This letter was written by 43 year-old James Thomas Dakin (1821-1886), a farmer from Amity, Aroostook county, Maine, who was drafted into the army in the fall of 1864 and served in Co. G, 20th Maine before transferring to Co. K, 16th Maine Infantry in December 1864.
James wrote the letter to his wife, Louisa Estabrook (1817-1884), the aunt of George Franklin Estabrook (1845-1865) who death was disclosed in this letter.
To read more letters that I have transcribed by members of the 16th Maine Infantry and published on Spared & Shared, see:
Albert Church Brown, Co. C, 16th Maine (38 Letters)
William Henry Broughton, Co. D, 16th Maine (1 Letter)
John F. Robinson, Co. E, 16th Maine (1 Letter)
John H. Fraine, Co. G, 16th Maine (8 Letters)
Hatcher’s Run, Virginia
March 27, 1865
Dear wife and friends at home,
I wrote a letter last night to you but this morning I have heard some bad news which I am sorry to relate. I heard by Herbert [J.] Ham—he has been over the 20th [Maine] Regiment this morning—and he brought word that George Franklin Estabrook was dead. 1 He died at City Point with a fever but when he died I don’t know. Word came back to his company that he was dead so there can be no mistake about he matter. I feel bad this morning about George. I can wet my sheet with tears. I am writing but I must not give away to my feelings here. You can tell [your brother] George what I have told you. I was a going to write to him but I thought I would let you or some other one tell him so I have told you all I know about the matter so I will stop.
I wrote to you last night about my sending one blanket, one dress coat, and one shirt in a box with Herbert [J.] Ham and they will be directed to Mrs. Ham in Hodgdon. When they get there, you pay one half of the express bill and take the things likewise. I wrote to you that I expected to leave here this morning but I have not left yet but I can hear the guns very plain. It is very warm and pleasant here. The bugle has called for drill and I must go so I will write more when I come back.
Well, I have got back. Well, I must close. I am well. — James T. Dakin
We have got word to fall in so I have got to go, so goodbye for the present. Write soon. I would write more if I had time. I suppose when [your brother] George hears this letter read, it will make him feel bad. When I signed my name above, we was called to fall in the ranks but I am ready so I will write a little more. I believe George died yesterday and the word came up here this morning. So no more. I remain your absent husband with the best of wishes, — James T. Dakin
Looking over my letter I find I have made some mistakes so excuse these.
1 George Franklin Estabrook, Jr. (1845-1865) died on 21 March 1865 and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Section 13, Site 9700. George was the son of George Frederick Estabrook (son of Hammond and Catherine Estabrook) and Frances Ann Estabrooks. He enlisted in the 20th Maine Infantry Volunteers, Co. H. He fought at the Battle of Gettysburg—saving Little Round Top—along with his uncle Glazier Estabrook and two cousins, Jewett Williams and Albert Hartford Williams. He was 19 years old when he was killed in the Civil War. Before his death, he was promoted to Sergeant.