Letter from Thomas McKean, from Camp Pierpont, December 1, 1861

Camp Pierpont,
Dec 1st, 1861.

Dear Rachel – Although you only require me to write twice a week, yet as I have time and opportunity, I write oftener. We are here yet, and no more evidence of a movement than there was three weeks ago. There is to be an expedition of considerable strength sent out tomorrow, to collect forage within the rebel picket lines. We are not to form any part of it, however, part of our Division will be sent – the artillery and cavalry, and the 2 nd Brigade of infantry. I now have about come to the conclusion that we will go into winter quarters somewhere near this place. At least an article in the Sunday Morning Chronicle of this morning, reads as though it was written with a view of preparing the public mind for such a movement. The Chronicle is as nearly an official paper as is published in Washington being owned by John W Forney. If they mean to put us into winter quarters they must do it soon, and I am positive that they must do it. No army that ever existed can carry on a campaign in this climate. Further North, where the roads freeze hard, it might be done, but here, where the roads only get more and more bottomless, its out of the question. We may move on to the Loudon and Hampshire Railroad, which is only about four or five miles from us, and then go into winter quarters. There, the railroad could bring us provisions, without regard into the weather.

The rebels are moving bolder again. Last nigh they frightened in our videttes, but made no demonstrations against our pickets. In anticipation of such a move on their part, our pickets were double early this morning. They did not show themselves in any strength, but our videttes are very easily alarmed. Sam Stephenson got here last night. He can tell very little about matters in Mercer. His Uncle Henry D. Foster is in Washington, trying to get a discharge for him. Don’t fail to send these likenesses by Tom Rogers. I was sorry Sam Stephenson started in such a hurry. We have damp, but not cold weather here. Sometimes it freezes a little at night, but we have had no really cold weather yet. Congress meets tomorrow and I suppose after the wind- work of the session is done, we will know what they mean to do with the Bands. I don’t care a great deal, only I would rather stay till Spring, so that I could have some money to take home with me.

I got a couple of Harper’s Weekly’s last night. They are from Will I suppose. I was glad to get them. I cannot think of anything more to write, therefore I will stop. Give my love to all. Kiss the children for me – especially Sammy, for his dear little letter, and believe me

Ever yours