[Major Hotchkiss is really in for it now.]
New. Iberia La. Nov 22d 1863
My Dear. Wife
Another Sunday evening has made its appearance and again I seat myself to spend this evening in my usual manner, viz. by writing you a letter. I do not think that I can spend it in a more pleasant or profitable way, and I hope that you will agree with me in this respect. I wrote you on Friday a good long Letter of four Sheets, and since then have not had the pleasure of receiving any thing from you. I am in hopes how-ever that when the next mail arrives it will bring me two or three letters from you and some from home. The Folks at home are not doing very well in the letter business, not having [p2] received but one from them since I left home now nearly six weeks. I must confess also that I have not done as well writing to them as I should have done, only having written two letters, but then you Know I write to you so often that you can tell them all that is transpiring with me. I intend however hereafter to do better and write oftener to them. I think probably I should write oftener to them and less to you, for you do not seem to appreciate my writing so many letters to you as you do not pretend to write me so often while I think you should write oftener than I do. I find that all the officers in the Regiment who are married receive about double the number of letters that they write and they think this proportion is about right. In your next Letter tell me what you think about this, be sure and give me your true opinion and not say that [p3] you think of course I should write the greatest number. Yesterday Gen Franklin the commander of our Army, issued an order placing me in command of a Brigade. I immediality issued an order, assuming command of the 2d Brig, 4th Div. 13th Army Corps, and now hold that position. Col Landrum commands the 1st Brigade. My Brigade is changed somewhat, from what I wrote you before. I now have the 77th Ill Infty, 97th Ill Infty, 130th Ill Infty 48th Ohio Infty, 1st Reg U.S.Infty. (regulars) and the Mercantile Battery, Chicago. You will notice that my Brigade is nearly all Illinois. Reg. and I beleve are about the only Illinois Troops in this Department. I think it is a No 1 Brigade, and has been before tried well. I have not yet heard anything from my application for recruiting, it was sent to New Orleans, and has not yet had time to be returned. I think the application will be granted by Gen Banks but I expect Gen Burbridge will not [p4] want me to leave now, as I have taken Command of the Brigade. I shall try how-ever to arrange the affair so that I can go and recruit and have the Brigades held for me while I am gone. I have about fixed my staff. You Know I am now entitled to the same that a Brig Gen. has, as I am acting in that Capacity. Lieut + adjutant, Henry P. Aryres, of 77 Ill is my A. A. General. Lieut + Q. M. David McKinney of 77 Ill is Brigade Quarter Master. Lieut Campbell of the 77 Ill Brigade commissary. Lieut Pike of the 48 Ohio, Inspector General. Lieut Parker, of the 130 Ill, Aid de Camp, then I have some Cavalry as Orderlys and escort, so you perceive, I have quite a Staff quite enough I think for one man to be bothered with. When we all get mounted and start out, quite a gay Party is represented and such a clattering of shell [?] and sword is really frightful, a person seeing us would suppose this would be quite a dangerous Party to meet out in some [p5] secluded spot, but I assure you we look worse than we really are. Last evening quite a scene took place in the Regiment. As soon as the Officers heard the order that I was to take command of the Brigade, they presented the Major with a petition signed by every line Officer in the Regiment excepting two or three to resign his commission as Major for the good of the Regiment. I never saw a man so completely cut down as he was. I felt very sorry for him but could not help him in any way. He called up the Officers and talked to them and wanted to Know what they object-tioned to him for and, on what grounds they wished him to resign. They stated that they thought he was incompetent and that they, nor the men had no confidence in him and his Keeping command of the Regiment would [p6] ruin it. The Major then talked to them but instead of making the matter any better, by his usual matter of talking made it decidedly worse and the meeting broke up with a worse feeling among the Officers against the Major than they had before. I called them together this morning and gave them a talking too, and have for the present quieted the matter, but I shall have to resort to some means to get rid fo the Major, for if I leave him in com-mand of the Regiment he will assuredly ruin it. He will not at present resign for if he says if he does and goes home on this account that it will ruin him. I can not blame him much on this account, for it certainly would injure his reputation somewhat if he was thus forced to resign. I feel sorry for him and he feels it very much. He was in my Tent last evening and cried over it. I pity the poor fellow [p7] from the bottom of my heart, but it cant be helped. He has brought this on himself by his course, to tell the truth the Major has nothing about him that would win favor with any one, and is certain a very unlovable man. how in the world his Wife came to fancy him is a mistery to me, but you Know there is no accounting for tastes, for in the same way, some might say how in the world did Mrs D.P.Grier, ever come to fancy her Husband. You of course can answer that question. You certainly did take a fancy to your Husband and I am sure he is very thankful that you did, for at one time he was very much afraid that you never would.
Next Thursday is Thanksgiving day. I suppose you will have an Extra Dinner to dispose of on that day. I wish I could be with you, but I have no doubt, but that you will often think of your absent Husband and wish he [p8] were with you on that occasion. Good Night my own darling wife Write me very often and good long letters and I am and will always be
Your Affectionate + Loving