Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 8, Number 1, January, 1998 Page: 36
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
request me to tell their friends to write to them
at Richmond, Virginia.
Your Brother, Ben.
6. Benjamin Marshall Baker to James Davis
Baker, September 28, 1861, originally published
in the Colorado Citizen, October 19, 1861 (now
lost), this text from the transcription published
in the Colorado Citizen, November 20, 1908
and November 27, 1908.
Richmond, Va., Sept. 28, 1861
Dear Citizen: I must commence this
epistle by stating that I have delayed in writing
you until the present time on account of ar-
ranging camp, washing old clothes, and get-
ting ourselves in a semi-pleasant position since
our arrival in this State. The long and toilsome
journey thither, endured by the Texas boys,
placed them in anything but the best plight, so
far as appearance was concerned, for their de-
but in Richmond, and I assure you that they
presented rather a rough and hardy exterior to
those even quasi civilized.
Our company arrived in Richmond on
the 17th inst., and encamped in the suburbs, in
close proximity to the residue of the Texas Vol-
unteers, numbering seventeen companies. We
believe our company stood the trip and arrived
here in better condition than any other, though
we were compelled, on account of indisposi-
tion, to leave Lieut. Bullington, Cabaniss and
Perkins at Canton, Miss., and Coffee at
Lynchburg, of whom we have heard nothing
since our arrival here, and consequently I can
not report of their condition. We left them in
the hands of friends who kindly volunteered to
attend to their wants. We have now sick in camp
Col. Tanner, considerable fever, Pat Lundy,
chills and fever, J. S. Obenchain, fever, and
Corporal W. W. Pinchback, chills and fever. I
am thus particular in stating these cases, not
because they are in any manner serious, but
because some of the boys have not had an op-
portunity to write home. As a general thing,
our company has been in very good health since
we have been in camp.
Of Virginia, I must say that I am very
much disappointed. Apparently its chief pro-
ductions are tobacco, rocks, high hills and shin
plaster currency. The latter commodity is more
abundant in this "neck of the woods" than mud-
holes in Louisiana. They range from five cents
to five dollars, and constitute the medium of
change in this metropolis. Though illegal and
their issuance in such sums unauthorized by any
law of the State, certain individuals have taken
the liberty of putting them forth for the sake of
convenience and profit. There is little money
in this country in a "floating" condition; but in
the matter of shin plasters the natives here con-
trive to hold a limited hand with any people
beneath the sun. You can probably imagine the
unbounded astonishment of the subscriber the
other day when purchasing cigars-positively
cigars-and receiving his change in leather! yes,
sir, plain, unmitigated leather!-leather, and as
Poe sayeth "nothing more." I expostulated with
the thin-visaged Teuton for offering that spe-
cies of currency to a citizen of Texas and of the
Confederate States of America-with a blue
shirt on-but were told that "dat vash de pest I
can do;" and he added that the aforesaid leather
was, each distinct and separate piece of it, "goot
for one drink ash de par." Need I add that
leather was as good a thing, during the war, as
I say I am much disappointed in Vir-
ginia. I, filled with that characteristic innocence
for which I am, in a measure, remarkable, ex-
pected to see rich, fine farms, magnificent resi-
dences and palatial country-sites miscella-
neously and tastefully scattered all over the
country. Instead, my expectant vision has been
forced to gaze upon poor lands, not very re-
markably fine residences, and as to country
sites, the richest one I have yet beheld was a
Virginia maiden, with violet eyes and raven
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 8, Number 1, January, 1998, periodical, January 1998; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151402/m1/36/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed February 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.