Shannador County, Va. Dec. 29, 1863 Camp Near Mount Jackson
My Dear Wife
I embrace the present Opotunity to answer your kind and affectionate letter that came to hand the 28 That found me well and harty at presant. I was happy to hear you & the children wer well. I am sorry to hear that you are bothered with the Toothacke. I fear you exspose your self too much in the cold. You must try and Take good care of your self. and Not exspose your self no more than you can help in the cold and wet wether. I wish I was with you to help you to work and to keep you company. for I know you live a lonsome life. I was in hope to have had the chance to come home at Christmas but I was out of reach of home.
We have had a hard time since I heard from you. we left Orange Court House the 14 and took the cars and come to Stanton and the 15 we went to buffalow gap and staid there untill the 17 while I was there I wrote a letter to you, and then we marched to Stanton and went out on the lexington turnpik about 2 1/2 miles - and camped. The 19 about 10 oclock we had orders to march. we then packed up and marched thrugh Stanton and out on the vally pike towards winchester and camped in about 2 miles past Stanton. and marched 13 days and went in camp in 1/2 mile of mount jackson. and we are here yet But we dont know how long we will stay here for it is rumored that we are going to move to marrow down towards winchester. I wish they would take us in to winter quarters some where or other for this way living dont suit me I tell you out in all kinds of wether killing us up with colds
My Dear wife I would give any thing in reason to be with you now. I think of you both night and day. I think some times this cruel war will never end, but when I Think of our redeammer and the power he has over us all and that he can bring it to a close when he thinks proper to do so, it chers me up some. you must still try and comply with the request that I asked of you. I have writen 4 or 5 letters to you since I was home. and this is the third one that I have received give my best respects to farther and mother and all the famly and to all enquiring friends. Henry Fox joines me in love to you and the children he sends his love to farther & mother and all enquiring friends willy & jimmy are both well and send there love to you. Fox has ben sick for a few days but is well at presant you must excuse my badly writen letter for my ink is not fit to write with. I will now close by remaining your kind and affection husband untill death so good By.
John W. Watson
pleas write soon and often