Camp opposite to Fredricksburg Va.

Jan. 20, 1863

Dear Mother,

            I received your most kind and welcome letter a few days ago. We have been on picket since and consequently I could not answer it till now. You said in your letter you had not got one from me for three weeks. That is very strange for I wrote two inside of that time but I hope you have had one before this. I am well and hope you are all enjoying the same blessing. There is nothing of any account going on here now. We still have our regular picket guard and dress parade and that is about all the duty we have to do. There is some talk of a move. We are to have orders to be ready to move at a moments notice. We have no idea of where we are going. Some thinks we are going to go around and attack the rebbles in the rear but we may not move at all and I hope we will not till I get them things you sent anyhow. Indeed mother I can almost taste them now. It has been so long since I had any such things. It has now been over a year since I left home and it seems as long as all my live. We have just 19 months to serve till the three years is up and I think it will last that long if the rebbles donít whip us before that for I donít think there is any prospect of us whipping them. The soldiers have all given up hope of that. I think it may be fixed up some way next summer. The officers are resigning and the privates are deserting every day. There were two more of our company deserted the other day. Martin Burke of Washington and Tom Conboy of Cannonsburgh. They were two of the best soldiers which we had and we all hope they will get home safe. Although I think it is wrong to desert and never will do it, I donít blame them that does. I answered paps letter as soon as I got it and if he did not get it he must not blame me. In my last letter I told you to send me that box. If you have sent it allright but if you have not do not send it for it would be to late if we should move. In your letter you spoke of trading your lot for western land and wanted to know my opinion of it. If you have done it I suppose it cannot be helped but if you have not donít do it by no means. The best of western land can be bought for $1.00 per acre and I would not give that for it while this war is going on anyhow. These land speculators are very eager to get this land off their hands. They are losing on it every day. After this war is over you could not make enough off it to pay the taxes let alone make a living and as for selling the house and moving there I think that would be madness. Indeed suppose you would, you would hardly get your price for the property and then it would take nearly half of it to fit you all out and take you there and then there would be a chance when you got there that you might take sick and there would be a big doctor bill to pay and you would find many other expenses and when you was ready to go to work you would find you had nothing to go to work on. That is my opinion. You may think it starnge of me for I used to be in favor of it but I have changed my mind since. But I must draw my scribbling to a close. I was not well for 2 or 3 days. I had a very bad cold and headache. I was very homesick. I would give most anything to be at home once more. I dream of some of you almost every night but I hope the time will come when I can see you  all again. The members of the company are all well. Joe Templeton came back the other day. He looks well. I got the paper last night. I have plenty of writing materials but I must close for I have to go after wood. My love to you and pap and the children and all the folks on the hill. Goodbye. 

From your son Alex