Letter from Thomas McKean, from Camp Pierpont, January 5, 1862

Camp Pierpont,
Jan. 5th, 1862.

Dear Rachel,

I am still in camp and getting along as well, I suppose, as I would in hospital. At any rate, my progress is satisfactory to myself, and to the doctor. He says I must take care of my appetite, and be patient. I take medicine two or three times a day. My man is practicing with the band, though his transfer still hangs somewhere hence my mind is relieved of anxiety on that score. I would feel still easier if his transfer would come, for then I would know he was “fixed” with us and I could leave when I wished.

The last two days have been genuine, wintry ones. Night before last a light snow fell. And it has been stinging cold ever since. Last night was the very coldest of the season, and reminded us all of mid winter at home. None of the men suffered any from the cold, for all have a full supply of clothing. I pity the poor rebels, from Alabama and other far southern states, in their cotton clothes, such weather as this.

There is nothing of news kind in camp. The paymaster is looked for this week, and every one is full of joyful anticipation. I think, myself, he will be here this week and most certainly hope he will. There is no symptom of an advance in this part of the army, nor do I see what good an advance would do our part.

Congress will not meet to do any good until tomorrow, and in the succeeding two weeks. They will probably do considerable business. Perhaps the bands will receive a share of their attention. Numbers of boys from Maxwell’s regiment are coming over to see us. There is considerable sickness among them, and many deaths. It is the measles they have.

There is a fly buzzing about me while I am writing, which will give you an idea how warm our shanty is. I am not afraid of any amount of cold weather so long as they let us have wood enough. George Graham’s mess are baking biscuit this afternoon. They offered to send me some, but I declined. They look pretty swell, but their cooking arrangements did not look very inviting. Give my love to all, and kisses to the children.

Ever yours,