Newport News, Va. March 12, 1863

Dear Mother,

            It was with the greatest of pleasure that I received your most kind letter yesterday. I never get a letter from home that does not raise my spirits tenfold. It does me more good to hear from home than anything else. Indeed I would like to hear from you most every day but I suppose you write as often as possible and I am very grateful for it. It was as much as I wanted. I havenít got my boots yet but I am expecting them in a day or two. I do not need them very bad just now. We are fixed up pretty nicely here and it is generally supposed we will stay here some time and I hope we will. (words obliterated) This is a very nice place and it is commencing to look like spring. We ahve not much hard duty to perform but we ahve to drill about 6 hours a day. They are very particular with us. We ahve very nice quarters and we have to keep them as clean as a new pin. We have our tents arranged in 2 rows with a street between them and every morning we have to jump at the sound of the drum. The first thing is roll call, after that we have to clean our quarters. We then get our breakfast of bread and coffee and sometimes fat pork. After breakfast we have one hour of company drill then we rest an hour and it is in this our that I am writing. Then from ten till dinner time we ahve regimental drill. We then have a dinner of bean soup and in the afternoon we have Brigade drill and dress parade and I tell you we have to come out in good order. Every man has to have his arms and accoutrements polished, his shoes blacked, clothes brushed, person clean, hair combed and look as bright as a new pin all over. We are a different looking set of men from what we was on the march and we have not much time to spend. We have not been paid off yet but I expect to be soon. You spoke in your letter of me trying to get a furlough and indeed I would like to get one when my turn comes but I think when we get the conscripts out we will soon whip the greybacks, but I expect there will have to be a force sent home to fetch them out and I would very much like to be the one of the party sent to do it. There are a good many republicans there that need fetching out as well as democrats. One would think to hear them talk that it was them doing all the fighting but I guess if they was here they would see who was out and who was not. Although I am as tired of the war as anybody I am not willing to give it up. I hate the rebbles and hope to see the day that they will be humbled so that they never dare to raise up again. They are a low mean filthy ignorant set. I have talked to some of them and they are as ignorant as their negroes. One half of them do now (not?) know what they are fighting for. Although I am a democrat of one kind I do not believe in their peace meetings. I think they ought to come out and help make an honorable peace. None of the soldiers wants peace till we can have an onorable one. The most would rather die than submit to the lowlifed southerners. But I hope the day will come when we will see the Union restored as it once was and the old flag wave supreme over all the rebble streets. It is a wonder Hamon does not come out now. You know he always said he would come whenever they needed him. I think they have needed him a good many times since donít you? I would like to write to him but I am afraid I would say something that wouldnít please him. I guess he is mistaken about the soldiers all going in for Emancipation for there is some of the republicans down on it as well as the democrats and it was the cause of some of them deserting. If he was here awhile and heard the men he would soon see but I am for most anything that will hurt the rebbles. You speak of it being dangerous for people to speak their minds, it is not so in the army. The soldier speaks his own mind in the army and they are all of about the same mind anyhow.

            I think you ahve to pay an awful price for what you buy, indeed I donít know how you stand it but things are not half so dear there as they are in the south. I do wish our time in service was up so we could get home once more.We have more than half of it in anyhow that one consolation. I would like very much to see you all. You said in your letter you expected all my front teeth were gon but you are mistaken for they are as good as when I left home but I have changed a good deal in other ways. I believe soldiering has been the making of me but I must soon draw to a close. I am glad to hear that you are all well and Aunt Mary is better. I hope she will be able to be about soon. How is pap getting along with the house and what are you all doing. Tell Dave I expect a letter from him before long but I must close as I am getting short of paper room. Give my love to all and write soon. Goodbye.

Your Affectionate son, Alexander