April 28, 1864 they say that they can not get horses for us

Head Quarters 7th Mich Cav April 28th / 64
Camp near Colpeper

My Dear Mother.

I received last night your kind letter of the 21st. I have also receved all those letter you rote about and have answered them all. in my last letter I wrote I did not know as I should have a chance to write from here again. Well I have and may again prehaps. but no one knows what moment we may leave. this morning we saw a battery of Artilery and two reg of Cav go out toards James City. I am at present dismounted and they say that they can not get horses for us and that we are going to relieve Inf that are guarding the rail Road between here and Washington. they have had us turn over our Sabers & we are to keep our Carbines. but I think I shall try some plan to get a horse for if I am to go dismounted I know I can not stand it long for my knee is not perfectly sound. and even when I am rideing all day I am obliged to lengthen the stirup of my right leg to keep my knee from paining me. I shall I think buy me a horse of my own as soon as I can raise the money & then I shall not be dismounted by the whim of any Officer. Yesterday we had a general inspection before mustering for pay. both of Quarters and of men & horses & arms. Gen Custer and our present Div Gen. Gen Taubert, passed through our camp and spoke well of —- it. Gen. Taubert rides as fine a horse as I ever saw and rides on a silver saddle & Silver sturips. It would please you if you could see how fine these Generls dress and their staffs. last night I lay on my bunk reading a book (about 4 oclock) and all at once up came a gust of wind & blew my house all to bitts so that it was scattered for more than a rod & I in the midts. but by a little extra exertion and by the help of some of the boys I was able to put it up agaon and made it look as well as before and solidier I know. I also got those papers you sent with the letter for which I was much pleased. there are half a dozen in the Reg that stand ready to take the Kalamazoo paper – Ed Lockwood always wants the Kalamazoo papers and also the boys in the 5th Mich cav. last night Gen Custer sent — for one man from each company in this Reg to act as Scouts in this comeing campaign. It neads a man of good understanding & good in Geography one that can easly understand a — map. the Adj offered me a chance but I wisely declined for I do not care to expose my self to more than what is accually necessary. For some reason the Reb lately have taken a pecular dislike to this brigade and — swear that they will have Gen Custers flag this summer. I suppose it is on account of the Richmond raid. befor they always said that Michigan boys used them better while they were prisoners than any other troops. The old second Mich Cav are here now & — are going to take the place of the 1st Reg of Vt Cav that is in this brigade so we then will be all Michigan boys. then let the Rebs get Custers flag if they can. Sis as soon as I am paid I will send you some money to — buy your music book so be a good Girl write to me & O

From your Aff Son

Spencer McO

Curator’s Comments:  He begins by describing what appear to be preparations for military action. Cavalry and artillery head off to James City, east of Richmond. His unit has been dismounted for a lack of horses and he hears they will be reassigned as an infantry regiment guarding a rail line to Washington. This concerns him because he claims his bad knee will not allow him to be on his feet as much as an infantryman. His solution is to save money and buy his own horse, rather than wait for a government-issued mount.

McOmber then offers admiring descriptions of several generals and their fine horses. He thanks his mother for sending copies of the Kalamazoo Gazette. He then makes some remarks which seem a little odd given that several weeks ago in one of his letters he criticized an officer for never being with the regiment when there was fighting. When he is offered a chance to scout for his company, he declines because he doesn’t want to take the risk. Spencer also remarks that the Confederates seem to have made Gen. Custer’s regiment a particular target.



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