From Jerome to Allie, April 15, 1864

Dublin Core


From Jerome to Allie, April 15, 1864


Peirce, Jerome
Annapolis, MD.


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, Tom Neubig (Transcriber)


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






Letter #207


Annapolis, MD.

Text Item Type Metadata


Annapolis, Md 15th Apr 1864
Well my dear little wife
Here I am in my tent with your letters of 10th and 12th inst. and now for a word in reply. Life is very quiet here. Camp duty, guard, etc. in which I have had my share.
I did not expect you could come to see me, would it were otherwise.
I saw the Adjt. [Adjutant] today and inquired if my commander (Lieut. Daniels) had said a word for me yet. He is too busy with his wife here, but I am going to stir him up as soon as he comes. As we are near home, I shall make the most of it and better myself if possible and then perhaps we can meet sometime before my time expires. But Allie I dare not think too much about it for several reasons. One is my health. Now don’t be frightened but I am manifestly injured for carrying a knapsack.
Have felt nicely since arriving here but took a little cold by changing clothing or sleeping and have had a smart little attack of something like pleurisy (spelt right?), pain in side etc., something like my trouble at Orange one fall. I hope warm weather will bring my usual strength but shall not go to the front with a knapsack if I find myself unfit if I can avoid it when the next movement is perfected which ‘they say’ will be first of June or so.
But to other subjects. In scarcely everything else and that will be principly [principally] in having clean clothes, washing being a difficult job to me.
Ben has just left for Baltimore to meet his wife. 24 hours pass. His Commission is delayed unaccountably at Washington. As it was issued from Mass. sometime in Mch. [March] if not earlier. So you see the difficulties attaining these things.
No position would tempt me a moment to be a soldier only for the cause! I am indignant at the limited furlough granted to this Corps after what they have endured the past year.
Had a nice dinner in Ben’s tent today. One of the occupants is quite an accomplished cook and so we had a nice corn starch pudding, milk and eggs in it etc. A box Ben rec’d from home containing some of the extras with our Army fare. Boiled ham, potatoes and soft b(r)ead.
Another item. Had two pleasant visits to town with Ben. A quaint old place, reminding me of old Salem Mass very much. Old buildings, streets running from the State House like spokes of a wheel. The former being in the centre nearly surrounded by boats. Fine monuments at the Naval School. One of the naval officers who fell in the war with Tripoli of marble and one of granite to Capt. Herndon of the steamer “Central America” which was lost on her way from the Isthmus, whose coolness and bravery saved the passengers and perishing himself.
Visited the State House, a grand view from the cupola. Something like ours at Boston, not as large, but very pleasant. They are now repairing it, painting etc. The surrounding country is level and so unlike the vicinity of Boston, but the bay is set off with headlands and delightful places for excursions, while away at the south is the blue line of the Chesapeake Bay. In summer it must be delightful. A small quiet city and plenty of blue water, good chance for boating.
By what you say I conclude the 59th Regt is soon to join us. Shall take the first opportunity of seeing the sergeants mentioned. Hope they will be near us. The 56th is close by.
Have had a visit from Generals Burnside, Grant and Washburn the other day. Was on guard and did not see Genl. G[rant] close to [us]. We know he is great but looks ordinary as anybody does beside of Burnside. You express dread of our being before Richmond. We don’t feel particularly fearful. Expect to operate in North Carolina and they have the benefit of past experience and I think will improve it. No doubt of sharp work at last but we think it will be done with comparatively a small sacrifice of life. The master wish is to have it done and the war closed. Mr. Lincoln must be made President and Richmond taken with Lee’s Army scattered or captured, and then comes the end. Not till then and we don’t care how quick when all is ready.
How glad you get letters from the friends. I have felt little like writing of late but hope to ‘pay up’ sometime. (Will add more by and by.)
Sat. morn. Early.
Ben mails this in Baltimore.
Write if you receive promptly.
Quite well. In haste and as ever
TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES (Tom Neubig and Josef Rokus)

NOTE 1: Jerome mentioned his application for a 2nd lieutenant’s commission in other letters also, but, of course, he was still a sergeant when he was killed not long after he wrote this letter. It is interesting to speculate how he might have fared at Spotsylvania Court House (or at subsequent battles) if he had been promoted.

NOTE 2: First Lieutenant Henry W. Daniels commanded Company H for a time. He was also killed at Spotsylvania Court House, ironically on the same day that Jerome was killed. He had enlisted as a private at age 23 from Worcester, Massachusetts.

NOTE 3: Pleurisy is a type of chest pain. A sharp, stabbing pain causes you to take small, shallow breaths, because it’s worse when you try to breathe deeply. It can cause pain in the side. It is less common now, since it is typically treated with antibiotics. It was the cause of death of Benjamin Franklin.

NOTE 4: The SS Central America was a 280-foot side-wheel mail steamer that sank 150 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras in 1857 during a hurricane while sailing from Panama to New York. 426 passengers and crew drowned, but the ship’s captain, William Lewis Herndon, managed to unload 150 passengers to ships in the area that had managed to survive the storm. The Central America had placed its flag at half-mast and fired a gun, gaining the attention of the bark Marine out of Boston. Women and children were loaded into a trio of boats and sent over to the Marine which could not stay in the area due to storm damage. The boat was carrying up to 20 tons of gold from the goldfields. More than 140 later, a treasure hunter found it. A book by Gary Kinder, Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea, describes the voyage. The loss of gold contributed to the financial panic of 1857.

NOTE 5: The marble monument was the U.S. Naval Monument, now known as the Tripoli Monument, erected by the officers of the Navy in memory of their brother offers who fell in the war with Tripoli. Apparently, the oldest military statue in the U.S., carved around 1806 in Italy and originally placed in the Washington DC Naval Yard. In 1830, it was moved to the west terrace of the Capital, and then in 1860 it was moved to the grounds of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, where it still is today. A 15-foot rostral column of white marble surmounted by an American eagle and flanked by a figure of Fame. Personifications of history, commerce and America are placed on three corners of the freestone base. The fourth corner is curiously empty.

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Jerome Peirce 1864, From Jerome to Allie, April 15, 1864, HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington


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