Camp Near Cedar Creek, VA
Novr. 5th, 1864
It is now a long time since I read your last letter, will you please excuse me for not replying before this late hour but the fact is I have been so incessantly pressed by military business that very often when I wished to do so I could not write my wife, at other times only a few words to let he know I was well and often it has been 5 or 6 days from the time I commenced a letter to her until I could get it finished, and write a little each day at that. From the time we break up camp on the morning of the 5th day of May last to the present time, we have not stopped over one week in any one place at once, only at two different times this fall we were about three weeks in a place, and then we were so busy drilling recruits doing picket duty, and making out returns, that we could not even think of writing to a friend.
Now that I have a little time I thought I would scratch you a few lines hoping you all enjoy the same usual good health that you have heretofore been so richly blessed with.
My dear friend. I was really surprised when I heard of the raid into St. Albans and Sheldon, and yet not entirely so, for I have been expecting something of that kind for the last 5 or 6 weeks, but not there. I have been looking for it farther west. It was no doubt a bold, daring and well planned scheme, and had it not been for the interference of the Strong Arm of Divine Providence, it might have terminated in the destruction of a great deal of life and property and perhaps death in our village. Thanks be to Our Heavenly Father who has saved you all from such a fate, for I tell you, there is no mercy in them rascals, as for Manhood, it out of the question. The real wonder to me is when they halted to burn the bridge why it was that they did not go into your fathers store and plunder that. Oh! I only wish that our little Regt. was there then. I think we would make them dance to as lively music as they ever heard, they certainly would have to pay dear for their fun.
(This next paragraph was very difficult to make out but I think I'm pretty close) I wish you could have been here with us a part of the time to see our battles (you would not think much of that,) at times I know the sight would be terrific to you or even older people, but when we got them to running before our men and they often in close proximity pouring bullets into them I know you would like to see the wretched graybacks (as we call the rebs) jump and stumble over, some into the mud to be trampled upon by man and horse. Some that hit a fall only to avail themselves the opportunity of getting into our lines, while many others of their unlucky comrades in ingenuity have stumbled over to fall into the cold relentless iron?? icy grasp of death. Such a sight (?) the soldier but its truly and awfully terrible, after the battle to go over the field such a sight I would not wish you to behold and I trust in God you never shall. I will not attempt a description of that for I am altogether incompetent and in fact there is no man that is capable of fully describing three or four battlefields I have seen this summer and fall.
I am glad you are making preparations for them fellows should they or any other such visit you again but I do not think they will, they know you are fully prepared for them and they know it as well as you do so they will not come there while your men keep on the alert. But you may be sure they will strike at some other weak point. They will not give it up so, or if they find that your men thinking themselves safe and free from further trouble they may pay you another visit. I am glad to see that you have capable and reliable men in command of your company. They are men that will not be catched napping where there is work of importance to be attended to. I should like to be there with you now. Such work would only be fun for me but such is not the case.
My kind regards to your dear father, mother, grandmother, Charley, Mr. and Mrs. Hopgood?? and Anna, as well as Chas. Owen and all others who may enquire after me.
I am dear Jacob, very respectfully your friend