Letter from Thomas McKean, from Camp Pierpont, January 16, 1862

Camp Pierpont,
January 16th 1862.

Dear Rachel, I wrote you a very gloomy letter on the 14th . I believe I told you in it, that I was better and worse every other day. I am very glad to tell you that this, which should have been my bad day, has passed with scarely a touch of my previously regular headache. I ate a very hearty breakfast, too – of hot corn bread, roasted apples and other good light food.

I am boarding with the sutler of our regiment, with whom most of the officers board. We pay four dollars a week. It is pretty high, but I can get such food as suits me, and for all the time I will stay, I can afford to pay the price. I am in great hopes that my disease, whatever it is, the (Doctor calls it a sort of dumb ague) is broken. The doctor yesterday advised me to apply for a furlough and go home for a few weeks. I did not tell him that such was my intention, but if I am likely to have trouble getting off without a furlough the doctor recommendation would secure it. We are not paid off yet and what is worse, we do not know when we will be.

Major Paulding, our paymaster was suddenly ordered to Port Royal S.C day before yesterday. A new pasymaster, a Major Gold has been appointed for our regiment, but we know nothing about him. Major Spaulding had our pay rolls verified and all ready to pay us, but it may be Major Hold will want to look over and verify them for himself. If such is the case, we will not be paid until next week. Still I hope the paymaster will be here tomorrow or next day.

I got a letter from you last night, enclosed one from each of the little ones, except Virginia. I am always glad to get their letters, though I do not answer them regularly, by any means. If my last letter made you feel uneasy. I want this one to make you feel better, for I assure you I feel better, and in better spirits than I have for two weeks. All the mercer boys are well. My love to all – Kisses to the little ones.

Ever yours, Tom