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    1864
    Lookout Valley Tennessee Sunday February 28, 1864

    Dear Mother,

    I am perfectly conscious that
    it is not your turn for a letter, yet as
    I began a story and promised the conclusion
    I think I will dedicate it to you. Mary shall
    have the full benefit of my literary tal-
    ents next Sunday. I was to write today
    about the non commissioned officers and
    privates who are my comrades.

    The first Sergeant, Lawton by name
    is quite a good fellow and a good officer
    really, though not nominally the commander
    of the company, Our Lieut being sick he
    has charge of us, and when the Lieut is well
    he does about as Lawton tells him. He
    used to be a clerk in a Taunton store and
    although not a literary personage has the

    appearance and manners of a gentleman.
    Serg't Johnson or Obed as we all call him
    is second serg't and my particular friend. A rough
    uncouth Sharon shoemaker, yet a well informed
    and kind hearted man. He is more disposed
    to do the best he can for the men, keep them out
    of scrapes and make hard times than any other
    officer we have. He is our story teller, our news-
    monger and our prophet. He and I have got
    talks and discussions on matters military, civil
    and religious. He is known all over the reg't
    and generally liked. He is a man of good prin-
    ciples and I think a fit companion for any fellow
    although he is well posted in the ways of the
    world. He is my great crony any way.
    Our third, Harrison, is a pretty good fellow
    only rather snappish and not very popular.
    Our fourth, West, a "Blue Nose" is one of my
    oldest military acquaintances, being one of Capt
    Soules squad, a pretty good fellow, whose
    principal trouble is having been called a
    "big Yank" by one of the western men when we marched through Chattanooga.

    Our fifth, Eldridge is rather slack witted but
    got his position through former friendship of
    the Orderly. Very companionable fellow nevertheless.
    Of the Corporals I will say nothing as they are
    very good fellows and none of them either
    very friendly or other wise to me. On the whole
    I think in most points we have the best non-
    commissioned officers in the reg't.

    Our company, although composed mostly
    of rough, vulgar men still has less pun-
    ished than any other I think. It is not be –
    cause we were old acquaintances of our officers
    as is often the case, for we never knew them till they
    took command, but because we generally do
    our duty well and if there is once in a great
    while a fellow who is stubborn or doesn't
    do right our Capt always preferred to take
    him into his tent and talk to him as a human
    being, rather than to tie him up or other wise
    maltreat him as a brute. And he had the satis-
    faction of knowing that his words had more

    effect than blows and won the confidence
    and affection of his company.

    The treatment of some of our officers is unpleasant
    to say the least although it may be justifiable and to
    their limited capacities it may seem necessary
    and the only way. This morning one of the Lieuts had
    some difficulty with one of his men and the
    man run from him, when he drew his re-
    volver and shot at him. I have seen a good
    many men struck with a sword and once a
    wounded man. Tying up is a very common thing
    and so is knapsack drill. All these things
    may be necessary to "good order and military
    discipline" but I don’t believe it. I think we have
    a set of narrow minded, under witted, vulgar
    drunken officers in the main, but our
    company is lucky in having had the exceptions.

    Don't think I write this because I am in the sulks
    or have been punished, for I don’t get sulky and
    try to give no cause for punishment, and as yet
    no fault has been found or punishment in
    flicted except very little plice duty for missing roll
    call.

    But the last part of my letter has not been saying
    any thing about my tentmates or comrades.

    My bunk mate is not a particular crony of mine
    but as I said before I did not have exactly my own
    choice in regard to him. My other two tentmates
    are good friends of mine. One Gay is very nearly
    my age, but a great deal taller. At home he was
    considered a fine scholar and his father is one
    of the fathers and noted men of Sharon.
    He is a very nice fellow, but has been sick
    and in the hospital a great deal since he has been
    in the regt, not having the strength corresponding
    to his size. Although he is several inches the taller
    yet I claim physical superiority. He has, like
    myself many correspondents and is very
    fond of reading so you can imagine he is
    quite a pleasant tent mate.

    My other tentmate, White, is a very old
    chum of mine as we have tented together the
    most of the time since leaving Lynn-

    field. To many he is not particularly agreeable,
    and is called cross, snappish, and grouty, but I
    know him pretty well and he is about my age, so I
    get along very pleasantly and consider him a
    free hearted, goodtempered fellow, considering
    his situation and almost anyone knowing his
    former life must wonder that he is so good
    natured as he is. He told me part of his story the
    other night after the other fellows had gone
    to sleep. His mother died when he was a little
    fellow and his other parent, though still
    living can not legitimately be called his father.
    Meddling tattlers broke up the marriage almost on
    the eve. After his mother died he went to the poor
    house and ever since has been tossed around
    amongst strangers.     He seldom
    writes to any body and I don’t remember to have
    seen him ever get a letter. His guardian to
    whom he sometimes sends for money (he has a little property)
    answers him very harshly although I rather think
    for his good, and refuses the money. He used
    to be a hard working boy, he so say some acquain
    tances.

    Altogether I think he is a kind obliging freehearted
    good fellow. My former tentmate Bramhall
    is now company cook. He is a good fellow
    too, and has been a sailor considerably. He was on
    board the U.S. Frigate St Lawrence at Hampton
    Roads, when the fights with the Merrimac came
    off, and he thinks the Admiral commanding was
    either a coward or a traitor. He is a first
    rate fellow. I will say no more about par-
    ticular comrades. We have boys and men
    from seventeen to fifty, and almost
    all very illiterate men. I am very
    glad indeed Capt Henry Stone is coming
    into this department and shall undoubted-
    ly see him sometime. Just at present
    Gen’l Thomas, I believe, is on the move so
    I can’t probably see him, but just as soon
    as I know of his being in Chattanooga I shall
    go there if he does not condescend & come
    and see an inferior before. Although I suppose
    great movements are on foot, yet I think

    we shall have no share in them at present.
    The unenviable name attached to our corps
    and the jealousy of Gen’l Thomas towards Potomac
    troops I think will keep us guarding the R. R.

    Think me not cowardly if I say I am not sorry.
    We have an addition of six thousand to
    our corps, I hear, who have never seen the front
    but always been guarding cities and the line
    of supplies. I think I have done pretty well
    this time as far as length goes. I got Lilly's
    long letter and "Atlantic," also one from you
    today. Father's letter was answered last Sunday.
    I think I have acknowledged all the letters rec'd
    last week except Sophie's and her's I shall answer
    soon. I got a Spy and Transcript last week.
    Give my love to all neighbors and to all
    the Olivebranches and the trunk of the
    Edes tree.

    With many thoughts of you and constant
    love, I am your son,
    E. L. Edes