Letter from Thomas McKean, from Camp Pierpont, November 3, 1861

Camp Pierpont
Nov. 3rd 1861

Dear Rachel- I wrote the letter enclosed with this day before yesterday, but the mail was gone before I got it into the letter box. Yesterday, I missed the connection again, and this morning no mail went out. So I have concluded to fill up a stray scrap of paper and enclose all together. Things are in status quo. The rebels know by this time where the great naval expedition has gone to, and what success it has met with. You will also know before this reaches you. At present we do not know here where it is to attack.

The idea is that Charleston is to be the point. I have great fears of its safety. The tremendous gale of Friday night must have caught it, and would certainly cripple it somewhat. If it reaches Charleston and succeeds in taking or destroying the city, the rebels must send troops from Virginia to the relief of their friends.

Then the Army of the Potomac will move, with some prospect of success, and a short and sharp campaign will decide the fate of the cause and country, Gen. McClellan is said to have declared in a speech last night on the presentation of a sword by the Councils of Philadelphia that he had work for the Penna troops to do and hard work too. It may be he has, but I know that our work depends on so many contingencies, that when the time comes, there will not be much work to Do.

I was up the road today to see Mr. Mouasmith. He is about half a mile from us, and his company is the most advanced of out troops in that direction. About half a mile beyond them our picket line stationed. Mr. Mouasmith is well. He and I had a good old sing out of the Jubilee, a copy of which he has with him. I was sorry to hear of Mr. Stephenson’s death. John got his furlough and left the same day his father died.

We have got a furnace in our tent. It is a hole dug in the ground with a flat stone over it and an underground flue to carry off the smoke. The stone don’t cover all the hole but only enough to make it draw. It is first rate and we can easily make our tent too warm. We can draw a tea, cook what we want in doors now. We are all comfortable. My love to all.

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