Camp Near Pine Bluff Arkansas February the 4th 1863
Dear wife I embrace the presant opportunity of writeting you a few lines to let you know how I am and how I am getting along. I am well at presant and I hope thees few lines will find you and familey well. Ive no nuse to write that would interest you. Robbert Melton is comeing home on sick furlow. I thought that I would write you a few lines as I had a good chance to send it to you. There has several of the boys in this companey that has got sick furlowes but they was furlowed at Little rock since we left and I dident hav the chance of writeting and sending it by then. Rus Addams and Walt Robertson and Yancy Wiatt has got sick furlowes but I understand that Walt Robertson isent able to start yet but he may of got able to come and has gone and of got there since Ive heard him. It has ben some time since Ive heard from him nor I havent heard from Thomas since Mr Melton come down. Waterhousees [Waterhouse] regament is campped in about a quarter of us. I see the boys occasionley. Sid is well and in verry good spirits about peace. He thinkes peace will be made this spring. I am in hopes so but I am afraid not. The Feds is deserting the northern armey and comeing over to be pay rolled [parolled]. They are tierd of the ware. They say they want it to close so they can go back home and liv likie white folkes. There has ben 1100 of them desrted and come over since the fight at the post. They said they sat out to fight for the union but it has run into the negro question and they aint going to hav any thing to do with it. I under stood that there was 70000 had stacked armes at Vixburg [Vicksburg] and was going home. They want going to fight to free the negrowes but I dont know wether the nuse is reliable or not. I wish they would come on some termes for peace. I am woar out staying out hear for the purpors of defending our cuntry and hasent done any good yet. I think if I had the chance I could do some at home. At least I would like to hav the chance of it but I dont know when I will be blesset with the opportunity. There has lots from this armey has gone home to make provisions for there familes to liv went without permission. There has several of our boys got back. Bill Reaves and Jo Day and John Heathcox and cruch Feald and several others that belongs to other campanes. They was arrestted and put under gard and they are under gard yet. I dont know what will be [done?] with them. I dont think they will be hurt. General homes [Holmes] issued an order before they come back and had it advertised if the deserters would report them selves that he would put them into rankes and not hurt them. That is if they got back by the first of February which they did. They aughtent to of come back like they did. We all got mad sometimes and make out like we would desert if they dident feed us better and treat us better but we dident hav much notion of it. I was fretted a long time and wrote to you like I had as leav come home as not but I studdyed the matter over and I found out it wasent good polacy. But thare was several just wanted me to say the word and they was readdy but I told them no. I loved my [rib?] as well and would do as much as any boddy to see them on honerable terms but to desert and go it would throw a stigmey on me and her to and it would be thrown up to Priscilla for years that her par deserted the armey wouldnt fight for his cuntry . Bill Reaves said he saw Mother and she said she was afraid that I would desert. Tell her not to be uneasey. I aint going to come home untill I can come like a white man. It isent because I dont want to come. I want to come so bad I am nearly ded but that dont help the case any. I wont get off any sooner. Write as soon as you get this and let me know how you are getting along in every particular. How much wheet you hav got sowed and if you hav got corn enough and pork enough and how many hogs and pigs youve got and every thing that you can think of. B.A. Jones says pull the hoops off one of the girles and save her for him. Nothing more Ill close by saying I remain your effectionate husband untill death.
Elisha Stoker To Mrs Elizabeth Stoker