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3rd & 17th Maine Infantry - Assistant Surgeon

Item MED-8089
December 22, 1863 Nathaniel B. Coleman


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

Headquarters 3d ME Infantry
December 27th 1863

Dear Ones at Home,

You will see by the above heading that I am not with my own regiment. I have been detailed to take charge of this regiment for a short time, while Dr. Hildreth of Gardiner goes home on a “leave of absence.” My coming here will prevent my visiting you next month. However, I may see you sometime before spring. I need some clothes and as I know of no one who has my measure if my for my interest to take a peep at you by and by. My health is fine. I tent with Chaplain Chase. Ed Getchell is in this regiment and is able and rugged. I have been riding most of the afternoon on my gay pony whom I have named for her gentle disposition and swift feet - Jennie Lind. I went to the Cavalry Corps Hospital to see after one of our men. He fell out on our last march taken sick and picked up by the cavalry and taken into their hospital and kept some two weeks without our knowing where he was. His company commander reported him as deserter until a day or two since he heard of his being in this hospital.

There are many cases of this kind so you see how a larger regiment gets small in a short time……I am all alone in this regiment. Had between fifty and sixty sick ones to doctor this morning. Quite a fever exists now among the old regiments about reenlisting. I think a large part of all the old regiments will volunteer for another three years if necessary. Our regiment has not been in the field long enough to come within the order.

We have been having some very cold weather indeed. No snow……Tell Vest..I shall have to be a little cautious how I dress in pictures before having pictures sent to ME. About the watch chain and buttons referred to by her, I do not feel at liberty to speak.

Only think I’ve not got a single picture this side ME save Hi’s. Hope my postage stamps will be along soon. Must borrow to send this. I’ll finish this tomorrow.

25th Wish you all a “Merry Christmas!”

George Chapman and George Hussey of the 19th made me call and took dinner with me. They both were well and contented.

Hoping to hear from you soon. I remain
Very affectionately
Yours for our Country

N. B. Coleman