From Jerome to Allie, April 3, 1863

Dublin Core


From Jerome to Allie, April 3, 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, Peter Rainey (Transcriber)


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


6.5 X 4.25
6.75 X 9
11.25 X 9
6.25 X 9






Letter #96


Lexington, KY.

Text Item Type Metadata


Lexington Ky., Apr. 3, ‘63
My Dearest Wife,
No mail yet. Two weeks tomorrow and I assure you it seems a long time, so I resort to a few words with you once more knowing full well that they will be welcome and find an answer sometime.
Well, we are still here in our very pleasant camp and the usual routine of duties are renewed, guard duty and drill and by the way, day before yesterday I obtained an entire release from guard duty as the Color Corps are exempt, but owing to a misunderstanding, I have served when the rest did not but now it’s all right and so I escape being out nights which is an object and I must tell you too what a change has taken place.
Yesterday four new Corpls, were appointed and one promoted to Sergeant and my name is now first of the Corpls. Nelson Smith is one of the new ones, also Joshua Rich of O [Orange]. So Orange is quite well represented for Howe has his commission as 2nd Lieut[enant] and he is a fine drill officer.
I must tell you too that on our journey which lasted just a week, Co. H carried off the palm in behavior, not a man reported for misconduct and the only Co[mpany] in the Regt! So much for a temperance Captain! And we are reaping “golden opinions” from all the officers. This is all the more pleasing as the Capt. has been “snubbed” sometimes because of his strict adherence to temperance etc. So much for Co. gossip which I knew would gratify you. You know we soldiers are not in the habit of saying much of Co[mpany] matters. So you may observe the same rule unless it be to correct errors.
Life here is much as at all camps. I think the boys are quite as happy as at any place before. They play ball a great deal. Everything but the weather has tended to promote pleasure. It has been very chilly and cold for this country. We have high winds and as I write, ‘tis quite blustering but soon warm weather will fairly come and ‘twill be quite pleasant.
We have the usual camp stories but I see no more signs of a collision with the Rebs than before altho “they say” they are to make a desperate attempt in Ky [Kentucky] to prevent them from starvation but the place is being formidably fortified so that we shall have their advantage this time so I see no more reason for anxiety for the friends at home for us than formerly. There is a strong force hereabouts and facilities for rapid combinations so I think there is small fear of disaster.
We rise as usual at 6 o’clck, a nice wash from a sweet clean running brook, breakfast at little before 7. And I am feeling in excellent health. My cold is quite well.
Had quite a “scene” last eve. Some ladies from the asylum nearby came to the wall bounding our camp next to the road when a grand rush was made by Co. B and some others to chat with them and it was quite pleasant. You know the south and western people are more “free” and less ceremonious. They were strong Union. Ben Edmands and I concluded ‘twas no place for “such as we” and kept at a respectful distance, so you see how considerate your lords are! Spent the eve in B. E.’s [Ben Edmand’s] tent reading Shakespeare aloud, taking turns from Hamlet, Twelfth Night and ‘twas fine times I assure you. There is an Englishman Lamont in the tent and he is very intelligent and a lover of the muses. So you may be assured “we three” have nice times. And so goes life here.
How is it at home? How much I want to hear from you and to see a Boston paper. Hope for a mail today. The Chaplain and Captain went to town this a.m.
What of my little Lulu? And all the dear friends? Please let my letters to you suffice for all just now. What of Alonzo and Ellen? Expect I shall hear ‘ever so much’ news when the mail comes! May it all be good.
Have you received all my letters? The new direction is “Burnside’s Department” via Cincinnati O[hio], Co., Regt. etc. as before.
P.M. After the above we [were] called into line to receive Gen. Burnside who is in town but not arrived yet. Expect him sometime this P.M. Fair weather and sunny, warm.

Love to all and as ever, your Jerome

NOTE 1: The following information about the men who were promoted and mentioned in this letter was taken from the Unit History.
William Nelson Smith enlisted at age 20 from Orange, Massachusetts, on August 4, 1862, the same date that Jerome enlisted, and he attained the rank of Corporal. He was discharged for disability on December 23, 1864.
Joshua Rich enlisted at age 32 as a Private on August 5, 1862. Rich was killed at the Battle of the Wilderness on May 6, 1864.
William L. Howe enlisted at age 23 in Company H as a Private from Orange, Massachusetts, on August 4, 1862, also the same date that Jerome enlisted. He died of disease at Milldale, Mississippi, on July 7, 1863, not long after this letter was written and his promotion to Second Lieutenant.

NOTE 2: Regarding Jerome’s promotions, in several letters he mentions that he might be being considered for a promotion to Second Lieutenant, but that promotion never happened. However, he was promoted to Sergeant on January 1, 1864, according to his Service File in the National Archives.

NOTE 3: The Captain Jerome refers to in this letter was Captain Christopher Sawyer. He enlisted as a Captain at age 28 from Templeton, Massachusetts, on August 22, 1862, and he commanded Company H of the 36th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, the company that Jerome was assigned to. Sawyer was discharged on account of disability on February 19, 1864.

NOTE 4: Benjamin B. Edmands 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 5: 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 6: The “new direction” in this letter refers to how Allie should address her letters to Jerome following the recent move of the Regiment.

Original Format





Jerome Peirce 1863, From Jerome to Allie, April 3, 1863, HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington


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