1861 Nov[ember] 30 Camp near Centreville

My dear John

I received last night your letter of the
26th and one at the same time from my[?] dear Sallie Browne
for which my welcomed letters I return you both my
heartfelt thanks–By a letter received at the same time
from your Mother. I am sorry to find she has been detained
there by the ilness of our dear Courtney B–who it seems
has scarlet fever–I fear this will keep you mother
in Richmond for some time–It is a great treat to me
that I can not under these circumstances go there for a
day or two to meet your mother and to see our dear
sick child–You understand how this is—but your
Mother complains bitterly of me–as if I saw free to
go I would–But both a sense of duty and the rigid
rule against leaves of absence keep me here–this army
stands between the enemy and our homes & all that are dear
which we have left behind us–If we leave our posts
here at the present time–we desert those we ought
to be willing to die to protect & defend — and hence
the extreme strictness in regard to leaves of absence

[page 2]
But I hope the dear child will do well as the
hands of our good friend Dr Drane and a kind
providence–

I wrote you in my last about procuring a supply of salt
if possible I wrote to Deane H & Jones to buy what you
might want–or aid you in doing so–I learn that one
bushel
of salt if carefully and is enough for one thousand
pounds of pork- and hence the Govt. has been authorized to
regulate the price I hope you will get what may be
absolutely required. Crenshaw & Co. will probably have it
if you have had a satisfactory explanation of your author=
ance–so as to renew transaction with them–But
unless they manifest a better [?] I would not
intimate upon them or push the matter–
I hope you have been able to cause Miss [?]
time to pass agreeably–by having some young friends to meet her
and otherwise entertaining her–She is a very superior
young lady if I mistake not–Please present my kindest
regards to her–
Now that I am absent I would caution you to be very
circumspect as to whom you write to visit our home
or allow to visit–for in these times there are persons not
gentlemen who will intimate themselves–with any such you
should be [?] Should any [?] occur–But his part
is enough–
So far we are not suffering –but soon shall require more than
a tent to cover us from the winter’s cold–If I had Edward
Charleston & Frederick & a couple of good sawyers with
a few loads we might put up cabins for head quarters–
May write for them–With love to all & hoping to hear soon from
you I am yr affec father Philip StGeo Cocke

MSS 640

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