I was most pleased to receive your latest dispatch. It saddens me that the cholera has claimed uncle Ezekiel. What he thought he would find in the Nebraska territories beyond his own mortality escapes me. Perhaps it the lure of a sod house offered its own reward. I should say that at this moment in our current campaign, a shanty on the Platte would be most preferable.
Two skirmishes have your boys in blue reeling. Casualties mount and morale sinks with each muster. I watched V. Davis walk to medical tent after he was hit by one of the New York irregulars. His head held proud so as not to disillusion the rest of the boys, but the ruse did no good.
Our spring reinforcements have done little to help the cause, though I am not certain it is entirely their fault. We've been given a poor lot for protection. Try as they might, effort can only elevate a man so far beyond his natural station and we have been incessantly besieged. My shoulders ache and my knees howl with every maneuver. F. Gore, a rather experienced volunteer from Miami who replaced the layabout from Alabama we had been saddled with, can find no purchase as each advance is repelled by a swarm of angry resistance or, worse still, our own incompetence.
And there is much incompetence to go around, starting at the highest levels of the army's general staff to the conscripts being asked to do carry out orders far beyond their ability. Early in our most recent clash, I was made to throw to a man drafted only to block. Such foolishness!
If the campaign continues on this track, there may be casualties among the brass. Grigson and Pagano snipe at each other with increasing fury. Mssr. Irsay has tried his best to mediate, but his mumbles fall upon deaf ears. He tries but without any laudanum to fill his silver spoon, the rigors of daily life, much less a campaign of this nature, are too much.
I would be remiss if I did not salute my opponent on the field in this most recent battle. Col. Fitzpatrick has been at this horrible business long enough to have firm command of his role and a thorough understanding of the tactics. He comes here via Harvard, which surprised me to learn. Harvard men don't often find their way to martial pursuits such as ours. But I believe that gives him an edge lacking among West Point men and the more philistine officers cycling up from Alabama and Texas.
Enclosed please find two five dollar notes for yourself and the children to acquire as much penny candy as you see fit to allow them. I shall hasten to put pen to paper again as soon as I can. We march soon for Tennessee, where there has already been much hard fighting. For now, we are alive and our campaign is still in its earliest stages. I pray we turn things around with an urgency unseen since Hannibal rode his pachyderm over the snowy Alps.
Please give my regards to mother. I close with love to you, my dear.
Gen. Andrew Luck