Fort Richardson, Virginia
December 24, 1861
My Dear Wife,
That box has come. It got here before I sent that letter but as I had it all sealed up I thought I would send it. I hope you will get that letter so that I can get an answer from it. I will only write a few lines tonight for I have not time tonight. The reason that I said that I was your unfaithful husband was because I thought that I had not done as I ought to by you but it has not been any fault for I have done nothing wrong. Thank God that I am not like some that you want me to write about. That ring is a very pretty one and I will wear it as long as I can as a keepsake. But I don’t need anything to make me think of the loved ones at home for I think of them all the time. You said in one of your letters that you hope you can say that you can say that you are well the next time you write. I wish you may, dear. It will be the best news that I ever had come to me in a letter.
Mathews is here and I don’t see why he don’t write for he has more time than I do. He has nothing to do but his military duty while I have to do that and fetch wood and water for the company besides. He talks strong of running away from here. If he does, and they catch him, it will be sure death for him for they will shoot him as they did Johnson the other day. He thinks they will let him come home on a furlough but they won’t for they won’t let one of the captains go for one of them went to the Colonel [Robert O. Tyler] for a furlough because his wife was sick. She was dying but the Colonel told him that soldiers was not supposed to have wives and that they ought to be like sailors—have a wife in every town they go to. I wish sometimes that he would tell me so. If he did, I would kill him for it.
I have moved my things today to another tent for the boys here would not let me rest until I had moved in with them. There is not a man in the company but what thinks the world of me. You may know that the captain likes me for he lets me to [do] just as I like.
I will tell you again about my daguerreotypes for I will write about it until I hear from them. I sent them to New London by Thomas Goff [Gough]. He started for home on Monday. He lives on Potter Street. I sent them by him because I had no money to pay the way by Express. I will now close this with my love to my pet, hoping it will find you well. Give my love to Mother and the girls and tell them that I shall not forget them. I have not cut that cake yet but I shall tomorrow. I thank you, my pet, for them things and I will not forget to return the compliment the first chance I get. I wish you did know how my back aches for I am sitting on the floor with my paper on my knee and I am all bent up there.
Good night my dear, dear, dear, dear, dear little pet wife.
From your dutiful husband, — Chet to Mat
I was twenty-four last September the 23rd day.