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16th New Hampshire Infantry - Nurse Grouping

Item LTR-6525
April-May 1863 Harvey Sargent


Original Civil War soldier's grouping of three war dated letters . 3 letters, for a total of 12 pages written in period pencil.

Letter #1:
New Orleans
April 12, 1863

Dear Father,

As it is sometime since I wrote to you I will just let you know how I am getting along. I received two letters last night. One from you and the girls and the other from Mira Collins. They were old on account of having some difficulty in finding me as I have been moved and the captain sent them to the wrong place. But I was glad to hear from home. The place that I am now in is called University Hospital. It is a set of buildings that was used for a medical college. They are a good set of buildings having one four stories high and two 3 stories. One of them is 160 feet long and the lot is calculated to accommodate 2,000 patients and like wise I have been detailed as a nurse. That is, I have 10 men to take care of. One of them is able to sit up, the rest are sick so as to be in bed all the time. Some of the poor fellows are very sick so that it is quite a job but as I do not have to sit up nights and have a good dry bed to sleep on. I think that it will be much better than to go to camp and besides I can get a pass and go out and have a walk in the street besides having all I want to east, which is no small item. The regiment have had a hard time of it for the last six weeks as they have been up the river to Baton Rouge. But all the Swanzey boys as well as I went over to the Algers which is just over the river to see them last Monday.
My health is good now and guess that I am as some of the boys told me that I looked better than when I enlisted. Daniel Read told me so that he was all right and tough about the allotment. I forgot to write in my last letter it did not amount to anything so that I received all of my pay here and not knowing how much money I might need. I thought it best not to send home any and not having been paid only up to the first of January. You see that I have not had any to send to you and maybe that I shall not get any more until I get back to Concord.
I do not know as I have much more to say now but when you write or send any mail, direct to
University Hospital
New Orleans
Ward F
From your son, Harvey

Letter #2:
New Orleans, LA
April 16, 1863

Dear Uncle,
As it is some time since I have wrote to you I will undertake to write you a few lines. I received your letter day before yesterday and was right glad to get it. As to my health, I think I am pretty smart and do not know but what I can call myself well.
Although I am still in the hospital but do not consider myself a patient any longer but instead I have to be a nurse which goes very well but have to work sometimes quite hard as I have nine sick men to take care of in the day time but am relieved half past eight of night and have a chance to go to bed. There is two of my men who is quite sick but the others seem to be getting better. This is a new hospital just started and they have not got very well regulated yet but when they do, it will be a large place for the sick soldiers. They are expecting about 150 from somewhere of wounded men which will make some 7 or 8 hundred in here now.
The buildings that are used were some that were used for a medical college and very well suited for a general hospital. There are quite a number of the 16th regiment here and quite a lot at the hospital, but do not know as it is any more sickly than other regiments.
The weather is very good here now and is as warm as it is up in Swanzey in haying time but the soldiers have to go dressed warm on account of the fever and ague which is very common.
As to the city of New Orleans I think it is a much better place than I suppose. They have some very fine buildings mostly of brick, but should the people rise and try to let old Jeff have possession of it again, which most of them no doubt would be glad to do, if they dared to it would be laid low in a short time as there are a number of guns lying out in the river. There are a large lot of men here yet that would make good soldiers and the story was around here a short time ago that General Banks was going to raise 8,000 men out of New Orleans and hope it might be true.
I am glad to hear that business is so good at the north and think when the war is over it will be better than ever although it looks a long time yet to some. But I have some hope that before six months has passed that we shall see some big thing done in this part of the country.
As it is getting toward supper time I guess I will have to close by sending my best respects to Aunt Ambra and Emma from your nephew, Harvey.

Letter #3:
New Orleans
May 27, 1863

Dear Father,
As it is some time since I have wrote to you, I thought I would just send you a few lines. I am enjoying very good health now and have been for some time although it has got to be very warm weather here, but it does not seem to trouble me much and think I shall stand it as well as most any of them. We was paid off here in the hospital yesterday and I have enclosed by Adams & Co Express eighty five dollars, more than what I should have sent if I had sent some the other time and have paid the express bill. It was directed to Marlboro Depot and will probably start from here tomorrow. They gave me a receipt for it and that I have kept so that if anything happens that it does not get to you I shall have it to show and you can dispose of it as you like, that is if you want it to use yourself, you can. Put it in the bank or some other safe place. I have not received my letter from home very lately. The last one I got was from Harriet Parker. I got a paper from Uncle Edwin a day or two ago.
I am still at work in the hospital and do not know but what I shall stay until I start for home as they do not seem much inclined to send me off and the Dr. says that I make a good nurse. But if I could stand it, I should like to be with the company. My captain is here in the city unwell with the chills and fever.
The regiment is up the river somewhere. They have not had much time to rest lately as they have kept them moving most of the time. There has one died out of Company F at the regiment and one here in the hospital. Charles Parker of Fitzwilliam died in camp and a man by the name of Comstock, here that I take care of. As I do not know of any more news to write at present, I will close and hope that by the time I write again that the river will be clear of Rebel batteries as there is a strong prospect that I will be and the boys talk now of having a ride up the river to get home this summer.
Direct to University Hospital
Ward F, Section 1
New Orleans, LA

From your son, Harvey