January 6, 1863

Jan. 6, ’63.  Hd Qrs. 5th Baty[!] Me Vols.  Camp near Fletchers Chapel.

Dear Mother:

… I do not know that I have anything to write except to let you know that we are alive and well.  I was never better in my life than I am now. … For some reasons I should not object to see some rain, for I am afraid if it continues so fine they[!] will be tempted to move us further forward, that is if they can, and then if bad weather comes men and horses will starve.  As it is we do not get hay for our horses more than one day in a week, and it is impossible for them to work on twelve pounds of grain alone.  You have no idea how many horses are used up in the army.  You can not go a quarter of a mile on any road without seeing one or more dead horses, where they have dropped down by the side of the road.  We lost twelve last month, and we have nine more that are used up and have been condemned..

We have occasional reports that we are to move again soon.  There may be no foundation for it.  We have fixed up here very comfortable quarters, and I shall be sorry to leave them.  I have not suffered any from cold yet, and I think I shall get through the winter as well in that respect as I would if I was at home.  I have a very warm knit woolen sack.  It is double and is a very comfortable garment.  As for sleeping arrangements, Bundy and I have six blankets, and we have adopted Dr. Kane’s plan of getting into a bag nights.  I sewed up the edges and bottom of the upper and under blankets.  It adds greatly to the warmth. …
Now in regard to what we want you to send us, in the first place I want a pair of boots, of which the following is a description.  I want the feet made of heavy calfskin double, with double soles, pegged.  The legs I want large and long, and made so that they will be quite stiff, to wear outside of my pants.  Perhaps grain leather would be better than calfskin.  The shoemaker will know better than I.  I will enclose the measure, as I want them large, and am not very particular about the fit.  I think the shoemaker will not have any trouble with them.  I want them made of the best material that can be had.  They will be cheaper than the government boots for they do not last any time.  Then I want a pair of calfskin slippers & two nice large silk handkerchiefs; the woolen cap I wrote you about, a package of Windsor soap, two blank books about six inches by four and a half an inch thick, two or three quires of letter paper and envelopes, two case knives and forks (if you could get some German silver … the iron ones rust so, a few pieces of flag-root, a few nutmegs, and as Harry has had to cook for himself, he would like, if you could get them conveniently, a small light frying pan and a coffee pot holding about three pints.  Then, for packing, I would like some dried fruit, and you can put in any eatables that you like, and you may be assured we shall do full justice to them.  I hope it will not be too much trouble to get these things and I want you to let me hear all the expense.  Direct the box simply Charles O. Hunt, Washington, D.C. In care of Harry H. Lazelle, Messenger, Hartsuff’s[!] Brigade.  Get a receipt for it and send it on by mail.  I wish you would send the receipt for that other package if you got one.  Lazelle did not find it the last time he went to Washington.  I hope he will bring it down tomorrow.

Did you get that long letter I wrote just after the battle of  Fredericksburg?  You have not mentioned it in any of your letters.

I have gone into the cooking line quite extensively lately.  I can make splendid bread.  Think of that.  I make it up with yeast powder and shortening, and bake them (biscuit) in the ashes.  They come out as plump and light as you could wish, and the ashes does[!] not stick.  Imagine me on my knees kneading bread.  If you send us some dried apples I am going to try an apple pudding. …

Charles Oliver Hunt to his mother [Charles O. Hunt Letters and Personal Recollections]

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