1861 Officer Letter - 32nd Massachusetts Major Guarding Mason & Slidell at Fort Warren, Boston

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1861 Officer Letter - 32nd Massachusetts Major Guarding Mason & Slidell at Fort Warren, Boston

214.99

Item #SQ6350707

Offered here is a fascinating Civil War soldier letter written by Major Francis J. Parker of the 32nd Massachusetts Volunteers. Parker's letter was written to his wife in December, 1861 from his post at Fort Warren, located on a small island at the entrance of Boston Harbor. At the time the fort was used as a prison for Confederate army and navy officers, as well as political prisoners. The most famous of its prisoners were James M. Mason and John Slidell, Confederate diplomats seized during the Trent Affair. "They say that Mason," Parker wrote to his wife, "is very confident that his release will be demanded by the British government." The letter reads:

Fort Warren. December 11 1861

My dear wife,
I wrote you a very humid note this morning and unit this late at night with the hope that I may be able to borrow a postage stamp to carry it to Boston--my paper & envelopes being also borrowed there seems to be a peculiar fitness in making the whole concern a borrow.

Since I arrived I have been too busy to feel the isolation and as the weather has been tolerable I am not so miserable as I expected to be. Most of my time here been occupied in pecking about and asking questions. I think that the officers and men of my command begin to have a realizing sense of the fact that somebody has arrived. The Colonel overwhelmed with the multiplicity of his affairs seems quite willing to place the detail of the battalion in my hands and treat me unto the utmost consideration. The officers are most of them excellent men and they and the men show every willingness to perfect themselves in their duty.

This evening I had the captains at my quarters for instruction--one of them asked another what he should do if he entered the mens quarters and found them sitting down playing cards--"well" said the other "I think I should sit down and take a hand myself." He had better not let me catch him at it.

The officer of the day told me this evening that he went into one of the quarters and found them reading the Bible before prayer in which the party had agreed to join every night.

Of the prisoners I know nothing--not one of them is known to me by sight excepting the few that I had known elsewhere & of them I have seen nothing. They say that Mason is very confident that his release will be demanded by the British government.

Quite a stir was made last night outside the fortress by a British barque drifting askew in the blow--where it stuck fast until this afternoon--but we inside of course knew nothing about it.

My practice with E. Lyman Parker (kiss her for me) has so perfected me that I slept through revile entirely unconscious of the drums.

Dear love to Clara & the household and send me word of your welfare often and I shall be always

Your affectionate husband
Fran. J. Parker

The two-page letter is written on the first pages of a four-page 7 3/4" x 9 3/4" blue stationery sheet. The paper is in excellent, sturdy condition, not stiff, and not particularly delicate. There are creases at the locations of original folds. Very little wear to edges and corners. There are remnants of previous album mounting on the back.

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