Albert Bancroft directed this letter to his sister Myra Bancroft at Shortsville, Ontario county, New York. William J. Bancroft has added a note to Myra before forwarding the letter to her.
Plymouth, North Carolina
December 12, 1863
Dear Sister Myra,
Your last arrived the night of the 8th and found me as well as usual. They said there was no mail for me but the next morning as I was going on picket, along it came and it stood 4 hours with me. It was rather cold but we had a very good time of it. In the morning we returned to camp and I slept until drill time and then went on drill and all went off well. Yesterday I did not feel very well but wrote a few lines to Suse. Today I have been rather busy. At 9 A. M., we were in line, drilled some, fired blanks, returned to camp, and Willie can tell you whether I had a good time cleaning my gun or not. After dinner, signed the payrolls for the paymaster arrived today. I was then detailed on Police (and had 8 men) to clean up the camp. We got through about 3 P.M., bought two chickens for Christmas, made a coop for them, parted two belligerent boys and ended the fracas. The sergeants have gone to school and here I am all alone spoiling this sheet of paper. But it must be done or someone would think I had gone to Old Nick. But you have heard ‘ere this that I am right-side up with care.
Things pass off as well as could be wished and times flies fast. It does not seem like a great while to look ahead to the time when we will be discharged and if I am spared to return home, I will try and come so that my sisters need not blush to say that is my brother.
The weather is very pleasant here. It has not been cold enough to freeze ice half an inch thick and every day it is warm enough to sit outdoors and be comfortable.
You wished to know how I spend my Sundays. There is not much difference in the days here. The duty must be done. Tomorrow it comes my turn to go on picket and it looks some like rain but it may blow over. And this war may blow over in time. But it will take some hard blows yet. The papers have good news in them at present and the Reb papers take on rather hard about these times and think this month will tell the story. Grant seems to have the better of them in Tennessee and if they have to retreat into the Cotton states, they will not last long for there are negroes enough there to eat up everything now. So let them work. They will bring up somewhere yet and I think soon.
You talk about good times, Painters South & a concerts and whatnot. I believe that if I was home I would go with him. But the boys have got back and all is racket and I will close. Write soon and remember me as ever, — A. H. Bancroft
Co. B, 85th N. Y.
Plymouth, N. C.
[In a different hand]
January 4, 1864
Dear Sister Myra,
As Susie is writing, I take this opportunity to direct a few lines to you on this occasion. I leave today for Auburn at 10 A.M. Yesterday I partook of the sacraments for the 1st time and united with the visible church of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and today I go into the army but not without a friend who is ever dear to those who love and obey Him. There has been no sleighing here and indeed, there is not much prospect of having any at present. Charles Whitney has not called for his housewife yet but Suse wants to set the table so I must close by saying write soon. Yours &c. — Willie
Sue has spread the table. Girdie is singing with all his might. We have potatoes, sausage, coffee, and so forth and we are going to have knives and forks to eat with and spoons in our coffee, bread and butter, salt and pepper, and blue plates, cream and sugar, a dish of milk. Sue is engaged filling tea kettle and I will take a sip while she is out. Yours, — Willie