January 1863 Letter by Private Joel Winslow, 21st Maine - Aboard Ship to New Orleans - "Some of them began to heave before we got out of sight of New York"

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January 1863 Letter by Private Joel Winslow, 21st Maine - Aboard Ship to New Orleans - "Some of them began to heave before we got out of sight of New York"

150.00

Item No. 5722756

An interesting January 1863 letter written by Private Joel Winslow of the 21st Maine Volunteers, a nine-month regiment that served in Louisiana, including the siege of Port Hudson. The letter was written while the regiment was aboard ship off the Florida coast, traveling between Fortress Monroe and New Orleans. Winslow described how the men of another regiment, the 49th Massachusetts, had boarded before the Maine men and “got all the bunks so that our boys had to sleep on the hurricane deck, but it was all the better for our boys on account of not being seasick.” He goes on to describe the basic meals aboard ship as well as the warm temperatures. Winslow closed the letter with a description of a man who jumped overboard. The letter reads:

On board the steam ship Illinois
off Coast of Florida Jan 31st Saturday [1863]

Dearest Katie
I take this time to write you a few lines to let you know how I am. We left New York a week ago today and got down to Fort Monroe Monday forenoon. We did not stop here but a few ours when we left for New Orleans. I suppose we have had a very fine passage so far. The Massachusetts 49th Regt is on board of this ship. They got aboard before our companies did and they got all the bunks so that our boys had to sleep on the hurricane deck, but it was all the better for our boys on account of not being seasick. There was the master heaving up that ever you saw amongst [the] Mass[achusetts] boys who sleep between decks. Our boys was not much sick. Some of them began to heave before we got out of sight of New York. I have not been seasick a mite. I have been as hearty as a bear since we started. We have been four days and a half out of sight of land. We made land this morning on the coast of Florida. We live on hard bread and fresh beef boiled and coffee and one mess of potatoes. It was very cold coming down from New York till we got off the coast of Georgia when it grew warmer. We expect to go into Key West today where they will lasso the mail and shall get a chance to send this home. We shall go to New Orleans, I believe, when I shall write more. I expect you are freezing down in Maine. Now it is warm enough here to go in your shirt sleeves. I expect we shall be in New Orleans by next Tuesday if nothing happens. We are going along at the rate [of] ten or twelve knots an hour with all sail set and a full head of steam on. The boat shakes so that I can’t write very well, but I guess you will make out to read it. I am writing on the head of a pork barrel. Give my love to all the folks. Tell Andy and Isabel to [be] good girls. I want you to write as often as you can and as soon as I get settled I will tell you where to direct your letters. I can’t write much more this time. Tell sis her fur has got in site of the land of Dixie. So I guess I won’t write much more this time. It is hard work to write here. I will write as soon as I get ashore. We lost a man overboard coming out. He belonged to the ship. He was a fire man. Had the the tremors. He jump overboard and before they could get to him with the boat he sank. As the dinner is about ready I will close, so good day dearest Katie from one who loves you better than all others. Your own Joel Winslow

The letter was written in pencil on four pages of a stationery sheet measuring about 4 3/4” x 7”. Very good condition. Creased where originally folded.

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