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    Wednesday Aug. 8 [1861]
    Columbia College Hospital. Washington.

    Dearies All

    It was delightful to receive letters from home, though I
    am so constantly busy that I scarce find time to say so.
    Every thing here is at 6s & 7s, as might be expected among the
    militia; though I am surprised to find it in what belongs
    to the regular army; orders are made, unmade, remade &
    countermanded; convalescents are set to work after recovering
    from one disease, & over-worked till fever ensues; or they are
    appointed for night watchers, when they have not strength
    to keep awake, & very sick patients are suffering for
    the drink the watchers should give. The contractor sends
    his beef or eggs, or sends them not; & there is sometimes
    hunger, & sometimes waste. Pres. Abe has been expected
    for some days, & not a spoon, or phial, or anything that
    belongeth with a sick room must be visible, lest he
    should perceive it, or lest the head surgeon should see
    it in this his daily rounds, which are at irregular times.
    Four young physicians practise on the 4 stories, & live in
    the house; one of them does not extinguish his gentlemanly
    manners in his military cap. Such quantities of
    medicine as I pour down their throats, Heaven forgive

    me for inflicting upon their poor stomachs; blessed be
    currant jelly & those who have sent it so liberally. Here
    his a lumberer from Maine, never knew what sickness was,
    till the mumps seized him after enlisting, & now has not
    had a well day since; so long for the pine woods &
    the sparkling streams & the fresh breeze of his home. Here
    is Jesse Egleston , whom they call my baby; a long, lank,
    honest, modest boy, of 18, from Geneva, who wept because
    he feared that the socks his mother knit for him had
    been lost; who is as patient as a woman, & looked so happy
    today when I touched his dry lips with the first peach
    we have seen; he was at the moment dreaming he
    was in his father's great peach orchard; strong men
    become babyish, youths without hope; cripples from
    rheumatism who never knew pain of body before;
    knapsacks lost with money, or all their clothes; homesick-
    oh! how homesick they are, & how ignorantly careless
    of their health their commanders have been! One
    boy convalescing saw his Reg't, from the windows, marching
    away; he had no discharge from the physician; he
    was not in the house; if here, might give him one, might
    not; "what shall I do, I must go home away with them?"
    "You may be shot for it." "I would rather be shot than
    stay here another hour." "Then run as fast as your legs can
    carry you"; & away he went double quick, though drooping
    & listless the day before. The defeat has not dis-
    couraged them; but the hunger & sickness. There
    is but one voice about the famished condition of
    very many of the Regts. Glad Isabella has bright
    letters from Greely; that regt. [The 2nd Mass. Volunteer Infantry; (Greely’s regiment)] will know how to take
    better care of themselves than these boys who rushed
    from their homes as to an immediate victory, & have
    been the victims of dishonest contractors & ignorant
    officers. It is hot here, very hot for some hours
    of the day, & often oppressive at night; my chamber is airy
    & I am far more comfortable than I expected. I cannot
    get over the surprise of being ordered about by these doctors
    as they order the privates; they recognize nothing of the
    peculiarity of the position; we have not been put under
    arrest yet, nor deprived of our rations, but scolded
    plentifully for not always obeying exactly minute contra
    dictory orders. The army is an awful school in some
    respects, & few men have the self-control to use power
    well. We are surrounded by encampments; hear
    the sentinel calls, & the sounds of military music &
    drill. The night before they march home, they
    make bonfires, & sing, & enjoy themselves generally; the
    effect of the light among these many trees is very
    beautiful.

    One nurse here was a patient
    of Brother Greely's
    Franky's letter & Isabella's came straight; none
    thus yet.

    Sunday

    Let me finish with a pencil -- I have just
    got over that extreme soreness of the feet,
    which, I believe, has bothered all the nurses, except
    the real old stagers, whose muscles never surrender.
    Rec'd yesterday Tuesday's Advertiser with, I thought,
    Margarett's writing on it. The only word
    yet from you, dearie; I fear you are
    ill; though Harriot H. said not.
    Letters to me need not be directed
    to Miss Dix, only expressed bundles.
    To Brookline, pinckneys [9 Pinckney Street, Boston , the Stevenson family home] , Plymouth love
    all round. The work is immensely
    hard, but I get used to it. If we could do
    it as citizens, instead of soldiers, it would
    be easy --

    Good bye, dearies, yr
    H