Letter from Austin, Matthew S.

Soldier: Austin, Matthew S.
Allegiance: Union
Unit/Service Branch: 5th Infantry
Home State: New Jersey
Date Written: Monday, October 20th, 1862
Location: Camp Kearney
Correspondence Type: Letter
Subjects: Camp Life, Commanders, Comrades, Eastern Theater, Family
My Dear Father,

I have not written you but once since my late visit home from the fact that there did not appear to be any thing of interest in the regiment worth communicating and nothing outside which you would not hear of through a better channel. Recently, however, we have an item or two. On Saturday evening last, Col. Starn received papers recalling him from his present command - he returns to Capt. D'ecoud Cavalry (Regulars) He has several times made application to be placed again in command of his company and has at last succeeded much to his own relief, doubtless and to the secret joy, I doubt not of a majority of the Reg’t. Since his return (late) his ? course with his officers and men has been much amiable - so marked indeed as to cause a general remark among officers and men. Its affect upon all is remarkable. I am sure there is more love for him that formerly. He takes final leave tomorrow. Col. Sewell will doubtless, be Col., Maj Ramsay, Lt. Co., Capt Angel Major. There is also a vacancy in the post of Adjutant - our late one (Lt. Newman) having deserted recently. Lt. N. had leave of absence to go to Washington last week. On Saturday letters were received from him, post marked “Harrisburg PA.” intimating that he would not return and returning some papers he had taken with him. The case is a little ?. It is intimated he has volunteered to serve the government in some secret capacity. He is, doubtless, a deserter.

The weather is pleasant - nights quite cold, with light frosts. Have had some rain. We do not know of any move likely to occur. We are supposed to be ready for any emergency, however. So long as the rebels remain at Winchester, we shall remain here. Perhaps we are expected to winter here. Certain it is that the season for offensive operations will soon have passed.

I am in very good health, indeed and send love to all at home.

Truly and affectionately

M. S. Austin
Com. Serg’t
Fifth N. J. V.