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 December 31, 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. I’ll note I added punctuation and paragraphs to make it easier to read.
Poolesville Dec 31
I now seat myself to write you a few lines to let you know how I am getting along in this great and glorious cause in which we are engaged – the restoration of the union to its former standing and the liberating of those in bondage.
Today four negros have crossed the river from Leasburg to Poolesville, bringing two noble horses which brought two of those negros across the river on their backs.
You will see by this letter that we are again at camp doing our duty as soldiers. We spent this Christmas day on picket. The Colonel made us a present of $10 and we had a splendid oyster supper. The day passed very pleasantly indeed. The next day we started for camp and were very glad to get after spending three weeks on picket – one week longer than we had aught to.
I was somewhat surprised to hear the day before that Zadock was in camp. Foolish boy to come out here, but such is the way of the world, always up to some foolish thing.
Some folks think that the U.S. were foolish in giving up Mason and Slidell but not so, think I, for it is the wisest thing that could be done. The south are mad because we have done it. Their plans are threatened and we now stand on a good footing with the Mother country and do not fear a collision now.
I have not received a letter in answer to my last yet which ws sent on the 12th of December but I suppose the reason is because we have not received my Washington mail for over a week and a half. When you write again please direct to Poolesville and then I should be able to get it.
Colonel Devans today sent two hundred dollars to our boys that are prisoners. It was taken out of a fund that was a present to the regiment by the personal friends of the Colonel in Boston. Bully for the Colonel.
I received the contents of the box and was very happy to receive the vest and other articles contained therein. The vest is a splendid fit. I weigh a 149 pounds – pretty good weight for a little fellow isn’t it.
We have no snow as yet nor even ice and the ponds canal or river. I do not think of anything more to write so good bye. My love to all and yourselfs.
From your loving son,