February 4th, 1865
I must confess myself almost thoroughly "demoralized" since my return Perhaps had I been less kindly treated while home, I could feel more contented here now. As however the cause is with myself, I know where to look for its reversal and it will be entirely my own fault if I do not resume my usual contentment before long.
No change has occurred, during my absence, in the Valley. General Sheridan is still here, contrary to my expectations when I left New York. A Grand Review of the Cavalry came off on the 1st inst. There were present Generals Sheridan, Emory and Hatch (of the Western Cavalry) besides a large concourse of Officers and Ladies. The day was fine, but quite cold. Everything went of pleasantly; and many will remember with pleasure an occasion that threw them face to face with the men, who have so large a share, as our cavalry, in making history. There passed before us, men who we recognized as the originals of these names that had already become historic, and who can tell what deeds may be recorded of them before another opportunity occurs to see them? It is reported, I know not with how much truth - that General Stoneman is to take command of the ?Cavalry forces now in the Valley, but whether he does or not you may expect to hear of their starting soon upon a raid of much importance. It may be at great expense of men and horses to send out cavalry in the winter season, but to have them lying quietly here and having the enemy using heir railroads uninterruptedly through the whole winter, running supplies into Richmond when the cavalry can destroy those roads, is so manifestly to our disadvantage, that an attempt to destroy the roads may be relied upon as the first effort of the cavalry, and that too, before the general movement of the lines. Four weeks will bring us the season usually embraced for the commencement of campaigns. Much speculation is indulged in as to the disposition likely to be made of our Division. Nothing but will can tell the tale.
The numbers of the Regiment remain so small that it seems like defrauding Uncle Sam to keep up the organization. We have only 230 men present including cooks, drummers and detached men. We have, it is true more than some others, but we are shorn of our usefulness by the neglect to fill up old regiments. I suppose there is some good reason for forming new regiments, but if so then a proper disposition should be made of surplus officers. I think I shall get disgusted if the campaign opens with the Regiment as it is. We went out today as escort to a train and all we could muster was 80 muskets for the duty, less than a good sized company.
I find it difficult to settle down to writing, in place of talking to your, but hope it will not be long before I see you again. One is almost certain to nurse a false hope if he stakes anything upon the chances of peace through negotiation at the present time; but while they are talking, Grant and Sherman are working, and the crash will soon come with out the aid of "Peace Commissioners."
Hoping to hear from you often
Your Affectionate Brother
I shall have to request that you send stamps occasionally, I forgot to take in a supply while when I could get them.