Showing posts with label Letter Writing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Letter Writing. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: May 11, 1862


This place is what is called a turpentine plantation, where they get the pitch from which turpentine is distilled. The owner, Mr. Bogey, a harmless, inoffensive old gentleman, claims to be a Union man, and I reckon he is, because he does not run away or seem to be afraid of us. He tells me he owns 2000 acres of land, nearly all turpentine forest, and has 10,000 trees running pitch. He said the war had ruined him and thinks it has the whole south. He said the rebels had taken all but one of his horses and about everything else he had that they wanted. His niggers had all left him and gone down town. He expected that when we came, but cared very little about it, as he had only a few and they were about as much trouble and expense to him as they were worth. He said he was getting old, his business was all broke up and by the time the war was over and things settled he would be too old for anything. I asked him if all those pigs running about in the woods were his. He reckoned they were. I inquired if he knew how many he had. He couldn’t tell exactly, but reckoned there was right smart. The thought occurred to me that if that was as near as he could tell, if a few of them were gobbled they would never be missed, provided the squeal could be shut off quick enough. I learn that Gen. Burnside has given Mr. Bogey a protection, whatever that is. That perhaps may do well enough for him, but I should not want to warrant it a sure thing for all these pigs and sheep running about here. 


Our camp is named Camp Bullock, in honor of Alex. H. Bullock of Worcester, Mass. Today the boys are busy writing letters home, and it troubles them to tell where to date their letters from. They invent all sorts of names; some of them with a romantic turn of mind, date from Camp Rural, Woodlawn, Forestdale, Riverdale, etc., but Mason, with a more practical turn of mind, dates his from Hell Centre. The boys who were out in the woods last night say it is great fun, although they were not disturbed; there is just enough excitement and mosquitoes to keep them from getting drowsy. 

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 56-7

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: April 1, 1862


I learn that Major McCafferty has resigned and is going to leave us. I am sorry to learn that his ambition for fame is so soon gratified. I think a good deal of the major and shall miss him very much. He is a man of great good nature and a good deal of a humorist, and at times he makes considerable sport for the boys. The major's resignation creates a vacancy which, according to military rules will be filled by the ranking captain which is Capt. Pickett of company A. This will change the formation of the line, bringing company B on the left, and ranking second in the line. So, step by step, we ascend the ladder of fame.
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. . . . . . . We are now living in clover, having little else to do but to keep ourselves, clothes, arms and equipments clean and in good order. We do a little guard duty and the rest of the time is spent in reading, writing, card-playing and walking about town, seeing the fun and enjoying ourselves. Our rations are of good quality and variety. We now have our fresh beef three times a week, with all the soft bread we want. With our government rations, and what we can buy, such as oysters, fresh fish, chickens, eggs, sweet potatoes, etc., we are running at a high rate of speed. We often contrast this with our life at the inlet.

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 52

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: February 2, 1862

A high wind prevailed this morning and the sea was somewhat rough; the boat had considerable motion, but the boys had their sea legs on, so it caused them very little trouble.


Our company cooks, with commendable enterprise and industry and with an eye to our present well being, furnished us with baked beans and hot coffee for breakfast. This was a great treat, and every man had all he wanted; a vote of thanks was given the cooks. For dinner boiled beef was served, the first we have had since leaving Fortress Monroe.

I hope this kind of fare will hold out, but fear we shall have a relapse of the worst kind. The chaplain held services in the saloon this morning and afternoon. The boys spent most of the day writing letters, reading newspapers and making up their diaries.

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 31

Friday, May 1, 2020

Diary of Corporal David L. Day: January 19, 1862


Witnessing boat collisions and wrecks is getting old, and the boys are amusing themselves by writing letters, making up their diaries, playing cards, reading old magazines and newspapers which they have read half a dozen times before; and some of them are actually reading their Bibles. Of all the lonely, God-forsaken looking places I ever saw this Hatteras island takes the premium. It is simply a sand-bar rising a little above the water, and the shoals extend nearly 100 miles out to sea. The water is never still and fair weather is never known; storms and sea gulls are the only productions. Sometimes there is a break in the clouds, when the sun can get a shine through for a few moments, but this very rarely happens. The island extends from Cape Henry, Virginia, to Cape Lookout, North Carolina, with occasional holes washed through it, which are called inlets. It is from one-half to two miles wide, and the only things which make any attempt to grow, are a few shrub pines and fishermen. I don’t think there is a bird or any kind of animal, unless it is a dog, on the island, not even a grasshopper, as one would have to prospect the whole island to find a blade of grass, and in the event of his finding one would sing himself to death. The inlet is very narrow, not over half a mile in width, and the channel is still narrower, consequently it makes an indifferent harbor. Still it is better than none, or as the sailors say, any port in a storm. But as bad as it looks and bad as it is, it is, after all, a very important point, perhaps as important in a military point of view as any on the coast. It is the key or gate-way to nearly all of eastern North Carolina, and places us directly in the rear of Norfolk, Va. This island is not without its history, if we may believe all the fearful and marvelous stories that have been written of it, of its being the habitation of wreckers and buccaneers in ye good old colony times.


The boys are up to all sorts of inventions to kill time. In the amusement line the officers have started an exhibition or theatre up in the saloon. It is a clever device to break the dull monotony; to cheer up the loneliness and homesickness which seem to prevail. The exercises consist of recitations, dialogues, singing and music, and make a very good evening's entertainment. A limited number from each company are nightly admitted, and I can see no reason why it will not prove a success, as there seems to be no lack of talent, music or patronage. For a comic performance, one should be down in the after-cabin of an evening, especially about the time the officer of the day, who is a lieutenant, comes around to silence the noise and order the lights out. This after-cabin is a sort of independent community, having its own by-laws, and throwing off pretty much all restraint and doing about as it pleases. The officer of the day is pretty sure to keep out of the cabin during the day, but comes to the head of the stairs in the evening, and gives his orders. Very little attention will be given them, until finally he will venture down stairs, when he will be greeted by an hundred voices with, “Officer of the day! turn out the guard!” And a hundred more will respond, “Never mind the guard!” and this will be kept up until they finally drive him out. Sometimes, after the officer of the day has sailed to restore order, the colonel will come to the stairs and say, “Boys, it is getting late; time to be quiet.” That is the highest known authority, and order will come out of confusion immediately. Without any disparagement to the lieutenants, the boys have a great respect for Col. Upton; he has only to speak and his wishes are cheerfully and instantly complied with.

SOURCE: David L. Day, My Diary of Rambles with the 25th Mass. Volunteer Infantry, p. 23-4

Monday, March 9, 2020

Diary of Colonel Rutherford B. Hayes: Wednesday, May 25, 1864

Major McIlrath with seven hundred of various regiments came in at 10 A. M.; Lieutenant Hicks, Dr. McClure, and forty men of [the] Twenty-third; about three hundred of [the] Thirty-sixth. Wrote to mother and Lucy.

SOURCE: Charles Richard Williams, editor, Diary and Letters of Rutherford Birchard Hayes, Volume 2, p. 465

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Diary of Captain Luman Harris Tenney: June 25, 1865

Did not go out to church in A. M. Wrote home and to George. Read in “Capt. Bonneville,” by Irving. Several of the boys called. In evening attended service. Mr. Ives preached. Interesting meeting.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 168

Diary of Captain Luman Harris Tenney: June 29, 1865

Ren back last night. Cloudy but hot. Wrote home and to Headly. Bosworth and I called on Miss Tripp and Mrs. Searle. Had a very sociable time. Saw Miss Lizzie Daily a few minutes, too. Read “Country Living and Country Thinking” and “Miles O'Reilly.”

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 168

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Diary of 5th Sergeant Osborn H. Oldroyd: May 5, 1863

We were annoyed some little through the night, by the rebels firing, but they didn't hit anybody. Two regiments of infantry with some cavalry crossed the river for a little scout. I do not think there are many rebels over there, but what few there are, ought to be whipped. They will have to fall back at the approach of our men, but that is easily done, and, when our forces return, they will be right back firing from behind the trees.

The army is marching on around Vicksburg, and we are very anxious to take our place in this grand column. We are quite tired of the duties assigned us here, and have had orders to move several times, which were as often countermanded.

Had chicken for dinner. Uncle Sam doesn't furnish chickens in his bill of fare, but they will get into the camp kettle. We have to be very saving of the regular rations, consequently must look outside for extras—chickens, ham, sweet potatoes, etc., all taste good. I walked down the river a short distance, viewing the scenery, when a bullet flew through the trees not far from my head. I looked across the river from whence it came, but could not see anybody. Did not stay there long, but got back to camp, where I felt safer.

Our camp is in the bottom, close to the river bank. – The enemy at Grand Gulf spiked their cannon and retreated to Vicksburg. If that place could not be taken by the gun-boats on the river in front, the infantry marching in their rear made them hustle out in a hurry. When the people in Vicksburg see their retreating troops returning to the town they went out to protect, they will think Grant's marching around them means something.

While writing a few letters to-day I was amused to notice the various attitudes taken by the boys while writing. One wrote on a drum-head, another on his cartridge-box; one used a board and several wrote on the top of a battery caisson. These letters would be more highly appreciated by the recipients if the circumstances under which they were prepared were realized.

SOURCE: Osborn Hamiline Oldroyd, A Soldier's Story of the Siege of Vicksburg, p. 7-8

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Diary of Captain Luman Harris Tenney: June 21, 1865

Got several papers from home. Report that we move tomorrow for Springfield, Mo. Dislike the thought of going myself. Will try to get my papers through. Read and slept. Wrote One.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 167

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Brigadier-General William T. Sherman to Ellen Ewing Sherman, April 3, 1862

Pittsburg Landing, Tenn.
Camp.  April 3, 1862.
Dearest Ellen,

I have really neglected writing for some days.  I don’t know why, but I daily become more and more disposed to stop writing.  There is so much writing that I am sick & tired of it & put it off on Hammond who is sick cross and troublesome.  I have plenty of aids but the writing part is not very full.  I have been pretty busy, in examining Roads & Rivers.  We have now near 60,000 men here, and Bragg has command at Corinth only 18 miles off, with 80 Regiments and more coming.  On our Part McCook, Thomas & Nelsons Divisions are coming from Nashville and are expected about Monday, this is Thursday when I Suppose we must advance to attack Corinth or some other point on the Memphis & Charleston Road.  The weather is now springlike, apples & peaches in blossom and trees beginning to leave.  Bluebirds singing and spring weather upon the hillsides.  This part of the Tennessee differs somewhat from that up at Bellefonte.  There the Alleghany Mountains still characterized the Country whereas here the hills are lower & rounded covered with oak, hickory & dogwood, not unlike the Hills down Hocking.  The people have mostly fled, abandoning their houses, and Such as remain are of a neutral tint not Knowing which side will turn up victors.  That enthusiastic love of the Union of which you read in the newspapers as a form of expression easily written, but is not true.  The poor farmers certainly do want peace, & protection, but all the wealthier classes hate us Yankees with a pure unadulterated hate.  They fear the Gunboats which throw heavy shells and are invulnerable to their rifles & shotguns, and await our coming back from the River.

I have been troubles some days by a Slight diarrhea but am well enough for work.  My Division is very raw and needs much instruction.  Brigade commanders are McDowell, Stuart, Hildebrand & Buckland.  Genl. Grant commands in chief, and we have a host of other Generals, so that I am content to be in a mixed crowd.

I don’t pretend to look ahead far and do not wish to guide events.  They are too momentous to be a subject of personal ambition.

We are constantly in the presence of the enemys pickets, but I am satisfied that they will await our coming at Corinth or some point of the Charleston Road.  If we don’t get away soon the leaves will be out and the whole country an ambush.

Our letters come very irregularly I have nothing from you for more than a week but I know you are well and happy at home and that is a great source of consolation.  My love to all

Yrs. ever
W. T. Sherman

SOURCES: William Tecumseh Sherman Family Papers, Archives of the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana, Box 1, Folder 144, image #’s 03-0046 & 03-0047; M. A. DeWolfe Howe, Editor, Home Letters of General Sherman, p. 219-20; Brooks D. Simpson, Jean V. Berlin, Editors, Sherman's Civil War: Selected Correspondence of William T. Sherman, 1860-1865, p. 170-1; 

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Diary of Captain Luman Harris Tenney: June 7, 1865

Some beautiful scenery today. High bluffs and a number of castle homes. Got into St. Louis a little before dusk. A. B. and M. got off at Carondelet and came up by cars. Took supper at Olive St. House. Wrote home. Letter from home.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 166

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Diary of Captain Luman Harris Tenney: May 26, 1865

Talked of going to camp today, but too rainy. Got a carriage and we six rode over to Arlington Heights, the forts, Arlington House and Freedmen's School. Wrote to Mother. Had a good time. Went to theatre.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 165

Monday, June 24, 2019

Diary of Captain Luman Harris Tenney: May 13, 1865

After breakfast accompanied the Major on an inspecting tour to the various stables. Rode. A beautiful day. Seward gone home on leave and will muster as Lt. Col. Welch seems very popular at this depot, and very busy. Wrote to Charlie. Invited out in evening, but didn't accept.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 163

Friday, May 31, 2019

Diary of Captain Luman Harris Tenney: May 13, 1865

After breakfast accompanied the Major on an inspecting tour to the various stables. Rode. A beautiful day. Seward gone home on leave and will muster as Lt. Col. Welch seems very popular at this depot, and very busy. Wrote to Charlie. Invited out in evening, but didn't accept.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 163

Friday, May 17, 2019

Diary of Captain Luman Harris Tenney: May 8, 1865

Left on the 8 A. M. train. Reached Columbus at 2 P. M. Went up to Capitol and ascertained that Nettleton had been commissioned Col. and Seward's commission revoked. Wrote home and to Uncle Albert. Rained. Looked around the city a little.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 163

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Diary of Captain Luman Harris Tenney: April 14, 1865

Spent the day reading the papers and writing letters. Wrote to Mr. Porter and Bails' people. The whole north seems jubilant over the glorious successes, and becomingly ascribes the praise to God. All seem disposed to be lenient to the enemy, too, all but Davis. Salute fired. Four years today since the flag came down from Sumter.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 160

Diary of Captain Luman Harris Tenney: April 15, 1865

Wrote several letters and read the papers. Yesterday put in application for leave of absence. I am very anxious to see my dear mother. Would that Johnston would be wise and surrender. Think he will be. Thank God that peace is so near and a united country will live to advance religion, justice and liberty. Forage detail. Virginians thoroughly submissive.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 160

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Diary of Captain Luman Harris Tenney: Monday, April 3, 1865

Yesterday I wrote to mother and sisters. The fighting of Saturday was most severe. The 2nd Ohio lost 35 killed and wounded in the two days. 5 officers. Trees completely riddled where we were. How so few fell I can not see. Brilliant affair — but oh the cost. Petersburg ours, too. It seems hard to lose dear friends when peace seems so near. Picket's Div. captured nearly entire. Wrote the sad news home, also wrote Richard Bail's people. Moved out at 9 A. M. Crossed the south side R. R. between Fords and Sutherlands. 5th Corps across. Very little firing heard today. 1st Div. struck the rebs near the river road. Firing after dark.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 150

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Laura M. Towne: May 8, 1862

St. Helena's, May 8, 1862.

It is so very late and I have been writing business letters till my eyes are dim, but I must say just a word to you. I am so comforted by your letters. Not that I need special comfort, for I never was in better health and spirits, but it is so good to get a word from you.

I think it is a shame that I cannot get a minute's time to write to my own family, but the work here must be done. We want ten more women in this one house. Fortunately I have got the servants drilled and so the house is not much on my mind. You ought to have seen me to-day keeping store for the negroes. The whole $2000 of goods were consigned to me, and you may imagine me unpacking clothing for some time. The molasses, etc., I leave to Mr. P., but he advised me to keep the clothing and I see the advantage of it.

I like the work and change and bustle, and I am gloriously well. I am rejoicing to-day in the first batch of letters for nearly a month. But it was as you said, I had to carry my much longed for letters in my pocket for hours before I could get a chance to read them. People — people all the time at me; servants, young superintendents to lunch, or to be seen on business, sick negroes. I do lots of doctoring, with great success.

There are no dangers about here. No island was taken at all. Do not believe all you hear.

SOURCE: Rupert Sargent Holland, Editor, Letters and Diary of Laura M. Towne: Written from the Sea Islands of South Carolina 1862-1864, p. 38-9

Monday, February 11, 2019

Diary of Captain Luman Harris Tenney: Tuesday, March 24, 1865

Wrote home and to several friends. Went to the landing and procured some little eatables and paper. Paymaster in camp. Saw him. Busy with the Michigan Brigade and 1st Vermont. Marching orders.

SOURCE: Frances Andrews Tenney, War Diary Of Luman Harris Tenney, p. 148