[Different Handwriting at top]
No. 221. Mailed at Port Royal, Feby 25.
Reed Mch 2/64
after Battle 20th
Baldwin Station, Florida
Feby 18, 1864
I think I wrote one letter just after arriving at this place. Well, we are still here and no one
hurt yet. Have had several alarms but they proved to be false-more scared than hurt.
We are enjoying the full benefit of a true soldier's life-not a fire is allowed after sunset
and all loud talking stopped. Orders are very strict-Men sleep with clothes all on,
Equipment on, and gun by their side. Officers sleep with pants on [and] sword and belt by
their side. Last night I did break over, [and] I run the risk and took my coat off and boots,
giving my boy (Henry) instructions to hand me my coat and boots the moment he woke
in case of an alarm.
Last night is the first time I have had a whole nights sleep undisturbed-and under
cover- since leaving our Camp at Hilton Head, S.C., with the exception of one night at
Camp Finnegan [Finegan], a rebel camp, on our way here from Jacksonville
Now my quarters are in a house-or what they call one. My company has little Shanties
which they have built-from the fences, etc. They are quartered in the front yard. House
is a miserable one but answers for a shelter from rain and cold. What should you think,
Father, if a large Army were to come along through Bangor, and our Company of noisy
soldiers, or a Regt., should take up quarters in your Yard, and the Officers should take up
quarters in your house? It is awfull [sic], War is.
The man who lived here we have sent in side our lines, to Jacksonville-Family,
furniture and all. He is a Rebel and is not safe out here so near our advance position.
I must tell you before I go on-how happy I was in receiving a letter from home. It was
night before last. I was officer of advance picket. The Field Officer of the day came
around to visit my posts about 12 at night, and he brought them to me. Just think here I
had those letters-one from you one from Fred Smith (for a wonder) and one from Lucy
Emerson-and [I] could not have a light to read them.
I told the Col. that he placed before me a great temptation to disobey orders-but as you
would say-it was a self denial which I should exercise. I waited patiently until morning
& just as the day was breaking-while you at home were sweetly slumbering in your
good comfortable beds. I stood at my post and opened and read the letters. The number
of your letter was 235-date Jany 31. I received by same mail a good lot of papers-a
file of Boston Journals from Jan 31 to Feby 6. This is just what I want. I thank you for
ordering it for me. Reed also Harpers for Feby-two pictorials.
I rather think Freeman is wise not to accept Commission in Wilds Brigade- and just as
likely as not under Fletcher don't urge it.
Would Freem [Freeman] accept it I fear he would regret it. Just before I heard ofF's
refusal I was going to propose his name to Col. Hollowells for a position in this
Regiment. We are short of officers-and a full Regiment. Ask Freem if he would accept
a position in the 54th Mass. Of course I can not say that he would get it surely- because I
have said nothing about it. The officers will not consent to have any one in the regiment
accept [unless] they have seen some service, that is if they can help it. And we can help
it only in this way-protesting against it and if they choose to fill up the regiment with
officers from Civil life-shall offer our resignation.
All but one officer now in the Regt. has seen at least 9 months service. It is the best
Colored regiment in service, and were they paid as U.S. Soldiers the full pay of a soldier,
which I trust before many months they will, there could not be a better body of men in
our Army. I will not except any Volunteer Regiment. You can tell Freeman this and see
what he says-dont influence him either way yet. Ask him if he cant find time to write to
His time is out very soon-and I have no doubt he will find a good business some where.
If his heart is set upon going home don't urge him to accept a Col's position for you my
have occasion to regret it. He has passed through many dangers. God has been pleased to
spare him-it is for some good.
God grant that next July you may have him with you Safe and as sound as when he left.
This your baby Lieut-who write to you now his life is his countries-he is not so good a
boy as the other. I know he is wicked-he smokes and drinks a little whisky once in a
while when wet and cold sleeping out in the wet and swampy grounds of Florida. I know
he is a bad boy.
But there still lies a heart a Duren yet, and he shall never disgrace the name if he does
never own him. He ought to die-but until he does suffer these slight offences. Tis not
because he is ashamed. Tis not because he can not break it off. He can but does not wish
Good night Love to all-
Affcly Your loving Son
Will you send to me by mail 1/2 dozen Envelopes-I left all mine in my trunk-this is
captured paper rebel. So is the envelope.
Transcribed by Nicole J. Milano, University of Florida, 2008.