Fort Richardson, Virginia
November 17, 1861
My Dear Wife,
I now take my pen to write a few lines and I hope they will find you well. I have seen Mathews again today. He says that you are well and all right so I told him that I was glad of it and he left for camp. He was down here along with the prisoners a digging a hole for us to throw our [ ] into, I told him that I was a going home just to plague him. I hope he don’t feel bad but I think he does. I hope they will bring a letter for me tonight when they come from camp. Well, it has come, sure enough, so I will read it as I write, but you need not thank me for that dollar for when I send you money, it is just like taking out of one pocket and putting in the other. You say that you would like to see me so that you could talk to me. I wish that you could too and if you want me to come home enough to see me sitting in the kitchen all winter with nothing to do, why just say so and home I come. I want to see you very much—more than you think I do—but I don’t want to lay still so long. The doctor talks of putting me in [as] head cook here. If he ever does, I shall get extra pay and can have you come and stay with me if you are well enough and want to come. You could come here and help me a little and get six dollars a month and your board—and besides that, you could have the great pleasure of being with your old man.
I got that cake and it was a very good one. It was the [best] thing I have had since I left home and wish that I had another one to eat tonight. And I wish that I was with you so that I could kiss you, dear pet. You can change them studs for a ring or anything else that you like for they are yours and not mine. Let me know if my two coats are good yet. I hope they won’t get moth eaten for I shall want to wear them one of these days. Tell Jude [Judith] that I hope you two women will have your men with you before spring as much as either of you do. Mrs. Mathews must not be too sure of seeing her man or of his coming to make her a visit for he can’t come now for he is in the guard house. I don’t know what he has done to get put there. They put a man in prison now for most nothing. Don’t say anything about this to her for she thinks he is going home and he can’t go now for they won’t let an man go a visiting after he has been under guard. I don’t know what I shall have for Thanksgiving but if you was here with me, I should have something good—either a turkey or a goose. You must not go out more than you can help it. I want you to get well before I get home again.
Charles Knight is here with me. Don’t be afraid of him for he can’t harm anyone. He ain’t smart enough. Give my love to Mother and the girls and with this, I will close for this time. With my love to my dear little wife, from your husband, — Chester Chapman