This letter was written by 26 year-old Eli D. Scott (1836-1908), the son of Rufus Scott (1802-1884) and Caroline Dickens (1806-1887) of Clymer, Tioga county, Pennsylvania. Eli served in Co. D (later Co. F) of the 57th Pennsylvania Volunteers. Eli’s younger brother, Lemuel R. Scott (1844-1925) also served in the same company.
Eli wrote the letter to his aunt, “Oril” Goodspeed. This may have been Aurella Goodspeed (1802-1880) although I can’t find a connection.
March 22, 1862
Dear and well-remembered Aunt,
I take my pen in hand to write a few lines to let you know how I am a getting along and where I am. I am in the Hospital at Philadelphia. I have been sick ever since the 8th day of February but I am better now than I have been since I was taken, so I feel quite encouraged. When I was first taken I had the mumps, then the fever and inflammation on my lungs—then the rheumatism. But I feel pretty smart today. I am in hopes I shall be able to go to my regiment next week.
I have not heard from the regiment but once since I left it. Then I had a letter from Lemuel [R. Scott]. He was well and they was a going to move the next day and going on South so I can’t say where they are now. ¹ I received a letter from home last Sunday and I was very glad to hear that my folks was all well. The letter stated that you had been sick most all winter which I was very sorry to hear. I have often thought I would write to you but have neglected it until now.
There is not much news to write that I know of but I will try and write something if it ain’t very interesting. But I can tell you one thing and that is, it ain’t a very agreeable life to live in a hospital but camp life I enjoyed very well and I am in hopes it won’t be many weeks before I can go back to camp. There is a great many sick here but not as many as there was over to the U.S.A. General Hospital. There was about 700 in that hospital when I was there, but here there is only about 200 but that is quite a lot. It is a sight to see so many sick and there is diseases of most all descriptions and quite a good many wounded ones.
They have meetings every few days here in the hospital and they have good preachers. We have good books to read so that makes the time pass off rather more pleasant. It is rather lonesome here sometimes. When I came here there was not one that I had ever seen before but I soon got acquainted for they all seem to be brothers to one another. There was one young man went to the hospital with me when I went to Georgetown but when I left there and came here, he was not able to come with me. He is over to another hospital but he is pretty smart so he comes over here to see me every few days. His name is Bristol.
There is quite a number here that is very sick. I guess there is a good many that will never get well. There is a young man very sick with the heart disease. He is a professor of religion. He belongs to the Episcopal Methodist. The minister comes in every day and has a prayer with him.
As it is getting late, I must close. I send my best respects to Theodore and Aunt Mahala. I should like to hear from them. Please excuse this poor writing and bad spelling and I hope I will feel able to do it better next time. Please write when you get this.
Direct to South Street Hospital, between 24th and 25th Streets, Philadelphia, Pa.
Co. D, 57th Regt. P. V.
From Eli D. Scott
To his Aunt Oril [Aurelia?] Goodspeed
¹ The 57th Pennsylvania Volunteers boarded transports at Washington D. C. on 17 March 1862 to be taken to Fortress Monroe where they joined McClellan’s Army of the Potomac on the Peninsula Campaign.