August 1862 Letter by Sergeant John Murrey Atwood, 29th Massachusetts - "Irish Brigade" - Controlling Drunks at Hospital - "I just struck him right in the mouth with my fist and he was glad to let go"

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August 1862 Letter by Sergeant John Murrey Atwood, 29th Massachusetts - "Irish Brigade" - Controlling Drunks at Hospital - "I just struck him right in the mouth with my fist and he was glad to let go"

170.00

Item No. 8217394

A nice August 1862 letter written by Sergeant John Murrey Atwood of the 29th Massachusetts, a regiment of the Irish Brigade. Atwood was then recovering from illness at an army hospital in Germantown, Maryland. He had about recovered enough to return to duty, but felt that he had “stayed here so long now that I am ashamed to go back.” He mentioned the death of another soldier of his own Company E, Sergeant Horace A. Jenks and the praise given Jenks in a letter from their captain, Samuel H. Doten. Atwood closed the letter with a description of the difficulties he routinely faced as men would leave the hospital, find drink, and start trouble:

I had a pretty hard time with one of the boys last night. He was drunk and noisy out in the street after nine o’clock and I ordered him to go into the Hospital and he would not do it. So I just took him by the collar and started him and he showed fight. I then knocked him down and got some of the other boys to help me put him in the Guard House, although I got considerably scratched up by it and so did the other boys. He bit me pretty hard once in the leg but I just struck him right in the mouth with my fist and he was glad to let go. Although I knocked the skin all off my fist in doing it, for I struck right against his teeth. We have a good many hard cases to take care of. Nearly every day they go out and get drunk and that makes trouble for us.

The letter was written on four pages of a stationery sheet measuring about 5” x 8”. It is in excellent condition with light toning. Creased where originally folded.

The full transcript follows:

Germantown Aug 27th / 62

Dear Sister
I received your letter last week and as usual was very much pleased to hear from you. I hope that you will excuse me for not answering your letter sooner but then as I have said before I don’t have time to do much for myself.

I received Maranda’s letter with the paper as usual this week and was very much pleased to hear from home and hear that you were all well. As for myself I am as well as usual and all the reason I have for finding fault is that I ever came to this Hospital. Although when I came I was obliged to on account of my health, but then at the present time my heart his pretty good and I suppose if I had been with my Regiment I should have had a commission long before this time. But I suppose it was so to be but than it was just my ——— luck. I have stayed here so long now that I am ashamed to go back and that is the only reason why I don’t go back is just because I am ashamed to. I was very sorry indeed to hear of the death of Sergt. Horace A. Jenks for he was a good soldier. Although Capt [Samuel H.] Doten in his letter gave him full as much praise as he was deserving of. But then you probably know what Capt Doten is by this time. He is bound to make out a story when he writes a letter and that you know he is pretty good at. They are sending off the men from our Hospital and all the rest every day now, and I expect every day that my turn will come and the sooner the better. Although I shan’t ask to go for my duty is a great deal harder here than it would be in the Regiment. I had a pretty hard time with one of the boys last night. He was drunk and noisy out in the street after nine o’clock and I ordered him to go into the Hospital and he would not do it. So I just took him by the collar and started him and he showed fight. I then knocked him down and got some of the other boys to help me put him in the Guard House, although I got considerably scratched up by it and so did the other boys. He bit me pretty hard once in the leg but I just struck him right in the mouth with my fist and he was glad to let go. Although I knocked the skin all off my fist in doing it, for I struck right against his teeth. We have a good many hard cases to take care of. Nearly every day they go out and get drunk and that makes trouble for us. As my sheet is about full and I don’t think of anything more to write this time I will close y letter by bidding you good bye. Please excuse bad writing and mistakes.

Write again soon.
Murrey

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