Category Archives: Camp Parapet

1863: John W. Farnum to Frank W. Farnum

This letter was written by John W. Farnum (1842-1915) who enlisted on 7 October 1862 as a private in Co. D, 15th New Hampshire Infantry—a nine months’ regiment. He mustered out of the service on 13 August 1863,

John was the son of Timothy Walker Farnum (1814-1892) and Rebecca Sabrina Bartlett (1816-1889). of Northwood, Rockingham county, New Hampshire. He wrote the letter to his brother Frank Walker Farnum (b. 1850). After the war John worked as a shoemaker.

John’s letter speaks of visiting some nearby Louisiana plantations while encamped at Carrollton and also of the drilling of black soldiers being organized and outfitted for the Union army.

I could not find a picture of John but here is one of an unidentified member of Co. D, 15th New Hampshire Infantry (LOC)


Addressed to Mr. Frank W. Farnum, Northwood Narrows, N. H.

Camp Parapet
Carrollton, Louisiana
May 1st 1863

Dear Brother,

After so long a time I have a chance to answer your kind letter. I am well and hope that this will find you the same. This is the first day of May and I suppose that you have been Maying. Wish that I could do the same.

I had my May day the last day of April. Clark Bryant and me went up the river about 5 miles and went into some of the plantations and got some sugar and hoe cake and it was good if had some butter to eat on it. We went to one place where they had about 60 mules in the road feeding and a little nigger was riding one mule and watching the rest of them. We see the niggers at work in the fields hoeing the sugar cane and corn. The corn is about two feet high and looks nice. One field the rows were five acres long. How many of them would you like to hoe before breakfast?

There is one man here that owns 5 plantations and the smallest one he has got a hundred niggers on it. I wish that you could see one of these large sugar houses and all the machinery in it. It is worth seeing. Can you come down here about two weeks before we start for home and look around and then go home with us? I wish that you could. You would see enough of salt water, I guess, before you got here. I guess that you would not want to go to the beach to see the sea.

There is about 1800 niggers here drilling so as to go into the army this month. Their uniforms are made in New York City and it is gray cloth and they are to have the guns the 10th of this month. The talk is now that they are to have our guns but I don’t believe it. You would laugh to see them on a line with their old ragged clothes just as they come off the farms. They make a funny sight. And [to] see them go on the double quick, it is fun.

Today we have had our monthly inspection and have been mustered for pay but can’t tell when we shall get paid off. They owe us for four months to the 6th day of this month. I shan’t get any money until I get into Concord. I have got three dollars and 60 cents. I bought me a straw hat this morning and paid 35 cents for it. It is cool and light. Wish you could see me. I look like a shaker.

I wrote to Clara last week. Has she got it yet? And the ring—how does it fit her? I will send you a coal ring in a paper as soon as I get a chance. Has Mother got the house and land? Don’t see what she wants of that place anyway. It ain’t good for anything. Write and tell me how shoe making is. I will tell you how the weather is—it is hot! Tell Mother to write soon and send me papers. I had two papers from Father but no letters. Why don’t he write or don’t he want to hear from me? There, I must close. Give my love to grandfather and grandmother and Mother and all the folks. Write soon.

From your brother, — John W. Farnum

I shall put this in tomorrow but don’t know when it will go for there is no steamer going at present. It will go on a transport. Write and let me know how long it is going. I sent one to Father and it went in ten days. Went quick. How long does it take for my letters to go as a general thing? We expect a mail in a day or two. Am in hopes shall get a letter from you or Mother. — J. W. Farnum

1862: Samuel G. Shackford to Alfred Bunker

I could not find an image of Samuel but here’s an unidentified New Hampshire soldier who appears to be about Samuel’s age. (Dave Morin Collection)

This letter was written by 41 year-old shoemaker and innkeeper Samuel Garland Shackford (1821-1885) of Barnstead who enlisted on 30 November 1861 in Co. G, 8th New Hampshire Infantry. Samuel remained with the regiment until 18 January 1865 when he mustered out.

Samuel’s parents were Josiah Ring Shackford (1796-1874) and Mary Garland (1796-1867) of Barnstead, Belknap county, New Hampshire. Samuel’s first wife, Margaret Bean Foss (1816-1859) died in July 1859 leaving him with four young children, ages 2 to 13 who were cared for by the Thomas Muzzey Huse family while he was in the service. He did not marry again until after the Civil War, taking Esta L. Higgins as his second wife in 1872.

The Notre Dame Rare Books and Special Collection includes a collection of twenty-two letters which Samuel wrote to the Huse family while they cared for his children during the war. 

The letter was addressed to Alfred Bunker (b. 1811), a farmer in Belknap county, New Hampshire.

Camp Parapet, 8 miles above New Orleans


Carrollton, Louisiana
Camp Parapet
Hospital, 8th N. H. Vol.
September 11, 1862

Dearest Friend,

It has been some time since I wrote you but having an opportunity this morning, I thought I would embrace the opportunity. I am i nCarrollton above New Orleans about seven miles on the Mississippi River—a very nice place to encamp. The weather here now is very nice—about warm enough, night a little cool. No fog here as yet. We are enjoying life here as well as can be expected for army life. I have enough to eat and drink, good lodging at night. My work is almost nothing to do—hardly enough to enjoy good health but you know that I always get out of hard work.

My work is to stay in the office and give out a few medicines. It will take about an hour a day to do it and have good pay &c. &c.

I sent home to Mr. T[homas] M. Huse by the last steamer, September 10th, sixty-five dollars ($65) to pay that Bennett note asking Mr. Huse to go and pay it. YOu see that it is paid, if you will. All I want you to do is to know that it is paid. Tell Mr. Bickford that I have sent the money to pay the note. Mr. Huse will go and pay it no doubt but I want you to know that I sent the money to pay it.

I had a note from Scruton that they wanted the money this fall so I sent it to Huse. I would like for you to inform me about that trustee that was on you when I came away. If Charles Shackford paid the debt, or what was done about it. I have heard nothing about it since I came away. If you had to go to court or not, please write. The other property you look after as usual no doubt, &c. &c.

I shall try to come home by next June if I can—if I should be lucky enough to live to that time.

The health of the regiment is very good now. The Smarts have have all died. You have learned before this time Sam—the old man to John—all three are dead. The rest of the Barnstead boys are in good health.

I see you are paying a good bounty for soldiers in Barnstead now. Men you have to buy will fight and are great patriots but they have the fight in them when three hundred dollars is paid but I should rather be drafted than to be bought and then go to the war. But soldiers are needed just now if ever.

The war news you know all about—more than I do no doubt. Virginia is in a fix just about this time. Let them be whipped out and the war is over in my opinion, &c. &c. Give my respects to all friends that may inquire and remain your friend, — Samuel G. Shackford

A. Bunker

1862: Starr L. Booth to friend “Nettie”

I could not find an image of Starr but here is a cdv of Joseph Dobbs Bishop of Danbury who served as chief musician in 23rd Connecticut. Bishop died of disease returning home from his enlistment (Western Conn. State University Archives)

This letter was written by Starr L. Booth (1842-Aft1920), the son of Charles Booth (1802-Aft1860) and Eliza Beardsley (1808-Aft1860 of Newtown, Fairfield county, Connecticut. Starr datelined his letter from Camp Parapet near New Orleans on 29 December 1862 while serving in the Co. C, 23rd Connecticut Infantry. Despite contending that he would not serve “Uncle Sam” beyond his 9 month enlistment in the 23rd, records indicate that he subsequently served in Co. M, 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery from 5 September 1864 to 12 June 1865. They also indicate that he was wounded on 6 February 1865 in the fighting at Hatcher’s Run, Virginia.

In the 1875 Rhode Island State Census, Starr was enumerated as a boarder with his wife Annie (1840-1945) and 7 year-old daughter Alice in Bristol where he labored as a “Rubber worker.” Later in life he worked as a florist and gardner.

To read other letters I have transcribed by members of the 23rd Connecticut Infantry and posted on Spared & Shared, see:
Abel M. Wheeler, Co. B, 23rd Connecticut (1 Letter)
James Fillow Jelliff, Co. E, 23rd Connecticut (2 Letters)
Edwin Benedict, Co. G, 23rd Connecticut (1 Letter)
George Leander Hotchkiss, Co. H, 23rd Connecticut (1 Letter)
Frederic C. Barnum, Co. K, 23rd Connecticut (1 Letter)


Camp Parapet
23rd [Connecticut] Regiment, Co. C, USA
New Orleans, 29 December 1862

Miss Nettie,

As I have a few leisure moments I thought the best way for me to improve them would be to write you a few lines although I have not received any answer from those that I wrote you while on Camp Buckingham. I did not write but a few lines on account of having marching orders while writing them.

The 23rd is now encamped about three miles above the City of New Orleans. We left Camp Buckingham the 4th. It being pleasant, we set sail for Ship Island and sailed along nice until the 7th when we met with a severe gale which came very near capsizing our boat. After sailing nine days, we arrived at Ship Island. We stayed there three days and then started for this place.

I must say this is the pleasantest place that I ever was in. It is as warm here now as it is North in July. We have all kinds of fruit here such as orange, lemons, oranges, pineapples, and various other kinds. Oranges are as plenty here as apples are north. The boys go out and pick all they wish for. They make themselves at home whenever they go out. It looks hard to see the property that is destroyed here. There is hundreds of houses that no one lives in and some of them are the most splendid houses that I ever saw. Those that lived in them are now in the Southern army. They must have thought they were in the right to have left them in the way they did.

I am in hopes they will make some treaty for peace. As for me, I am getting tired of soldiering in it and for this reason: we do not have enough to eat and drink and that we do have is not fit to eat. I am waiting with patience to have my nine months come to a close and then I think I close my work for Uncle Sam.

I am very anxious to hear from the New Haven folks as I have not heard from any of them since I left there. Give my love to Aggy and Fanny and all the rest. As I have no more time and the mail is going out, I shall close by remaining your friends, — Starr L. Booth