January 8, 1863

January 8th, 1863.  Near Falmouth, Va.

My dear little daughter:

Papa wrote Guy and then Mamma and thinks it is now your turn.  Uncle Charlie is in papa’s tent and eating an apple while reading an interesting newspaper.  He has now gone and Lt. Stinson’s colored boy has come in to get some sugar.  Now he has gone.  This makes me think of two things: the boy & the sugar.  This boy is about as big as our “Tom” but you never saw our Tom.  He is about the size of Mr. Blain’s oldest (is his name Walter?)  He has curly hair, black eyes, but his skin is not exactly black …

The sugar comes in a barrel.  Capt. Bullock our new commissary brought it and for fun these little colored boys would put their hands in the barrel too often where it was deposited.  The Capt. put it in my tent.

Evening.  I have just received a budget of letters from Mamma.  She tells papa the sad news that Guy learns something wrong almost every day.  Papa hopes & prays that his little boys may strive to do right every day.  Do you try hard to do the things you know Jesus loves?  Papa finds it hard to do what he knows to be right but he prays & asks God to help him.

Your two Ambrotypes don’t look as if  you would do wrong.  They are very sweet children.  Give much love for papa all around and pray for papa in real honesty.  Very lovingly your father, O.O. Howard. …

Oliver Otis Howard to “My dear little daughter” [Oliver Otis Howard Papers]

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