Camp Near Washington L.a. Oct the 20th 1863
Dear beloved and affectionate Wife, it is with the greattest of pleasure that I seat my self this morning to write you a few lines in answer to yours which came to hand on the 18th of this month by the hand of S.P. M. It was parused with greattes of care and anxiety. I was proud to hear that you and familey was well and doing well. Thees few lines leavs me well at the presant and I hope when they come to hand they will find you all still in good helth. Ive no nus of interes more than Ive wrote to you. We hav kep going untill we hav got along wais from home again. We are 85. or 90. miles below Alexander [Alexandria]. We come down hear with the expectation of getting into a fight but I think it doutful about it. Though our cavalry pickets and the fedderal pickets has a fight nearly every day. The federral armey is about thirty thousand strong and ours is about ten thousand strong and they hav got all the atvantage of us to attack them where [they?] [illegible]. They are fortified right in the [edge?] of a perrairie about three miles a crofts and we will hav to go right across it right in full view of them. If we attack them and they hav got there cannon plantted and they could cut us down as fas as reign before we could get near enough to hurt them. General Walker went down and viewed the [ground?]. He sais they would hav all chances to flank him and he is not going to take this armey in there. That is the reason our cavalry is fightting them is to get them out [so?] we can get a fare chance at them. We hav under stood that they are falling back. If they are we will go back up the cuntry. I wish they would go back and strike a stationed camp so I can get a furlow. They wont furlow any now untill they get out of hear or at least untill they see what the feds is going to. As quick as they get out of hear I am going to appli for a furlow and show them the letter that I got from you to let them know my reasons for wantting to get off. I think Ile make it when we get out of hear but I dont know when that will be. It may be soon or it may be some time [oeing?] to the movements of the feds. Sid sais you want want to see me as bad as I want to see you. If you do I know that you are nearley crazy. We all got our clothing just as you sent them and the proudest fellowes that you ever saw and the [gooddes?] that you all sent come in the best time you ever saw. We did not hav any thing to eat onley poor beef and corn bread and onley beef enough for one meal per day. But when Sid come we had something that would do to eat. The butter and eggs that you sent was the first that Ive [et?] in a long time. It had ben so long I hav for got where I did eat the last. O. the pound cake that you sent. I had seen something like it before but I but I couldent recollect where. We had ben having punking bread and I called it pumkking bread. I couldent think of the name of it but I knew from the looks of it it was better than punkin bread and after I tride it I knew it was. Mr Bafsett happened to fall in with us last night. He said that it was the greattest treat that he had met [with?] since he left home. It was the first time that I had seen him since I left home. I saw Billy about a week ago. He is well or about it. Ive got a letter from Sister Jane recntley and one from Mr Griffin. He said that he thought that he would take Fealian at 400.$ but the old lady [Collis?] wouldent take the money. I am glad that you did not let him go untill you found out I had rather hav good yung stock than to hav the confederate money unless I could turn it over. That way he is worth about 500. per cent to keep him. Dont let him go for 600$ not less. I can get $800. for him in too years if times is like they are know . Betty I dont beleave Ile send any thing back but one pare of pants and one shirt. One pare was all that I had untill Sid come. There was a yung man gout out of pants about ten days ago that belongs to our Co. and I let him hav a pare of cotton pants. He told me that he would draw me another pare. I beleave Ive wrote all that I can think of. Ile close by saying I remain your affectionate husband untill death. William E. Stoker To Mrs Elizabeth Stoker. Kiss priscilla for me and Ile return the favor when I come. Givethe old man and familey my best respects.