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Josiah Pulsifer Transcript

Josiah Pulsifer
Norfolk, Virginia
July 10, 1864

My Dear Helen:

Sunday - what have I done today?  I have extended the pay rolls of ten companies a full regiment, and taken a horse back ride. Oh! Dear! – Helen, how I long to see you – I wish the machine at home could be run so that you could be with me – The trouble is that paymasters have little notion where they may be sent – There is no permanence in any station – Our currency is running down so fast that we can save less and less of our pay, but never mind, why a living man complain?  My position, if I can keep master of the situation, is one of the best in the gift of the govt.  You never know a person so watchful as I have been.  Small is a good little fellow – kind, honest, willing and turns off work fast, but I have to follow slowly after, and watch every man’s pay - and every figure – and I correct a great many errors.  He would in a rapid calculation make less mistakes than I, but he would be content with a less careful scrutiny – and when I get ready to part with my works, it would be more reliable than his, that is supposing he worked independently, but we have every thing in duplicate, he makes one set and I another, and we compare them together.  If we agree all right, if not, then it is easy to find the error.  There is in the room adjoining ours a clerk Mr. Hill of Scotch descent, who makes out both sets of rolls, does all the work for his Paymaster Maj. Dodge. Such confidence would ruin me, and yet Hill very rarely makes a mistake.  In fact his work is more correct than that of the average of Paymasters who work with their clerks.

There is no paymaster in Norfolk that begins to watch his business so snug as I do.  There are some whom long training in business has made more expert but I am fast improving in that particular.  I have done my best day’s work today.

But Oh, how I need my wife.  I won’t repine, best love.  Oh! The publicity of a private boarding house, a fellow keeps up all the time on his behavior and it hurts him.  I think if I must live away from home I should prefer a hotel and strange to say for its privacy.  I feel at times as tho a lady could brain me with her fan and then I have my cheerful times.  I don’t feel that I can make much plan of our meeting at present but I intend to see you this fall.  In the meantime enjoy yourself as well as you can.  Make your children train, and love me till we meet.