This letter was written by Lyman P. Peck (1838-1863), the son of Charles B. Peck (1811-1881) and Stata Coe (1810-1874) of Jewett, Greene county, New York. Lyman later enlisted in August 1862 and was mustered into Co. F, 120th New York Infantry. He term of service was short, however. He died of sickness at Falmouth, Virginia on 14 January 1863.
Lyman wrote the letter to his younger brother, George Washington Peck (1840-1862) who was in garrison at Key West, Florida, as a member of Co. A, 90th New York Infantry. George died less than six months later of yellow fever at Key West.
Jewett, [Greene county, New York]
March 29, 1862
Your letter of the 12th inst. came to hand yesterday & I was glad to hear from you again. I had been expecting to hear from you for several days and I think we ought to write each other as soon as we get a letter for the reason that it takes so long to go such a distance.
I am well as usual but there is some sickness about here. I shall tell you of another death in the person of Abi Atwater. ¹ She died yesterday about 4 o’clock P.M. after an illness of about 5 days with diphtheria. Little did I think when one night Abi and myself watched with the corpse of Joseph Buck ² that one of us would be next called to pass into the eternal world and too within so short a time. This is a solemn warning to the young of this place to be also ready.
We have commenced a young peoples prayer meeting in the basement of the church every Friday evening. Last night we had a very solemn meeting. Most of those present just heard of the death of Abi and there was hardly a dry eye in the room. In the course of the meeting, Mr. Buck came in and made a few remarks relative to her death. He saw her breathe her last—died like one going to sleep. She had been awakened of late and from what she said, Mr. Buck has a hope that she has gone to a better world—gone to be with Jesus forever. Oh George, what is this world to her now? I tell you there is nothing here below that can afford such joy & peace as religion; to feel that you have an Almighty friend to go to in all your troubles & one that will never, never forsake you.
We have not got a teacher yet for the select school but have several offers. Expect it to commence in about two weeks. I have concluded to stay here another year. Mr. Schlayer of Scranton has written several letters wanting me to go there & offered me $50 more than I can get here but I do not want to go there at any price.
It is cold weather yet & plenty of snow on the ground. There has been some sugar made but not much. I have had a vacation of two days this week. Have been home and stayed with [brother] Oliver one night. I laid in for the sugar pretty deep, I can tell you.
It must indeed have been a noble sight to see that fleet start away from your island. Do you expect to leave soon or will you stay there through the summer? It must be pretty warm by this time. The war news continues to be favorable to the closing of the war. I do hope it will not last much longer but the Rebels fight of late with a good deal of desperation.
Please answer this as soon as you receive it and tell Alf to write me. Yours affectionately, — L. P. Peck
¹ Abigail Loretta Atwater (1840-1862) died on 28 March 1862 at Jewett, Greene county, New York. She was the daughter of Stephen Wooster Atwater (1792-1864) and Mary Rice (1797-1875).
² James Joseph Buck (1847-1862) died on 3 February 1862 in Jewett, Greene county, New York. Joseph was the son of Presbyterian minister, Rev. Josiah Judson Buck (1794-1870) and Margaret Maria Wells (1811-1901).