From Jerome to Friends/Brother [Name not indicated], April 21, 1864

Dublin Core


From Jerome to Friends/Brother [Name not indicated], April 21, 1864


Peirce, Jerome
Friends/Brother [Name not indicated]
Annapolis, MD.


From Jerome to Friends/Brother [Name not indicated]


Jerome Peirce


Jerome Peirce Collection, National Park Service


HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington




NPS, Civil War Study Group, Tom Neubig (Transcriber)


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






Letter #211


Annapolis, MD.

Text Item Type Metadata


Annapolis Md 21st Apr 1864
Dear friends,
Your kind letter with J.H.’s came to hand today and I was most happy to receive it. I need not tell you how much I thought of J.H. and of his brief visit home. His first leave of absence! How much is contained in it! Well he may say “he was repaid for all he had endured”! He and I had often pictured how he would like to surprise you late at night etc., etc. as it seems he did. I trust nothing occurred to mar for a moment the pleasure of the visit. Hope Allie and Lulu were in time to meet him.
With us there is nothing new. Altho indications are that we shall soon move for somewhere soon. Orders for clothing, arms and equipments for field service are circulating. New arrangements of brigades etc. The 57th Mass arrived last eve and they say will be in our brigade.
The most notable feature is the weather, rain every day to some extent. Now a fitful shower is upon us, just enough to keep us inside. There is nothing of interest. I do not often leave camp and it is as dull as any quiet place.
Harland Metcalf was here yesterday. Looks finely, and dresses in citizens dress and mounted. Attached to Gen. Burnside in some capacity. The Army suits him “I reckon”. Does he bestow the accustomed attention upon his family? Have a letter from Edwd. Peirce to J.H. Took the liberty to read. Nothing special for news. (It’s hailing now.)
Expect you had a fine time at the party. Well Joe is quite a hero and has “smelt powder” and as you see don’t look much the worse for his experience, and I trust will yet come safely off.
A letter from [Bro.???] Haynes, or Edwd. and Martha I should say, tells me Danl. and Mother were there. She speaks quite encouragingly of him. Hope with reason I think Foster will be decided about it. A sad history, these lost opportunities and wasted lives.
If Allie is with you tell her I mailed a valuable letter to her this morning which I hope she will receive. I shall hear from her probably soon.
The boys are well, tho Edward W. and Nelson S. have been ailing slightly for a day or two. I hope our movements will not prevent the visitors [Note: Possibly missing words]
There must be many changes at home. How long will Henry G. stay in Boston?
But really I can think of nothing to interest and J.H. has pictured the thing all out to you so I must close.
Remember [Note: Possibly missing “me”] to the friends all. Did you receive my letter, for J.H. too, from Covington, Ky?
Write as often as you can
and believe me as ever,
Your Brother

NOTE 1: The “J.H.” or “Joe” Jerome referred to was almost certainly Joseph H. Peirce. He enlisted as a private in Orange, Massachusetts, on August 4, 1862, at age 18. Jerome also enlisted in Orange on the same date, but as a private. Jerome was 31 years old at the time. According to the Unit History, Joseph H. Peirce was taken Prisoner of War at Pegram Farm, Virginia, on September 30, 1864, and was later exchanged. He was discharged on June 21, 1865. Joseph H. Peirce was a nephew of Jerome.

NOTE 2: From December 20, 1863, until April 3, 1864, the regiment moved numerous times in eastern Tennessee before being ordered to move by train, by way of Baltimore, to Annapolis, Maryland, where it arrived on April 6, 1864. During this time, the lack of adequate rations, clothing and equipment presented more challenges to the men than did the Confederates.
In this letter, written at Annapolis and dated April 21, 1863, he wrote that the men anticipated that they might soon be facing fighting against the Confederates because they were issued clothing, arms and equipment for field service. On April 23, 1864, just two days later, the regiment left its camp and marched to Washington, D.C., reaching the capital two days later. There, the Ninth Corps, including the 36th Massachusetts Regiment, was reviewed by President Lincoln and General Burnside from the balcony of the Willard Hotel to the cheers and well wishes of a large crowd. (See his letter dated April 26, 1864, for a description of the review and his impression of the appearance of President Lincoln.) The regiment then went into camp at Alexandria, Virginia, until the next day.
Although they had expected to go on a coastal expedition, possibly to North Carolina, the men of the Ninth Corps were instead assigned to guard the Orange and Alexandria Railroad in northern Virginia. They started their march toward the Rappahannock River on April 27, 1864, passing through Fairfax Court House, Centerville, Bristow Station, and Manassas, Virginia. The regiment was assigned to a camp at Catlett’s Station, Virginia. The Ninth Corps was soon in position, scattered along the railroad line from Fairfax to the Rappahannock River, having relieved the troops of the Army of the Potomac, which were now concentrated near the Rapidan River.
The men of the 36th Massachusetts struck their tents on the morning of May 4, having been ordered to move towards the Rapidan River, which they crossed at daylight on May 5 at Germanna Ford using the pontoon bridges that had been recently erected by the Army of the Potomac. They were now part of Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s Overland Campaign, and they would participate in the Battle of the Wilderness and the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. Jerome was killed at Spotsylvania early on the morning of May 12, 1864, just 21 days after this letter was written.

NOTE 3: The 57th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment was a brand-new regiment at the time Jerome wrote this letter. The men were from Worcester and Reedville, Massachusetts, and were mustered into service on April 6, 1864. They moved to Annapolis, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Alexandria, Virginia, on April 18 - 20, 1864. They subsequently participated in all major battles in Virginia until the end of the war and were mustered out on July 30, 1865. The 57th Regiment lost 10 officers and 191 enlisted men killed or mortally wounded and 65 enlisted men to disease.

NOTE 4: The phrase “smelt (or smelled) powder”, with “powder” referring to gunpowder, was used to describe a soldier who had been in battle.

NOTE 5: When Jerome referred to a “valuable” letter (as he does in other letters), he meant that he had enclosed cash in that letter for Allie after being recently paid.

Original Format

Letter / Paper



Jerome Peirce 1864, From Jerome to Friends/Brother [Name not indicated], April 21, 1864, HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington


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