Bird's Point, January 5, 1862.
We received the box of provisions to-day in very good order considering the length of time they have been knocked about on the route. It came by freight by some mistake or other. The doughnuts were the only articles spoiled. They had moulded. I sent the box over from Cairo but was not here when it was opened, so that aside from one cake labeled from Aunt Nancy, I don't know where a thing comes from. I did recognize your home snaps, too, and thought there was something very familiar in the taste of a mince pie that I ate, but I am too badly used up to-night to be sure of anything, and tell you as I want to how much we are obliged to our good mothers for their thoughtful care for us. I believe every boy in our mess has received socks and mittens from home. One received them by mail from his mother in New York City. At 7 this morning I went over to Cairo with 50 men after forage for our teams. We stood around in the cold, mud and rain for five hours before we got to work, and then the men had all run off but 15 or 18 and we had to roll bales of hay over a way almost impracticable — and all told, it was a mean job and used me up very near totally.
Ame Babcock, Ike McBean, English and Leary have been to see us nearly every day for a week. Colonel Kellogg took supper with us last night. The gunboats were hammering away all day yesterday down the river, and after dinner the general sent our company with four others from our regiment and nearly all of the Ith (sic), with one day's rations, down the river. We waded about six miles through the mud down the creek and then came back without knowing what we went for. There are none of us that are sick, but we don't feel as well as we did in tents. I wish we hadn't built these cabins.
SOURCE: Charles Wright Wills, Army Life of an Illinois Soldier, p. 51-2