This letter was written by George Delatour Hodges (1837-19xx), the son of Otis Hodges [1793-Aft1850] and Virginia Delatour Clark. George was mustered into Co. G, 29th Massachusetts Infantry as a corporal on 9 November 1861. He fought in a shore battery near Fortress Monroe in the naval engagement in Hampton Roads and the James river on 8 March 1862 and was then injured. He was stuck by a spent ball at the Battle of Antietam on 17 September 1862 and yet stayed with his regiment. He was present during the siege of Vicksburg from 17 June to 4 July 1863 and at Jackson, Mississippi from 11 to 16 July 1863 but soon after he suffered a sun stroke and was sent to a a hospital. When he returned to service, he was transferred to the 27th Regt. Veteran Reserve Corps and was stationed at Lebanon, Kentucky. He was wounded yet again while guarding a train. He mustered out of the service on 1 January 1865.
George wrote this letter to his wife, Nancy Adelaide Francis, whom he married in May 1860.
Newport News, [Virginia]
April 2nd 1862
I began a letter to you two or three days ago but was called away on duty before I could finish and I had to wait until the present time before I could for I am in the hospital pretty well bunged up with a cold but am very much better now and shall be out by tomorrow. We have very good care indeed. Every wish is granted and everything done that can be done for ones comfort.
I suppose you have all the news before this but for fear you [ ], I will tell you some. Well, all creation is here not excepting Mansfield itself for the Seventh [Mass.] Regiment is within two miles of us. There is said to be two hundred thousand troops here and if they had said four, I should have believed it for from here to the fort they are strung along not in one string but in every open field. There is acres of them clear beyond Big Bethel it is the same way. How in the world so many folks were made, I don’t know (I mean made soldiers of course).
I can tell you the Mansfield boys look first rate. Sumner Witherell [18th Mass] is as tough as a knot and so is Rush Lanton, Alson [W.] Cobb [7th Mass], Al[bert A.] Tilson [7th Mass], and your old flame W[illiam] Fisher [7th Mass], but the best looking fellow that I saw was Jim Kitrol. He is as particular about his dress as ever and they all look as black as sesesh do in general. We thought ourselves poorly used before these poor fellows came but no so now when we compare their mode of life with ours for they make their tents by putting two oil blankets together lengthwise and prop them up in the center by two sticks. Into this they have to crawl at night and cover them up. For all this, they don’t complain but say they enjoy themselves first rate.
You know that fellow that used to go with Sarah Grover? Well he is among them and I don’t believe he wants to fight by the way he acts. The Tenth [Mass.] and Eighteenth [Mass.] is here also. Fred[eric D.] Forrest is in the Eighteenth [Mass.] but I can’t find him at home. I guess he is afraid I shall ask him if he hasn’t got twenty-five dollars which I shall surely do if I can see him. You remember that fellow I used to tell you about that writes for the papers and signed himself Harry Hartland? He is here and a Lieutenant in the Twenty-second [Mass.] too. He is the last one that I expected to see. It is said that the Twelfth [Mass.] is coming here. If that is so, Ed Emry will be near us. It is said that the Twenty-third is coming and the Foxboro boys are in that and so I shall have all my acquaintances that are in the war near me.
I have sent twenty dollars to you by Charley Richmond. I gave the money to [Orange] S. Stearns and he put it into an envelope and directed in care of Howard Perkins to be left at Mansfield Depot. I wish you would write if you have received it. I have also sent my trunk. Let me know how much it cost so as to know what to charge the boys that sent things also.
I have taken so much space with other matter that I have not much room to say anything about love but that means you and Tatty so tell me all about them. — G. D. Hodges