Newport News, Virginia
September 10, 1862
Your last has been received and I will improve this opportunity to answer it. It has been some time since I heard from home before and I had got my back up and would not have written in a month is I had not got one, but [you] are perfectly excusable for not writing. I am glad you enjoyed your visit and when this war is over, we will go down East and see the folks.
Since your last before this, I have traveled some and part of the way was quite pleasant and part was not. We lived very well while on the march—as good as the country afforded—and arrived at the Fortress [Monroe] all safe and sound, but some the worse for wear. Our brigade stayed there a few days and was then sent to different places for guards. Our regiment was sent here and we may stay all winter. We are the only troops here and all there is here nearly. The place is nearly log barracks built for the and by the soldiers. there are two wharfs here and the ill-fated Cumberland sunk with all on board, almost within a stone’s throw of the shore, and below lies the Congress burned down to the water’s edge. they talk of raising them before long.
There are a great many sick soldiers here yet but when the cold weather commences, I think that they will be taken away. Yesterday we moved inside of the earthworks which are thrown up around the place and now we could give the Rebels quite a warm reception. But they may have enough to attend to besides us. They seem to be determined to do all they can and do it now. Washington is in as much danger now as ever Richmond was but I hope it may be their last effort. The North seems to be waking up now that nearly half a million of brave men have been laid low by the sword and by disease, and they seem determined to do their duty at the eleventh hour as the old saying is. But I like the other one best: strike while the iron is hot. Had this been done, instead of being where we are, we should have been enjoying sweet peace again. But war is better than subjugation and peace will be sweeter for being bought with blood. But how dear the price? A world deluged in blood. But it is better than to be ruled over by these men who are willing to do anything to gain their point and they have nearly gained their point too. Now they are threatening Pennsylvania and have recrossed the Potomac into Maryland and made the ground around Manassas twice sacred to the [memory?] of all free men. Twice has the pride of both armies contended on the same ground making the great heart of the nation beat and throb to its very centre, almost deciding the fate of the nation. But it is past and let us look forward to better times. A. H. B. in haste.