Camp near Suffolk, [Virginia]
Tuesday, October 28th 1862
Dear Sister Myra,
A cheerful fire is blazing on our hearth and one of the boys—C[harles] J. Simmons—is reading the process of building the new Ironsides. The sun has cleared away the heavy frost of last night and we have the promise of a fair day. The weather is very fine for this season of the year. We have not had but two rain storms this fall but will soon have all the wind and rain that we can attend to. But we have got things fixed so that we can laugh at it and every blow on, I feel you not. But there is no knowing when we may be ordered away from here but we shall stay here all winter if the Rebs do not crowd us on the Potomac which I do not think they will do right away.
I begin to think that this campaign will end this miserable war but the main part of our army will rest on nearly the same ground they did last. But January will bring its changes in the war policy and by that time perhaps they will see fit to hear to reason and come and live with the old folks again and be naughty no more.
There is nothing new in the way of news down here—nothing but the same old routine of duty. They have preaching downtown Sundays and the church bells sound very pleasant chiming away with the roll of drums and the tramp of an armed soldiery and do not seem to go well together, but so it is, and it will need time to bring things again in their usual order. The mail does not seem to come here regular or else folks do not write for I have not received but one letter from you since we came here and we have been here nearly three weeks.
I am as well as usual at present and hope this may find you the same. There does not seem to be as much sickness in the regiment as there has been and nearly every day some are arriving here from the hospital. We have 51 men in our company at present and only 5 report sick. Henry Crain [Crane] has been rather the worse for wear for some some but is well at present. I have changed chums at his camp and I do not know but I missed it for he has got a box from home and it does not do me any good now. But he is welcome to it for I have waited on him as long as I want to.
The inhabitants around here are all Union but are rather poorly off. Some have a mule left and some an old horse and others nothing but an ox, and these they hitch on small carts and do their business. I have seen the young misses going to town in an old cart standing up and cutting along as large as life, but our last attainment is a colored boy as black asTony to do our washing. He works for 4 dollars per month, his board and clothing throwed in, and he is not particular about either. When the market gets good, he will be in good order and will bring a good price so we shall not lose by it.
But I have written enough for present and so I will close for the present. Give my respects to all and write soon. From your soldier brother, — A. H. Bancroft
Co. B, 85th New York
Excuse mistakes and write soon.