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Date: May 24th 1864

Camp at Hanover Junction, VA
May 24, 1864

My Dear Mamma

I received yours of the 4th inst two or three days ago. We get mail here only occasionally so in sending letters one can not tell how long they will be on the road or whether they will ever reach their destination. We are now in the heart of the enemies country only 20 miles from Richmond or at least I think that is the distance. We have had very heavy fighting since we left winter quarters as I suppose you have seen by the newspapers. We fought steady in the woods for 8 days and have lost none thou half of our Reg killed or wounded, still Grant has steadily driven the rebels before him and now I think they are making their last stand before [?] to Richmond. Last night we had a smart engagement and as I write the canon [?] and the musketry very heavy at the front. If they are defeated here Richmond is their last resort and from what I can hear they have it fortified till it is almost impregnable. The day before yesterday we passed through Bowling Green - the only place of any size that I have yet seen in [?]. I slept in the court house and saw a great many ancient old papers there dating some of them 100 years back and some around the alliance of [?] to King George of England. All the old papers and manuscripts were scattered about in the [?] confusion. I did not see one single white male inhabitant in the place, but plenty of niggers and white females, all of whom are rank [?] [?] there seems to be great unanimity of spirit in that respect. The country is pretty about here but not as cleared up as I expected to see it. There is a great deal of woods indeed half our marching is down through them. We * from camp about 3 miles from here at ½ past 9 in the evening and marched all night and all the next day till 5 o'clock in the afternoon without halting an hour the whole way. I can tell you a soldier has a hard life. My feet were so sore when I [?] here that I could hardly get along yet I had to keep up the [?] [?] behind the Rebel Gun Lines I will be glad when the war is over and I can return and see you all again. I hope you are better. It made me feel very sad to hear that you were sick. You must not worry so much. Take life easy when you can. I have found that to be the only way to get along. The weather is very [?] but the nights cold. I shall be able to tell you all the particulars of the things when I see you. My conveyances for writing are very limited. You ask what I get to eat. I get hard tack which is the same as [?] Coffee sugar and [?] beef occasionally. Sometimes five days [?] at a time and carrying [?] in a haversack on our back *pretty tough living but [?] plow on and get I should like to have some of your bread & puddings such as you used to make and I look forward to eating one of them soon. I want you to have a good large one the [?] I come home. I have not time to write more at present. With love to Papa Rhoda and yourself,

I remain,
your affectionate son,
Donald M. Forbes

P.S. Write soon even if you have no news it does me good to hear from you. DMF

Original Scans

Original Scans