1862: Eunice S. (Shaw) Foster to George Washington Foster

How Eunice might have looked

This letter was written by Eunice S. (Shaw) Foster (1841-Aft1920), the wife of Elbridge H. Foster (1838-1865) of Sumner, Oxford county, Maine. She wrote the letter to her brother-in-law, George Washington Foster (1831-1911)—the son of David Foster (1801-1843) and Eunice Higgins (1806-1853).

George served in Co. H, 14th Maine Infantry. The regiment was organized at Augusta, Maine, and mustered in on December 31, 1861. The regiment left the state for Boston, Massachusetts, on February 5, 1862, and there embarked on February 6 on the steamer “North America.” They arrived at Ship Island, Mississippi, on March 8. The regiment was attached to Butler’s New Orleans Expeditionary Corps, January 1862.

The Regiment remained at Ship Island until May 19, 1862, then moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, from May 19 to 25. They remained on duty there until July 7. They moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on July 7. An expedition to the Amite River was carried out between July 23 and 25 by Companies “F” and “K”. The Regiment participated in the Battle of Baton Rouge on August 5. The 14th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment is the focus of the poem “On the Men of Maine killed in the Victory of Baton Rouge, Louisiana” written by Herman Melville.

Eunice mentions her son Frank (“Frankie”) Emerson Foster (1859-1947) and George’s brother, Daniel Fairfield Foster (b. 1841). Eunice’s husband, Elbridge, entered the service in September 1862, serving in Co. C, 23rd Maine. He reenlisted as a private in Co. B, 32nd Maine but did not survive the war. He died of disease in April 1865. Eunice datelined the letter 1861 but it was actually 1862.

Addressed to George W. Foster, Co. H, 14th Regt. Maine Vols.
Ship Island
Care of the Quartermaster of the N. E. Division, Boston, Mass

Hartford [Oxford county, Maine]
May 1, 1861 [2]

Absent but not forgotten brother,

I now take my pen to answer your letter which we received last Friday. We was glad to hear from you. We had looked for one for a long time. Elbridge is to work to David Waring’s this summer. Albion is to work for Ben Young’s widow. There has been three death since you left. David Gurney, Tinkham Al___ Robinson’s wife, David Waring. Elbridge sold all ___ in march.

There is a lot of snow here now in the woods and in drifts. Daniel was up to Uncle Lysander’s the last of March.

Mary is married. The last we heard from Uncle Starbird’s, Freeland ¹ had hurt himself bad sledding.

They are about organizing a militia here now. Frand Cary is one of the select men. He was here last Monday and took Daniel’s name. Daniel is very much pleased about it.

Frankie says he shall see you when you come from the war. We are all well. I hope this will find you the same if it ever reaches you.

Ervin was down to Augusta the day you left. He was down, we heard, to dun you but he lost all of that. I wish that I could send you something to eat and a cup of tea.

I must close now. If you can find this out, you will do well. So goodbye.

This from, — Eunice S. Foster

¹ Freelon Starbird (1841-1910) served in Co. C, 23rd Maine Infantry and in Co. A, 29th Maine Infantry. 



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