7 June 1863

Bowers Hill, Virginia
Sunday, June 7, [1863]

My dear Nellie,

It is a cool & pleasant afternoon. I am on picket a short distance from camp on the Portsmouth & Suffolk Railroad. There is three of us stationed here with orders not to pass persons except they have written passes, unless they should be commissioned officers or mounted men and they are allowed to pass anywhere. But we do not have much to do here in the daytime for there is but very few foot persons passing here and then it only requires one of us at a time, so you can see how I get time to write while on this kind of duty.

Your letter bearing date of May 31st arrived here last Thursday. I was somewhat surprised to hear of Mrs. Crandall’s death although I knew she was very low. But then she has been sick so long that I thought perhaps she might live along for some time, as persons often do with consumption. But I am glad that the boys were both there for it must have been a great consolation to them all. I hope Aunt Mary won’t be sick but should not wonder if she was for she is feeble anyway. I feel sorry for Capt. Crandall for he is a good old man in his way & I hope he will have good care taken of him.

I should have liked to have been where I could have seen you & Mrs. H. digging clams for bait. What a useful wife you will be by the time I get home if you keep on, won’t you? Why only think, to have a wife who can dig clams. All I shall have to do is to say, “Nellie, I want to go fishing tomorrow,” and then I shall have the satisfaction of seeing my little wife take the hoe & basket and make for the river. Nonsense. But then I know you would do anything for me that was consistent or that would benefit me any, if it was digging clams. But I guess I shan’t be home this summer so we won’t say anything about fishing.

The 9-months story is about used up. I saw a letter written by Gov. Buckingham in which he denied the story of our being a nine months regiment & said he was sorry such an erroneous story had been circulated. He said he had no power to shorten the period of time for which he enlisted & he did not see how government could do it unless the Rebellion should be so far crushed that our services would no longer be needed. This letter was written to a man’s wife in Co. I in answer to one she had written him asking him about it. Some of the boys think the letter is a forgery but the writing has been identified by several who have seen his writing & they pronounce it his without a doubt & so it settles the thing in my mind. But some are determined to believe that we shall be at home before July. There has been several hundred dollars bet on it & they hate to give it up. So they keep it up by lying &c.  I made up my mind some time ago that if it was for the best we should go home this June & if that we did not go, I should think it was all for the best. So you see I am not disappointed very much. But if I had been silly enough to have believed the story, I should have had the blues for awhile after it all fell through.

The New York papers are brought into our camp everyday & sold for 5 cts. apiece so I have an opportunity of seeing what is going on. I hope Grant will take Vicksburg but I fear he will not. I think if that was taken, it would injure the rebels more than all that has been done to them for a year. I think that they have got every acre of available land within their lines planted with the most substantial kinds of vegetables & grain for army use & if they can get the present years crops secured in good shape, they will have enough to last through another winter. So I do not know as we can starve them out after all. But if it should continue dry as it has been here for the last three weeks, I think their corn will be very light. But I hope something will happen to give us the victory after all.

I see there is considerable talk about Vallandingham but I think they done right with him for if we are going to do anything, let us do it & either be for or against the union. I wish that government would be more strict. I think it would be for the best in the end for as long as the Copperheads can have their way, rebellion will never end.

I have just received your letter of Wednesday & hope mine will be as interesting to you as yours was to me.

Charlie Gallup “used to be blowing his fife in the tent a good deal & I did not like to hear it very well.” — Thos. L. Bailey, 21st C.V.

Charlie Gallup is well & we are good friends, but I do not tent with him now. I like him as a man first rate, but he is a fifer in regiment and he used to be blowing his  fife in the tent a good deal & I did not like to hear it very well. And then he was not very neat about the tent. He would leave things scattered about but I never found any fault until one Sunday when our tents were inspected & then the inspecting officer found fault with our tent which I did not like. So I told him that there had been fault found with our tent & I told him I had got tired of trying to keep it looking neat. He said he knew he was careless & that I done more towards keeping the tent and things in order than he did. So we never had any words about it. He said he did not blame me at all. So we kept along until we moved camp and then I went in with Thomas Newbury & Elihu Dart and he with another man. But we are on good terms. I often go into his tent & talk with him & he comes to see me & does the same. He is a nice man & I think his wife is a nice woman from what I have seen of her.

I am glad that Latham is not in the fight at Vicksburg. I hope he will live to return.

We have finished one fort and almost done another. They are both on the railroad & not more than ¼ of a mile apart. I shall send this to Williamsburg & put a V in it which I hope you will get. I think we shall be paid off soon & then I will send you some more to put in the bank if you choose. My love to Mr. & Mrs. L. & all the rest of our relations. From your ever loving husband with a kiss, — T. L. Bailey

I have made a little bone frame for one of your pictures & wear it as pin. The boys say it is pretty & if you want me to make you one, I will try to do so if you will send me some picture you want put in it. Can’t you have some copied from the last one I sent you? Have them taken small — not larger than those you had taken last of yourself & then send me one or two of them and I will try to make you same thing. If you can get dry green sealing wax, I should like some & a piece of red and blue — only a small piece of each. Put them in a paper. — Thomas