1863: James Thomas Aylesworth to Friend

This letter was written by James Thomas Aylesworth (1836-1905), the son of Thomas Aylesworth (1808-1862) and Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Moffett of Cranston, Providence county, Rhode Island. James served in Co. K, 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery. James enlisted August 1861 and was discharged in October 1864.

[Note: This letter is from the collection of Richard Weiner and is published here by express consent.]


Fort Wells
Hilton Head, South Carolina
July 27th [1863]

Dearest Friend,

Your kind letter came to hand in due time and it was with the greatest of pleasure that I read the same. I am getting better very slowly. It is so warm and [with] poor care, it is hard to gain fast. The Doctor says that I am doing very well. He said that he will have me ready for the next action but I hope it will not be like the last one. The wounds I do not think much about but to have to retreat while in sight of the Palmetto City Charleston. From where we were, we could see the stout walls of [Fort] Sumter. So it goes.

Mr. George [W.] Johnson is Orderly Sergeant of Co. L in this regiment. I think that he is on the sick list. You wanted me to tell you all that I know about [him.] That will [not] take me long. I never spoke to him but once and that was when I received your first letter. He told me then that he would write.

War is an awful thing and [a] man than is not prepared to die never ought to have any hand in it. Yes, I think that.

The doctor came in and forbid my writing. He said that I never would get well if I did not give it up so I must obey orders. Write soon. I would write more but cannot. Give my best respects to all enquiring friends. From your humble servant, — J. Aylesworth

P. S. Direct your letter to me 3d Regiment R. I. V. Artillery, Company K.

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