Letter from Thomas McKean, from Camp Pierpont, January 11, 1862

Camp Pierpont,
Jan. 11th 1862.

Dear Rachel, I received a letter from you last night in which you indulge stong hopes of seeing me shortly. You surely know enough of the uncertainty attending army regulations, to know better than to build hope of my getting off at any specific day. You say the papers spoke of our being paid off last week. The papers spoke very untruly for we have not been paid yet. The first brigade of the reserve was paid last week, and some of the other regiments were paid on Saturday and yesterday. We will not be paid until Thursday and it may be not until later in the week. Every two or three regiments have a different paymaster. Our paymaster pays the 10th Penna Reserves and one of the Wisconsin regiments. Why he should take so long to two regiments, is more than I know. We expect to be paid on Thursday, but probably I cannot get away for some days after that. However, the man whom we have been getting to play second is now home on 10 days’ furlough. He will take my place as leader. May pay will only reach to the 1st of January so there is now half month’s pay due me which I cannot get, regularly, before pay. It is worth fifty dollars but of course I cannot get that much for it: Still I can get enough for it to make it worth my while to wait a few days.

You need not look for me at any particular time, but you may depend that as soon as I can get things squared up, I will go. I am now satisfied that my health will not fully recover in camp. I am not any worse but whatever is the matter with me, it has assumed an intermittent form. Every other day I am better and worse. Yesterday I felt pretty well. Today I have a headache and no appetite. Tomorrow I shall feel quite comfortable, and have a tolerably good appetite. You need not feel any apprehension in regard to me, for I assure you I am no worse than I have been- not so bad, in fact – and my disease is not of an acute kind. But I want to get out of the army before it gets a firm hold on my constitution, which it has not done yet. I am taking medicine by the quantity, and it keeps the disease in check. Give my love to all, and kisses to the children – Especially Sammy and Virginia.

Ever yours,