Camp Near Culpepper Va Oct 6th 1863
Dear Sister Yours informing me of Josephs
information for me and also one containing a sketch
of our house came to hand in due time and I
embrac this opitunety to write you a long leter
if I lack in quality I will make up in quantity
Yesterday the 5th reg moved away from a camp they
had fited up in good shape only to stop in one night
I was over before they moved and they gave me
one of their shantyes so the next morning I got up
early and with my tent made started to lug it
over wich was about one mile it was but a sm[all?]
thing and we made 3 trips and put it up
again the same fore noon besides going on drill
in the after noon we went out to drill again
when we hardly got at it when we heard the
pack up call sounded and in we rushed to
pack up our bagage and go but where we
knew as litle and as much as ever, and that
was nothing, we went about one and went
into camp not far from when we had toated
our house in the morning, now this you will
say was rather agravating but we have got
used to such things and a soldiers life is
made up of such instanses and it is more
agreable than battles espesily where we are always
geting wiped, But to the story of my house if
I can call it a story for it is not 3ft high
to the eves.) We got two other boys to help and
we mitened on to each corner and braught
it up all standing. to our present camp yes
a whole house al standing just as I would bring
Jefferson and co and a host of our goverment plunders
if I could, and now to day after fiting our establishment
up I seat my self up on our bed of sedar bou[??]
and before me a huge chees box cover nailed up aga[inst ]
one side of our building for a table I am Su[???]
the pen to tell you all about it wilt the
liability of packing up at any moment who would not hea so[??]
[page 2]
You asked me if the sketch of the house was as I wanted
It now the picture I leave entierly to you I have
not made up my mind to get any thing fine of course
not only I want to see how it will look and
If I thaught it would be perfect I would
not have it I am oposed to perfection these
beings without faults I do not wish to a
mingle with, you know that Old [?]itcomb and
myself hold the same views upon this point
the fact is there is no chance for improvement
upon perfection and all you would have to
doe after you had painted aperfect picture
would be to sit down and greave because there
was nothing more to master as Alexandra did
because there was no more to conquer I believe
it was Alexander who wept because there was
no more chance for conquest but If I have
mad a mistake no mater for as I said before
I do not want to be perfect
I hope you will not get to excited in trying
to make the story fine and If you get tired and
sick of the thing wich you will many times all
is throw it aside and what apeared hard at first
will come easy enough after a short time
Painting is nothing more than any trade and
one that has the mechanical powers largly
developed can learn to paint all though
to cary the thing to a great heighth one must
atend to nothing elce or rather this must
be his Chief aime And is not this the
case If one excells in any thing?
But most people think that an artist has
gifts that other mortals are not possesed of
forgeting that all have the same facuelties
the only varyation in men being that these
facuelties are possed in a greater degree
on some than in others all come into the
world knowing nothing and possesing nothing
[page 3]
but powers to acquire, these powers may be directed
by their own dispositions or outside influences
and circumstancses to good or for evel and
as all inheret powers in a diferent degree and are also
suround by diferent circumstances and influences
perhaps by others e all become diferent
you have with out doubt at any rate I know
that I have done things that apeared
strange to some when to me the same thing
all apeard right enough and I think if others
had known as much about the same thing as
I they would have never wondered How may
times I have had people ask me why I did not
turn my a tention to art people of sence and
I have reason to know they asked it in good
faith, Now I always doubted My ability to do
as I would like to do and that wanted to
Excell in art, yet I should hav tyed
the buisnes for my own amusement if evry thing
had ben to suit me, then again most people
amagine that all I think about is how
to get money when the fact is I hardly think
about it at all, yet I think that I have
a good faculty to get the stuff for I generly
make more out of a thing than I recon on
but I surly think I have but a very small
Desire to become rich, I hav often worked
hard to get a job out that a man might
be acomadated when I should rather give
him the price of the job rather than to have
done it yet I never had the name of doing
it for any other purpose than for the gaine
I do not speak of these things to show that people
are ungreatfull but to show that they do not always
know the motives that prompt men to do
as they do, Now I must tell you a litle about
my ring buisnes how I happened to make the
first one was some one made one and sweled
[page 4]
considerable over his performance and I thaught I
could take a litle conceit out of him by making
a beter on well you will say this was not a very noble
perpose. I finished it and a friend of mine
wanted it to send home I totd him I wished
to do the same thing he ofered me 75 cts and I
gave him the ring saying that he thaught
more of his friends than I did of mine now
If al I wanted was money I should took
the money for it but the fact was his ofer convinced
me that he had a strong desire to send his friend
something that was made here by a soldier
so I gave him the ring I gave away more than
50 before I sold one then I did not take
what I was ofered but as I improved in
the art the ofisers began to want them and
it ocured to me that I might as well have
the money as any one so I made a buisnes of making them
now I have always had more than I could posibly
do and at a price that no one ever disputed
untill the other day Wen a Sargent cam along
I supose that his position had swelled his head
(a little) and asked me what I asked for
such a ring wich was about half finished
I told him 1$. then with an air of disdain he
says hewould go a good ways before he
gave a Dollar for a bone ring, I merely informed
him that there was nothing in the army
regulations that would compell him
to buy a bone ring and of course the crowd
had to Laugh a little and perhaps it might
make him feel that he was nothing more
that human, at any rate I inteded to
convince him of that fact, yet I know he thaught
the demand for my jewelry made me independent
I wrote to you and sent my picture and also informed
you of the death of my old tent mate Wm Barbour
I also sent Mother 15$ from this place wich I
have not heard from yet M.P. Larry

October 6, 1863


Co. H, 17th Maine Infantry
Residence (County): 
Cumberland County, ME


Residence (County): 
Cumberland County, ME


From State: 
From Municipality: 


To State: 
To County: 

Transcription/Proofing Info

Kelly Baker
Transcription Date: 
April, 2015
M. Ellis
Proof Date: 
May, 2016

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