From Jerome to Allie, April 7, 1863

Dublin Core


From Jerome to Allie, April 7, 1863


Peirce, Jerome
Lexington, KY.


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).


6.25 X 9
10.75 X 9
6.25 X 9






Letter #97


Lexington, KY.

Text Item Type Metadata



Lexington, Ky. 7th April 1863

My own dear Allie,
Col. Bowman with some 500 men marched (by rail) to Covington and then marched (by rail) back again!
It is getting evening fast but I thought I must send you the usual “line” for “we have no abiding place” and I shall send you little but to inform you of our whereabouts, etc.
Well, on Sunday P.M. while at services, orders came to, “pack up and fall in.” So I closed a letter to you and was soon at the rail road and at dark [we] were on the way. Arrived at Covington (opposite Cincinnati) and for the first time found out our errand, which was to be ready to keep order as it was election in the city (of C. [Cincinnati]). Left the cars early (remaining in the cars) till morning and then marched out nearby and “stacked arms” and “laid ‘round” all day.
Built fires and made coffee as at Fredericksburg. No disturbance occurring, we returned to the cars at dark and remained all night and left early for this place again this morn[ing]. Now all this looks queer as it is a hundred miles, but I expect we did great good by our presence. Just think what a potency there is in the 36th [Regiment]!! Well, we are tired and worm almost as on marches for I assure you, sleeping in a baggage car(s) is no easy matter. But what will you say when I tell you that I am better than when we left, altho I’m tired and shall “sleep big” tonight.
Passed most of my time with Ben E. and we “run together” as natural as can be and I find he fills an important part of my existence and trust nothing will take him out of the Regt. while I am in it.
No mail yet, but many of the boys got letters in Co’s. C & B [Companies C and B]. Regt. men returning from furloughs and I hear that Alonzo is at home and will probably relinquish the idea of returning to the Army. A wise thing, no doubt. Such is life of late.
How is it with thee? No letters for some unaccountable reason and how far it seems from home. As I looked out upon the country and saw particularly in the villages the mixture of White and Blacks how different from dear old Mass. [Massachusetts]. Here it is in a mild form and the slaves no doubt are comparatively happy, yet I see nothing enticing in it. Fine plantations and lands but yet my heart turns fondly to the old Bay State. God bless her!
Weather still chilly and disagreeable and yet the sun has been quite pleasant today but evenings are chilly and we have to keep close.
How is my little Lulu and her Mama? Did you get my various scrawls on the road? One of them contained some pieces of muslin I found in the streets of Fredericksburg and have carried them ever since. Hope there is enough to dress a doll for her.
Rumors are rife that we move again in a day or two, but we know nothing. If we could receive letters and our pay, ‘twould “moralize” the Army strongly. What can I say to cheer you? I am told public feeling [at] home never was better in regard to the War. I hope so. We are far from home now and a great deal of “Secesh” is about us so we are more in the dark than ever, but I still hope on.
Please write the friends (some of them) and tell them we are so fixed I can’t write as much perhaps as formerly. Will do my best. I wrote Abbie to direct letters to “Lexington via Cincinnati.” The new mode is “Burnside’s Dept. via Cincinnati.” Hope soon to have a heap of letters. Give Lulu a kiss from Papie, and if she can spare, more to Mama. Must bid you good night once more. Remember you are ever in my thoughts and distance intensifies my thoughts of home.
Shall write every opportunity.
As ever your own loving husband,

NOTE 1: Col. Henry Bowman, from Clinton, Massachusetts, enlisted as a Captain in the 15th Massachusetts Volunteers on August 1, 1861. He was captured at Ball’s Bluff, Loudon County, Virginia, on October 21, 1861. He was a prisoner of war at Richmond and was a hostage for Confederates held in New York for trial as pirates. Bowman was exchanged in August 1862. On August 22, 1862, he was promoted to colonel, commanding the 36th Massachusetts. He resigned on July 27, 1863, but was recommissioned in October of 1863. He subsequently served in different units, including at Baltimore and Philadelphia until the close of the war.

NOTE 2: Per the Unit History, “Nothing of special interest occurred until Sunday, April 5th [1863]. On that day a brigade service had been appointed, and at three o’clock in the afternoon the Thirty-sixth and the one Hundredth Pennsylvania assembled. In the midst of the service, orders came for us to break camp immediately. We struck our tents and marched to the depot, where cars were in waiting. Our baggage was put on board, and we were off for Cincinnati at half-past five. We reached Covington shortly after midnight, but remained in the cars until morning. We then marched to an open field near the station and stacked arms. The colonel reported the arrival of the regiment to General Burnside and learned that it was election day in Cincinnati, and we were there to quell any disturbance that might arise at the polls. But no disturbance occurred. We remained all day in the field near the depot, suffering a little from the cold, bleak wind. Tuesday morning, about half-past seven o’clock, we left Covington and reached Lexington about half-past three in the afternoon, when we marched to our old campground and spent the rest of the day in rearranging our quarters.”

NOTE 3: The “Ben E.” referred to in this letter 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 4: The “Alonzo” Jerome referred to in his letters was Seth Alonzo Ranlett. Ranlett enlisted in Co. B of the 36th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment as a Private on July 24, 1862, at age 22, and he was from Charlestown, Massachusetts. He was promoted to First Sergeant on August 27, 1862, and was commissioned as a First Lieutenant on December 1, 1862. On December 17, 1862, he was appointed Adjutant of the Regiment. He was mustered out “on account of physical disability from disease incurred in the service” on February 20, 1864.
Ranlett was born on March 18, 1840, in Charlestown, Massachusetts, and he died May 21, 1905, in Newton, Massachusetts. Ranlett’s wife was Ellen Peirce Ranlett, with a date of birth of March 22, 1842, and a date of death of January 12, 1914. They were married on January 21, 1864. Ellen Peirce was one of the children of Foster Peirce and his wife Catherine Abby Beaman. Also, Foster Peirce was a brother of Jerome. Therefore, the Ellen that Jerome mentions in his letters was one of Jerome’s nieces, and starting on January 21, 1864, Alonzo was the husband of one of his nieces.

NOTE 5: The term “Secesh” (a somewhat derogatory slang word for “Secessionist” used by Northerners) was used at the time to designate a supporter of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Original Format





Jerome Peirce 1863, From Jerome to Allie, April 7, 1863, HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington


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