Camp Deas, near Youngs Mills,
28th October, 1861
My very dear Wife:
I have written you frequently during the past ten days, but fear you have not received my letters, as I understand the mail has been interrupted by the steamers getting out of order in James River. To the same cause I attribute the absence of letters from you. This is rather an out of the way place, being twelve miles from Yorktown, on a miserable road, and our mail arrangements are not the best. Ours is the advanced post, and are daily expecting an attack from the enemy, while I believe they watch with the same anxiety for an attack from us. Consequently, we do not and will not come together until one or the other advances. If accounts are to be credited, they have a large force at Old Point, but they do not come out. In the meantime, it is getting quite cold in our tents, with cold, damp earth floors, and it is doubtful whether we will build winter quarters at all, as being attacked by a superior force we would have to retire, but I think with a small outlay I can make myself very much more comfortable. To that end I must have a small stove, in which I can burn wood, and an old piece of carpet about ten feet square. I will lay plank floor to my tent and then put down the carpet and up the stove, and will be able to keep warm, however cold it may be. So tell Davis to send me the stove, and you send me a piece of old carpet or drugget – it can all be packed in a box and sent by express to Yorktown and I will get it. The express comes to Yorktown Tuesdays and Fridays.
As soon as it gets cold enough, I want you to have me some good corn beef made, also some string sausages, smoked, some beef, tongue and butter. You can send as soon as you can get them. Let me know what they cost and I will make the officers’ mess pay their proportion. If David comes down, I would like if he would bring a valise for me, my trunk is too large for the transportation and I want to send it back with my summer clothes.
There is nothing new. I have determined to give and endure to the end. My best lieutenant has been made Captain of another company, and Dr. Parker has sent his resignation. I will trust in the Lord and he will guide me alright.
Kiss the dear children and give love to all friends.
Yours most affectionately,
Jno. S. Walker