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Augusta County: H. Brown to Elen Martin, January 27, 1865

Brown discusses the food and conditions at camp, the health of soldiers and prisoners, and his experiences preaching to both. He also notes that morale is rising, as a result of the apparent newfound humility of President Jefferson Davis.

Miss Elen Martin
Moffets Creek
Augusta Co

Jany 27th 1865


My dear Friend

Yours of the 24th with $150, enclosed, was received today, and the money disposed of according to [deleted: the] directions. The Tracts have been procured and will be forwarded by the first opportunity. I am very glad of the prospect of a box, and hope there may be an opportunity to send it. Such acts of kindness not only add greatly to my comfort [deleted: comfort], but effect me very sensibly. Although we should never be distrustful of the good providence of our Heavenly Father, yet what shall we eat, and wherewithall shall we be clothed, must, while we live, occasion anxiety and care. I get along [deleted: this] much better in the eating [unclear: line] than heretofore. Our bread is [deleted: baked] quite passable--much better than at any time since I have been connected with the army. It is baked by Yankee prisoners, who prefer to do it, to remaining in confinement, or to going home to be sent back to the army. I eat by myself in my room, [illeg.] bread, and occasionally [illeg.] meat is brought to [illeg.] the beef is so poor however that I rarely eat [added: it]; but the bread, with such additions as I make to it, leaves me no ground of complaint. Under these circumstances you can see that a box from friends is likely to be valued highly

I am glad to be able to say that at this time, the number of sick soldiers, in and around this city, is very small. In this camp the number at the beginning of the present month, was about 65. It is now about 35. To

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these I endeavor to minister in holy things [deleted: on] in various ways, and have reason to believe that my labors are not in vain. Within a few days past, two I trust, have passed from death unto life. A few weeks ago one died in about as happy a frame of mind as I ever knew. On last Saturday, that bitter day of [deleted: sl] rain and ice, [deleted: more than] 570 [unclear: parrolled ] prisoners came into camp Soon follows, wet and cold, (two of them with nothing that [unclear: resembled] the name of shoes or stockings,) how it touched me to see them. Nearly all however have since been paid, and clothed, and furloughed, and have gone home. Except these, we have had but few in this camp for some time. Not [deleted: therefore] having much to do in my own charge I often go abroad. Within the past two weeks I have preached 10 times. Of these, discourses, two were preached to the Yankee deserters, who have come over to us under order 65. [deleted: I have preached also] Near me, and indeed all around the city, is a [unclear: hive] of breast works, all along which pickets are stationed. Several miles of these I visit once a week with religious newspapers and Tracts I have preached also in each of the hospitals attached to the Liby prison All this, in addition to my daily duties in this camp and hospitals does not leave me entirely unemployed.

I have preached twice recently to our own people in Castle [unclear: Theenden]. On each of these occasions most of those who were not inclose confinement attended and were [deleted: entirely] orderly. The Yankee deserters, with

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some exceptions [deleted: all] attended, and those who did attend [deleted: were] behaved very well. On each occasion I noticed several in tears. At the close of service some of them introduced themselves, and others gathered round for a chat. They gave me many thanks for coming, and many requests to repeat my visits. of course I said nothing about the war but in a very general way Those to whoom I preached have, as I understand all left for their own land, and as many more are in their places

In the hospitals attached to the Liby prison, some were attentive, and some were not. One sobbed through nearly half the Sermon, but quite a number seemed to say in their countenances, "Well, this is an effort to heap coals of fire on our heads for the devilment we have done in Virginia"

On the whole, as long as I have as much as I can do among our own people I will preach to them "Let the children first be [unclear: fine]; [deleted: ] after that I [illeg.], as far as possible, "preach the Gospel to every creature". It can do the Yankees no harm, and may do them good. The tendency of a little kindness to them in their distress may be to soften their feelings.

For war news I must refer you to the newspapers. Our President [deleted: has evidently] after [added: having] well nigh ruined the country, has evidently

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largely laid aside his annoying self conceit in his own abilities, and his mulishness. This, and the appointment of a Commander in chief, has wonderfully revived the spirits of the people Col [unclear: Ould] told an acquaintance of mine two days ago that he now entertains strong hopes of a speedy general exchange of prisoners. The 570, who came last Saturday [deleted: have nearly all gone home on furlough. They] were in bettter flight than any I have seen. We have no late letter from my son Remember me very kindly to your Sister, and to your brother & family

Yours very Sincerely

H Brown

P.S. There is no doubt of a great effort for peace on both sides at this time, :Stevens Hunter, and Judge Campbell have gone to Washington for that object

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