This letter was written by Jesse Clark Osgood (1837-1918), the son of Thaddeus Osgood (1804-1853) and Abigail Bridges Clark (1810-1838) of Salem, Essex county, Massachusetts. Jesse enlisted on 30 September 1861 in Co. A, 26th Massachusetts Infantry. He remained with the regiment until mustering out at Savannah on 26 August 1865.
Jesse’s pension file suggests that he returned home from the war with broken health. A portion of the record states that, “while a member of the organization aforesaid, in the service and in the line of his duty at Forts Jackson & St. Philip in the State of Louisiana on or about the 19 day of April 1862, he took cold from wading in the swamps at the Quarantine station near Fort Jackson which brought on an attack of asthma of a severe and malignant character. That he was treated as follows: in camp; and at the regimental hospital at New Orleans by the Surgeon of the regiment Dr. JG. Bradt between the 25 of July and through the 30 of September 1862. That he has not been employed in the military or naval service otherwise than as stated above. That since leaving the service this applicant has resided in the town of Greenville in the State of Illinois, and at Florence, Marion County, Kansas, and his occupation has been that of a Dentist. That prior to his entry into the service above named he was a man of good, sound, physical health, except slight asthmatical affection from youth, being when enrolled as a farmer. That he is now three fourths disabled from obtaining his subsistence by manual labor by reason of his injuries, above described, received in the service of the United States; and he therefore makes this declaration for the purpose of being placed on the invalid pension roll of the United States.”
March 6th 1865
Dear cousin Jennie,
I received your letter, dated February 26th, on the third of March, and I was very glad to hear from you. James Upham got back to the Battalion this evening, and he has just been into my tent, and I have had a good talk with him. I can tell you I was glad to see him. He brought me the bundle that Aunt Fanny sent and the sausages did not get jam[m]ed in the least, and Theodore Conihe and I will have them for breakfast in the morning. It makes my mouth water to look at them. And the paper and envelopes did not get greased in the least, and this is some of the paper that was sent, so you see that part of it will get back home very soon. And I have eaten that piece of lemon cake. It did taste so good. Ted and I will eat the rest for breakfast. And your Aunt Hannah Trull sent me a nice pair of stockings for which I am very thankful. I think that I shall write her a letter for I think it is very kind in her to remember me, and James Upham said that Aunt Hannah gave him a pair of stockings. Tell Aunt Fannie that one of the towels got quite greasy but I can wash it. They are real good towels.
James Upham was at Washington on the fourth of March. He saw the President several times. He had a nice time, but said that his furlough was not half long enough. I think that he will [be] homesick for some time.
We heard from General Sheridan today. He has captured about eighteen thousand of General Early’s troops and it is reported that he has taken General Early. I hope that it will prove true. We had to be on the alert last night for the Rebel General [Thomas L.] Rosser is between here and Stasburg and he was intending to make a raid through here while General Sheridan is away and all of the men had to put on their equipments and lay by their guns all night for there is not a very large force here now but they did not see fit to come. If they had come, I think that they would have got a warm reception. But we have had reinforcements of about four hundred Cavalry today and I guess that we can whip them if they come tonight.
I think that you had quite a lot of Christmas presents. I suppose that you have fine times a coasting this winter. If you had some of the steep hills that we have here, it would take you most all day to walk back up the hill.
Now dear Jenny, I must close. Give my love to your father and mother and also to Edward and George and to Susey and a kiss in the bargain and also to Grandfather & Grandmother & Aunt Fanny & to Uncle Joshua & Family and to all enquiring friends and keep a lot of love for yourself.
From your affectionate cousin, — Jesse C. Osgood