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12th Massachusetts Infantry

Item LTR-6347
February 18, 1862 William H. Noyes
Price: $285.00


Original Civil War soldier's letter. 4 pages written in period ink.

Cantonment Hicks
Tuesday Evening
February 18th 1862

Dear Mother,

I cannot help writing to you and tell you how the news are received in camp. Yesterday we were startled by the band playing the national airs (and it was raining at the time). We all rushed out and found that Fort Donelson had been captured with fifteen thousand prisoners including two generals and today the news are confirmed. I should think that the rebels would feel discouraged after all the reverses of their arms, the battle of Somerset, the capture of Fort Henry, the success of General Burnsides Expedition and last but not least the surrender of Fort Donelson. The news came by way of Lieutenant Appleton, formerly of this regiment, and Lieutenant O. in this company. He is now General Abercrombie’s aide and the cheers that were given made the camp sound. I begin to think that the cattle will not have a chance to fight. Although, if they did, they would fall right and left. They would not disgrace the name that those Massachusetts troops have won at Balls Bluff and Roanoke Island. The recent victories that have been won by the federal troops puts a new enthusiasm that will cause the rebels to run or surrender by their courage and daring deeds. Massachusetts is ahead yet the way I take it and the way that things look, they are liable to meet with more defeats. Also the leaving of Bowling Green also the occupation of Winchester by General Landers, the drums are beating for roll call and I shall have to close for tonight. So good night.

Wednesday Morning

I will try and find something to finish this with as I have said before, anyone confined to camp cannot find much to write except what you will see in the papers and then you get before we do. A man named Beals of Company D died last night at the hospital with the typhoid fever. Making four deaths in the regiment since we left home. I will repeat a story that is going around camp but whether it is true or not, I cannot tell. It is this that General Floyd has been captured about 12 miles from Fort Donelson and his men (4,000) were completely used up. Nothing to eat or hardly anything to wear. Also, that Fort Pulaski had surrendered and Savannah was taken possession of by the federal troops.

Such is the story if it is not true. As I think as likely as not. You can see what kind of stored they invent for one day only. I can think of no more now.

My health is about the same.

W. Hagen Noyes

It has just commenced raining and it will be a nasty day. I am glad that I am not on guard.

W. H. Noyes

I see by the paper this morning that the capture of Floyd is a camp story but the paper confirms the capture of Savannah.

W. H. Noyes
Company E
12th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers