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Liberty Mills, Orange Co., Va., April 9, 1864.
* * * For some time past we have been almost deluged with water. It is still coming down in torrents, and we are having practical demonstrations that a worn-out tent without a fly is not the most comfortable abode in such weather. Our old fly gave up the ghost in a recent contest with the wind, and I am now occupying a [409] little dry spot near the centre of my tent, while the water is dripping all around me. It does not take long for the strong winds to dry the roads in this section; and I would not be at all surprised if Grant gave us something to do soon. It is reported in camp, but with how much truth I am unable to say, that he is being reinforced by Sherman. Our boys are confident of whipping him when he does come, as they do not consider him a great general, but attribute his success to his superior numbers. They have implicit confidence in ‘Uncle Robert's’ strategy and his ability to penetrate Grant's designs. I have received orders to commence ‘ditching’ again and will begin to-morrow by throwing up rifle-pits and artillery works to defend the bridge and sweep the turnpike at Liberty Mills. General Lee has issued his transportation order, which will produce quite an exodus of officer's wives.

The ration bill is still enforced and nothing has yet been done to relieve the officers. I addressed General Lee an official communication asking that I be allowed to report officer's servants as ‘laundresses,’ as I looked upon the act as a very unjust one; and he replied that officer's servants could not be reported as ‘laundresses,’ nor could the servants of enlisted men be so reported unless they were mustered in as laundresses for the use of all the men. Applications for officers to dine out now are much more frequent. Lately, whenever anything is stolen in the neighborhood, the privates laugh and say: ‘That is the result of the ration bill; it won't do to bring our officers down to one ration.’ The other day when I ordered a search to see if we could find any traces of a stolen hog in my command, one of the captains was accosted by one of the men whose tent he was searching and laughingly told that he was inspecting the wrong tent; may be he could find out something about the old black sow at the head of the street, where he understood they didn't get enough to eat. It is a good joke for the men, and the officers take it very gracefully. We are still getting along very well at brigade headquarters, although Lieutenant Lane in charge has given orders that we must not take too much exercise as it might increase our appetites.

Chaplain Kennedy has been with the brigade for some time and is one of the best I have seen in the army. He has been relieved from duty in the field and ordered to report as post chaplain at Charlotte, N. C. I am very sorry to lose him, both on account of his ministerial and social qualifications; but I could not do otherwise than approve his application to be transferred, as it was based on his [410] wife's delicate health. His transfer now leaves us with only one chaplain. A missionary has been assigned to this brigade by the North Carolina Methodist Conference. There is some difficulty about rationing him, as Congress, at its last session, defeated the bill allowing missionaries to purchase anything from the subsistence department. I shall address a communication to General Lee tomorrow to see if he will not be allowed either to draw or purchase rations for himself. The Methodist and Baptist predominate in this brigade and there are some Presbyterians, but not many Episcopalians if the last summer's joke is true. The Rev. Mr. Patterson preached to the brigade last summer when we were camped near Orange Court House, and being an Episcopalian, he wore his surplice, &c. He had a very large congregation, and it is said, that after the services, many of the men were wondering amongst themselves ‘What sort of man is that,’ and it was decided, after considerable speculation, that he was a ‘Chinese,’ because he looked like the pictures in their geographies. * * * *

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