It was very stormy after I left Harrisburg. I had to ride outside so I caught a little more cold but I think I am getting better now. Father, you may think it queer that I did not stop in the hospital after you taking so much trouble but I will tell you if it had been in the fall when I was not needed, I would have done it. But now is just the time my country calls for the help of all her able bodied sons immediately and thank God, I am one of them and will do my duty. And another thing, do you remember what the Dr. said about this army? It was there will be stirring times down there soon. I understood just what he meant. He thought I was afraid to come.

After that I made up my mind to come if I had to be carried. Father, no one will ever have it to say that your son was afraid to be at his post and if I am killed in this war, I hope to be shot at it. But I don’t expect to leave my bones in this country. Something tells me so, but only God knows.

Albert says he is well. He talks of the fun we will have and I hope we will. He says he would like you to see about that horse soon as possible for April will soon be here. Please see John Sheres. If I am to have those rooms, I would like him to let me know soon for I am anxious to get Mary in some quiet place before you commence the house again. Please let me know about both houses for if I cannot get Guss’s house, Mary will go with Fanny in her house. If Louis White has done nothing to his house, I wish you would please hurry him up for my sake. You will do me a great favor if it is ready for her by the first of April.

I am very thankful to you, Father, for giving my wife a home all this winter. I don’t know what she would have done if you had not befriended her. I am very sorry there has been such ill feelings but I hope she will yet prove a good daughter and sister to you all. I hope for my sake you will all love her. I know she acts very queer sometimes. I know you will love my boy. Oh! how I hated to part with him. Only let me get home once more is all I ask. Please attend to that house and let me know soon. Give my love to all my friends. Take good care of Mary and her boy. I shall remember all your kindness. My love to Mary and Mother. Write soon. From your affectionate son, — C. Van Houten

The Captain arrived tonight.