My dearest Catherine Jane,
The gale nearly robbed us of tonight's festivities, but honest toil and cold hands unmade the stubborn frost. As I write you I'm warming my hands by the fire while the young Vesey boy sings. He's a fancy college fellow. His face is so young and pink and smooth. I'm certain he lied on his papers.
Unfortunately I will not join my brothers tonight against those visiting boys from Tennessee. On Tuesday there was a mishap while we were hunting mallards in Madison. I took a shot. I'm fit to be tied with myself. Clendening is to take my place. I don't like it, but there's not much I can do with this leg but pout. And there's no pout in me.
Now Catherine Jane, don't you fret. I can almost see your face inside my head. This isn't the first minie ball to find me and it won't be the last. Doc Ramsay rubbed some duck grease (you best believe we got them ducks) on the wound and saved the limb. No bonesaw for me, thank criminy. But I'm no hospital rat, I'll be back out there 'fore you know you.
Those Nashville boys gave us a good scrap back in December. Do you remember December, Catherine Jane? I can't. If I recall correctly Colonel Nash scored a righteous blow against those Nashville boys. His eyes are so kind, but when his blood goes hot there is no holding him back. To acknowledge the corn I pray his blood stays hot, it may just get us through the winter.
Alright, I best skedaddle. I hear them Nashville fellers coming and I intend to hoot and holler for the boys tonight. Remember the days where I sparked you out by Old McGulch's swimming hole? I keep those memories close to keep warm. You ought to do similar.
Yours, steadfast and true,