1864: Isaac F. Thompson to Brother Frank

This letter was written by Isaac (“Ike”) F. Thompson (1822-1893), the son of Robert Thompson and Susannah Page of Hallowell, Kennebec county, Maine. Isaac was married to Angeline J. Moody in October 1855 and she has written one page of this letter. Another page was written by Margaret (“Maggie”) Thompson, Isaac’s sister. Ike served as the Deputy Sheriff in Hallowell for a couple of decades after the Civil War. Another page in the letter was written by “Sister Maggie.”

I have not determined is “Brother Frank” was Ike’s fraternal brother or whether he was a brother-in-law. I have looked for Frank Thompson and Frank Moody in the US Navy records but could not find a match. From the content of the letter we learn that Frank has recently enrolled himself in the US Navy for a one year stint which may have been to avoid the draft into the infantry service. It appears that Frank was married to a woman named “Cal” or “Cad” with whom he had three boys but there are few family records available on-line for researching this family.


Augusta [Maine]
September 25, 1864

Brother Frank,

I received your line in due time. Was glad to hear from you and learn that you were well & in good spirits. It is Sunday and it is a rainy day. I wish you were here today and Cal & the three boys. I hope, Frank, you will not have to stay one year and I do not believe you will as things are going now. If you were not in the Navy, I should say you would not be need more than six months. The prospect of the rebellion’s last long is a mere shadow.

Well Frank, I do not know what to write you. There is no news but war news and that you get. Of course you have heard of the two brilliant and glorious victories by General Sheridan & the one by Sherman. There is a going to be more of the same sort soon from another quarter. I am thinking you will not have much to do in the way of fighting if you stay at Charleston much longer and I hope you will never need to leave to go any further south. Well Frank, things so look well. The prospect of a speedy termination of this cursed rebellion I do think & believe is close at hand. I cannot see the first thing to make me think any other ways, and I believe it will end soon. Yet I wish you were out of the show because I know it is hard for you to be away from your family & friends. I do believe you will be spared to return to them. Did I not believe so, I should feel much different from what I do. Write and let me hear from you often whether in Charleston or elsewhere. I shall be glad to get a line from you anytime and will answer them as soon as received.

If there is anything I can do for you in any shape, I should be glad to lend a hand. You wanted to know how long since I stepped on the L; it has been about two or three months. When you write again, you may direct to Hallowell. I have bought me a house in Hallowell—the one I last lived in before I moved to Augusta. You know where that is on Lincoln Street. Hope this will find you well and hearty. Let me hear from you again soon.

I will close to give Ann and Marge a chance to write a few lines to you. I send you a paper with some writing paper enclosed for you. Will send you a paper as often as I know where to send so you can get them.

I remain yours truly, — I. F. Thompson

Dear Brother Frank—As Isaac is writing, I will put in a line to let you know that I think of you [even] if you did think that no one thought it worthwhile to write you. Yes, Frank, I think of you often and we speak of you often. You may rest assured that we feel very anxious about you and wish you was at home but what everyone says must be true. The saying is and it must be something in this case, and that this war is about to close up—at least I hope so and so do you.

I presume Ike has written all the news but I will help fill up the sheet as I know time seems long to you. If would be quite different if you could go out in Boston and go around where you pleased. But I am in hopes you will not have to stay away one year ors half of that time. It may be the best thing you could do to enlist—at least we will try to think so. But dear brother, I felt very bad when I heard of it. I did think you might just come up and seen us a few moments if it was in the night. I hope you will have enough to take up your mind so you will not be homesick. Drive it off, Frank, if the blues [come] and say you will soon be out of it.

I rode up to see Cal last Wednesday. An old acquaintance from Waltham came here and he took a team and we went up to see her. The children was up and coming. Jud had cigars to smoke while we was there. The baby was bright as a butler. Cal appeared quite cheerful. She looked for a letter from you that night. Frank, write and let us know where you are and I will write often. I wish you good luck and good courage.

Goodbye from Sister Maggie

Dear Brother—I will add a line with the rest to let you know that you are not forgotten by your friends. Far from that for we speak often of you everyday and wish you was at home with Cal and I expect you do the same. I am glad to hear that you was well but don’t expect you are very well contented. But as you are in the Navy, you must keep up good courage and hope for the best. A year passes away in a short time. If you are lucky, you will come back to us again smart as ever, I hope. We should like to have seen you before you went away. We would have been at the depot the morning you left if we had known you was to leave so sudden.

Well Frank, I hope you will be contented if you are where you will have to stay, but I wish you could come home to see us. If you could, we would keep you. Guess you’d rather attend court or be at the North and last of all you had rather be at home. I shall go up to see Cad again soon as I ca. I have sent her papers every week since you went away.

We don’t know how it will be with Clem Shull. Know this week Tuesday. I hope he won’t have to go but don’t know how it will be. He feels bad enough to stay at home. Frank, I hope we shall hear from you again soon before you leave Charleston. Keep up good courage and take good care of your health. We will write to you again soon as we hear from you again. I will close by saying I wish you and Cad and the children was all here today for we all want to see you very much.

From your sister, A. J. Thompson


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