Item description: Letter written from New Bern, N.C., by Union soldier Jeremiah Stetson to his wife, Abbie F. Stetson. Stetson references his son Edwin Leforrest Stetson (“E”), who was serving with his father, and describes a “negro woman” who did washing for the soldiers, discussing the soldier’s interactions with her and her support of the Union army.
More about Jeremiah and Edwin Leforrest Stetson: Jeremiah Stetson (1810-1869), a farmer from Hanson, Mass., served in the 23rd Massachusetts Infantry Regiment in the Civil War. Letters show that Stetson’s son, Edwin Leforrest Stetson, was with his father as they left Perryville, Md., for Annapolis, Md. They were then sent south to participate in campaigns in eastern North Carolina and South Carolina. It appears that Jeremiah Stetson’s increasingly poor health and hospitalization in New Bern and Beaufort, N.C., caused him to be separated for long periods from his son and regiment. According to the letters, the son participated in General John G. Foster’s expeditions from New Bern to take Kinston, N.C.; to attempt to take Goldsboro, N.C.; and to destroy railroads surrounding New Bern.
[Transcription available below images]
Newbern, N.C.April 4 /62
Well Happy as I feel egen to hear from you I expect you are as anctious to hear from us and though I have nothing to write that will be very intresting to you excepting that we are alive and middleing well E has had a turn of the dyarea but is better, I have not been very tough since the battle but I can eat my lowance with a relish we have not had a mail for ten days I may git a letter when it comes buut the mail goes out tonight and so I will write and not wate I think that we have got all the letters or nearly so that has been sent we have had very good luck some dont git one for 2 months and then have a dozen
well I will tell you what I heard an old negro woman say she had been washing for our men they asked hir a lot of questions one thing was if rebel money was good for any thing she said no fifty dollar bills would not fech a sent after the yankys come, they asked hir if she ever had fifty dollars she said no but the rebbils owed hir more then that for washing and she never should git a cent they told hir that may be the yankys would not pay hir she said she did not care if they did not she would wash for them gest as soon as the rhumaties was out of hir arm pay or no pay
we have no nuse here that is not made here out ov nothing so if we should hear the truth we should not believe it
well it is gitting late and I must stop
yours most affectionately