Letters of Luther M. Fairbank, Part 2

These are transcriptions of letters written by Private Luther M. Fairbank of Ware, Massachusetts to his sister Julia Fairbank. The original letters are held in the Special Collections Department at Louisiana State University. Transcribed by Larry Lowenthal, Cliff McCarthy, Stan Prager, and Matt Dupont.

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New Orleans   June 9

Dear Sister

I received a letter from you last night dated May 25th and [illegible] [illegible] answer it and you need never fear of having to wait a great while for an answer if you write to Little old Fairbanks for he is good for answering letters, at least what I know of him I should think he was. You say you received letters [illegible] [illegible] 21st and May 1. I am glad to hear that you receive my letters for I began to think you did not get them and therefore there was no use in writing. You wrote that Mary and Mother were writing. I have not received either of their letters or none of your papers. very few papers reached me since leaving Boston, since I showed my heels to the Old Bay State and took a southern course down to the land of sugar and left the land of yankees.

That makes me think did you receive those papers that I sent the first of May [?] you did not say any thing about it and it makes me think you have not received them. I am going to send a paper with this letter. there is some poetry in it dedacated[sic] to the Union troops in this city and the account of the hanging of a man for pulling down the American flag at the U S Mint. he was hung there and the scaffold was made of the flag staff that he pulled the flag from. I tell you it aint going to do for them to tamper with Gen Butler. if they get on the wrong side of him, look out. although he is a squint eyed cockeyed man it is hard to tell which way he is a looking. his eyes are shut yet wide open. that is the most I can say of him.

Things are going on first rate here the troops are in good health generally except a few who chalk their tongue and thump their elbow.

But I can tell just who are sick. it is those that drink the intoxicating liquors and I am sorry to say there is a good many in Co D. it gives them the disentery[sic] and cholic[sic] pains and yet they will drink the whiskey. as for me I never felt better in my life than I do down south here. but for one attraction or two, I might stay here instead of coming home, but they are to[sic] strong to think of forgetting.

Day before yesterday which was the 7th of June, we boys lay under the trees comparing that day with the 7th of June a year ago. do you know where I was at 9 oclock at night [?] well do I remember who I was sitting beside in Lents Great National Circus. little did I think that another year would find us so far apart.

Beaufort. that is the way it goes. you folks know nothing of soldiering, to stay at the north and read of the number of troops and whether healthy or not. I have seen some of the greatest lies in the northern papers about the taking of New Orleans. it is fun to read some of the reports and I presume that is the way with Divisions in other states. I don’t believe the papers untill you get the official report. then it is time enough. some of the papers get clear ahead of the times altogether

You write a good deal about my picture. it would frighten you to see me now after being exposed to the sun in this climate. you would think I had sent some darkeys picture instead of mine, but we have got here in the city now where there is Picture Galleries and I will try to get one taken one of these days and send it. but you must wait your time in war for the order may be countermanded. then what why there will be a young lady at Ware in marm Fairbank’s house snarling around and say he never does do as I want him. he can give Mary a picture, but cant give his own sister one. I don’t care if he never does send one, so there [!] is not that so, Julia [?] I know I gave Mary one, but you have no less than half a dozen in the house and yet think I done wrong in giving Mary one before you.

The boys that you wrote about in your April letter have probably reached Ware ‘ere this and therefore you know who has come. have you seen Ezra or me there in Ware [?] I guess not. you will find our residence at Cor[ner] of Annunciation Square at the Crescent City. we have no idea of coming north to spend the hot weather, but go to one of our own watering places and not patronize the northern vandals. If you ever wish to call on our folks, we will be very glad to receive you and our house and servants shall be at your command. every thing will be done to make your visit pleasant and any time you wish to take a ride in the country, just order the coach and four and my negro Sam will bring them to the door.

You wrote about sending you some relics of the war. I have sent you, when I first came to the city, I sent you some rebel papers and letters and postage stamps and $2 D shinplaster. that money is just as good as a $2 bill of Ware bank is there. I don’t know whether you have received them or not. now I will send you a picayunne[sic] as 5 cts is called here. there being no silver, they have to use paper money. I want you to keep it and not carry it in your pocket for I shall want it to remember the St Charles Hotel, for I have slept in there 2 nights under arms. that is, lay down with my gun in my hand ready to spring any moment into line. it is not quite so pleasant as getting into a nice bed at home, but I can sleep just as well to lay right out on the brick side walks as any where else. there is not much difference to me where I sleep. now you put that away in a safe place or I will never send you another. has Mary received those Confederate stamps that I sent her [?] I am going to send her a bit which is 10 cts, only it is a different person that issued it. let me know in your next letter whether she gets it or not. has she received all of my letters lately [?]

You say the small pox has broke out in Ware. that is what we have to fight the yellow jack with. when any one begins to tell us about our dying with the yellow jack, we tell them that we have the small pox that we can let out against Jack and it will lick him all out. that shuts up their head.

You tell Em Phinney that I very politely ask her to shut up her head or that potatoe[sic] hole of hers or she will get her neck rung[sic] when I get home. any body that will go with the lying turkey, I think is half crazy. you tell her if she don’t shut up her talk and lies, I shall begin to tell a few things that I know and they wont be lies either. who stoped[sic] going with her [?] did I or she gave me the mitten [?] I would not trust her as far as I could throw a 4 year old bull by the tail. I hope the match will be broken up, if there is one started, for I don’t want one of my cousins to marry such a weather cock as she is. there is as many sides to her as there is to there is pews in the N. E. Church.

Who is this Hattie that you wrote about [?] I guess she got it about right for I should think you were out of your head, or your head out of you. I don’t know which. it was a terriable[sic] thing to go to bed with your window open. I should think you would be afraid that a fly sat you up. if you had the birds to contend with that we have here, you would think you were going to be bled to death. they are called by some folks misquitoes[sic] but they are more like our northern chip birds only they can sing better. why only last night I waked up by one of them singing Home Sweet Home on my ear, which I had got the blanket pulled off of one night last week. I got up in the night and heard a terrible noise outside of our tent and looked out and 3 or 4 of them had got the legs of one of our men out from under the tent and there they held on and he could not get his legs back until I got my gun and shot 2 or 3.

June 10

As I did not finish my letter yesterday, I will now although I hardly know what to write, yet I will [illegible] [illegible] slide. we are to be paid off tomorrow or next day. then I shall send part of it home, for if you are going to live with me when I come back, you will want some thing to eat or if I don’t myself all the dishes I want. I can bring home with me just [illegible] a piece of meat on a tin plate and room enough on the floor to sit and lay down, is all I am in the habit of having. We have had a new suit of clothes and now we probably look better than when we landed. you have probably read that letter in the Boston Journal about our landing. I can tell you about how thats[sic] got into the paper. no citizen of New Orleans wrote it. it is some of our disappointed rivals, for the 31st and the 26th can not agree when on board the boat. we were continually fighting each other. even the officers could not agree. they bragged that their regt would be the first to land and their brass band be the one that would escort Butler through the streets, but they were stuck down in that out of the way place and the 31st was chosen by Gen Butler to escort him through the sts. he was not afraid to trust himself with the 31st nor has he been ashamed to have men from the 31st to be his body guard. ever since we have been in the city, Co. C has been at the St. Charles to guard for him. And I guess the 26th would find the country boys would fight. if they don’t believe it, just pitch in some time. if they did come from Boston, the 31st was the first to land in New Orleans and I belong to the 31st regt Mass Vol and aint ashamed of it neither. there was another regt came up and run up to the wharf and were going to land, but Gen Butler ordered them back and said the 31st should land first. I know we are small in stature but mighty and the 26 will find it so, if they want to try it on, or any other regt or the rebels either. but I must close for this time, but will write again soon.

If you make a trade be carefull who with. give my love to Mary and the rest of the folks. write soon and write a good long letter for I like to read letters from home. I wish I could send you some of the melons blackberries cucumbers strawberries and such things as we are enjoying here, but enough for this time. remember me to my dear parents and brothers and sisters.

So good bye

                                                                        Luther

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Louisiana Press Yard No. 3
New Orleans June 15

Dear Sister

As Hiram Wilcox is about to go home I will write a letter but you must take the notes as they come for it don’t seem as though I can not write a letter. it has been so short a time since I have written but if I do write some things that I have told before. I am well. that is one good thing. we have been moving to day from the park a cross the street into buildings in the cotton press yards and they are going to be comfortable quarters for they are brick and it will be cool the hottest day. Gen Butler is doing every thing for the comfort and health of the troops. we have all had misquetoes[sic] bars or we have not got yet but they are giving them out in the regt and we shall have ours this afternoon. they are made long enough for one man and they are made to put up on stakes and are about 2 foot high. they are made of gauze, I should call it. each man has one so all he has to do is just undress and get into his bar and no insect can get to him and yet they don’t stop the circulation of air in the least. so you see, the plaguy [sic; plaguey] musquitoes [sic] wont [sic] bother us any more & we live like pigs in clover, although we have gone into building. we have use of the park untill 9 oclock evenings and thus, you see, have the shade to lie in at midday. no drilling, for the Surgeon says he shant have the men run down by drilling in this hot sun, but to tell the truth I have been as cool as a cucumber, so far. the Miss[issippi] water has no effect on me, so far, but it has some of the boys. Robbins has got his discharge on the same complaint that I have, but I don’t think I suffer any convenience [sic] by it and Robbins is just a[s] able to stay as I be, only he has to play the baby and go home. I hope some of the folks there will present him with a sugar tit when he get there for his bravery and good pluck. when I come home it wont be because I asked for my discharge on account of my ear, but I hope to be able to return with my company after the war is settled and then it will be different from skulking home now. and more than that, I want to see more of the country before I come home. if we stay untill peace is declared, we shall stand a chance of going overland route home and that will be different from making another voyage on the Mississippi. that is what the boys are going home on, but I wish them a better voyage than we had coming. I hear that H Strickland and Taylor have reached home. have you received that pipe shell and letters I sent by them[?] I want you to be carefull of it, for I want to smoke when I get home where there is decent tobacco for I never see such tobacco as we get here, but they begin to get it from New York and Boston. I can tell you if the blockade is a paper one it has pinched them pretty tight, for I was surprised to find things so scarce. we did not notice it at first untill we got so as to buy things, then we found out. at first we traded hard bread for every thing we wanted, but now we buy with money. but to tell the truth, it is hard to tell where the money comes from, for we have not been paid yet and yet the money we must have and we do. although the crackers are as good to trade as ever, we buy a good deal with other rations. if you don’t like your dinner, why only just step to the fence and you can trade for pies cakes or cigars or melons and such like. there is watermelons and muskmelons Tomatoes sweet potatoes plums oranges &c &c, but to eat a great many would make one sick. but it wont hurt to eat such things if you don’t make a hog of yourselves. that is a great trouble with soldiers. they stuff themselves when they get at such things without regard to reason and what is the result [?] why they are all screwed up with the colic and disentery [sic] is running them down, all by their own foolishness. but you know one can eat a little and not suffer from it. and another thing, they will drink whiskey and notice where you will those that have nothing to do with it are the healthiest while those that use it are running to the Dr and the privey[sic] all the time. last night there was one that slept side of me, came in drunk, and would not lay still but kept hitting me by throwing his arms over, and as I was smoking, for if you did not but just know it, we make a practice of lighting a cigar after undressing and getting into bed and have our evening smoke. as I was saying, he kept hitting me, so I held my cigar where he hit that every time. so you see he soon got sick of that fun and went to sleep. I suppose you would think it strange for me to smoke a cigar after getting into bed, wouldn’t you, but it would be natural for me at first. night before last, we had to turn out. Gen Butler thought he would try to see in what condition the troops kept themselves to turn out in case of emergency, so unexpectedly had the assembly beat and a rocket sent up which is the signal for the troops to rouse up. it was at 10 ½ oclock. they were all in the bed except 3 or 4 of us were up enjoying a cigar by moonlight, but we had our cloths[sic] off when the long roll was beat. Co D was on the line in just 2 minutes and was the first company out. the regt fell in and in just 38 minutes from the time the rocket went up, we were at the St Charles ready for orders. Now I call that pretty quick time for a regt that has no officer, is owned by no bragade[sic], and made up of small boys and broken down men to get up out of a sound sleep, dress, fall into line, and march 1 ½ miles to the St Charles. We got the praise of Gen Butler, that is certain. don’t you think it was the citizens of New Orleans [that] think we have got the right man in the right place. that is Gen Butler. he has brought this city in under without any trouble and a man told me yesterday that he had seen 2 and 3 soldiers arrest men that a dozen citizens dare not touch, but what Butler says is law here. he hung one man for pulling down the american flag and now tomorrow between sunrise and noon, 2 more are to feel the hemp. they went to searching a house pretending to have orders from Butler and took some $1450 that Butler don’t allow and so tomorrow they have got to suffer the penalty. Well we have got our bars and they are high enough to sit up in. I am in mine now they are grand things, I can tell you. we hear a great many conflicting reports. first it is that Gen McLennan [sic: McClellan] has been defeated and his whole army drove back. then again we hear that he has taken Richmond. I wish we could have the late papers. I have not received any papers yet from you nor any letters from mother or Mary. you said that they were both writing when you wrote last. I have not seen any thing of the things in John Phelps’ box yet, but we have sent up to John and we shall get our things soon. You tell mother we expect to get paid of[f] tomorrow or next day and if we do, I shall send some of my money home by the Adams Express Co. they have an office here in the city so it will be safe. I shall send $30 I guess if we are paid 4 months pay and we have signed the pay rolls already. I did not send that paper with that last letter that I sent by Capt Hopkins, but I will send it now and a few pieces cut from other papers. I don’t know as they will interest you but you can read them. but I have written enough for this time. write as soon as you get this. So good bye for a short time. give my love to my wife. love to all From Luther

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New Orleans
June 25, 1862

Dear Sister

As I have a few moments to write I will send a few lines. we have been paid, but yet I cannot pay the postage for I have yet to get some specie first to buy stamps. I have sent 40 dollars home which is as much as I can afford this time as we were paid only 4 months pay which is 42 doll and take 40 from it you can see how much  I have left to spend untill next pay day. I don’t know as you will get it and if you do you wont tell me for I don’t know yet whether my other 20 got home from Lowell. I have asked you a number of times but you don’t seem to say. there has little happened since I wrote last that is worth writing, only we have had three fellows drummed out of camp. there was more from our company. I am to work now building bedsteads for the regt. each man is to have one. we are sure for to stay in this city for a while. but I cannot write any more now for I am in a hurry. I will write more Sunday. give my love to Mary with the letter

So good bye

Love to all                               Luther

I am going to write to papa

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Bird’s Eye View of New Orleans from letterhead

[written on letterhead, above, of perspective view of New Orleans with key locations noted by Fairbank.] [Pages torn; large sections missing on edges of most pages; remainder transcribed line-by-line, as shown]

Camp Morewood [torn]
June [torn]

Dear Sister

I received your letter of June
the next day after writing my last let-
now I will answer it as usual I am
there is very little news to write but I am
what I can I was very glad to again
from home I am sorry to say I received
few of your letters but as the mails are
not regular they will come through I
I received those papers you sent I was
to hear that I am not forgotten You
not trouble yourself about the yellow
the people say it is now
the river has been so
yourself on that score
as for the cure when

[p2]      other division has better care. [They] have the
St James hotel for a hospital and the most of
them that die are from the liquor that they get
here they have a first rate doctor there and I am
glad to say Emerson has got better he has been in
to camp and is soon to get his discharge from the
hospital. he looked well and is fitting up in
great style. You say I don’t write about John
why don’t he write [?] as I am writing he sits in
his bunk talking and fooling. he thinks we stand
a hard chance of ever getting back to drive
around after calves or have eggs boiled in tallow.
is well that is all I shall say about him.
we are just as good friends as ever we
was. he say tell Julia he don’t drink only when
he is dry and shall remember what you say and
shall not drink any thing stronger than cold
water or coffee. that remains to be proved.
you must not think just because those
ladies were playing and me listening to
that I have forgotten my girl at the north.
hope soon to see her again but I get
[no] letters from Mary since the one she wrote
the last of May, but hope to soon.
don’t believe about the misquitoes will
trouble us now we live high we
moved into another shed now in the
–ard. now we have a large room to
80 foot long 30 foot wide we have bought
and put up to catch the rain water that
dollars and one thing that came from
is really a luxury that is ice. we are
so much a day each man three pounds
put into a barrel together and have
in one end of the room and there we
good water all the time O ice ice ice [double underline on 2d, triple on 3d]
–nto know if you knew there is a match already
but wont [sic] it get damp before I return and
to strike fire. what then I guess the only way
be to wait untill [sic] I do come and then try
see if the match is good. what do you think
–ked what right we had to sing the same
that you did I cannot tell, but the
is to this effect. I will give a verse of two
G__ ___regard [sic: may be Gen. Beauregard] I wish we had Old Jeff, old
–card               He sure would taste of hanging
sick                  when he falls in with the NY boys
that trick who came from NY city

[p3] need not trouble yourself about keeping my money.
I guess it would be as bad as confederate notes
when I get back for it would be minus.
Do you mean to call us a forlorn looking mess of men [?]
You better look out about your compliments for I belong
the 31st regt Mass Vol Co D and a better looking
regt of men cant be found in Gen Butlers Division.
I should call Strickland a smart man. he was want[ing]
something to carry his things home in and John Page
was up to the tents when he was talking about it
and offered the use of the trunk.

Ezra has received all of your letters and he wrote a day
or two ago he was Dr at Camp Seward new cook.
You had not better go to calling me names
you northern miss. if you do we will set our
negros after you. be carefull [sic] how you talk to
a southerner for it don’t take much to get one mad

We get the news of Richmond being taken. a
boat brought it down the river by Vicksburg,
but how true it is I don’t know, but I
hope it is for it is so much better news [than]
we had a few days ago that Gen Mclelan [sic]
was wounded and whole army routed
differance[sic] in stories don’t you think so [?]

You will see the picture of this city why [illegible]
this paper was to show you where the 31[st]
and the [illegible] the took when going
Custom house and buring [burying?] ground of
and some such things as Jackson city
you can tell how they look but [illegible]
they lay in the city.

One little joke that one of our soldier[s] [played]
on a saloon keeper that commenced [to running]
down the yankees in regard to their being
good for playing tricks the soldier told [him]
that he would show him a trick. there [was]
no one in the saloon but the saloon [keeper]
and the two soldiers. well the keeper said
would like to see him. the soldier told
he could draw whiskey from one
liquor barrell [sic] and brandy
they went down cellar
bored a hole in one
keeper put his finger

     bored a hole in tother and had the
keeper put his finger over that and then
left him stretched across the barrel holding his
liquor in and nobody to relieve him that is
what I call a yankee trick

You see I have marked them places so you can see
about the place. those embankments on the Algiers side
are to keep the mississippi from overflowing the land.
The weather here has been very good so far. there is
[a] good cool breeze in these sheds all the time.
[I] sleep with my woolen blanket on every night.
thing I could not do at home and
more than all that, we wear as thick clothes
as we did all last winter except we do not put
on our over coat to go on guard and we have every
thing to make us comfortable. you see we are
detailed as guard for the city for the present
[there]fore can have better accommodations than those
[in] the field. they are trying to raise a
Louisiana brigade. there has been 1800 enlisted
[and] they are quartered in the U S barracks.
corporals from different regt [are] detailed to go down and drill them.
after three years they will probably be to
after the war is over to let the volunteers

[Illegible] Hill has got most well and will soon
Co. he came up when Emerson did but
close for this time. write soon and
–en do let one know where to direct
letters and I will write to my
brother what does he think of their
–ing the best of their own dung hill.

I hope he has changed his mind.
I must write the boys all, send
best respects, give my love to all the
and enquiring friends, a share for yourself
—mber mary and tell her to write.

From your absent brother
Luther

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[written on letterhead with a seal depicting South Carolina’s flag with the slogan, “Our Flag”. Fairbank added, “but soon must fall” and “that always retreats when the footsteps of freemen advance”]

Camp Morewood
New Orleans, July 1

Dear Sister

As I have a few moments to spare I will try my hand again at letter writing. if I dont [sic] I shall get off the notion of writing and as I promised to write again soon I will fulfill my promise. but what seem strange I do not get any letters from those dear friends that I left at home. althought [sic: although] I write often yet no letters come back in return. the last letter that I received from you stated that Mary and Mother were writing at the same time, yet neither of those letters have I yet received. But the Mail Ship Rhode Island came in to day with a large mail and I hope some for me.

We are in the cotton press yet and here I expect to stay, for it will probably be the summer quarters of the regt. there is twenty carpenters detailed to make bed steads, one for each man in the regt. I am one that is detailed from our Co. we get 40 cts a day extra, but we work the same as we used to work at the Otis Co. Father probably knows what I mean. at least he knows how I always used to work, no doubt. well, it has not help me in the least going to work for Uncle Sam. he is an easy task master, but I am afraid when he discharges his workmen he will turn out a good many lazy men into the world, again. here, we live like fighting cocks without the fight that we see very little of, yet only what occurs in our own ranks and there is a good deal of it amongst the drinking ones since getting paid off. but they have to be furnished with the wooden overcoat and made to march for 6 and 8 hours according to his offence. there was a man in our company that had to walk all night under guard and not allowed to stop a moment for water or anything. Mr Howland has been reduced to the ranks. he disappeared after pay day and was gone three days so he had to put of[f] the [diagram of sergeant chevrons] from his coat and take his place in the ranks but he seems to be contented with the change. I should myself full as lives be a private as a sargent[sic] if I had no more soldiering to do than I did in the month of June, for I stood guard once and oiled my gun and it has been beside the wall ever since we came into the press untill to day. I took it down. we have enough of every thing in general except one thing and that is letters from the dear ones in Mass. if we could get letters often our living would be complete for, if our supper fell short, why a good letter would take the place and we should not think of supper again untill morning.

I am sorry to say Emerson is in the hospital. pretty sick too, but I hope he will soon get well for Em makes a good soldier and is a good fellow. H Hill is sick with the fever. he was pretty low when he left the quarters, but I have not heard from him for two or three days. The hot weather that you talk so much of at home, I have not seen yet. we wear our thick woolen clothes and yet I have not seen any hotter days here yet than I have seen at the north at this time ayear [sic]. here it is getting to be the fourth of July. how I wish I could be at home there to celebrate with you. I think I might enjoy myself first rate, but you will have to celebrate alone this year and perhaps by another 4th we shall get home and then if every thing is all settled up, we can enjoy ourselves in great style. the rebel generals proclamation was printed to day that commands this department. he has ordered every family that lives within 8 miles of the Miss river to retire into the interior with their servants, as he shall defend this department to the last extremity. I should think he would have thought of that before Gen Butler took the command. the rebel general is Van Dorn, but I hope he will come down and pay his respects to us, if he commands this city. if he would only bring some of his soldiers here to guard the city, it would be a good thing. that is, if he thinks he would be safe to interfere with us gentlemen of ease. at least you would think so, for we have nothing to do but lay, and sleep, smoke, eat our meals when they are ready, and then we have places in another press just across the park where we bath[e]. most of us make a practice of bathing every morning. then we can spread our bars and no flys or other insects can get to us. here we can lay and read the news of the day. all the War news has to be copied from northern papers, so we don’t get it as early as you do but it seems to be good news of late. they seem to be doing big business in Va or the land of Dixie. has Geo been in any of those fights [?] he is where he ought to have work.

well I will write a few more words and close up. I received two of your letters yesterday, of June 2d and 8th. I was very glad to hear from you again and read your letters with agood[sic] deal of interest. I don’t [sic] Taylor was very prompt in giving you my letters, but I hope my letters will go more direct in future. you wanted to know if I had forgotten our good times when mother was gone. no indeed, I have not and wish I could be there now to enjoy them again but there is quite a piece of land between us and it would take some little time to get there, if it took as long to go as it takes the letters. I have not got that package yet for the very reason that it was in J Phelps name and he has gone up the river, but we expect it every day. you write a good deal about my picture. I went down town the other day and the[sic] asked 3 to 4 dollars for any kind of a picture. they have not the materials to take them but I will try to get one, one of these days. don’t be in such a hurry. wait a while.

They are in a starving condition in the city. there is a crowd here ready to buy our bread and give a good price for it. there is good respectable looking men and women will come in and give 20 cts for our dinner and sit down and eat it out of our dishes and are glad to get it. what do you think of that [?] don’t you think the rebels are given up for lost [?] I think so. I should think they would get up a company now, there is so much prospect of the wars being ended. Old Holden would make a great capt. I should like to have him [as] officer of the day and have him make the grand rounds. our Col. has been very near getting hurt by fooling with the guards.

But I must close, but the next time you direct a letter to me remember New Orleans is in La instead of Miss as I see the one to Enfield was directed. so good bye. write soon

From your brother

Luther

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Camp Morewood New Orleans
July 5th

Dear Sister

As I cannot pass the time any better than in writing to those I know will like to hear from him as often as possible, so I will spend a few moments this afternoon with the pen. I am well tough and hearty. I presume you would like to hear how we boys passed the fourth. it was very quiet. it did not seem much like going to those New England picnics. I lay in bed most of the day as it was showers all day. the regt fell in early in the morning and marched down to Gen Butler’s residence, formerly that of Gen Twiggs of the rebel army, but soon returned. some of the gunboats in the stream fired a Salute morning noon and night. the bands played the national airs through the day and at night the regt again fell in and fired a number volleys musketry that was the extent of our celebration. I presume you had a great time there in Ware. I should liked to have looked in there about now and see what you girls were doing. did you remember the boys off at war [?] I hope you did but to me it was just the same as any other day but I hope another celebration day to be there to enjoy it with you. but it looks hard if Mclenans[sic: McClellan’s] army has been defeated as bad as the rebel dispatches say. it is to the effect that the Gen is surrounded and whole army will soon be captured.

You would probably like to hear a little about the city of New Orleans. as I never have written any thing about it, I will. The city itself is well laid out most of the street[sic] are paved with stone a foot square and the pavement is made surrounding[?] in this shape [diagram] so that off the water runs into the gutters. if it were so that it ever became icy, it would be hard to keep a team out of the gutter in some of the streets. but the rebels telling about the grass growing in the streets of New York and Boston, they had better look at the Crescent City in the most principle streets, the grass growing up in between the pavement stones. I don’t know what it would have been if the streets were not paved so there is very little chance [illegible] the grass to grow.

But there is a good many nice buildings and parks here well worth looking at. Jackson Square with the statue of Gen Jackson on his horse is a nice looking place. Henry Clay statue is on canal street hear[sic] Old Yancey made his secession speech at the commencement of the rebellion. One great thing is that rain water is the best water to be got in the city. it is so low they cant have wells because the water would be stagnant at every house. you will see the great wooden cisterns with pipes from all over the house to catch the water. this they cant [sic] afford to wash with.

Last week flour sold 37 dollars a barrel at auction. it would please you to see the crowd stand around the cooks stand when they deal out our hard tack (crackers). each one has his money in his hand. we sell the crackers 3 for a picayune (5 cts) and if you don’t happen to be hungry there is enough ready to buy it. I sold my dinner for two bits day before yesterday. they must be in a starving condition to be around so. some negro came and want to buy crackers for massa when we first got paid off. the side walk was crowded with fish peddlers watermelon muskmelon ice cream tobacco segars figs tomatoes &c &c. you better believe the last thing suited me first rate and I waited in [incomplete?]

it will please you to see the niggers dance. we get them into the building and have an old nigger to fiddle and here we would set and laugh. it is none of your ball room dances but nigger break downs and the way the[sic] make the heels fly is a caution. they have been having some this afternoon. I have been down to one of the tobacco buildings where they barrel it up for the manufacturers. it is pressed in large hogsheads instead of barrels and any body that chews would be sick to see the old segar stumps that are pressed in with it. these stumps are probably picked up in the streets and groceries. one hogshead that I see was nearly half filled with these stubs.

It is a pity to see all of these cotton presses all grown over with grass and weeds. they form a principle part of the city and here they are with out a bale of cotton in them. the third of July the largest sugar refinery in the city was burnt.

I see there is a good deal said about Gen Butler’s order in regard to the women of this city. those newspapers up there can growl over it but here where the order is to take effect the citizens think it a good thing. if some of those editors who know so much would only try their luck here they might talk different. in fact it was the low characters that done the insulting and it was these that were hit by the order, then to have northern papers come out as they have. it makes me mad to read it and wish I could get a rope around some of their necks. they would try Butlers antidote for treason. That is my opinion.

To day is sunday is sunday [sic] and I will finish my letter. there was a mail came yesterday. most of the boys had letter[sic] of the 22d and 23d of June, but I did not get any, nor papers. Chaney Wilcox had a letter stating that my folks were all well, that you received a letter June 4 from me. I was glad to hear from you although it was in somebodys else[sic] letter. I am always glad to hear from the dear friends at home come from what source it will. Geo Marsh and Emerson Puffer had letters from their folks I am sorry to say Emerson is no better yet but here in this climate if a person gets down it takes some time to get up again and I think it will be some time before he will get well.

The 13th  Conn[ecticut] was presented with a flag by the ladies of New Orleans the 4th. so much for the ladies. There has been some boys just return from down street with a story that you would like to hear. it seems that 2 British officers came ashore and were walking through one of the streets where there is some of the union soldiers quartered, with secesh badges on, when the soldiers gave them a taste of Yankee shoe leather and as they played them pretty hard, it must have been rather uncomfortable considering where it hit for army shoes are no small thing and the British officers made way in a hurry. even Johnny bulls must look out how they display their colors. the British men of war lay with poles bare all day the 4th while other powers hoisted colors in token of respect. I am afraid Johnny bull would fare rather hard if he ever falls in with the Yankees.

H. Wilcox, M. Robbins, L. H. Woodward, R. Salley [sic: Sally] left here the 4th for home. I did not send any thing for they started of[f] in such a hurry. Shinplasters are all running out. when we got paid they could get for 10 dollar U.S. Treasury note 11 dollars of the banks of this city. the bank money is just as good for any to spend here, but I must close. give my love to all. I am going to write to Mary, so good-bye

From your absent brother
Luther

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Camp Morewood
New Orleans   July 23

Dear Sister

As it is some time since I have written I will now go in. you will probably be expecting a letter ‘ere this and I have no excuse to offer for not writing, so just come and birch me. have you got that picture I sent [?] I presume not. the mails go so irregular and the vessel might have been sunk before getting there or has [illegible] since a Crowels wharf and there is a nother [sic] reason why I don’t believe you have got it. I have not sent any therefore, haint[sic] I got a good thing to make you believe that you will ever get one [?] but never mind old lady. I will send one in about a fortnight.

Emerson Ezra and George Marsh have been out and had their pates [plates? meaning pictures?] taken and they are good ones. the first good ones I have seen taken and I will go out one of these days and have mine, but don’t expect it untill it comes. but I will really send one. I have had a letter from George Edwin and Mary since I wrote to you last and I have had none from you. I have answered all but Edwin and I am going to answer his now.

We have rather bad news all around now from the armies. the war will last some time now, I think. what a pity Gen Mc Clelan[sic] got drove back, but I hope the new recruits will help him recover the ground thus lost. We have got the Boston Journal giving the list that each town has got to furnish and if we could pick them out it would be all right. when they go, just give me a list of the names. I think it better to volunteer than to be pulled into it by the coat collar. what I hope is that it will be the luck of some of those that were going to stay behind to take care of you girls. I have been thinking what a difference between today and one year ago. then I was up in NY[?]. I spoke to John about it and he shook his head saying by G–, Lute, did you think when we were at work up there, that we should ever be walking the streets of New Orleans with a segar [?] But give me the army for Old Ghad[?] We aint puffing and tugging in the field all day and then at night have to work in the barn untill long after bed time, the[sic] drag up to bed so tired that we can hardly walk, then up again and into the field early in the morning. Oh Whist[?] so fat a lobly[sic: lovely?] soldier life this is. it is for me at any rate. when I wrote last I was carpentering. well we got out of lumber then and we have [illegible] still waiting untill today, not having a thing to do. I have been [section of letter missing]
once since the first of June [section of letter missing]
see I am having a pretty [section of letter missing]
John is one of Gen Butlers’ [section of letter missing]
that is his business to go [section of letter missing]
night and has nothing to [section of letter missing]
and there is three relia [section of letter missing]
don’t have to stand but [section of letter missing]
day so that makes it [section of letter missing]
Emerson Harrison Barr Gil— [section of letter missing]
are getting along finely get [section of letter missing]
again that is well [section of letter missing]

I suppose you have heard of the death of John Woodis before this. he was discharged but had not got his papers, but he died before he could get around with the red tape rules. what a mean thing it is that after a man is beyond all use to the company, that they must withhold his papers untill too late. John was sick beyond recovery a long time before his death. so was Fisherdick and Ruggles and only given them their discharge, the air of New England might have helped. but no, that would not do. only these [illegible] discharge [illegible] that were just as [illegible] to do duty as I be to day.

But I must close, for I did not
[section of letter missing] write a very long letter
[section of letter missing] down but you said write
[section of letter missing] to let you know that
[section of letter missing] I am well
[section of letter missing] and hearty there I
[section of letter missing] so good bye give my
[section of letter missing] the folks and to Mary
[section of letter missing] From your absent brother

Luther

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Camp Morewood
New Orleans Aug 11th

Dear Sister

I have written to mother only a day or two ago, but I am so mad, yes mad. not at any of my dear friends at home, for I have just finished reading your letter of July 26. you said that before I received your letter that I should probably receive that bundle, but I will just tell you about that. but don’t feel bad when I tell you some rebel soldier has your picture. John Phelps has used us real mean. the box lay here in the city, but we could not get it without an order from John. Frank Knight wrote to him and told him that he would take what things out that belonged to the company and send his up to him. John was at Baton Rouge. but no, he sent for it and it lay there long enough to send our things a dozen times, but they didn’t come and Ed French came up here to day and says that the box was taken in the last battle. but none of the boys believed it, for one of his men were here yesterday and said that every thing of the Lieuts was saved. you may make your own ideas of it. I have given the particulars, but I can tell you John P is loading a shell that will burst over his head one of these days and he cant hide under a table to get out of way.

If you are afraid of an irishmans howl don’t come to New Orleans for if any noise can be heard worse than from a camp of soldiers I should like to hear it

I am glad to hear that Francis is getting better. you tell Edwin to enlist and come out here for he is tough enough. it aint those large men that stand it the best. I received those papers you sent with the letter and a letter from Mary of July 27th. I shall answer hers when I get cooled down about the box. I am sorry to hear that Nellie Benham is sick. tell her if she is alive to live untill the war is over so as to greet George when he returns home.

Good for Hannah Bacon or Dickerson. shes a brick [kick?]

The Stearnses don’t have very good luck getting married. so far Frank has had a letter from his wife that he don’t like. she has left his home and he don’t write or send money. I don’t know how much more they can be separated than they are.

You girls will make great gipseys. I should like to see you perform. supposing you come to New Orleans and give an entertainment[?]

I am glad to hear you receive my letters and hope it will continue so long as I am gone which will be some time. I presume it will be some time before we shall get there, but never mind. we shall fix this bussiness[sic] before we do.

I received a letter from you and mother together. I answered mothers and promised to yours and this will answer for both. you wrote about keeping sunday. we have more to do there than any other day. we have to get ready for inspection and it is some work to clean our guns and brasses for we cant clean them the night before so that they will pass but have it all to do sunday and even go into the streets here and you would not know it was sunday by the appearance they are at work every store is open just the same as any other day the soldiers keep the day best.

We have pretty good times here the same as over there. I have just stopped fooling with This Razor and you see the consequences on this paper, but never mind. I have written enough for this time so good bye from Luther

PS        I wrote in my last letter about getting me a revolver of Smith and Wesson and a box of cartriges[sic]. please send them quick

Luther

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[written in top margin] you will have to pay the postage. I have money enough, but no silver and we have to have gold & silver to get postage stamps

Camp Morewood
New Orleans Aug 12 [13?]

Dear Sister

As I have been just writing to Mary and because it is so still, the company having gone down to the trivolies[sic: Tivoli] circle to guard a battery to night, I think I cant have a stiller time to write. you must not expect a long letter. it is only a day or two since I wrote. I am well as ever. you know I am one of the carpenters and therefore don’t go with the company and we have [not?] had any work of any kind this some time. I am down to the wharf every day. the prisoners are down on a boat and a sculeyer[?] set of men you never saw. not because they are rebels, if they belonged to us I should say the same. I was in the boat with them to day and played cards. there are good fellows amongst them. they jaw a good deal about the citizens of New Orleans not helping them. one of them said he thought he had rather die on the battle field than be taken prisoner. but now he thought different. he thought he should be butchered just as sure as he was taken.

You keep writing about my picture. I tell you I aint going to give my picture to a young lady that thinks enough of the rebels to send her picture to them. what do you think of that[?] are you a rebel sympathizer[?]

Julia I am going to send you a picture to take care of and I want you should be carefull of it and if I don’t come home destroy it. Tell Mary not to feel jealous for it is no sweetheart of mine, or don’t show it or say a word about it to any body. when I come home I will tell you all about it. Chas Lamberton is here yet, but expects to go home soon. he is not sick only his breach[?] troubles him so that he is not able for duty. you may think this a short letter, but when I write every other day I cant write long ones. So Good night

From Luther

P.S. if you will send me your picture, I will send mine. if they have not bought that pistol to get no 2 Smith and Wesson

Ed French is here now waiting for a chance to go home. the first time I get a chance I will send a rebel belt, a bone ring I made during the bombardment of the forts, and one I made while at the mint, and my pipe and you must keep what I send safe

Luther

Tell Jasper if he cant eat pudding and milk never go a soldiering.

Love to all enquiring friends except Phinney. kiss mother for me and do your best to make her happy now, while she has so much to trouble her.

Luther

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Fort Jackson La           Aug 25th

Dear Sister

I now take my pencil to write. you will see by the heading that we have left the city. we came here, at least 4 companies. the regt has been all broke up: 3 companies G, I, and F have gone to Fort Pike on the lake, H and K are up the river on picket duty, C is in the city for provost guard, and D, B, A, E are here to garrison this place. the Col of the regt don’t stay with us at all. there is some trouble between him and Butler. you see, Goodwin[sic; Gooding] is the man Gov Andrew wants and commissioned and Welden[sic; Whelden] is the one Butler wants, and between them there is some fuss. Welden has taken command at Fort Pike and Major Bache is in command here. he will make a good fellow for us here, I can tell you. it is a good deal, as the officers say, whether we have easy times or not, for some of the officers have twice as many guards on as others. Welden would have on guard enough to keep out the devil, if the men had to go on every other day and before we came from the city every able bodied man was on for 8 days and nights with[out?] being relieved. but we shall have an easy time now there is but few guards on and there aint any need of them. we have some of the most noted secessionists here and some of the robbers and cut throats of N. O. I think we shall have a pretty good time and like first rate to be sure we shall have to give up the pleasures of city life for we have moved into the country the moat around the fort or the center fort is full of alligators. we can sit on the walls of the fort and see them swim around and throw bread at them see them eat. a storming party will be eat up by alligators, as well as by bullets and shot. you can have no idea how this fort is made. I will try and give you a plan of it one of these days. we have two men in our company that were here during the bombardment and they understand it. we can see all vessels that go up and down the river. there was a mail steamer went up last night and one just this minute. they have to heave to here, but do not stop only a moment. the mail has to go up to the city before we get it, but I hope when we get it I shall have a letter. but the only way is to hope and wait.

26th

I did not finish my letter yesterday, but will now. we have had our quinnine[sic] and whiskey, which we are all obliged to take every morning to keep off the chills.

We have the band here with us and it seems good to her them play evenings. we have good quarters. each company has a house by themselves made of canvass[sic] except the roof which is shingled. the canvass on the side is so that it will roll up. thus you see we have a open building in the day time and closed at night. there is any quantity of contrabands here to do the work. if we want and[sic: some?] shoveling done, we set a nigger at it. they have to bring all the water and help the cooks.

But there is one thing: the misquitoes[sic] beat all I ever see. they are as much worse from those of the city as those of the city are worse than those at the north. why we cant lay down a minute even in the day time without having our misquitoe net over us and we have a brush made of palm leaf to brush them away with when we are sitting down. I have one in my lap now. John sleeps with me. he says tell the girls if they want to take any comfort never come south, for the damned misquitoes will eat you up. he is trying to sleep, but they bother him so he can’t. you have no idea what this [illegible] [illegible]. Emerson Puffer and Henry Brainard have been appointed curse bearers, as we call them, but military law call[s] them corporals

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Fort Jackson La Sep 6th

Dear Sister

It has been but a short time since I wrote but today I received your letter of August 12th and now take time to answer it. you wrote that you had just received a letter from Ezra but none from me, thinking I had no time to write. but if you see the letters that I have and write, you would think my time to write [sic]. but I can tell you when I came to the fort I had 8 letters to answer, but can get no stamps to answer them. since coming here and but for having them franked, I could not write at all. I wrote to Francis yesterday but I don’t know as he will care enough about getting a letter from me to pay the postage. but we shall soon get paid of[f] and then we can send up and get a lot at the city.

I shall have to wait untill I get a chance to go up to the city before I can send that picture. I intended to had[sic] it taken the next day, but orders came for us to prepare to march and therefore could not get it taken. but I want yours and Marys first and then you may look for mine. but mind you send it to me. I hope George left his mark on some of those cursed rebels if he has been in the fight. I have a letter from him that I must answer as soon as I can.

I am glad if Eddie has gone. I don’t believe he will ever be sorry that he is a soldier. he [illegible], if he feels as I do to be sure, to be homesick at times. so he will be any where. I am sometimes, but soon get over it, for there is so many to joke and raise the old harry with that we cant[sic] be homesick a great while. I have spoke to the Capt and I am going to drill with the company again. Co D does no more guard duty for the present. Co C has come and our company are detailed to drill on the cannons here in the fort, so you need not expect to here[sic] of Fort Jackson being captured while Co D of the 31st regt Mass Volunteers has charge of the guns. I belong to the 31st regt and proud to belong to it. let the Boston Journal print what letters they are a mind to. they cant spoil the regt, for it is proof against slang. this here slang of newspapers has done more hurt than any thing else.

Frank is a plucky bugger, isn’t he [?] I should think he would stick to Phinney. the more you try to pull him off, the more he sticks the faster like the old womans sticking plaster.

Tell Francis we had beans this noon.

The 7th Vermont regt had their colors taken away from them by Gen Butler for cowardice at the battle of Baton Rouge. We have got to wear mourning on our colors for President Van Buren and the officers wear crape[sic] on their swords the same length of time.

By what you say I think they are having rough times there about getting soldiers. I think there is a great many cowards in Ware or they would enlist faster than they do. but I must close. remember that pistol. so good bye for this time. write soon.

From Luther

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Fort Jackson Sept. 19th

Dear Sister

I thought I would try and write to day. I have been sick for two or three days. the boys are all having the fever and ague though some are two[sic] lazy to shake [illegible], Bennett, Crague, Howland, Ezra, Bannister and many more are sick, but they are getting better. the sick list begins to grow short again. I feel a good deal better to day.

There was three prisoners swam the moat the other day, but they were soon missed and men were immediately sent out to scour the woods and they were found about 16 miles from the fort.

Chas Lamberton has not left the city yet but I presume he will soon.

There is the mail that came in on two steamers laying at the city and has lain there for a week. you see the Chaplain, if he can be called one)[no 1st paren.] got it out of the Post Office and locked it up in his room and then he went to Fort Pike on the lake. so we have to go without our letters. I think that he is a smart man don’t you [?]

Co D is going to man the fire engine Good Will No 10, so you see we can be firemen and soldiers, too. that is the name of the engine here in the fort. we have not tested its strength yet but will give you notice when we do. but it will beat the Oregon.

I wish you would send me a small box with some crackers nutcakes cheese some such things as that they would go first rate, and one thing I wish you would send some Ayres or Hallowell pills. but I must close for I am to[sic] weak to write any more. so good bye. I will write again soon.

From Luther

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[written across the top margin] How is Lucy [?] better I hope

Camp 31st Mass Vol

Julia

Now I will answer your letter of Sept 22d, but if you begin to find fault with my letters, I shall cut them shorter, yet, and not quite so often. I shall answer only those I receive, if you don’t keep quiet. so look wild for beakers. I think if you tried very hard you might find enough to make a small parcel to send by Lieut Bond, but I think he will have started ‘ere this reaches you and it will be to[o] late to send me a few plugs of good tobacco but remember to send some when you have such chances.

Well I must stop and eat dinner, a plate baked beans. Now I have finished dinner and will now commence this letter again. I do not like to hear you talk of all the young clerks. to be sure I like to hear of all the new arrivals, but one can not judge as to the character of such fellows and better not be to[o] intumate[sic] with such. I always hate those stuck up clerks. we used to give some of them fits when we were there. confound the counter jumpers.

Where is your new straw shop [?] I don’t remember as you ever wrote. you said you were going to send me a piece of canton, but I didn’t see it. soldiers wear no such stuff as canton so I guess you are not making them for soldiers. that is for you young ladies that walk the street to show their new clothes. I hope I shall not be troubled with getting a new bonnet every month. ha ha

You say you are at work in the straw shop. how much do you work [?] I hope you work better than when I was at home and cause mother less trouble.

That is big news about Francis, isn’t it [?] I shall have lots of new relations when I get home. new sister, cousin, and nephews.

I think Phinney is as (excuse me Mrs E Winslow) near related as I wish her to be. I think she is not kept in suspense now as when I used to go with the red turkey, but I must not talk about my cousin.

It is 2 years yesterday since I enlisted. I am now 22 years of age. if alive I shall be 23 when my time is up. I was on picket my birth day and I think on guard at Fort Jackson a year ago. you can tell by looking at my Diary of last year. I want that book kept good and you need not lug the things around when you go to Enfield or Easthampton. what has become of the picture of that young lad I sent home some time ago [?] have you lost that [?] if you have, farewell. mind that pipe also. now hear what I said, but I have said enough this time. write soon.

From Luther

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Fort Jackson    Oct 19th

Dear Sister

Short letter today I am well and hope this will find you the same we have been having great times today we have at last been presented a stand of colors by the state of Mass you know that Gen Butler gave us a national flag but Gov Andrew has at last saw fit to let us have a state flag to carry and a new national flag and they were presented to us to day

Since writing to you last we have had nice cool weather one morning we woke up half froze and the wind was blowing a regular northeaster we had to wear our overcoats to keep warm for two or three day[sic] and it has been cool ever since. Day before yesterday a schooner came up the river loaded full of refugees from Texas they fled from Texas to escape the draft and run to Matamoras Mexico there our Consul chartered this boat and sent them to Gen Butler they want to enlist in some regt that is agoing there so they can get a chance at those that drove them from home they are a tough looking set of men some of them being clothed in buckskin some of them know our Col you know he used to belong to the regular army and was stationed in Texas /p2/

One thing I want to have sent for in my last letter and that is some blue flannel shirts the shirts we are getting are not fit for winter they are white part cotton and they are so short  we cant keep them in our pants I want some good ones for winter make them up in good shape and soon as I get paid I will try and let you have money to pay for them tell mother to use my money that I send home to pay for things that I send for but the shirts I must have this winter these are not fit to wear.

I have had one apple this year and it went well Emery Johnson had a box come with a lot of apples and gave me one.

John has been sick for the last week and I eat his rations and mine too He has the chills I have been on picket guard for the first time Wilbur Gibbs and I was on a post together we have to stand all night

You would think we kept quite a farm here There is about 30 head of cattle 20 sheep 14 hogs you can guess how much we paid for them and where we bought them Gen Butler has a large plantation up here with the niggars[sic] to work making sugar and gathering crops.

I am going to work and write to Rufus S again today and see if I can get an answer but I must close for this time So good bye

From Luther

Remember those Shirts

Send some stamps every time you write

Luther

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/written upside down in top margin/ I am well though and hearty give my love to all and write a gain soon

Brother Luther

 

Fort Jackson Nov 2d

Dear Sister

I received your letter of Oct 1st with your picture last thursday and will now answer it the picture came through safe and is a good picture I shall keep it choice and try and bring it home with me if I am permitted to return and once more see my dear parents brothers and sisters that I love so dear and wish so much to see.

It is a very rainy day here it commenced about 2 oclock this morning and is raining now and therefore you must excuse all mistakes and bad writing for the canvass is all down and it makes it dark so I can hardly see and it is but a short time since I have written so I hardly know what to write.

We were paid off yesterday and I am going to send $30 dollars home this time we were paid four months pay up to the first of September. I must have some money to buy things here with therefore I think I must keep all but the thirty dollars /p2/

There is not much use sending any more boxes of cakes and such things unless it is done up in cans or jars for they open all the boxes that come here now and are tumbled back in every way bottles bottom side up and it makes no matter what they put to the bottom or side of each other.

Warner Snow had a box come and his cakes were spoilt they were tumbled in and a large salmon fish lay right in amongst them they all tasted of fish Ezra W. had most of his things spoilt because they did not put the things in so but what some of his bottles were broke and spoilt the rest of the things So when you send any thing don’t send any loose cakes or bottles and then what you do send will come here safe

We boys were going to send some oranges home but it is no use for every box that is sent from here is opened for to see if there is any contraband goods so you see we might pack them as good as we are a mind to and they would all be opened and throwed around so that they would all rot before they get half way home so it is no use to send

From    Luther

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/folder 3/

 

Greenville        Jan 25/63

Dear Sister

I received your letter of Jan 7th day before yesterday and this is the first chance I have had of answering it we have at last been relieved at the Fort and arrived here yesterday and pitched our tents after dark but have been to work all day arranging the camp we are in a delightfull place about 15 miles from the city and 1 mile from the 42 regt there is quite a number of them here now we were relieved at the fort by 3 negro companies of the 2d Louisiana and are now getting our regt together two companies joined us to day and the rest will probably join us soon then we shall do our part of the work I think /p2/

Ezra came down to the wharf when we stopped at the city he is pretty feeble and will never do any more duty as a soldier I think he told me he had his discharge papers but was waiting to have them signed by the Dr when he will probably come home he is sick with the dropsey[sic] I did not ask him whether he had written to you or not for he was aboard but a short time

You wanted me to tell you if Mary and I were engaged if I should tell you then you would know as well as I do so I guess I will wait at least she wont be your sister untill I come home at least if I ever come then you will know I received a letter from her the same time that I did yours and her picture so you can judge whether we are mad or not I think not /p3/

I tried to get off at the city to have some pictures taken but could not but we are so near that I think I can get a chance to go down the cars run down every hour I will try and see what I can do when we get a little more settled down here. Lieut Ward is here I have seen him he used to live at De Hiners/?/ I do not know what regt he belongs to

I have no more news to write every thing is in such a hubbub but will write again soon excuse this dirty paper for it is scarce and poor writing

so good bye

From that old bother of a

brother Luther

Direct the same as usual

New Orleans La

Co D 31st Mass Vol

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Donalsonville [sic] [n.d. but likely July 1863]

Dear Sister

I have just received your letter of July 5 and as I have not sealed up mothers letter I will answer yours in the same envelope for you know such things are rather scarce down here. I am glad to hear mother has been taking a trip for I think it would be good for her health not to keep cooped up at home.

You will hear before this reaches you that Port Hudson is ours now The miss river is open so boats can run clear up to Kentucky and thus the rebel states are cut in two part lay one side of the river and part the other and we hold the space between them /p2/

It has turned out just as I thought it would with Mary I knew something was the matter or I should have had letters but I cant lose sleep on that account there is as good trout in the brook as ever has been caught I should like very much to become acquainted with Hattie but you know I am one of the bashfull sort and don’t know about writing to a young lady I never saw but I may make up my mind to write after getting settled down in camp

Our company is fast thinning out a letter came from New Orleans today stating Geo Marsh is to have his discharge Sargent[sic] Brainard is on his way home I presume Corpl Spooner is discharged Geo Richardson of Hardwick also Eugene Fletcher is to have a furlough Corpl Fisherdick C Woodard and Tom Raymond have been taken /p3/ prisoners Fisherdick and Woodard have been paroled and gone to the paroled camp at Ship Island

You write that you think we shall be at home soon the shortest time I expect to stay is one year from now and if we get home before the time of enlistment expires we shall be surprised for we don’t expect it

Gen Logan of Gen Grants army is now at work in the Tech[sic] country with 10,000 men and says he has taken 6000 prisoners. It is the report now that our brigade is going to the city if so I will send that picture I shall begin to look for that box soon but I must close write soon

From your absent brother

Luther