J.D.P to mom

In Camp Near Gettysburg Penn
July 1
st
 1863
My Dearest Mother
     Today has been unusually hot, so sweltering in matter of fact that 
many of our men have fallen through the heat, today our pickets 
encountered enemy cavalry in the town of Gettysburg, I have learned this 
through stragglers that had been passing our Brigade since the firing 
started, there has been a stif f fight for a ridge which I of course have 
not perceived, you may be in no disquiet about my safety as we were not 
engaged this day, and while I feel some relief to that ef fect I do feel 
chastened to have missed the fight.
The latest reports; so says the sergeant, is that we have driven them, 
but he was subdued when we asked, so unlike him.
I have already written about my experiences of camp life and the 
continuance of the same, I know may bore you, but having never been one 
for tobacco, the chewing or the smoking I find that there is very little 
for me to do when we collapse in exhaustion to the ground after a 
march, I am relegated to staring morosely into the fire whittling on any 
sizable stick I can find to support it, to no artistic avail though I 
assure you, as I simply scalp the skin from them and toss them away, I 
did a few nights ago try to fashion a sculpture of a man, but having cut 
of f the part that was meant to be his head I threw it away, I ponder 
trying again, maybe chess pieces, or checker markers, but with no board I 
would just end up, assuming I succeeded, selling them as souvenirs anyway.
     I have just finished patching up my coat with a piece of striking 
plaid cloth that I found, "Watch out for sharpsho oters ifn ye turn 
sideways" says the corporal, but you have need no fear, I have yet to see 
rifle green out here, though the sergeant said that he heard the noise of 
some earlier, during the fighting.
I did not mention earlier did I? a while back a photographer to ok our 
company, maybe you have seen it in an illustrated or paper, if so would 
you send me a copy, the men are very curious.
 
Af fectionately, your Son J.D.