1862 Letter - Lieutenant William Jackman - 14th Maine Aboard Ship En Route to Ship Island, Mississippi

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1862 Letter - Lieutenant William Jackman - 14th Maine Aboard Ship En Route to Ship Island, Mississippi

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Item No. 2407046

An interesting February 1862 letter on patriotic stationery written by Lieutenant William Jackman of the 14th Maine Volunteers. The letter was written aboard the ship North America, while the 14th was en route from Boston to Ship Island, Mississippi. The voyage seemed endless to Jackman, who fretted about the low winds off the Bahamas and how he and his men would hold up to the extreme conditions in the deep south. He also expressed concern about the management of the war and his anxiousness to hear news, having been at sea for more than two weeks. The letter reads:

On Board Ship
North America
Feb 21 1861 [actually 1862]

Dear Nancy
All well on board that is able. Of our folks a Mr Prince of Oxford died Wednesday night and was put overboard Thursday morning. So two of us have gone and no fighting yet. I am getting rather tired of this voyage. We are now at a stand still. We have not gone twenty five miles the last twenty four hours and that almost directly off from our course. We are about twenty eight degrees North latitude some where between two and three hundred miles east of Florida. It is very warm here. Rather comfortable with our winter clothes. I think of you and those little ones often. Take good care of yourselves and not trouble your self about me.

Sunday the 23 day of February and we are yet on the mighty deep somewhere near the Bahaman banks, the wind against us. We have been drifting about here so long that I have got out of patience. It is very warm here, but not so warm but I can stand it very well. You, I suppose, are enjoying the cool northwest winds. I hope you have wood enough. I want to hear from you very much, but don’t expect to hear very soon. I hope when I do hear from you to hear that you area ll well. This is the seventeenth day out. Haven’t heard the first word about the war since I left Boston. I hope they have had some good fighting. It is now going on three months since I left home. It does not seem so long. I hope the net of the time that I am to be away from you will pass off as swift. My health is first rate. I hope the children are good to mind. I want them to be pleasant to one another and see how good they can be. I hope Hellen has got her bosom pin. I think she will be pleased with it. I hope she will try to please me by being a good girl. W. Jackman

Direct your letter as follows
14 Maine Regiment Co I, New England Division in care of Quarter Master of the New England Division, Boston.

This is monday night the seventeenth day out and the 24 of the month. Saw land for the first time about sunset. It was the Bahamas. We were get to the south east of them. The wind is still against us. I feel in hope that I may get a chance yet to send home so I write a little occasionally. I wish you would see if the snow has drifted over the apple trees any. If it has so that Adelbert can’t shovel it away you must get somebody to do it right off for when the snow settles it will split the limbs off. All well on board or doing well. I hope we shall not be under the need of throwing any more of the boys overboard. I feel in hope that we may run across some thing that will give us some news tomorrow. Say to the children for me that I think of them always, that I feel anxious for their future welfare and if they would please me they will be good to one another and try to learn all they can.

I have tried to make myself believe that this war is well managed, but I don’t know. But I shall have to give it up. I will wait patiently till I hear the back news. Seventeen days not not a word. I do not think it prudent to take men from the extreme North and carry them to the extreme South. It may be all right, but it will depend something on how long they are kept there. I think I shall stand it pretty well, but there are some amongst us that will wilt at noon when the sun shines. Take care of yourselves. Borrow no trouble. Get along as well as you can. Take all the comfort you can, so I bid you all good night and will go to my berth and sweat. This is a warm night down here. It makes me sweat to write Yours Truly
William Jackman

The letter was written on four pages of a stationery sheet measuring about 5” x 8”. It features a decorative and patriotic scene of General George B. McClellan reviewing the troops. It has very minor foxing, light toning, and creases where it was originally folded.

Jackman would be killed in battle September 19, 1864 at Third Winchester.

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