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12th Massachusetts Infantry Group - Wounded at Antietam

Item LTR-6238
1861-1863 Moses Noyes Arnold


Original Civil War letter group, all written in period ink and war dated by Moses Noyes Arnold of the 12th Massachusetts Infantry (Webster Regiment). Group consist of 9 letters.

Attached are two of the letters to show content:

Letter #1

Camp Near Frederick, Maryland

Sunday evening

December 22nd 1861

My Dear Mother,

I received yours of Wednesday last night and I assure you it gave me great pleasure to have such a good long letter. You must have gotten all tired out with Mara’s sickness. But I suppose you will recruit up after a while. I sent a letter home with Mr. Walker and I suppose Father received it last night. As Mr. W. was to get home Saturday morning. Friday, A. S. Reed and wife came here to see Edward and stayed some time. I thought all the while I should like to see my Mother and Father. I am not at all disappointed about my boots and I suppose they will arrive in due time. my old one are pretty good yet. I should not have sent for any. Only you know old boots come to pieces all at once.

I am glad to hear that Tommy was please with his paper. I should like to see him and Franky and all of you very much. And trust my life will be spared to meet you all in due time. and rebellion be one of the things gone by. I received a letter from Joe last night. It had been missent. He seems to be getting along well. Joe has a heart large enough for a President and larger than I fear than Old Abe possess. War affairs seem to progress slowly. One thing is certain. This trouble has got to be settled and if it can be done by spending truce and money rather than life, I am content to wait. Although I dislike the life of a soldier and being away from home.

I see General Phelps gave the Mississippians a proclamations radical enough more so than Fremont’s. That is what they have got to come to. My health is good and I think I ought to be thankful for that. There have been three funerals in Gordon’s Regiment since we came here. It is sad to listen to the mournful strains that are bearing a fellow soldier to his grave. The case of home and friends to watch over him in his illness but they go to a better land where sorrow is never known. Where love and harmony reign forever. I suppose Abby and Sarah are at Roxbury yet. I saw J. P. Lyon this afternoon. He is well. It seems too bad for him to have spent so much time and succeed so poorly.

Captain B. starts homeward Wednesday. He has always used me well and I think I have satisfied him.

I should like to get a situation where I could get more pay but it is rather difficult in the army. Detailed men get 25 cents per day extra. Abbott and Jeff Newton blundered into a chance and I get more pay. I shall keep a good lookout and make the best of everything. It is raining now and the drops sound nice coming into the tent. So I expect a beautiful night’s rest.

Stephen Randall is well. Also Mr. Maxwell. I hear Mr. Glaisure’s wife has a little daughter. I haven’t any news to write so hoping this will find you in the enjoyment of health and every blessing which a dutiful and loving. No other deserves. Bid you good night.

Your son,

Moses Noyes Arnold

Dear Susie,

I was pleased to hear from you last night as always I am. I wish I had your gift of writing. I could write you better letters. I hear Mr. Raymond has got home. How does his family get along? Give my respects to Alice and to anybody I know. Where is Larina Bowen now? Please write and let me know how everything and everybody is getting along. Thank you for keeping me so well updated on the Long’s and other things. And whenever I think of you I always feel thankful for having so kind and self-sacrificing sister.

Do you get Billy to wipe the dishes anymore? By telling him some wonderful story. He is a very good capable boy and helps others. I suppose if Mother should lose you, she would miss equally as such assistance about the household affairs. How does young John get along? I have quite a curiosity to see him as Aunt Hannah Smith used to say. I guess Miss Reed sent those stockings. She wrote Lewis that she was going to knit me a pair. Volney Howard who used to be R.S. in the Eureka Division, is a number of Company F. He says Carrie Lord is teaching school in S. Randolph (Faxon’s Corner). He is a fine young man of good habits and I got acquainted with him when receiving communications when I was R. S. Well you must excuse this missed up letter and I will try to do better at another time.



I wish you all a Merry Christmas, as this ought to reach you Christmas Day.

Letter #2

Camp near Frederick, Maryland
December 10th 1861

My Dear Mother,

I received 2 letters from home last night. Mailed December 3rd and 5th. One from Abbie and one form Uncle Leonard. One paper from Abbie and 2 from Uncle Edward. I was very happy to hear form home as I hadn’t had a letter for over a week. I was much pleased with your poem. I think you told the story well. I was surprised to see Tommy’s letter. I had no idea he could write so well. I think he done bravely. I sent him a paper today. I thought the pictures would interest him a little while I was much pleased with Uncle Leonard’s letter. He wrote a great deal of news. And it all was very interesting. I needn’t say anything about Father’s letter for his are always good. We are having a very pleasant spell of weather. Warm enough to go in one’s shirt sleeves. I went up to Frederick this afternoon to get some things for the Captain. And to a book store to get some things for myself. I got a ruler. So you won’t have to send one. We have been building a log house for two days past. And if we stay here this winter, we shall make ourselves comfortable. And I shall try to improve my mind as much as possible. The band is playing some fine music as usual on pleasant evenings. Our regiment has one of the finest bands I ever heard. They have ample opportunity to practice and most of them are good musicians. Sometimes I feel as if I should like to try my hand at the old violin. But if I had one I have no place to keep it away from the dampness. I suppose the children have gone to bed and Father is sitting in his arm chair reading the news if there is any. I don’t see much of interest in the papers lately. The Fremont panic has almost died out, except in the Tribune. I expect the Butler expedition will do something before long. I hope the interest in the war won’t die out this winter. And I hope the rebels will hold out so long as there is a Yankee mean enough to compromise. That a bad wish for I suppose there will be mean ones forever.

I hope Congress will do the fair thing and put this thing through there I guess. I have hoped enough for it don’t amount to anything I suppose. I think Walker’s idea of a draft is good and would answer a good purpose. If half the officers knew half as much as they had ought to, things would not have gone so. The many things have been if a person had money and influential friends, got a commission, no matter if they didn’t know so much as a brass monkey. And if a vacancy occurred in any regiment, the ones that deserved the place vacant, they didn’t get it. Because somebody had a friend who thought it would be a fine thing to hold a commission under the U.S. please ask Billy to fix up those rosebushes for me. I want to see them when I get home.

Wednesday morning

Mother, when I come to open my papers Uncle Edward sent me, I found a very neat ruler. I suppose Abbie told him I wanted one. It looks some like rain and I think it will rain and clear off cold. I suppose Aunt Sarah’s folks are all well. Give my love to her and all the folks. Also Uncle Nat’s. I should like to be at home tonight and go to the song. That is if I could stay. I would not go home on a furlough for anything and have to come back again for leaving home again would spoil all the pleasure of a visit. When I come home, I want to stay and not count the days of my leave of absence. Tell Maria I am much obliged to her for her presents. I suppose she gets along well with her studies for she is smart as lightning. Tell Father not to work too hard and break down his health. Tell him I have got as much money as I need and I had rather send it to him than keep any of it. It afford me great pleasure to send him money or help him in any way. For he has been to me more than money or more than any words can express. I shall write to Uncle Leonard’s folks today or tomorrow. Also to Billy. No more at present.

Your affectionate son,

Moses Noyes Arnold

P.S. I forgot to tell you that Lieutenant Reed gave me a nice pair of mittens that his mother knitted. They are real warm and come up onto my wrist almost. As good as wristers. I received the Clamman’s letter sometime ago but forgot to mention it.