From Jerome to Allie and Lulu, November 28, 1863

Dublin Core


From Jerome to Allie and Lulu, November 28, 1863


Peirce, Jerome
Cumberland Gap, KY


From Jerome to Allie and Lulu


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).


"5.03 X 8.15" - 1st Scan
"9.98 X 8.15" - 2nd Scan
"5.03 X 8.15" - 3rd Scan






Letter #180


Cumberland Gap, KY

Text Item Type Metadata



Cumberland Gap, Ky, Nov. 28/63
My ever Dear Wife and little one,
Sabbath morning among the Cumberland mountains! Snow falling fast. The hillsides covered with hoar frost and snow. Front of the tent open and a good cheerful fire before it. Have just had a good wash and changed some of my clothing. Home like (Breakfast over cup of coffee and a small piece of bread, on quarter rations) and now to the first duty of a message to you, my dear ones far away! How shall I express my joy of receiving on Friday letter from home?
Lieut. Hodgkins opens the mail here and found three for me. Yours of the 8th, and 16th Nov., with Frank’s and Mary’s enclosed after more than a month’s lack of such among these wild hills. How do you think it seemed? Did I love you any the less think you? Could you know how in the silent hours of the night (as you do) or where on the lonely beat on picket, the dear images come and flit before me. You would not ask.
These are busy days, Allie, but you are never out of heart or mind and would for you take as well as for my own longings. [???] cruel war was over and I could clasp you to my heart and share the joys of home again. Do not, I pray, think me unloving. I know I am cold in measures but not lacking in affection. Have I not written often ever since I have been away! There is something in my situation with all the privations that is wild [???] and poetical and answering to a corresponding vein in my nature, and which I did not realize till the experience came and which makes it impossible for me to be gloomy or what the world calls “Homesick.” Such grand and changing scenes – summer amid those deep, sylvan ravines of Mississippi with the magnolias and hanging moss and now winter comes amid the lofty, grand and billowy “Cumberland Range” with authentic tints and silvery garb all fills my soul with such a sense of the great Creator and added to this the busy work of attending to our actual wants, bodily, that I cannot but feel that I am in a school from which I shall one day come forth, better able to appreciate the charms and joys of home. Think how I have been spared in health and escaped, manifold dangers, with no design of my own! And yet I am not unmindful of your struggles and longings. Oh no, but how can I assist you more than by doing my duty, and earning my way to something better by and by.
You ask me if I was glad or sorry to leave so abruptly for the Regt? Ah, Allie, I did feel it most keenly but why [???]? Such was my lot, and I could but go forward believing all for the best.
But enough of this. We have been “moving”! I sometimes wish you could look in upon us! A few days ago we move one tent down the hill further move out the wind, built up about 30 inches with logs, and there set out cloth upon it, filled in with leaves, and with blankets, coats, etc. We are quite comfortable and have good room. If we remain here long shall build a fireplace and then shall be better fixed than at Falmouth last winter. But we hope the way will ere long be opened to the Regt. altho there is little prospect now. Officers and men from home on their way back keep coming in and have to ‘haul up’ home. I see Col. Bowman quite often. ‘Tis about four miles to Headquarters, on the flat, “or hollow” at the Gap where there are one or two good sized houses and log barracks for officers and men. The mountain cliff behind where we camp is the highest, a crude sketch of which I gave you in my first letter from here, and is about 18 hundred feet above the “flat” below. If I was on artist, there would be an ample field to work. The finest view is in the “flat” looking north, a little east, a perfect wall of rock with two roads winding around to the left thru the Gap and to the right around the cliff. But I cannot describe it, far and wide on every hand, of the three states, (marked by a square stone post at the Gap, with the names of governors of each, etc.) are the mountains as far as the eye can reach. And here I would gladly – oh how gladly with honor – close my duties as a soldier and come to you. But you could not see me do a dishonorable thing, so I must make the best of what remains and both must possess hope and patience yet awhile longer.
You and Frank speak of sad news of wounded friends, of battles etc. What has been going on? We have had no papers or definite news since leaving Camp Nelson! Saw a paper yesterday of the 23rd. It looked like work again on the Potomac. Banks was at it in Texas. Burnside all right in Tenn. etc.
If the people would only come up and clinch the late elections by another host of volunteers, how soon might the thing be ended! Is all patriotism died out, and are we to sink unsupported? I hope not – still. A large body of E. Tennesseans came here the other day for clothing to take the place of their tattered and “rebish” looking apparel. One man told me every one capable of bearing arms was or soon would be in the field with Burnside, had to be supplied with everything etc.
We have a story, (by letter from Cincinnati) that Lee had abandoned Virginia, and was in Tenn. and that Meade’s Army was following, and part were there in Cin. [Cincinnati], etc., but we know nothing for certain.
Am glad Alonzo is having such good time, hope to see him by and by. He can’t get beyond here at present.
Saw the paymaster and inquired about pay. Said I must be paid from the Muster Roll and not from Descriptive List, that I might be paid at Knoxville etc. I hope so.
Am very glad of the sale of the stove. Got a nice letter from Mary. Spoke of it and said they should send the money (for the stove) soon. I have written them. Hope to be able to send you more by and by. Am making what little I have go far. Should have suffered if I had not had a little. Found an extra pair of shoes on the road quite good ones, making three pairs, and with my extra pants. (I bought a new pair of shoes at Barboursville for fear I could not draw any) and as I don’t have to march everything is working well even if food is scarce. We expect to draw corn today. Have only two meals a day but those in front are still worse off. So, you see a little what I am enjoying now. But the sun is coming out and I must take a walk and mail this, and by and by I hope to read a little from the Good Vol. Am reading “Jerimiah” and find a new beauty and meaning and scripture. My love of the poetic and beautiful seems to intensify as I need it. Will you or Abbie, any of you girls that have a few moments to spare, copy off the first paragraph of Keats “Endymion”? (Closing at the top of the second page I believe) ‘Tis a beautiful thing and has a meaning here. Am glad to hear of [???] Lee again and a relative of Capt. S.! His romance reminds me of and explains a certain ‘tone’ I have observed. Have we not, all of us, our tales?
Am glad of the present of the carpet, a great addition, wish I could see it too, but my hope is large. Shall hope soon to have many letters from home and friends.
Have written many [letters] since I left you and so they are due me. None like those from P.V. [Pleasant Valley] Love and thanks to Frank and Mary, also to Will and Hattie, all joy and happiness to them and may we all meet yet again at the old hearthstone. I am afraid I have forgotten much but don’t forget a kiss and to Lulu for her little note. The rosebud is in my Testament and shall be kept. I sent you a little piece “Outward Bound.” I thought it beautiful. Send me little scraps. They “help” wonderfully in these wilds.
Always remember [me] to Father and Mother, etc.
Your loving

Hope Lulu will know sometime why Papie is away from her.

Shall be glad to hear from Mr. Galloway. Hope he is well.

Do you have two Thanksgivings in Mass.? Busy ‘fixing’ here last Thursday!

Original Format





Jerome Peirce 1863, From Jerome to Allie and Lulu, November 28, 1863, HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington


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