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John McCoy, letter, to Martha McCoy, 1864 July 23
McCoy, John

My Dear Wife;
The rose leaves came safe
your letter of the 8th inst came
duly to hand yesterday evening it being expected
for some time past caused me to relish it a little more
than usual. however I feel more content at the delay
when I hear you are all well. as I always consider it
ominas of evil when I am dispointed in receiving a
letter at the proper time. I am glad the money went
all right. I hope it will even be in my power to
send you some more. I am using more of my
wage now than during the winter it is so sickly that
I consider five or ten dollars a small object. sometimes
I drink some root Beer and a glass of cider in lieu
of water in a hot day occasionally I buy a little fish
and a pie when I have no appetite for strong rations
I have every reason to be thankful to the Almighty
that I am able to record that my health is very
good for the last few days my appetite is some
Better better than usual. you would be surprised in Canada
to see a person in the shakes in a warm day in July
trembling from head to feet as if their Joints would
fall asunder it then leaves its victim quite prostrate
and in a high fever it is nothing unusual to see men
mounting guard in perfect heath and in a few hours
afterwards having to be relived when on post. for the
shakes, when covered over with Blankets they seem to be
quite cold when mercury stands in the Thermometer at
110 deg, in the shade. almost the one third of the three
companies doing duty in Fort Totten is on the
sick report. the only remedy given by the Doctor
for the shakes is quinine mixed in liquor and I
verily believe that there is some that shakes a little
more than what is real in order to get some whiskey
if it is mixed with quinine. your last two letters
was all that could be desired lengthy and will
written, the newspapers come in good time I felt
at home for some time when reading them you should
try and send them to me more regular. it is a pity
to use them for waste paper when I place so much
value on their contents—-Before this reaches you
you will have received a letter from me of
the 12th instant, detailing matters to you up to the
time of writing, consequently you need not
expect much at this time from me and the
common accurrences here would be of no material
interest to you. For the last few days affais
here seem to be of more exciting character. scouts
from the front and Contrabands report a
large force of the enemy concentrating in front
of our outside picket lines some estimated them
at from 15 to 20 thousand with 32 pieces of seige
artillery but as to the verasity of their reports
I cannot vauch, one thing certain for the last
few nights the rebels appeared in small force
at the picket lines and shot several of our men
before discovered. yesterday a number of (colored)
men when out a short distance from the city to pick his
huckle Berries in a swamp they were surrounded
and captured by the rebel scouts. late last
night two companies of the 16th. Vermont was
sent out as supports to the 12th N.Y. Cavalry
we expected last night to hear the long roll beat
but were agreeably dispointed. all remains quiet
up to the time of writing (10 Oclock A.M.) as far
as I can learn but dispatches may have come
without my knowledge in the night we
have the best chance to know what is going
on as the communication with the pickets is
and the line of Forts is carried on with
signal lights — It costs me considerable
now days for washing as I pay for getting
all done I change shirts twice a week and
socks the same and pants once a week I
also wash myself regular all is necessary
here on account of sweating so much. in
fact I take all the care of myself that I can
—for a young regardless person there
is great amusement in camp. in almost every
stockade there is some instrument of music played
some evenings the asemble together which makes quite
a nice band much nicer to me than the Brass
Band. but often all the inmates of the tents around
me has sunk into the arms of Morpheus I lay
awake for hours thinking over a thousand exciting
thoughts in succession and pondering over on
what the unknown future has in store for
me. wondering if ever I will be permited to
revisit once more my home and my little
family-but contentment should be my guiding
rule at present as space will permit no more
let it suffice to subscribe myself your
 affectionate Husband
John MCoy
This postscript appears at the top of page 1r
Tell Aby + archy to be good Boys I will remember
them if I live till next pay day. Aby has never sent
me his letter yet—
This postscript is written upside down at the top of the second leaf. It starts on page 2r and runs across the fold to 1v
after reading over the letter I see a good many omissions which I will try and rectify in
my next. I considered it useless to mention about you buying anything for yourself as you know
what you need Better than I do. I have stated before to you that I wanted you to live comfortable J.M
HomeJohn McCoy, letter, to Martha McCoy, 1864 July 23
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