These letters were written by members of the Henry Fitch (1817-1894) and Harriet Morse (1820-1895) of Bergen, New Jersey. All seven letters were sent to their son, William Young Fitch (1840-1923) who had enlisted in Co. C, 21st New Jersey Volunteers—a nine-months unit that mustered into the service in August 1862. Six of the letters were written by Henry, 1 from William’s sister Margaret (“Maggie”) R. Fitch (184-1900), and one by Harriet. The letters were all penned in November and December 1862 as their son’s regiment moved into Virginia and advanced upon Fredericksburg. Great anxiety is expressed in the letter of December 12th as William’s parents anticipate his participation in the Battle of Fredericksburg. Not until after the battle did they learn that their son had become ill before the battle and never crossed the river.
William’s illness was so severe that he was discharged for disability from the service after only four months. At the time of the 1863 Draft Registration, William was enumerated back in Bergen working as a clerk/book keeper.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
Bergen Square [New Jersey]
November 4, 1862
Darling Brother Willie,
No one is downstairs yet. Am I not smart to get up early and if it was not that I wanted to write to you, I should have been asleep. But I am going to be pretty busy today so last night I told Father to call me early. The young ladies of Bergen are knitting mittens for Co. C. Yesterday they met here and received their yarn which Mother had got for them but it was the first day and very few knew anything about knitting. But I guess we will get them done before you get home.
Ella Brinkerhoff was here and I gave her that piece of her Carte-de-visite that you sent home, & thinking that you sent it to her, I told her so. She was much pleased with it—called you a “dear little duck.” She wanted me to send her love to you & tell you that she wanted to see you awfully. She says you must keep tight hold of her hand. Have you lost it? I am going down to take tea with her Wednesday—that is tomorrow.
Little Freddie Brigham is dead. He is next to the oldest. He died of scarlet fever. The other children have been very sick but are better. The funeral was from Jeannies. Henry was pall bearer. Grandma has gone to Pierpont to make a visit. They are all well up there, expecting to move to Port Jervis this month or next as Uncle has a train from there to Jersey City. Hattie wants you to write to her. Jake’s wife was here last Wednesday and took tea with me. I like her very much. Gert and Henry are having a great flirtation. He always happens to see her home when they are out & calls on her I don’t know how many times a week. Libbie is well. She sends her love to you. She is knitting mittens for us but I am going to knit yours. I have one pair done that I was knitting for you but the yarn is most too fine so I will send them to someone else.
Wasn’t you glad to see Father? I imagine you was. The letter you wrote to us after receiving the money and pistol did us a great deal of good. Dan and Emma Van Winkle are coming up to Bergen to live this week. Their new house is done. It is very pretty. It stands next to Jeannies this way.
How are all the boys? I hope they are well. Give my love to them all. We hear that Johnny Heudder is sick in the hospital. How is William [H.] Cochrane? I hope he is well. How is Billy Brinkerhoff? Ask him for me how Miss Blanch is. I hope they are both well. Mrs. Van Gelder sent us a letter they received from Johnny that was written at Williamsport. So we expect you have been there. Why did not you write to us when he did? There is a report around that Josephine DeMott & one of Mrs. John Ackerman’s brothers are engaged but whether it is true or not, I cannot say. But she wears a very handsome diamond ring. Mrs. John Henry’s baby is dead. Willie, you don’t know how we miss you at home.
You spoke of my going to Sociables and skating. Not a sociable will I attend until you come home but I may go skating once in awhile. Take good care of yourself for 7 months longer for 2 have passed. Father says Bobby [Robert M.] Packer is with you. How do you like him?
Father ordered some more of your carte-de-visites at Faits. He told him to make them a little darker. They will be done today. I hope they are good. Jeannie sends her love to you. Anna Freeland took tea here last evening and Henry had a good walk down home with her. Don’t you wish you had been here? Garret Freeland is going to see you next week and there are several other gentlemen who visit you before long. Bennie stand here by me pulling my arm. I asked him if he wanted to send his love to brother Willie and he says, yes. Mary Taylor sends her love. I must stop for I expect to have a good many calls today from those who are knitting mittens and want a little help. Aunt Sophia received a letter from Nancy Morse & she if anyone would come out there she would come home with them and spend the winter. Answer soon.
Your loving sister, — Maggie [Fitch]
Father & Mother were going to write today but thought they would wait until another day. Father is going to vote and says he will be very busy so you must write. Mother says write as often as possible.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
Addressed to William Y. Fitch, Company C, 21st Regt. N. J. Vols., Vinton’s Brigade, 2nd Division, 6th Corps, Washington D. C. or elsewhere
Postmarked New York
[Bergen, New Jersey]
[probably Wednesday, November 19, 1862]
[First page missing]
…of the slaves in the Rebel States, which may bring the disloyal to terms without much further fighting. Already there are rumors of propositions for peace, having been received from the leaders of the rebellion based upon a restoration of the Union. And although these rumors may not be true, yet there is undoubtedly some little foundation for them. At all events there is a perceptible softening in the tone of the Southern press, showing evidently that they have never considered their cause in so desperate a condition as at present. But whatever may be the result finally, I can discover no evidence of intention on the part of the President or of the General in Chief, or of your present commander in chief—General Burnside, to relax their efforts or to allow one day’s more delay in marching or fighting than is required for the necessary preparations to supply them, and make other arrangements for the success of their operations, so that although you may not get to Richmond, I believe you will move in that direction as fast as possible and will reach there before spring, unless you meet an army of the enemy sufficiently large & powerful to stop you.
I see by the papers that railroad is finished from Aquia Creek to Falmouth, that the pontoon bridges have arrived ready to be used for the crossing of the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg and that our gunboats are on their way up the river and nearly to Fredericksburg. From all this I infer that you will move soon from Stafford Court House and will meet the enemy in battle at Fredericksburg unless they retire beyond reach of our gunboats to a more defensible position. I see by the papers that the force of the enemy under Gen. Lee at Fredericksburg is estimated at 100,000 & will reach 125,000 before Burnside gets ready to fight them, but that Burnside says he has plenty of men to do all his work.
You don’t say whether you were one of those who accepted the privilege of joining the 3 years men, but your Mother I notice has nevertheless manifested no anxiety on the subject, taking it for granted that you will desire to finish the present term before you enlist for another and a longer one.
We knew you would have a good time over Bill Brinkerhoff’s box and inasmuch as you had to march the next day, you must have had as much as you all could well make away with without a separate box for yourself. You seem also to be disappointed at not receiving anything by Dan Toffey but you forget that he left here the very same train that Mr. Vreeland did and if we had sent by him instead of Mr. V. you would not have got it so soon as you did.
We are glad to hear that your rheumatism was no worse when you wrote last and hope that when you get on the red flannel drawers, it will disappear entirely.
Did you keep all your things through that dreadful march when you had to stop, or did you drop any of them by the way? Have your knapsacks reached you yet? Are your pants worn through yet? Did you sleep on that wet ground without getting wet through? I hope you may be in good health. Do try to be careful or as careful as you can under the circumstances so that when you do return, if your life is spared, you may have health to enjoy the comforts of home &c. And remember that nothing can be enjoyed anywhere without good health. I believe you write home as often as you can, but it was long since we had heard from you, when we got your last, yesterday, that we were very anxious to get a letter & were greatly rejoiced when it came. And now it has been so long since it was written that we are already anxious to hear again.
We are all well here except your grandmother had one of her bilious attacks last night and is not very well today, but is getting over it. Maggie was down to Mr. Brinkerhoff’s yesterday P.M. & evening. Ellen was here to tea Sunday P. M. Maggie is today at Jennie Van Winkle’s who is alone in the home with Emma’s baby.
I have no business yet and am getting tired of doing nothing besides everything is so high now that I can’t afford it much longer. Hallett is very anxious to have me come back and if I can’t get anything else to do, I shall go. We all send love. Write as soon as you can. Your Father, — H. Fitch
[Bergen, New Jersey]
Thursday morning, Nov. 20, 1862
I see by a letter in the [New York] Tribune this morning dated Weaverville, November 16th 1862, from headquarters of General Franklin, that General Smith commands your corps the 6th, and General Howe your division. Also that you are underway for Richmond via Fredericksburg before this time. I see the plan now is to abandon the present line of operations along the Blue Ridge and make the Potomac the base of operations, having Fredericksburg for the depot of supplies for the Army. No doubt the intention is to hurry you up to Fredericksburg & from there to Richmond as fast as possible in order to head off the Rebels who are part of them, at least, still in the Shenandoah Valley.
I write thus rather particularly about the changes in the army & the movements & plans of the same, because I more than half suspect that we know more about them here than you do in the army. By reference to the map which I send you by today’s mail, you will be able to understand all the movements made & comprehend the objects of them.
I hope you will improve every opportunity to write us because we feel anxious all the time about you. You will undoubtedly have some very hard marches to go through for a while to come. How are your boots? Have you had an opportunity to get them mended? You must let us know when you need a new pair because it will take some time before we can get a chance to send them.
Have your regiment a chaplain yet? Your Aunt Sophia sends her love & good wishes. I think you have a great improvement in your General Burnside over McClellan.
Yours truly, — H[enry] Fitch
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER THREE
Bergen, New Jersey
November 28th 1862
We have not heard from you by letter since yours of 12th inst. from New Baltimore. But we have heard by Mr. Vreeland who left you on the 15th that you was well. And again a letter has been received from Lieut. Jones, written on the 23rd while your company were at Aquia Creek, guarding a wagon train, which said that the boys were all well and I suppose you may be included in “the boys.” Therefore, although we know you must have had very hard marching during that dreadful rainy weather, and fear you may have been destitute of provision, and must have had very uncomfortable lodgings on the wet ground, yet we rejoice to believe that notwithstanding all, you are well. Still we are very anxious about you and gear your rheumatism must be much worse this wet weather.
Yesterday was Thanksgiving day and although our dinner was about as usual on such occasions, yet I can assure you, if your place at table had not been vacant, we should all have enjoyed the dinner & the occasion much more than we did. In fact, we felt almost guilty in indulging our appetites when we knew not but you were at the moment hungry—or at least satisfying your hunger (as was most likely) with hard crackers & raw pork.
But never mind, dear William. Keep up good courage. Three months today have already passed since you were sworn in—just one-third of your time, and although you will undoubtedly have many and severe trials & privations & dangers yet to pass through, still the time will after awhile drag on & finally expire. We all expect you to keep up good pluck to the end, and all pray God to preserve through it all & restore you at last to us in safety & in health. Besides our own family, William Henry—who has work on the Long Dock—Fannie & Beckie & Bennie Frost were with us yesterday to dinner.
I see by the papers that there is still delay about the army crossing the Rappahannock at Fredericksburg, owing to delay in arrival of the pontoon bridges and in repairing or rebuilding the docks at Aquia Creek & the Railroad from there to Falmouth opposite Fredericksburg. Also that the enemy have been reported in large numbers on the opposite side of the river to oppose the crossing. Until this A.M., it is said no enemy are there except a picket guard.
I also see that the President visited General Burnside at Aquia Creek day before yesterday, from which is inferred that there is to be active work soon, and some important movement, perhaps unexpected. You are still about Stafford Court House, I see, in the rear of the army.
I have not been as prompt as I intended in sending you papers but I will send you today a weekly Tribune, which contains a good deal of reading matter, and by the time you have read it through will send something else.
The Common Council of Hudson City are going to send, in a few days, a man on to your regiment, with something for the company which went from there, and Mayor VanReypen says he will put in a small package for you. Therefore, we shall send you a vest and a pair of red flannel drawers for your rheumatism & perhaps a little smoking tobacco and some knit night-caps which the girls have been knitting for a few of the boys. Margaret will send a letter in the package which will describe more fully. We should send you 2 pairs of red flannel drawers but thinking you may not be able to get them on under your others, and thus be obliged to wear them over the others, they will in that case, keep clean a long time. And you will not be burthened with an extra pair when you march again. We could send a great many things to make you more comfortable if it were not for weighing you down with such a load. We can send you the other pair of drawers perhaps before these are very dirty and will send them by the first opportunity if you desire & say so.
Yours truly, — H[enry] Fitch
We have just received a letter from Nancy Morse notifying us of her intention to visit us next week. All send love to you. Write as soon as you can. Whenever you write, let us know what letters you have received. No. 11 of ours is the last one you had when you wrote last. Your mother was so confident that we should get a letter from you today that when Henry came from the Post Office without one, her disappointment found vent in tears. Yet we know you would write if you could.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FOUR
Bergen, New Jersey
December 2, 1862
Yours of 23rd Inst. No. 10 from Aquia Creek, Camp near Stafford C. H., was received yesterday. It was postmarked in Washington Nov. 29th, making six days after it was written before it left Washington.
We can’t quite understand about your movements from your letter, or rather from your letter & those of others received. For instance, Capt. [James W.] Low wrote on the 23rd (the same date as yours) from Depot at Aquia Creek saying his company were there 12 miles from camp to guard a train and were going to return to camp that day. While you seem to be writing from camp near Stafford Court House that same morning. I can’t explain the discrepancy in anyway except that you did not go to the Landing (Aquia Creek) with the rest of the company. Please be as explicit as you can about your movements and the dates on which they are made.
Sometimes we think you may have made a mistake in dating your letter. This we could detect if you would also give the day of the week. I was aware that you must have had a severe march from New Baltimore to Stafford Court House on account of the dreadful weather & muddy roads. I don’t think you will have any more so bad but I still think it will not be very long before you have a new hardship to undergo in the shape of fighting.
I see you were disappointed at not receiving something more by Mr. Vreeland and we are as sorry as you that we did not send you more but I thought I explained to you in my previous letter the reason. There was great uncertainty about his getting to you with all he carried and until late, we did not know that he was going to take so much. Perhaps you have not got all our letters yet. You only mention No. 13 as not being received and we infer that you had received as the rest up to No. 16. Please be a little particular to mention what letters or papers are received by you. I sent you a map of Virginia and am sending you papers from time to time, but don’t know whether you get any of them or not.
We sent you a bundle by Mr. [Rowe] of Hudson City who has gone out to take things for the company from there. He left yesterday morning. The bundle contained a vest, one pair of red flannel drawers, ½ dozen knit caps for different boys, some knit wristlets, 2 lbs. tobacco, & a letter. I think it very doubtful whether he is allowed to go within the lines, and shall therefore feel anxious about the things until we hear that you have received them. I shall order you a pair of boots today but how am I to send them to you? I hear that Dr. Cornelison is going down to visit his son in about 2 weeks, but of course, he can’t be lumbered down with all such heavy bundles. I shall endeavor to see today whether there is any chance of getting them to you by Express. Can’t you ascertain whether there is any way to get them to you that I don’t know of, and instruct me accordingly? The opportunities to send to you are so rare & so uncertain that we are prevented from sending often when we otherwise should.
If you were to get settled somewhere, the case would undoubtedly be different. But I still think that you are not going into winter quarters and that you will not for any length of time stop marching until you reach Richmond. You say that you “want to see the Rebs put down but are satisfied that it won’t be done this winter.” I am satisfied that if it is not done to all intents and purposes this winter, it never will be done. That is, unless we gain some very important advantage & make some very decisive step towards crushing the rebellion before spring, we may as well give it up, for Europe will no longer keep her hands off. Although the rebellion may not be put down directly by fighting, yet I believe there will be some more fighting before it is put down. But after the 1st of January, the Union cause will have a great impulse by the emancipation.
No. 13 which you say you have not received was written by Maggie & sent to Hagerstown—the last one we sent to that place. Who do you sleep with now? Bleeker tried to get a bundle for Onderdonk taken by the man who took in for us yesterday but they would not take it. He however sent a letter. If you need anything in the way of clothing or anything else, let us know it.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER FIVE
[Bergen, New Jersey]
[Probably Sunday, December 7th, 1862]
…whether they will be able to reach
[Bergen, New Jersey]
Monday morning, December 8th, 1862
I see by this morning’s paper that there are movements of the Army of the Potomac again but of what nature or in what direction or by what portion of the army is left entirely unexplained. From all that I can gather from the newspaper correspondents, I think your division (Grand Division, I mean) must have marched about last Friday down the Rappahannock and perhaps by this time have crossed into Virginia at or near Port Royal under cover of the gunboats—and in such case, you will of course soon meet the enemy in some shape.
When or how we shall have an opportunity to send to you what you must be needing greatly by this time, I don’t know. Do let us hear from you as soon as you can—especially after having moved your quarters. I am now very much afraid you will never get the bundle we sent to you by Mr. Rowe of Hudson City.
I expect everyday now to hear of an engagement with the enemy in which your Grand Division has had a part. You can’t imagine how anxious we are to hear from you. I know you must need your boots now very much if you are marching and how shall we get them to you?
Mag has just got home from Ella Brinkerhoff’s.
— H[enry] Fitch
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER SIX
Bergen, New Jersey
December 10th 1862
We yesterday received yours of 30th ult., just 9 days in coming, and one day behind letters received by others here from the boys written the same day. Some have already heard as late as the 3rd of this month. So it seems letters are not only a long time in coming & going but are very irregular also. I am very glad you like my carte de visit. It is generally thought to make me look too old, but very good in other respects. You haven’t yet sad how you like your Mother’s & H. Maria’s.
We infer from what we read in the papers that you have again moved your camp but the news we get from the army by the papers is so indefinite and contradictory that it is difficult for me to form a very correct idea of where you are until we get your letters. For instance, the other day it was stated that a Grand Division had moved, and portion of the army has crossed the Rappahannock at Port Royal—about 25 miles below Fredericksburg. And I thought it very likely that it was your division and that by this time you would be engaged with the enemy south of the river. But the very next day, the report was contradicted, and it was said no troops had crossed. So that our views change daily, with the changing rumors we get from the seat of war. We think now that you are in the vicinity of Belle Plain, but of course don’t know anything certainly.
It is believed here that Banks is approaching Richmond from the south side via Petersburg with a large force and that soon Burnside will march against it from the north, thus crushing the enemy between the two armies, of which is large enough to oppose it successfully. You seem to have got your tents fixed up quite comfortable but if you have had to leave them, especially before that severe cold weather, and to march during the same time, you must have suffered extremely from the cold. And more than that, your boots must be worn so much as to leave your feet quite unprotected for marching in the snow and mud. But the worst of all is, I don’t know when you can get any new ones. Those I ordered are to be done today but how or when I can get an opportunity to send them to you, I know not.
I yesterday went to the various Express Offices and none of them will take anything for you. Adams Express say that you have moved and they can’t receive any packages for your regiment until they get word from Washington as to your position, and that you are to remain in it awhile. We intended to send you by express the boots, handkerchiefs, stockings, &c., but must defer it until they will receive them. In the meantime your boots must be entirely worn out and such dreadful weather as this is. Can’t you get a sole nailed on your old ones to last a little while?
We hear nothing yet of the man who went from Hudson City and presume he has not been able to reach you. The last we heard of him, he was still in Washington trying but in vain to get a pass. If we could only have known that you had received what he took for you, before that cold spell, we should have felt a little easier. When we do get an opportunity to send, we shall send paper &c., but we are glad in the meantime to know that you can borrow. You don’t say who your tent mates are now [and] whether you are with the same parties as when I saw you. Or have you made a change? Mr. Van Winkle ordered Jake’s boots yesterday. We learn that Jake has also sent for shirts, &c. How is that? Have you got yours yet? This cold weather you had better put on all the clothing you have got, especially at night.
We feel a little anxious about your cold, because it hangs on so. Do you cough much? Be very careful that it don’t settle on your lungs. I hope you will see by this slight warming how careful it is necessary to be to prevent disease. There are now more than 25,000 men in the hospital at Washington alone. Only think of that, and how man of them were more rugged than you and how many will never live to see their homes again. Your mother thinks I have implied censure to you for getting old, when you could not probably help it/ I did not mean to do so. I don’t doubt that you are careful and that your cold was caught when you could not help it for the rain & wet. I only meant to impress on you the importance of care after taking cold, to get rid of it as soon as possible before it settles on your lungs permanently.
All send love.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER SEVEN
Bergen, [New Jersey]
December 12th 1862
I mailed you a letter on the 10th inst. which was not numbered. It should have been No. 24. The last letter we have from you was dated near Stafford Court House, November 30th, 1862. Since then we know by the papers that you have moved, and probably seen pretty hard times. You have at all events passed through some extremely cold weather and may be today engaged in battle with the enemy. We feel very anxious to hear from you, whether you got through the cold spell without freezing your hands or feet—and shall want very much to hear after the expected battle whether you get through safely.
I see by the papers that the Army of the Potomac crossed the Rappahannock yesterday & took possession of Fredericksburg with inconsiderable loss. [Also] that Franklin’s Grand Division crossed without much resistance on the part of the enemy, 2 or 3 miles below Fredericksburg, and that there will undoubtedly be a great battle today unless the enemy retire to some better fortified point nearer Richmond. You will have to march all the way there and fight afterwards.
It is thought here that a movement of our forces under General Banks is now going on south of Richmond by way of Suffolk & Petersburg which will tend to call the enemy away from the front of you to defend Richmond against Banks. They may, however, if they think there is a good chance of whipping you first, remain & do up that job and then take care of Banks at their leisure. But if they think you are too much for them, they will not dare run the chance of a defeat, but will skedaddle, destroying the railroad as they go, leaving you to plod along rebuilding the railroad and bridges as you go after them. However, a very few days must now determine the matter and we shall not long be left in suspense.
If you are in a battle today, we can only pray the Lord to defend you from all danger. He controls the destinies of Nations and individuals & will hear the prayers of those who put their trust in Him, as well in the midst of the battles roar as in the quiet of the closet.
I am afraid that all through this march and perhaps fight, you are bootless for your boots must be so far gone as to be but poor protection to your feet. I do hope you will soon get in such position or in such circumstances that they will allow you to be visited. Your boots are finished and in the house, yet we can’t send them to you. It is too bad when you need them so much. We have heard nothing definite yet from Mr. Rowe who went from the Corners, by whom we sent a bundle, and don’t know whether he succeeded in reaching the regiment or not. The last we knew of him, he was still waiting in Washington for a pass to go on. The Express companies will none of them take a bundle to you. They say they cannot reach you, but may have the privilege of taking packages to the soldiers in a few days. They can’t tell anything about it. So you see it is impossible to tell when we shall be able to send your boots or anything else.
I am glad to hear that you got the map [of Virginia], and that you are please with it. I shall send you another weekly Tribune today, and perhaps some one of the pictorials.
Your mother was quite sick yesterday. She had a very high fever and kept her bed all day. This morning she is up and feels a good deal better. I think she will be all right again in a day or two. The rest of us are well and all send love.
An article appeared in the Jersey City Standard a few days ago describing your officers &c. purporting to be written by a private in your regiment and while it spoke well of some of them, it was not very flattering to all. I will try to get a copy or two as I go down today, and send you one. You may have seen the article referred to. And you may not. Nancy Morse is long expected here on a visit [but] has not yet made her appearance. Write as often as you can. Your letters are eagerly received by us. I send an extra “blank” sheet of paper enclosed. Write as often as you can.
Yours ever, — H[enry] Fitch
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER EIGHT
Bergen, [New Jersey]
December 20th 1862
My Dear William,
I have heard from you up to 15th inst. Mrs. Foffie received a letter from Johnny of that date in which he says that he had seen you that day & that you was better. He says he had been to take you some little things that Daniels had purchased for you. From this I feel encouraged to think you are improving but of course still feel very anxious.
Last evening I received a letter from your Father dated 18th in which he says he has got a pass to go to the army and he expected to be with you last night. For this I am very thankful, for I know you are weak and feeble, and need someone with you that can do for you. Besides, I think it will be a great relief to your mind to know that Father is with you. I am sure a sight of his face will do more for you than medicine.
And now, my dear boy, I want to hear every particular about your sickness from the first. I ask because I expect when you receive this, your Father will be with you to write for you & answer all the questions I may ask. What kind of a Hospital are you in? I fear not very good, though I have heard nothing about it. Is Father able to get things for you that you can eat & relish? Have you any appetite? Can he get your clothes washed. But I suppose before this reaches you, Father will have written me everything as he knows just how we feel.
How I do wish I could be with you, but I must be content. I know Father will do all for you that can be done. I don’t know why it is that you should be so much afflicted more than any of the rest of your company. But the Lord is afflicting us for some wise purposes. “The Lord loveth whom He chasteneth and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” So don’t despair but continue to put your trust in God. All will yet be well.
I have just received a letter from your Aunt Eliza, written after she heard of your sickness. She received the letter informing her of it while the battle was raging. She said it was a relief to her mind to feel that you was not in the battle. But I think she did not know how sick you had been. How is it that we were not informed of your sickness sooner? I heard by a telegraphic dispatch sent from Washington by Dr. Cornelison that he and Father would take on the boxes that were in Washington for the regiment. I am very glad. I hope Father will stay with you as long as you are sick and of course he will (unless he can get a furlough for you to come home), and that I have no hope of, though I suppose he will try.
I hope he can contrive some way to make you comfortable & himself also during his stay. I suppose you are in a hard country from all accounts. Tell Father not to worry at all about home. We shall get along nicely. I can not stay to write anymore as I want to get this to the Corners before the mail closes. We will write often & hope & expect Father will do the same during his stay. All send love. Nancy Morse is expected here next Tuesday.
Your loving mother, — Harriet Fitch
Bennie says Willie very plain.
Another couple of pages written by Henry Fitch but not yet transcribed or dated:
More partial letters not yet transcribed and dated from this collection: