1865: William Stoughton Pillsbury to Charles H. Long

This letter was written by Lt. William Stoughton Pillsbury (1833-1911) of Co. D, 1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery. He was the son of Rev. Stephen Pillsbury (1781-1851) and Lavinia Hobart (1795-1871) of Sutton, Merrimack county, New Hampshire. Prior to serving with the 1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery, Pillsbury served as an officer in both the 4th New Hampshire Infantry and the 9th New Hampshire Infantry.

Lt. Pillsbury probably wrote the letter to Charles H. Long of Claremont, New Hampshire, who became the colonel of the  1st New Hampshire Heavy Artillery when it was raised in August 1864. On the 21st of November, 1864, Colonel Long was assigned to the command of Hardin’s division, Twenty-second Army Corps, and the command of the regiment devolved upon Lieutenant-Colonel Barton. On the 15th of June, 1865, the regiment was mustered out of service, and arrived at Concord on the 19th, where it received final pay and discharge.

William S. Pillsbury married Sarah A. Crowell on May 8, 1854. Following his first wife’s death, William married Martha Silver Crowell on April 15, 1856.


Fort Constitution
Portsmouth, New Hampshire
February 10th 1865

My dear Colonel,

Enclosed you will find some more papers for your approval. I thought I had my returns all done & was just about to send them, but on looking them over, I found these that needed your signature. The others I received all right. Also your short letter which was very welcome. I have not been to the city since so I could not deliver all your messages. Wentworth thinks that he wrote to you last, but said that he would write again as soon as he could get time.

We had a levee here in the new hospital last night given for the benefit of our band. Had a very pleasant time — that is, for a New Castle gathering.

[Christopher W.] Harrold is sick — or at least he tries to make out so. It is thought that one of the officers from this company will be detailed. As soon as he heard of it, he was taken sick. You know there has been very much sickness in his family since he has been with the company. However, I think he will recover as soon as the detail is made — providing he is not detailed.

I received a letter from Col. [Henry O.] Kent ¹  last night & sent it to Major [George A.] W[ainwright] as soon as I read it. I wish you would see it & do all you can for him. I think it would be well to sound [Lt. W. Henry] Shurtliff and see whether he is a Benton man or not (it is Jacob Benton that is against Kent). He was always a warm friend of Kent’s and may work for him without any trouble. It would be easy to find out who will support Kent in Co. I and when the men come to go home to election, you can send those that you know are all right. I think Lt. [John C.] Jenness can find out all that you need to know about it. If not, you can in case that Shurtliff is not to be misled.

I don’t know of any news to write so I think I’ll not write any more this time. Respects to all. Write soon. Truly yours, — W. S. P.

¹ Henry O. Kent served as the Colonel of the 17th New Hampshire Infantry. He had a long postwar career as a lawyer, businessman, banker, and politician. He switched to the Democratic Party in 1874 and served as a state senator during the mid-1880s.

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