I cannot make out the surname of this soldier whom I believe served in the 25th Maine Infantry. This regiment mustered into service on 29 September 1862 for nine-months’ and was stationed at Camp Seward, Arlington Heights, Virginia, on November 4, 1862. The camp, located across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., provided defense fortifications for the city during the war. Camp Seward was named for William Seward, Lincoln’s Secretary of State and former rival for the presidency.
The print below is one of many that Rosenthal’s Lith., a printing company in Philadelphia. made of Civil War encampments. This one is signed L. N. Rosenthal. Louis was one of four brothers in the company. They were pioneers in chromolithograph printing. Soldiers probably could buy prints that showed their regiment.
November 15, 1862
I take this opportunity to write you a few lines and let you know that we are all well and are having easy times as anybody could wish to have. Night before last we went up to a hotel and we [ ] paid our bills. I did not think that we were coming out here to be gentlemen and stopping about to hotels and wearing white gloves and such things as them. I thought that we were coming out here to fight. But we are having high [times], growing fat, ugly and black.
But how do you get along down in Soddom? You said that you had quite a party and I am glad to hear that parties are not quite all stopped yet. But Hat, to tell you the truth, I have not seen but one white girl since we have been out here—or at least what I call white. The rest of them are paddies and dutch girls. I was over to Washington and I saw one Northern girl and some talk with her. She belong in Bangor and had a brother sick in the hospital in this city. But enough of this.
Who do you think came to our camp today? It is Bill Noyes. 1 He says that he is a going back to his regiment pretty soon and that they have seen some good times and some hard ones, but he looks well now and he says when they heard from the regiment last, they had about one hundred and fifty members.
I must get my supper now for the rest have all got theirs and I shall lose it if I don’t go after it. So good [bye] till after supper.
Now I have had my supper and what do you think it was? I will tell you what it was—bread and [mo]lasses. What are you a going to have for Thanksgiving? I [hope] it will be something good. And I want you to eat all you can for yourself and then eat as much more for me. You wanted to know how Mr. Andrews was. He is well. If you only knew what he said about you, you would not have anymore to say to Henry. Shall I tell him to write or not? But [I must] stop for I have not got much more room to spare. How is Maine and the rest of the folks up to Pea [?] Village. Is Mandy at home? When you see Mandy, tell her that I should like to ask her a few questions. But enough of this. I must close now for I want to write a few lines to Lide. So goodbye till I hear from you. write soon. Excuse all [mistakes].
Your friend, — Lewis [ ]
1 There were two soldiers by the name William Noyes who served in Maine Regiments that may have been the one referenced in this letter. One was William S. Noyes (1840-1911) of Saco, York county, Maine. He enlisted on 24 June 1861 as a private in Co. C, 5th Maine Infantry. He was taken prisoner at First Bull Run and confined at Richmond for a time. He then served as a hospital steward in 1862. The other William Noyes served in Co. E, 10th Maine Infantry. He was wounded on 9 August 1862 at Cedar Mountain, Virginia. He gave his residence as North Yarmouth, Maine.