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Barber, John P.
Autograph Letter Signed, Norfolk, Virginia, December 23, 1863, to his wife Emma

octavo, two pages, folded, lacks mailing envelope, docketing information on last leaf, neatly inscribed in ink, in very good, clean legible condition.

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Dear Wife,

                I will give you a history of my voyage to Norfolk. We left new York Friday and arrived here Sunday. We stoped at fortries monrow but did not go A shore. We was out ov site of land all day we are in camp at fort rokue 1 ½ miles from the city of Norfolk within 20 miles of the rebs. Our pickets are out 20 miles as for my self I am better than I was my hans are about heald up. My cough is better thear is eny quanity of darkey here I saw some 200 yesterday from north carliany theay wear taken by a reg of colerd men theay have ben scowering the country. Theay got a number of gorilers and hung the most of them. Mrs. Lenards is in camp cooking for the orsifers. The old man regar is in the ranks whear he ought to be his sone came on bord at new York and brot him whisky and before we got 20 miles it was all spilt over bord with some 8 gallons more…” [sic]

          John P. Barber, a Massachusetts bootmaker, was a Private in the 3rd Battalion, Second Regiment, Massachusetts Heavy Artillery. The Regiment was mostly assigned to garrison duty in Virginia and North Carolina until March 1864 when, in a battle at Plymouth, North Carolina, two whole companies of the Regiment were taken prisoner and sent to a POW camp, where many of the troops died of yellow fever. It is unclear if Barber was among the prisoners. He was mustered out in South Carolina in November 1864.