25 November 1863

Albert Bancroft wrote this letter to his brother, William J. Bancroft, who was in Shortsville, Ontario county, New York.

Plymouth, North Carolina
November 25, 1863

Dear Brother Willie,

It is Thanksgiving Eve and I am alone — a thing that does not very often happen here. I have just wrote a letter to Tip. He is at Newport News at present and is well. I was glad to hear that you got home safe and well but I am sorry you have got the land fever so bad. There is money enough to be made in Western lands, but things are too unsettled at present for one to stake his all on a few acres of wild land with heavy taxes to pay on it. as wages now are, the best thing to do is to work on a farm or somewhere else. And [besides,] the next draft may call on you look wild and keep out of the way. I can hardly make up my mind what to do. There are plenty of way for me to turn but I can not — or have not yet chose the one. There is money to be made selling things in the army and driving team is good business but it is most bedtime and sleeping pays well and I will go at [it]. The boat bell rings 8 bells and the lookout cries, “All’s well” and all is well that ends well.

Saturday, Nov. 28th

I came off from guard this morning and do not feel very well but here goes for finishing this letter. I took the map and followed your rout and found the land — it looked well but I could not find out what you were doing today. Thanksgiving passed off very nicely. we had an oyster supper at 3 P. M. and in the evening we had a dance over an old blacksmith’s shop and had a gay old time. Our ladies looked just like any of us and some were 6 feet 4 inches tall. Stout old gals they! and able to see themselves home after the dance. G. A. Phillips was the musician.

C. S. Aldrich is our captain. He is not much like Clark but the boys like him very well. He does all that he can for the good of the company. He sent to Cuba, New York, and got some cooking utensils. There are 8 pails with covers to cook in, 4 cast iron plates that are for the top of the stove with brick sides. Then up higher we put in an oven so that it is hot all the time and the whole thing looks like a stove with an elevated oven.

About the ague, we have plenty of it and have had it all summer. We take quinine and whiskey for it. It is rather bitter but you must not be afraid of it but turn it down. Raw onions are good.

H. Crain has gone home on a furlough. You will see him before you do this. How do the potatoes turn out? You eat some for me and I will eat some sweet ones for you. Irish taters are scarce down here but it is most dark and I will close. Write soon to your brother in the army, — A. H. Bancroft