This letter was written by Edward T. Jameson (1839-1910) who enlisted as a corporal in the 4th Independent Massachusetts Light Artillery on 17 November 1861. He was promoted to first sergeant and then accepted a commission as 2nd Lieutenant on 13 October 1865 just prior to mustering out of the service at New Orleans.
Edward was the son of Charles Jameson (1809-Bef1855) and Jennette E. Robinson (1805-After1865) of the Shetland Islands. He wrote the letter to his older brother James Jameson (1831-Aft1865) of South Reading, Middlesex county, Massachusetts. In July 1882, Edward married Elizabeth L. Homans.
From the regimental history: “The Battery was mustered in, Nov. 18, 1861, and on the 20th embarked for Ship island, Miss., the rendezvous of Gen. Butler’s New Orleans expedition. It was among the troops present at the surrender of Forts Jackson and St. Philip; debarked at New Orleans on May 2, and three days later proceeded to Carrollton, where it remained until June 16, 1862. On that date one section under Lieut. Taylor reported to Lieut.-Col. Kimball of the 12th Me., crossed Lake Pontchartrain and went into action at Pass Manchac, La. The battery as a whole was not engaged until the battle of Baton Rouge, Aug. 5, 1862, where it lost 1 killed and 5 wounded in addition to many of the horses. It remained at Baton Rouge until the 21st, when it moved to Carrollton and occupied Camp Williams. On Oct. 5 one section reported at Algiers, and on the 28th, the rest of the command moved to Fort Pike, where the health of the men materially improved.”
[Note: This letter is from the private collection of Matthew Wilmot and is published by express consent]
Addressed to Mr. James Jameson, South Reading, Mass.
November 17, 1862
My Dear Brother James,
I received your welcome letters dated October 27th and October 19th on the night of November 13th and was glad to hear from you once more and to know that you was well and hearty as a brick and hope his will find you in health. I received a box by Adams & Co. Express shortly after our arrival here and mentioned it in my last letters that I wrote home. Oh, I’m so much obliged for your kindness to me. Sometimes when I look back and think of the kindness and goodness you have shown to me who deserved it so little, I feel pained to think that at times I have been cold and ungrateful to a dear Brother who always did his best to please me.
There are very few brothers in an army not of the same flesh and blood. I have a friend almost like a Brother, one who has been kind to me and with whom I have slept and toiled with—Sergt. Major T. H. Manning ¹—who now lies very low with diarrhea. He is in the hospital at Algiers opposite New Orleans. He was so sick that he could not come down with us to the Fort but had to go to the hospital. He is a man amongst a thousand—one who values honor and truth high above all other things; a nobleman, one of nature’s kind. I am afraid he will never get up again although he may. That disease is more to be feared than most any other that I know of in this cursed country. If a man drinks too freely of liquor here, he is a gone sucker in a very short time. A man must be careful of his habits, drink, food, and everything that pertains to his comfort. You cannot go “blind” here the same way that it is done at home.
I received a New York Herald from you at the same time with the letters. I see nothing has been done on the Potomac. Buell—according to all accounts—has let Bragg slip through his fingers; the aforesaid Bragg bringing off any quantity of stores and provisions—just the thing the rebels wanted most.
On the 9th of this month I sent home to Mother a five dollar bill. I forgot to mention it in her letter because I had so much to write. By the last letters from home i received two photographs—one of my dear Mother and one of Charlie. Don’t you think Mother seems a great deal older than when I sent away? I know she worries and is fearful that some harm will befall me. Now she ought not to feel so. I am afraid for fear she will be worrying herself sick until she gets the letters stating that I am in good health. For particulars of our expedition, see Mother’s letter. I remain as ever your affectionate brother, — Edward T. Jameson
¹ Thomas Henry Manning (1838-18xx) served with Edward in the 4th Independent Massachusetts Light Artillery. He enlisted on 17 November 1861 and was promoted to First Sergeant on 1 October 1862. He accepted a commission as 2d Lieutenant on 15 August 1863 and was promoted to 1st Lieutenant on 13 October 1863 just as he mustered out of the service. Manning gave his occupation as “tinplate worker” when he enlisted.