On October 26, 1862, Dr. Edwin P. Becton of the 19th Texas Infantry wrote a letter to his wife while encamped at Camp Nelson near present day Austin, AR. I thought the description of his tent and accomodations were worth sharing. Below is a portion of the letter.
“…We have a large fire in front of our tent & a pit dug inside in which we put coals. This keeps our tent warm & comfortable. If you could peep in on us this morning you would laugh to see how cozily we are fixed. Just let me describe our room. Our tent points southwest, in front is a large fire, between the tent & the fire lies an oak log on which the boys are sitting talking about everything in general & nothing in particular. At the door at the foot of our tent pole are my saddlebags in the corner below. By looking you would see corn meal, flour, shoes canteens, yeast (ponders?), molasses, cold bread, haversacks, etc., etc. On the upper side are our old clothes. Dr. Witherspoon has just come in and asked for my Anatomy [book]. He is sitting on a pair of saddlebags, leaning on the roll of clothes, chewing tobacco & reading anatomy; in the east side of the tent about half way is our pit of coals & up in the north east corner is my trunk raised on some bricks, by the side of it & near the pit of coals sits No. 1, pen in hand, “droppin you a few lines.” Overhead we have a pole suspended, on which we hang our clothes. My boots are hanging up there as nicely polished as if I were going to hear Dr. Marshall preach. Now, what do you think of Miss No. 1 as housekeeper or rather tent keeper? This is as people in old times used to say the “holy Sabbath day,” but if you were to ride up just now you would think it was anything but the “holy Sabbath day” here. In the company next to us & near my writing desk is a fellow playing the fiddle. He has just finished the “Arkansas Traveler” & is now on something else. In an old field near by are several boys playing ball & by looking around doubtless I could find several playing cards, but I am happy to say that not a member of Company I is to be found in either party…”