This letter was written by Michael Nevin (b. @1830 in Ireland) who was employed as a sailor before the Civil War. He wrote the letter to his sister, Mary Maria (Nevin) Silver, the wife of John H. Silver (1834-1865) of Haverhill, Massachusetts.
Michael enlisted in July 1861 to serve 3 years in Co. B, 47th New York Infantry. It appears he was discharged in mid-September 1861, however, so it’s possible he transferred to the 40th New York Infantry encamped at “Camp Sacket” by the time this letter was written in October. There were a couple of other soldiers in that regiment by the name of Nevin(s).
Addressed to Mrs. Mary M. Silver, Haverhill, Massachusetts
Camp Sacket, Va.
October 12, 1861
I received your kind letter last night. I was glad to hear that you and your children were well. I am well at present so I hope that this letter will find you the same.
Dear sister, I wrote to you before I had two letters from [your husband] John. ¹ He told me that he was well. I felt sorry last night when I heard he was laid up with a sore back. I enjoy very good health myself. I never was with a doctor since I been out here.
I like soldiering pretty well. We have no beds to sleep on. I always put my rubber blanket and overcoat under me and a woolen blanket over me so I try to make me as comfortable as I can. I like it better than sailoring for all of it I seen yet.We get pretty fair rations now. They are a good deal better than the Were [?].
I am going to write to John today. It would be better for them if they were here for it is warmer nights here than in Baltimore. It is most too warm days here.
Dear sister, don’t feel anyways troubled about me for I am as well off as I ever was. I hope to get safe through it all. We have a little brush most every week with the rebel pickets. I have no more to say this time but I remain your affectionate brother, — Michael Nevin
Dear sister, I intended Mary a time to ask you if you had to pay postage for my letters when they got there. Some men says they have to be paid for. If so, I don’t see what the use it is for them to frank our envelopes for us. Let me know if you had. I will always try to get postage stamps.
¹ John H. Silver served as a teamster in the 17th Massachusetts Infantry from July 1861 to August 1864. John and Mary Moria Nevin were married on 6 September 1859.