Note: The following two pieces of paper are uncertainly associated. The first is a short half piece of paper bearing a date but not addressed to any one in particular. The final line apparently reads "Yours affectionately" is cut in half. It is uncertain as to whether this has been cut off or torn off. The second piece of paper repeats the poem mailed to his sister (March 02, 1864). There is no envelope for these. Apparently they were mailed to some one other than his sister. They are assumed to be part of the same letter because of wear marks, similar writing, and of being of the same type of paper that matches only one other letter in this collection (July 25, 1863).
We arrived here at ten o'clock this morning. I have just returned from a stroll through the city. It is a much finer place than my idea of it before seeing it, although it bears a half deserted appearance; so many stores closed and the broad levee bare of all merchandise.
I learn that our regiment is at a place called Indian Village where I shall join them as soon as possible.
I am enjoying my usual health and hope this will find you as well.
I cannot write now as I felt then and of course my description cannot do justice to my "feelinks" at that time. My first wish was that I had improved by my former experience, and not gone to sea again, so I blamed myself, and asked a favor in this wise:-
Oh why was I fool enough, to again come to sea;
The fishes eat all I eat. then why not eat me.
Oh, pray sir; be kind enough, to one whom you love,
Just place me upon the sail, and give me a shove.
Until we got to the leeward of the Islands I could barely move about, and I have not yet forgotten how,
As I laid in my berth, at the ships every roll
I thought Heaven was parting my body and soul
When the climax had come and I saw what'd been done
Then I found not my soul, but my dinner had gone
If I lie on my back; If I lie on my side;
Then my head's sure to crack, or the berth is too wide
When I lie on my breast, or in spoon fashion style
My supper reappears in a very short while.
In the morning I eat and then walk upon deck
Then I lean on the sail; am not seasick a speck
I see fishes below; they are hungry I know
Out of charity pure, then, my breakfast can go
You will ask how I lived? If I saved half enough?
I did not. But you see, then I lived upon snuff
Not the Turkish or Scotch. No; nor any of these
But on snuffs good and strong of the saltish sea-breeze.
"Rather windy" I think I hear you say; but,
I've a secret to tell, which you must not repeat.
When you're sea sick for days, do not practice deceit
When your dinner you eat, and your plate you divest
Put a kink in your neck and wait for't to digest
We have had the weather uncomfortably hot, and, while off the coast of Cuba it seemed like the middle of summer. Now the air is just warm enough to be enjoyable.