Camp Fisher Oct 2nd 1861
I wrote to you, Mary and Ma but as yet have rcd no answer. I came to camp a few days sooner than I expected in the hope of getting letters from some of you- but as yet have received none in reply. Though beforehand I rd one from each of you. Yrs mentioning the coat which as yet I have not rcd.
I stayed away from camp 3 (?) weeks. On my return from the company in good health excepting a few cases of the mumps- which disease I stand a good chance to take. There are 7 or 8 of the company
the company [crossed-out in ink] in the country yet I saw Joe Buford the day before I left. He looks worse than I ever saw him- but I think he will recover in a few weeks.
I arrived here yesterday about 2OC thinking I would report myself ready for duty in a day or two. I had just fried (?) myself on some cedar poles to sleep about 9OC, when the the [sic] order “Prepare to march in ten minutes” was given. You can imagine the bustle that ensued. They have never given me nothing but musket and you know I was somewhat a little in time in getting a bayonet caps and cartridges [sic]. In lefs [sic] than 3/4 of an hour 60 answered to their names and we were on the march for _____ nobody knowd [corrected over in pencil with “knew”] but old Gen Whiting. They did not give us time to get anything to eat. Those that had any old bread left from supper took some in their pockets and haversacks. (I suppose you had heard of us being near Dumfries).
After marching 1/2 mile we saw we were going in the direction of the River. There were a great many conjectures as to where we were going, but the majority thought that the Yankees were trying to land and we were going to support our batteries. All seemed eager to meet them, as they were 60 in raks [sic] when the order was given to march, and that evening there were not exceeding 40 out on drill.
We had marched about 3 miles over a rough road at a rapid gate, when we were halted in an old field- which I supposed to be about 1 mile from the River. where we staid [sic] until morning, some sitting around the fire laughing and talking, others rolled up in their blankets sound asleep. As unconcerned as if there was not a Yankee in a hundred miles.
At daylight, our Reg and the 2nd Miss were formed into a timeline [“time” smudged] and ordered to pile our blankets, on the ground, marching forward 200 yds, faced about and old Whiting drilled us about 2 hours and marched us back to camp. I believe he did it to see how many men he could muster. It was reported that a deserter said they were going to try to land, but I believe it was all a farce. There were men in that march that hadn’t drilled in two weeks, therefore they will have no excuse next time from drill. Everyone expected to engage the enemy at daylight. It learnt [marked over with pencil as “learned”] me one lefsen [sic]-vis to be prepared next time.
to hear that [crossed-out in ink] every day to hear that Battery set loose on their velles [crossed-out in ink] vessels, but I hardly think they will try to land there. If they do you may look out for squally times. It is thought they will have a fight shortly up about Fairfax, though every think [sic] is conjecture in the camps.
I want some clothing new [sic] soon. I want one or two pr drawers of some warm material- one flannel undershirt- two thick flannel over ones- grey or brown and made plain- and if you think best a good pair of boots for winter use. You can tell Uncle Newton what I want. Also a good woolen jacket- round about fashion.
Love to all. Tell them all to write and do so yourself as soon as possible. Respt. P M Buford
October 2, 1861: page 1 on right, page 4 on left
October 2, 1861: page 2 on left, page 3 on right
October 2, 1861: page 5