June 19th 1864
Some time since I wrote describing our situation near the river-bank. At the time the River was high and I had good reasons for calling our position healthy. Since then the River has fallen rapidly and is now twelve or fifteen feet lower than it was then, and our position now is as unhealthy as it was healthy then. The riverene (?) surface laid bare by the retreating water, giving forth malaria and affecting all more or less who come within reach of its poisonous effects.
I have been down off and on for three weeks with complaints more irritating than dangerous. A headache has prevented me from either reading or writing or in fact anything that could divert my mind. I have now shifted across the levee and am in a measure beyond the full effects of the river malaria. My last from you was dated May 14th but so little attention could I pay to anything that I cannot say whether I have acknowledged it or not. Two mails have arrived since I received it without bringing a letter from home. G. (?) wrote a week later from new York.
I am specially anxious to learn if my check sent from Alexandria has been received. Had I received notice of its reception ten days ago I should in all probability have been on my way home, now, as at that time my sickness had assumed such a form that my resignation would have been backed up by a surgeon's certificate. If it has not been received I want to know, so that I can get from the Paymaster a duplicate. If it has been received I hope payment has been stopped as suggested in a note sent subsequently. I shall soon go on duty again in all probability and while fit for duty I cannot think of trying to quit the army, even did I not know that it would be of no use.
I find a question in your letter I know I have not answered. It is about filling up the Regiment with negroes. No such thing has yet been head of as the filling of white regiments with negroes and certainly we would not stand to be the first experiment. Perhaps no Dept is more thoroughly "Whitetltorous" (?) than this and yet I doubt if in any other the same distance is maintained between the white and colored troops. The white officers will not associate with or even recognize the negro officers as equals. Even may of the courtesies imposed by military law are entirely neglected when two classes meet.
The flies are so thick that at every word or two I must brush them off or screwing up my mouth give some one on my nose a blast, that if successful in dislodging him only has to be repeated until either the fly or myself get tired of the dispute or until some other annoyance on my part or attraction on his calls our attention away. From fear my temper will give out before the flies pertinacity, I will close by hoping this will find you all well.