Item Description: Letter, of 31 March 1863, from F.J. Haywood Jr. The letter is addressed to “My Dear Captain” and relates bits of camp gossip and chatter about the sighting of a “Yankee Balloon,” a desertion across enemy lines, and the weakness of a certain general officer.
[Transcription available below images.]
Item Transcription:Camp 5th N. C. I. near Guineas Station Va. March 31st 1863 My Dear Captain I received your letter two days ago, but have had no opportunity to re- ply sooner. When Col Garrett received your letter enclosed to me he wrote to Brookfield immediately, but has re- ceived no reply yet; he received a let- ter from Brookfield, however stating that he had had some conversation with you relative to an exchange and wishing to know if it would be agrea- ble to him. Col Garrett has not yet re- plied but will do so immediately and when Brookfield sends his application will forward both together and affirm and recommend the exchange. West saw Brookfield in Richmond and says that he seemed quite anxious for the exchange. Your application was not endorsed and fold- ed, as they are required to be in this army, but I suppose it will be forwarded without dif- ficulty- Fred Fetter passed here yesterday with a number of conscripts for Penders Brigade and seemed very much delighted with his trip to the A.N.V. because he saw a yankee balloon about a mile off he says he never saw anything of the kind before. he halted his detachment near Col Garretts quarters in order to get a fair view of it. The old men of the Regt collected around his detachment making all kinds of rem- arks about the conscripts and when they found out what Fred had halted for they thought him the most verdant man they had seen in many days- I think the campaign will open in a few days. We have had orders to send all heavy baggage to the rear, and to prepare for the Spring campaign, and to have everything in readiness to move by the firstof April. I was on picket yesterday on the Rappahannock, but did not notice anything unusual among the yankee pickets; their pickets and areas are only separated by the river. Theirs on one bank and ours on the other, all conversation and exchange of papers between the pickets has been prohibited by Genl Lee. A man in the 23rd NC deserted to the Yankees on picket Two or three days [ago], and the Yankees raised a great howl of Triumph over him. There is no news of any kind, except Preparations for a vigorous campaign, an offensive one probably. I forgot to mention that Genl Edward Johnston of Western Va notoriety will probably be our Major General. I think our Brigadier a very slow coach (entre nous). If you wish to write to Brookfield his address is Genl Hospital No. 10, Richmond Va. If you know any one that is coming to this Brigade or Div sion, I wish you would let my mother know, so that she can send me some things that she has for me. If you have any time to share, I will be very glad to hear from you at anytime. Very truly your friend, F.J. Haywood Jr.