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Augusta County: Jedediah Hotchkiss to Sara A. Hotchkiss, November 12, 1862

Hotchkiss describes his travels as he maps the countryside, and tells of the people and places he sees.

Sara A. Hotchkiss

Nov -- 12th 1862

Strasburg Va.

My Deary:

I have not written to you for a little more than a week -- "I've been roaming" as a poet would say, and so have not had time to write, or rather have not had a chance to send -- I went to Head Quarters the 31st of Oct. and Gen. Jackson told me I had better look after my commission and that he wanted me to see Gen. Lee and get authority from him for him to employ me still, as he desired to retain me & Gen. Lee was now in command of the Army and he alone could order such disbursements -- so I settled up to the 1st of Nov. and set out for Culpeper to see Gen. Lee -- though in no hurry, for I knew Gen. Lee too well to have any fears about my place -- I took my time and mapped the roads as I went, stopped over Sunday at my friend Buck's, in Front Royal, and then last Tuesday went across the Ridge at Chester's Gap -- the finest one I have ever passed through -- a gentle rise & fine farms up to and on the top -- When I got to the base of the Ridge word came that the Yankees were advancing along the base, so I took a route to Culpeper that was at a more dignified distance and went by the way of Sperryville

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spent Tuesday night in Washington, the county seat of Rappahannock Co -- and Wednesday went on to Culpeper Court House I called at Nelson's store to ask for Grinnan, thinking that I would spend the night with him, and was there informed that he was in prison - - I asked no more questions, but went on to Gen. Lee's Head Quarters, about a mile from town and spent the night with his Engineer got my application from Gen. Jackson approved the next morning and then started back by way of the memorable battle field of Cedar Run, and recalled the scenes of the bloody day we spent there as I passed along. I went on towards Madison Court House - and stayed Thursday night at Mr. Smoot's, the father-in-law of Jacob Plecker -- and you remember how it snowed Friday -- I kept myself by the fireside, glad to be in the rickety quarters of a humorous old widower, for he kept a good fire and one of his married daughters had come home for a few days and made the eating very good, so I thanked a kind Providence that had so well provided for me, while so

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many were exposed to the pitiless storm -- But it is almost incredible to believe when I tell you that soldiers, many of the barefooted, passed by that day from 8 miles off, going a mile or so beyond after liquor at 12 dollars a gallon -- to what straits will not men go for the vile stuff -- they said that apple brandy sold that day in camp at 48 dollars a gallon -- Saturday I came on through Madison Court House -- quite a nice place, on the top of a ridge. One of the prettiest sights I have ever seen is constantly presented in this part of Va -- in the clumps and groves of pines, so perfectly regular in outline and so rich and dark a color -- presenting such a contrast, especially at this time to the other woods -- I reached Criglersville Saturday night and got quarters for Sunday at Mr. Strickler's, a nice place, and so I escaped a cold day's ride again, for Sunday was quite raw -- I read and chatted -- they had a tutress, Miss Turner from Richmond, who was educated in Massachusetts. She was quite chatty -- has been teaching a long time --

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I read most of Headly's Life of Josephine -- a very good book and very well written -- she was a real woman -- but how badly treated -- since she gave her whole thoughts to her husband -- Monday was a fine day, and I had a nice ride across the Blue Ridge, by the crookedest road I have ever seen -- 19 miles across -- but the road is a fine one -- I stopped for the night at the foot of the Mt. Tuesday I came on to New Market -- found Mr. Dedrick on the Mt. with some of Potter's goods -- he was going to Luray but turned back -- Said Potter was not well and Bell was very sick with Pneumonia, the Dr. came twice a day to see her and charged $5 a visit -- they are off on the [unclear: Keezletown] road -- they had to leave New Market I suppose. The old man was glad to see me, and I got a good dinner through him -- I came to Mt. Jackson last night, and on here tonight -- I want to go on to Winchester tomorrow to our Head Quarters -- A part of our army is here, and a part in Clarke Co. and a part near Winchester -- the Yanks have left the Valley it is said --

Longstreet was at Culpeper when I left there -- Stuart has been fighting the enemy almost daily -- I hope to soon come home -- Keep my coat and pants until I come or send -- Excuse this lingo my love & kisses for the family -- I bought 2 doz ladies stockings & 3 handkerchiefs -- God bless you all -- Good bye

Your affectionate husband

Jed. Hotchkiss --

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