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Letters from a Young Union Sailor

Originally published by Civil War Times magazine. Published Online: September 23, 2011 
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James H. Weber. Courtesy of the National Civil War Museum.
James H. Weber. Courtesy of the National Civil War Museum.
Brooklyn April 7th 1862
Dear Father & Mother I write you these few lines hoping to find you in good health as this leaves me at present thanks be to god for his mercies to us all you spoke to me in your letter about a pass enclosed you will find them when you come with the books put them in a box about a foot & a half long and a foot deep and tell mother to come too if she can I am getting along very good on board ship I get good grub good everythings yesterday we Pork and bean soup for dinner let me know about how Mother is getting along and ask her if she can to come along with you I would have sent you a pass on Sunday
(Page cut off)
Rose & Mary are getting along I also send my best respects to them all and I send my love to my sister Ellen and bring me a few heralds so that I can see the news once in a while the steamship Massachusetts is going into commission on the 14th I have applied for a place on her there are about 6 hundred men on this ship now being drafted away every day so I cannot say how long I may be here so I send __ yours My Dear Father and Mother and to sister Ellen and to all my Inquiring friends and acquaintences so no more at present but remains your affectionate son
James H. Weber

 

April 14th 1862
Dear Father and Mother I take this opportunity of writing to you hoping to find you in good health as this leaves me at present thanks be to god for his mercies. __________________________Mother you can come aboard next Sunday as there is a great many men going away on Monday 21st for Cairo to replace the men that has been killed at island no. 10 and their ___________________________going away to day Dear Father you need (not)buy me a neck hankerchief as I bought a good one for fifty cents of one of the crew that was hard up for tobacco Dear Father get me a belt if you can about 2 ½ inches broad There was a mutiny aboard here on Friday between the sailors of the Roanoke Congress and Cumberland's men and the marines there was two of the Congress severely Injured and one of the marines cut across the nose under the left eye that came near to taking his eye out as soon as the marine was cut the sentinel ran for the guard and then Captain Meade come out of his cabin and ordered the marines to load their guns and fix their bayonets and to drive the men from the decks it happened that the marines only one side of the deck so the sailors rushed down the other side and got the enfield rifles and sword bayonets that was in the racks and fixing the bayonets drove the marines like so many sheep down on the _____ deck then they said to them thee all if had anything to complain to come so give up their rifles and nothing more was said about it __ tried to help as _____ as possible so no more at but remains your affectionate son.
J.H.W.

 

James River May 12th 1862

Letter Envelope from James Weber to Parents. Courtesy of the National Civil War Museum.
Letter Envelope from James Weber to Parents. Courtesy of the National Civil War Museum.

Off Jamestown Island
Dear Father and Mother I take this opportunity of writing to you hoping to find you in good health thanks be to god for his mercies to us all as this leaves me at present Dear Father & Mother
Three days

While three guns at us one which hit us in the bow another on our stern boat ___ ____from the propeller about four inches from & past it stove in the iron a little crushed the beam on the inside we returned the fire dismounted their guns and set their Magazine and barracks on fire we went up to another battery about five miles further up where the Jamestown & Yorktown were laying so we saw than our Captain sent the Port Royal and Aroostook after them but they put like blazes for Richmond soon left us behind the battery all this time not being idle raining shot and shell like hail but the two wooden veterans left us and went the river while we after giving them a parting volley which it on fire too steaming up the river our armament is consisted two one hundred pound Rifle Parrott guns which throw steelpointed shot five miles and four one hundred pounder Dahlgren guns which throw three miles on the ships during the action after we left the battery we went aground four times but the last time we went aground we stuck there for two day and are now lying here waiting for ammunition make the attack this even as I write truce boat down from Richmond with all the prisoners that were captured at bull run but we sent them down to fortress Monroe Dear Father and Mother and Ellen I send all my love to you also to Bridget, Kate, Rose, Mary, and let me know how you all are direct your letters to hamton roads and I will get them so no more at present but remain your affectionate son
James H. Weber

P.S. to Mother do not fret about me being hurt for if I am I will send you word.
Yours affectionately
James

P.S. Dear Father as soon as I can get them I will send you some shinplasters also send my best respect to Miss martin Jack and Jim & also send my love to __________
James
 


One Response to “Letters from a Young Union Sailor”


  1. 1
    richard ralston says:

    I read Seaman Weber's letters to home. What a shame, he died so young and after only less than 2 months in the service of the Union. I like to look for the "little people" that were unherelded and not in the "limelight" yet were the backbone and muscle of the military that suffered, died and lived to make this Country what it is. God Bless them all and I say prayers for those, like James Weber, whose life, sadly, was cut so short.



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