1863: Nancy (Reilly) Pilkington to George Gettys Pilkington

This letter was written by Nancy (Reilly) Pilkington (1808-1864), the widow of Thomas G. Pilkington (1812-1863) of Waynesboro, Franklin county, Pennsylvania. Nancy’s husband was wounded at the Battle of Fredericksburg while serving in Co. A, 126th Pennsylvania Infantry. He died of his wounds on 15 January 1863 at Emory Hospital in Washington D. C.

Prior to the war, Nancy’s husband had served the town of Waynesboro as its post master. When he enlisted in the service in August 1862, Nancy took over as the town’s post master and continued in the position after his death.

Nancy wrote the letter to her son, George Gettys Pilkington (1842-1889) who had enlisted with his father in the 126th Pennsylvania. George was the drummer of Co. E.



Wednesday, March the 18th, 1863

My dear son,

I sent a box this morning and hope it will get safe to your camp. Since I have sent it, I have been very uneasy for fear you will eat more than your stomach can bear. Everyone tells me that I should warn you not to do so. When I was in Chambersburg, they told me that Tip McGraph ¹ he had been sick and was getting better when his parents sent him some eatables and the doctor says that the sudden change of victuals caused his. Now do be careful.

The soldiers came today with an ambulance and took young Wade to the hospital. Poor fellow. Sid says he was as white as a sheet.

I must now go down to the [Post] Office. I think the Buss is in. I forgot to send you some stamps and paper and I don’t know how to send you paper but can send either stamped envelopes or stamps.

Good night. Don’t forget to take my advice and oblige your mother.

¹ The only McGraph I can find in the Union Soldiers Database from Pennsylvania was Pvt.  John McGraph of the 116th Pennsylvania Infantry.


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