This letter was written during the US Civil War by Hiram A. Chambers of the 15th Regiment Massachusetts, Company C, out of Worcester. He wrote it home to his family. The letter was dated September 29, 1861. I was given permission to document these letters by my dear friend Jane Richardson. Hiram was Jane’s great-uncle.
Here is the full transcript of this letter:
Poolville Md Sept 29.
I received yours of the 22nd and was very glad to hear from you it being the first time that I heard from you by your own hand since I have left home. I thought I would write today for I would send my letter home by Mr. Frost he arrived here Fryday [sic] in company with Messrs Palmier Neoward Foster Houghton Carter G. Fields. I tell you there was some excitement here when they arrived it seemed as though we had arrived home. Mr. Frost made for me when he saw me and shook my hand as though we had never had any troubles at all. He has told me all about the alternations in the room the use in yarn how much they are getting off TcTc he told me that Butterfield had left and that old Mr. Robinson
very likely you have found this all out before but I must have something to write about you know. I wrote to you when I was on picket to let you know when I was I have forgot whether I wrote anything about our march down there or not but I will tell you it over again so if I did not you will know about for I intend to let you know all about what we got hrough and how we get through with it. It is five miles from our camp to the river we took up our line of march in the rain with our overcoats and knapsacks on we left everything at the camp but our blankets overcoat and one extra shirt for we only expected to be gone two days when we got out into the road it was pretty tough marching the mud was from two to three inches and in some places deeper we had not gone a great ways before the sun came out hot and I tell you it was a hot one
After marching about two miles we halted and took off our overcoats rested and started of [sic] again in a few minutes it began to sweat again and in no wonder for on our backs was the knapsacks with our blanekts and overcoats besides our gun and cateradgesbox [sic] containing forty cateridges [sic] we halted about a 1/2 a mile from the river to take our super [sic] for it was not safe for us to go in sight for they would fire upon me we got to our picket which was about a mile and a half from where we went through the tunel [sic] under the canal the strip of land that is between the canal and river is about fifty foot wide the name of the canal is the Chesapeake and Ohio we got a negro whilst we were there he swam across the river to us and we are agoing to bring him to Massachusetts with us. I see in the papers that they give an acount that the enemy have crossed the river at Edwards Ferry but that is false it is not so they are afraid as long
Opertunity [sic] offers itself Mr Frost says you told him to let me have some if I wanted any I believe I shall. And you can take it out of my pay that I send home.
Give my love to all inquiring friends and the children. They say that I received your letter I got 9 others one from Ladock they were all well.
I have not received the Tribune yet.
Write soon Good bye and may God bless you from your loving son
Hiram A Chambmers
weeks today since we started now. I do not call that very bad you had ought to be satisfied with a letter a week any how but if you are not I will manage to write two if I can find anything to write about. You must remember that we write under difficulties here mainly there is most always a drum going or else the tent is full talking about everything under the sun. Today I am on the sick list my complaint is a cold settled in the bones and a lame back and am weak as a drowned rat but I begin to feel better already. The doctor told me to lay still in my quarters till I got well so you see I am all right for a while. Calvin says his company is learning to drill so if they have to go to the war they shall know something about the drill till there is no use for we are going to be home to eat dinner Christmas with our folks that is if things go on as they are doing now the report here is that Jeff Davis is dead and
that Georgia has withdrawn some troops to keep down insurection [sic] Kentucky is all right so is Missouri Gen Butler has done a big thing hasn’t he we never shall be in a battle as long as we stay here. I do not think but we are well prepared if they do attempt to cross to us. We have 5th Regmt here that is besides our own a little ways say within 2 miles of here and two batteries on the same field with us mounting in all 12 big guns Bunks divisions is within 9 miles of here he has 20,000. Dear Father I wish you would write to [sic] it does not seem as though you cured anything for your eldest now do write it would seem so good to have a letter from you now write a good long one say for instance like the one I wrote before this or rather sent before this tin paper I cannot think much more to write now so I will close by biding you good bye for the present give my love to all and write soon may God bless you and return me safe to you before long. Charley is well. From your loving son Hiram. Direct to Washington as before.
Sadly, Hiram was killed at Antietam on September 17th, 1862. He was only 19. At the time, the 15th Regiment had about 600 men – 104 were killed and 206 wounded on this one day.
I have about 20 letters total and will load them up as I have time. Ask with any questions.
Here is the full playlist of the Civil War letters I have loaded so far: