1864: Hiram to Libbie

The identity of this soldier has not yet been revealed by research though there are a few clues in the letter. The soldier’s first name was Hiram and his last name may have been White but I can’t be certain of that. He was married to a woman named Elizabeth (“Libbie”) to whom he addressed the letter; they were probably without children as he does not mention any. He wrote the letter from a hospital on Folly Island in January 1864. He was most likely from a New York regiment as he mentions Utica in the letter. He also mentions a “Major Love” in the letter whom I think was likely from the same regiment but I have not been able to identify him either. There was a Hiram White from Utica who served in the 14th New York Regiment but he mustered out of the service prior to this letter.

We also know the author was in a regiment that previously was posted in or passed through Frederick, Maryland at some point in the service.


January 12th 1864
In hospital on Folly Island, South Carolina

My Dear Libbie,

I have just received your letter of the 31st and the news of Grandma’s death. I trust & believe she has made a happy exchange from this world of sin & woe to one of bliss.

It is really quite sickly with you. I am afraid you will get sick yet. I would come & see you if I could but it is a hard case to get a sick furlough and we must be patient & hopeful and trust in the Lord always. Oh! you are a good woman & must not get rebellious before we get this present rebellion of our hands.

I have been thinking of your going to Utica & Mib [?] would be glad to have you. If you could not go with our folks, you might go afterward & stay awhile. I hear by way of Sherman Henderson today that Chet was at Newport now — had enlisted over again & would soon go home on a [veteran’s] furlough. I also had a letter from Major Love tonight at Fortress Monroe. [He is] in the hospital yet very anxious to get to the regiment but still unfit for duty. The health of the regiment & troops is generally good.

Now Libbie, do not get blue & vexed at Irene. She is about as I expected. She would find herself about these days. My dear, you have altered your mind some, eh? Well, don’t worry, my love.

I have not much time to write. You will excuse a poor, short letter this time and when you can, send me on some of powdered rhubarb. Send it by mail if you do not send another box. Give my love to enquiring friends.

I did or do not understand the lambs business. I don’t know, maybe I have forgot. Give my love to H– if you see her. Be a good girl & be contented if you can. I hope to kiss and love you sometime a bunch. With lots of affection, I remain your affectionate husband, — Hiram

It is dark now & love, be a nice little woman. I will try & be a good boy to you yet I hope. From H. White [?]

January 13

A rainy morning. I am feeling very well & hungry. Am waiting for my breakfast. I would like your photograph if convenient. I have not seen my wife since I left the city of Frederick, Maryland. I carried it in my pocket but I was spoiling. It broke the case as my knapsack was stripped of most everything. I lost it. You want my picture?

If you send another box, you better send it as quick as you can. If you have got me a pair of boots, send them. Next time put your direct on the top of the box — also a card of strong paste to write the directions on. But I leave it with you to do as you see fit about sending the box. — H

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