After observing that letters from home bring him great pleasure, John Booker chastises his cousin for not writing sooner. He notes that "Flem" Gregory has been ill, but is recuperating. Then he launches into a complaint that energizes the letter: Captain John Herndon is too "lazy" to grant the soldiers in his company furloughs, even though it is Christmas time, and even though the men are not doing anything, not even picket duty. So discontented are the soldiers that many say they will not re-enlist. John Booker claims that he opposes desertion, but that the wealthier men who paid substitutes to serve in the army should have to join, while veteran soldiers should receive furloughs. Angered at the inequality, John exclaims, "this is a rich mans war an a poor mans fight." He ends his letter by observing that Memory Inman, another member of Company D, is heading home to get married.