1863: Unidentified Soldier to Sister

The identity of the soldier who wrote this letter has not been learned. His signature appears to be “Alv”—possibly short for Alvin? He does not reveal what regiment he served in but my hunch is that it was the 101st Pennsylvania Infantry.

From the letters were learn that his parents are both yet living, and that his sister Mary had just recently married a man named Mr. Young and left home, traveling some distance—possibly California as she wrote the author of this letter from New York City before her departure. The recipient of the letter was the soldier’s sister Sallie who he identifies as his only remaining sister still living at home with their parents.

More research may yet reveal the soldier’s identity.


Camp near New Bern, North Carolina
April 27th 1863

My dear Sister Sallie,

I received yours of the 13th inst. on Saturday evening last and was very glad to hear from home but was very much surprised to hear of sister Mary being married and the way she was married. She said in her last letter that she wanted to marry Mr. Young but that Father & Mother was not agreed so I did not think very much about it, thinking that she would not marry against their will. But I am glad that Father & Mother became reconciled before she left. I don’t think that Mary could have taken a second thought or she would not have married a man that she was only acquainted with for so short a time. But I hope he may prove to be a good husband to her. She has gone to a new country far away from home and friends. Perhaps we have seen her for the last time on this earth. If so, I hope that we all may be permitted to see her in Heaven.

I wish when you write again that you would give me all the particulars concerning the marriage and tell me all you know about Mr. Young and what business he is engaged in for I am anxious to know. You are now the only sister that I have left at home and I hope that you will remain there for company for Mother and for me—if I am permitted to go home once more.

Since I last wrote, we have made an expedition to Washington, North Carolina. We left here on Friday 17th inst. and returned on Saturday 25th. We did not have any fighting to do but we captured some few prisoners. We expect to go to Plymouth, North Carolina, in a few days and I think we will remain there some time as Gen’l [Henry W.] Wessells is to command Plymouth and Roanoke Island.

We were paid four months pay on yesterday. I will send some money home in a few days if Adams Express runs again. They have not been running for some time. I believe I have nothing more to write this time. It is now ten o’clock and I must go to bed. Much love to Father, Mother, Uncle, Aunt, Grandmother, & Mrs. McCay, and reserve a good portion for yourself. Write soon and often. Good night.

Your affectionate brother, — Alve

I had a letter from Mary when she was in New York.

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