Letter from Cruikshank, Robert

Soldier: Cruikshank, Robert
Allegiance: Union
Unit/Service Branch: 123rd Infantry
Home State: New York
Date Written: Saturday, January 3rd, 1863
Location: Harpers Ferry Hospital, VA
Correspondence Type: Letter
Subjects: Camp Life, Commanders, Eastern Theater, Family, Maneuvers, Strategy, Wife/Girlfriend
Dear Mary,-

I am gaining in strength every day and expect to remain here until I am able to go to the Regiment. I cannot go yet for I could not march a mile. It is the Sabbath and the day is long as we have but one sermon and have nothing to do but read our Bibles. I am reading it of course, and that passes the time or seems to shorten the day. Reading matter is very scarce and a paper or magazine goes the rounds and every part of it is read. Your brother Alex H. is very bad today. He has a severe cold on his lungs and cannot get it thrown off. In my opinion he will never see home again. Dr. Kennedy says he thinks he will get over it. George Beebe is gaining, tell Mrs. Beebe when you see her. I tell you this as George is no hand at writing. Abel M. Barker of the Hebron Company has a bed next to mine. He is from North Hebron. He has heart disease. His wife and one child are at Fort Edward. He expects to be discharged. I have received the three missing letters and am well posted now about home matters. They had been sent to Fairfax Station where the Regiment is, and forwarded to me by Captain Crary. Dr. Kennedy has just returned from the Regiment. He left them at Fairfax Station. He says they had a hard march to that place from London Valley. They were seven days on the march, a distance of about forty-five or fifty miles. The mud was so deep they could not march far in a day. The teams would get stuck in the mud and the soldiers would have to lift them out. It was up to the wagon hubs most of the time and the men would sink into it half way to the knee. They are now guarding Rail Road and several times have been marched to the Occoquon River Cross at Wolf Run Shoals and then return to Camp. They passed through Fredericksburg and Fairfax Court House; were over one month in marching and had gone only about one hundred miles. On the 27th of December the Rebel General J. E. B. Stuart with about 3,000 cavalry was trying to make a break through the Union lines where General Geary's division was stationed, but was repulsed. Our Regiment drew three days rations and started for the Shoals again where they remained two days lying on the wet ground, made so by recent rains. With very cold weather and with only blankets to cover them they suffered severely. When the doctor left they were in good quarters at Fairfax Station and were in hopes that they would remain there until the roads were better. I do not know as they are interesting to you but shall infer from the tone of yours that they are, also they are from,

Your affectionate husband,

R. Cruikshank