From Jerome to Allie, April 20, 1864

Dublin Core


From Jerome to Allie, April 20, 1864


Peirce, Jerome
Annapolis, MD.


From Jerome to Allie


Jerome Peirce


Jerome Peirce Collection, National Park Service


HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington




NPS, Civil War Study Group, Jack Phend (Transcriber)


For educational purposes with no commercial use. Courtesy of National Park Service, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP, FRSP 16095-16102 (FRSP-00904).






Letter #210


Annapolis, MD.

Text Item Type Metadata


Annapolis Md. 20th Apr. 1864
My dearest wife,

Time is indeed flying and another day is almost departed. For a moment, I’m alone and I thought I would begin something to you. Need I assure you how much I am with you in spirit and thought now we are so near?
Yesterday I watched for the forenoon mail, but nothing came, but after we were nicely cuddled under the blanket, “Mail! Mail!” and soon the Sergeant gave me three nice letters. I struck a light (we have candles now) and read them, (yours of Sund [Sunday] 17th), one from Edw’d. Haynes and his Mother, so I went to sleep in better mood, if possible. Your letter done me good and the kindly inquiry of friends and their sympathy for you is much and does much to keep up heart and hope of the soldier.
The black regiments are an interesting feature of life here, and it is curious to see what a universal compliment awaits them from the rest of the boys, many who have been bitter haters of the negro, acknowledge their disappointment and say, “only give them discipline and good leaders and they will be enough for anything.”
I take pleasure in recording this for the gratification of those who [are] at home and doing in their noble way something for the cause. And what is so striking, here in Md., is the total change in the public feeling and the rapid progress the state is making in free principles. See President’s speech at the opening of the fair at Baltimore.
But two events, Dear Allie. Ben has gone to Mass. and his commission. Seemed very happy and has the “God speed” of all who know him. I trust he may “come safely off.” ‘Tis not for a soldier to talk of danger, but I cannot wonder at the certain feeling of deep fear for all who serve in the black Regts., especially after the late affair at Fort Pillow. But I trust the savages will yet be brought to a sense of their position before the world and find out that it moves.
Did I tell you that I have obtained a most kindly and cordial “recommend” from Lieutenant D. I had not told you that Lieut. Hodgkins suddenly left for home, and I gave it to Major Draper, who as kindly and cordially, endorsed the same, wishing me all success and so Rev. Haynes hast it, or will by tomorrow and that is the way things are going. (Good night. ‘tis dark.)
Tentmate has just lit one of the aforesaid candles and I proceed. (Band playing near by.)
‘Tis a pleasant scene here in camp. Maj. D[raper]’s wife, Capt. Barker, Lieut. D, Sergeant Major Davidson are here and some gentlemen visitors, kindly faces from home. But our officers are returning and drill begins to more “military” forenoon and afternoon. (Had a little practice this a.m. myself.)
Rumors begin to circulate about the new arrangement, and today came the order to draw clothing for an active campaign in the field. Cooks to be in readiness to receive and prepare five days rations etc. which don’t move us much. Altho’ everything now is probable. We expect to lose Gen’l. Ferrero who is to command the colored troops, so they will have something to do for he fights to hurt.
Well, about finances. I have received [Erasure] months pay, [Erasure] as Sergt., [Erasure] in all. Have sent you by mail [Erasure]. Ben E., Sergt. Woodward and Lieut. H. [Hodgkins] mailed them from here. I hope all will reach you safely. I shall enclose [Erasure] in this making [“mailing”?] [Erasure] and I [Erasure] send you at least [Erasure] of the next payment, but fear we shall be away before we’re paid, which ought to be in a month. I had [Erasure] the stern necessities of life in Tenn. Compelled or suffer and I reserve the rest of [Erasure] for [Erasure]. That is [Erasure] I assure you I have done little of late that gave me the happiness this has and I know how well you will use it. Shall feel anxious ‘till I hear it is all safe, but I believe it is the safest way or as safe at least, as any. Express charges are high and checks we had none. The last was sent to father (for A.J.P.).
Well, Dan P. and mother are at Boston and the friends or Martha spoke very encouragingly of him. Had had a serious talk (of his own seeking, etc.) and he had indicated a determination to do better, etc. Heaven help him and unite his family once more. Have you seen Ellen yet? (Lizzie O., they tell me,
is off for Oregon to teach school! Lucy told me.
Wedns. eve, and I wonder what you are all doing? The young visitors I suppose. Am quite happy as I read of your good times. I trust war and high prices will not suppress all the good old fashioned enjoyment in our homes.
And Lulu, I wish you can get another picture of her and send me. Am glad she was so good at church. How I would have enjoyed the time. We have some sweet singing birds here and as soon as the flowers spring, I will send her some. She must send me some of the first violets that grow by Suckers Brook. Oh, for one of our strolls there and to “Prospect Hill”!
But I will finish tomorrow. A long time since I’ve written by candlelight! Have written Jenney and Mr. Ellis. Will [Insert “write”?] Miss Walker soon. I know I ought to do better by her. I perfectly revere her and I don’t know why I haven’t remembered her oftener by letter. The “good and true” friends of my earlier days are remembered now, believe me. (Once more a kiss and good night.)
Thurs. [Thursday] morn. [morning]. Mail goes soon and I can only add a word. Breakfast of hashed potato, cold ham and beans stewed, coffee. Letters from Orange to H.H. all say J. H. got home Sat. P.M. Will be back tomorrow or next day.
The 57th Regt. arrived last eve, some of our old officers among them. One of the new Regts. to be in our brigade, hope ‘twill be the 59th.
I enclose some pictures for Lulu cut out of a paper handed out [at] camp, some beautiful verses. The “Old Saints” question Ben learned by heart while in the rifle pits at Knoxville during the siege and repeated to me. Kept it.
I’m feeling nicely again.
Love to all as ever. Hope Mary will write me when she gets to her school.

As ever, your
Transcriber’s Note: The following note, on a separate piece of paper in the envelope, seems to clarify the dollar amounts which were erased in the main letter and how much money and how Jerome sent it home.

I have received 6 months’ pay, ten [???] as Sergt. $86.00 in all. Have sent you by mail $65.00, three twenties. Ben E., Sergt. Woodward and Lieut. H. [Hodgkins] mailed them. $5.00 from here.
I shall enclose $10.00 in this. Hope to be able to send you at least $25.00 of the next payment
I had [???] ($6.00) to pay etc.


NOTE 1: The Battle of Fort Pillow, which ended with the Fort Pillow massacre, was fought on April 12, 1864, at Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River in Henning, Tennessee. The battle ended with a massacre of African-American Union troops and their white officers attempting to surrender by soldiers under the command of Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Fort Pillow became one of the most controversial battles of the war. The question remains whether General Forrest ordered the massacre (as the Union press immediately claimed), knew of but did nothing to stop it or even encouraged the massacre, or, as Forrest later alleged, had nothing to do with the spontaneous action of soldiers enraged at seeing former slaves fighting them with guns. The Fort Pillow massacre became a major political issue in the North, and it increased support for the war.

NOTE 2: It appears that Jerome might have been recommended to receive an officer’s commission, but nothing ever came of it.

NOTE 3: For some reason, Jerome erased all references to specific dollar amounts regarding his pay and how much money he was sending home to Allie in the main letter. The separate note provides clarification and details.

Original Format

Letter / Paper



Jerome Peirce 1864, From Jerome to Allie, April 20, 1864, HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington


Copy the code below into your web page