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3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery

Item LTR-9535
January 26, 1864 Martin S. James
Price: $225.00


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

James, Captain M. S.
Rcd January 30th 1864

Headquarters, Company C, 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery
Hilton Head, SC

January 26th 1864

Colonel E. Metcalf
3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery


I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of yours of the 24th inst. Lieutenant Sabin has reenlisted as Veteran Volunteers fifty-nine of the old member of Company “C”. They have all taken the oath and are now waiting for the mustering officer. Under orders and received through General Turner, I have reenlisted eighteen of the attached men. Had I received your letter yesterday noon, I should not have done so. But I have now gone so far with them that I cannot retract. The attached men seem determined not to reenlist unless it is in this company.

There are some twenty men (a good share of them attached men) whose two years expaire during the month of February that will reenlist then in this company. Should you think it best to sever the services of these attached men for the next three years? Which I think can only be done by allowing them to reenlist in this company. I will appoint Lieutenant Metcalf recruiting officer in the absence of Lieutenant Sabin. If the men now attached are allowed to reenlist in the Battery, I think you can rely on one hundred “Veterans” from Company “C”.

I think of going with Lieutenant Sabin and seventy-seven “Veterans” with all the officers are entitled to go for more than three quarters of the men that can reenlist have done so. I propose sending Lieutenant Metcalf with the next detachment. They seem anxious at Headquarters to have us go as soon as possible.

I am very thankful for your friendly advice and I believe it is not the first time you have spoken to me about my unruly tongue. I sometimes think I will cut it off. I have been sorely tried several times and no doubt have said things I ought not too. I have not to my knowledge had any unfriendly words with my officers nor have I ever reprimanded them in a sharp manner. Wherever, I have had occasion to do so, it has been done quietly and with the best of feeling. I pride myself on being much more discreet than I used to be. But there is a wide chance for improvement and I assure you Colonel I will profit by your excellent advice and I hope you may never hear of an improper remark from me again. Lieutenant Oakes was a severe trial to me and I am sure my forbearance with him does not warrant what some kind friend has said of me. Now Lieutenant Oakes is removed there is the near perfect harmony among the officers and I trust it will always be so.

General Turner has sent you a copy of the order I spoke of. I have reenlisted these men without a single promise to any of them. Although, I have many men that have offered to reenlist if they could have such and such a position. I hope the regiment will be successful in reenlisting. I begin to feel proud to think I should have the honor of commanding a “Veteran Battery”. We have Brigade drills. Captain Langdon’s Battery and my own and if I may be allowed to praise my own company once more, I shall say we beat them all to pieces in drill. In fact, Captain Langdon acknowledged it as much as you could expect a regular to. another regular battery arrived today. Lieutenant Hemmings or Colonel Hemmings’ old battery. We are all encamped together and of course there will be some little rivalry.

I should not go north if I had men enough to drill the Battery. Lieutenant Metcalf can well manage what is left since you know I have a weakness for going north and I can’t resist. I shall pick up all the recruits I can while there.

Very Respectfully, your obedient servant,

Martin S. James
Captain, etc.