From Jerome to "My dear ones at home", November 24, 1863

Dublin Core


From Jerome to "My dear ones at home", November 24, 1863


Peirce, Jerome
Dear ones at home
Cumberland Gap, KY.


From Jerome to "My dear ones"


Jerome Peirce


Jerome Peirce Collection, National Park Service


HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington




NPS, Civil War Study Group, Nathan Varnold (transcriber)


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


"4.98 X 7.86" - 1st Scan
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Letter #178


Cumberland Gap, KY.

Text Item Type Metadata


Cumberland Gap. Nov 24th, 1863
Dear ones at home,
Still in exile. Since my last we have been detailed, that is a squad which did not go back with the teams, comprising men from Mass., Mich., Ills., Penn. to serve as guard on the highest point of the Gap in Battery “A”. And last Friday we came up here [to] an isolated place I assure you, but we can’t get to the Regt. at present owing to obstructions and dangers by the way and we can get a little something to eat, plenty of firewood and a sort of shelter, and being in good health I expect we ought not to complain. But I sadly miss my letters from home and feel like an outcast but still there is seen here some compensation, the fine, grand studies of autumn among the Cumberland mountains.
This morning from 3 o’clk stood guard and saw daybreak among the hills but it soon clouded up and now is raining some which it does in this season, dreary every other day. You can imagine us on the top of the mountain, tho back a little in sort of a hollow, with our earthworks a few rods above us with a single piece of cannon. We (21 of us) do duty by turns at night, only on a road where they have feared the approach of rebs more of “scare” than else. I think all around us on the hillsides and everywhere lay the fallen trees forming a wild, desolate appearance like a pioneer settlement and so we imagine ourselves. We three (Carter of the 36th and a Sergt. Perry of Ills. [Illinois] tent together) form a good trio and manage to live as happily as possible. Carter is cook. We draw flour and fresh meat, the former we mix up in salt and water and succeed in making tolerable flitters. And so we [are] “roughing it in the bush” patiently waiting for the time when we can go to the Regt. Took a nap this morning but the boys all round are preparing firewood and preparing for dinner and so I thought I would at least begin a letter.
Wedns. morning – I quit [writing the letter] yesterday in the midst of fog and drizzle. This morning cold and windy and not quite clear.
Have just finished breakfast of flitters, pork (fried) with broth for gravy and coffee good enough for a genl. Have just cut down a little oak with my hatchet and as one of the men is going down to the Gap P.O. [Post Office] I finished this. Of course, as I have often said I cannot give you much of a letter. We are in a real wilderness and feel more like prisoners than soldiers but the glorious health which I feel makes up for much.
We have to “lug” our rations for about a mile thro [through] the woods up and down hills, over rocks, like climbing Tully. Collect firewood etc., etc., which keeps us busy.
I manage to read a little. (Heaven bless books!) Yesterday finished the book of Isaiah. Some beautiful chapters and here among nature’s grandeur and quietness. I find a new zest and beauty in scripture. I try and read a little each day of different parts, say the Prophets, Proverbs, Psalms and New Testament and with some of Cowper. I hope my hours in the wilds are not in vain. My thoughts are much with those at home, but you must write them, for stationery and all such things are scarce and I am ignorant when we can go forward, so I have to write little. Have not written to anyone but you lately and cannot. Shall get some paper today if possible.
The “hardest” part of one company went back to Camp Nelson with the teams, so those remaining are good company. Seven are from the 21st Mass.
Have not seen Col B. [Bowman] since the day we came up here. He is going to take command of the Regt. again, I am told with a “star.” (Brigadier) in view I expect.
But how do you all? How much I wish I could even hear from you and still more see you? I ask so often. Are you well? If so, I am content. Time passes rapidly and one half of my term is almost expired.
I must close as they are going to the [post] office. So accept so much love for you all.
Adieu and as ever, your
loving husband, brother, etc.

NOTE 1: “Flitters” is probably a word used at the time to describe what are now called “fritters.” A fritter is a fried food, usually consisting of a portion of batter or breading, which has been filled with bits of meat, seafood, fruit, vegetables or other ingredients.

NOTE 2: 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.

Original Format





Jerome Peirce 1863, From Jerome to "My dear ones at home", November 24, 1863, HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington


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