This letter was written by Pvt. George W. Shoemaker who enlisted on 11 August 1862 in Co. G, 126th Pennsylvania Infantry, for nine months service. George died of typhoid fever on 14 December 1862 at Falmouth, Virginia. This letter was written just one week before his death.
Camp near Fredericksburg, Virginia
December 7, 1862
It is with pleasure that I take this opportunity to write you a few lines. I am well and hope these few lines may find you all enjoying the same blessing. I received your welcome letter yesterday and was very glad to hear from home for I had not heard from home for about 4 weeks and I was very glad to get them stamps that you sent me for we cannot get any stamps nor paper here. We were paid off last Thursday and I sent 30 dollars home. It was sent to John Houber, ¹ the hardware man in Chambersburg. I sent a letter home last Friday and I thought I would send this one to you for fear the other one would not reach home for I got the Lt. Col. [David Watson Rowe] to frank it and they say that they will not go. I want you to write as soon as you get the money and while I am writing, the money and letter has come that you sent so I will now have enough to do me for awhile for I kept seven dollars of my wages. And our bounty, they say we will get in a couple of days.
You said that the old squirrel was dead. I was very sorry to hear it. And you said in your other letter that you wanted to know how my clothes and boots is. We have got plenty of clothes for we can get clothes any time now. And my boots is very near as good as when I got them. And the whole regiment refused coats like you spoke about the drafted men having for we had more clothes than we could carry. I have got two blouses to wear now and if they would give us as much to eat as wear, we could get along. But we have plenty now for there is plenty of sutlers coming since we have got paid off. But they sell everything for four prices. Butter they sell at 18 [cents] per pound and cheese from 18 cents per pound and flour for 12 cents per pound. So you see how everything sells.
Charley got that letter that you wrote him and Polk has not got to the regiment yet and we have not heard anything about him. And I must tell you how much money our company sent home. They sent 3600 dollars — that was more than any other company in the regiment. And if you want, you can send me some paper and envelopes and some more tamps for we cannot get anything like that in this forsaken country. And tell Will not to squeeze Sarah too hard or old Betsy will tend to him for I suppose you folks is making good use of the snow for it was about six inches here and very cold too for a person nearly freezes himself on guard these few last days.
Tell Mary Wallace ² that I will write to her soon. I will have to close for this time. Goodbye and write soon.
From your brother, — G. W. Shoemaker
Give my love to the whole family and when you write, [send] as before to Washington City.
¹ I believe this was John Huber of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.
² This was probably Mary Wallace (1841-1925), the daughter of Joseph Wallace (1806-1882) and Nancy Ebe (1811-1888) of Green Village, Franklin county, Pennsylvania.