30 May 1861


New Dorp, Staten Island
May 30 [1861]

Dear Father,

Yours of the 28th came last night, it being just one day in coming. Direct all letters as you did that until further notice. I did not write as much about what we had done as I should if I had known that you took a New York paper.

We came over here one week ago last Sunday after marching up and down Broadway for some way. When we arrived, we started for the depot but found that the cars were not due in some time & so we started out a foot & marched about 4 or 5 miles. As we were marching, one of the officers (not of our company) rode by & said he should have a good dinner ready for us.

We arrived here about 3 o’clock—tired, hungry, dusty & the worst of all, disappointed by a poor dinner of stinking meat &c. Our beds came before dark & we marched upstairs into a shed (very much like the one at the store only it had windows & was a very little higher than ours but not near as good roof) where the hens had been in the habit of roosting, for soon an old rooster came up to claim his bed.

We had a little trouble about our fare at first (Wager was captain then) but we minded our officer like men as we are. They gave us a meal or two better & then it was poor & we have had poor food most all of the time since except within a day or two.

One day our boys refused to drill unless we had better food & they did not drill & since we have had better food. The Major had a talk with us & we with him. A part of one of the other companies started for home last week but came back.

Roderick Matheson (ca. 1850) became Colonel of the 1st California Regiment

All is quiet now. Our company has been the largest for a day or two in the field though some are sick (from foolish habits & poor food). Some officers are in the latter class. We are in the 1st California Regiment, Col. [Roderick] Matheson. Most of the officers have seen service before. I wrote you yesterday in which I think I spoke about our clothes. We expect more in a few days & our guns. We have regimental drill every day (if pleasant). I think that we shall leave here before many months & perhaps within 4 weeks.

I am glad that you gave [Rev.] Kidder a good talking to & there are some others that need the same. I am glad that the tribe do not enquire after me. I hope they will never mention my name in company with theirs. Is the [Presbyterian] church full on Sundays? How do the Sabbath School get along?

I feel very lonesome on Sundays. They are so very different here but I do not wish myself back for I feel that I have not any right to consult my own personal feelings on the subject as far as pleasure is concerned but am willing to sacrifice all for the good of my home & country. There are some pleasures I find in a soldier’s life after all but they have to be earned. Wager said he was glad to be remembered but it was nothing more than his duty. Our officers are doing all  I think they can for us & we are contented as long as they will give us good food. If we were where we could not get sweet & good meat, we would do without it.

Write Hen the other Spencer boys get along & do got money enough at present; 2 dollars & some change.