From Jerome to Allie, June 16, 1863

Dublin Core


From Jerome to Allie, June 16, 1863


Peirce, Jerome


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, Josef Rokus (Transcriber)


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


5.65 X 3.15
5.16 X 7.98
10.26 X 7.98
5.16 X 7.98






Letter #130


On the steamer "Meteor" on the Mississippi River (Lake Providence, LA.)

Text Item Type Metadata



Steamer “Meteor” Miss. River
Tues. P.M. 16th June 1863
Ever dear Wife,
Just after dinner and I have taken a seat in the saloon and altho there is a great deal of confusion and stir, yet I felt I must commence something to you.
Wrote you Sunday with a letter to Lulu and one from prior w. Ben. E. enclosed. Hope you’ll receive it safely.
We had a “big bag full” of mail on the boat just before we left Mo. [Missouri] but from some unaccountable reason, not a thing save one newspaper for the 36th and we were sadly disappointed.
Left Memphis Sunday P.M. and we are still working down the river for some point near Vicksburg, don’t know exactly where. Life is quite the same from day to day till last eve. and this a.m. when we begin to realize that we are nearing a hostile country. While the music and the jokes were passing last eve., our alarm came from the shore from our pickets firing and for a few moments there was a stir, but soon all subsided. (I forgot to mention that the boat’s six in our fleet. All “haul in” shore at night and start early in the morning.)
This morning we are going along under convoy of two gunboats when just before dawn an attack took place from the Ark. [Arkansas] shore (some ways below, Napoleon) and we were soon ready with loaded pieces and one guard on deck popped away in reply, while the gunboat shot ahead and commenced shelling the woods. No one was hit and but few, if any, struck the boat, so it proved bloodless and rather exciting that fearful. For some, who have not quite learned “to keep cool”, flew round deck quite lively. The attack took place in a big bend in the river where the boat has to hug the shore and covered with thick woods. The [gun]boats remained behind and shelled the place severely while we slacked up a little while, but we are now moving on again all right and the usual scene cards, reading, chatting, etc., etc.
Have experienced some of unpleasant effects of the climate and water but nothing to alarm. We have little variety of food and the water “tells” but shall come out all right. There is a cool breeze and ‘tis quite pleasant although the officers are the noisiest folks we have on board. (I just whisper this.)
Have finished “Great Expectations” and don’t think much of it. If the ‘boys” would save the books, we should have a large library (of light reading) in camp, although we may be too busy to read much, but it helps pass time very pleasantly and not harmfully. Have not played a game of cards on board yet.
Looked over two of your letters this a.m. and trust you are still well and as happy as can be in the premises for I know you will feel more as distance grows between us.
No news from “below” since we left Mo. [Missouri]. Expect to leave the boat tomorrow and Thurs. [Thursday].
The weather affects me in inducing indolence and summer weakness. So tell the friends not to expect much writing from me and on board steamer everything is coal smut and neatness [is] impossible.
Have not seen the Adjutant since he was on deck w. a gun etc., to get a pop at the rebs. this A.M.
About 7 P.M. Lake Providence. Just arrived and a mail closing coming. Say good bye. A surreal sight and the first genuine plantation scenes, slaves by scores, and such female structures.
Am feeling nicely this eve. No further trouble from guerillas.
As ever with love to all, your
We have a mail but not yet assorted.

NOTE 1: “Ben E.” was Benjamin B. Edmands. He enlisted as a Private at age 27 from Brookline, Massachusetts, and he was subsequently promoted to Corporal. On January 20, 1864, he was discharged from the 36th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment for promotion as a Lieutenant in the 54th Massachusetts Regiment of Volunteers.

NOTE 2: The “Napoleon” cannon, officially known as the 12-pounder bronze gun model 1857, was a smooth-bore cannon that fired a twelve-pound cannon ball. The gun weighed 1,200 pounds but was considered a light gun. This cannon could fire either an explosive shell or solid shot up to a mile in distance. It could also accurately fire canister shot up to 300 yards. Both the North and the South used “Napoleon” cannons because of their firepower and reliability. The Union military manufactured the cannon in great numbers during the course of the war. The South basically copied the Union gun so it was slightly different, but it still fired the same 12-pound shell. It was first used during the Tudor period and was commonly used during the Napoleonic Wars, 1799-1815. It was named after Napoleon III.

NOTE 3: “Great Expectations” is a novel written by Charles Dickens in 1861.

NOTE 4: “Lake Providence” was then, and is still today, a small community and the name of a lake just on the Louisiana side of the Mississippi River approximately 50 miles north of Vicksburg, Mississippi. The Battle of Lake Providence was fought near there on June 9, 1863, during the Vicksburg Campaign, just a few days before this letter was written.

Original Format





Jerome Peirce 1863, From Jerome to Allie, June 16, 1863, HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington


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