• Maine 15th Private Complains Civil War Conditions Misrepresented


    ALONZO D. CUSHING (1820-1883) was born in Maine. During the Civil War, he served as a private in Company C of the 15th Maine Infantry from December 1861. By November 1863, the regiment was in Brazos de Santiago, Texas, and Cushing was "sick in quarters." After the war, Cushing and his family moved to Essex County in northeastern Massachusetts, where he was a blacksmith. Cushing began receiving an invalid pension in December 1881 and died of consumption in August 1883.

    4 pp, 5 x 8, ALS to his wife, February 1, 1862. With two-color letterhead, reading “THE WAR FOR THE UNION/Stand by me and I’ll stand by you./ Gen. McClellan”

    Cushing complains about the war, the lack of pay and how conditions were misrepresented when he enlisted. After fulfilling his enlistment with service mostly along the Gulf Coast, Cushing mustered out of the regiment in Virginia in January 1865.

    Augusta, Feb 1, 1862, “I am well and hope you will excuse my silence I have been expecting money all most every day for two months. When we got to Bangor I had 125 in previous silver. I sent 1,12½ to you by Abe Jefords, the stage driver to be left at Hinds store.  So you see I have had but one yorker 10 cts here and a Solders cr is as good as a dogs. We have not found one thing as represented. I am sold this War is all a cheat. The officers and contractors, the winner tax pairs, and soldiers the loser when I soldier a gain it will be on my one hearth stone. The pay master is here and we expect pay soon.  I shall send the money to you. Use it as you please. I don’t think our Regiment will leave here until we go home and that will be this spring. I am doing nothing [of] my trade... except we should go to fortify... There is a bill in the legislature to give us 22 Bounty and one to pay every Wife 100 and every child 50. Please inform me how money we draw for if this happens I shall be disappointed.

    "Ellis [his son] this a good opportunity for you to show what kind of a man you are a going to make. Bad Boys seldom make good men. Write me as soon as possible one reason why you disobey your Mother, and I will write you 10 why you should. Almon, my son, how many times have you promised me you would be a good my son think. How much this grieves me to hear you disobey your Mother. I beg of you to be a good Boy that I may hear a good report of you next time write me a letter

    "Frank, I hear a good report of you.  You never will know how much happiness it affords me until you leave your Boys under similar circumstances.  My son you shall have a handsome present when I return. Please write what will please you best. Boys thrash 10 Bushels oats for L of Rael give the calves some oats.  Have you yoaked the steers? How does the fig grow? Marry Hosea Hatty don’t forget your Father’s Wife. I shall write more... when the money comes look to Hinds store

    Your Husband A D C”

    Spelling has been corrected and punctuation added in the description for clarity. Toning, folds. With great letterhead design.

    In March 1862, the 15th Maine Infantry regiment went to Mississippi and served there and in Florida until mid-1863, when it transferred to New Orleans until October. From October to December 1863, the regiment participated in the Expedition to the Rio Grande and remained in Texas until the end of February 1864, when it returned to Louisiana for the Red River Campaign from March to May 1864. In July, most of the regiment moved to Fort Monroe in Virginia, where it participated in the final stages of the war in the East. Of the regiment's 348 deaths, only 5 were killed or mortally wounded in battle; the others died of disease.

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