Item description: Letter, dated 12 March 1864, from James “Jim” Gifford to his parents. Gifford, a U.S. Naval officer, writes of his life in the navy while stationed near Beaufort, including ship movements and fighting near Kinston and Goldsboro, N.C.
[transcription available below images]
U.S. Ship Release
I write you these few lines to inform you that I am well as usual. I received a letter from you a week ago to-day and I received one from Sue last Thursday. In your letter you wrote that you had posted a letter the day previous containing some photographs but the letter has failed to reach me. The letter I got from Sue contained two phos. I received my box of clothing a day or two ago. I don’t think much of the suit. The sack will do for an overcoat next winter. I think some finer cloth could be found. I bought me a flannel sack and pair of pants that suit me about as well. Instead of making the collar of the sack narrower than the last one I had made it was a great deal larger, and wider. I bought twenty eight dollars worth of clothing the same day that I received my box. In the last two months I have laid out fourteen dollars for show leather and before this week is over I have got to get another pair of shoes or boots. There is quite lively times around here on account of the enemy movements in this state. The report is to day that Kinston and Goldsboro are taken by our troops. For the last two or three days there has been considerable fighting the other side of the newbern. Every soldier in Beaufort was ordered to the front. There are a great many vessels in the harbor at present. A day or two ago I could count twenty vessels off the bar at one time. To night the Sloop of war Shenandoah and the iron clad Lehigh and the gunboat Aries came in. They are on there way from Charleston S.C. to Hampton Roads. The Iron Clad will go up James River, where we are going to have a big fight. All the iron clads that they can get have gone up that river.
I dont hear anything more about going to Wilmington. I received a letter from the Paymaster last week. I expect him back some time this week. This forenoon while I was walking on the beach I met a N.B. man. His name is Willer and he is a Lieut. in the army. I went two or three miles outside of the pickets to-day for a stroll. We got N. York papers to-dy of the 9th. Yesterday was my birth day and I did not know it until afternoon.
All for to night
Tell Sue I shall write in a day or two.