150 years ago this week: The saga continues

A few weeks ago, I shared a letter from Henry Joslin, a Civil War Corporal from Fitchburg, Massachusetts.  On October 20th, 1861, Henry was again writing home to his mother.  Below are some excerpts from the letter.  You can read the full transcription here.

I suppose that before you get this you will have received the money that I sent you ($5.00) it will pass I suppose just as well as any if you don’t want to use it yourself I should like to have you buy and send me each week the American Union it will cost 4 cts and postage or 5 cts in all.  I suppose that your patriotic principles wont prevent your sending them being only story papers.  Curtis had a letter from his folks the other day part was for me.  There is a travelling dagueritype [sic] saloon here and I got a picture the other day which I sent to her.

Our ovens are done but have not got dried enough for use yet.  I was over to the store the other day when they opened a barrel of cod-fish the folks crowded round to see them as though it was a sea serpent or other great curiosity they thought they was dern great fish.  They never saw any before.

Henry closes his letter, but two days later, before he has a chance to send it, he adds the following in pencil at the bottom of the page –

We have had a battle and met with a terrible loss.  The Reg’t is indeed cut to pieces.  Thank God I am alive and unhurt.  Henry Sheldon asks me tell his sister he is not hurt.  [?] Marshall is safe also.  I can’t write more now.  Yours in haste, Henry.

A few days later, the camp settles down and Henry is able to write home with details of the battle.  Stayed tuned next week for Henry’s retelling of the events as they unfolded!

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Tracey Kry

Assistant Curator of Manuscripts and Assistant Reference Librarian, American Antiquarian Society

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