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Augusta County: James R. McCutchan to Rachel Ann McCutchan, [no date]

McCutchan write to his cousin Rachel of the crowded and unhealthy conditions in his camp, now that thousands of troops are gathering near Harper's Ferry.

Well Rate I suppose if you do complain of my letter not being interesting, you can't complain of it not being long enough.

There are about twenty thousand troops here now, & more coming nearly every day, sometimes as many as a thousand at a time. The place is nearly full up, nearly all the citizens have moved away out in the country. Rate it would do you good to see this town from the top of the mountain. Those who have no tents are quartered in houses, those who have tents have them pitched immediately to the North of the town. there is a hill close here, litterly covered with tents, not less a thousand I suppose, all laid out in rows like a little town.

There are twenty two hundred Mississipians here, fifteen hundred Alabamians, & one thousand Kentuckians. There are a good many accidents happening here among careless persons, several men have accidentally shot & one or two Kentuckians on purpose. The Rockbridge Rifles are gone up to Martinsburg about 13 miles from here to the North I don't know how long we will stay here. We may be called away any day. I wish they would send us to Shepherdstown it is a beautiful town 8 miles from here right up the Patomic. I would like to go somewhere else now where it would be more [unclear: quiet]. There are too many here now. One poor soldier died yesterday evening. I saw him but an hour or two before he died; he suffered dreadfully, he was not sick more than 24 hours I believe. When I saw him he was almost black. Physicians say he was poisened by something he ate or drank. He was taken away this morning with the honors of war.

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I must stop writing to you & write some to M.J. I got a letter from home to day. I want your to write to me now as soon as you can if the plow has to stop in consequence of it. I will write to you as soon as I get an answer to this one. Buck send his best love to you. Kiss all the children &

believe me as ever yours truly

J. R. McCutchan

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