Fort Richardson, Virginia
December 30, 1861
My Dear Wife,
I take this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year and hope that you are in better health than what I am. If you are not, I pity you for I have got the cramp colic and a very sore throat and the worst kind of a cough and a bad cold. But I will stop telling you what ails me for that is all nonsense and let you know that I am sick but I try to keep to work for all that. I wish I was at home, pet, with you for if I was, I think I might get well one of these days. But I never shall be as long as I stay here. Oh how I wish that they would fight—if they ever mean to—and get through with this work or else let me go on board of some war vessel for this being tied up on shore will kill me.
I may stand it through but I doubt it for I have not seen a well minute since I left Hagerstown. I was well when I left Hartford and was until just before I left Hagerstown. Then I was taken with the dysentery and I was so weak that I could hardly stand. Then I tried to march to Frederick and went on very well for about six miles. Then down went Chet like a log and the next morning I found myself in bed in the village of Boonsborough. I had to be carried to Frederick from there in a stage. After that, we went to Oak Springs and I began to get a little better. No sooner did they see that show, they detailed me for guard duty. Well on guard I went like a fool for I was excused by the doctor from all duty. Well, as I was saying, I went on duty and that night I was out seven hours in th rain. The next night I was taken down with chills and fever and with that I was sick until I entered the hospital in Darnestown a stayin’ there until the other day and the Lord knows that I was not well when I left it. I come up here and went on full duty [but] I could not stand that so I tried light duty and failed in that. So this night finds me in the officer cook tent and sick at that.
There, I have give you a detail of my sick life and ask your forgiveness if you tire in reading it. I will now close with my love to you and all. Wishing you good night for I remain as ever your husband, — Chet