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Charles Cole letters

This slideshow contains 24 items
1
Militia call-up notice, Sebago, 1862

Militia call-up notice, Sebago, 1862

Item 72488 info
Sebago Historical Society

Charles Cole was enrolled as a soldier in a militia company commanded by David Brown and ordered to appear at the Sebago Town House on at 9 a.m. on September 10, 1862.

Members of town militia companies, which existed before the Civil War began, were the first soldiers called into service when the war began.


2
Edwin Witham letter to Charles Cole, 1862

Edwin Witham letter to Charles Cole, 1862

Item 71947 info
Sebago Historical Society

Ed Witham, member of the 5th Maine Infantry and brother to Charles Cole's neighbor in Sebago, wrote to Charles that he had reformed some since being in the regiment and "left off swearing and drinking." He reported that he had joined the Sons of Temperance.

He also recounted an event that happened in Augusta during his time there. The squads went to the theater regularly, but one night there was a fire in the building that housed the Post Office and theater.

Apparently believing that a soldier was responsible for starting the fire, the city marshal and the police went to the barracks to take the soldier to jail.

They were attacked by the soldiers who "tore the City marshalls coat all off of him and his hat and took his revolver and knife away."

The marshal hastily retreated across the bridge to escape the assault. Witham advised:"dont let eny boddy read this burn it as soon as you read it"


3
Witham letter urging Charles Cole to join army, 1862

Witham letter urging Charles Cole to join army, 1862

Item 68015 info
Sebago Historical Society

In another letter, written in 1862 from Washington, D.C., Witham described Capt. George Leppein's strictness about cleanliness, especially soldiers keeping their teeth clean.

Leppein gave each soldier a toothbrush, and threatened them with knapsack drill if they did not keep their teeth clean.

Witham wrote that he had been swimming in the east branch of the Potomac two or three times.


4
Charles Cole letter to his family, 1862

Charles Cole letter to his family, 1862

Item 72556 info
Sebago Historical Society

Charles Cole enlisted in Co. K of the 25th Maine Infantry in August 1862. He was 18 years old. He enlisted for nine months.

He wrote to his family shortly after arriving at Camp Abraham Lincoln, in Cape Elizabeth.


5
Letter to family after arriving in Portland, 1862

Letter to family after arriving in Portland, 1862

Item 68017 info
Sebago Historical Society

Cole wrote to his family from Cape Elizabeth where his regiment was being trained that, "our rations are potatoes and beef and brown bread and flour cake mostly."

He included directions to the family, encouraging them to visit him at Camp Abraham Lincoln, in Cape Elizabeth.

Cole had gone back to Sebago for a visit and was writing after his return to his regiment.

On his return, he and George Douglass, a friend from Sebago who was also in his regiment, went into Portland to experience the city before going back to camp.

He wrote, "we hollowed so much that we was all hourse that night as we could be."

They spent the night at the Cumberland House Hotel in Portland before returning to Camp Abraham Lincoln the next day.


6
Cole family to son, Sebago, 1862

Cole family to son, Sebago, 1862

Item 68019 info
Sebago Historical Society

Benjamin and Nancy Cole wrote to their son, expressing their concerns about his health and urging him to come home for a visit at the earliest opportunity.

His father warned him against signing up for a longer term of service, as the officers wanted to fill their regiment with three-year men and offered higher bounties for it. Cole had enlisted for nine months.

Cole's brother Horatio, who was about 15, and sister Ella, about 12, added to the letter. His 2 1/2 year old brother Herbert, called "Bub," reportedly liked the whistle Charles sent him and was quoted as saying, "Charles has gone to catch old Jeff Davis."


7
Horatio Cole writes to Charles Cole

Horatio Cole writes to Charles Cole

Item 68021 info
Sebago Historical Society

On October 5, Cole's brother Horatio sent news from home: how many bushels of potatoes they've dug and how many quarts of acorns the younger children have collected.

Horatio also wrote that their mother had made a new shirt for Charles and wanted him to return for a visit. Cole was in Cape Elizabeth in training.

He mentioned Edwin Witham of the 5th Maine Regiment, the brother of their neighbor Lydia Decker, had been wounded.

Another Sebago soldier, Daniel D. Martin, was wounded in the leg and was taken prisoner.

Charles' father, Benjamin, warned his son not to sell his orders at a discount and to protect himself.


8
Charles Cole writes to parents before leaving Portland 1862

Charles Cole writes to parents before leaving Portland 1862

Item 68228 info
Sebago Historical Society

On October 15, Charles Cole of Co. K of the 25th Maine Infantry, wrote to his parents from Cape Elizabeth that his regiment was expected to leave for Washington, D.C. the next day.

He wrote that they finally got their guns, but "they was old flint lockes altered over" and the colonel refused them.

The shoes issued to Charles were too small and he couldn't swap with anyone, so he sent them home to his younger brother Horatio.


9
Letter on trip from Portland to Washington D. C., 1862

Letter on trip from Portland to Washington D. C., 1862

Item 68229 info
Sebago Historical Society

On Oct. 21, Cole wrote home to describe in great detail the trip from Camp Lincoln in Cape Elizabeth to Washington, D.C.

The regiment started out by train, then took the steamship State of Maine to New York City. The steamship came close to blowing up, but the problem was realized just in time.

They then went to Philadelphia, where residents had prepared supper for them.

Another train trip took them to Baltimore. Finally arriving in Washington two days later, they got their weapons and made camp on Capitol Hill.

Two friends from Sebago greeted them before going back to their own regiment.


10
Family writes to Charles Cole in Washington, DC Oct 1862

Family writes to Charles Cole in Washington, DC Oct 1862

Item 68442 info
Sebago Historical Society

Benjamin Cole wrote to his son on October 26, reporting that neighbor Daniel D. Martin, who was serving in the 12th Maine Regiment in Louisiana, had been wounded and had his leg amputated.

He tells him that the 5th Maine -- his friend Ed Witham's regiment, was camped a few miles from Charles' unit, the 25th Maine Infantry, in Gaineswoods.

Benjamin Cole also wrote about an apparent desertion from his son's regiment: "Noah Pendexter has not been seen this way since the 25 Regt left nor Jo Wiggins some thinks that they are togather in the woods."

Cole's younger brother Horatio also penned a page, letting Charles know that neighbor Al Sanborn harvested nine bushels of rye that fall.


11
Benjamin Cole to son Charles, Sebago, 1862

Benjamin Cole to son Charles, Sebago, 1862

Item 68444 info
Sebago Historical Society

On November 4, Benjamin Cole wrote to his son that the family was worried about Charles's well being and health.

He offered to send money and reported that Charles's younger brother, Horatio, had his picture taken "and it is blacker than any Contraband you will see while you are gone."

Benjamin Cole reported that Horatio had gone back to school, but though he should be helping with the plowing instead. Sister Ella reported that the family was all together that night, sitting around the fire, with the baby asleep in his cradle.


12
Cole family to son Charles in Arlington Heights, 1862

Cole family to son Charles in Arlington Heights, 1862

Item 68517 info
Sebago Historical Society

Horatio Cole wrote to his brother on November 9, saying the family had been writing letter but weren't sure Charles was receiving them.

Benjamin Cole wrote a page on the letter telling his son that Noah Pendexter, one of the soldier's from Charles' regiment, was still missing. He had previously written that Pendexter had probably deserted.

He also wrote that a South Bridgton soldier, who was thought to be dead, was alive and his wife, who refused to attend his funeral, was on her way to see him in Washington.


13
Charles Cole to family, Arlington Heights, Va., 1862

Charles Cole to family, Arlington Heights, Va., 1862

Item 68612 info
Sebago Historical Society

Cole wrote to his family on November 9, 1862 that the 25th Maine was building winter quarters for the troops in Arlington Heights, Virginia. The armies usually stayed in one location for the winter and did not engage in battles.

He wrote that he watched 2,000 head of cattle pass by, headed for Manassas, Virginia. He told his mother not to worry, that he was "doing first raite we live well and the water is good I have gained thirteen pounds since I left Sebago."

He also warned his family not to address their letters to "MVM," because it also stood for Mass Volunteer Militia.


14
Ella Cole to brother Charles, Sebago, 1862

Ella Cole to brother Charles, Sebago, 1862

Item 68614 info
Sebago Historical Society

On November 16, Ella Cole, who was about 11, wrote to Charles that "the scholars all miss you at school."

She sent him a sheet of paper and an envelope for a return letter. She noted that a number of his classmates had written to him and were awaiting replies.

Cole's father, Benjamin, mentioned that Sebago needed to enlist three more three-month men and three more three-year men.


15
Pvt. Charles Cole to family, near Washington, D.C., 1862

Pvt. Charles Cole to family, near Washington, D.C., 1862

Item 68616 info
Sebago Historical Society

Cole wrote on November 19, telling his family of "a soldier's life in dixy."

His regiment was guarding a bridge over the Potomac and patrolling. He reported that soldiers of the 27th Maine Infantry had turned on their quartermaster because they thought they were not getting enough to eat.

Cole wrote that he had not been paid and needed money for stamps. He told his brother Horatio that he was "tough rugged and saucy and so is all the boys from Sebago."


16
Pvt. Charles Cole to family, Arlington, Va., 1862

Pvt. Charles Cole to family, Arlington, Va., 1862

Item 72558 info
Sebago Historical Society

On November 29, Cole wrote to his sister Ella, reporting that the regiment probably would stay in Arlington Heights for the winter, guarding the long bridge.


17
Charles Cole to his family, Virginia, 1862

Charles Cole to his family, Virginia, 1862

Item 72561 info
Sebago Historical Society

Cole wrote to his family on Nov. 30, 1862 that he was healthy and well fed, the barracks were warm, and they had a wood stove for heat.

Responding to a letter, he wrote that he was upset that a neighbor of his family in Sebago, Joe Wiggins, or one of his family stole a turkey from the Coles, but is happy his mother still had one for Thanksgiving.


18
Letter about Pvt. Charles Cole ill health, Washington, D.C., 1862

Letter about Pvt. Charles Cole ill health, Washington, D.C., 1862

Item 68620 info
Sebago Historical Society

William Brown, friend and neighbor of the Coles in Sebago and in Charles' regiment, wrote on December 7, 1862, "according to promises I made you when I left Sebago" to let the family know that Charles was ill with fever and had been unwell for over a week.

He mentioned that they had moved into the barracks and were comfortable and would not let him Cole go to the hospital "as long as we can help it. We think we can pay better Attention to him here."


19
Letter about Pvt. Cole serious illness, near Washington, D.C., 1862

Letter about Pvt. Cole serious illness, near Washington, D.C., 1862

Item 68624 info
Sebago Historical Society

A week later, on December 15, 1862, Brown wrote again, telling Benjamin Cole that his son was quite sick and probably not going to recover.


20
William Brown letter on Charles Cole death, near Washington, D.C., 1862

William Brown letter on Charles Cole death, near Washington, D.C., 1862

Item 68626 info
Sebago Historical Society

On December 17, Brown wrote to Benjamin Cole that his son, Pvt. Charles Cole, had died of typhoid fever.

He let the senior Cole know the expenses involved in shipping his son's body back to Sebago.


21
William Brown on Charles Cole's death, Washington, D.C., 1862

William Brown on Charles Cole's death, Washington, D.C., 1862

Item 68628 info
Sebago Historical Society

On December 26, Brown again wrote to his friend and neighbor in Sebago, Benjamin Cole to assure him that Charles was a good boy and died a Christian.

He Jason Martin of Sebago had received the money have Charles' body shipped back home and that it was on its way, with all of Charles Cole's personal effects inside the box.


22
Brown assurances about Pvt. Charles Cole's death, Georgetown, 1863

Brown assurances about Pvt. Charles Cole's death, Georgetown, 1863

Item 68632 info
Sebago Historical Society

Brown wrote again on January 9, 1863 to Benjamin Cole, who apparently was questioning the circumstances of his son's death.

Brown assured him that Charles received the best care possible and he died a pious man.

He wrote that Charles was now with his Heavenly father and free from cares and troubles.


23
Letter on deceased soldier's pay, Georgetown, 1863

Letter on deceased soldier's pay, Georgetown, 1863

Item 68634 info
Sebago Historical Society

On March 4, 1863, Brown again wrote to Benjamin Cole advising him that he could receive the wages owed his deceased son, Charles Cole, a private in Co. K of the 25th Maine Regiment.

He told Cole to write to the paymaster in Portland.

Brown also noted that the health of the regiment had improved and that the 25th had lost only 15 men.


24
William Brown on Pvt. Cole memorial, Washington, D.C., 1863

William Brown on Pvt. Cole memorial, Washington, D.C., 1863

Item 68636 info
Sebago Historical Society

On March 15, Brown sent a memorial paper to Benjamin Cole to let the family know that Charles Cole's fellow soldiers had not forgotten him.

It was Brown's last known correspondence with Benjamin Cole about Charles Cole.


This slideshow contains 24 items