24 May 1865

Camp near Washington D. C.
May 24, 1865

Dear Father,

Our great Review is over and a great show it was too. I never saw such a large turnout in Washington. Everybody from every state was there. Our Jersey Delegation was there and gave three cheers for Battery B as we marched past. I saw several faces that was familiar. Among the rest was Theodore McNett. It was all a very grand sight for the spectators  but a very tiresome one for us although we were very much favored fr the day was very cool— a splendid breeze blowing all the time. But it made it some dusty. Still everything went off very nice and I could be satisfied if we could only come home now. But it seems there is no chance.

The government is going to send the one year men home and keep us. Just those that done the least are going to have the best and first chance. They done the least, got the most bounty, and now are going to their families first. I think it is a shame and an unjust act. I think if any should go home, it should be those that has been out here since the war broke out. I did not come out because I liked to be a soldier. I came for the purpose of putting down the Rebellion and it is done and therefore I consider my duty done and I want to come home. And what is more, I will come. If after saving our country from ruin, the people cannot let us come home honorably, why we have to do the other thing. I will not be a soldier the there is no war. I have a better work to do.

Father you must not blame me if you hear that I have deserted. Do not consider I have deserted my country or cause, for now country is safe and we have no cause. So I consider I have done and am right I not staying. If I am not honorably discharged by the 4th of July, I will be out of this. You can tell Mother just how it is so she will not worry. There is no danger of being shot now so don’t worry. I do not know where I shall go. Perhaps I will have to leave the country for awhile till the excitement is over. If I go, I shall got to California or Australia. I tell you this so if I am at any time missed, you will know pretty near where I am. You must not tell anyone except Mother. If I should leave, I will soon send for my wife and boy and that will be the last of me in the United States. If my services cannot be appreciated, I am going to leave and I will not go for nothing. I am not excited for I have been making up my mind ever since I heard we were to be kept while the one year men were to go home.

Albert will soon be home and he can tell you all about it. He knows how we get along with the officers. They are meaner now than ever for they know we cannot get home to settle with them. They have a chance to resign as soon as they wish but we poor devils will have to stay.

I have been expecting a letter from you for several days in answer to mine. I wrote about two weeks ago. You and Mary have both owed me a letter for some time. Please write soon an if you see Mary, tell her to please answer my last while I remain your discontented son, — Cornelius Van Houten

I am well and hope all are the same at home. If you are out of change, here is a ton [?] for you. The discount is quite heavy though.