Description: In these five, endearingly poignant letters, S. D. Southworth, a young soldier from Michigan, writes to his sister Kate Southworth and his mother, Mrs. Southworth, of Hudson, Michigan, from Camp Scott, Arlington Heights, and Bottom’s Ridge, Va. On a trip to the Capital from Camp Scott, he witnesses President Abraham Lincoln and Gen. Winfield Scott address about 20, 000 troops and sees Mr. Grow, the Speaker of the House being elected. He lists seeing personages such as Mr. Etheridge, J. C. Fremont, Wilson, Fessenden, etc. He sends his sister a photograph of Gen. McClellan (not present) under whom he serves. He also mentions troop movements towards Richmond, VA, and encounters with the rebels, “being in sight of the enemy all the time,” and “call[ing] each other all the names you ever heard and some that I would rather that you did not.” He mentions surviving the heat by bathing twice, talks about missing them, and about “cramping, as we call it,” when they have fun exploring the surroundings for berries and food. He writes about how he spends a dollar of his total pay ($23.66) to acquire basic necessities that provide him some comfort, “. . . 1 good razor, 1 good tooth brush, 1 good coarse comb. . ,” and explains why he cannot send his entire pay home as a Sergeant might. He requests his sister to check with “Jenny,” possibly a girlfriend, if she had received his 8 letters, and not to tell his mother about it until she, Kate, knew more. He always closes with love to his parents and brother, Ed. To his mother, he writes in detail about his brigade under Gen. Berry advancing towards Richmond, predicting “a bloody battle.” He writes that they had won a battle at Williamsburg “that New York troops claimed their work.” He adds, “If I ever get home again I will interest you all in telling about that battle.” He worries about “how many a poor fellow will have to suffer.” He adds that all the soldiers have the utmost confidence in their commander, Gen. McClellan and that the officers treat them with a similar confidence. He thinks that with “the good cause that [they were] engaged in, [they] cannot help but win.”
Four letters are between two and four pages on folded, 8”x5” white stationery with embossed stamps, Paris. The letter from Camp Scott is on folded, 8”x5” blue stationery with an image of U.S. Capitol. Two letters have accompanying envelopes (one patriotic) and both are free franked by members of Congress (William Helmick, Francis Kellogg). Item #AM00185.
Condition: Some light staining on a couple of the letters, otherwise in very good condition.