1861 June 27 near Winchester [Virginia]

Camp Gibbens’ Thursday

My darling Wife:
I have left the busy din of the
camp and retired to a shady grove for the
purpose of holding sweet communion with
my absent loved one. Wd that I cd use my
living tongue instead of being compelled
to resort to the “tongue of the absent” to
pour forth to you the feelings of my heart.
A large budget of letters came for our
Co. yesterday and their distribution
was assigned me – with eager eye I ran
over the addresses and it gave me
little joy to find several for me
since your well known hand
was missing. I turned with sad heart
to open letters from home and was
delighted to find enclosed two letters from
you to the loved ones at home – I need
not assure you that they were the
first to be read and although not
addressed to me they were a real
treat. They reveal what I had feared
was the secret of your ^ ‘my’ not getting
letters from you – my letters to you
have not reached their destination
and you were in ignorance as to
my whereabouts. This is cruel, and if
I had my way I wd remove every
mail agent between here and Nelson.
I have written you at least a dozen
letters and it seems you have gotten only
two. I directed most of my letters to Rock

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Fish – as we agreed wd be best – some to Mrs JWm Jones
and some to Mrs Page Helm Jones, and it is possible
that they may be in the office there. Yesterday’s
mail also brought me a letter from Sister to
you wh[ich] was plainly directed to Kurriee’s shop
and was sent on here by the negligence
of some careless official. – I was deeply pained
to see from your letters that you had allow-
ed yrself to become very uneasy about me –
Now, please, Dearest, for my sake as well
as your own try and bear the separation
better. It is indeed a sore trial for us
thus to be separated from each other,
and especially as our letters go so ir-
regularly, but it is our duty and you know
that when we resolved to go “far hence
to the heathen” we made up our minds
not to count trials when they beset
the path of duty. Let us try and exercise
a strong faith in the God of prayer
that He will watch between us and
preserve us. Remember that if God so
wills it (and He hears prayer) I am as
safe in the camp or on the battle
field as within the quiet shades of
[Oa]kley[?]. Thus far I have stood it about
as well as any of the men and of
course I will be able to stand more
as I become hardened to this mode
of life. – I gave you in my letter from
this place day before yesterday a full
account of our march from Romney,
my visit to one of Ryland’s churches,
&c &c. Since then nothing of special inter-
est has occurred. There are no signs
at present of our being moved from
this camp any time soon and we are
making ourselves as comfortable as we can

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besi[des] drilling about four hours every [edge cut off]
an[d] attending strictly to camp duties. [ “ “ “ ]
that I am peculiarly fortunate in fal[ling] [ “ “ “ ]
in with Ryland – we are again in [the] [ “ “ “ ]
neighborhood of one of his churches a[nd] [ “ “ “ ]
he has introduced me to a number
of brethren who have insisted upon
my taking meals at their houses – in-
vitations wh[ich] I have not been slow to
accept. The result is that I escape Camp
fare quite frequently. Yesterday evening
I met with an old college mate of
mine – Robt. K. Carter now an M.D. – who lives only
two miles from here. He introduced me
to his mother and they both insisted
upon my going home with them – as I
cd not go yesterday evening they
insisted upon my going to dinner to-
day and upon my telling them that I
had a da[-] that wd conflict, Mrs.
C. rode off to “Head-quarters” and got a
leave of absence for Ryland and myself
so I am fixing myself for a nice
dinner today and have made up my
mind to eat “several”. By the way I expect
that the Carters are relatives of yours –
shall ask them today. On tomorrow
I shall dine at Col. Glass’ – a very
nice gentleman to whom Ryland
introduced me. So you must not
think of me as a poor soldier – mar-
ching over dusty roads and living
on bread and water – but rather as a fat,
sleek individual lolling on the grass
in a beautiful grove, eating fried chick-
-en, bread & butter, and molasses ^‘drinking butter milk,’ and occasion-
-ally going out to get something extra[.]
My namesake, bro. Jno. Wm. Jones, came out to

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[edge cut off] on yesterday and had a very [part torn off]
[ “ “ “ ] from him. He told me a good dea[l] of
[ “ “ “ ] Mary – seems to have a very exalted
[opini]on of them both. Told me that if my
[wife] was anything like Mary she was a
jewel. I told him that she was even more
than a jewel. He said that every thing is
now quiet about Charlestown, – no Federal
troops this side of the Potomac – not even
at H. Ferry – but our troops are advancing
into Maryland. It is nearly time for our
10 ½ O’clock drill and I must therefore close –
– I am not able to write as long
letters as I cd wish but will continue
to write three or four times a week.
Please you do the same and when you
write tell me everything. Continue to direct
to Winchester Care Capt. Murray “Company D.”
13th Va, Regt, I need not say how deeply
I regretted not seeing bro. Wm. Land Kettie[?]
before they left. Never mind I’ll take
you to Kiss. to see them before we leave
for China. Send me Grandma’s address –
I want to write to her – Best love to
all and beg them to write to me.
Yr most devoted

The third of the three Jones brothers serving in the Confederate Army (see Edloe’s and Pendleton’s letters below) University of Virginia alumnus John William served as chaplain of the 13th Virginia Regiment and was later noted for his book Christ in the Camp. He refers briefly to Dr. Robert K. Carter, a fellow UVA alumnus.
MSS 13407

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