Leavenworth City, Dec. 13, 1862
Dear Wife and Children:
I write to let you know that my health is improving. I am quite well except my lameness, that is no better. I can walk out with a cane which is a great comfort. I wrote you a week ago today from this place. It is almost three months since I have a word from you. I should not have written till I heard from you but I expect that I shall be sent away from here soon. There is between 500 and 1,000 sick soldiers here. A part of them will be sent to St. Louis, a part sent home, either discharged or on furlough and a part remain here. Those will remain here that there is a prospect of their getting well to return to their regiments before spring. I suppose I shall be sent to St. Louis. I do not know when I shall go. I settled up with the department this week, up to the 15th of next month, when I shall be in the service a year, and find there would be due me $68 if I had not been sick and overdrawn on clothes, but now there is due only about $30. I suppose this will seem very strange to you. I will try to explain some of it to you. We were very suddenly called to leave Fort Scott to go to Arkansas and had not a day's notice before we left. Come to change our clothes we found ourselves covered with body lice and we all burned our underclothes and drew new from the Department. Again when I was brought to Fort Scott the hospital regulations compelled me to change twice a week, two shirts and a pair of drawers. That made six pieces a week for which I had to pay 60 cents. We had nothing to eat but beef, bread, tea, and coffee, of consequence I had a constant bowel complaint. The doctor said I could eat as much boiled milk as I chose. I used to eat a quart at least every day after I began to get better. Milk is 10 cents a quart at Scott and at Leavenworth when I arrived here from Fort Scott I found myself again with plenty of lice. My things were unloaded on the platform of the house. While we went in to warm, one blanket was stolen from me and I had to draw another. Cost 4 dollars. I then got my clothes all washed and boiled which killed the lice but had to draw an extra pair of pants to get the others washed. I am now rid of them. You can now see perhaps the reason of my being so far ahead of my pay. If I could come home full of money it would be a good thing, but there need be no fears of my coming home unable to take care of myself. I know a man in the same house with me who could go home at any time and the government gives 40 dollars to take him home but he is unable to work and he concluded not to go home. He says they told him before he left home that he dare not go and he thinks they wanted to get rid of him. Therefore he will be contented here in the army if he can till some future time. We have not always been well treated in the army but forgive as you hope to be forgiven is the command. I expect to get a letter in 10 or 12 days from you if I remain here. If I do not, I shall write to someone else to know what is the matter. I have a wove cloth overcoat that I wish you had in place of the one there, as it would be much the best to cut up and it is much too large for me which I had to buy extra too. It is good cloth. But all I have written I fear is entirely uninteresting to you. My greatest desire is to be remember by the youngest children. I do not think of anything more to write. I shall write as soon as I hear from you. Good-bye and God bless and preserve you is my daily prayer.
C. N. Mumford