From Jerome to Sister Abbie, January 23, 1863

Dublin Core


From Jerome to Sister Abbie, January 23, 1863


Peirce, Jerome
Fredericksburg, VA.


From Jerome to Abbie Jaquith


Jerome Peirce


Jerome Peirce Collection, National Park Service


HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington




NPS, Civil War Study Group, Tom Neubig


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


5.49 X 3.15
5.06 X 8.07
10 X 8.03
5.06 X 8.07






Letter #63


Near Fredericksburg, VA.

Text Item Type Metadata


Near Fredericksburg Va 23d Jan 1863
My dear sister,
Sitting here in our tent by a comfortable fine nephew and I am remembering those at home. Have written Miss W. a random affair which I hope she will be kind enough to believe an attempt to reply to hers.
We have been in a disturbed state for some days expecting every moment to move and had not the storm prevented we know not what might have been.
But that has stopped all for the present. The troops that did move are back in camp and some think it is Winter Quarters for us now sure, while another batch of rumors followed quickly to the effect that the Army of the Potomac is to be divided and some to go South West, others to remain in Va.
I am of the opinion that VA campaigning is a humbug. We must seal up the southern ports, cut all R(ail)Road communications south and west of Richmond, secure the Miss[issippi] Valley and then with the Proc[lamation] of Emancipation to go before something will be done, leaving a capital without a Confederacy. We must utterly destroy slavery and the Southern aristocracy. To grant them Independence in any form and our troubles and their work are but just begun! You see what a statesman I am become!
The knaves are after Mexico to form a great Southern Empire before which mere slavery will be a small affair. And if the truth was known France is afraid of that very thing today and if the North are once fairly on the winning side, Bony leaves Mexico instanter. Let us see how near I guess. Sometime I assume I believe the Southerners with independence and a Navy would make a stir in this Western Hemisphere. And foreign nations are learning where they got their ideas of American character.
But “enuf”. Thanks for your letter (which I have answered I believe) but never mind. Tis not fair weather yet and muddy exceedingly so we sit in tents, chat, read, etc. You would have been amused to have seen us laughing of “Falstaff”. (E Peirce sent me a stage copy of Henry Fourth) my books from Crosby & Nichols don’t make their appearance but as they doubtless sent them I must wait and hope to see them sometime.
And now to plague you a little. I enclose 25 cents. Will you ask Mr. Cutler (Abram E) to get the “Second Part” of Henry 4th (it is the first part I have) also “Macbeth”. Fishers in Court St. is where they can be had, and being pamphlets they will come safely and will be almost invaluable to me. The Stage Copy you know Mr. C. used to get them for the Reading Circle and I dare say will willingly do the same. You can give him my address. Shall have “Merchant of Venice” and “Othello” soon if the book don’t come and is not that better than paying the sutler?
Alonzo R. is still a sick man at Geo(rge)town D.C. I trust he will be spared. The friends are very anxious for him. He seemed the picture of health when he left here.
With “Remembrances” to all friends.
I am ever lovingly
Your Bro[ther]
Jerome P.
P.S. The plays are 12 ½ cents apiece. If there is no Henry 2nd part, send Hamlet.

NOTE 1: Although addressed to Sister, Abbie Jacquith was Jerome’s sister-in-law.

NOTE 2: The storm referenced in the letter resulted in what has been called the Mud March. General Burnside, after the disastrous defeat at Fredericksburg in December 1862, hoped to cross the Rappahannock River and hit Lee’s flank. The march began on January 20th but it began raining hard for four days, and the offensive was called off on January 23rd, the date this letter this letter was written.

NOTE 3: The Confederacy did have interest in expanding into Mexico after the Civil War. See

NOTE 4: France invaded Mexico in 1862 under the guise of promoting free trade for Europeans in Latin America, while the US was busy fighting the Civil War to enforce the Monroe Doctrine. By January 1863, the French were increasingly successful in their capturing of Mexican towns. Later in 1953, Napoleon III of France established the brother of the Austrian Emperor as Maximilian I as Emperor of the Mexicans.

NOTE 5: “Bony” is likely referring to Napoleon Bonaparte III, nephew of Napoleon I. Napoleon III was emperor of France between 1852 and 1870.

NOTE 6: Based on a description in Wikipedia, Sir John Falstaff is a fictional character who appears in three plays by William Shakespeare. In two of the Henry IV plays, he is a friend of Prince Hal; the man who becomes King Henry V. Falstaff is very fat. He thinks he is very important and is always boasting. He is also a coward. Falstaff is a comic figure, but Shakespeare makes him say some things, which tell us a lot about human nature. For example: before a battle in Henry IV he explains that his cowardice is actually common sense, because honor in battle is not really worth anything. Honor would not stop other people saying he was a coward and it would not help him if he got injured.

NOTE 7: Crosby & Nichols was a popular Boston bookseller in the late 1850s and 1860s with Unitarian proclivities.

NOTE 8: A sutler is a civilian merchant who sells provisions to troops in the field, in camp and in quarters.

Original Format





Jerome Peirce 1863, From Jerome to Sister Abbie, January 23, 1863, HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington


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