I assure you the paper was hastily thrown aside for my heart leapt at the thought of hearing from the old Granite State. Very soon the letter was produced and at a glance at the envelope I saw it was from you. I eagerly tore the seal & read. Here, let me say that I thank you for it gave me much pleasure. In the commencement of yours you dwelt somewhat upon what should be our address. I give you full freedom to address as you did. I am happy to know that I am thought worthy to be called your friend. In return I beg leave to address you hereafter as I have now. You say truly, "that the oftener a soldier hears from home the more cheerful and contented he may become." None but a soldier can tell the good it does to get a letter from home. Mothers, sisters and friends can aid their country in more ways than one. Mothers can write kind motherly letters giving words of warning and cheer to their dear son, sisters can write words of comfort & thoughts & ideals clothed in words that could only come from the the depth of a sister's loving heart -- friends can write pleasing and affectionate letters filled with words of kindness of which a soldier keenly feels a want. Yes, kind loving words are rare things in camp and float upon every breeze. Words of sympathy too are not to be heard here in time of mental depression & lonliness. No, you accuse me wrongfully when you say I must have hidden somewhere on the morning of our departure from our home. I was not hidden unless you would call me hidden in the crowd, for I was right in it all the time running from one end of the depot to the other in hopes of finding you and others whom I expected to see. Some of them I saw and others I did not and among the number not seen was yourself & sister & mother. I am sorry not to have seen you and given some parting words but it was just as well perhaps. You say, "receive our thanks for the photograph sent us by me." Well, really I don't know what to make of that. That I never sent you one nor requested one to be sent is most certain for why should I not knowing if it would be acceptable if sent, & having no invitation to send one. I am sure I feel highly complimented & pleased to know the place it takes among your pictures. I think I know how it comes about that you have it. I gave them to Mrs. Miller requesting her to get them to mother in some way. She asked me who they were for. I replied one for mother & sister and the rest for almost any one who might desire one. Then it must be that she gave you one on the supposition that I shouldn't care, and indeed I do not & you are very welcome to it. I am indeed surprised to know that your family & Mrs. Miller are only casual acquaintances. I had supposed by what she said of you that she made frequent calls at your home & implied that you returned the same. You say she calls me nephew. The only way in which I am related to her is this. She is cousin to my step-father's daughter. But she is a kind and pleasant lady & I have always liked her. But, it doesn't matter for it was through her that I gained an introduction and therefore formed an agreeable & happy acquaintance. I second the hope you expressed that nothing unpleasant may occur to break it off. As you request your name and our correspondence will not be mentioned in my writings to Mrs. M. So shall it be. In closing you asked me to write all about my journey -- what I have seen &etc. Time and space would forbid a detailed account, but such and so much as this sheet will allow you shall have. You know under what circumstances we moved from Concord. We passed by way of Manchester, Nashua, Worcester, Providence & Stonington. You know undoubtedly all about Mancester and Nashua so nothing I can tell of these places will be interesting. We were everywhere cheered & at every place flags were waved as if to remind us of our duty & encourage us on. We stopped at Worcester a few moments which I improved in looking about me and found it to be a very pretty place. There is a large common by the railroad & a monument erected to the memory of a Col. of a Mass. regt. of revolutionary times. From here we passed on to Providence, R.I. This is a fine, large city. There is a large artificial pond just by the depot which is surrounded by ---- seats & shade trees. which makes a fine place for promenading & the whole is very pretty. I saw nothing else of interest for the city is back from the depot. From here we passed to Stonington where we took the boat Plymmouth(sic) Rock & steamed across the Sound to Jersey City. I think this ride by night upon the water was the most pleasant part of my journey. There was a slight breeze upon the water & the moon & stars were shining brightly. The moon's silvery light was reflected upon the rippling water & stars just rising above the horizon had the appearance of bright lights resting upon the bosom of the water. We left S(tonington) about 10 P.M. & arrived in N.Y. Harbor about 6 A.M. on Friday. Here there was plenty to satisfy the curiosity of him who would profit by what he sees & hears. Among the most interesting objects of my imagination was The Great Eastern. We passed very near her as she lay in the harbor waiting for supplies. I saw two forts & so many ships sailing from every clime that their masts made a perfect forest extending far up the Hudson & down the harbor as far as the eye could reach. I saw the steeple of Trinity St. Church, also Castle Gardens. From Jersey City which lies just across the Hudson from N.Y., we passed to Trenton which place is famous as being the point where Washington crossed the Delaware & surprised the Hessians. We passed by the place on our way to Philadelphia. We arrived in P. about 7 P.M. & were at once marched to the Union Volunteer Refreshment Saloon. There we received a good supper & were treated most kindly by the people. P. is a splendid city & the most beautiful one I ever saw. I think I would love to live there. We stopped there till Saturday morning, then moved on for Washington. We arrived at Baltimore at 8 in the evening and again were on our way at 9. We did not reach Washington til 6 A.M. on Sabbath Morning. We were at once marched to Capitol Hill where we stopped till Tuesday night when we were ordered to Arlington Heights the other side of the Potomac. Here we stopped just two weeks. Last Sunday night at midnight the orders came to be ready to march at 11 A.M. We were ready at the time & were under marching orders till Tuesday when we started at 6 A.M. - recrossed the Potomac & marched through the city to the other side and for want of transportation were obliged to stay till morning. We had no tents and were obliged to lay down with the ground for a bed and the canopy of heaven for a covering. I lay with face upturned with the moon shining full on my face and gazing at the stars and heavens untill I fell asleep. Early in the morning we were aroused and very soon were all aboard the cars & on our way for Frederick, MD which place we reached about 3 o'clock on Thursday morning. Here we trod the ground where Rebel troops had trod only a few weeks before. we encamped on the same ground the Rebels had occupied. We stayed here til Friday morning & then took the cars for Sandy Hook where, as you see the date, where we still are. Sandy Hook is a small place of 20 or 25 houses and lies just across the Potomac from Harpers Ferry. How long we shall stop here or where we shall go when we do move are questions not in my power to answer. I understand we are to be under Burnside so you must look to his movements when enquiring about us. We are in the vicinity of the late skirmish and surrender -- most disgraceful affair. I have seen two houses that were pierced by cannon balls. We are now on the ground occupied by the Rebels & near the scene of John Brown's raid. But, come to look over what I have written and find it is a very long letter and may weary your patience. When I get to writing I don't know when to stop. If I am too lengthy please pardon it. I will not be irksome again as regards length. Give my love to your mother & sister. Accept this believing me ever as your friend.
D. E. Scott
H(a)ines Bluff, Mississippi
June 17th, 1863
I was made glad a few days ago by the reception of a kind, cheering letter from your pen which reminded me I was not forgotten by the kind friends at home. You will see by the date of this that I am hundreds of miles from where I last wrote you. Burnsides menagerie (viz. 9th A. C.) is again on the move. I have lots to tell you of the places it has exhibited over the last two weeks. A little more than two weeks ago an order from Genl. Burnside came to our commanding general to the effect that the troops under his command be provided with three days rations in their haversacks & five days scanty rations of hardbread in their knapsacks, in all, 8 days rations & each soldier was to be provided with an extra pair of shoes. Officers' luggage was to be reduced to 30 lbs. and all surplus luggage to be sent to the rear. This was when we were quietly lying in camp at Stanford Ky. As you can easily imagine there were many surmises and conjectures as to where we were bound -- where we could possibly be going that we should take 8 days rations. Some said to Va., others to Memphis, & still others to Vicksburg. At sunrise on the morning of June 4th we started for we knew not where. After two days forced marching we arrived at Nicholasville, Ky. Here occurred the most interesting & yet the saddest scene of our journey. You may have read of the steam boiler explosion at N,--. Well, that is what I refer to. It was the most terrible affair I ever witnessed, Fredericksburg hardly excepted. There were 6 killed and some 12 wounded by the explosion. There was one boy, a teamster, who had both legs broken and was so scalded by the water and steam that the skin all peeled off his body and the poor fellow in his agony cried for his mother. Of course he lived but a short time. There was one soldier struck on the head by some fragment and it so afflicted him as to cause insanity. Still another had his face on one side all smashed in and was so injured as to make life for more than a few hours impossible. But I'll not recount to you any more cases of the horrid mutilation caused by this most unfortunate accident. I have again to thank God in his infinite mercy and goodness in sparing my life. For, although I was nearby when the explosion took place escaped without a hurt. It is only another instance of his love and mercy towards me. The accident happened at about 2 P.M. Saturday & at about 5 we gladly left that place which had been the scene of so much suffering. We arrived in Lexington about sunset & left on our way toward Cincinatti which place we reached just at sunrise on Sabbath morning. We stacked our arms in just the same place we did two months ago and had a good breakfast in Fifth St. Market. At 10 o'clock we were all stowed away on the cattle cars & very soon we were on our way west. We went on the St. Louis & Cincinatti road as far as Sandova which you will see by looking on the map is due west from Cincinatti & within 60 miles of St. Louis. Here we changed cars, and took a southerly direction going direct south until we reached Cairo which was on Monday evening about 10 o'clock. We stopped here until Wednesday when we shipped on board the Charlie Bowen and made for Vicksburg. I was much disappointed in Cairo and supposed to find it a large, handsome city or at least I had formed that opinion of it from what I had heard. It lies at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers and is also the terminus of the Illinois Central R.R. Its position would certainly seem to ensure wealth & growth but it isn't so large as Concord. There are two principal streets about 1/2 mile in extent which constitutes all of what I can say of Cairo. We passed no places of great interest from Cincinatti to Cairo. But the passage down the Miss. though monotonous was interesting, The first place of interest was Columbus which is one of the strong 1st positions on the Miss. The place in commercil interest is inconsiderable, as it is also as a place of residence, for it is but a small village. The next place of note is Island No. 10 which is nothing but an island in a bend of the river which is so situated so as to command the river for two or three miles up and down. There were no troops on it but two or three Negro regiments. Memphis equalled my expectations. It is a large business city. I went over as much of it as I could. I went through the city park in the centre of which is the monument of Andrew Jackson. On one side was engraved the words, "The Federal Union, It Must be Preserved." When the "rebs" held sway there they attempted to deface the word "Federal". On another side was written, "Honor and Gratitude to Those who have Fulfilled the Measure of Their Country's Glory." On the third side was the quotation from Virgil, "Exegi Monumentum Perressivus(?) Aege." I have a leaf which I took from a tree in one of the principal streets of the city that I will send you. From Memphis to Young's Point 4 miles above Vicksburg was the most monotonous ride I ever had. The banks on either side were covered with trees of the same size, shape and kind, I should think, and hardly an opening or house appeared in the whole way. To break the dull monotony the only thing we could get up for excitement was to return the fire of the guerrillas who stationed themselves behind trees and stumps along the shore to fire at us as we passed. It happened that none aboard our boat were injured. I had a narrow escape. The first bullet that was fired at us, passing only a few feet from me, entering the pantry, knocking down some of the dishes & scaring the poor negro within most of his wits. We arrived at Young's Point safe and sound on Saturday morning, and then there was all the hurry & bustle of unloading & -aw me! What a place!. The bank was almost perpendicular for 20 feet and up this bank our baggage, horses, artillery & I must go. What a time we had! Vicksburg and the bluffs around could be plainly seen here. The morter fleet that night & day pours death and defiance into the doomed city lies only two miles below here. At night we can plainly see the flash of the mortar and see the shell from the time of its leaving the mortar till it bursts over the city. We could see the shells fired by Grant burst in the city. It is splendid to witness the bombardment at night. We stopped there two or three days & then came up the Yazoo to Haines Bluff where you will see this is dated. We have been here 3 or 4 days but how long we shall stay of course we know not. Haines Bluffs are 15 miles from the mouth of the Yazoo and 12 miles in the rear of Vicksburg. We are every day expecting to hear of the fall of the place. It holds out remarkably well. It is supposed here that Jeff Davis and Beauregard are in the city. It is mere supposition however. I saw Charlie Hurlbert(?) the other day. He was well and fat as a pig. Give my regards to your mother & Mattie. Say to your mother I have never seen the President to mention that matter. I'm very sorry. I hope to see him before I return. Give my love to Mrs. M. & thank her for the good opinion she has of me. But she and yourselves should not expect too much of me and you will certainly be disappointed. Well, now I have written you a real long letter. I hope it may prove as interesting as it is long. Shall I receive an equally long one in return. I am still pretty well, but have suffered some from the heat & bad water for a few days.
Accept this from your sincere friend Don.
29 Ward, 6th Division
Camp Dennison, O
More than a month has elapsed since I wrote you last. I was then somewhere in Tennessee but you see by date I am in hospital again and I must write explaining of my coming here. Shortly after writing you, orders came for the 9th A. C. co. to report immediately to Annapolis, Md. Then we commenced a long tedious, weary march of 250 miles over the Cumberland Mountains. We were occupied in this march nearly three weeks. When the march was a little more than half completed I was taken sick with the chills & fever and at last found myself safely lodged in Camp Dennison Hospital. I have been here since April 11th, not any of the time seriously ill but had a miserable feeling all the time. Now however I am quite well. My chills are checked if not cured and this morning I go to my regiment, now in the Army of the Potomac under Burnside confronting Lee with his traitor horde. You may wonder perhaps why I haven't written during all this time & feel like censoring me. Well this is my reason. After coming to the hospital I waited a long time to hear from my regiment & receive the letter from you which I supposed was without doubt with my regiment & at last I gave up in despair and was about writing you, when I had the promise of a furlough. Much elated with the prospect of going home, I gave up the thought of writing with the intention of giving you a surprise about the time this will reach you. But disappointments are the lot of man & I come in for my share I think. There was a general order from the War Department for all in hospitals to be sent to the front that were able to go. & I was one of the victims of the order. Heigh Ho! Well, it is one of the fortunes of war, & they are very uncertain. I start now in a little while for Cincinatti O. from which place I will be forwarded to Washington, D.C. very probably. I cannot write a long letter this time for I've not time. You can write me any time directly to Co. A(?), 11th N.H. Vols., 2nd Brigade, 2nd Division, 9th A.C.(Army Corps) and it will reach its destination in safety. Now don't wait to hear from me before writing, but write immediately on the receipt of this so that I may find a letter from you when I reach it. Give my love to Mattie and your mother and all others who may inquire for me. Now don't fail to write me & Mattie will not forget her "Soldier Boy" I know. Do you know the last communication I've received from you bears date Jan 17th. But it is most time for the train and I must close. I will write as soon as I can.
Ever your affectionate friend
Don E. S.