Picketts talking to one another across river from hero of Pickett's charge
Near Fredericksburg Va.
Sunday Dec. 21, 1862
My dear Sallie,
This is a quiet Sunday morning & too cold to have services in the Regt. so I employ my time in a short conversation with you & the other dear ones of our home. Since my last letter to Fannie on the 15th Inst., I have rec'd nothing from you all although I have looked most anxiously from tidings from dear sister Vin. I am sure that some of you have written regularly but the mails are very uncertain. The letter I have is from Fannie of the 4th that told me of an improvement in dear sister Vin, which I hope has continued. I sent the letter to Abner by a member of his Brigade, but have not seen or heard from him. I hope he is attending faithfully to the duties of his office and makes himself acceptable to Capt. Warwick.
This is a real cold spell we are having & I hope everybody will succeed in getting a supply of ice if they did not get it about two weeks ago. Our camp is on a thick pinewood, near our old one before the battle, and is a right comfortable place. The pine is right hard to burn but we keep large fires & by the good spirits the boys keep up we get on very well.
We were on picket a few nights ago on the river just below Fredericksburg and had a decidedly rough time in the open bottom & with small fires. The pickets are both stationed on the river bank just opposite each other & often indulge in a friendly conversation. The Yankees seem pretty tired of the war & are anxious for peace. One question they asked us was, "if we had a Copl. we would trade for Burnside." They seem willing too to acknowledge a disastrous defeat here.
It is reported now that most of the Yankees have left our front & the expectation is that they are preparing for another battle not very far from here. They must no doubt do something to retrieve their lost fortunes. I hope they may make another effort, for I was never more confident than now of success wherever we meet, & who knows but an active & successful winter campaign to us may end the war, I hope we are not far from deliverance. Surely enough blood has been shed, but we must not look back, only to the end that we are striving to accomplish. No cost will be too dear for this, Liberty must reward our efforts.
Gen'l Longstreet has issued a very complimentary address to his troops & in conclusion calls on them to give something for the relief of the Fredericksburg sufferers, they have certainly lost enough to be entitled to a contribution & the soldiers will no doubt be glad to assist them.
Fannie mentioned in her letter that bro. Nelson was having a pair of boots made for me. Ask him to have the bottom well pegged & the heels thickly heeled thickly nailed if they have not been sent off as they will last better & it is impossible to get them half soled here. I would like to get them by John if he comes down & also a pair of yarn gloves if any of my sisters have time to knit them. A bunch of red pepper would come in well too if it is not taxing John too much. I have not heard from him recently or from any of the friends in Leesburg. We are looking from him directly after Xmas. By the way it is almost here & I wish I could send a letter that was good enough for a Xmas gift.
I am glad that the governess has come and I hope the little girls will learn very rapidly under her instructions. Remember me kindly to all the friends & particularly our kindest of friends, Mrs Harvie and Miss Sarah.
I trust that sister Vin has improved. She must have suffered so much, give her my tenderest love. I hope that this will find all the rest well & yourself dear Sallie improving. Kiss the little girls for me & give my best love to all the household & to Mr. Hatcher.
Your devoted Bro.