This letter was written by 39 year-old Hiram Davis (1824-1891), son of Isaac Davis (1786-1874) and May Pifer of Landgrove, Bennington county, Vermont. Hiram was married to Hannah Allen (1827-1898). Hiram wrote the letter to his new son-in-law, Henry Arthur Lincoln (1840-1887), who married his daughter, Betsey Ellen Davis (1845-1929), on 13 January 1863.
Hiram wrote the letter from Fairfax Station, Virginia, while serving as a corporal in Co. C, 16th Vermont Infantry. He enlisted in October 1862 and mustered out in August 1863.
Camp at Fairfax Station
February 21, 1863
Son-in-law Henry Lincoln,
As I had a line from you I will try to answer it in my weak way & manner. My health is good at this present time & hope these few lines will find you the same. It is warm here today. There is no snow scarcely to be seen here now. The wind blows here hard most of the time. Perhaps you think it strange because I have not written to you before but I have a great deal to write some weeks. I write from ten to fifteen sheets of paper—that with the rest of my duty keeps me very busy, I can tell you. How do you suppose you would like to stay out here in our pig pen & lay on the soft side of a split stick & without a woman too & your tent so thin that you could see the moon & stars too. Well that is not the best of it—you have the damned rebels all round you trying to shoot you. Well now, it is sweet to think of.
We have enough to eat—such as it is. Perhaps everyone would not like it at all but I hold my own. I weigh one hundred & forty-two pounds now. When I was at Camp Vermont, I only weighed one hundred & twenty pounds. But I do not have so much exercise now. I have just been out & helped my scholars through a call called the tattoo. Well there is not much music in it after all but we have to learn all those calls. How soon will some of the rest of Landgrove boys have to come out here? I think next June or before they will have to start.
Well, it is not very pleasant after all but it is not worse for them than it was for me & I have stood it so far very well. It looks as though I should be at home before a great while. Times passes swiftly on for I guess by the by that one of my daughters have got married since I came from home but I believe the one that has got her has not wrote to me at all about her. Perhaps he has got cheated some but I don’t think so for I think she is the best girl I ever saw of her age. But you must use her well. I hope she will make you a good wife. My respects to you both. Long life & much happiness.
— Hiram Davis