From Jerome to Allie, April 6-8 1863

Dublin Core


From Jerome to Allie, April 6-8 1863


Peirce, Jerome
Perice, Allie
Mississippi River


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, Paul and Louise Marahrens


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


6.7 X 4.6 - 1st Scan
6.75 X 9.8 - 2nd Scan
11.8 X 6.7 - 3rd Scan
6.8 X 9.8 - 4th Scan
9.7 X 12.15 - 5th Scan






Letter #147


On-board the steamer “Hiawatha” on the Mississippi River

Text Item Type Metadata


On board Steamer “Hiawatha”
Missi[ssippi] River
Thurs Morning August 6th, 1863
Ever dear Allie,
Once more northward bound after a campaign that will ever seem like a wild, tiresome dream, and it seems like a deliverance to feel that we are leaving it. I am sitting on my knapsack, while men are packed like figs. Three Regt’s and a battery of artillery are on board, and the last act is consistent with the whole management since we came, viz. abuse, fatigue and regardless of life or comfort. I have seldom grumbled, as you know, but somebody deserves to be shot for the conduct of this whole affair, and I speak that as protest may be on record somewhere. We have laid in camp more than a week when part of the time might have been taken in easy marching, instead of going twenty miles, as we did one day, and stacking seventy-five guns as the Regt. did one day, at noon halt, 75 guns out of some 350 men that ought to have been! The govt that allows such treatment to its soldiers will find its defenders scarce, if such things continue.
I am well, in excellent health, but no thanks to them. Nothing but the greatest care could have kept me through. But enough.
Tues. we moved from camp down to the landing. Laid by the road-side in the shade a little till yesterday P.M. when we came on board. A fine, large boat, with great landscape pictures on the wheelhouses. Passed “Lake Providence” where I mailed you a letter when we came down. Did you ever receive it? We are steaming along, moved all night last night, if we continue so, shall obtain release sometime. Don’t know where we shall stop, or what is in the future, but shall take a few notes and mail at the first opportunity.
Manage to read to pass the time. Have got “Consuelo”, a French novel by Geo. Sand, belongs to Grant Crafts.
Have not seen Ben [Edmands] since I came on board. So crowded, don’t know as I can get to him.
This letter I found at “Edward’s Station”, where we destroyed the Rail Road. Thought it would be a curiosity [for you] to see it, all about cotton. The fields, camps, etc. are spotted with such documents from the houses where the soldiers have “called”, for you must know that almost all the houses are deserted.
Sat. morning 8th. A lovely morning and early. Shall soon be at Memphis, Tenn. where I shall mail this. Have nothing particular to note, only that we have got along quite well, and we feel even now a change in the air which is quite invigorating and makes me at least feel more like myself than I have before for a long time. Oh, this Mississippi oven in which we’ve been living! Have just been “below” and had a good wash which we have learned to appreciate. It is a curious fact that soldiers take better care of themselves after a year’s experience than they do the first months after their enlistment.
We have a few sick, but I believe they are gaining for the most part. The varioloid cases were sent “up stream” before us.
Have been reading “Consuelo” most of the time, sitting erect for the most part or lounging a little. But we’ve learned to “be tired.” Had a nice chat with Ben [Edmands] yesterday P.M. Succeeded in getting aft where Co. “B’” is quartered.
Now dear Allie, just think we’re once more coming towards home! The impression is that we shall go to Virginia somewhere, Fortress Monroe district perhaps. It will take weeks for the Corps to recruit to be of any service, and that is promised us.
Morgan and his crew are fixed. Another “tug” is to come for Lee and his forces but I hope we shall be spared any work there.
Coffee is come, steaming hot, and I will close, if there’s anything special, will add a word at M. [Memphis], otherwise, give love to all, and a k [kiss] for Lulu, and as many for yourself as you like.
Hope for a mail at M. [Memphis]
As ever, your loving husband

Transcriber’s Note: The following is the transcription of the letter Jerome found at Edward’s Station as stated above.

New Orleans Decr 26, 1853
W. F. Batley Esq.
Jackson Miss.
D. S. [Dear Sir]:
We have received for steamer H.M. Wright Six Bales Cotton for your account, which will have our best attention.
Today the demand has been brisk, and sales so far reach 4000 bales. No change in prices.
Yours Very Truly
Wright Williams and Co.
for Frank Peters

NOTE 1: The term “varioloid” was a common 19th century name for smallpox, but in the following century, the term would be used more specifically to describe milder forms of the disease that occurred in previously vaccinated individuals.
Smallpox was a devastating disease. On average, three out of every ten people who contracted it died. Those who survived were usually left with scars, which were sometimes severe, and some were left blind.
The basis for vaccination began in 1796 when an English doctor, Edward Jenner observed that milkmaids who had gotten cowpox did not show any symptoms of smallpox. However, widespread vaccinations did not occur until considerably later.
During the Civil War, it was standard practice to physically separate the men who had contracted the disease in an area away from the main part of the camp to help prevent its spread.

NOTE 2: “Consuelo” is a novel by George Sand, first published serially in 1842-1843 in La Revue indépendante, a periodical founded in 1841 by Sand, Pierre Leroux and Louis Viardot. The character of Consuelo was supposedly modeled after Louis Viardot's wife, the soprano Pauline Viardot. Pauline Viardot was a good friend of both Sand's and of her lover, Frédéric Chopin.
George Sand’s real name was Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin (1804-1876) who used George Sand as her nom de plume or penname. She was a French novelist and memoirist. (A pen name (nom de plume or literary double) is a pseudonym (or, in some cases, a variant form of a real name) adopted by an author and printed on the title page or by-line of their works in place of their "real" name. A pen name may be used to make the author's name more distinctive, to disguise their gender, to distance an author from some or all of their previous works, to protect the author from retribution for their writings, to combine more than one author into a single author, or for any of a number of reasons related to the marketing or aesthetic presentation of the work. The author's name may be known only to the publisher or may come to be common knowledge.)

NOTE 3: Grant Crafts almost certainly was Corp. Frank. G. Crafts of Company B, who enlisted at age 24 from Charlestown, Massachusetts. He was transferred to the V.R.C. (Veteran Reserve Corps) on May 31, 1864. The Veteran Reserve Corps (originally the Invalid Corps) was a military reserve organization created within the Union Army during the Civil War to allow partially disabled or otherwise infirmed soldiers (or former soldiers) to perform light duty, freeing able-bodied soldiers to serve on the front lines. It existed from 1863 until 1869.

NOTE 4: The “Ben” referred to in this letter was Benjamin B. Edmands. He 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: Fortress Monroe, also known as Fort Monroe, is now a decommissioned military installation in Hampton, Virginia—at Old Point Comfort, the southern tip of the Virginia Peninsula. Along with Fort Wool, Fort Monroe guarded the navigation channel between the Chesapeake Bay and Hampton Roads—the natural roadstead at the confluence of the Elizabeth, the Nansemond and the James Rivers. Surrounded by a moat, the seven-sided star fort is the largest stone fort ever built in the United States. Throughout the Civil War, although most of Virginia became part of the Confederate States of America, Fort Monroe remained in Union hands. It became notable as a historic and symbolic site of early freedom for former slaves under the provisions of contraband policies. For two years thereafter, the former Confederate President, Jefferson Davis, was imprisoned at the fort.

NOTE 6: In reference to the enclosure mentioned in the letter, there is a note on the front of the envelope which reads, “Cotton note”.

Original Format





Jerome Peirce 1863-08-06
1863-08-08, From Jerome to Allie, April 6-8 1863, HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington


Copy the code below into your web page