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Relay House, Wed May 15th (1861)

My very dear wife.

I had not a moment in which to write yesterday as we received orders to move and I was obliged to pack all my medicines, arrange for my sick and pack my own things. The regiment left about 9. and I followed with the sick at 2:30. I sent a dispatch to the office but we never know what will be allowed to pass and what will be retained. Oh! this unnatural war. severing all the ties of life. and for what purpose to gratify the mad ambition of a few men for this I cannot but think has been the sole cause of this fraternal strife. We arrived here about 4 and after getting a lunch proceeded to the camp situated on a side hill facing the RR and about an eighth of a mile from the station. The Patapsco river here flows through a deep gorge. spanned by a fine stone viaduct for the protection of which the troops are stationed here. The country around is delightful. The view from our camp embraces a wide sweep of rolling farming lands and well wooded hills. We have no tents as yet and the men sleep on the grass. wrapped in their blankets. Merritt, Sa[u]nderson, Tapley and I built a booth by putting up two supports with a cross piece. and then putting on fence rails. one end of which rested on the cross bar and the other on the ground. This roof we covered with branches of trees. and then we hung our blankets round the three sides and thus had a very comfortable shelter. I have a rubber cloth which I spread on the ground and then wrapping myself in my overcoat and blanket rested warm. and comfortably. I did not sleep much. The situation was too novel. It was the first time I ever camped out so. Our roof was covered with apple tree boughs in full bloom. You could look through the boughs and see the sky and stars overhead. I could not help wondering where you were and whether you was thinking of me – no not thinking of me. for that I know you do all the time – but whether you was lying awake anxious about my safety. crying yourself sick because you knew we were gone and immagining for us all sorts of perils and hardships. God shield you my darling from undue anxiety. Your lot is harder than mine. I know that you are at home and safe from all but the ordinary chances of sickness. while you can never be sure where I am, or what may be my surroundings. Under these circumstances, I know that immagination will work, and that your sensitive nature suffers acutely. If this sorrow was from some other cause, and I could be with you hold you in my arms and kiss away your tears I could comfort you but I can only leave you now in the hands of that Christ who has promised to bear the burdens of all those weary and heavy laden ones, who vest their cares on him. We are in no danger here. Maryland if not wholly as heart loyal has been overawed and is now furnishing her quota of troops for the defense of the national flag. Gen Butler with the 6th Mass. is in Baltimore and probably a part of our regiment will go there. If they go I shall probably remain here at the camp with those who are left. We have a delightful location and if our tents arrive today as expected, we shall be very comfortable. I suppose by this time you are in Danvers. Do enjoy yourself, and get up your health and strength so as to have a rosy face to show me when I get back. You must give a great deal of love to all the good brothers and sisters there. Tell Ira that Mr. Bailey presented his letter but I regret not to have had an opportunity to call upon him at his quarters. If it is in my power to do anything for him in any way, I shall be glad to do it. but our regiments are separated and we may not meet during the term of service. God bless you my precious one, watch over you, comfort you, guide you in every doubt, aid you in all your trials, is the prayer of your devoted husband who loves you and kisses you

Bowman

Relay House Camp

May 16th (1861)

My darling wife

My wish is at last accomplished and we are comfortably established in camp. Our equipage came yesterday afternoon and we soon had the tent up and found ourselves comfortably housed. Or rather tented at last. Our camp is pitched on the top of the hill on whose side we were quartered yesterday. The view is superb. Our camp is on a level portion on the top of the hill. The parade ground is in front. Then the tents for the companies are pitched in rows with streets between. In the rear is the Colonels tent and behind all are my quarters on one hill and the quartermaster with all the stores on the other. I have a fine large tent for Tapley and myself and in the rear two tents placed side by side for the hospital. I was talking with some of the officers last night, and we all agreed that if we could only have our wives and babies here we could find no pleasanter place to spend a month or two. That is all my thought. If you could only be here and I could know just where you were and be able to comfort you and do for you I should be happy.

We are all well. Several of the men have had sore throats but generally all are well. I was never better in my life. It is rather hard for anyone as particular as I am to have to sleep night after night with my clothes on but these are minor inconveniences and while I feel well and sleep well I get on nicely. You ask why I don't write for the paper. If you could live here one day you would wonder how you get your letters. We have lived in a perfect Babel ever since we left home. Everyone is new to the business, and there are ten thousand questions to be asked. Everyone runs to me at all times of the day and evening. There are interruptions but the day slips by and evening comes after and passes before I have time to write a word. I have written several letters to you after 11 at night. I hope now to have more time. I have several letters to answer that ought to have been attended to since. You must excuse me to all who complain about neglect. I have not received my letter for today yet but expect it by the mail this afternoon. You must direct all my letters just as you have the others to Washington. They know there just where we are and forward our letters daily. God bless you my precious one and keep you always in his love and care. Love to all. Kisses for baby and the whole heart of

Your Bowman

Camp Essex May 17th (1861)

My precious wife.

Yesterday after my letter was sent. I went down to the depot and while glancing my Eye over a pile of baggage saw a box directed to me. It had been put by mistake with some boxes for the 8th of NY who are stationed here with us. I took immediate possession of it and had it carried to camp. Oh the pleasure of opening it and taking out one thing after another which you had packed for me. I could hear Every word you said and read Every thought while arranging them for me. The daguerreotypes were of course the first thing sought. I was disappointed at first with your likeness. Oh! what a sad face said I! but the more I look at it the better I like it. That of the baby is perfection itself. I could almost hear him crow. You may be sure that they are carried in my bosom next [to] my heart. I am glad you like the pictures I sent home. I picked out the one I thought the best and I thought it an Excellent likeness. I have several more and will send some more home. I want to save a few to Exchange with others. What trouble have you had at home? You must write me Everything for if you only hint at things of an unpleasant nature without telling me it is worse for me than if I knew the whole and besides I cannot comfort you in trouble of which I have no word. Do write me Everything that troubles you. I can at least pray for you. if I cannot hold you in my arms and kiss you. Last night Col Hinks was Elected to the command of the regiment. Elwell was chosen L. Col. and Ben Perley Poore Major. We have now a first rate list of officers and things will soon be in good condition. We are now much more comfortable than at any time since leaving home. that we have nothing of which to complain. I cant give you any hint of our future movements. We may remain here or go to Annapolis or to Fortress Munroe. If we are likely to remain in one place for any length of time where it will be possible for us to have our wives with us I think the Col will send for Mrs H. If so I think I shall send for you to come on with her. Dont place too much dependence on this however. for it may be impossible for us to make such an arrangement. If it can be done you may be sure I shall do it. I must close in a hurry as the boy is just starting with the mail. God bless and keep you and watch over you at all times is the Earnest prayer of your devoted husband

Bowman

Washington May 18th (1861)

My darling wife,

You will doubtless be surprised to receive a letter with this address supposing me all the time to be at the Relay House. The truth is I am only here for the day, having come up to the city on a little business connected with my duties. I received your letter of the 17th just as I was stepping into the cart. Your letters all come regularly and I suppose you receive mine every day. You have been counting words have you! If you attack me in that way I shall be compelled to retort by some imprudent remarks on the score of quality. Only by way of joke however for every word you send is dear to me. Your letters light up the whole day for me. I have nothing in the way of news to send you. All are well and everything at the camp goes on regularly.  Occasionally a timid or over zealous sentinel fires at a cow or stone and turns out the whole camp but there can be no real cause of alarm as there is no enemy in force enough to attack us within many miles. You may rely on it that if there is any fighting we shall be compelled to go after it. It will not come to us. I wrote to Lucilla day before yesterday and now that you are gone shall try to write home to Lynn as often as possible but never to the neglect of your daily letter. That is my first duty as well as pleasure and let them complain who will shall not be neglected. I have directed all my letters since the 13th to Danvers Plains. I suppose you went there yesterday. You must give my love to everyone who knows me there. Remember me especially to Mrs. Black. These are sad days for her. Mrs. Merritt was very much pleased that you called on her and wrote in a very flattering way of you to her husband. He seemed very much gratified also at your attention.  These kindnesses are never forgotten and in these times especially we may make for ourselves friends for life by simply doing as we would be done by.  God guide us both in the right way. Bless you my darling for all your love. I love you more than I can tell and long for the day when I can hold you in my arms either here or in our own home. Excuse this scrawl as I write in a great hurry. It will at least assure you that you are ever in the heart of your husband.

Bowman

  Camp Essex May 19th (1861)

My dear wife.

This is Sunday. but not much like the day at home. Everything is quiet in the camp but daily duty goes on as usual. The duties of a camp must be performed with the same regularity as those on board ship. All is quiet this morning but at 1. we have drill and at 3 service. I don't think much of our chaplain. He has all the disagreeable qualities of a Methodist and very little of their sociability. He is free enough with the officers but does not mingle with the men and exert that influence that he might. There can be no better opportunity for the right sort of man to do good than amidst life in a camp. I have wished a thousand times that we had a genial man like Mr Sewall who would assimilate himself to our mode of life and say the right word in the right place as he always can. I had a very pleasant day at Washington yesterday. finished up all my business satisfactorily and reached the camp again about 8. It was quite cold last night but I slept very comfortably. Let me [tell]you how I sleep. In one end of the tent we have a pile of straw about a foot deep over this we spread a blanket. then a rubber cloth. then farm blankets. I take off coat pants and vest put on a pair of those thick winter drawers. wrap myself up in my overcoat and crawl in under the blankets and sleep without a dream. We take our meals picnic fashion in the open air. The cooking is all done in the open air also. We have just got comfortable situated but I expect that we shall move in a day or so probably to Fortress Monroe. Every one says that this is a delightful place. … I have just learned that the boy is going with the mails two hours sooner than common so I must close abruptly. Love Love Love to all and kisses for the little one from your true and loving husband

Bowman

  Camp Essex May 20th (1861)

My very dear wife,

This is a dismal day.  It commenced raining last night about 9 and poured all night. I slept perfectly warm and dry however as the tent sheds rain perfectly and we have trenches dug around the outside to carry off the water that falls. The outside is dismal as I have said this morning but inside my house for the present is quite cheerful. Tapley is lying on the bed in one end reading a paper. We have a large box for a table with trunks for seats. Sa[u]nderson is writing to his wife on one side and I to mine on the other.  Just there is the rub. If in place of this pen talking I had you on my trunk with me with my arms around you and the little one with us my tent would be a palace. I suppose this is our last day here as we are under marching orders to proceed to Fortress Monroe and shall probably leave for Annapolis tomorrow, where the Mass troops will be concentrated and all leave for the fort under Gen. Butler. Where we shall go from there is a matter of uncertainty. I am afraid that my plan for having you with me will prove unavailing. But we will hope for the best. At any rate have your things so that you can come if it is possible and let us at least hope that we may be able to meet. The hope will strengthen us. 

I spent a very pleasant evening last night with the family of Mr. Donalson a wealthy gent who lives in the rear of our camp. There was quite a family of young ladies. You can hardly realize what a luxury it was after the life we have led for the past month to spend an hour in the quiet of the family circle. Oh what a joy it will be when I can feel your arms around me and know that I am with my loved ones once more. God bless you and keep you always and give you strength to bear the pain of this separation, and in his own good time united us to part never again. You have spoken in several of your last letters of my not answering your questions and of not saying anything about sending my letters to Danvers. I have received all your letters and supposed I had answered all your questions but I will look all the letters over again and answer all that I have not already. I have sent all your letters to Danvers on and since the 14th and shall do so till you write me that you are to return to Lynn. God bless you my own true wife, comfort you and so fill you with his peace that you may bear the pain of this trouble.  I love you dearly and all my prayer is for your happiness. I love you and kiss you and the baby a thousand times.

Bowman

Camp Essex, St. Dennis Md

May 21st (1861)

My darling

This is a bright clear morning after the rain. Every thing looks fresh and green. The water that fell yesterday has all drained off and the warm sun has dried up everything. I have just returned from the Relay House. where I have two patients. While there I received yours of Saturday the 18th the first from Danvers. I am glad to know that you are there for I am confident that you will be able to rest and at least be free from some of the causes of anxiety which have made your last month so anxious. Do write me fully what is the grievance which they think they have to complain of in my dear wifes conduct. I was called up this morning about 3 to amputate a mans finger. He was on guard and very carelessly placed his finger on the muzzle of the gun which by some movement of his foot was discharged. It was rather awkward work as the only light I had was from one small candle and a lantern. but I find on examining my work this morning that it was very well done. It is very remarkable considering all the circumstances of the case that we have had so few accidents and so little sickness. We have been wonderfully preserved and let us pray the good God to still preserve and defend us from harm. I am sorry that any report of attempted poisoning here has got into the papers. Even if true it should have been suppressed as only causing additional anxiety where God knows there is sufficient already. but the truth is that in my opinion. there was no ground for the report. Dr Smith I should judge is a man who would like the eclat attending the discovery of such an attempt. and perhaps was too ready to find what his imagination suggested. The truth is the man had been very intemperate had eaten pickles + in large quantities and had lain down and slept on the ground after being on guard all night. which brought on acute inflammation of the spinal cord with tetanus symptoms. This is my opinion of the case. but it would make trouble if I should express it so you had better not mention it to any one except Dr Perley. Fannies pepermint arrived safely with the exception of one fracture and was immediately eaten. I notice that you direct your letters 8th Reg MVM. You must write out the Mass as there are regiments now from Maine + Mich, and unless the direction is written in full, the letters will miss. There has been no trouble thus far but I want to guard against mistakes. We do not leave here today as I expected but shall very soon tomorrow or next day. …

Good bye for to day my darling. God bless you and have you ever in his keeping. Kiss the baby a thousand times for me. Love to all and the constant prayer for your happiness of your devoted husband

Bowman   

Camp Essex Md

May 22d (1861)

My dear wife,

Another of your precious letters has just arrived and written in excellent spirits too. It does me good always to receive a good cheery letter.  My only cause of anxiety is removed when I know that you are comfortable and in comparatively good spirits. I am so glad that you are in Danvers for I know that you will have a chance to rest body and mind. Your good sisters will suffer nothing to trouble you and the many hands to tend the baby will make it light work for you. I know you need this rest for I can see by your picture that you have grown thin. Do take care of yourself darling. and let other willing ones bear what they can of your burdens. For what you must bear alone I pray the good God to give you daily strength.

We organized our mess yesterday. The staff have a separate table.  We have two men for cooks and a gentleman of color rejoicing in the patriarchal name of Samuel to make beds, black boots, run of errands etc.  Goodrich the Colonels orderly buys all the food and arranges the meals.  The expense is equally divided among the officers. We are thus sure of our meals regularly. The rumor this mng is that we are not to leave for a week or so. So we live you see with everything packed for a start. and not knowing what a day may bring. I see by the papers that arrangements have been made for regular communication with Fortress Munroe so that if we go there you will hear regularly from me. I wrote you yesterday what disposition I had made of my pictures. If you think of anyone whom I have neglected please let me know as I have one more that I can send home. You speak in your letter of packing my box Monday. Was it sent that day? Isaac had better drop me a line when he sends anything and then I can be on the lookout for it. He telegraphed when the last was sent but I did not hear of it till after the box was received. I have just returned from dinner and dinner consisted of a chowder made with oysters in place of clams. with a dessert of bread and radishes. served on tin plates. All our table service is tin, plain but serviceable – I think if you could see me now you would prefer that I should tarry in some Jerico till my hair was grown. I went to a barber in Washington to have my hair cut. I think I must have gone to sleep for he cut off every hair and trimmed my whiskers. till my face looks as thin as a knife blade. However looks count for very little here. It is comfortable and saves trouble in the morning. I am glad my pictures were taken before this was done. Goodbye for today darling. May God bless you and keep you always.  I love you and bless you a thousand times. Hug the baby for me and give love to all. I love you. 

Bowman

  Camp Essex. Md.

May 22d (1861)

My darling wife.

This camp life is a perfect Cosmos, lacking only what constitutes according to the old record its woe and according to our Expression its perfection. women. My tent fronts one of the main streets of the camp and I can see all that takes place. Since supper, the camp has been alive with fun. It is a beautiful moonlight night and Every one is out and the spirit of fun pervades the camp. First a squad of men came by Escorting an Elephant made of shawls, and shouting A prize! A prize!! Every [one] rushed out to see the show and Each catching the joke, straightened up against the tent pole as if he had only come out to see what the prospect was for fair weather. Next a file of men creeping on all fours winds around among the tents fractioning the trail marching on an Indian war path, moving swiftly forward for a few paces, then lying flat on their faces, perfectly still for a few moments, and then creeping on upon their hands and knees. The Chaplain is having a lone feast in his tent which adjoins mine and a large company in front are singing the “Red White & Blue” So it goes. All sorts mingled together, and Each trying in his own way to pass the time and hasten the good day of return. – Thursday May 23d Still here, waiting orders. Your letter has just arrived in which you Explain the cause of the feeling at home. I suspected as much. Mother writes that she don't care for herself but Lucilla is so lonesome that I ought to remember and write to her. and Lucilla says the same thing varying the name. This is unreasonable. I have written to you regularly. They heard from me Every day. Now that you are gone I shall write once or twice a week as I have opportunity. I have done the best I could, and my only regret about it is that you have had any suffering on this account. Oh my dear one if I could have you with me always know Every sorrow and bear them myself! By nature I am better fitted to bear sorrow than you and I know if I could only fold you in my arms I could comfort you and make you happy. I love the task. I know your life has been in many respects a sad one but I can say that I never knew what real happiness was till we were married, till you nestled into my arms and gave up your happiness into my keeping. It is a holy and precious trust. God give me strength to be worthy of it and bear it well. Oh, I love you my own true wife. If I could with honor I would be with you but without a life long disgrace I could not leave my post. God grant us both strength to bear the pain of this separation and may our lives mingle once more holier and better for this parting never to be disunited more in this world or in the unknown next. I love you love you and pray always for you and our precious charge. God in mercy bless you is the prayer of your

Bowman

  Camp Essex Md, Friday May 24th (1861)

My dear wife,

Your letter of the 22nd was received this morning. Though short it was sweet showing that you was well and that all was going well with you.  We have had stirring news to break the quiet of the camp this morning. Col Ellsworth of the Zouaves was shot last night in Alexandria.[59]Our flag hangs at half mast and we are ordered to be ready to march at a moment's warning. It seems hard to believe that an officer could be shot down but such is southern honor of which the attack on Sumner was a fair sample. This will infuriate his men so that not a stone of Alexandria will be left if they get a chance to attack it. It is acts like these of pure vandalism which I fear will protract and embitter the war. I do not think from all I hear that we shall be called to leave here just at present. There is a petition in circulation among the residents here to have the 6th + 8th retained here during their term of service. The rights of outsiders have been carefully respected by the men and they perhaps fear that other men might take our places who would cause them much trouble. It would be a delightful place to spend our time in but some of our ambitious officers would perhaps chafe at such a quiet life. Now that Washington is considered safe a crowd of people are flocking there. Among others Wilson & Alley.[60] There is a good deal of feeling among the Mass. men here that all our representatives left Wash. the moment there was any danger there and are so eager now to volunteer when a larger army has been organized and all immediate personal danger is past. I have never felt the least anxiety for myself and pray God daily that you may be preserved from all anxiety on my account.  Your letters come regularly every morning. They are such a treat and comfort to me. God watch over you and keep you my precious wife. Ben Moore passed through here yesterday on his way to Washington. He did not stop but left word that he should return Saturday (tomorrow.) I presume he will spend Sunday with us. It is as hot here now as in the middle of June with us but by doing our work mornings and evenings, and resting or sleeping in the middle of the day we keep very comfortable. By the time this letter reaches you one month of our separation will be almost gone. Have faith and courage my dear one and the time will speedily come that shall restore us to each other's arms. How is the little one? Does he have plenty of sun and air! God bless you both and grant that all that life brings may make us better and happier at last. I love you and kiss you.

Bowman

  

Camp Essex Md

May 25th (1861)

My dear wife,

I fear that you will not receive this letter in the usual time as I have been delayed all day and have not been able to write in time for the noon mail. Last night we received orders to prepare for immediate departure and packed our trunks, arranged all our effects, arranged for two days rations and – went quietly to bed.  Was waked about six this morning by a pouring rain rattling on the outside of the tent. turned over and slept till eight. It cleared about 9 and since then it has been going from hot hotter to hottest.  I am lying on the straw in the rear of my tent writing on my portfolio. Our thick underclothes are very oppressive in the middle of the day but we feel the necessity for them at nights which are invariably cool. You will see of course that our orders were countermanded. We have had so many such orders that we all take them very cooly quietly. make our preparations and wait. If  five hundred green men as we were a month ago had received such an order the camp would have been perfect Babel. As it was provisions were cooked. ammunition received and trunks packed without the slightest confusion. With an exception however. Our chaplain ignorant of many of the commonest rules of civility seems to have learned thoroughly the art of making himself disagreable. He is universally disliked. He seems to think himself the most important officer in the regiment and that it is the duty or it ought to be the pleasure of every man in the regiment to wait on him.  The order has come to fall in and be ready to move in twenty minutes.  Good bye and God bless you.

Bowman

One hour later! The call was for the regiment to march to the railroad to pay funeral honours to the remains of Col Ellsworth as they passed through on the train from Washington. Now the order is to be prepared to return to Washington. So we live you see. You speak in one of your letters of an undefined prejudice against Ben P. Poore. I have only known him since he has been with us but my impressions of him are rather agreeable. He is an egotist, to be sure. But he has seen a good deal of the world and is an egotist in such a cheerful chatty way that he is a very pleasant companion. He is a thorough soldier too and knows all the details of camp life so that he is a very useful man. There is quite an enthusiasm in camp over the arrival of Joe Neal & Frank Newhall. There are men whom I would have preferred to see but the sight of any Lynn face is pleasant.  Major Poore has just brought in a big paper of strawberries which we have disposed of rapidly. Don't you envy us our living. You will see by this disjointed letter what an irregular life we lead, now a call to arms and within an hour a comfortable lunch of strawberries. It is time to prepare for evening parade so I must say goodbye for tonight. Tomorrow is a quiet day and I hope to spend it with you. God bless you and guard you my precious one.             

Bowman

Camp Essex Md.

May 26th (1861)

My very dear wife.

Another beautiful day but Excessively hot. Almost all the men of the regiment were on guard duty yesterday so that with the Exception of camp cleaning there was very little to do. This is or rather ought to be done Every Sunday morning. All the straw is removed from the tents, and Every thing arranged for inspection by the proper officers. I have just been fixing my tent, and I assure it is very comfortable, not only by contrast but in reality. A potatoe makes just as good a candlestick as silver and you can have the pleasure of a new one Every day. A tin lantern makes [a] very useful chandelier. A contented mind is the great necessity in this life. Oh if I could only have you here with me. There are times when I so long for you that it seems as if I must send for you. but it would not be possible for you to be with us. We are liable to be moved at any moment and it would be worse for you to be left alone in a strange place at a few moments notice perhaps than to remain where you are. May God bless you my precious one and give you strength to bear all your anxiety. Your place is harder than mine where it ought to be the Easier. It is yours to hear all these false rumors, these malicious inventions of unprincipled news mongers. You have to bear the pain of these long, lonely, weary nights. It makes my heart ache sometimes when I think of these things. But darling, I feel and have felt as if we were surely to be spared to Each other, and soon to be folded in Each others arms once more. God has given you to me as a very precious gift, and I love you darling as I never thought to love any one. may he watch over you and keep you in all your ways.

I have been interrupted and have only time to say good bye for to day. God bless you darling and keep you and our darling.

Your loving husband

Bowman

Camp Essex Md

May 26th (1861)

My dear wife,

This afternoon after sending my letter to you I had a little nap and then was called to make the tour of inspection with the Col and the staff.  The Col first inspects the tents of the staff and then they all accompany him in inspecting the tents of the men. To prepare for this all the straw is taken out of the tents and spread to dry. All the baggage is arranged so that it can be readily examined and the streets between the tents are all cleanly swept.  Then the men are all drawn up in line before their tents and the officers examine men tents and baggage. Everything looked well excepting the quarters of one of the Marblehead companies which was dirtier than any ship's forecastle. After inspection the two regiments were mustered for service, in the grove directly in rear of the camp. The men were seated on the ground and the officers on the piazza of Dr. Hall's house, the owner of the place. The Chaplain of the 6th preached from the text “Fight the good fight.” It was a very plain and sensible sermon. The service was concluded by Old Hundred which was very finely sung. After the service the regiment was drilled till 6 1/2 when we had tea. I have learned to drink tea altogether. The poor coffee which we had gave me the dyspepsia terribly and I changed to tea and have had no trouble since. I consider tea the healthier drink. and as the best stimulant after fatigue. Last night I went the “Grand Rounds” with the Lieut Col. We started about 11 and walked nearly three miles visiting all the sentinels, to see if they were awake and at their posts. We had a sergeant and two men for a guard. Capt Bartlett the Col and myself.[61] When we came near a sentinel he would cry Halt! Who comes there? Ans. Grand Rounds. Sent Advance, sergeant and gives the countersign. This done the sent resp Advance Grand Rounds! and we passed on to the next. The countersign is a word like Scott. Sumpter etc which is given to all persons who have a right to pass the lines. The sentinels know this word and demand it of everyone who approaches them.  If he cannot give it he is carried to the guard hut for the night, unless known to the officer of the guard. The drums are beating Tattoo, and as I am tired I must bid you good night with many prayers to the good Father to watch over and bless us. Oh if I could only fold you in my arms and pray with you and have you kiss me a God bless you, but this cannot be so I read my chapter each night. look at your picture and pray for you. I love you my precious one and kiss you a thousand times.  Monday mrg We have had a fine shower this morning which has cooled the air but it is still very hot.  Mr. Sanderson and his brother arrived this morning. I was glad to see him.

He leaves tonight for Washington. I have not seen Ben Moore yet and do not know where he is. This is one of the days when everything goes wrong. All the sick are worse and want to go home and everybody is dissatisfied with everybody else. But these days like the best have only twenty four hours, and all will be bright again soon. How I wish I could see you this morning, lay my head in your lap and be quiet and free from all anxiety for an hour or two. I don't say this because I feel blue for I do not, but there are times when the longing to see you comes over me. Thank God time moves swiftly. Only 61 days now. We still delay here but expect daily orders to move to Fortress Munroe. God bless you my precious one and guard you and our darling from sickness and sorrow. I love you and kiss you and pray for you. God bless you is the prayer of your own

Bowman

 

Camp Essex Md

May 28th (1861)

My precious wife

I have been interrupted this morning so that I have but a moment in which to write. Last night about 8 JB Alley. Mr Phillips of Salem WS Boyce + Dr Breed of Phil came up to camp.[65] I was busied with them all the Evening and this morning also. I was very glad to see them all. Mr Alley left $50.00 for the use of the hospital and the Lynn men. Mr Boyce looked as clean and fresh as usual. He promised to ride over and see you when he returned. All the good people who (have to talk about being sent home) come on here seem to feel a great (Dr I want something for my bowels) interest in you and want to do all they can to relieve you. Ben Moore came this morning and will spend a day or so (How about this hand Dr. We must settle it up to day). You see by these brackets how I have to write and how I must send only a half sheet this morning. but I could not bear to let the mail go without a word at least to assure you of the love of your own husband. Oh my darling God bless you and watch over you is the Earnest prayer of your devoted

Bowman

Camp Essex Md

May 28th (1861)

My dear wife.

It is marvellous how little good common sense you find among 800 men. not Enough to stock decently half that number. A man rushed into my tent this Evening and wanted some cologne. I told him that I had none. In about five minutes he came back flourishing a bill and demanded an Essence stating that he had sat down in something unpleasant and wanted something to take the smell out of his clothes. I told him again that we had nothing of the sort. but he would not be convinced and kept saying that he was willing to pay what I asked for it. till at last I told him that I generally meant what I said and did not wish to have my word doubted in that way. when he left in high dudgeon. This is a fair sample of the demands of the men. They seem to think that in some mysterious way the contents of a first class druggists store Extracts Essences and all have been Emptied into our medicine chests, and that we can supply at call Every article that fancy could suggest. It is the same in regard to food clothing and Every other want. This grumbling does not come from those who have been accustomed to the [ ] and [ ] of life but from those who having never Engaged Either Expect to receive both as the reward for serving their country. These things would be vexatious if they were not at the same time so supremely ridiculous. All our friends left this afternoon and the camp seems as quiet in comparison as the day after the 4th, Wed 29th

The mail has just brought me a letter from Lucilla and yours of the 27th with the copy of the Psalms. It is a beautiful book and shall go with me till I return. I will read my chapter with you Each night and DV will finish the book with you after my return. You spoke of Gen Butlers staff being thrown out of place by his promotion. He has resigned his state commission and been appointed as Major Gen in the USA. consequently his staff must be appointed from the regular army. One of his old staff has volunteered for the war and continues in commission. the others have resigned. The regimental staffs are appointed by the Colonels. We are all thrown out of place by the resignation of Col Munroe unless Col Hinks chooses to appoint us again. My box arrived safely as I think I wrote you. Usher (the paymaster) has not returned yet but we Expect him here Every train. … How I should Enjoy it today if I could be with you on the grass or the big tree on the hill and have a good frolic with the baby. Oh I do so long to see you. There is a rumor in the camp that our regiment is to be offered to the government for three years. I shall think long before I accept the position of Surgeon Even if it was offered So dont feel blue whatever rumor you might hear. I shall not go without first understanding with you nor without the probability that we can be together most of the time. God bless you and watch over you and guide us both to do that which is right and best. May god give you strength to watch over our precious little one. Good bye till tomorrow

Your husband

Bowman

  Camp Essex Md.

May 29th (1861)

My own dear wife.

Except the arrival of Usher our paymaster, nothing has arrived to day to break the dull monotony of our life here. There is a rumor tonight that we are to prepare for a start. Some extra rations cooked etc but we have had so many such reports of late that we have learned to distrust them all. Usher brought with him the money for the pay of the regiment for the fifteen days service before we were sworn into the service of the United States. I find that I have only the pay of an Assistant Surgeon, while our worthless Chaplain receives the pay of a captain of cavalry considerably more than mine. I do not think I shall accept the money but wait till I return and settle my accounts then. It is a little singular if my education does not entitle me to as much recompense as an ignorant Methodist class leader. But so the world goes. and we must float with it. If I am to receive such pay, I shall hardly make the two ends meet at the close of the three months service. I bought a camp bed today, which is so light that it can be easily carried and which will give me a very comfortable bed. It only cost $3.50. It will serve in the daytime for a very comfortable lounge. I have been filling out this evening the papers for the discharge of six men for various diseases who will be sent home the last of this week. There are a good many men here who never should have come. They break down and we have the expense of keeping them at the hospital for a week or so and then sending them home. The order to prepare to move has just been revoked so we shall have I presume a quiet night. Oh my darling if I could spend it with you in my arms. I do so long to see you and our little one once more. God bless you this night, fold you in the arms of his love and be your guardian and your guide. Good night dearest.

Thursday May 30th

One month of our captivity expires today. It seems in looking back on the time since we left home as if it was far more than 45 days and yet so many events have crowded the period. and our plans have been shifted in so rapid and exciting a manner. and yet each day passes quickly, every moment seems to bring some duty and thus almost without knowing it the day passes. I received your letter mailed the 28th this morning. … I am so glad to find that my letters do you good. It is the prayer of my life that you may be happy and that I may do you good. I love you more and more day by day. You say you yielded to my love and protection like a “tired child.“ Oh my dear wife I never knew what joy there was in this world till I folded you to my arms as my own wife and felt that there was one at last who would never doubt me, one refuge where I could always find sympathy and love. Oh! the wealth of a true wife's love. God give me grace to be worthy of it. I love you my precious one, and pray for you. God bless us and our charge. Love and a thousand kisses to you from your

Bowman

 

Camp Essex Md

May 31st (1861)

My dear wife,

Another still hot day, but we have a comfortable location and by keeping still in the middle of the day we keep very comfortable. This camp life is growing monotonous. All the novelty is past, and there is nothing now but the dull routine of daily duty. Still this very regularity of  life makes the days pass swiftly. I have not received a letter this morning. I suppose because you were busied in moving up to the farm it was delayed one mail and will reach me this afternoon or at least tomorrow morning. My new uniform is the most comfortable summer suit I ever had but I think you would be amused to see your husband stepping about in a short jacket. Sa[u]nderson Merritt and I have fatigues alike and they are quite the envy of the camp. We were talking this morning about writing letters home every day, and Merritt told Lieut. Austin of John who was writing to his lady that she ought to have an excellent temper to stand so much every day, that his wife had a very fine disposition but she would never endure anything like that.[68] Merritt will probably go home next week. His wife is to be confined soon and he will go home on business for the regiment so as to be with her. I am glad he is going for if ever a wife needs the strength of her husband's presence it is in this time of her trial.

You know this well don't you?

Our fat quartermaster has been working this morning on the distribution of a quantity of stores received from Mass such as soap, towels, combs, pens, ink + paper, blacking + brushes etc. All these things we should have had when we started but they are just reaching us. We are reveling now in strawberries, at 8 cts a quart. I should hesitate to say how many I consume a day. I wish I could get some on to you but the distance is too great. They would spoil before they reached you. Col. Hinks has sent on for his wife by telegraph this morning. The temptation to send for you to come on is almost irresistible but I do not think it prudent at present. There are no accommodations here except in private families and I am not well enough acquainted to ask any one to give you a home. Again, we are in a place where we can protect ourselves but we do not know the surroundings and we are liable to have a set of rough soldiers come here any time who would not be very comfortable neighbors. Again we have every little while an alarm.  My place then would be in this camp and I should suffer to know your anxiety and fright left alone with a little baby. I long to see you but cannot see any way in which it would be safe or proper for you to come at present. Perhaps if Isaac and Mary come on you might come with them to Philadelphia and then down to Baltimore for a day or so. You may be assured that the minute I can with safety to you and the baby I shall send for you. Meanwhile we must be patient. God bless you my darling, guard you and keep you at all times is the prayer of your own husband who loves you and kisses you

Bowman

  Camp Essex Relay House

May 31st (1861)

My own dear wife

This has been quite a stirring day in camp. I told you that part of the troops were paid off yesterday. The consequence has been that over a hundred men have run guard and most of them have been to Baltimore. One man we hear this evening is in fact in the city on a charge of an assault with intent to kill, several have been taken for petty larceny and a great many are drunk and have used insulting and irritating language to the citizens there. This in the present excited state of things could not be allowed. Slighter causes than this have provoked serious enmities. Col. Hinks ordered the stoppage of the trains from Baltimore and the arrest of every man in the uniform of the regiment. We have now two tents swarming with prisoners and many more to come. Tomorrow they will all be tried by court martial and severely punished. Col. Hinks made an admirable speech to the men at evening parade, telling them that he had endeavored to treat them all like men and equals, demanding only the respect due to his rank as commanding the regiment, but certain men had abused his confidence, and brought disgrace on Mass and the good name of the regiment, and by the living God it should be stopped, that the army regulations should be strictly enforced, and every offender tried by court martial and that he should not hinder the execution of any sentence unless notoriously unjust. At the close of his speech the men gave three cheers for the Col and three more for discipline. There seemed the best disposition among the majority of the men to sustain the officers in subduing the evil disposed, and considering the number there is only a small number who really are disposed to do wrong. I am glad this thing has happened as it will bring matters to a crisis and put a stop to what has been a curse ever since leaving home – lack of discipline.

Saturday morning –

Some one is to carry this mail an hour and a half before the train so I have no time to write a word. Good morning + God bless you my own wife.

Bowman

Yours of the 30th received

  Camp Essex Md

June 1st (1861)

My precious wife,

I am setting in my hut alone this evening. Tapley has gone away for an hour or so. It rains fast and the patter patter on the hut sounds pleasantly. It is soothing and disposes for sleep but I cannot go to bed without a chat with my darling. We had a minor show of war this afternoon. The two regiments with the Boston Flying Artillery marched to a long field about a mile and a half from camp and spent about two hours in military movements. It was hot work but all seemed to enter into the spirit of this thing and to enjoy themselves. I received on our return the most acceptable present possible – a letter from you. the second to-day. in payment for a dry day yesterday. …

The stand taken by Col. Hinks yesterday has done good. There is a better state of feeling in the camp and I have no doubt but that things will go on more smoothly. We are endebted for much of this improved feeling to Maj. Poore. He is an old army officer and helps to keep the whole moving in good order. Nothing but experience could convince one thoroughly how absolutely necessary is the routine of military life. It is hard for some of the men who have always been masters of their own lives and could go where they liked to submit to the restraint of passes etc. but all the well disposed see more and more the necessity of stern rules and yield to them gracefully. I feel a just pride in belonging to a regiment which has done so much and hope for the honor of the Reg. & the state that our name shall wear no stain and I do not believe it will. I fear from reading your letter of Wed that I have been giving you rather a somber view of our camp life. If so I hope to correct it. As a general rule everything goes on well. occasionally some little thing goes wrong. and perhaps tinges my letters. but I should be sorry if I have conveyed an idea that my situation is unpleasant. My patients are as a general rule well satisfied. I have not had an unpleasant word with one of the officers and think I have made ten friends where one has gone away dissatisfied. If things go on as well during the remainder of the term. I shall be perfectly satisfied. Good night my own loved one. I am going to read in the beautiful little book you sent me. have a good look at you and the little one and go to bed, to pray for you. May the good Father keep us in all our ways, and in his own good time unite us never to separate. Love and kisses.

Sunday mrn'g –

We have just finished parade and inspection. It cleared last night and this morning has been excessively hot but is clouding up now for a shower this afternoon. How I should love to be out under the tree with you. I could lie there all day without moving if I could have you with me. God bless you my precious one and give us both strength to bear for each other's sake the pain of this waiting and may it make us better fitted for life and for adding to each other's happiness. Let us pray always for each other and for ours. I love you and kiss you.

Bowman

  Camp Essex Relay House Md

Sunday June 2d (1861)

My precious wife.

Your letter of the 30th arrived this evening in which you detail your occupation for the day. Let me describe mine for today. I was waked about 5 3/4 by two men for medicines, supplied them and then dressed and washed.  At 6 – came sick call and I was busied till 7 1/4 when we had breakfast after which I was busiest with my patients and arranging my tent till 9 when we went out for review and inspection which lasted nearly two hours. I finished your letter and whiledtill dinner. After dinner I smoked and then slept till nearly 4 when we dressed for service, which was held before the two regiments in the grove just as a week since. This is a charming place and commands a fine view. The men stacked their arms and lay down in ranks on the ground. Our chaplain preached a very excellent sermon. He seems to be improving. He is getting better used to camp life, and much more sociable. After service we all went over to the other camp for a half hour. On our return had tea and now I am here writing to you with Tapley and Lieut Custer talking on all sorts of topics and rather confusing my ideas.[70] You say in your letter that you never knew so long a month as May '61. I fancy there are a great many “war widows” and widowers who could sympathize with you fully. The same story comes from and goes to all. Ah if we could see one another! I have made some very pleasant acquaintances among the officers here with whom I can sit down and have a good chat. It reminds me of old college times and in more respects than one. There is no such thing as privacy here. We might as well live in a glass house as in a tent. Everybody can see and hear all that goes on. Dressing is a grand burlesque on the mysteries of the toilette. In fact shirt drawers and boots has been adopted as an airy any graceful morning costume since the thermometer has become ambitious. I think that in spite of its discomforts this camp life agrees with me. I was never healthier in my life, am brown as a berry and rejoice in a splendid crop of freckles. I have lost some flesh but have plenty left to carry about on a march. These hot days I am sorry to say that this rough life is rendering me reckless of my personal adornment. Perhaps absence of all mirrors has something to do with it. Where you cannot see yourself from one weeks end to another it makes very little difference whether your hair is combed or not. Sometimes it is forgotten all day. Think of this in the hero of two and three baths a day.  I almost envy you the comfort of your country life. I think its stillness would be grateful to me now. I could be contented anywhere if I had you and baby with me. How I long to see the little one. His picture is perfection itself. I can almost hear him crow. I like your likeness a great deal better than I did at first. It does not look so sad. What do you mean by speaking of grey hairs? It won't do for you to grow grey. That is my prerogative. Are you much troubled with neuralgia? I have been afraid of that. Nursing is a great tax upon anyone's strength and I fear that you are suffering for baby's benefit. You must promise me to drink ale or porter every day and to eat plenty of fresh eggs with brandy. This is absolutely necessary for you. I don't like the idea of you washing the baby's clothes. The handling and nursing of 18 lbs of humanity is work enough for you. Don't overexert yourself I beg of you but get all the benefit which good country air and diet can offer you. It is late and I must retire. God ever bless you my precious one and guard you in all your ways. I love you more and more and kiss you and thousand times.

Monday June 3d

Another intensely hot day. A perfect day where everything sticks to you as if it was glued. I am going into Baltimore for a few hours with Major Poore Merritt and several others. I will write you this evening what I see.  Meanwhile good morning my darling. God watch over guard and protect you.  Love to all and kisses for yourself and baby.

Bowman

  Camp Essex Md

June 3d (1861)

My Ever dear wife.

I returned from Baltimore to find your letter of Friday awaiting me. I had a very pleasant day. Went to a photographer and had some more pictures taken to Exchange with the officers who are all having theirs taken. I shall have quite a gallery. They will be interesting mementoes of the war. As soon as I receive them I will send you one so that you may see if I have altered any since I sent you one from Washington. After having our pictures taken we took a hack and went down to fort McHenry. which commands Baltimore. This is the fort the attack on which suggested to Keys the “Star Spangled Banner.” I plucked a rose which I Enclose. Have you read Dr Howes letter to the Governor published in the Journal of last Thursday (30th) reporting the general sanitary conditions of the troops.[71] I was indignant when I read it. A cold blooded comparison of the condition of our men with European conscripts is not what he was sent to write. Some of his statements are true but it is a poor return for Mass to make for the privations and sufferings of her sons, to sneer at their statements as whining complaints. It was very well for him to travel to Washington walk through the quarters after Yankee ingenuity had made them comfortable. dine at State Expense at Willards and then sit down with a full belly and compare our condition with his own in Greece whom he sent voluntarily, but if he had been called from his home at an hours notice for a forced march of 11 days without a chance to wash or change his clothes during that time, had rubbed his nose on the dirty decks of the Marylands, had made a forced march through an Enemys country which Scots soulfor fatigue + privation was unparalleled, and then had been compelled to sleep for weeks on damp marble floors or on these malaria-haunted fields without blanket or overcoat as some of our men had to do. he might find it a very different thing. What is in a name. Call a man a soldier and it makes no difference from what station in society he may have come. some people seem to think he ceases to be human and becomes a mere machine to be speculated about and Experimented upon at pleasure. I pity our Solons when some of these machines get home and are unmuzzled. We officers live well Enough but some of the men have found this life a bitter change from home. But Enough of this. The letter stirred my blood and my indignation found vent in this form. I love to write to you just as I should sit down and chat at home. You speak of my Enlisting for a longer time. Dont feel sad about that. If this regiment should volunteer as a whole which I consider very doubtful all the officers must be appointed by the Governor and my services might not be accepted. As I wrote you before I shall not take any steps myself but leave circumstance to decide for us. Oh I do so long to see you to night fold you in my arms. and love and kiss you. God bless you my darling Good night

June 4th rainy but have nothing to do out of doors so keep comfortable Am in a hurry for mail so must say goodbye. God bless you

Bowman

 

Camp Essex near Relay House

June 4th (1861)

My darling wife,

It has rained all day in torrents. Our tents have shed the water very well but everything has been damp and sticky. We have spent the day in housecleaning, i.e. sweeping the ground and arranging anew our effects.  Our beds came today so we have put the box which serves for a table in one end of the tent, placed our beds on each side and floored the middle with old box covers.  We have a line stretched from one end of the box to the other on which to hang towels swords haversacks etc.  The longer we stay here the better off as we [are] adding some little conveniences to our quarters every day.  The fresh news I heard this morning was of the death of SA Douglass and I went out to find the flag at half mast in commemoration of this really sad event for with all his sad life he had thrown his talents and vast influence on the right side.[72] Death loves shining markers. Twice since we have been here has our flag drooped in sad memory of … Col Ellsworth. Today it is draped for Douglas and tomorrow will hang at half mast in memory of Col Kelly.[73] Noble sacrifices in this most holy war for the blood which cements is as hallowed as that which first builds.  Mrs. Hinks arrived this afternoon having left Boston last night at 8 1/2.  I have not seen her yet.  She brought her little boy with her.  The Col. brought him to supper with him and I had quite a chat with the little fellow, showed him your likeness which he recognized at once saying that he had seen you at his mother's.  At Fort McHenry yesterday I procured from one of the officers a piece of the rope with which John Brown was hung which I thought might interest some of our abolition brothers and sisters to see.  I enclose a fragment, having sent the remainder to Billy Keene 

As the summer comes on with its delightful weather how I should love to spend it with you.  If I could only find out anything definite about our movements, could know that we were to remain here for any length of time, I would have you here with me.  I long to see you to hold you in my arms and love you and kiss you, and comfort you.  I wish you would find out if there is any prospect that Isaac and Mary would come on and let me know.  Perhaps you might come on with them for a few days even if you did not remain.  Do you feel well enough to undertake the journey if it is practicable?  Let me know what you think of it.  I don't want to excite expectations which may never be realized, but if it is prudent I mean to have you with me for a time at least.  Good night and God's blessing on you my own precious one.  I love love love you and pray for you and our darling little baby.

Wed mng.  It rains as hard as ever, a cold easterly storm which makes everything blue but there is one thing it cannot last long.  God bless you my darling and keep you in all your ways.

Bowman

 

Camp Essex near Relay House Md

June 5th (1861)

My precious wife.

We have had all day a cold driving Easterly storm. Everything out of doors has been as cheerless as possible but I have kept busy within and so the day has slipped pleasantly by. I have been writing a letter to the Reporter in reply to the report of Dr. Howes of which I wrote you a day or two since. I wish you would get a copy of the Journal (30th) and cut the article out and also keep this letter when it is published in the Reporter.[74] I received your letter this Evening of Monday. Did you write one Sunday? If so I have not received it yet. You speak of having been sick! Was you so sick as to be unable to write? I shall be anxious till I know that you are wholly recovered. I cannot bear to think of you being sick and in pain and I unable to do anything for your comfort. I feel as if I must have you with me and long for some light to show me what to do. We are as much perplexed by rumors as Ever. Unless you could come with some one who could look out for you and see that you was safe I should not be willing to have you here. Of one thing you may be sure. I long to have you here as much as you do to come. and as soon as I can devise some practicable plan will send for you. Mrs Hinks spent the forenoon at camp this morning in spite of the rain. I had quite a chat with her. She was sorry that you was not able to come on with her. Her little boy was with her. We are going to get a uniform for him and make him a corporal. He will be a pleasant plaything for us. It rained so hard that Mrs H stayed and dined with us. The arrangement of our tent … did not suit us so we have moved back to our old position thus. Can you imagine from this how our tent looks.

letters_of_dr._bowman_breed_image_2.jpg

Oh if you could only look in and see me. and I could fold you once more in my arms. but this cannot be yet. and I must go to bed alone. It is a cold wet night outside but you would be surprised to find how warm these tents are Especially after they are soaked with water they are almost air-tight. I have just read the XXXVI psalm.[75]Let us hope that we may soon have the joy of reading one together. God bless you my own wife. I love you and kiss you a thousand times. Kiss the darling little one for me and remember me kindly to all the good people.

Thurs mrng

It rained all night and rains this morning as if had not for a year before. We shall have another long disagreable day but must make the best of it. The morning mail is just leaving so I so I must say good bye. Love and kisses from your own

Bowman

   

Furlough
Camp Essex June 7th (1861)
Col EW Hinks
Dear Sir

I hereby request leave of absence for Eight days to go to Mass for the transaction of some private business which requires personal attention.

Bowman B Breed
Surgeon 8th Reg
Approved for reasons given
Edw. W. Hinks
Colonel 8th Regt. M.V.M.
Approved
Edward F Jones
Colonel Mass Sixth
Commandant of Post
 

Camp Essex

June 13th (1861)

My own dear wife

You will see by the date of this that I am here safely. I had a very pleasant visit to Sinclairs. He went to the station with me and saw me off. I had a comfortable berth in the sleeping car and rested pretty well. I checked my trunk through to Baltimore and so had no trouble with luggage. We reached N.Y. about 5 and I went to the Astor for breakfast. I found a very pleasant Lieut of one of the NY Regiments for a companion from NY and the day passed quickly. We found Baltimore perfectly quiet. I reached the camp about 5 and found Every thing much as when I left it. They all seemed glad to see me. There has been but one accident since I left. A drunken man rolled down the bank and cut his lip badly. We have two mild cases of fever, with these Exceptions all are doing well. Matters seem to be in confusion here. Capt Briggs has left as I told you to be Col of the 3d Reg. Capt Devereux will probably be appointed Lieut in the Army and Col Hinks has made application to be reinstated in his old position.[77] which he resigned to take this place. I don't know what is to be the result. One thing is certain. Our regiment has been most shabily treated by the State authorities. God only knows the future. but he has guided us thus far darling and I have faith that our path will be made plain before us. Mrs Hinks seemed very glad to see me, inquired particularly for you and was very sorry that you had not returned with me. I went down with her to see the Evening parade and played with Bartie, loading his bean gun for him. I love children but I cant make any seem like the little one that has papa's place to night. Oh my own precious wife God in heaven bless you, comfort you sustain you in all your sorrows quiet you in all your doubts and do you good. I have just made up our bed with sheets. They will be a great luxury for us. Again God bless you and good night my darling.

Bowman

 

Camp Essex. Md

June 14th (1861)

My own dear wife

It is late but I want this letter to go in the morning and so trespass a little on this hour of sleep for a chat with my darling. I have been very busy all day. A house near the camp has been engaged for a hospital, and this mng I went over to look on it.  It is very pleasantly located in the middle of a grove and seems to me like a healthy place. Dr Smith as my senior has been appointed Post Surgeon with general charge of the hospital, but I had a very plain talk with Col Jones this morning telling him what Dr Smith had done to me already – that I was perfectly willing to accord to him all the deference due to age and the fact that his commission was about 6 days older than mine, but that any violation of professional courtesy as infringement on my rights would be resisted.[79] He promised that everything should be made agreeable if possible. I think he will do all in his power to have things move quickly. He has too many enemies now to afford to make more. With the exception of this change things remain precisely as when I left. We have been flooring our hut today and cleaning up. I have stowed all our bottles and medicine into the trunk which I brought on with me and now the tent looks clean and neat. Col Hinks was not very well today and spent it with his wife. I went over there for an hour and had a pleasant call.  He feels hurt at the manner in wh the Gov is filling up all the appointments at home and has applied for the position which he resigned. He has not received an answer yet. He ought to have a regiment to the exclusion of some of the fourth rate politicians who have received them. Several men have been here of influence at home and they all expressed indignation at the way in which we are treated – proved men supplanted by beardless boys with aristocratic names as antecedents. Six weeks soon slips away however and the accounts can be settled. I am writing with your picture open before me. If it could only speak! or I could hold you in my arms tonight. There are times when the outside world seems dark and the prospect clouded but so long as the inner world of our united lives is bright, can we not my precious one meet life trustfully, leaving ourselves in the hands of the Good Father? To his kind watch I commend you this night with our little one.  May God watch over, keep and bless you my darling is the prayer of your loving husband.

Bowman

Camp Essex Md.

June 15th (1861)

My own precious wife

This has been a very hot day. over 100 [degrees]. I have kept quiet however and as cool as possible. I am getting quite into the Southern custom of a siesta after din[n]er, disregarding all my old prejudices against sleeping in my clothes. etc. It was a curious sight this afternoon to see the men lying around in the grove. in all sorts of costumes. and positions seeking coolness where coolness there was none. I have been called today to see two old women who were sick! Poor whites. I took pay from one by using one of her rooms to enjoy the luxury of a good bath. About 5 I went over to our new hospital to arrange the rooms. This evening has been a lively one. The men from the two regiments have been indulging themselves in all sorts of sports. parading around with an elephant. They had also a giant parade. A dozen stout men carried others on their shoulders. The riders wearing a blanket which covered the head of the bearer. Even in the moonlight they looked like soldiers. ten feet high. Thus arranged they went through the drill. After parading for awhile they all went to the Col quarters. and cheered him. He spoke in reply and made a fine speech. Col Elwell was then called for who excused himself from making a speech by introducing your husband. who happening to feel in the mood gave them a little talk which was very kindly received. I told them about the operation for the transfusion of blood in which blood is taken from the arm of a strong man and injected into that of the patient comparing this to the blood shed in Baltimore rousing the life and vital energies of the nation … and backed into the tent.[80] I received your precious letter this morning. It was very kind of the doctor to carry you to ride Few know except those intimate with him what a big heart fills the doctors breast. Oh my own true wife if I could only fold you in my arms to night have one long look into your eyes and if there was any of sorrow or trial there to comfort you as I know I can I should be happy. I am glad to think that you are in Danvers tonight. I feel more comfortable, surer that you are in good spirits when I know you are there with our good father or our mothers and sisters. I have perhaps never told you how much I love them all but you have seen it. God bless you this night my own dear wife. comfort you and keep you and our little one for the arms, love and life of your own

Bowman

 

Camp Essex Md

June 16th (1861)

My very dear wife.

While we were out at morning parade a little shower came up which cooled the air so that we have had a most delightful day. I was busy at the hospital till noon. After dinner I slept an hour and then dressed for service which was conducted by a minister from Washington and certainly was duller than Mr Clarks feeblest Efforts. Two lieutenants from Fort McHenry took tea with us

Martial law is to be proclaimed tomorrow in Baltimore. This supersedes the civil law. All crimes are tried by court martial. No one is allowed in the streets after a certain hour of the Evening without a pass. I do not anticipate any trouble as the cause of this arrangement but affairs have been managed poorly by Cadwallader and Banks is introducing stricter rules.[81] You will be glad to know that the rebels have abandoned Harpers Ferry. This may cause some change in our position but I do not anticipate any. I think we shall be kept here till we are ordered home. I forgot to tell you yesterday about Bartie Hinks. He wears a full suit made in Baltimore of blue flannel with stripes on the pants shoulder straps. belt and a little tin sword. Yesterday at morning parade Major Poore proposed that he be elected Corporal of the regiment which was received with three cheers. He feels quite proud of his position. and tonight when his mother undressed him asked him weather corporals kissed their mothers when they went to bed. It is proposed to celebrate the 17th by a salute in the morning an Extra good dinner and to have a band to play for us in the Evening. Mrs Hinks and Mrs Devereux leave tomorrow or Early this week. Don't you think that you Enjoyed my visit home more than you would have coming out here with all the fatigue of travelling, and the change of climate for the baby. I long to see you as much as Ever, but those few days of bliss will make the time fly faster which shall unite us. I received this morning yours of the 14th. You write much more cheerfull than before you saw me. God bless us both in this separation comfort us. and guide us in all our ways.

Monday 17th

It rained last night and this morning is raw and cold. The men are just firing the morning salute which Echoes grandly among these hills. There is some prospect of a visit from Gen Banks to day. We are called to breakfast so good bye till night. I love you and kiss you

Bowman

 

Camp Essex Md

June 17th (1861)

My precious wife,

This has been a long day. We were waked early this morning by the firing of the salutes. At half past nine the line was formed and we were marched about a mile to a large field where we were reviewed by General Morse of Mass who with his staff was here for a day or two.[82] We remained on the field till about 1. At three we were marched to the Relay House to salute the first Mass Reg on their way to Washington.

This evening a band hired by the officers has been playing for the amusement of the men. The camp has been lively enough all day. Your note of the 15th was received this afternoon. I had a fine magnolia blossom which I intended to send to you but it was too long to put in a letter. They are abundant about here but soon fade. I feel very tired tonight after my tramp today I had to go down the hill to see a woman who was sick and I assure you it is no small job to climb this steep. You must excuse this line it will at least assure you of the love and continual remembrance of your true husband.  Kiss the baby for me and believe how much I love love love you.

Bowman

  Camp Essex MD

June 20th (1861)

My own dear wife.

I have been very busy this morning finishing a letter to the Reporter which you will see next week. and it is now late but I could not sleep without my daily chat with my own dear wife. You don't know how much good your letter of the 18th received this evening did me. It was so brimful of love for me. faith in me. and trust in the good God to guide our steps. it told me so plainly that something of this dread aching pain had been lifted from your spirit that I blessed God for it. You speak of my feeling of disappointment at the prospective dismemberment of the Regiment. You perhaps can hardly realize the feeling of almost personal attachment which we have for the name and form of our regiment. or the pleasure that the announcement that our name and number was to be continued to us gave us here when read this morning. It is something like the feeling one cherishes towards the old homestead. or any place consecrated by the joys or sorrows of his life. If the old place should pass into other hands who should claim all the improvements on it as their doing. would it not be hard to bear? Just so wether connected or not with the regiment. I feel that I have done my share in earning its history. consequently my regret at the condition of things when I wrote happily changed since. This had little connection with my future prospects save that if no other opening presents itself than that I should go as Surgeon of a regiment I should like to be with old friends. I don't think Col Hinks will take his place in the army. but every thing is unsettled. Merritt has been for a long talk and consumed the major portion of the little time I had in which to write. He sends his respects and says if that urchin is old enough. tell him to kiss the looking glass for him. Things go on in about the accustomed way here. You will see in the paper my account of our flag raising etc. You must pardon this broken note. I am tired but could not sleep without telling you how much I love you and long for you. Hug baby for me God bless you darling. Love and a thousand kisses from

Your devoted husband

Bowman

 

Camp Essex MD

June 20th (1861)

My own dear wife.

I want you tonight [ ]a little genuine sympathy [ ] those disagreeable things [ ] occurred today which although one may know that he had done no wrong still makes him blue and uncomfortable. In brief some camp stools came this morning for the use of the hospital. My tent is crowded every mrn'g by men for advice. I thought I would like a couple of these stools and so brought them along. Dr Smith sent me this note. “Surgeon Breed. will return that camp stools to the Hospital immediately. N Smith Surg Post.” I considered the letter insulting [ ] it up letting the messenger [ ] his answer. This note was sent on an open sheet of paper by the hands of a private. I went to see him after dinner and asked him what he meant by sending me such a note. (Dr. Smith) said that my taking those stools was robbing the sick to [ ] provided for their use [ ] private benefit. that if [ ] not return them immediately he would have me arrested [ ] stealing. etc etc. He is a very [ ] man and abused his ephemeral position to treat me like a thief. To my reply that I wished them for the acomodation of the sick at my tent answered that it was no use to plead ignorance. that I knew better etc. You can imagine the sort of small minded vulgar man. For myself and with our regiment such abuse goes for nothing. but a story that I used the supplies of the sick for my private use will find mo[ ] believers. who will be glad [ ] any such story. This is [ ] make me blue and [ ] I could have your sympathy and kisses. These troubles vanish like smoke within the home circle of a wifes arms. It is [ ] thing for me to be called [ ]. but let this all pass [ ]ll soon be through with [ ] if ever I am to occupy [ ] post again it shall [ ] the regular service where [ ]ghts are well defined. I [ ] almost sorry that I have written this to you. but I want you to tell me everything and confidence should be met by confidence. This affair will soon blow over. and I shall forget the whole thing. My boy did not arrive till last night and did not reach the camp till this evening. We received an order this evening that no more letters can be franked [ ] will be a hard thing [ ] many of these poor [ ] who have not a cent of money and will reduce our mail materially I presume however Congress will pass a law. giving the franking to an officer connected with [ ] regiment. The Colonel [ ] flag in Washington [ ] which was hoisted [ ] The regiment formed [ ] and saluted it with [ ] and then sang the Sta[r Spangled] Banner. We are still hav[ing] delightful weather though very warm. There are a great many cases of light diarrhea but they are easily controlled. I almost regret this letter now that it is written. I fear that this little matter will trouble you more than it has me. Dont think of it. All will come right God bless and keep you my precious wife comfort your loneliness. and hasten the good time that shall united us o[nce] more. Kiss the baby. With [ ] to all. Your

Bowman

 

Camp Essex Md

June 21st (1861)

My precious wife

This is one of those delightful moon light evenings when I feel as if I should love to have all those I love most about me, and sit quietly or talk with low voice of whatever the varying mood of the hour might suggest. I know well that you are sitting at the old home, thinking of me reviewing the past and the way our lives were united. There were sad weary years for you my darling and I know you will weep as you recall them, but looking back over them all, I bless God for them. Nothing else perchance would have taught me to value aright the wealth of love you have lavished upon me. It gives me supreme joy to feel tonight that you know that this love is in measure returned. Oh I do love you my darling. Around you and the little one that nestles in your bosom centers all the hope and joy of my life. It is for you I would labor and bear the pain of separation even if in the end I could secure to you the honor I seek. We bear an honored name and my ambition is to transmit it at least unsullied. Pray with me darling that as our lives have been ordered in the past so we may be guided by the kind hand of our Father and led in the right way. Your precious letter of the 19th came this afternoon. Let me answer its questions seriatum. I cannot understand how my letter was mailed at Baltimore. All my letters are sent in the same way. I have left my affair with Dr. Smith with the Colonel to do what he thinks proper. I hope it will drop.  I see very little of him and say less to him. It is decided and very properly that our regiment will not be accepted as at present organized but I have no doubt but Col. Hinks will have the opportunity on our return to reorganize the regiment for the war. The improvement in drill since we left home has been wonderful and so many competent observers have witnessed it that it is beginning to be appreciated at home. Col. Hinks has not received an army appointment yet but wishes one in case the regiment is mustered out of service. … God bless you my precious one fold you in his arms, and fill your heart with the comfort of his presence. I love, pray for and kiss you a thousand times

Bowman

Camp Essex Md

June 22d (1861)

My own precious wife.

We have another beautiful Evening after an Equally delightful day. Everything has gone smoothly and I feel in Excellent spirits. I have had two men quite sick. One of them is decidedly better and the other no worse. so that I feel Encouraged. It is perhaps too much to Expect but I should be happy if I could return to Mass without having lost a man by accident or disease. There are some men here with chronic diseases who never should have left home. and it is hard work to keep some of them along and make them comfortable. but my report has been a clean one so far and I hope it will continue so. Col Hinks has gone to Washington to day. will return tomorrow. I do not know his business. Major Poore is laid up at his home in Georgetown with a sprained foot so that our “mess” is very quiet. You will see by the Reporter next week that we have received a splendid flag from the lady friends of the NY 7th. It is proposed that the Essex Co ladies return the compliment. Your precious letter of the 20th came this afternoon. You say your letters are cold. I dont find this so. Every word breathes of the true confiding love of my dear wife. Every page shows the heart which you give to me. Precious treasure! God grant that I may wear it worthily. We are beginning to count the days and to anticipate the glad one of return by all sorts of speculations as to where we shall go and how, weather we shall go through New York or straight to Boston etc. You speak of my coming home. Your letters breath a differant tone now from what they did before I saw you. They are so much more cheerful and I assure you that I too feel differantly. We have seen one another and were happy and this happiness diffuses itself over the time of separation. How I should have Enjoyed seeing baby in his bower. the little one. I am afraid I make too much of an idol of that child. Let us pray for grace to do aright by him. I want to be with you and share the burden of this responsibility. This is a peerless gift which our kind Father has Entrusted to us. May it receive no wrong at our hands. Let us always pray that we may be led aright. God bless you my own true wife, comfort you in your loneliness and hasten the day that shall unite us. Kiss baby for papa. With love prayers, and a thousand kisses and kind remembrances to all our friends.

Your loving husband

Bowman

 

Camp Essex Md.

June 23rd (1861)

My own dear wife,

We have had another very hot day. with very little air. The flies which swarm here drive away all thought of sleep. All day long there is a running fight with flies. Evening continues the battle but with a change of combatants. The light attracts the insects and in a half hour one could stock a museum from the specimens which hover on the table, flit about the candle or poke themselves into your face. It is after 12 and I have been trying all the evening to write. I intended to have written a good long letter but there has been a stream of people all the evening and there has been most of the time so lively a discussion that I could not write. Your letter of the 21st came to day. I am sorry to hear that baby has been sick but do not feel anxious. These little ones are liable to such troubles. Your prescription was good, but get along with as little medicine as possible. You ask about my picture. I think it abominable. I was very hot when it was taken, nervous withall and Major Poore was cracking his jokes in the room, all which accounts for that insufferable grin. The pictures of the hut have not come yet, but are promised tomorrow. I am sorry to send such an apology but have no time to write more. Will send a long letter tomorrow. God bless you this night my precious one, guide you, comfort you and give you peace. I love you and kiss you a thousand times.

Bowman

  Camp Essex Md

June 24th (1861)

My own dear wife

This has been a day of rumors. Yesterday the report was spread that we were to leave for home within a week. The report sprang from this Col Hinks went to Washington and received from Wilson Cameron etc the promise of raising a regiment in Massachusetts from the Eighth, adding recruits enough to fill the companies.[85] So that is settled. The regiment is to go for the war, but we are all coming home first, probably about the middle of July, from the 15th to the 18th. Many of the old officers will not return. Chandler and Merritt will probably command the two companies from Lynn.[86] The regiment will be thoroughly equipped, and furnished with every comfort. So you may see me sooner than we anticipated. I presume I should stand this last chance to be appointed Surgeon but I shall not decide in the matter till I have been home and we are both convinced that it is best. It would be for many reasons a very desirable place for me, but you and the baby draw closer than ever the home bonds, and if I can leave honorably and secure a decent living at home there shall be my place. I am tired of roaming. This war business is about the only thing that I had not seen, and after all my wanderings home and my dear wife can seem pleasanter than ever. But I must have business, a home and be able to live in some degree like those I have always associated with. We shall leave here within a few days probably for Fort McHenry in Baltimore Harbor where we shall remain till we start for home. Dont change the direction of your letters, till I write however. Such are the rumors which have made our camp buzz like a beehive today. Of one thing I think we may be certain we shall have a fortnight less to wait for each others arms and love. Isn't this almost equivalent to another visit home? I don't think you need to write another letter, do you? As to the future let us pray that we may be guided aright and that our way may be opened so plain before us that there may be no mistaking the guidance of our Father. Col Hinks saw Gen Banks today who told him that a Hospital would not be established at present. So that chance fades. Nonetheless I still feel confident that some way will be opened before us. Tapley would like to have me go into the druggist business with him, and thinks that with a moderate capital a good profit might be made but except as a silent partner it does not strike me very favorably. I haven't written this letter to give you the blues and set you to thinking. I do not meself. Here I cannot decide, and will not trouble myself about it because it would do no good. Dont get sad darling. Never despond. God who has blessed us in uniting us will lead us in the best way. Only let us daily seek his guidance trust each other and our interests in his hands. God bless! bless you my precious one. I love you more and more, and long for the day when I can fold you in my arms once more and comfort you. Kiss baby and accept the whole heart of your

Bowman

 

Camp Essex Md

June 25th (1861)

My own dear wife

In writing last night of certain proposed changes in the Lynn companies if the regiment was reorganized. I said that Chandler + Merritt would probably command the two Lynn companies. There is no certainty about any of these things. and you had better not mention anything I write home to you. as it might make trouble. Col Hinks expected to start for Boston tomorrow morning but his leave of absence has been cancelled by Gen Banks for what reason I do not know. There are rumors that Washington is again menaced but I do not credit them. It would certainly be good policy on the part of the rebels but I cannot conceive that they have the ability to execute any such plan. They cannot feed a large body of men in any one place. and must scatter their forces or starve. Many of these stories are for Buncombe, to frighten members of Congress. I wrote you that Capt Devereux would probably be Lieut Col under Hinks. I understand to day that he is to command one of the new regiments to be raised in Mass. Probably he will have the new one to be raised from Essex Co and Col Hinks the reorganized 8th. This question of reenlistment is coming nearer every day. but no definite settlement will be allowed till all have returned to Mass. The governor is very justly unwilling to permit any man to be enlisted where there is the slightest show of coercion. I wrote to Mr Baker to day. asking if there was any probability of my receiving an appointment at one of the State Alms Houses. If I can get that or some other appointment I shall certainly remain at home but it is idle to think of going to Lynn to sit down and fold my hands. Oh pray for me darling that God will guide our steps. and direct us in this crisis of our lives. I have thought till I can think no more and must wait the moving of events. … I am glad to know that baby is well. Darling! How I should love to fold him with his mama in my arms tonight. Oh I love love love! you my precious one. My home and my life is where you are. Let us pray together to be led. aright. Let us leave all our doubts and sorrows to the ear of him. who hears the feeblest prayers praying for faith faith and patience. I long for the day when I can fold you to my heart. and let you know how much I love. read your happiness in your eyes and feel the heart beat of my own true wife. I love you and kiss you

Bowman

 

Camp Essex Md

June 26th (1861)

My own dear wife.

The camp is very lonesome tonight. All the sixth and half of our regiment have gone to Baltimore leaving about 400 to guard this place. Col Hinks went with them and I wanted to go very much and he at first ordered me to get ready. but as the whole of the sixth were ordered of course Dr Smith went with them and as neither of the assistants know any thing of surgery Col Elwell wished very much that I should stay behind in case of accident and Col Hinks revoked the order. so here I am. You cannot imagine how still and lonesome it is. Half of the camp which generally is brilliant as an illumination is dark. There is no singing or fun of any description which usually makes a camp merry till tattoo.

Six out of the ten members of the Staff are away which leaves us a very lonely mess. I do not immagine that there is any immediate prospect of trouble which has caused this movement. They are throwing up additional defenses at Fort McHenry. and want some help. and the battle will be fought with spade and picks in place of guns or swords. They have only taken rations for two days so that their stay will not be a long one. We had a heavy squall and thunder shower this afternoon which has cooled the air and makes it very pleasant this evening. Just as I write the rain begins to patter again on the canvass. and the prospect is that we shall have a showery night. The weather is much like our Dog-days. when you feel hot and sticky all the time. I received your dear good letter of the 24th this evening. in which you sympathize so sweetly with me in regard to my treatment by N Smith Post Surgeon. I have had no direct dealing with him since except once. The next day he told me that he wished to visit my patients with me and arranged for an hour. We went. I asked all the questions I wished. ordered the medicine and gave my directions. without regarding him ignoring his presence completely. except once. when I showed him a patient and without telling him the disease. suggested that there was an interesting case for Auscultation which he might examine at leisure.[87] You know that I am naturally haughty, to strangers often disagreeably so and you may immagine … my look on this occasion. I know that the attendants some of whom knew the facts were vastly amused at the cool civility of the performance. He has not asked to see my patients since and I doubt extremely if he does. He has been all bows and smiles since but never has alluded to the subject. except by asking my steward whether their stools had been returned who told him that he would find the full complement. I shall if possible bring the “causus belli” home with me. as a memento of N Smith. Post Surgeon. Don't let this matter trouble you any more. as it certainly does not me. but dismiss it as the person himself will soon be to vulgar obscurity.

This affair troubled me much at the time but I have dismissed the thought of it. I would suffer it every day if thereby I should receive letters so full of the whole heart of my dear wife as this. Oh! your letters do me good. They make the bright hour of each day. and I clock time from the receipt of one to the expected arrival of the next. Your love is the joy of my life. Your arms are my home. If I have made you as you say my child wife. God grant me strength to cherish and love you as you have me. It is a joy greater than I ever knew before to feel that my arms can always comfort you and that you have no sadness that I cannot alleviate. May God soon unite us to bless each other. I am very sorry to hear that you are again troubled with that discharge. I think you had better get some of those pills I ordered for Hattie and take 2 or 3 every day. with a glass of porter or ale. Dont neglect this please. You need some tonic to enable you to bear this double drain. Remember you promised to be fat and well when I got home again! God bless you this night my own dear Hannah! comfort bless quiet and keep us both in all our ways. Hug baby. a dozen times a day for papa. Remember me kindly to the E’ts and tell them that there is nothing I should enjoy more than hanging up my soldier clothes and lying at full length under some grand old tree. have a long sociable at their home. I mean to devote my first week at home to lying on the bed in a gay. festive. and airy costume and playing with the baby. and chatting with and kissing baby's mama. What do you think of that? Love kisses and the whole heart of your

Bowman

 

Camp Essex Md

June 27th (1861)

My own dear wife.

The regiment has not returned yet. They are encamped near Baltimore and will probably return tomorrow. You will have heard today the reason of this movement. Martial law has been proclaimed and the troops were moved there to be at hand in case of trouble. Everything is quiet and although many talk of “unnecessary movements calculated to make trouble etc” yet all opposition is wordy and not action. City Marshal Kane has been one of the most active conspirators in Maryland and will have an opportunity to think over his actions in prison if he receives no worse punishment.[88] Charges and rumors are still the order of the day. Usher has been absent two days in Washington and returns with a commission as Paymaster in the Army. This gives him a salary of about $2000. He will live in Washington and make journeys to the regiment wherever they may be to carry to them their pay. Lieut Austin of Salem will probably receive a similar appointment. Capt Devereux has a choice between a Captaincy in the regular army or a Colonelcy in one of the Mass regiments. He will probably accept the former. Major Poore will have one of the Mass regiments. Our staff runs in a fair way to be scattered. Please [do] not mention any of these things to any one. till you know them as fixed facts. Where do all these changes leave your dear husband? Out in the cold for the present at least. How I wish this question was settled. If I only knew what was best and what I could do I would have one aim and pursue that steadily. But this horrible uncertainty is wearing. Pray God darling that we may be led aright. that in this anxious hour of our lives the way of duty may be made plain before us. I received yrs of the 25th. You ask about the flag. I know nothing more about it than you. Col Hinks asked me to look out for a flag which I did as you know and I was as much surprised as you to see one in his hut one morning obtained from the government. I felt as badly as you. but can give no further explanation. The poles for the marchers flags came to day. but the flags are in a box confided to the tender mercies of Adams Express and the time of their arrival is wondrous uncertain. We are all in a complete state of uncertainty here. not knowing where we are going or when home. Every one says by the 15th perhaps sooner. perhaps home in the course of 10 days or a fortnight. and then to camp on the common in Boston or elsewhere till the end of the month. Anything that brings me soon to my dear wife. God bless you darling and guide you in all your ways. Kiss baby for papa and believe me always

Your own true husband

Bowman

 

Camp Essex Md

June 28th (1861)

My own dear wife.

We are still here guarding the hill and waiting the return of the regiment. Another days rations were sent down to day so that they will not probably return before tomorrow afternoon. The arrest of City Marshal Kane was justified by the discovery this morning of 1500 stands of guns, some cannon and other implements of warfare. I hope he will be immediately hung. not because I wish him harm but for the reason that only vigorous measures can shorten this strife and thus save life. This seizure caused some excitement in the city. The union men are jubilant. I do not anticipate any trouble. Baltimore is and will continue to be quiet. The exact time of our return is still uncertain. by the middle of the month at all events and perhaps sooner. It depends a good deal on the condition of things about here. If all is quiet the regiment will be sent home sooner. I should not be surprised if we were placed in camp till our full term expires. In yours of the 26th received today you ask about Mrs Hinks. I do not know where she is now. She has been ready to start for home 3 or 4 times but the Colonel has not found any suitable escort. She with Mrs Devereux were here when the regiment left and both had a good cry. I was glad then that you had not come on here.

We had only about an hours notice. Everything was in confusion and no one had time to look after a wife or attend to her comfort or safety. Mrs Hinks went into Baltimore yesterday with Gen + Mrs Devereux but weather she went home or not I cannot say. …[89][xxxii] You say “the little one is doing a great work – drawing us closer and closer together”. It is true. Did you ever feel happier than when we have bowed in prayer over the little one nestled in your bosom

These little preachers are more eloquent than any spoken word. telling of that purity knowing no guile. that by pious faith trusting everything to loving hands that perfect helplessness stimulating the highest energies. Mama too does her share in the good work.

“The maiden meek voice of the womanly wife

Still bringeth the heavens nigher

It rings like the voice of God oer my life

Still bidding me mount up higher”[90]

Oh Hannah my darling. God bless you for all you have done and are doing for me. for all the love you have lavished on me. for all the good influences with which you have surrounded me. Silken cords of love will lead when rods of iron could not drive. God help us thus to love each other, guide us in the care of this pledge of our love, unite us that folded in each others arms we may enjoy this summit of earthly bliss. this open hearted communion of wedded love. Good night my own precious one. I pray for you love you and kiss you a thousand times

Bowman

The flags came this morning and are pronounced very beautiful. They will be presented when the regiment returns.

 

Camp Essex Md

June 29th (1861)

My own dear wife

No regiment yet. You cannot conceive how dull this stillness is after all the noise excitement of a large camp. My life is very monotonous. A walk to the Hospital in the morning. the three meals (poor enough) are all that break the routine of “Dr I want a dose for this that or the other complaint.” The pleasantest hour of the day is that which brings about dusk your ever welcome letter. I have the vanity to suppose that you can judge my longings to receive yours by the joy which mine give. The touch of the hand in tracing the lines seems to leave a sort of electricity on the paper which pervades it always. Did you ever come upon the handwriting of some one long since gone and have the touch of the paper thrill you with a long forgotten sensation. I believe in sending kisses on paper. so you can send plenty of yours and the little one's. So too with any thing else touched or worn. Smell of this little flower worn at my buttonhole all day. and see “If any other rose” etc. There seems to be some influence in the personal of each one of us that individualizes each article of raiment and everything used. Take a hundred hats precisely alike. Let them be worn and each hat is changed in some mysterious way and become marked by its wearers stamp. so that we say it is such a one's hat. in a very different sense from that of proprietorship. Is there after all our discussion of “resoluable elements” some mysterious element in even our physical organization which is personal and eternal. I don't know what has led me off into this strain. I received this afternoon my pictures and send you one. It is a very good picture and if you take a magnifying glass you can get a good view of your widowers abiding place. Excuse the pipe. I did not wish to have it but the others insisted that it would look more natural. and so I smoked on.

This is my stopping place.

Home is where there's one to love me

Home is where there's one to love.

I long for the time to come when we can have our home and love one another with eyes voice and lip and not through the medium of these dull pens. Good night darling.

Sunday June 30th

This has been anything but a Sunday. There are so few here that we have had no services. It has rained nearly all day and we have been shut up in our tents fighting flies. which were driven into the tent by the rain. There is a story circulating in camp this evening to the effect that we are to start the 10th. Sen Wilson is in Baltimore to day to arrange for our going home and we shall probably soon know the truth unless some unexpected event should interfere. We are beginning to count the days now. Oh hasten round ye wheels and bring the welcome day. God bless you my own dear wife comfort and do you good. Kiss baby for me. and take as yours the whole heart and life of you own

Bowman

 

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