Your welcome letter came Thursday.
I am very sorry you should be uneasy about
me. A delay ought not to create any such
feeling; especially when the irregular mail
renders them so constant. I am well.
Indeed I marched four miles yesterday
before breakfast or sun
inconvenience & a few evenings before
ran & walked to gether about the same
distance & back, without any bad result, from
a half an hour by sun in the evening
to 9 that night. The expedition yesterday
was to fire at the yankee boats from
balls bluff as they pressed up the
canal -- But to our disappointment
no boats passed -- The enemy threw
about 20 shells at us while there but
did no damage -- they have good artillerists.
We did not return ^'fire' as we had no gun
of that range in two miles. The only gun we
had was a six pounder -- its range is not
more than 1600 yards. On a field of battle
this is about the most valuable piece -- but will
not compete with Perrot guns from the
hills across the Potomac. The large gun
which we valued so highly & wh: I mentioned
in my letter bursted the other day -- Our
company has been drilling some Mississipp-
ians, they were fire with it at the time,
one had his leg broke & another was
injured considerably; so none of our com-
pany were injured. the first expedition I men-
tioned above was to fire in a wear-house across
the river -- what damage we did I have never heard.
We fired at first at a light ^'in the house' -- but at the fire the light
disappeared & the other shots were fired almost
at random. The firing at Ball's Bluff (The Lees-
burg fight) seems to have been much more
accurate than at Manassas judging from the
marks on the trees & much more rapid. Every little
thorn bush, of wh: there were many, had many wounds.
Where the enemy landed -- there is a flat about three
yards wide & the bluff, at least 60 feet & perpendic-
ular, overhangs that -- they marching down this
flat until they could get to an easier place
to assend, All the thorn bushes have all the
straight branches cut off: ^'wh: was' done -- by persons
to get a memento. All the bullets were
cut from the trees for the same purpose.
I was foolish enough to cut one from a
tree close by where Baker was killed -- a use-
less relic -- I succeeded in finding one only by climb-
ing a tree, so diligent had the people been in se-
curing them, I got breakfast at an old wo-
man's house with a small yard in wh: five
Yankees were killed &
about in the house; she & daughters being
in it all the time the fight was going on.
Our company has not yet organized -- There
was an informal meeting at wh: 30 handed in
their names; but a part of the company
was at Berlin on a scouting expedition that
day. And others did not attend who will
join if we organize. There will not enough
of the present company reenlist to organize
but enough with the recruits wh: we will
be able to get I hope. Members from Rich-
mond say there is no doubt of this. I gave
my name in as a member if they reorganize
& shall reenlist up here even if they do not
I think. the snow has fallen to day
about 2 1/2 inches & looks as if we were to have
more. General Hill was down with us yes-
terday & said the Yankees were at Lovetsville.
I suppose merely a body of pickets. As to
the fort Donnelson Disaster or
I mean was policts [?] of will trouble you with
no opinions. Save to day. I think the surrender
when it was determined to surrender from
12 to 15 thousand men. That body, by making
safety their only object can cut through
any body of men -- indeed a retreat seems
to have been possible where no enemy was
in the way. I am afraid the determining
of the two govts. to exchange prisoners causes
more surrenders. Tell George I would an-
swer his letter, but have not the paper.
All our baggage has been sent to Mid-
[written below the line in another hand: "Willies Letter 1862"]
dleburg -- whence I don't know where I
will get Mine. We are still you see in our
winter quarters. I did not go to church to day to
hear Mr. Williams, pleading to myself yesterday's tramp.
But I fear this was not a sufficient excuse. I fasted
Friday a part of the day -- more than I ever did before.
In fact I intended doing so all day but felt a little, a very
little, sick at the stomack & therefore broke my fast. I
read my bible more regularly than I ever did -- I think I try
more than I ever did to be as particular as I can in my whole
"The Devil was sick, the Devil a saint would be,
"The Devil was well, the devil a saint was he."
I don't mean as far as sickness is concerned I wd: fear such an
application, but on account of the danger wh: every soldier
must feel he is a little subject to. For tho' God seems to smile on all
who do as they should, whatever course it does seem to me he wd: love
those best who do so rather from love than fear. My dear father give [?] me to
my dear love to mother, George & all. Yr. Son, with much love W. H. Perry Jr.