Camp near Sharpsburg, Md.
Oct. 5 1862
My dear Sisters,
Your (Ellie's) letter of the 28 Sept. ‘62 came yesterday. Was glad to learn that the money matters had been arranged, only I forgot to say, that if any expenses were incurred by Harry or George, in either case, you should be particular to include them in the amounts paid. The balance I leave to this disposition of Hal and Ellie. The Trunk matter was very opportune, the Mail getting rather the better of the express for once.
I finished up the Militia just as soon as possible, as far as I was concerned, tho’ I was sorry to see they did not escape without accident, which I was apprehensive all the time might occur. They were impatient beyond any conception and finally exhausted mine in one or two instances which I suppose caused the enclosed paragraph in the Harrisburg “Telegraph” which I am extremely happy to say has not in the least disturbed my conscience in the matter; probably it was an individual case in which one of the 20,000 came to my office to inquire if he could not get a pass to go over the Rail Road, when the Regt. had marched, he having in the meantime under an improper representation obtained permission to visit the Battle Ground, 12 or 14 miles off, when he could walk to and back to Hagerstown after he knew there was no enemy there, but had refused to go the day before when his Regt. was ordered there and the prospect of meeting the enemy was tolerable certain. I should expect as much from one of this class and there were more than one such case.
Tell Jim his letter, or rather Mr. Small's letter to him in reference to Maj. Lewis which he enclosed to me, was received the other day—but I cannot do anything in a case of this kind. It is not in my power to say whether an Officer or Soldier shall be excused for offences which they are charged by other officers with. This is only the province of a Court Martial. I have no discretion in the matter. I regret to say that more serious charges yet than that alluded to by Mr. Small have been preferred against Maj. L: charges affecting his character as an Officer and a Gentleman. I can explain them in no other way than the supposition he is not in his right mind. He is now, I think in Washington and has not joined us again. I hope he will stay away. The Prsdt visited us on Friday last, but do not think his visit amounted to anything. There was very little enthusiasm manifested by the troops that I saw. My Corps, for I am comd’g Hooker's temporarily, were kept under Arms waiting in the sun for so long a time as to have entirely melted out what little remained of theirs.
The dressing cans are very useful and acceptable notwithstanding Harry’s disparagement of your present, but the stocking caps you made last year are as good as new yet so I would not send them at this time.
I enclose Gov. Curtin's letter thanking me for the Militia business and so ends the chapter for the present. They will not abuse me much, for I have rather the advantage of several of them in the form of written protests to being taken into action tho' not of all, and abundance of proof on the part of others.
With much love to all at home believe me your affectionate Brother
John F. Reynolds
I saw Charly Heinitsh, from Lancaster in Camp the other day and he told me of Will's being so well. It is so long since I have thought of him, tho' we went to Mrs. Clark's together, I suppose that I have forgotten how to spell his name.