Nov. 30th, 1861
Your kind letter of the 24th inst. came to hand Thursday evening and was thankfully received. Letters from home are worth more to us than anything else and the cry of "the mail" will cause the boys to move a little more quickly than anything else perhaps excepting bullets.
I did not think that after what I did for Col. Devens when we escaped from Ball's Bluff, that he would at least acknowledge it in some way. But he has not noticed me or made any allusion to it. If I had not held him up and talked to him more roughly than I ever did to any man, then he would never have set foot on land again. If I had his throat in my hands again as I did that night, I would grip it so that he would remember me. I don't wish to boast but others besides myself knew that I was instrumental in saving him. I'd like to get my fingers twisted in his beard as they were that night, just once more, for I think that I'd make him grieve.
I don't know that I had any right to expect it but I did think he might do something for me in return for the service I did him, just enough to pay me for swearing at him as I did. I know that makes you feel badly, Mother, but it did cost considerable damning to get the old fellow across that river. His senses were so befogged that it took a great deal of strong language to make him realize that if we didn't all get going we were all going to meet at the bottom of the river. But enough of this. We shall probably remain the winter in tents here and picket on the Potomac between Edward's Ferry and Conrad's Ferry. I have run out of paper, news and daylight.
My love always,
Your Affectionate Son,
Walter A. Eames