This letter was written by Marcus Amasa Aldrich (1841-1919), the son of Amasa Aldrich III (1814-1874) and his first wife. Ruth B. Stuart (1816-1859). He wrote the letter to his sister, Nancy Elvira Aldrich (1845-1893) and refers to their younger sister, Ella Augusta Aldrich (1851-1918). Marcus worked as a painter before the war and and as a mechanic afterwards.
Marcus enlisted in the Band as a 3rd Class musician of the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry at Readville on 24 October 1861 for a term of three years. He was absent at Readville until 6 January 1862 when he mustered into the service. He was mustered out of the service in August 1862 when the U.S. Government disbanded the regimental bands as an unnecessary war expense.
Addressed to Miss Nancie Aldrich, Winchendon, Mass. (Care of Amasa Aldrich)
Postmarked Port Royal
Beaufort, South Carolina
August 24th 1862
Dear Sister Nancie,
I suppose you are on the lookout for a letter from me so as it’s Sunday & I do not fo to church, I will write a few lines. Well, in the first place I will tell you the news.
The 1st Mass. Cavalry is bound for Fortis Monroe & 7 companies have already gone. There are 2 companies at the Head [Hilton Head] & three up here (at Beaufort) & the Band. We expect to go this week about Wednesday. I suppose you are looking for me in Winchendon. Well, I can’t tell when we will be discharged. The Order has not got here yet but they expect every day.
You wanted I should write when I got my box. I got it 2 days ago & am about as mad as a hen that has lost all her chickings for when it got to Hilton Head, they have made a law to open all boxes and take out all the licker that comes for the soldiers & of course they took mine. The box came up here to me and I opened it & found a bottle of Bitters & a bottle of pain killer and my shoes & some sugar & the best of all was Ella’s picture. I think she has changed much since I saw her. I hope I shall come home before long. If not I am afraid that I will not know her. Do you grow as fast as she does? If you do, I must come home as soon as I can. I guess I shall know Father & Mother but I can’t tell—it is so long since I have seen anybody but soldiers.
Speaking about coming home, I don’t think we will come this month but I can’t tell. Gen. Hunter says he is looking for the Order every day & as soon as it comes, we shall be started forthwith & the Paymaster says if the Commander of any regiment delays the discharging of any Bands, he will have to pay them out of his own pocket—good. I don’t think we will be discharged before we get to Fortis Monroe. I can’t write any more this time. I will write when we get there.
Give my complements to all. You tell Ella that I will write her in a few days and give my love to Father & Mother & Ella & to all that inquire &c. I wrote to Hannah the 5th of this month. I suppose has got it of course.
This from, — M. A. Aldrich
(I weighed myself & weighed 148 lbs.)