Letter from Cruikshank, Robert

Soldier: Cruikshank, Robert
Allegiance: Union
Unit/Service Branch: 123rd Infantry
Home State: New York
Date Written: Sunday, September 21st, 1862
Location: Camp on Arlington Heights, VA
Correspondence Type: Letter
Subjects: Camp Life, Commanders, Eastern Theater, Family, On the March, Religion, Wife/Girlfriend
Link Source: http://www.salem-ny.com/history/warletters.html
Dear Wife,-

You will see by the heading of this letter that we have moved Camp and am now on Arlington Heights near the Arlington House on a rise of ground commanding a delightful view of the surrounding country and the Potomac River. It is Sabbath morning and all is quiet in Camp, but we do not feel that quiet that you feel in your home, but all have time this morning for thought, prayer and reading their Bibles. Although we are far from each other and such a great distance between us, yet we can enter into the same thought and look to God for His blessing and rely upon His protecting care, and let us realize the comfort derived by these thoughts. I am not at all homesick but if there is anything that borders onto it, it is caused by the wickedness I see and hear every day. Of course there is nothing of the kind in our tents, for the boys all seem to have taken a turn for the best. They read their Bibles every day, and have resolved with themselves that they will use no profane language . There shall be no whiskey used as a beverage, and no gambling of any sort in our tent, and whoever breaks over will have to leave the tent. I trust none will have to leave. I see some of the effects of war here. This once beautiful country that we can see from this ridge is all trodden down by armed men. Fencing has been burned. Hundreds of acres of beautiful woodland and also orchards and groves have been cut down so as to give a view from one fort to another, and to keep the enemy exposed so that they cannot shoot our pickets. This country is very sparsely populated, and homes are a great distance apart. Brother Will is talking as if he were at home. Jestingly he says, "It is time to catch the horses to drive to church." So you see he feels like himself. I saw a grand sight yesterday. We were called out for a review which took place on a level piece of ground near the long bridge on the right. There were about six thousand infantry in line besides the artillery. We were reviewed by General Casey who is a very old and gray-headed man.

General Rand was at our Divine Service today. We have preaching at 11 o'clock A. M. Mr. Gordon preaches well and tells us our duty and that we should not rely on man but on Him who is the Upholder of all nations. I received a letter from you last evening and was sorry to hear that Ella was sick. I had been looking for a letter a long time and was very glad to get one from you. Write as often as you can. Does Ella try to talk yet? Write me all the news. Excuse my change of subjects as I write at intervals.

Your affectionate husband,

R. Cruikshank.