Letter from Cruikshank, Robert

Soldier: Cruikshank, Robert
Allegiance: Union
Unit/Service Branch: 123rd Infantry
Home State: New York
Date Written: Thursday, October 23rd, 1862
Location: Camp at Pleasant Valley, MD
Correspondence Type: Letter
Subjects: Camp Life, Daily Life, Eastern Theater, Family, On the March, Wife/Girlfriend
Dear Wife,-

It is very monotonous in Camp and no news. The Company has gone on picket again today and I have little to do. You ask what my duties are. I get up at reveille,- that is, at 5:30 in the morning; call the roll; take the sick to the surgeon, then make my report of the same; then take my breakfast. Then I see that the streets are swept and in order. I see that the sergeants take their men out to drill. In the afternoon I drill three hours, so you see I do not have very hard work. We suffer for the want of clothing left with our knapsacks when we left Washington. In the evening when it begins to get cold the men will start the cry of "Knapsacks, knapsacks, knapsacks," and keep it up for an hour or more all through the Camp. General Kane has threatened to put a guard over our regiment to find the men who do it. I cannot really blame the men as they do really suffer for the want of them. Our rations are bad, the crackers are wormy,- the same kind of worms as we find in decayed wood. We break the crackers into small pieces and boil them so we cannot see the worms. We find worms in our bacon and our salt beef has soured in the brine. Were it not that we could buy some food we would go hungry. We had a good dinner yesterday,- boiled cabbage,- some that I think that was cabbaged somewhere. I bought some onions for dinner today. I paid eight cents per pound. Butter is 35 cts. per lb., cheese 25 cts., sugar 20 cts., bread 12 cts., preserves 50 cts. half pint, and potatoes $1.00 per bushel. One day John Allen, a man from Hartford, was on duty at Gen'l Kane's quarters where he saw a ham in his cook tent and some bottles of whiskey on a table. He stole into the tent and threw the ham and a bottle of whiskey into the bushes nearby. When he went off duty he went for his stolen goods. He got the ham but his bottle was broken, which saved him from a drunk. You see we have some very bad men with us. We have just received our knapsacks. My overcoat had been stolen, also a pair of gloves. We are having heavy frosts now and are glad to get our knapsacks. I carry the locket with me so I can see how you and Ella look every day. I presume Ella is changing some and getting to be quite a large baby. I would like to see your own dear self.

With love, and kiss to Ella,

R. Cruikshank.