J. E. Rantall letter, 1863 November 14
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Head Qurs 1st Regt. E. P. Ind. Vols. Drummontown, Va. Nov. 14th / 63
Very Dear Parent & Bros: We arrived at this the centre of a "howling wilderness," a few days since we marched from Salisbury to Newtown (25 miles) and through the courtesy of Col. Birney got a ride within 6 miles of this place. Col. Birney is here enlisting negroes. He has a squad of negro soldiers here and they look "funny" in blue breeches. We are bound to return their salutes, and this touching your hat to your slave "rigs" some of our officers badly. I have had a hint that I am to take an extensive tour in search of our men, who were wounded and left behind sick on our march. We have one in Rhode Island some at Gettysburg, at Washington Philadelphia, Alexandria and Baltimore so I shall have an excellent time. I intend keeping a journal of all I see and miles travelled &c. I intend visiting Gen'l Dix who has command of the Dept of the East Head Qurs. in New York City I hope the General will send me. The weather here is delightful. No snow yet and only slightly frosts. love to all J. E. Rantall