This is Gooding’s 34th letter to the Mercury

Mercury, November 5, 1863 [OAF]
Morris Island, Oct. 17, 1863

Messrs. Editors:

—Since my last, little has occurred worth mentioning in affaires de guerre. But we may hope for something pretty soon, as there are indications that powder is soon to be used in very large quantities. To give the reasons on which I base my suppositions of early action would very likely get your humble servant in a rather complicated position, i.e., the Provost Guard House — but it is enough to say that the troops here have not been playing holiday at any time since Wagner was taken. And be it further known, that any department under command of a General like Gen. Gillmore will always earn the gratitude of the nation, — saying nothing about the government funds.  If success be the fruit of perseverance, then the army of the South will be successful in an eminent degree, and every man feels sure of success; although none know precisely when, or how it is to be attained. They feel confidence in the head of affairs, and so long as men feel confident of their leaders, there is no such word as fail.

The rebels have been very quiet the past week. It is very unaccountable, but they let our working parties work almost the whole day without molesting them; but all the suspicious work is done under cover of night, so the rebels probably suppose the Yankees are only making themselves comfortable for the winter; but they may find out pretty soon that we want better accommodations than this sand patch affords; we want to know by experience whether the Mills House is equal to the Revere, or St. Nicholas, providing — it stands.  Last Monday, the obsequies of Ensign Howard took place. Ensign H.  was wounded the night of the attack on the Ironsides; he fingered during the week, till Sunday last, on which day he died. He was said to be a very good officer, and his loss is felt to be a great one by both officers and men. He was followed to the grave by one company of marines, a squad of about 60 sailors, and a large number of officers from the fleet, headed by the Post band.

The health of the troops is improving since the cool weather has set in permanently; I have not noticed an ambulance pass by our street but twice during the past week, but I take the large number of men returning to duty as a test, rather than any diminution in the calls of ambulances.

Col. E N Hallowell returned to his command today. He is looking quite hale and hearty after his severe sickness, caused by wounds received before Fort Wagner on the 18th July. His familiar voice acted like electricity on the men on dress parade today, and Col. Littlefield says he never saw such an apt illustration of the adage that “sheep know the Shepherd’s voice.”

Died, Oct. 15th, of consumption, Nathaniel Jackson, of Hudson, N.Y., Co. A, 54th Mass. Vols.