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Requests From Soldiers

This slideshow contains 19 items
1
Letter seeking back pay, Virginia, 1861

Letter seeking back pay, Virginia, 1861

Item 59531 info
Maine Historical Society

George E. Sawyer of Co. B, 31st Maine Volunteers, wrote to Mr. Watson, an agent of the Maine Sanitary Commission noting that he had not been paid for six months and hoped to be paid before he returned to the front.

Sawyer was at Wolf Street Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia.


2
Warren Fowler letter seeking help, 1863

Warren Fowler letter seeking help, 1863

Item 59532 info
Maine Historical Society

Warren Fowler of the 15th Maine Regiment wrote to the Maine Agency of the U.S. Sanitary Commission in January 1863 seeking back pay to send to his wife.

Fowler, about whom few records exist, apparently was in a hospital and described his condition as "filth and misery." He wrote, "I am very unwell -- almost am quite a cripple sleeping on the naked floor i have no clothes to change..."

He wrote that he had been at the facility for three months and that "i wish i was well it would be pleasure to me to meet the enemy in preference to what i suffer."


3
Note concerning box from home, Virginia, 1863

Note concerning box from home, Virginia, 1863

Item 59534 info
Maine Historical Society

Jerry W. Riggs of the 16th Maine Infantry wrote to Leonard Watson of the Maine State Agency of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, noting that he was expecting a box from home and wanted it forwarded to him at Bell Plains, Virginia.

The Sanitary Commission gave aid to hospitals, cared for wounded soldiers, and took care of other needs of Civil War soldiers.

The back of Riggs' note has a notation dated Dec. 31, 186 that "no box found to this date."


4
Letter on behalf of ill soldier, Virginia, 1863

Letter on behalf of ill soldier, Virginia, 1863

Item 60172 info
Maine Historical Society

J. W. Mason of the 1st Maine Cavalry wrote, with the help of another soldier, to Leonard Watson, Maine agent of the Soldiers' Relief Association, seeking help in getting a discharge from the service.

Mason reported that he was admitted to Howard Hospital with typhoid fever on Sept. 4, 1862. He had a sick furlough to return to Maine, but remained ill after his return to his military post and had done no military work since first contracting the fever.

He wrote that his "carere as a usefull soldier is ended." He also commented that his widowed mother needed him at home. A doctor also certified that Mason would never again be able to perform military duty.

Joseph W. Mason of Portland enlisted at age 22 as a private in Co. F of the 1st Maine. He was mustered out January 16, 1864.


5
Letter from soldiers seeking discharge, Virginia, 1863

Letter from soldiers seeking discharge, Virginia, 1863

Item 60173 info
Maine Historical Society

Five soldiers wrote to Leonard Watson, Maine agent for the Sanitary Commission, noting that they had all been assigned to the 2nd Battalion Invalid Corps and had papers marked for discharge, but the papers had not followed them to Lincoln Hospital when they were sent there from Meridian Hill.

Meridian Hill was a hospital in Washington, D.C. Lincoln Hospital was in Lincoln Park in Washington.

The soldiers signing the letter were Chauncy A. Harris, Thomas Starah, Francis Everett, Benjamin W. Greenleaf, and William Tindall.


6
Soldier's letter on clothing payment, Bowdoinham, 1863

Soldier's letter on clothing payment, Bowdoinham, 1863

Item 60175 info
Maine Historical Society

George Cony, a musician in Co. B of the 19th Maine Regiment, wrote to Leonard Watson the Maine agent of the Sanitary Commission in Washington, D.C., seeking his assistance in get his "descriptive list" that he should have received upon leaving the service.

Without the list, he could not collect the money he was owed.

He also discussed politics and the recent election of Samuel Cony as governor of Maine, suggesting he might have known Watson. He closed by writing, "Copperheads dull & declining."


7
POW letter requesting food, Richmond, Va., 1863

POW letter requesting food, Richmond, Va., 1863

Item 60280 info
Maine Historical Society

Lt. James U. Childs of Co. H of the 16th Maine wrote from Libby Prison in Richmond, Virginia, where he was being held prisoner, seeking various food items sent to him.

His letter is addressed to Leonard Watson of the Maine Agency Sanitary Commission in Washington, D.C. Childs writes that he would have a $20 payment sent to Watson when the box was shipped.

He asked for a ham, sausages, canned milk and salmon, Shaker applesauce, sardines, butter, cranberry sauce, coffee, and other items.

Childs, of Farmington, enlisted Aug. 14, 1862 as a sergeant. He was promoted to 2nd lieutenant, then 1st lieutenant and was mustered out on June 5, 1865.

His father was Capt. E. Childs.


8
Cyrus McBride letter on election, Washington, D.C., 1863

Cyrus McBride letter on election, Washington, D.C., 1863

Item 60550 info
Maine Historical Society

Cyrus McBride, 1st sergeant in Co. K of the 13th Maine Volunteers, wrote from Harewood Hospital in Washington, D.C., to B.H. Hinds at the Maine Agency Sanitary Commission in Washington, seeking a furlough he had been promised so he could vote in the 1864 presidential election.

McBride, of Biddeford, enlisted on Dec. 13, 1861 at age 25.

McBride wrote that he had been granted a furlough, but then told by a surgeon who was issuing him an overcoat that because he did not have long left on his enlistment, it would not make sense to give him a furlough.

McBride appealed to the Sanitary Commission because he wanted to vote in the election. He wrote, "I think it is the duty for every man to vote on this comeing Election to maintain the principles that we have been strugling for & for the Officers that will carry them through."

McBride was mustered out of the service on Jan. 6, 1865.


9
Request for information on soldier's box, 1864

Request for information on soldier's box, 1864

Item 61636 info
Maine Historical Society

J.E. Siprell of the 1st Maine Cavalry wrote from near Warenton, Virginia, to the Maine Agency Sanitary Commission seeking information about a box he was expecting.

His letter was dated January 15, 1861 and a notation on the back of his letter reads, "ans and box sent Jany. 26/64"

The Sanitary Commission, besides forwarding and transporting boxes to individual soldiers, helped resolve soldiers issues with pay, their requests for furloughs, family requests for information about soldiers, and other issues relating to the care and comfort of the Maine soldiers.

James E. Siprell of Monticello was 25 when he enlisted as a private in Co. E of the 1st Cavalry Regiment on August 30, 1862. He was killed at the Battle of Spotsylvania on May 19, 1864.


10
Soldier's request to be sent home, Washington, 1864

Soldier's request to be sent home, Washington, 1864

Item 61638 info
Maine Historical Society

Pvt. John M. Woodman, writing from the Convalescent Camp in Washington, D.C., in January 1864 asked the Maine Agency Sanitary Commission to help him get sent home.

Woodman wrote that his father, age 73, was quite sick and needed his help. Another brother was killed at Ship Island and a third brother, at home, "is no help to him."

Woodman was 29 and working as a miller when he was mustered in to Co. F of the Maine 17th Infantry Regiment on August 18, 1862. He was mustered out on in June 1864, transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps.

An employee of the Maine Agency wrote on the back of the letter, "all settled."


11
Soldier's request for shoes, stockings, 1864

Soldier's request for shoes, stockings, 1864

Item 61642 info
Maine Historical Society

Francis Sabine of Eastport was 30 when he enlisted as a corporal in Co. K of the 6th Infantry Regiment on July 15, 1861. Sabine is listed as deserting from the regiment on January 14, 1863.

On February 2, 1864, Sabine wrote to the Maine Agency Sanitary Commission asking for a pair of shoes, two pairs of stockings and a pair of drawers. The letter was sent from the Central Guard House.

Sabine was listed in the 1860 census as living with his parents and working as a seaman.


12
Prisoner request for Parole, Annapolis, Md., 1864

Prisoner request for Parole, Annapolis, Md., 1864

Item 61643 info
Maine Historical Society

Writing from the St. John's College Hospital in Annapolis, Maryland, Cyrus M. Baker asked the Maine State Agent of the Sanitary Commission to help him get a furlough of 60 days to go back to Maine.

Baker, of the 9th Maine Volunteers, was taken prisoner by the Confederate Army at Morris Island, S.C., sent to Bell Island prison where he "starved there four months," and then was paroled and sent to the hospital in Annapolis.

Because of the inability to care for the large numbers of prisoners taken, the Confederate and Union armies often exchanged prisoners for others of equal rank or paroled them. Under parole, the prisoners agreed not to engage in hostilities until they were exchanged.

Baker wrote that he was "paroled, and no prospect of an exchange" and therefore would like a furlough to Maine.

Baker, of Moscow, was 20 when he enlisted as a private in Co. D of the 9th Maine on September 22, 1861. He was promoted to corporal on October 17, 1861 and was mustered out on September 27, 1864.

After the war, Baker returned to Maine and worked as a blacksmith in Bingham.


13
Request for soldier transfers to navy, Virginia, 1864

Request for soldier transfers to navy, Virginia, 1864

Item 61838 info
Maine Historical Society

P.L. Strout of Co. E of the 19th Maine Volunteers asked Leonard Watson, Maine Agent for the Sanitary Commission, for assistance in helping two soldiers, James B. Sweetser, a private; and Stephen E. Woodbury, a corporal, who both were seamen, transfer to the navy.

Strout wrote, "They are good boys and to me it would be very gratifying to see them more agreeably situated although it would be pleasant to have them remain in the company."

Sweetser of Searsport was 22 when he enlisted in Co. E of the 19th Maine Infantry on August 25, 1862. He transferred out of that regiment on April 15, 1864, presumably to the navy, about a month after Strout's request.

Woodbury, also of Searsport, was 25 when he enlisted on the same date. He was later promoted to corporal in 1864 and was mustered out on June 9, 1865. He apparently remained in the 19th Maine.


14
Letter seeking furlough to vote, Virginia, 1864

Letter seeking furlough to vote, Virginia, 1864

Item 65144 info
Maine Historical Society

Samuel Powers of Co. M, 1st Maine Heavy Artillery Regiment, wrote from Sickles Hospital in Alexandria, Virginia, to Benjamin H. Hinds of the Maine Agency Sanitary Commission in October 1864 seeking a furlough.

He wrote that the furlough would help him restore his heath and enable him to "carry my vote and influence in this great National Struggle which will I trust be the greatest victory we as a Republican party has ever achieved."

Powers said he was unfit for field service, having just returned from the front at Petersburg. He provided references and also suggested he might be transferred to another position.

Powers, of Presque Isle, was 32 when he enlisted as an artificer (mechanic) on December 16, 1863. He was discharged on June 9, 1865.


15
Underage soldier request for furlough, Washington, 1864

Underage soldier request for furlough, Washington, 1864

Item 65147 info
Maine Historical Society

Nathaniel C. Davis of Biddeford, a private in Co. F of the 32nd Maine Infantry, is listed in official records as being 18 when he enlisted on May 4, 1864.

In October 1864, Davis wrote to the Maine Agency Sanitary Commission from Harewood Hospital in Washington, D.C., requesting a furlough. He stated that he was no old enough to serve and that he was filling a "man's place in the army."

Davis was promoted to corporal in December 1864 and transferred to Co. F of the 31st Maine Infantry. He was mustered out of the service on July 15, 1865.

Davis was born Jan. 5, 1847, which would have made him 17 when he enlisted.


16
Soldier inquiry on canceled furlough, Washington, 1864

Soldier inquiry on canceled furlough, Washington, 1864

Item 65152 info
Maine Historical Society

Cyrus McBride, 1st sergeant, Co. K, 13th Maine Infantry, wrote from Harewood Hospital in Washington, D.C., to the Maine Agent Sanitary Commission wondering whether the hospital surgeon had the authority to cancel an approved furlough.

McBride wrote that the general in command signed his furlough and when he went to get an overcoat, the surgeon canceled the order, stating that since McBride did not have much longer to serve, he should not be allowed to go home.

McBride wanted to go home especially so he could vote "on this comeing Election to maintain the Principles that we have been strugling for & for the Officers that will carry them through."

McBride, of Biddeford, who enlisted on Dec. 13, 1861 at age 25 served until January 6, 1865.


17
Soldier plea for pay, Maryland, 1864

Soldier plea for pay, Maryland, 1864

Item 65265 info
Maine Historical Society

Harrison Sargent of Kennebunkport enlisted at age 38 on September 19, 1862 as a private in Co. C of the 5th Maine Infantry Regiment. He was listed as a deserter on June 30, 1863.

Sargent wrote to Benjamin H. Hinds of the Maine Agency Sanitary Commission on Nov., 13, 1864 from the U.S. General Hospital at Point Lookout, Maryland, seeking pay. He had previously corresponded with Hinds, who had written back asking if Sargent had been court martialed.

Sargent wrote that he never knew he was a deserter until a new pay master at the hospital told him he was so listed.

Sargent made a plea to Hinds for his back pay for to help support his wife and two children. He wrote that his wife said "she will have to go on the town farm this winter" if he couldn't get his pay for her.

Sargent also noted that other soldiers were allowed to return to Maine to vote, but that he was not. He said an agent came to the hospital and "took votes." Sargent wrote, "I went and voted the Union once more.. so they did not fool me out of my vote."


18
Alonzo Fogg request for leave, Virginia, 1864

Alonzo Fogg request for leave, Virginia, 1864

Item 65145 info
Maine Historical Society

Alonzo Fogg of Garland, serving in the 14th regiment of the U.S. Veterans Reserve Corps in Virginia, wrote to the Maine Agency Sanitary Commission in Washington, D.C., in October 1864 seeking a furlough to return home to see his ill father, who he said was not expected to live, and because the election was drawing near and he wanted to vote.

Fogg was 23 when he enlisted as a corporal in Co. D of the 20th Maine Infantry. He was reduced to a private on January 1, 1863 and on July 1, 1863, transferred to the Veteran Reserve Corps.


19
E.S. Calderwood on nine-month enlistment, Baton Rouge, 1863

E.S. Calderwood on nine-month enlistment, Baton Rouge, 1863

Item 65828 info
Maine Historical Society

Pvt. Eben S. Calderwood, who was 39 when he enlisted in Co. H of the 21st Maine Infantry, wrote to his wife Mary in Vinalhaven that the six stamps she sent should be plenty as the regiment would not serve longer than its nine-month enlistment.

He said he would not re-enlist for $13 a month, but would if he could get a commission as a 2nd lieutenant and earn $105 a month. The regiment was formed in October 1862 and Calderwood's enlistment date was Nov. 10, 1862.

Calderwood reported that the colonel told him the regiment would probably stay where it was to guard the area. His company had been removing houses, cutting shade trees, digging pits, and building fortifications.

Calderwood also commented that he had been in the area 18 years previous. He probably was on a ship delivering or loading goods there.

In response to Mary's question about his views on the war, Calderwood wrote, "I hardly know what to say but I think it will not end under this administration. There is men that ware shoulder straps having to good times and making to much money all through this war for it to end yet."


This slideshow contains 19 items