A Letter Home from Fort Marcy

 
Handwritten letter from Keller Bobb

NPS

Camp near Fort Marcy

Tuesday, September 2nd, 1862

Dear Sister,

I embrace the present opportunity to reply to your kind and very welcome letter, and surely no task can be more pleasant or duty more imposing. This thing of being away from friends (that is, those at home) is a very queer sort of a thing, and I doubt whether anything else is more calculated to make one feel their own weakness than when alone in a strange country.

Now I suppose you will begin to think that I am getting homesick, and perhaps you would hear some reason if you would hear that kind of talk all the time, but nothing is further from the truth than that supposition. Indeed I do not think that I would come home if I would not get a chance to soldier again, and you must remember that I have experienced some of the evils of soldiering such as poor rations and wet and very bad weather, but we take all in a joking humor and we generally come out right side up.

On last Sunday, Companies A and B were detailed for picket duty about a mile from camp. Company A, Captain Porter's, captured a rebel spy endeavoring to creep through to the lines. He had a rebel uniform on under his other clothes. He was sent to a fort down below our camp.

Last Monday night, Company F took the place of two companies, and for the first time I found what picketing really was. We got a loaf of bread and a chunk of meat in our haversacks and away we went. Our instructions were to keep a sharp lookout for all persons and those not furnished with good reasons or a pass to be stopped and detained 'til taken to headquarters. Persons heading toward us were to be halted, or called to halt three times. If not obeying, our guns were to be called into requisition. Our countersign was "Brandywine." Although we were green, we resolved to do our whole duty. We were ordered also to report along the line if any large bodies of men attacked any post by shot or by the call "rally."

 
Handwritten letter from Keller Bobb

NPS

Last evening, we were relieved by Company D. Just before we left for camp, a very heavy rain came up and we all got soaking wet. Some made a great ado about the matter, but I simply laid down on my overcoat and slept soundly 'til morning. The 2nd Lieutenant Givler said anyone who can do that without any inconvenience could stand anything.

This morning, I feel comfortably situated, and do not wish for anything more than the chunk of bread and the tinful of sweet, smoking coffee which stands at my side.

You wished to know how I like our new captain. Well, George S. Emig is as fine a gentleman as trod a carpet, and as a common a person that a private can approach with confidence. For my own part, I would not desire anything like an office, but if I can fill the place of private with honor to myself, I ask no higher distinction. A corporalship or a sergeantcy I would not have for the pay [of] a lieutenant, for the cutting remarks of a colonel to some dumb sheep are enough to sting the nerve of a stone. We are under strict military discipline and I have often wondered that certain persons are not severely dealt with for trifling with the good forbearance of our colonel.

The other evening, the colonel resolved to put a stop to people breaking through the guard. Accordingly, he caused a number of arrests to be made, and the culprits were loaded with bones and poles and stones and marched to and fro before the colonel's quarters.

Tell the boys they must excuse me for not talking to them, but I will write to them before long. Does Jenny and Frankie still talk like they did? Does Frankie's hair still keep curling? How is Alfred get along? Tell Peggy how I like the business. Did you read the letter I wrote Alfred and Christopher Rich? Tell Kate I will remember her when I come back and trouble her for a cup of coffee.

 
Keller Bobb's handwritten letter

NPS

I cannot get my picture taken now on account of the enormous prices, also on account of the poorness of the article. Give my love to Uncle John and Harry. When will school begin? Who is the teacher? Answer soon and oblige.

Your friend,

Keller

Hi. Tell John I like soldiering. Bullies!

K.B.

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