Benjamin Farinholt describes conditions near Chambersburg, including the wealth of supplies that allows the army to live off the local population. Farinholt's letter to his wife also includes his predictions regarding upcoming action in the north, as well as the reactions of the local residents to their presence.
We have had some very hard marches lately as you may judge from the place and date of my letter. We are you may say in the very heart of Yankeedom, passed through Maryland Three days ago, a great many [unclear: reservists] joined our Army from Maryland but we found all very bitter Yankeys in Pennsylvania we met many secessionists in Hagerstown M.D. a place of about 6000 inhabitants. We are living very well over here and the amount of money saved to our Government every day by our subsisting on the Enemy is about $200,000. We are impressing & purchasing a great many fine horses from the Enemy and our Commissaries are supplied with fine Cattle sheep &c, the rations of Whiskey, Coffee & Sugar remind me of our living at West Point. We are about 20 miles from the Pennsylvania line, and the farms are generally about 1000 acres in size and produce from 12 to 15 [unclear: bhls ] corn and from 30 to 40 bushels of wheat to the acre. The owners are generally of Dutch descent and are very much terrified at our presence and think it horrible that we should invade Pennsylvania, indeed they have known nothing of the war heretofore, and I believe unless we do bring it home to them in this manner they would be willing to carry it on indefinitely. Of the plans of Genl Lee I know nothing our Div is in the rear. Genl Ewell & Hill and some of Longstreets Div. are near Harrisburg the Capital of Pa. We can take it very readily but whither it will be our plan to attack it or Baltimore or Phil adelphia I do not know, we have already supplied our Army with a great many shoes hats &c and I expect the advanced Divs have gotten more than we have. Our Army is in excellent health, and if we keep up our present state of organization there is nothing to fear from [unclear: any] force they can bring against us. Genl Hood I understand is between us and Washington - we are some distance north west of Baltimore and about 70 miles from it. Chambersburg is a very pretty town of about 5000 inhabitants. I have eaten many nice meals in Yankee land and the people take our money and feed us on the best they have, such as nice pickles, brandies, wines, preserves, apple butter, cherries &c, our meals, (and I get [unclear: ma] all at some houses where we stop, the houses are large, nice & convenient) cost us from 25 to 50 cents each. Hats of the best quality from 2 to 5$ - boots and shoes from time to time. Sheep 3$ each beef 8 cents per lb. bacon 12 cents. Coffee 7c Sugar 15 to 20 cents per lb, whiskey 1 00 per gal. The dutch farmers hate to see us driving their fine horses to our artillery and killing their fat beeves by hundreds. Our Army will not cost the confederacy a great deal as long as we remain in Pa. I suppose we will necessarily have a big fight before we leave the state, and expect it will be somwhere north of Baltimore probably near Philadelphia or Harrisburg. Our Army is in fine spirits and willing to be led every where - or any where confidently expecting success under the able leadership of Genl Lee.
Our soldiers have burnt no houses and no barns as the Enemy do and are obeying strictly Genl Lee's orders to "take no property unless we pay for it" but we have burnt some larger iron works, foundries &c, and are tearing up their Rail Road by whole-sale. I will not write a very long or very particular letter as we are not very certain that our letters may not be intercepted. I hope this may find you and Edgar and all [unclear: our] family in good health. My love to [unclear: Mama] and her family and to Sister [unclear: Mary] and all my relatives and to Aunt Betsy & family, and for myself and family accept all the love of
your devoted friend and affectionate husband
B. L. Farinholt
Kiss Edgar for me