Newport News, Va.

Feb. 18, 1863

Dear Mother,

            I have at last seated myself to write you a few lines, an act which I have been threatening to do for the last two or three days but it has been so cold, wet and disagreeable or disabegreal, as I used to say, that I have not had much of a chance till now and so I hope you will excuse me. I am well with the exception of a bad cold and I do not think that will result in anything very serious, at least I hope not. I suppose you ahve heard of us moving? Well we have moved at last. We are no longer in the army of the Potomac in front of Fredricksburg but away down at Newport News. Again a fact which we are all very glad of. It is the same place we was last summer. It is at the mouth of the James river a few miles above fortress Monroe. There is no rebs near here. I guess they are afraid of our gunboats. One of the Monitors is lying out in the river not more than 2 or 3 hundred yards from our camp. It is a queer looking concern when you are a pace of it. It looks like some old wreck. I do not know what we are here for but I expect they are going to fit out an expedition to go south. There is some talk of us going to Texas but I hope we will not go that far away. I would rather go towards home. It seems a long time since I left home. It has now been over a year and it has been the year of my life. I have seen and experienced a great many things I would like to tell you about but I am afraid if things do not take a different turn we will have to serve our time out but just so they keep us out of the Army of the Potomac it will not be so bad. We will not have so much marching to do. Since we came into Virginia we have lost in killed and wounded and discharged 40 men of our company. The most of them was from Middleton and the country. The Washington boys are all in pretty good health now and I think the most of them will stand it out but it is getting dark and supper is ready and I must draw this to a close. We have soft bread now which we ahve not had for a long time but I must close or I will miss my supper. My love to you all. Please excuse this scribbling. I have not got my boots yet but I think I will before long.

From your son Alex