John Hough letters - March 20, 1864

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Letter #1

Bridgeport March 20 1864
Dear brother B

        I received yours of the sixth yesterday, was very glad to hear from you all especially, that you having such good meetings & were trying to be a christian.  It is of the most importance & should be attended to firs of all.  I presume you are at meeting this evning.  I should like to be with you & enjoy the priveledges of home & Christian friends, but those I have here, yes I am thankful for that, all in our cook shanty are professers, John Swift, George Randolph & R Watson.  Watson has been sick & another man has helped some.  Watson is some better but not able for duty.  We have a very civil set in our tent but I do not spend much of my time there, for the cook shanty is more quiet in the evening & I am obliged to be here most of the day.  We don’t have much sunday here & especially the cooks, men will get hungry and must eat.  We drew rations this forenoon & this afternoon we had to bake buiscuit as we did not get enough saturday (after baking most all day) to last over. We have drawn fresh beef a number of times lately &  tea once, which is quite a treat here especially tea the beaf is not very good, at home we would not think it fit to eat.  Wel I suppose you want to know every time how I like it her.  I have enjoyed myself & have had things much more comfortabl than ever I expected in Dixie.  Our cook shanty is about 36 ft long & 12 wide, divided into three parts, 2 messes of about 25 men in each part, so we have 12 ft square a good fireplace (with the exception of its smoking occasionaly) built of sticks & mud, with an iron axletree of an old wagon to hang our kettles on.  I am getting so I like cooking first rate, they are rather more independent, know just what they have got to do every day, & when they have done it can do what they have a mind to, but any one that is well can stand the usual work of a soldier here.  We draw considerable more rations than we use but we cannot get read of them all, to any advantage to our selves.  We are one lbl flour three boxes of hard bread, one lbl Bacon a head.  The quartermaster aught to take them back & pay us the government price, but he don’t do it so what we cannot sell or give away, we throw away.  I am getting so I can’t eat my ration of sugar now that is always worth 15 or 20 ct.  We fry our bacon (3/4 lb a ration) & sell the fat to the baker for 12 cts, burn the meat.  Coffe fetches from 35 to 40 cts.

            Monday afternoon—have been bakeing.  The wind was just right to smoke & my eyes are most smoked out, sent our flower to the Baker this afternoon to exchange it for bread, so it will be easier for us.  I expect we will leave camp soon, about 40 of us, are going about 30 miles toward Nashville on the railroad to build stockades or forts.

            Two of our pickets were shot on their post night before last.  Not of this Regiment we do not have picket duty to do but have to stand guard around our camp.  We do not fear the Rebels here much but calculate to be ready for them, have all got guns & amunition now.

            The weather here is very pleasant but cold for this climate just right for comfort.  You said the town had raised a tax to pay those that went on the last call.  Do I get that or has there been another since I enlisted.  I know we called for two hundred thousand more but they were put in with the others to be drafted the same time.  Write often.

            Your Brother John

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