Item description: Letter from Lucinda M. [Hayne?] to her husband Albert B. Penno, a private in Company D of the 1st Regiment of Rhode Island Volunteers. The following words are written on the front of the envelope included with this letter, “Found on field, Bull Run, July 21 ’61.” This note is believed to be in the hand of Edward Porter Alexander, a Confederate officer who was also present at the Battle of Bull Run.
In this letter, Hayne comments on her feeling of uneasiness, specifically a feeling that Penno may not return from battle. “Sometimes I feel as if I never should see you again,” she writes.
Albert Penno was wounded on 21 July 1861 (three days after the date of this letter), at the Battle of First Bull Run. Penno was then taken as a prisoner of war to Richmond, Va., and died on 2 August 1861 of his wounds.
If Alexander’s note is to be taken at face value, this letter was likely in Penno’s possession when he was wounded at Bull Run.
[Item transcription available below images.]
Providence July 18 1861
My Dear husband
i sent myself to pen you a few lines not knowing whether they will ever reach you, god grant that it may and find you in good health as it leaves us all at home. I tell you what the last two days have been lonesome enough. Sometimes I feel as if I never should see you again, but I hope I shall. I see by the papers that you are in the midst of the Battle and that one of the 2nd regiment has got wounded and that your regiment took the secession flag from the Fairfax Courthouse. I suppose we shall know all about it in a few days when the first regiment gets home. They say here that they will be home next week. I suppose it will be a great day when they came home but it will be gloomy enough for me to see them come and know that you are left behind if you are [?] spared to get home once more…… I can tell that is if I …. I received a letter from you yesterday in it you say you want me to keep up good spirits. I try to but it comes hard sometimes, I can’t put my mind on my work or any thing else for I feel as if I had lost all the friends I had. Lizzie is all life expecting Albert home. I should like to see you tonight but I can’t so I will try to content myself by looking at your picture. But as much as I want to see you I should rather you would never come than to have you sent home as those fellows were last week, their names published in the papers and what they was sent home for. I want you to take good care of yourself and do the best you can and I hope all will be well. Do write as often as you can and I will do the same. I sent you yesterday by Mr. Grant one pound of tobacco and should have sent something more if I could. My will was good enough, but I had not the means. I have got to wait for a letter from you before I can get my money for if they know that I did not send the check there I could not get it. I am sorry you did not see that it was right before you left for I have needed it very much. Mr. Wightman and Saunders was in here tonight and said that Mr. Pratt was going on there to morrow and if I wanted to send any thing they would get him to take it ask I had nothing else I thought a few lines might be acceptable. He belongs to the first regiment. Don’t laugh at this scribbling for I am so uneasy to night that I can’t write. Don’t blame me to much for finding fault for I don’t mean to. I don’t know of anything more. Give my love to Daron and Dick and to your friends Charly and George. The children and myself send our love and best wishes to you and hope you will soon return at home. The Roys all send their love and Hannah, Marty, & John to you and Dick from your loving and affectionate wife.
Lucinda M. [Hayne?]
More about Albert Penno:
– Residing in Providence, RI at time of enlistment
– Enlisted on Apr 17 1861 as Private
– Wounded on Jul 21 1861 at Bull Run, VA
– POW on Jul 21 1861 at Bull Run, VA (Severe wound in left leg, amputated)
– Confined on Jul 23 1861 at Richmond, VA (Estimated day)
Sources for the above information:
– Register of Rhode Island Volunteers 1861-1865, (1893)
– The Medical and Surgical History of the Civil War, (Broadfoot, 1991)
– Richmond Prisons 1861-1862