Near Newport News [Virginia]
Camp 8th N. Y. Battery
April 12th 1862
All is quiet around here this morning. The Merrimack [CSS Virginia] has not made her appearance again. No doubt she has made up her mind that she is safest to stay where she is as the large guns from the Fort gave her some pretty heavy guns before she got out of their range. We could see the shells as they struck the water around the old Merrimack. There was two English and one French vessels lying nearby at the time of the engagement. They were no doubt taking notes of the proceedings. They are heavy gunboats carrying some forty guns each. They have been lying near here for some time. We passed by them when we came down here.
There is nothing unusual here today. The weather is pleasant. There is three of our company who have got their discharge on account of ill health and will return home in a few days. Their names are [George D.] Buckley, [Thomas] Blake, and [George D.] Seath. Seath is from Andes. He is a son of James Seath — you may perhaps know him. Lieut. [Zachariah H.] Sloat also resigned before we left Washington. I think that we are as well off without him as he never done anything while he was with us. All that he wanted was to get his pockets full of Uncle Sam’s money and then resign when we were about to come into action. There is plenty of such men but their time is short for it now requires men of courage and men who will make some sacrifice for their country for officers.
But I must close for the present. You must not forget to write for we receive mail every day. I send this letter by Buckley who is returning home. I thought he might carry it more direct. You may direct your letters to 8th N. Y. Independent Battery, Washington D. C., in care of Capt. [Butler] Fitch.
— H. S. Murray