From Jerome to Allie, January 30, 1864

Dublin Core


From Jerome to Allie, January 30, 1864


Peirce, Jerome
Erins Station, TN


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).


"5.46 X 3.12" - 1st Scan
"5.02 X 8.01" - 2nd Scan
"10.12 X 8.01" - 3rd Scan
"5.02 X 8.01" - 4th Scan






Letter #192A


Erins Station, TN

Text Item Type Metadata


“Erins Station” near Knoxville Tennessee
January 30th, 1864
My ever dear wife,
Your letter of Jan. 10th came last eve and altho of late I write Tuesdays and only once a week for the reason that stationary is so costly and there is little variation of late in our life. But the time seems favorable this morning and I feel so thankful for your preservation in the late accident and you confiding feelings in the Great Hand in the hollow of which we all rest. How much indeed, do we owe to this each day of our lives and who more than we soldiers? You spoke of thinking of so much in a moment, you can know something how I have felt more than once since I have been in the army. I can never tell you how much it is [“is” should probably be deleted] has strengthened my faith and hope that our lives here are no chance or accident but have a meaning and end which if we do our part will issue well whatever betide.
It is a little singular in regard to your late escape that I had a presentiment a few days ago that you had passed that same peril. It came first in the night while in a half wakeful state and impressed me so that I thought much about it for sometime. Was it not strange? It seemed so pleasant that you were all once more at home! How gladly would I too join you! But as that cannot be I can only send these poor epithets to assure you of my constant remembrance.
Your letter was very pleasant, as you seemed I thought more cheerful. I have seen a notice of the book you spoke of. Am glad you read it and could tell me something about it and I trust it served to fill your mind profitably for awhile. I know how much you think of me, but I love to know that you can turn for a little while and divert your thoughts and share them at least with anything that will keep away sadness.
I must give you an idea of how we are situated. In health I never was better, but we are short of food and were it not for a few cents, I should go really hungry. Little biscuit, such as we could eat half a dozen at home, with the other fixings, we have to pay 50 cents per doz. For corn “Dodgers,” is corn and water baked, cost 20 cents and more apiece. Flour and meal are in proportion.
The country is almost cleared of everything and many of the people are emigrating to the west, Ohio and thereabouts. The Government does all they can to feed and clothe us, and there is much improvement, but still we don’t have enough to keep from being faint only by private expense. I mention this not to complain but to explain. I made out to raise a little extra from sale of my sack and old blouse as my dress coat came while I was gone, so I keep along so far.
My trip home caused me to miss two paydays so I have not of course been able to send you money as I wished to, but I hope you won’t allow yourself to suffer. You mentioned the need of flannels, etc. We hope soon to go North and probably we shall not be paid off till we get there and then six months pay will be due me, and I hope to send you the entire or nearly the whole amount. Two months or perhaps more will be sergeant’s pay 17 dollars instead of 13.
Was surprised that you had not heard from me later than the 13th Dec. [letter] but by this time you have and you will find many things mentioned and explained. I speak of all this because I thought you did not make allowance in some things for the “chances of war”, such as missing pay days, etc. I certainly have tried to do the best I could for you, and we must be patient and have faith in the future a little even while the present seems dark and stranger.
Am glad people are feeling encouraged about the war, and Fosters sentiments give me much encouragement. Mr. Lincoln, like Gov. Andrew, took the war in the beginning and I hope he will be allowed to finish it. I saw a short sketch in the paper of a speech by Mr. Arnold of Ills. [Illinois] in which he made a fine point in regard to Mr. L [Lincoln], and the whole subject.
Many of the old regts [regiments] are reinlisting which will have a good effect, particularly in discouraging the rebs. A hundred prisoners came into K[noxville] yesterday from General Anderson’s force taken at a fight of two days near here, a part of Longstreet’s. Some secesh families too were to be sent to the Rebel lines today which made “weeping and wailing”. Ben E. was in town and informed me of the above.
The work of preparing us for moving is going on. Today we expected an inspection of knapsacks, haversacks, canteens etc. to be replaced by new ones etc. You would have been amused to see me for the last few days. Have been busy sewing till my thread is gone. Mended haversack, knap’k [knapsack], and yesterday covered my canteen with blue pant cloth and succeeded finally and this morning boiled out my hack bag and darned socks so I’m ready for a start.
It rains now for the first time for sometime and most of us are in the tents writing etc. Weather since we left Strawberry Plains has been delightful and we could sit round with our coats off.
Cooking takes up a good deal of time even with short rations from the fact that we “extend” everything by boiling, frying, etc.
I wrote a letter to you in ones to Ellen while you was there which she will send you I presume. The rest I have sent to B. Wrote the family on Thursday, also Sister Lucy. Sent you a “Knoxville Whig and Rebel Ventilator”, Brownlow’s paper. You must share it with everybody. Cost 15 cents apiece.
[???] letters [???] all up now
[Part of letter missing]
[???] well already which [???] us [???] [???] deal and by and by I expect we shall appear up North, quite transformed from the war-worn looking men we were of late. We’re to have “East Tennessee” inscribed on the flag, and it will have a meaning to us at least!
Saw Ben E last eve. Had a letter from Mrs. Finney spoke of your call there and of reading a letter from me written at Tazewell. I wish you would always mention the first thing, what letters you receive from me. You may think you do but I can’t tell from what you say what ones you get. Till now, the 13 Dec. I wrote, the 27 Dec., the morning after I reached the regt., and regularly once a week since and a little oftener. The 27 Dec. letter was written in a great hurry and perpendicular instead of cross ways. I thought you would smile when you got it.
I have inquired several times about a letter from Tazewell with a little picture of a deer for Lulu. I want her to receive all the little things of the kind, for such things impress her little mind and she will feel I do not forget her. Shall be glad when she can realize that I did not go from home because I did not love you and her, but for a great good cause which will affect many like her in the future, more than we can calculate now.
I manage so that a day seldom passes but I read even a little in my Bible. Did you ever realize what a beautiful book Isaiah is? The 26th and 36th, 41st and 42nd, 53rd and 55th chapters and many others! Ben and I often get to reading and talking over it. His wife is still in Wheeling, Va. learning music, etc. quite brave and happy.
[Part of letter missing]
Remember [“me” should probably be inserted] particularly to Father and Mother. I do not forget them in the advancing years, and I trust time will only lend health and cheerfulness to them, and that the “family” will yet all gather about them and increase, not diminish, their happiness.
Give [???] sons and brothers love to each and all
and still believe me ever your loving husband

Kiss for Lulu.
Shall need some envelopes soon.

NOTE 1: Parts of 3rd and 4th pages are missing and appear to be cut out.

NOTE 2: The regiment went into camp at Erin’s Station, about five miles from Knoxville, on January 26th, 1864. It was there until Feb. 15, 1864.

NOTE 3: On January 16th, the regiment made camp at Strawberry Plains, 16 miles north of Knoxville, where the railroad crosses the Holston River. The Regimental History indicates that they built houses there. (Regimental History, p. 125)

NOTE 4: Tazewell is a town in East Tennessee near the Clinch River. The Regiment History states: ”December 11th, while we were still near Rutledge, Lieutenant Hodgkins, who had been home on leave of absence and detached service at Cumberland Gap, rejoined the regiment and brought not a little cheer to all hearts by the announcement that a large mail and supplies were at Tazewell. The supply-train arrived on the 13th and once again we had a taste of bread, coffee and sugar. That reached us on the following day.” (Unit History, p. 123)

NOTE 5: Brownlow’s Knoxville Whig and Rebel Ventilator was a pro-union newspaper, which was reestablished between November 11, 1863, and February 21, 1866, after General Burnside’s army returned to East Tennessee in September 1863. Brownlow became governor of Tennessee in 1865.

NOTE 6: John Albion Andrew was a U.S. antislavery leader who, as governor of Massachusetts during the Civil War, was one of the most energetic of the Northern “war governors.”

NOTE 7: The reference to Mr. Arnold of Illinois likely refers to Congressman Isaac Arnold. In a speech on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in March 1964, he said “Let Abraham Lincoln finish the great work he has begun. He has borne censure and denunciation for acts for which others were responsible, with a generosity which has extorted from his rivals the declaration, ‘Of all men, Mr. Lincoln is the most unselfish.’ I ask the ardent and impatient friends of freedom to put implicit faith in Abraham Lincoln. If you deem him slow, or if you think he has made mistakes, remember how often time has vindicated his wisdom.” It is possible that he made similar points in a speech prior to March 1964 and prior to Peirce’s letter.

NOTE 8: Richard Anderson was a Confederate General who took over command of the First Corps when General Longstreet was wounded by friendly fire during the Wilderness Battle. Anderson and his Corps did an all-night march from the Wilderness to Spotsylvania Courthouse to prevent the Union troops from occupying a key crossroads. He led the First Corps in heavy fighting between March 8-12, 1864, at Spotsylvania Courthouse, where Sergeant Peirce was killed.

NOTE 9: Reference to Foster’s sentiments about the war reference to Major-General John G. Foster who relieved General Burnside of command of the Army of the Ohio on Dec. 11th, 1863. Around January 31st, 1864, Foster asked to be relieved due to a reopening of old wound, and was relieved on Feb. 9th, 1864 by General J.M. Schofield.

NOTE 10: Corn dodgers are fried corn meal, commonly called hush puppies currently.

Original Format




Jerome Peirce 1864, From Jerome to Allie, January 30, 1864, HIST 428 (Spring 2020), University of Mary Washington


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