Desark [Des Arc] Arkansas October the 12th 1862.
Dear wife I embrace the present opportunity of answering your kind favor which I received the 7th which I was more than glad to see. It hope me a great deal for I was verry much fatigued and my mind some what distressed. I had ben walking in the mud and water too or three days on a force march expecting to get in a fight every day but as it happened the nuse we got was falce. We heard the feds was advancing on us aiming to cross white river at Devalls Bluff [De Valls Bluff] and we was ordered there to keep them back. I think it was maid up among the officers to be training us. It dident take verry well for we dident have any thing to eat but wheat bred maid up with cold water. We hav had to do with out any thing onley wheet bred too different times too days at a time. It aint because it aint in the cuntry. There is plenty. It is because the quarter master dont procure it. If he would and the commissary would issue it we would hav it cooked up and put it in our havvysacks. It is because they want attend to there duty is the reason why we have to do with out. Every thing is verry high in this part of the cuntry. I had to pay yestedey $100 for a pound of home maid tobacco and I had to give 50cts for three sheets of paper and there is no stamps to be had nor no invelops. You wrote to me to know wether I received a letter with 4 invlops in it directted to Achadepha [Arkadelphia] . I received one with 4 invelops in it but it was directted to Louisville Arkansas. If you sent one to Achadelpha Ile not get it. The one I received may be the one remailed and sent to Louisville. I received 2 invelops in your last. I was proud to see that you filled your letter with the best nuse you had. I wish I could get a letter from you every day. Yhen you write fill a sheet every time if you can and cant think of nothing get Priscilla to say some thing and write it. You wrote that she was as smart and as pretty as ever. I wish I could see you and her. I am afraid you and her your features I will for get. I hav wis lots of times that had of had your likeliness taken and brought with me. Betty show Priscilla my ampletipe [ambrotype] and write what she says about it. I havent drawed any money since I left Jefferson. I reckon we will draw some before long. When I draw I will send you some if I get a good chance. If Chaddie hasent give you that I sent you. I dont know who is a good chance if you are needing it send after it send any how. I think you done prime in your sheep trade. If you can keep them at home. Betty I dont know hardley what to say about them oxen. If they are mischievous I dont want them at no price. If you can make out to do your halling I wouldent bye them untill I can see wether I can get money enough to pay for them. I dont want to go in det no more if I can help it. I was powerful glad to hear that you was makeing a plenty of corn and potatoes. You cant imagine how much good it would do me to set around the fireside and rost them with you and Priscilla. We dont get hardley. When we do we have to pay $200 a bushel for them and bye them out of our own pockets and sometimes glad to get them at that. I havent had but one mess of cabbage this year and too or three messes of beens since I left home and when I got them I had to pay 4 prices for them. I all wais knew that a garden was a great help but I never knew the good of one before. I think if I ever get home you want have your garden to work your self. I was sorry to hear that corry melton had nothing to do nor to talk about onley to throw out flouts about you. I wouldent pay any attention to her. I expect she is measureing other folks corn by her half bushel. I expect she has got a furlow to carry about with her is the reason she is cutting up so. She can cut up as much dog as any of them when she is fit for it. I understood before I got your letter that the women dressed fineer and wore more new dress than ever was known before. I have ben expecting to hear that some of them was marred but I dident think that they was goin to accuse you of marrying. I wouldent let such as that barther me. Just go a head and dont pay any attention to suc tatler ascorry just considder the soarse from which it come and just let her [rip?] and as to emley burks if she barthers you just take your pistol and make her stand still. If she barthers you and make het poor some sperits turpentine in her woap [ser?]. I wrote to you while I was near little rock about cloths . I shant say any thin about cloths. I dont know where we will go from hear. We may go to Missouria [Missouri] or we may go back to camp homes near austern [Austin] and put us up some cabbens and go into winter quarters. If we do I am goin to try to get a furlow and come home and if I cant get a furlow I will be obliged to stay. For I cant come and take the responsibility on my self. Old General homes [Holmes] would halve me shot. Sometimes I think it is but deth know how I am great mind to come. If it want for the mame of a deserter I would come home and see you once more. Thees few lines leaves me well with the exception of a bad cold and I hope they will find you and familey well. There is a great deal of sickness in camps. I havent heard or seen anything of Waterhousees [Waterhouse] regament yet I wish they would come up. I want to see the boys. Easley Jones hasent never received but one letter from his wife yet he told me to write to you to ask her what is the matter. If she dont know how to back her letters you can tell her the next time you see her and you write to me what she says about it and I can tell him. I havent never wrote to robbert yet. Paper is so scarse it is hard matter for me to keep enough to write you. I would like to write to a heep of my relativs but I cant on the account of the scarsaty of paper. I would every week if I had plenty. It is all the way I have of converssing with you and I love to write to you and I love to hear from you. I beleave I hav wrote all I can think of. Ile close. Give my best respects to all enquireing friends and receiv a dubble portion for your self. Ile close by sayin I remain your effectionate husband untill death. When this you see remember me though fare apat may we be. So good bye untill I see you a gain. I am in hopes that want be long but I fear it will. I can do verry well all the week but when Sunday morning comes I think of loveley Betty and how I would like to be at home with her to spend not onley the day but the balance of my life. Kiss Priscilla for me and Ile kiss you the next time I see you. Nothing more.
William E. Stoker
To Mrs. Elizabeth E. Stoker
Direct yours to Little rock.
Het – Slave on the Stoker farm
Priscilla Stoker – William and Elizabeth’s young daughter
Confederate Col. Richard Waterhouse – 19th Texas Infantry, Walker’s Texas Division