Long 1864 Letter - Maine Widow's Husband & Brother Both Killed in the War - 7th Maine Regiment - "God has seen fit to deal very heavily with us" - 20th Maine Cousin Wounded at Wilderness

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Long 1864 Letter - Maine Widow's Husband & Brother Both Killed in the War - 7th Maine Regiment - "God has seen fit to deal very heavily with us" - 20th Maine Cousin Wounded at Wilderness

130.00

Item No. 5856334

An interesting letter, undated but likely the latter part of 1864, written by Hattie Crabtree of Appleton, Maine to her cousin in Massachusetts. The two had not communicated in many years, and so Hattie spent much of the letter catching her cousin up on the happenings in her family and community, including that her husband, Private Samuel Crabtree, Jr. of the 7th Maine, “was in all those horrid engagements up to the 10th of April 1864 when he was shot at Brandy Station and lived about half an hour, but never spoke.” Of further interest is that Crabtree’s record in HDS (database of Civil War soldier records) shows he was accidentally wounded on April 10, but has him enlisting in the 1st Maine Veteran Infantry in August 1864, but absent when that regiment was mustered out in June 1865. Clearly his enlistment in the 1st MVI was an administrative error, because Hattie states in her letter that Samuel’s body was shipped home to Maine and that he was buried in their family graveyard on April 22. Hattie also mentions an unnamed brother, also of the 7th Maine, who was killed at Fredericksburg. A cousin, Private Jacob McLain of the 20th Maine, was then living with Hattie’s family. He had been wounded at the Wilderness and sent home to recover—”He don’t do much but is considerable company,” Hattie wrote. A sadly interesting view into the life of a war widow. It reads:

Appleton Nov 16th

Dear Cousin
Mother received your kind letter and I must confess we was much surprised and pleased for we had come to the conclusion that our names had long since passed to be among the forgotten of this world. We have exerted ourselves considerable to find out where some of your family resides, but it has always been very unfortunate. I went to Belfast expressly this fall to see if I could learn anything concerning you and there was informed of the death of Aunt Rosanna, but they pretended to know nothing more, neither where any of you resided. If I had known of Mary’s marriage and where she resided I should certainly have visited her as I was on a visit to Boston and Chelsea and Natick and Holliston and I should have enjoyed seeing her so much. I trust some of the family will take the trouble to visit us next season. We would do all in our power to make your visit pleasant. You are not alone in your afflictions. God has seen fit to deal very heavily with us. My only Brother and Husband enlisted in the 7th ME Regt in 1862. In 1863 my Brother was killed instantly at the battle of Fredericksburg and we know not that ever his body was buried. My husband went to him often. He was killed, but the enemy gaining the ground, nothing more was learned. Then my husband was in all those horrid engagements up to the 10th of April 1864 when he was shot at Brandy Station and lived about half an hour, but never spoke. The Masons of that Regi embalmed his body and sent it by express home to Rockland to me, free of all expenses. He was buried the 22nd of April and his remains lay beside of my Grandparents in our little grave yard. It was a great consolation to have his body and that I can visit his grave, but many a poor Widow knows not where her children and husband lay. Since this rebellion commenced I have a little girl she is 4 years old last September. The only child I ever had. Her name is Nellie Louise Crabtree. My Husband’s name were Samuel Crabtree, Jr. My Brother had never married. Tell Mary she use to promise me a husband if I would go west and there was where I found him. I went to Holliston 25 miles from Boston to work on straw and he lived in Natick and my Cousin were his pegger, he being a shoemaker by trade. I hope it may be so Mary can come and see me. I am living at home. I never kept house and I enjoyed her visit so much when she was here before. I think she might come.

Aunt Adeline and Aunt Eliza have both been here lately. Their families are both well. Aunt Adeline lost her son at New Orleans in the 2nd ME. Poor Aunt Peggy is dead. Died 4 years ago. Alvin married his double cousin, Adeline’s daughter Kate. Aunt Catherine has been to see us this fall and stayed about 4 weeks. We had heard nothing from her for 10 years. She knew nothing of your father’s family. She lives at Winthrop now with a daughter. She is very young looking. Much younger than Mother, I think, or Aunt Eliza. Aunt Ann is almost an idiot. She hardly knows what her own name is and lives at Rockland with her daughter Julia Ann. As for produce here I hardly know how to answer your question, for we have not had any to sell, only have what we use in the family as we have a quantity of company most of the time. Butter is 40 to 47 cts and cheese is 20 to 25 cts. Eggs are 35 per dozen. Chickens are 15 cts per pound and turkey the same and geese about the same I think. That was the Rockland price yesterday, but one day things are up and the next are down. Father’s health is poor. He is home and has to work pretty hard to carry on the farm. One of my cousins is with us now. Father’s sister’s boy Jacob McLain. He was in the army three years, was wounded at the Wilderness. He don’t do much but is considerable company. I see William Mason yesterday. Their family are all well. I was thinking he was an Uncle to you. When I inquired he said he was only a cousin to your Mother.

I think I have written as much as will interest you and will not weary you by writing too much this time, as I shall want to write again. Tell Mary to be sure and write to me and I will answer it, and if we are far apart and do not see each other, don’t let us be as strangers. Let us keep each other’s memory fresh by that silent moniker, the pen, and feel as if we was related to each other more than strangers. Mother say you must write often to us and come one and all when ever you can. Give my love to Mary and keep a share for yourself. I remain your affectionate cousin.

Please answer this as soon as received Hattie A. Crabtree
Appleton
McLain’s Mills, Maine

The letter was written on eight pages (two sheets) of 4 1/2” x 7 1/2” stationery. It is in very good condition with minor toning and is creased where originally folded.

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