From my ancestor, Sheldon S. Appleby—the letter that began my hunt earlier this week for information about a Civil War ancestor I didn’t know I had.
Feb. 6th 1863
Dear Father and Mother,
I take pen in hand to write you a few lines and let you know that I am well. I received yours of the 22 Jan. and was very sorry to hear tha Father was so sick and I hope you will soon recover. it must be very bad and there is not one to do the chores or any thing. I wish that I was there to help you but that can not be yet awhile. I tell you I am geting to be a prety solid sort of a boy and weigh 185 evry day of the week and could do a heap of work if I had a chance. And now I am going to tell you what I think about soldiering. That is my present situation. I am here in Verginia and enoug to eat and enoug to sleep on and enoug to wear and payday we had enough to drink. We have good enoug quarters for any body and just enough to do to keep us from Prefumry [?]. We have plenty of time to tell stories, sing songs, dance blackyard scufle, play cards and lofer round and smoke, chew, and read. Well I can do all this pretty midling well and they all call me a wild felow. I talk the most of the time and make what fun I can. I don’t have to worke and enjoy my self prety well but then it seems to me tossing away a mans existence to no purpose. The time pases away one day with another and yet I do not acomplish any thing. The nearer a man is to a fool the beter he can enjoy soldiering and I am getting to enjoying it pretty well but if I did not know enough to read or write I think I could enjoy it beter. But I have said enough in this line and so I will stop. Wallace and me have bin out to a house and eat our supers and just returned and rains out dores and a very dreary night. There is some snow on the ground. I had a little sutler bill to pay that I did not expect to have to pay. It was $17 and so I could not send quite so much home. I send you $20.00 dolar bill in a leter some time a go and have expressed $40.00 to you directed to Friendship. I have not got the receipt but you can get it without it. I sent it by Lieut. [J.S.] Hunt and have not got the receipt yet. I will send it when I get it. I have sent $60 in all and you can hire somebody to work for you with it. I donot want you to lay the money up for me but ouse it to your own advantage and as you think best.
I haint got time to read this over and you must excuse the mistakes as usual.