Letter from Charles Goddard of the 1st Minnesota to his mother about pickets, weather, and army life – February 27, 1863
Camp Near Falmouth
February 27th / 63
I received your kind letter of the 11th of this month this morning. We have been having some very disagreeable weather of late, snow and rain continuly. We was on picket the 23rd on the banks of the Rappahannoc, this river is not a very wide nor is it very deep but its bottom is stony and it runs rapid so that it cannot be forded very easy only in certain places.
The rebel pickets sat on the other side and our pickets on this side I should judge not ove[r] a hundred yards from each other, but we are not allowed to communicate with them in any way, it hardly seems possable that the north and south could shout one another down, but how different in battle evry man is ready the minute forward is given to give Mr Reb the best shot in the wheel house. There has been some talk of our Regt going up whare the 7th is now but I guess that is all humbug, it would not be a bad thing for us, we would like the change very well. I suppose that when I get home Winona will look as if brick had been [ra…ed] pretty freely, but then I will always know Winona for if I cannot tell it by the building, I can by the ground the houses stand on(They are giving out furloughs to the men in the army but they are for only fifteen days and you know that it would hardly pay us Minn boys to get them for we could only get there when we would have to turn around and come back, without getting the worth of our money. it would cost about $20.25 to go and the same to come back and I could not afford that[.]
Mother I rather think if I were you I would not keep boarders if you can get along without[,] but then I suppose you know best what to do[.] Pleas give my respects to Mrs. [Frain] tell her I like soldiers life very well excepting the grub.
If you see Mrs Black give her my best respects[.]
Tell Cousin Franky that I want to know how she gets along[.] Remember me to Coz Hellen
Love to Brother Orren and a big share to your self[.]