1862 October 31 turnpike from Charlestown to Berryville

                                            October 31st 1862

Dear Mama,

                         I believe I have written to all
at home since I last wrote to you & I will
drop you a few lines this morning to let you know
that I am well &c. We are now in Clarke County
on the turnpike leading from Charlestown to Berry
ville about 15 miles from Harper’s Ferry.Soon after I
wrote to Nannie our army moved down from Bunker
Hill to a point on the B & O rail-road below Martinsburg
where we remained until we had torn up & burnt
about 25 miles of the railroad track.  The whole
road is,during the war, in possession of the Yankee
Government & whenever we are not in possession
of this part of Virginia, it is of the greatest service
to them; all of their supplies being transported
over this road.  The road is torn up by our Generals
I think, in anticipation of having to fall back from
this section of the country soon.  When the Yankee
Government took the road at commencement
for the War, they it promised the company to place
the road at the end of the War, in the same
condition it was when they took it & to do this now will
cost them an immense sum of money.  After we finished
this job we fell back again to BunkerHill where
we remained two or three days & day before yesterday we
arrived at our present Camp.  The general impression
is that our army is falling back towards Gordonsville

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upon the same old lines it held last winter.  There is very
little forage up in this country & I suppose it is too far
from Richmond to transport it.  Our Camp here is
about 3 miles from the Shenandoah river, and apparently
in one of the finest portions of Virginia.  the farms around
here are magnificent & there are a good many very
fine looking country residences.  I went out about
5 miles from Camp yesterday “foraging,” down the river.
I stopped about 2 O’Clock at a beautiful place right
on the bank of the river owned by a man named Lewis.
I went in & bought a peck of magnificent apples
& got one of the best dinners I ever saw.  I met with two
ladies, one rather an elder lady–the other very young &
very pretty, but both married. This morning I met with
Cousin George Carrington; he is in a battery raised in
Charlottesville & commanded by Wm.McD. Carrington
I don’t know what the middle name is, but he is a very
nice young man & is a Halifaxian.  I had a good
long chat with cousin George, but he had little
or no news to tell.  I have never met with Cousin
Wattie: he has not been with the army since the
battle of Cedar Run.  I saw Leigh Robinson a few
days ago; he was was very well.  I suppose you
are still at Uncle Watt.s?  I wrote to aunt Mary
since I wrote to Nannie, but have received a
letter from neither of them yet.  I am very anxious
to hear from you all.  cousin George Carrington
tells me that old Col Bailey is dead.——-

[page 3]
I must now close, mam, for there is really
nothing more to write about.  I have a plenty of
clothing now of every kind & the boys say
I am getting as fat as can be.  When I write
again, I will probably be nearer home &
if we do get down about Gordonsville
this winter I mean to go home anyhow.
Dirct your letters as heretofore “Care
Capt Wm. D. Brown, Chesapeake Artillery
Ewell’s division, Jackson’s army, Win=
chester.”  I have not been stamping my letters
lately, because it is impossible to get any
stamps up here & the mails are too uncertain
to enclose the postage.  Give my best love
to Nannie Bee[?] Cary  & little Hannah & to
Uncle Watt & write immediately to
                                       yr devoted Son
                                       James P. Williams

P.S.  You can send this up to Papa & Aunt

James Peter Williams, 1844-1893, later a freight agent and last superintendent of the Lynchburg division of the James river and Kanawha Canal Company

MSS 490

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