Letter from Thomas McKean, from Camp Pierpont, December 16, 1861

Camp Pierpont,
Dec 16th, 1861.

Dear Rachel – Tom Rogers got back this evening. He left his trunk in Washington so that I have not yet received the pictures. His trunk will be up tomorrow. I am very impatient to see them. He has told me all the news. It seems as good as a letter to see one who has come from Mercer. The Weather still holds good, though the nights are pretty cold. Capt. Warner and I have not yet got our home finished. The Captain is working at it tonight, putting up shelves and other fixtures. We have made a bedstead of light, elastic cedar poles which, when covered by a tick, and we on top of that, with lots of clothes on us, will make rather comfortable sleeping arrangements. The Chaplain was in Washington one day last week and visited Congress.

He says they were discussing the regimental band question, and there seemed to be no two opinions on the subject. All were in favor of their immediate abolition, as a useless expense. There is no question whatever, but that regimental bands will be abolished, and I think it very doubtful if each brigade is allowed one. The proability is, that I will be out of business in the army the 15 th of February at the furthest, perhaps by new years day.

I am sorry, for I would like to keep my present position and pay for a couple of years, but if I am thrown out here I can go home and work at something else – say painting and papering, or something else. I don’t want to get into the printing again if I can help it, for that would very likely draw me into politics, which I hope never to have to do with, more than as a high private.

There is no news to write, and the boys want to make the bed, and so I shall stop. I will attend to Bill’s wishes when I go home. Give my love to all and kisses to the children.

Ever Yours,