From Allie to Sister Mary, June 9, 1864

Dublin Core


From Allie to Sister Mary, June 9, 1864


Billerica, MA.
Jaquith, Mary Frances


From Allie to Sister Mary




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).






Letter #222


Billerica, MA.

Text Item Type Metadata


Billerica June 9th 1864
Sister Mary,
Your letter came last Tuesday. [June 7, 1864] I have been very unwell, or I should have written before. I have not heard from Boston people since Jos. was down. I heard he was in B. [Probably “Boston”] and expected him up here, but it seems he did not stay only one night. I will send you Jerome’s last letter to me and the one he wrote my sister Hattie and her husband. Mr. Ballou will know what to say. He has had letters from him. You may let him have the letters I send in this. In a letter written before this, he says in writing of the coming campaign “but you will think of the future now as we move towards the enemy. It is natural but we can only rely on the same good Power who has thus far led me on. I feel no sad presentments but on the contrary, hopeful, so thankful my health is so much better.”
It was eight years last Sunday since he united with Dr. Ellis’s church in Charlestown. Jerome was 33 years the 11th day of last Nov.
If it is pleasant I shall come to Orange next week Thursday [June 16, 1864] be at Athol [Massachusetts] at 11 o’clock. My brother Frank [Franklin] will come with me as I am not able to come alone with Lulu. He will stay until Monday [June 20, 1864]. I shall remain for a time. The rest of the family will not be able to come to leave home as long as they would have to. I am not well so cannot write more now. If you must know anything more, you must write.
The family all send love.
Yours with love,

Original Format


NOTE 1: When she wrote this letter, Allie had obviously recently learned about Jerome’s death on the battlefield at Spotsylvania Court House on May 12, 1864, almost four weeks earlier. Exactly how and when she received this tragic news has not been determined yet. According to the records in her Pension File at the National Archives, she did not receive official notification from the commanding officer of the 36th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment of Jerome’s death until she received a document dated July 3, 1864.
Also, in a letter addressed to Allie written by 1st Lt. Philip G. Woodward, commanding officer of Company H, 36th Massachusetts Infantry, on July 4, 1864, Lt. Woodward stated “I did not see him fall as we were falling back under a cover of a fence, the enemy coming down on us and occupying the ground on which he fell… Consequently, his body was in the enemy’s hands for about 15 minutes. When we charged forward and not only took the ground we lost but a great deal more. Jerome’s body lay in a very exposed position [and] it was impossible to move it. But I went to him and took his Memorandum Book for I felt as though I ought to make an effort to secure some memento. The Book I gave to J.H. His body had to remain until after dark when we buried it the best that circumstances would permit. He was killed at about 7 o.c. [o’clock] AM… I also found the bullet that killed him. I took it from his left breast… He must have died instantly. His grave is in a Pine Grove - well marked.” This letter is among the Jerome Peirce Letters in this collection (No. 226). (The “J.H.” who received Jerome’s Memorandum Book was Joseph H. Peirce, who was Jerome’s nephew. He and Jerome enlisted on the same date, August 4, 1862, in Orange, Massachusetts. J.H. was 18 years old at the time, while Jerome was 31.)
Based on what she wrote in this letter, Allie very likely attended the funeral service held June 19, 1864, in Orange since she was planning to go there from Billerica a few days prior to that date.

NOTE 2: A Jaquith family tree found on shows that Allies’s parents, Franklin and Lucy Walker Jaquith, had eight children as follows. (The years of death for several children are missing in this family tree.)
Ellen (1832 – ) [Ellen is mentioned in several letters.]
Albinia (Allie) (1834 – 1920)
Abigail (Abbie) (1836 – 1915) [Abbie is mentioned in many letters.]
Lucy (1838 – 1841?)
Franklin (Frank) (1839 – 1922) [Franklin (Frank) is mentioned in this and in several other letters. Abbie lived with her parents and later with Franklin’s family after Jerome’s death.]
Mary (1841 – ) [Mary is the recipient of this letter.]
Joseph (1842 – ) [Joseph (Jos.) is mentioned in this and in several other letters.]
Harriet (Hattie) (1845 – ) [Hattie is mentioned in this and in a few other letters.]

NOTE 3: The quotation that Allie cites in this letter was written by Jerome in a letter dated April 27, 1864, while he was stationed at Bristoe Station, Virginia. It is Letter No. 214 and was likely the second to last letter he wrote, which Allie also alludes to. The following is the transcription of a section of that letter, which matches word-for-word the quotation in this letter.
“But you will think of the future now as we move towards the enemy. It is natural, but we can only rely on the same good Power who has thus far led me on. I feel no sad resentments but on the contrary hopeful, so thankful that my health is so much better.”

NOTE 4: Rev. Levi Ballou gave the sermon at the funeral service sermon held for Jerome, ten days after this letter was written, on Sunday, June 19, 1864, in the church in Orange, Massachusetts, where Jerome had been the “Sabbath School Superintendent.” Rev. Ballou made reference to several letters that Abbie had shared with him. The following is an excerpt from that sermon.
“Again, he writes his companion [his wife, Albinia or Allie], only 12 days before he fell, and after describing the place where he then was, as reminding him much of certain localities where they had in former days conversed and strolled together. He adds that by the movements of the army, “It looks like a fearful future for some.” He asks, “Shall we be spared the last fearful conflict?” “We hope all will be for the best.” He then speaks of his darling child to whom he sends some flowers which he had culled for her to keep to remember Papa and in closing says, ‘I hope to see you again soon.’”
This collection of letters also includes two letters sent by friends of Jerome and Allie to Rev. Ballou in early June of 1864 that were read at the funeral service.
Rev. Ballou’s sermon was obtained with the help of the current minister at the First Congregational Parish Church in Orange from the Rare Books Department of the Hesburgh Library of the University of Notre Dane, Notre Dame, Indiana, which has all of Rev. Ballou’s papers.

NOTE 5: By the time Allie wrote this letter on June 9, 1864, the 36th Massachusetts Regiment had moved south from the bloody battlefield at Spotsylvania Court House on May 21, 1864, as part of Gen. Grant’s Overland Campaign strategy to capture Richmond. From May 31, 1864, until June 12, 1864, Union and Confederate troops faced each other at Cold Harbor, Virginia. The regiment was heavily involved in that battle, generally considered to have resulted in a Confederate victory. According to the Unit History, the Battle of Cold Harbor “was the most destructive battle in which the regiment ever engaged.” It lost 8 men killed and 49 wounded at Cold Harbor, including 10 who were mortally wounded.



Allie 1864, From Allie to Sister Mary, June 9, 1864, HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington


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