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Augusta County: James B. McCutchan to his Cousin, February 23, 1863

McCutchan relates the harsh winter conditions in camp and mentions that although there is word his cousin, James R. McCutchan might be dead, he still holds hope that he is alive.

Feb 23rd 1863

Camp Winder

Dear Cousin

I received your long looked for and welcome letter a few days ago, I was somewhat surprised when I received it. I had come to the conclusion that you did not intend to write any more to me, well I will not treat you so bad as you did me, and will write sooner although I am afraid it will fail [unclear: in] interest - we have no news of importance here now times are very dull. It is reported that old Joe Hooker has left the Rappahanock, and I suppose it is true. I would just as leave he had advanced here as any where

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else and rather I believe. I suppose he has concluded that it would not be healthy on this side of the river. Some of the troops have been moveing away form here, don't know where they have gone. I hope we will not have to leave untill the weather moderates some, we have had some prety rough weather, it snowes or rains nearly every day. it snowed all day yesterday it is about a foot deep. it is clear today and the snow is melting some. we have our wood to carry a long ways now and I tell you it is a pretty tough job, but I will be content to carry the wood if they will just leave us here until warm weather. when we do leave this camp we will have to carry all that we take along. it will be as much as our poor horses can do to take the empty wagons out. I never saw the like of mud before. I thought it was bad at [unclear: Romney] last winter, there was some bottom in the mountains but there don't appear to be any here, there is nothing but sand here. I don't think I have seen a rock as big as a mans head since we came here except just on the bank of the River. well I believe I will stop for the present and do some washing while the sun shines, will finish this to night. Well I have done a big days washing, pretty hard job, will now finish my letter -

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I received a letter from home this evening stating that it is thought that Ja's R. is dead. I am sorry indeed to hear it and still have some hopes that it is not so. [unclear: Of] that this cruel war was over alas there are many that started out that will not return when it is over. I wish I was by your fire with you tonight. I think I could interest you more that I can on this poor sheet. I hope the time will soon come when that priveledge will no longer denyed. Well Cousin I must draw this poor affair to a close. I miss [unclear: save] (the dear creature) a few lines tonight I have not wrote to her for three months. Give my love to Cousin Lizzie and all the rest of the folks. Excuse mistakes.

As ever your true Cousin

Ja's B. McCutchan

Yates just now told me that Louis D has been up to see you. he must be getting he has been to Lexington by this time

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