Picket Guard by the Patomac
Near Serreca Mills Maryland
Tuesday. night. Dec.

Dear sister

Jake received a letter from you
this evening. I have just read it and am going
to write a few lines to night and finish tomorrow
we are well as usual and in the best of spirits
including a bottle of 20th proof whiskey.
I mean some that will kill at 20 paces.
they call it whiskey out here but I have seen
“oil of vitrol” that was not so strong as it.
but dont think that we are going to get drunk on
it. we use it to clean our gun barrels inside.
Bertha says that I look in the likeness as
though I was on the track of a rebel. while I
was sitting for the likeness Jake the devil
was outside making faces at me through the
window and going through some of his antics
for my especial amusement. you can tell about
how I felt at the time by my looks in the likeness,
(1st page)
[page 2]
you say that you are going to send
another box soon and wish to know
what things we want most let me see
we are as comfortable here as we could wish
except we have no “back house.” you may send
a back house and 2 chamber mugs. a wash
boiler and 2 large wash tubs. 2 bedsteads
one for me and one for Jake Hannahs cat
to catch rats and mice which are plentiful
in our shanty and Lemira send her
bureau and oh how big is the box to be if
there is room you may send a bag of salt the
papers state that the rebels are short of
many articles especially salt if that is
so you see when we go into battle if we
take our pockets full of salt and are
beaten and have to run and the rebels
chase us when they get close to us you
see we can drop a handful of salt
and while the rebels stop to pick it up
we will be gaining on them and to get
away if our troop had salt at the battle
of “Bull Run” there would not have been
[page 3]
so many of them taken prisoners I am
getting up a new song. it is a parody on
the song called “Camptown races” instead
of Camptown races. my song goes. “oh -
- Bull Run races come to town (Washington)
- du”da”du”da” &c I will send you a copy when
I get it finished it is eight o”clock now and I will
finish tomorrow goodnight Lyman
Wednesday. Dec. 18th h it is a very pleasent
day today. I guess you need not send those things
the “backhouse” &c in your box. but you may
get me three things and send them  a pair of
woolen gloves. a comforter for my neck and
a pocket knife a common black handle
Jack knife such as you can get at the
stores for 25 or 30 cents Dave can get
the knife. get a good one with one blade
or two. I would like one with two blades.
I can use the little blade to pair my frost
bitten toes with. dont get a fancy knife. I
prefer a cheap 2 bladed knife that you
will get for 37 or 50 cents at the most.
and the gloves and neck comforter dont get
[page 4]
get fancy gloves but thick woolen gloves. I
dont care what they are made of or what color
as long as they are warm you can get them
for 50 cents I guess. Mother can get them
if she can get to the stores and get a cheap
comforter or send one of those at home.
that is all I want except a few plugs of tobaco
I dont want you to spend all of the money
that we sent for things for us a dollar and
a half or 2 dollars at the most will get
all I want a pair of mits from cousin Sarah
will be very exceptable but we cant drill
and handle our guns with mits unless they
have a thumb and fore finger we can wear
the mits at other times. Jake will tell you
[wants?] I suppose he will want his likeness
given to Betsy Draper. mine is for mother
I dont know the girl yet that I would
sooner have my likeness then my mother
when you send the box or when you get
the things packed write on a slip of
paper for Lyman and Jacob
Blackington and pin it on top of the

Date Note: 
Tuesday in December, 1861


Co. F, 19th Massachusetts Infantry
Residence (County): 
Norfolk County, MA


Residence (County): 
Bristol County, MA


From State: 
From Note: 
Near Seneca Hills along the Potomac River


To State: 
To Municipality: 
To County: 

Transcription/Proofing Info

Jennifer Felder,
Transcription Date: 
May, 2015
M. Ellis
Proof Date: 
April, 2016

Get in touch

  • Department of History
    220 LeConte Hall, Baldwin Street
    University of Georgia
    Athens, GA 30602-1602
  • 706-542-2053

eHistory was founded at the University of Georgia in 2011 by historians Claudio Saunt and Stephen Berry

Learn More about eHistory