These thirty letters were written so frequently over such a short period of time that I thought it best to present them in diary format. The date of each letter is linked to a page which contains digital images of the envelope and letter. It’s also possible to find the letter images by clicking on the page links in the menu at right.
Boston Harbor, November 8, 1862
Dear Father — Took ship on Wednesday [5th] last. Sailed Thursday [6th] morning at 3 o’clock. Came down the harbor and anchored within one mile of Deer Island. Can see it very plain. Can see the folks at work there. About 100 miles out the harbor is a rebel gunboat awaiting for us and we are awaiting for a Man-of-War to escort us. It is now Saturday [8th]. We have seen very rough weather. The sea runs high — a great many are sick. I am not but feeling first rate. 1500 on the boat — packed like hogs. But still we are of good cheer. We shall sail tomorrow [9th]. It will take us 3 days to go to Newbern.
Would like to go and see T. Payson but the sea runs so high that it is impossible. Ethan ¹ is well but homesick. He threatens to run the guard. Capt. [William G.] Leonard and all of our officers are very kind to us. They came around last night with lemons &c. When they were so sick they could hardly stand up — something one would not expect of officers. Gill ² is well and of good cheer.
Am on board the Mississippi — one that was out in the Burnside Expedition and stuck on Hatteras Bar. It is a new and well built steamer. Don’t fear if you don’t hear from me for some time for we may put back and await the convoy. Love to all. It will be of no use for you to write yet. Yours affectionately, — George
¹ Ethan C. McIntosh (b. 1831) was a private in Co. I, 46th Massachusetts. He was the son of Robert McIntosh (1783-1879) and Philena Blodget (1787-1879) of Longmeadow, Hampden County, Massachusetts. I believe he was related to George S. Scott — possibly a cousin.
² Gilbert H. Coomes was a musician in Co. I, 46th Massachusetts.
Mid Ocean, November 11, 1862
To the dear ones at home — At about 9 o’clock on the morning of November 5th the reveille & roll call has sounded bidding officers and privates that the time had come when we must all take up our beds and walk. It was a very sorrowful scene to witness the parting of soldiers and their friends. At about ½ [past] 9 we all bid farewell to our pleasant camp and took up our march for the cars. We had a very pleasant ride on the cars to Boston where we arrived at about 3 P.M. We soon took our position and marched 2 miles to the wharf 20 drummers leading the van & 2 in front having a good view of Boston as we went along.
When we arrived at the wharf, we found two steamers there which were to convey the 43rd, 45th, and 46th [Massachusetts] Regiments. The first two being loaded, we had to be divided — ½ to go on one boat and the other half the other. The right wing of our half went on the Mississippi making in all on board 1800 beside 12 horses. All were put below in bunks laying crossways 4 in a bunk, about 4 feet wide, except Co. I who had to sleep on deck. We lay down on the deck about 7 o’clock and pulled our blankets over us. We soon got asleep. About 12 it began to rain. We all woke up and concluded that we should do as they do in Spain. About 3 we set sail during a cold northeast rain, went down the harbor and anchored off Deer Island and staid there 4 days. The seas was very rough. Half of the men seasick, poor rations and half enough at that. Co. I was cold, wet, and hungry and all had nothing to do but think of home and hope for clear weather.
Saturday morning [8th] our staff officers got a boat in spite of wind and wave, got over to the city, went to the Governor [John Albion Andrew] and told him of our condition. He immediately with Surgeon General took a steam tug down [and] inspected the ships. The next P.M. (Sunday), he sent 2 steamboats down with orders to bring the 46th back to Boston. You can imagine with what joy we strapped our knapsacks on our backs and bid goodbye to the 45th once more. In about ½ an hour we landed where 4 days before we started. We were then marched Faneuil Hall where we were furnished with crackers, cheese, bologna sausages, & hot coffee — all we wanted — which was a glorious feast to us. We soon were all asleep on the floor after supper.
Awoke about 5 and I got permit to go out. Went and good a good breakfast, roamed about the city till about 11. At 12 we were ordered to pack up and about 2 o’clock were marched to the wharf aboard the Saxon and sailed about 4 and [had a] very pleasant sail down the harbor. Had a good view of Fort Warren and Independence with guns all mounted making a savage appearance. We have very good accommodations aboard this vessel. There are 4 vessels in all — three transports and 1 gunboat Huron. The weather is beautiful, The sea calm and we are once more feeling gay & happy. Out of sight of land — it is a splendid sight to view the ocean. As far as the eye can reach — nothing but water.
Wednesday eve [12th] — Awoke his morning about 4, went on deck. Sea very rough, heaps and cords of men seasick. It was with difficulty that I could walk from stem to stern. I saw for the first time what I always wanted to see on account of hearing so much said about is — viz: a sunrise at sea. It is by far the most handsome sight I have ever seen since I started. Gil[bert H. Coomes] & I have as yet not the least inclination to sickness. Ethan [McIntosh] is awful seasick. He says if they will stop, he will get out and go foot. I believe I gain as much as a pound a day. Have been out all day up at the fore end of the boat. Sometimes it would rise up 40 feet and then go down and most touch the sea. It is a beautiful day overhead. We are now off the capes of Delaware and have about 500 miles more to go.
Thursday [13th] — It is calm, bright sunshiny day, warm & pleasant. Most all are on deck in their shirtsleeves enjoying the sail finely. Ethan [McIntosh] is better. As yet, I have not been sick at all. We should have been in Newbern by this time had the gunboat [Huron] kept up.
Friday [14th] — Another beautiful day. Passed Cape Hatteras last night about 12. We ship to Beaufort, land at Morehead City, and go by rail about 40 miles to Newbern. Shall probably reach Morehead City about 2 P.M. and get to Newbern tomorrow. If I send this letter back by this ship, I shall not be able in this to give you the particulars of landing but will in the next. Shall not have time to write another descriptive letter like this so I wish after you have read this, you would send this to Hattie in Glastonbury, Ct. Also, if you have any Vignettes, enclose one. You had better write by return mail and direct to Newbern, N. C., 46th Regiment Mass. Vols., Co. I, W. G. Leonard, Capt.
Friday 14th — I have just seen the Captain [W. G. Leonard]. He says we probably shall not land till tomorrow but we shall be so busy that I shall close my letter today. On the whole I have enjoyed myself at sea first rate. Crackers on the boat sell for 1 ct. each, apples 4 cts., pies 50 cts., lemons 10 cents and everything in like proportion. Stamps are plenty and torn and dirty. When you write, send me 50 cts. worth and for them draw on the Bank. It seems a long time since I have been at home and I hate to think of 7 months more. When you write, tell me where the 10th Regiment is. As quick as I land, I shall try to find Richard [Dick] Berry. The baggage of the music and officers go together. Have nothing to carry but my drum. Cannot speak too highly of our officers and all in our company think the same. Bought me a nice pair of drum sticks in Boston.
Am afraid you have worried on account of not hearing before but this is the first chance I have had to write. If ever I return, I shall have a great deal to tell — more than I ever expected to see before. We spoke a vessel yesterday — the [bark] Suliote bound for Boston, hailed from Nicaragua. The Captain wanted to know all about the war and if there has any. Capt. Leonard says it will be safe to direct as I told you. Write soon all of you. This is not an invitation to anyone in particular but everyone in general. Give my best love to all my friends. Write long letters. Rest assured that I shall fare as good as most anyone. From your affectionate, — George Scott
“Land Ho” is the cry. 11 A.M. Friday, November 14.
Newbern, December 22, 1863
Dear Father & Mother — When I wrote you last, we had received marching orders on the morning of Thursday the 11th [December]. We formed into line at 6 a.m. and started with 3 days rations in our haversacks and the 2 M was to follow with 7 days rations more. Everything was hurly burly all over town. All the artillery, cavalry, and infantry both far & near were going too. It took quite a while to get fairly arranged in the column where we belonged so that we had not fairly got out of town before 12 o’clock. Each brigade consisted of from 4 to 6 regiments of infantry, a battery of 4 or 5 guns, cavalry, ammunitions & baggage wagons. There being 4 brigades, it made a column about 8 miles long.
The first day [11th] we marched to Trenton about 16 miles. Our regiment was in the rear of everything. The advance got into camp about 5 p.m. but we did not reach there until about 11 in the night. We camped in an open field large enough to accommodate all and it was one of the most magnificent sights I ever beheld to see the thousands of campfires with about 10 men sitting around each one. After getting our coffee, we all went to bed laying on our rubber [blankets] with our woolen blankets over us. I found no difficulty in getting to sleep for I was tired.
We were all started up about 4 in the morning [12th]. Our guard had kept our fires up during the night so each man set about making his coffee & getting ready to march. We did not however, for some unknown reason, start until about 11 a.m. But after we had got on our way about 1 mile, we found that the rebels had felled very large pine trees across the road for a distance of 1 mile and our pioneers had been cutting their way through. Our advance by this time had found the blockaders and after a slight skirmish, killed two and took two prisoners. Said the road was blockaded the day before we started.
Nothing of any importance again occurred until about 3 P.M. We came to two roads both leading to Kinston. Here the rebels were strongly fortified. Our regiment with two pieces of artillery were ordered to form in line of battle across one of the roads while all the rest were to go on the other and it was feared that the Rebels might come down our road an attack our provision train which was then in the rear. We lay there until after dark when an order came from Gen. Lee to join our brigade which was then 10 miles ahead and all the way through woods. We had to go very cautious, sending out skirmishers. Orders were given the men to keep strict silence. When about 4 miles on our way, two of our blockhead skirmishers fired their guns. That frightened us some. We thought it not safe to go on and consequently drew up in line of battle in the woods and lay on our arms until morning when we joined our brigade.
That day [13th], we marched on to Kinston — a place as large as Rockville. We found the rebels awaiting us with strong expectation on this side of the river at the end of the bridge. We had a battle lasting 4 hours when a splendid charge from the Connecticut 10th broke them up and we took 6 guns and 200 prisoners. The rest retreated across the bridge. The last man that went had turpentine with him fr the purpose of setting fire to the bridge. After he had just fired the bridge, one of our shells struck his jug of turpentine [and] wounded him so that he fell into the fire and burned to death.
Our cavalry put out the fire and we all that night went over to Kinston. It is a beautiful place. All the folks had gone and immediately plundering began. No one said a thing against it but all took hold and helped themselves. It was awful to see it. I smashed in the front door to a splendid house, went in and found it a very splendid house & beautifully furnished. Had a good time playing on the piano. Officers carried it on as highly as anyone else. Some found watches & some money but I was not so fortunate. Most everything was destroyed. ¹
The next morn [14th] we started for Whitehall. Reached there after about 5 hours march where we had another battle which lasted 3 hours resulting in making the rebels skedaddle. We then moved on to Goldsborough as we supposed. We soon came up to a rebel camp and after a short, sharp fight, sent them on in a hurry to Goldsborough. That night we camped about 8 miles this side of Goldsborough.
Wednesday morning [17th] we started again and about 9 o’clock came up to the rebels who were making a stand just this side of a long railroad bridge about 3 miles this side of Goldsborough. We were all formed in battle array and then the fighting began. I cannot tell you all the incidents of the battle or the hair-breadth escapes. I have no scars, scratches, or bullet holes to show, but it was stirring times for me and I frequently thought of home although at the same time I was all the time at the hospital tree outside the line of fire.
The battle raged furiously for about 2 hours when it was discovered that the railroad bridge was on fire and then the rebels run. Our boys tore up the track for 3 or 4 miles and then to our surprise, Gen. Foster gave notice that the end was accomplished and ordered us to return to Newbern. And after about half of the army had got on the road some ways ahead, the scamps came out of the woods with a flag of truce and as they got most up to us, they dropped their flag and started for our battery to take them. But they found a few men left and the way the shot & shell & grape flew was a caution to white folks. I have often heard them tell of mowing down men but never could realize it until that day. The rebels were in plain sight and at every discharge of our guns I could see sights of them throw their arms up and fall to the ground. It was a terrific though grand sight to me.
In going from the road to the battlefield, we had to cross the brook. It was found to be as wide as the Hockanum and about waist deep. Consequently we got very wet and having to march about 6 miles, that night we suffered from sore feet but managed to keep warm by marching briskly. I was more fortunate than the rest as my station was the side of the brook so I had dry feet. Our regiment lost but one man that had his head split open with a shell. The 46th [Massachusetts] really was in no action at all as they did not fire their guns but at every battle they lay within range of the enemy’s fire.
The 10th Connecticut suffered at Kinston, losing about 100 making their number now about 300 men all told. It is an awful fighting regiment and is the favorite of all that know it. No one was hurt in it that I know as I have seen them all since. ²
Orders were given us when we started for Newbern to forage all we could as rations were short. Consequently hogs, geese, cows, and sweet potatoes were all cleaned out. I think it would be safe to say that 50 beef, 50 sheep, and 100 hogs were killed on our return. I have among my relics a book Ellis’s Medical Formulary that I took from a rebel surgeon’s library at Kinston.
We were 4 days marching home. Arrived here Sunday, December 21st 1862 dinding 7 letters & 5 papers awaiting my return which did me so much good that after reading them I was quite ready for another march. So you see the 46th [Massachusetts] has had a little taste of war, having marched 130 [miles] in 10 days and been in 4 battles. During my march I have seen some awful sights which I forbear to relate. The old regiments all say it was the hardest time they ever saw. A great many men fell out by the wayside but I stood it first rate and when I arrived in Newbern, could have gone 10 miles farther the same day. Did not wet my feet but once, caught no cold, and in short, am none the worse for the tramp but am feeling well & hearty as ever.
I suffered the most nights for with such heavy dews, we could not help but being cold. I had nothing to carry but my two blankets, haversack & canteen, all of which was no burden at all compared with the privates who had to carry the same also their accoutrements. I could also march where I pleased and when I came to a creek, I would manage to pick my way across and not wet my feet. I would also start ahead in the morning and by keeping steady, jogging along, would have my days journey accomplished by sundown while my regiment would not come up until about 11 or 12 at night.
We lost in all about 500 killed, wounded, or missing. We took about 300 prisoners, 20 cannon, and horses and mules in abundance. The prisoners were all paroled which causes great indignation amongst us all. The rebels all are very ragged, dirty, and the most savage-looking set of men I ever saw. They were not uniformed. They all are puked faced, most of them sandy complexion. They were all glad to get through the fighting. Have heard today that Burnside is badly whipped [at Fredericksburg] and had lost about 16,000 men. It makes us all feel blue. I can’t believe it. Ethan [McIntosh] is well. He sends love. Write soon and believe me your affectionate son, — George W. Scott
¹ One of the regiments participating on the Goldsboro Expedition was the Third Massachusetts Infantry. Their regimental history states the regiment encamped in Kinston on the park and awoke the following morning to find “feather and straw beds, mattresses, pillows, sheets, and bed clothes of nearly all kinds and description, china teasets, bottles of perfumery, and almost everything in the housekeeping line. Tobacco and cigars could be had without the asking. Feathers were see all over the ground, indicating that someone had been engaged in the poultry business on an immense scale during the night.” [p. 34]
² For a great first-hand account of the fight at Kinston by a member of the vaunted 10th Connecticut Infantry, see 1863: Benjamin Wright to Friend Husted.
Newbern, January 1, 1863
Dear Parents — I appropriately begin my letter to you by wishing you a “happy new year” — a happy one and if my wish comes to pass, I feel confident that the time is once more coming when I shall be able to be with you all once more and again be in a place free from the pestilence of war where a man is a man and as such, he and his rights accordingly are respected.
I received your letter of the 22nd yesterday. Also one of the same date from Em & Oliver. I am sure it is unnecessary for me to write in every letter how pleasing it is for me to hear from home & friends. Nothing can please me more than to have now & then a cheerful letter from home. I am well with the exception of a severe cold which I took while on the march. It is a general complaint in the regiment and with that exception, I believe the general health of the 46th to be good.
I received your [New York] Tribune & [Hartford Daily] Courant. The official report of Gen. Foster is slightly exaggerated as regards number of prisoners & pieces of artillery captured. Instead of 500 prisoners, there was not certainly over 300 for I saw them all and only 7 pieces of artillery. I have somewhere seen an article in the papers indicating that since the repulse of Burnside [at Fredericksburg], the little army of Gen. Foster was in a critical position. Newbern is nearly as strongly fortified as Fredericksburg and I will defy 200,000 men to take it in a siege of 6 months. Besides 3 strong forts, there are from 10 to 20 gunboats on the [Neuse] River commanding the whole city.
Capt. Brewster has arrived. Went over to see him this morning but he was down town. Shall go over again soon. I went to see Valette [C.] Keeney [of Manchester] but could not find him. He is in Co. E, 10th [Connecticut] Regiment. I did not know until about a week ago that he was in Newbern.
Col. [George] Bowler has gone home. He has been unwell since his arrival here with the dumb ague. He has gone home to recruit his health. Probably he will not return. The boys all feel as though their father had left them. He was very kind indeed and we all him much. The command now falls upon Lieut. Col. [William S.] Shurtliff — a lawyer from Springfield. He is a fine young officer and is liked by the regiment generally, I believe.
Yesterday [Dec. 31] the 46th went over where the 27th [Massachusetts] are encamped to brigade drill. During drill, the drummers had nothing to do but get together & talk or tell over their hair-breadth escapes &c. After we had played the regiment on to the field, we took a seat by the entrance. Presently the 27th [Massachusetts] came along and among the drummers I noticed 2 old men about 50 or 55. After a short time, they took a seat with us. One of them looked at one of our boys and asked if his name was Scott. They told him no. He then looked at me and said he guessed I was the man. I told him I was and was William Scott’s son. He then said, “Lordamassy, William Scott & I were old schoolmates and he has fifed a great many times for me to drum.” He said you fifed & he drummed for an artillery company in Springfield. He was well acquainted with the whole family. Now the question before the house is, “Do you know who it is?” ¹
Emerett wrote that Dr. had an offer of 1st. Asst. Surgeon of 24th Regiment. I should advise him to accept it. I don’t think he would regret it if he accepts. If Uncle Ralph is so anxious to hear from us, let him make it manifest by writing to us. I wrote to Jutie last week. Ethan [McIntosh] had a letter last week from Mary in it saying that our little western cousin is dead. Is it so? Give my love to all friends. Write often & believe me truly your affectionate son, — George
¹ The roster of the band in the 27th Massachusetts reveals only two members who were of advanced age meeting Scott’s description — both from Springfield, Massachusetts. They were band leader, Amos Bond (age 42) and Moses C. Dunbar (age 45).
Newbern, January 5, 1863
Dear sisters — I wrote a letter home last Thursday [1 January]. Not having time to write you, I bid them send the letter to you and now I will write to you and you can let them see the letter. I went over and saw Capt. [Charles C.] Brewster. ¹ Got my package and found everything all right. There is no particular news. Reinforcements are arriving daily and everything denotes stirring times. Some think we are to act only on the defensive. Others in making attacks at different points. There is a rumor that there is another expedition about to start. Also that Gen. Lee’s Brigade is not going. I hope not, to say the least. I received a letter from Father, Oliver, Dr. F & E yesterday. They were written a week ago yesterday. Also papers. Received today. The [Hartford] Daily Courant is eagerly read by a great many in our regiment formerly from Connecticut.
Our regiment stands pretty high with most of the old regiments. Gen. Foster says the 46th is the best 9-month regiment in the field. Ethan [McIntosh] says he don’t care what they do with him if they only keep powder away from him. Had as leave be drilling as not if the time would only go on. We have all been suffering from severe colds which are now much better. Our Col. [Bowler] has gone home to recruit his health. Ed Post is decidedly fortunate. He will now have an opportunity to resign. The berth is very easy. Tell Oliver I should like very much to try a race with him on skates for I think I can beat him or any other girl in the whole Scott family. But instead of skating, we have weather so warm that some go in swimming.
Oliver ought to go to a negro meeting. It is a very amusing scene. Last Saturday [3rd] I had an invitation from the chaplain of the 17th Mass. Regt. ² to play the organ at the Presbyterian Church. Also wished to have our club sing. The Col. gave us a pass, we sent down, they sung and I played the organ which was so large and good as the one in our church — the church as large as the 2nd Church. The congregation consisted of a Brigadier & family, 2 Colonels, 1 Major, no physicians, Captains, Lieutenants, & Privates enough to fill the church. The chance was a grand one for me and therefore I spread myself. I have had another invitation to play it next Sunday.
Last New Year’s Day, I went over & saw Valette [C.] Keeney of Co. E, 10th Regt. Was very much surprised to find in the same company one Loyal Bailey. He looked very natural. Did not know me. ³
Today a Mr. Dean from New York State called to see Ethan [McIntosh] & I. I sent Jutie one of my vignettes by him. When I returned from drill, I received notice on the Post Office box that there would be no mail going north until further notice.
Thursday 15th. This morning the mail has come, the mail has come. I tell you every man started for we had not had any mail for 3 weeks or more. I had a letter from Em & Oliver of January 5th, one from Father & girls of January 4th, and two others same date.
The wharf at the river is a very busy place. They are continually loading ammunition by the tin. hundreds of pieces of artillery and everything in the shape of horses that can go. There are also a lot of gunboats up and down the river. About 10,000 troops have been notified to hold themselves in readiness to march in 12 hours notice. It is said by our officers that our brigade is not going but will stay to garrison the place. It is the general opinion, however, that it is Charleston. All hope it is for we all would be very much pleased indeed to take the city of corruption & burn it.
Oliver, I want you to tell Hop for me that he is a regular rebel. I should think by your description of the fight that it was one similar to the one at Kinston for Hop took up a new line of retreat at the instant the cat charged. I was very much surprised yesterday at a visit from Capt. White. I sent some money home by him, also a smelling bottle that I took at Goldsboro to Ellen, and a medical book to Father that I took at Kinston. Tell Eliza I have put her vignette inside my drum so that I can peek in at the vent hole and see her on the opposite side, perched up as gay as a queen where she can hear the drumming to her heart’s content.
How the poor 16th Regiment has suffered. I pity the poor fellows. We have raised up our tent and banked it up making it warm and have built me a bedstead with straw to lay on. Have enough that is good to eat. Enjoy good health and on the whole, am having pretty good times. Weigh 155 pounds — 10 pounds more than when enlisted. Kind regards to all. Am going to write to Mr. P. Write soon & oblige.
Yours affectionately, — George
P.S. You need not send this home. I will write. Wrote to Grandfather today.
¹ Capt. Charles C. Brewster (1819-1874) was captain of Co. E, 10th Connecticut Infantry.
² The Chaplain of the 17th Massachusetts at the time was William P. Colby (1821-1900) of Amesbury, Massachusetts. He served from September 1862 until November 1863.
³ The two acquaintances of Scott’s serving in Co. E, 10th Connecticut Infantry were privates Valette C. Keeney (age 24) and Loyal Bailey (age 27).
Newbern, January 17, 1863
My Dear Parents — I presume you have been anxiously looking for a letter from me for some time and had there any mail gone, you would not have looked in vain. There has been no mail going either way for 3 weeks. A mail came in yesterday bringing a paper & your letter of date January 5th. We were paid off on Thursday last. Yesterday I was very much surprised to see Capt. White walk into the tent. I had a short & pleasant visit with him. I sent by him a medical book that I got at Kinston after the battle. Also a rebel bullet & smelling bottle for Ellen that I got at Goldsboro & 20 dollars in money which you can do with just as you have a mind to.
We have fixed our tent up warm & nice. Capt. [White] will explain to you. Dick is well. He told me to tell you that he now is just of your mind more so that before he enlisted — that all that kept this war up on both sides are these officers that are now getting very large salaries, living high, and having nothing to do. Dick Berry seems to be doing a large business. I have played the organ as good as the one at Rockville. There is a great expedition fitting out to go by water. They have taken a great deal of artillery & ammunition and about 10,000 troops. We are not going. It is probably going either to Wilmington or Charleston.
I am well with the exception of a sore heel made by my shoe on the march. It is most well. The Express Boat arrived yesterday and probably our box is on board but we shall not get it until Monday. We feel very thankful indeed to you & Uncle, Aunt & all for it and after we get it, I will write how it opened. The mail will go before I shall get it opened but will write in next. Ethan [McIntosh] is well. Give my love to all friends. Write soon & believe me your affectionate son, — George
Newbern, January 20th 1863
Dear Parents — I write again today because I have an opportunity. The mail closes at 6. It is now 4½. When I wrote Saturday the box had not come but Monday afternoon I saw a load of boxes come and on the top was one plainly to be seen with my name marked on it. I got it opened in a hurry and it afforded me much pleasure as I took one thing and another out as I knew there was no mistake but that it came from home. Ethan [McIntosh] was out at drill. When he came in, he came up and we took an inventory. I think I never saw Ethan when he manifested any pleasures at all but he certainly was pleased to the bottom of his boots at the good sights and tastes contained in the box. Everything in it was just what we wanted. It came in first rate shape. The stuffed peppers had dampened the articles a little but there was not a must or a mold in the box. Hurrah for this Tucker Cheese the taste of which was as natural as the living sign to Dan himself. We have plenty of room in our tent, the boxes kept here with all the things & Ethan takes his meals & lunch here. Salt & pepper are plenty here. Tell the girls there is no reason whatever why Dick & I are not the salt of the earth. I guess they would be too if they consumed as much salt junk as we do.
I am writing on my drum while there is 9 photographs looking on — Ella & Rosie among the number. I have a good place in my diary where I can keep any number of them. I am pretty well provided with everything that is needful to make me comfortable and when I ever want for anything, I shall not hesitate to ask for it. I wish in your next letter you would write two prescriptions, one for a cold & one for the diarrhea — the two prevailing camp diseases, and I can if I want get them put in downtown.
I wrote to Dwight today. Also to Br. Buckland. I bought two watches after I was paid off. Have now sold them both making on them as good as a week’s work at Cooley & Spauldings. I am determined not to fool my money away and furthermore, not spend it unless I can see a place where a little money will make a little more.
We do not have much to do. Capt. Leonard told me Sunday evening that he knew as well as he wanted to that we had seen all the fighting we should. However, I make no calculations on that. We hear nothing of the expedition. Please accept my grateful acknowledgement for the box. Write soon. Give my love to all & believe me your affectionate son, — George W. Scott
Newbern, January 28, 1863
Dear parents — I have received no news from you since the 1st of January until yesterday afternoon when I got your letter of the 12th. I don’t believe I get all your letters. After this, I shall keep account and expect one will be sent once a week by the mail. I read 12 letters & 9 papers. I average about 5 letters per week that I send and in order to write as many as that, I have to employ my spare time in writing.
Things around and about Newbern remain the same with the exception that the camp of the 46th [Massachusetts] was moved last Sunday over under the guns of the Big Fort on the Trent Road. It is rumored that a large force of Rebels are at Kinston and in order that we might be safer in case of an attack, we were moved and sappers and pioneers are set to work entrenching the town and blockading the roads outside. And now long lines of breastworks and rifle pits are seen nearly all round the town. About 10,000 infantry besides cavalry & artillery have gone on an expedition. The fleet remained at Beaufort until day before yesterday. Gen. Foster sailed night before last so I suppose there will be news before long.
Watches here are very scarce. Most all the boys have got money and there is a general raid for watches. I have bought & sold 3 already. Should have kept one if they were such as I wanted. If you could buy a watch and send it to me, if it don’t suit [me], I can sell it any day. I want a good stout, substantial Hunting, cast either English Lever full jewelled or detached, or one of the genuine Waltham watches. I would recommend you to state my case to Charlie Jones. He is a good judge of watches and I would be willing to take his word or opinion. He has opened a store in Hartford somewhere.
I also want a pair of drawers & an undershirt, a silk pocket handkerchief, & a towel — all of which I can get along without if you are not going to send. Ethan [McIntosh] says he does not want anything. In Eliza’s letter she said they talked of sending a box and wanted to know what I wanted. I have told you the articles. I shall not have time to write to R. this mail so I wish you would send this to them.
We have a very pretty camp — dry & good. My cold is nearly well. Ethan coughs some yet but is better. I think there is no danger of an attack on this place. It is too strongly fortified. If they can take it, they cannot hold it. They have at Kinston two railroad monitors ready to run down on us but our pickets stand ready to tear up the track at their approach.
I see the Manchester boys often. Phil is keeping house here. Invites me to call often. I would go had I any shoulder straps to wear. Billy Chadwick [Co. H, 45th Mass] is promoted to Orderly Sergeant. I get along drumming as well as can be expected. Had my boots topped & healed today at cost of 1.65 cents which was considered cheap. I am well & hearty as ever. Shall play the organ again next Sunday. My heel is now well. Nothing more now. Love to all. Write soon. Oblige your affectionate son, — George W. Scott
P. S. Use your own judgment about sending the articles. Received a letter from Fred. He is well. Also from Mary. All well there.
Newbern, February 3rd 1863
Dear Parents — I have another opportunity to write and I will improve it if I do not write but little. There is no mail in yet this week but there is one expected tonight which will probably be delayed on account of the storm. Today opened with a regular winter blast, it beginning to snow, thunder & lightning about 4 a.m. There fell about 2 inches of snow. There is little on the ground now. We have not had to leave our quarters at all on account of the weather. We all have our tents fixed in such shape that with our stove and plenty of pitch pine wood, we can heat it so it is as comfortable as a house.
We hear no news of the expedition. I saw the [New York] Herald today of the 30th with a little cheering news from Vicksburg. Also McClellan’s arrival in Boston. Our Col. [Bowler] has resigned and the line officers have the privilege of choosing one to fill the vacancy. The election takes place on Thursday next. Probably it will be the same as the regular line of promotion.
Ethan [McIntosh] begins to enjoy himself first rate. He is probably 20 pounds heavier than when he enlisted, He is in better order than I ever saw him. I had a letter from Mary last week. She reported all well. I want to ask your candid opinion as to the termination of this war. How and when it will be ended according to your best judgement. There is an opinion prevailing here that this war will be ended before another summer both with officers and men. We do not have as good a chance to judge here as you do. I am well & hearty. All is quiet along the Neuse [River]. No news Write often. Love to all. Your son, — George W. Scott
Newbern, February 18, 1863
Dear Flavia — If I recollect right, I owe you a letter. I will not take up the room apologizing for my neglect in writing but begin by giving you a description of our house & household. It is a cold rainy day outside. Gil[bert H. Coomes] is trying to start a fire and I should judge from the fruits of his labors that he is no fool for it takes a fool to make a fire. Mort ¹ is suffering from a severe attack of indisposition, probably from the effects of eating to many griddle cakes this morning. Dan Murry ² with his pipe in his mouth is entertaining us with his Irish clack much to our discomfort. The rest are jabbering. Dick has just stuck his head into the door and informed us that dinner is ready. I suppose we are to have beef steak and soft bread for dinner. We have very good food all which I like with the exception of the rice which we always have for tea.
The rainy season has begun but we don’t care for that. As long as we stay in the house, it don’t affect us any. I am having pretty easy times. Don’t have enough to do to keep my old bones from squeaking. We have a mail once a week. I generally have about 6 or 8 letters every mail so you can see that if I answer them all (which I do) it must keep me busy.
I miss our old piano very much. I have played an organ down street 3 or 4 times. It is a large one. Wish I could confiscate it & send it home for the benefit of Uncle Mose. I had my picture taken last week with Gil[bert H. Coomes] and sent it home. Dick is well & says he is at peace with all mankind. Capt. White has been here twice. I sent home by him relics taken at the battles of Kinston & Goldsboro. Willie Hudson & Jim Chuney are here. Have not seen them but once.
I get along with drumming pretty well. We are going to have a band. Perhaps I will play in it.
Do you board at the same place where I took dinner much against my will? Ellen writes some of her newsy letters. You know her fame probably. I have her letter but shall not answer until next week. You may always think of me every morning at 6 out beating the reveille which I intend to beat at the same hour when I get home and woe to you all if you don’t get up. I have no particular news to write. I want your vignette. Be a good girl. Get yours taken. Write soon/ Give my love to all the girls & believe me truly your affectionate brother, — George
Co. I, 46th M.V.M., Newbern, N.C.
¹ Sergeant Mortimer Pease, Co. I, 46th Massachusetts.
² Private Daniel F. Murray, Co. I, 46th Massachusetts.
Newbern, February 25, 1863
Dear Ellen — It is a very warm and pleasant day. There has been two mails in and I received no letter from home which I think is a good payment for the last bunch of letters I sent last week. I send from 4 to 10 letters every week and generally receive 4 or 5 so you can judge of my numerous correspondents and see how prompt they are.
Today has been a gala day with all the combined forces in the Department of North Carolina in the shape of a General Review by Maj. Gen. Foster. It was a splendid sight. Harper’s Weekly’s special correspondent was there and took a sketch of it. There were 20 regiments infantry, 1 regiment cavalry, & 6 batteries of artillery. The review lasted from 9 in the morning until 3 in the afternoon. You will probably get all the details in the papers.
Ethan [McIntosh] is well as usual. I expect he is to be detailed to drive a 4 horse team down street. However, he may not so don’t tell anyone. I hope he will for he detests soldiering to the bottom of his boots. I guess he does not answer any letters. I scold him for his negligence. His excuse for not writing is that if he should answer one letter, they would up and write another one until finally he would get into business.
Capt. [William Glidden] Leonard’s — alias Ironsides — wife is here. She lives in a tent with him and can be styled as the daughter of the regiment as she is the only sign of a lady here. At a false alarm while on the march, he stepped out of the rank and put on an iron vest so when it was found to be a false alarm, the boys laughed at him and ever since he is known as Ironsides.
Willie Hudson is still here. He has not called on me once. I was surprised yesterday by a visit from one Mr. Dean from Vernon, New York. He spent the day with me. He made me a present of a good pocket knife [and] offered to let me have money if I wanted. I kindly thanked him, showed him my pile, and give him to understand that I am flush with greenbacks. There is no special news here. I think we are to remain here where we are until we ship for Boston — only 16 weeks more.
I wrote to Flavia last week. Answer this soon. Write a newsy one. Anything but the fashions. My love to all & believe me truly your affectionate brother — George
February 27th — Dick and I are on guard. Dick as corporal and I as drummer. We are getting up a band. I play the alto horn. Ain’t that nice? Last Sunday was a great day here. The forts & gunboats each fired a salute of 100 guns in honor of Washington’s birthday. No more. write soon. — George
Newbern, February 27, 1863
Dear Parents — One [Corporal] David Roberts of our company has been discharged from service on account of deafness. He will sail for America tomorrow and offers to carry anything to you that I might wish to send. I think he will go to Rockville where he will stop a day or so and if you would go up you can get a good description of the health & prosperity of the Gallant 46th. I am guard drummer today. Dick is also on Corporal of the Guard. There is no special news. I received your letter of the 15th yesterday. It had been 11 days on the road.
On Tuesday last, all the forces here were reviewed by Gen. Foster. It was a grand review — something similar to McClellan’s on the Potomac, only on a smaller scale. It was a grand sight. You probably will read of it in the papers. Gen. Foster is very popular with his men. They have perfect confidence in him as a leader. There is a report that Burnside is coming back to take the Department of the Carolinas. I don’t care. Let him come. I never should know the difference.
We are well as usual. There is not much to write about. I wrote to Flavia last week & Ellen this. I expect to be home if alive in 16 weeks. The time passes off slowly. Sold my watch for 25. Get pay for it in March. Took an order on paymaster & Capt. is responsible. Expect now to be paid off the 2nd week in March. Love to all. Write & believe me your affectionate son, — George
P.S. They have had quite a row at Port Royal. Hunter has arrested all of the officers belonging to Foster’s troops. Perhaps you have heard of it.
Newbern, March 2nd 1863
Dear Parents — It is a very warm and pleasant day. The regiments are out on brigade drill. I do not go out. I expect to join the band that we are getting up. We have had two or three rehearsals and make it go finely.
Yesterday did not attend meeting for the very good reason that there was none to attend. Consequently I spent the day in answering letters. We have very changeable weather — one day cold, the next day warm, and then rainy. Expect soon it will be all hot weather. I am perfectly well. Don’t know that I want for any comfort. My pants are whole, shirts, drawers, stockings, blouse & dress coat all in good shape. In 15 weeks & 4 days more and our term of service is out.
Capt. [William G.] Leonard’s wife is here with him. She is here partly on account of her health which is not very good. I think there is no prospects of a move at present. The difficulty between Foster & Hunter has not been settled yet. Foster aches to pitch into Charleston. He was Capt. of Engineers and was in Fort Sumter when it was taken. They say he has a better knowledge of the channels & defenses about Charleston.
The health of the regiment is pretty good. Ethan [McIntosh] is well. There is no news to write. Give my love to all. write soon & oblige. Your affection son, — George
Newbern, March 5th 1863
Dear Parents — Two brigades have received marching orders. Ours is one. Probably will start with 3 days rations tomorrow morning. I do not go. The band remain here. I am a member. We played at dress parade tonight. All said we done finely.
Dick is well. He is going. My conjecture is that they are going on a scout up to Trenton about 25 miles between here & Kinston. I write for fear you might worry about me. The band will stay in our camp & keep things strait. There is no news other than the above. Shall write every mail. Am perfectly well and having pretty good times. Give love to all. Write soon & oblige your affectionate son, — George
Newbern, March 25, 1863
My Dear Father — I received your kind letter today and as usual, was very glad to hear of the good heath of the dear ones at home. The letter found me usually well with the exception of a cold which is much better than when I wrote last. There is no special news. The regiment have been on two marches. The band did not go.
The Rebels made quite a raid on this place which kept the troops quite busy for awhile. The band get along finely. We do regular duty as any band does — namely practice 3 hours a day & play at dress parade. I play the baritone or first tenor. Have solos to play. I like it first rate. Think blowing beneficial to my lungs. Better come to Springfield in about 3 months & hear us play.
The rum business from your account seems to be good in Manchester. There is plenty of it here, sold only for officers’ use and privates as well might sue for a furlough as for a drink of intoxicating liquor, all of which I do not mind. It makes no difference with me.
I do not like Willie Hudson’s neglect to call on me at all and shall always remember it in him. I received a letter from Jutie Mc– They were all well. I shall expect another photograph next mail. Please accept the many compliments of many in our company expressed at the sight of your photograph of the fine looks as a proportional well-built military looking man. I must confess I think you have grown young — at least in looks. Send mother’s along. I shall expect to see a young lady. Neither Uncle Horace Or Dr. Buckland have answered my letter. I can safely say I owe Bidwell & Daniels nothing. I once bought a cap coming to either 1.25 or 1.50. I don’t know which & got trusted after which I paid them the next time I was in. That is all I know of the matter.
We expect everyday to go to Plymouth, probably to fortify the place. The duties of the band will probably be as usual. Direct your letters as usual. Frank Stebbins has gone home. It is doubtful if he ever recovers. What is the prospect of the draft. Write me all about it. Ed Mc[Cray], Mort[imer Pease], Gil[bert H. Coombs], &c. are all well. Ed Mc[Cray] is as as quiet, fine & well-disposed young man as there is in the regiment — probably much better than he would be if he could get liquor. Dick had a letter from Mary. They were all well nor very particular news. Love to all. Your affectionate son, — George
[This Letter written by William G. Leonard, Captain of Co. I, 46th Massachusetts]
Newbern, N. C., April 2d 1863
William Scott, M.D.
I have just received yours of the 27th ult. Do not know why [your son] George has not written you. He writes a goodly number of letters. He has not been absent from camp since his return from the Goldsboro Expedition. He has been in excellent health most of the time & not really sick at all. A few weeks ago he was detailed to our regimental band & now plays an instrument. He started the 26th ult. for Plymouth on the Albemarle Sound with most of the regiment. I have not heard from them since. Probably the band would be employed in carrying the wounded to the hospital from the rear if there should be any fighting. They are building forts in Plymouth.
Probably you have read of the rebel attack on this place the 14th ult. They have tried our little force at Washington, N.C. some 26 miles from here & 36 from Plymouth. They have also reappeared at our outposts here. They seem to hang around here. What they want, we cannot divine, but we are kept on the “ready” day & night. They’ll hardly catch us napping. Two companies of us are here yet. We may see bloody times here yet.
The Glorious 46th is well puffed at the North & no doubt will deserve it if she has a chance. But thus far we have not had a chance to fire our guns except a few sharpshooters. This last fracas we did not see a rebel though we tried hard enough. We’ll be notorious if possible. Our company were on the outer picket one day & night & were thrown forward as skirmishers but saw no one. We heard two or three minnie balls pass over our heads. That is as near as we came to fighting. It provokes me to read such glowing accounts of our regiment when we have had no chance to do anything. We were where the shell came among us but once. That was at Goldsboro.
We are amidst all sorts of rumors. It is useless to pay any attention to them. A few simple facts are apparent. This department has little sympathy for negro soldiers. There could be a fine regiment raised in a week of blacks that would do well with good drill. There are many colored schools. The Blacks are eager to learn to read & write while the remaining whites are generally indolent. The Negroes are the smartest by far.
One other pertinent fact is that Newbern is very strongly fortified. Ten thousand men would defend it against four times that number. The hospitals here are of the best kind. I presume George has written you about our regimental surgeons. The boys have as much confidence in them as I have. The measles have made their appearance in camp. They go lightly thus far.
I have written a strangely disconnected letter. Have been interrupted every few lines as you may judge might be the case under present excitement. Hoping to return your son & all the others that came out with us to their homes. I remain yours truly, — Wm. G. Leonard
Plymouth, April 8, 1863
Dear Parents — I have written one letter since I came here giving you a description of our sail here & arrival. Have not received any mail for 3 weeks until today when I received a letter from you & Dr. of date March 22 which came on a boat from Newbern today. Our mail facilities here are very poor. Consequently you cannot expect to hear so often. Many thanks for Mother’s CDV. Certainly think she looks young as ever. I am perfectly well and have been. Enjoying myself better now than ever since entering the army/ Have been here now 2 weeks. Like here first rate. Live in a house next to one occupied by Col — [end of letter missing]
Plymouth, April 15, 1863
Dear Parents — It is a very rainy day and having nothing to do, I will busy my body writing you a few lines. I am well & hearty as ever enjoying myself very much indeed. We get along with housekeeping nicely, are not subject to camp regulations, go & come as when and where we please. The guard about town are instructed to pass all officers and members of the band. We have guard mounting at 8, practice from 9 till 10 [and] 12 till 3. After tea we march around the square playing 2 or 3 times & then we are through for the day. We can beat any band of 15 pieces on the continent that has had only 8 weeks practice and 8 new beginners.
Fighting still continues at Little Washington at last accounts. Companies A & I had left Newbern with knapsacks to guard a provision train going to Little Washington. Have not heard from them since. I do not think Ethan [McIntosh] is with them for when I left Newbern he had been detained for teamster for the Quartermaster General and expected every moment when he would be called for.
As for Copperheads, I feel indignant. Tell Ren Parks if he will come down & join the army 9 months where he can see for himself the doings and actions of the slave-holding copperhead traitors & if he can then support & vote for Thos. H. Seymore [Seymour] whom the whole army considers the biggest traitor, not excepting Vallandingham at the North, he will be more shallow-headed, black-hearted, & meaner in every way, shape, manner & form than the Devil himself. I honestly would have given 25 dollars could I have stood before the Manchester people the day before election and given the history of another young copperhead who was considered & known to be the biggest coward in and disgrace to the brave & noble 10th Connecticut Regiment who if he had not resigned as he did would have been court martialed and dishonorably dismissed the service, and will not now vote for Buckingham on account of personal feelings, which are that Buckingham would not commission him as an officer commanding the regiment much to the gratification of every man in the regiment. These are facts & I can prove them. And if I thought P.W.A. voted for Seymore [Seymour], I would publish it to his shame. I do not know yet who is elected but must believe of course it is Buckingham. I have worried more over this election than the Rebellion. I received last Sunday of March 15 which is the latest yet.
We have regular May weather — warm & pleasant, but cool nights. Have not been out of the house but one evening since I have been here. Sleep warm and have enough to eat. The niggers fish a great deal and for 8 or 10 cents you can buy a large shad — enough for 3 hungry men.
The fort & earthworks are done. They are now mounting the guns — three 32-pounders & four 12-pounders. Three houses larger & nicer than Mr. W. White’s had to be burned as they hid the view of the fort. Our regiment is not very healthy. A great many sick of measles.
Yesterday we played the Dead March in Saul to a funeral. It was the most solemn scene I ever witnessed. Fighting still continues at [Little] Washington. We can distinctly hear the booming of the artillery from morning until night. Foster is in [Little] Washington which is on the Tar River. The rebs got possession of an old fort on a hill at the mouth of the river and have got the old war horse penned in. But if they don’t look out, they will find they have caught a tartar. The rebels as yet make no advances on this place. Every day they wait, the worse it will be when they do come. Don’t know when this letter will go. Direct as usual. Write soon. Lovet to all. Your affectionate son, — George W. Scott, 46th Regt. Band, Newbern, N.C.
[Plymouth, North Carolina,] April 16, 1863
Yesterday was a very rainy day. It thundered & lightned nearly all day. Did not have any duties to perform, consequently I remained at home in a good, dry house where we have a good fireplace and with the old barn for our woodpile, there is no need of being wet or cold. Our rations are not quite as good here as they were in Newbern. Salt Horse & Sheet Iron biscuit being our chief diet. I suppose it is healthy but we are most sick of it. The sutler has nothing to sell as he can’t get leave of transportation from Newbern up here.
A man told me the other day that the sutler had made 60,000 dollars out of the 46th Regiment and I believe it though at the same time I consider him welcome to all he has ever made out of me. He sells soda crackers 30 cts. per pound, brown sugar 4 pounds for a dollar, ginger snaps 3 for 5 cts., tripe 25 cts. per lb., butter 40 cts., cheese 25. A paper of tobacco which at the North can be bought for 3 cts. he will charge 12. The sutler at times is a nuisance — at others a blessing. There is lots of fellows that spend every cent of their wages at the sutler. I have spent at his stand during the past 3 months 6 dollars.
Within 10 feet of our back door is a nigger shanty occupied by Aunt Rose & her 4 children. They are as ignorant as rats. The oldest daughter about 16 is very smart [and a] good housekeeper. Her name is Milly or Emily. I would send her up to you but she does not want to go & leave her mother. her father, the last they heard, was in Goldsboro. They expect Mr. Linkum has set him free or as they turned him loose and he will come home. The slaves are told by their masters before they skedaddle that the Yankees will take & sell them to Cuba to pay the expenses of the war. Others have told them that we should kill & eat them but in spite of their stories, they come into our lines thick as toads. This is not a single occurrence, but a general fact. Aunt Rose told me that there was not a nigger left Plymouth when the rebs did unless he was tied or controlled to go under the lash.
I conversed yesterday with a very intelligent darky that came into our lines day before yesterday. He was waiter for a rebel Colonel. He says the soldiers had not been paid since Christmas and Jeff Davis said he would not pay them until they had taken Newbern, Roanoke, & [Little] Washington. He also said the government had removed from Richmond to Raleigh. He also reports 20,000 men & 20 pieces of artillery at Little Washington. It is my opinion that the rebel army in this state have been reinforced by the Richmond army. I predict that the rebels will and are now evacuating Richmond. Also that the seat of war will be the Carolinas. This rebellion has until lately looked very formidable to me but now I consider in sight the contrary, and if our generals will collect their scattered forces and not garrison so many places but be on the road hunting rebels as a dog would a fox, they would soon — in my opinion — bring the rag-a-muffins to the corner.
Foster uses from 10 to 12,000 men in garrisoning places when with that number of men, with artillery & cavalry in proportion, he could march over the whole state. I have given you a good piece of my mind for which you are entirely welcome. Could explaterate more freely could I see you. Postage stamps can not be had for love or money. Wish you would send me some when you write. Love to all, — George W. Scott
[Plymouth, North Carolina,] April 17, 1863
A warm & pleasant day. Went up to the Fort yesterday and saw them mount a 32-pounder gun weighing over 5,000. Fighting still continues at [Little] Washington. Shad for breakfast & shad for dinner. No news yet from Company I or A. Write soon. — George
Ellen — We band have learned 32 pieces that we can play. Among the prettiest are Seventh Regiment Quick Step and Japanese Quick Step. Perhaps you can get them arranged for the piano. We also play Silvery Shower. I play the air to it — it is beautiful. Astor House Polka, Gallop from Crown of Diamonds. Mountain Echo Polka, Drum Polka, & Italian Quick Step. Why don’t you say something about your music? Give my love to the old piano. Tell it I hope to see it in about 10 weeks (Hurrah, Hip, Hip) Write every chance you get. Lolly too & I will. Your affectionate brother, — George
P.S. How is it that your & Flavia’s writing contradict one another so?
Plymouth, April 21, 1863
Dear Father — Last eve I received 2 letters from you, April 13 & 7, which was the bearer of good news — namely your health & prosperity & Copperheads defeat. You can not imagine my suspense which has been awful to me in waiting for the news of the election which gladdens the heart of the army as much as the fall of Richmond would. On the morning of Saturday last at 2 A.M., we were all ordered to pack up & take boat in 1 hours time which was done when up came another boat countermanding the order. It is said that we were to be taken to Little Washington but th next morning they found the rebels had scampered. Consequently the order was counter[manded]. Foster is all right. He has whipped the rebs once more and I am sure he can do it again.
Plymouth is on the Roanoke River about 15 miles from its mouth. There are very extensive fisheries on this river and large farming countrys on each side. By holding Plymouth, it cuts off a great provision supply and also blocks the Rebs from entering the [Albemarle] Sound. I suppose the intention of holding this place is that it may make it better for us when we get ready to pounce upon Weldon which is up this river about 30 miles. They have an ironclad up there. We expected it everyday during the fight at Little Washington.
I found out by a fellow that came on the boat that Company I & A had gone overland to [Little] Washington for the 2nd time. He said they were all well & had been no deaths which is all I can find out. I have written to them but probably they have not received it.
I was very much pleased at Emily Winchester’s Gossip of A. Fuller. I am well. There is no particular news. It is now 6. The boat leaves at 7. I see by papers there is quite a controversy about the time of the 9 Mass. men. Whichever way it is, I don’t care. Must now go to breakfast. My love to all. Write again & believe me your affectionate son. — George
Plymouth, April 28, 1863
Dear Father — I received your letter of the 19th this morning in which you acknowledge the receipt of one from me the 8th. I have received 3 from you since I have been here. I am well & hearty as ever. Subsistence is as good if not better than at Newbern although we cannot have butter, cheese, and other little luxuries which we could buy in Newbern. But I have got weaned from them and now feel perfectly contented and even salt beef & hard tack taste good. I saw a fellow that came up on this boat. He told me that Co. I boys are all well. Dick is 1st Teamster in the Quarter Master Department. He drives one of the best 4-horse teams in the whole Department of North Carolina. He told me before I left Newbern that he was detailed for that purpose but wanted me to keep mum until he got to work. He was not on the last march. The boat brings the news of “all quiet along the Neuse.” The Quarter Master Sergeant told me this morning that General [Francis Barretto] Spinola‘s Brigade is to take our place next week and we are to return to Newbern. I think it very reliable news.
Plymouth is one complete grove entirely covered with very large shade trees. It is more like a Connecticut village than any other place I have been in. The guards about town tried this week to arrest the band that were around town without passes. The Colonel [Shurtliff] immediately upon hearing it issued a general order commanding the guards to let the band members pass any guard or picket post until 9 in the evening. Col. has built us a Band Stand and after tea we go out and play on it and our Col. & Col. of the 25th are our most attentive listeners & admirers. The sutler, according to regulations, is taxed 10 cts. a head per month on every man in the regiment which is to form a regimental fund to be expended at the discretion of the Colonel towards paying the band. Also to purchase anything else necessary for the comfort of the regiment. This fund now amounts to over $1,000. Probably we shall get some extra pay. Have not yet got pay for my watch as we have not been paid off since I sold it, but I have an order for 25 dollars on the paymaster guaranteed by the Captain which is just as good as the greenbacks unless the United States Government fails to pay its obligations.
I have no postage stamps which frequently deters me from writing to friends who frequently write to me. Deserters come in every day, all of whom seem pleased to death to think they have got out of the scrape. I have talked with a few. They all say the reb soldiers have no faith in their cause but their tyrannical officers are confident of success. Plymouth is now well-defended and will defy a strong force. Our cavalry are short of horses and they frequently make raids into the reb country in search of horses. Day before yesterday they brought in 12 nice ones. A one-eyed horse is good for nothing in the army. The rebel planters know it and one of the cavalrymen told me that they could have got 100 horses but more than 2/3 of the rebel horses had one eye dug out. Our fellows brought in one of the handsomest, likeliest 3-year old colts I ever saw and he had one eye dug out. The boys were so indignant at the sight of it that they determined to take him to punish the brutal owner.
Two or three lieutenants in our regiment last Saturday night got a big boat and took the band out on the river and we went and serenaded the gunboats. Had a good time. The captain of one has invited us over to his boat tomorrow night. My clothing, boots, and so forth are whole & good. Shall probably receive your next letter in Newbern. Write soon. Love to all & oblige your affectionate son, — George
Report says Joe Hooker has taken Gordonsville & 10,000 prisoners. Also repulse of gunboats at Charleston.
Plymouth, May 5th 1863
Dear Father — The past 2 or 3 days have been very warm. The mercury yesterday stood at 92 and it will stand about the same today. As yet have not experienced the slightest inconvenience on account of the heat. We have no duty to perform and have nothing to do but sit in the shade of our own shady grove in front of this “mine own hired house.” On the 1st of May the band went by special invitation on to the flagship [U.S.S. Commodore] Perry. Capt. Bim [?] where was provided for us a splendid supper. We had a splendid time. Did not get home until 12 in the evening. We also had an invitation to go aboard the gunboat Southfield. Had a nice time there. The band is thought a great deal of here.
The fort here is named Fort Williams. Day before yesterday they christened it & raised the Stars & Stripes. ¹ We were invited to furnish music which we did. Gen. Wessel has command of the Department of Washington, Roanoke, and Plymouth. His headquarters are here. He has already taken possession.
We are going back to Newbern tomorrow. The 25th [Massachusetts] have already gone. Band escorted them to the boat. Co. A & I are doing picket duty on the Neuse road about 8 miles from Newbern. I believe they have a blockhouse there. Dick is in the city, well I believe. We all begin to talk pretty strong now of going home and some are making arrangements for the coming event. Capt. [Daniel E.] Kingsbury of Holyoke & Capt. [Andrew] Campbell of Westfield want to engage us to escort them home. Guess we shall. There is a considerable speculation in regard to our going home. Some think we get home before July & others after.
Yesterday 3 or 4 of us got a pass & a boat & went up the river about 3 miles into the rebel country to a fishing. Saw them make two hauls of about 2500 fish each — mostly shell and rock. We got several fish & returned unmolested. It was rather hazardous but it is the first risk of the kind I ever have run & the last. We all hate to leave Plymouth. It is so cool & shady but we shall not more than get fairly settled in Newbern before we shall have to start for home.
The other night our boys captured 4 rebel cavalry & 6 horses — nice ones. This morning I went down to the jail to converse with one of them. He is a very good looking man — strongly resembles George Benton (that worked for Hillyard & Spencer, & with Ellen Chapman was very instrumental in killing Annis sorrel horse so famous in Hod Shipman’s career). He is about 30 — a great politician, college education, one of the leading persons in South Carolina when they passed the first secession resolutions. I talked about 3 hours — I strongly for the Union and abolition of slavery, and he as strongly for Rebellion & extension of slavery. He was a perfect gentleman. I admire his frankness & pluck which he said the same of me. He says neither side will back down but this war will go on a war of extermination which he is confident until one side or the other is wiped from the earth. He was also confident that 20 years would not end this struggle. He says the whole south love, honor, & fear McClellan and his knowledge & remarks of him convince me of McClellan’s treachery. He says the generals of our army is its weakest point. That the different changes & repulses of generals and commanders in the Army of the Potomac convinces them that they will prosper. He knows every movement of McClellan & McDowell — also of McClellan’s investigation.
I think there will be no expeditions here this summer but that Foster is arranging his forces to act on the defensive. I picked a rose from our garden the other day & pressed it to send to mother but some of the boys have stole it so I will press another & send in my next. We shall probably be paid off when we get to Newbern. My clothes & all are good. Love to all & oblige your son, — George
Arose, May 7th at 4 A.M. packed up, went aboard the steamer Thos. Colyer at 12. Started for Newbern at 2. Slept on open deck. Rained in the night.
May 8th. Passed Roanoke about 5 A.M. & Hatteras 4 P.M. Quite cold. Arrived in Newbern at 9 in the eve. Are quartered in the barracks where we shall probably stay until we go home. Went & saw Dick. He is well & likes driving team first rate. He has a nice team & don’t have to drive out of the city at any time. Our company is on picket. All well. — George
¹ For another first account of the christening of Fort Williams, see 1863: Henry Arthur White to Alonzo White. Corporal Henry A. White served in Co. H, 25th Massachusetts.
Newbern, May 16, 1863
Dear Parents — I last wrote the 8th. Had just arrived in town. A mail came the 12th but nothing for me. Were paid off the 11th for 2 months. My allotment took effect. Suppose there is 12 dollars for me somewhere in Massachusetts either at the town or state treasury. You can get it if you have a chance.
Co. A & I are on picket up to Batchelder’s Creek 8 miles above here. I rode up on the 12th & spent the day with them. Mercury was 96°. Mort[imer] Pease & I took a gun & went scouting out about 3 miles. We came to a river a little larger than the Hockanum. Across the river we spied 2 Rebel pickets. We both grounded arms & agreed upon an armistice of a few moments and both parties sit down on the river bank & conversed very freely. They appeared to be fine fellows considering that they were rebs. They said they were heartily sick of this war and hoped it would soon end. They informed us of Hooker’s apparent success [at Chancellorsville]. They said if we would come down the next day, they would come over & see us & swap a coat button providing we would __ them return. During my stay with our boys I saw more snakes, toads, lizards, fleas, wood ticks, ants, bats, & knats than I ever imagined before. Our boys like it first rate.
Our band gets along finely. Have bought & learned 6 more new pieces & sent north for more. All the bands in Newbern take turns in playing evenings before Gen. Foster’s headquarters. Our Colonel told us yesterday to take our turn and he would risk but that we would give as good satisfaction as any. So we took our first turn Monday eve.
Foster has ordered & sent out all families from town who was not union. A rich old apothecary having a beautiful daughter & a large property gave his property to his daughter. He left town. She married a corporal in the 44th. She took the oath of allegiance and is permitted to stay & claims protection of her property. ¹
Sunday 16th — Quite warm. No services today. I went with Burgers down town last night after 10 o’clock for the mail. Could not get it before 12 and it was after one before I got to bed. I received yours of the 11th, also one from Em & E, also 3 or 4 [Hartford] Courants & [New] York Times. I imagine the news at home causes great excitement. Not so here although there is not one but that hopes & prays for its confirmation. About 1 hour ago Gen. Foster’s orderly came up and informed Col. [William S.] Shurtliff that by private dispatches he learned that Richmond had fallen. The big fort fired 15 or 20 guns — probably a salute. We boys all keep still until it is certain that the flower of the rebel army is whipped. Then we will cheer. We have had too many budgets of good news and too many false alarms too easily [to] be moved to create a great disturbance until we have the proof.
I see by the papers in the list of killed & wounded in the 25th Connecticut Regiment — R. E. Rose & H. House. Do not know whether it means Hen House but judge it to be Dick Rose. I went down & saw Dick Berry last week. He has a nice piano. He told me to come down & play any time I felt like it. I suppose I shant be home until July 22. It is not right to keep us so long. I understand we are going to do Parole duty in the city begin[ning] 1st July. Privates still have a hard time and band fellows a nice time. My love to all girls. Spoke about sending a box. Should like one but it is so hot, I don’t believe it would hardly pay. Also the time is so short. Write soon & oblige. Your son, — George
¹ The private in the 44th Massachusetts who married the daughter of the Secessionist in Newbern was Charles W. Lawrence of Company C. Another source claims Lawrence married “a lovely young secesh damsel” — the daughter of Newbern banker Israel Disosway. [See Shifting Loyalties: The Union Occupation of Eastern North Caroliona by Judkin Browning] The Dailey Dispatch of 19 May 1863 also reported that, “A sensation was created here by the marriage this morning of Charles W. Lawrence, of Boston, a member of the 44th Massachusetts, to the accomplished daughter of Israel Disosway , a banker in Newbern. After making a transfer of his property to the bride-groom, the father left our lines with other disloyal citizens.”
Newbern, May 23, 1863
Dear Sisters — I received your letter of the 18th last night which gave me pleasing assurance of your health and prosperity. Our regiments with about 5 others started on a march at 12 o’clock on the night of the 20th. Some went one road & some another. The next night, they captured a rebel camp taking 200 prisoners & killing 100. They have not yet returned but I hear they have sent back for more artillery — probably with the intention of going on to Kinston about 15 miles further on.
The band did not go which accounts for my being here. Our company are well. They like picket duty first rate. I hear we are to do Provo duty in the city in June. Don’t hardly believe it. I suppose by some hook or crook. The State of Massachusetts will keep us until 22 July though it is not right. My time is out on the 25th of June. I do not think there is a man here but what likes Foster as a leader & a gentleman and by all odds would rather fight under him than anyone else. But I think it a mistake when they say we would nearly all enlist again if we could go under him.
I am going down town today to see if I can’t make some arrangements to come back and work in the Quarter Master Department. Dick is well and in his glory. He does not have but little to do. He likes [it] first rate. Foster is making preparations for a small force this summer. He is raising a negro brigade. Also building a fort and breastworks.
Saturday [May] 23rd. Our boys returned on the cars this afternoon. Thermometer stood at 93 & 4 and this afternoon officers & men, seeing that they were likely to be surrounded, started & marched through a swamp about 3 miles in mud over their knees. They got lost and were in the swamp from 7 until 11. One poor fellow was taken sick on account of the heat and they had to leave him with his bayonet stuck up on his head with a white rag on it to the tender mercies of the swamp vermin. He was perfectly conscious giving the boys directions what to write to his folks.
The expedition accomplished all it was intended — to capture a rebel camp, which they did. 175 ragged, puny, lousy, half-starved Rebels were taken. They came to town on the cars about 6 this afternoon. The 27th Massachusetts escorted them through the city to Fort Totten. Our band had the honor of leading the column. It was as great a sight & probably created as much excitement as the possession of the Japanese did in New York. I had forgotten about that. These Rebels were captured about 8 miles beyond where our boys are doing picket.
As I was going to bed, I heard that Co. A & I had been attacked and all but 3 or 4 were captured. Dismissing it from my mind as a mere camp rumor, I soon fell asleep. About 1 o’clock I awoke and found that about ½ of Co. I & A were here with all their duds. They had had a severe fight with two brigades of Rebs. Col. Jones of the 85th Pennsylvania Regiment that commanded the post was shot and they were ordered three times to retreat, which they finally did, leaving the rest of the boys somewhere — they did not know where. This morning they awoke & hearing nothing from the other boys, they all started back since which time I have heard nothing from them. Went down town yesterday morning, took dinner with Ethan [McIntosh]. He is well and enjoys himself nicely. He is to have a furlough of the month of August and is then coming back to drive team as a citizen for 30 dollars a month. I will follow your advice and not enlist again until I have consulted with you.
How is business north? What is the prospect for a young man there next fall? There is a nice chance for Brad here in a drug store. Think he could get big wages. He has had the offer of it but declined. I am and have been as well as ever. Probably will be home in 8 weeks more. Love to all. Move the barn way back to the fence & about 1 Rod east. Love to all. Write soon & believe me your affectionate brother, — George
Newbern, May 24th 1863
Dear Sisters, — It is Sunday and a hot one it is too. There is no meeting but there is plenty of flies and strange to say mosquitoes & butter is scarce. I received your kind & affectionate letter with the photo of the illustrious youth but a short time since. I like Newbern. It seems as though I was nearer home than in Plymouth although not for I can hear from you oftener. I generally used to write 8 or 10 letters every mail but now if I write 3 I think I am doing well. In reply to your question, I will say that I occasionally drop a few lines to my lady friends in Longmeadow — Lottie Hendrick among the number. There is quite a romance in connection with one of my unknown correspondents which I will relate when I see you.
I have written to Flavin & Ellen all particulars of the expedition which has just returned with 175 prisoners which the 27th Massachusetts escorted from the railroad to the fort. [The] 46th band had the pleasure of furnishing music. It was quite a feather in our cap, or in other words, a mark of great distinction which I hope & trust we are worthy of.
Saturday I went down town & played on Dick Berry’s piano. It is a nice one. I have forgotten nearly all I ever knew about playing. I fear some of our boys are taken prisoners as they were surrounded last night and were ordered to retreat, about ½ of them reaching here about 1 in the night. They have gone out this morning to reconnoiter.
25th [May] — Another hot day. Captain came down this morning. He reports the boys all right. Have a good offer to go into a brigade band which is now raising for Gen. Wessel’s Brigade but refuse at present to enter into any engagements until relieved of the present. Notwithstanding the extreme heat, I do not begin to suffer of it as I used to at home. I have got kinder acclimated and the heat does not seem half as hot as at home.
I imagine it must look nice at home since the barn has been fixed. I had a letter today from Aunt Mary. She write me real good & long letters. They are well. Dick is going to stay & drive team as a citizen for $30 per month. There is no particular news. All is quiet on the Neuse [River]. My love to all. Write soon & believe me your affectionate brother, — George
Newbern, June 6th 1863
Dear Parents — I received your welcome letters of the 31st this morning which found me well and waiting the coming of the mail. There has not been much news since I last wrote. A flag-of-truce came down the other day bringing a letter from Mort[imer] Pease stating that they were all well and about to start for Richmond. Saw Dick the other day. He is well. Twenty of Co. I have reenlisted in heavy artillery and have gone home on this boat for 30 days. Co. A & I came off picket last Monday. [The] 44th [Massachusetts] Regiment started for home this morning. [The] 27th [Massachusetts] Regiment are in the city. Our boys are building earthworks.
The weather is quite decent. Had a refreshing shower this morning. I am now having rather more to do than usual in the shape of scratching. Nearly all of us have what we call the itch which I hope to be able to leave here where I got it. I think you may look for me about the forepart of July. There is no particular news. All are well. I think I can get a job here $30 per month to return after I have been home 30 days. Can I do better north? Excuse this short letter. Write soon. Love to all. Your affectionate son, — George
Newbern, June 13th 1863
Dear Parents — I have not received a letter from home for some time though I presume I shall have one in the mail which is hourly expected. There is no particular news here. The weather is pretty warm though not very tedious. The 9 months men are beginning to go home. The 44th [Massachusetts] went the 8th [of June] & the 3rd [Massachusetts] day before yesterday [11 June 1863]. There is considerable excitement here in the 46th — the time of ½ of the companies being out on the 25th and the other half a month later. Gen. Foster first began the row by issuing a circular stating that transportation would be furnished any companies who had not patriotism enough to wait a few days over their time that the regiment may go together. Our colonel has begged of the boys to stay. Some have agreed to and others won’t. Our company have voted two or three times a day for 3 days. The majority are to go. I stay & go with the band which go with the colonel & colors. We shall probably start for home somewhere between the 8th to the 14th of July. Will by necessity be compelled to be in camp at Springfield one or two days.
The boys are daily at work throwing up breastworks and by the time we leave it, will be an impossibility for any armed force to enter & take the place. We all are troubled with a kind of humor breaking out on our wrists and feet, probably occasioned by the climate. We have been and played on some great parties for 3 different regiments here & next Thursday have an engagement for another. Our pay for so doing is generally the sincere thanks of the regiment & a good supper. Dick is well. I rather guess he will go home with us.
18th [June] — Received your letter of the 8th today. You seem to be worried about my reenlisting. You also quote from my letter where I then said I would not enlist again. You probably recollect of the young man that once said he would not go to work in the vineyard. Afterwards he repented & went. However, it is not my intention now or ever becoming a soldier again. Mort[imer] Pease & the rest of the boys are in Annapolis. We had a letter from them today. We expect now to be at home from the 1st to the 15th of July. If we land in Boston, we shall probably stay there over one night. I wish you could be up to Springfield when we come in. It will be the greatest time ever known in Hampden County.
You had better not send me any letters after the 1st of July as it will be very doubtful whether I get them. The whole regiment are shoveling every day. They probably will finish in a week. The death of Judge [Phineas] Talcott ¹ will be keenly felt in Rockville. I always considered he & Uncle George & Capt. H. the chief cornerstones. Dick is well. Will probably come home with us. Tell Flavis for grub I had 1 qt. coffee, 4 hard tack, and a chunk of salt mule. I think it would add greatly to my comfort if you would not torment me by writing the bill of fare at your tables anymore. Love to all, your affectionate son, — George
¹ Judge Phineas Talcott (1793-1863) of Rockville, Tolland County, Connecticut. He died on 6 June 1863 after sustaining a concussion from a fall on the street.
Camp Bradley, Baltimore — July 1st 1863
Dear parents — Wednesday, June 24th we (the 46th) went aboard schooner Recruit and was towed by steamer Huzza. As we got down to the mouth of the river, the steamer was disabled. Colonel [Shurtliff] went back after another steamer. He was ordered back with the regiment. As we had got most back, two steamers from Hatteras came up with orders for us to board them and they would take us to Hatteras where the Steamer Bellvidere was waiting to take us to Fortress Monroe where we arrived at 12 Saturday night [27th]. We lay at anchor 2 days within ¼ mile of the Fortress.
Monday night [28th] we sailed for Norfolk & Portsmouth, spent the night aboard ship opposite Gosport Navy Yard. Tuesday [29th] we started at 8 A.M. for Fortress Monroe and at 12 midnight left Fortress Monroe for Baltimore where we arrived at 6 this morning.
At 12 we left the boat, marched through the city out to Camp Bradley, 2 miles out of the city. What will turn up next, I do not know. I hardly think, however, that we shall stay here more than a few days and then probably go home by rail through Hartford. We were just 1 week on board ship, half-starved &c. but nevertheless I am perfectly well and have seen more during the passed week than I can tell in a long time. I have it all down in my diary. The 51st, 43rd, 8th, & 46th [Massachusetts Regiments] all came in together and as quick as the Rebel Rail in Pennsylvania dies away, we shall come home.
Dick we left in Newbern. He is well. Don’t know when he will go home. I guess it will be safe enough to write to me once and that right away. Direct to George W. Scott, 46th Mass. Regt. Band, Baltimore
Camp Bradley, Baltimore — July 5, 1863
Dear Parents — I have written you one letter since my arrival here which you probably ere this have received. I am well with the exception of a severe cold which I caught on board steamer. Mort[imer] Pease & the rest of the Irishmen are with us again. They are not yet exchanged. They are looking well.
The duty here for the boys is very hard. The whole regiment are in the city today as escort guard for 850 prisoners that arrived this morn from Gettysburg. Yesterday we escorted 600. Report says there are 2300 more to come. Yesterday I had to run the guard in order to celebrate the day. The greater part of the Baltimoreans are Union though there are a great many secesh. I dare not [end of letter missing].
Baltimore, July 15th 1863
Dear Parents — I am still encamped in Baltimore. Our regiment last Sunday started from Maryland Heights for Boonsboro. Where they are now, I do not know. There are about 400 convalescents in this city of the 46th & 8th. The Maj. Gen. commanding has ordered every man to go aboard a transport tomorrow (16th) which will take us to Boston. I think if we have good luck we shall make Boston by Saturday & Springfield either Saturday or Sunday where I shall have to wait for the regiment to come when we can all be discharged & mustered out & start for home — thank God.
I am well. There are about 20 sick here. The most of them are very sick. Some never can see home & others may — poor fellows.It seems awful to keep them here. Our regiment have seen very hard times. It has rained hard nearly all the past week. I cannot find Henry Robertson. Capt. [William G.] Leonard is sick though better now. He will go home on the cars tomorrow & probably pass through Hartford Friday. I have spent about 1 month of my enlistment on the water and by the time I reach Boston will have rode 3,000 miles on board ship.
In order that you may not be disappointed at the first sight of me, I will tell you what you may expect. Namely, the same looking old chap. I do not think I have changed one particle aside from the bronzed countenance. I would advise you to come to Springfield to see any great sights until the regiment gets there. Give my love to all. In haste, your affectionate son, — George