John Hough letters - June 16, 1864

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Letter #5

Head Quarters
1st Mich Regt E & M
Camp at Bridgport Alabama
June 16 – 1864

Brother B
            I have a good opportunity & feel like writing, this morning so, I mus tell you something about the tramp I had day-before yesterday.  In the morning I went over the river where our boys are building a stockade, to make a visit – get some butter & berries if I could.  I found John Swift washing & as he was going with me to get some butter, we concluded to go in the afternoon, & I would try my luck getting some mulberries in the forenoon.

Saturday June 18th

I didn’t suppos there would be anything to hinder me from writing when I commenced but was somewhat mistaken in my calculations.  We had been drawing bread regular for some time, but for some reason we had to take part flour that day & evry day since.  The boys over the river took the bread and we the flour.  So we have had to bake evry day.  It is warm work, but I dont mind that when I feel well.

            Well I was going to tell you about my visit etc.  I went down the river about a mile & came to a cornfield, with a fence around it – fences are sure things here & cornfields too.  The corn was over 10 inches high – rather wet ground & I presume it was not planted very early.  There was two boys & two Negro women plowing it out & a man fixing a pair of bars.  I didn’t find many berries so I went & had a talk with him.  Speaking about his corn, he said the crows were powerful bad on it & then the cows had got in & injured it a good deal, it looked rather hard some of it but the land is so rich I presume he will have a pretty good crop.  I asked him if he knew where I could get some berries & he told me where there was a large tree, so I went & got what I wanted to eat & went back to camp. –after dinner John & I went out to see if we could get some butter.  The first house we came to were Northern folks, pretty smart—hadent a very nice house, but one room is furnished nicely & a piano in it.  A daughter playes on it.  I didn’t hear her play.  John goes there quite frequently & had heard her play & played on it himself.  They were busy baking green apple pies, but had sold them all to some soldiers who were ther before us, so we did not get any.  They had not any butter to sell, so we went on.  The road went throug a large young orchard which looked very thrifty & was bearing considerable.  I didn’t suppose they could raise apples here but they appear to do & as well as they do north.  You come across peaches here most evry where.  Well we went on from house to house but could not find any butter.  The soldiers had been there before us & they had sold it all.  One woman promised us a pound when we would come again.  We bought a dozen of eggs at fifty cts per dozen & some milk.  It was after sundown when we got home.  I was tired out & so I stayed with John all night, & came over to camp the next morning.  I was about sick the next day, but the day after, felt as well as usual.  John let me have some butter that he had on hand & he went after that, that was promised.  But I wanted to get out of camp & see the country & folks as much as I wanted the butter.

            I havnt received any letters from any of you in a good while but I know you are all busy & dont feel like writing when you have time.  I expect after here, will leave next week tuesday, are going toward the front.  I dont think this camp will go at present.  I hope not for I think if we go alone we will stand a chance to ride on the cars.

            J Hough


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