3 November 1862

Camp near Suffolk, Va.
November 3rd, 1862

Dear Sister Myra,

Yours of the 23rd arrived in due time and I was glad to hear that you were well. I am as well as usual at present. Last week we were out on a reconnaissance to Backwater. There 6,000 infantry, 1500 cavalry, 6 pieces of artillery. We started Thursday about 3 o’clock and marched till near morning going over 20 miles and some were sent forward with artillery and shelled the Rebels some—but I have not learned the particulars yet. In the morning at sunrise and arrived at camp about midnight some tired but otherwise well. The Boys got all the poultry, sheep, pigs & potatoes, applejack, and whatever else they wanted. The Rebs will not want many such visits to leave them rather poor although it was against orders to take things from them. One wench was flying around getting what she could for the Boys. She said she was glad to see the Union soldiers. She hated the Rebs. They were [    ] to her but it filled her full of laughter to see us. But she would catch it when we went away but she did not care. They have disposed of most of their movable property and nearly all of the whites are in the army so the country presents rather a desolate appearance. The negroes were busy picking the corn and digging their potatoes and seemed to be industrious.

The soil is nearly all light sand and in the roads where there is much travel, the sand is 3 or 4 inches deep making it very hard walking. Our way was mostly through woods of tall pines filled in with a thick growth of underbrush almost impassable with here and there a cow path extending perhaps four miles making it nice for small bands that are acquainted with the country to hide in and waylay the careless or stragglers. This is the country we are trying to drive an armed force out of—not an armed mob but a skillful and well-generaled army, determined to fight to the last man. And then to look at our own idle army, it seems as though we might as well hang up the fiddle and go home. But here we are and we might as well make the best of it and fight when we get the chance.

The weather is very [nice] today. This morning was as fine as any Indian summer morning in the North and made [me] almost homesick. But I do not think it will last long. There is nothing in the way of news here and so I will stop for now.

Tell Willie that his note arrived all safe and that he must write soon and let me know what he is up to and how the hunting gets along. Tell him he must get ready to go to school as soon as he can this winter and go all the while if he can. I have not heard from Tip Booth in a log time. Find out where he is and if he is well.

From your brother, — A. H. Bancroft