150 years ago this week…

…a young man named Henry L. Joslin, from Fitchburg, Massachusetts, was writing home to his mother on September 24th.

Henry, born in 1843, was serving in the Civil War and was working picket duty in Poolsville.  In his letter he describes his camp, what guard duty was like, and gives updates about his health, and other young men at his camp.   Below are some highlights from his letter.  You can see the entire transcription here.

We have to go on guard once in about four days.  It is pleasanter doing guard duty here than in camp as we do not have to walk our beats and we have a fire to keep warm by.  We have to turn out half an hour before day break and remain under arms till sunrise and to keep warm we drill most of the time.  It is quite cold here nights and we get a few chestnuts but not many yet.  Some of us go hunting most every day and get two or three grey squirrels.  Cousin George got some young ones alive which he carried up to camp.

Col. Griswold is here and is well.  Bill is up to camp tending to cooking.  I have not heard from Henry Greene since I let Camp Scott.  I wish you would speak to him about it and wake him up a little.  My health has been good except a cold that I caught on guard which is all night now.

So what was Henry missing while he was away?  What was his mother experiencing while she anxiously awaited news from her son?  Click here to see what news was happening in Lowell, one town over, on September 24th.

Sadley, Henry never returned home to his mother.  He died from disease while serving as Corporal of his Company in Virginia in 1863.   He did, however, write home frequently, and I’ll be featuring more of his letters on the anniversary of their composition, so look out for more letters from Henry soon.

1 thought on “150 years ago this week…

  1. Pingback: 150 years ago this week: The saga continues « Past is Present

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