Kings Mill Warf Camp,
James City Country,
20th June, 1861.
My dear Wife:
I intended to have gone up this morning on a short leave of absence and taken you all by surprise (agreeable, I flatter myself) and made all of my preparations accordingly, but last evening a messenger arrived post haste, announcing that 8,000 Federalists were advancing toward Williamsburg and were 10 miles distant. Of course all my plans were knocked in the head, and we immediately prepared to defend our position and dispute the way with them. We find this morning that it was not so that they had advanced. What they may do we cannot tell. At any rate, my proposed trip is for the present knocked in the head, but I have learned how to live and be disappointed without taking it to heart, and to be content under all circumstances. If there is any possibility of the enemy advancing, my post is with my company and before the enemy.
I am amused at the Northern accounts of the Bethel battle, particularly the correspondent of a New York Zouave published in yesterday’s Dispatch, who took the fire of my Enfield rifles for grape and (canister?). They lie with impunity and put the best face they can on a bad defeat. I hope the Lord will continue to smile upon our efforts and give success to our cause, and that peace acceptable to us may soon come, without more bloodshed, but if our rights must be sealed with our blood, better be it so than that the chains of the enemy be invited by submission and entailed upon our children. In the hands of the Lord we leave our cause, and pray that He may direct and if he will miraculously save us from our enemy.
We have now in our regiment a Chaplain, Rev. Mr. Willis, of Richmond, of the Baptist Church. He brought a letter to me from Bro. Dabney, and he was very acceptably received by the soldiers.
Kiss the dear children for Father, and give love to all friends. We have received our tents. Bennett, Duncan, Brown and Shell, and when we know who else was instrumental in getting and giving us the tents we will thank the rest of them.
I may soon have a chance to run up for a few days to see you all, but you must not expect me for I am here today and may be ordered away tomorrow and be actively engaged, for we know not what a day may bring forth.
Yours very affectionately,
Jno. S. Walker.