Elias Peck Letters

Sepia toned handwritten letter from Elias Peck dated January 1st 1864
Elias Peck's January 1st Letter from St. Augustine, FL

Image courtesy of Christopher Peck

January 1, 1864

What was life like during the American Civil War at Fort Marion in St. Augustine, Florida?

Private Elias Sherwood Peck, of Greenwich Connecticut can help us answer that question. Pvt. Peck wrote letters home during his stay with the 10th Connecticut Infantry Regiment, and his great grandson, Christopher Peck, shared those letters with us. For the next several months we will be sharing these letters as they were written over 150 years ago.

St. Augustine

Fla Jan 1st 1864

It is new years day and I am on convalessance camp guard. It is a windy chilly day. Today the colored people hear had quite a time they had a platform fixed up In the park and had our chaplain and the 24th and the minester that Is teaching them to deliver speaches and had two brass bands our and the 24th after the speaking was over they went up stairs in the court house where they had a big dinner. Last night our band played the old year out and the new year in although it rained hard. Perhaps you would like to know what I had for new years dinner It was rice & molasses. A boat came out opposite the harbor but it was so rough that she could not come in. She sent the mall on shore and then put back to Fernandine. I got one letter it was from Lib and father dated Dec 19th I suppose father got that $10.00 check. I sent home & that picture of St Augustine I got my red shirt. Last night we saw a large light off In the woods. It was rebel camp fires. There was 21 of our men take prisoner in stead of 15 and one man killed. The rebel officer appeared to be a gentleman. He hollered to his men not to shoot our but run them down and take them prisoners. He told our officer that he was sorry he was wounded but he would not help it. He would not let his men take the Lieut or Burns watch and he put a pillow under the Lieut head when he left and told him that he was agoing to come down hear some night and surprise the town. There was 100 men out today as woodchopper guard. Wm Burns Is put up the same as Salter and will be sent home with him. If coal is so high this winter what in the world dose father burn It for when he has got lots of wood.

Sepia toned portrait of a young man named Elias Peck dressed in a coat

January 3, 1864

Like we are today, Pvt. Peck was experiencing a cold and wet January in St. Augustine.

January 3rd 1864

It Is Sunday and raining very hard. A boat came in yesterday but did not have any mail on. The boat that came hear the other day with the mail on and went away again because she could not get in had Lieut Colonel Legget on that had his leg shot off at Morris Island SC. He is coming back to the reg't.

Oscar do you get any rabbits this winter I should think you might catch a good many of them with Frank. They must be very thick now there Is so few home to shoot them If I was home now I should have a good double barrel gun. My rifle will shoot a mile. Paul is well I have not heard how Elbert Mills was in two of three days but i gess he is about the same. I am well.

Write soon


Elias S Peck

Handwritten letter by Elias Peck January 5th 1864

January 5, 1864

In January of 1864 a US Army private was paid $13 per month.

Comp 10th CV

St Augustine

Fla January 5th 1864

Dear Father

That Lieut that was wounded In 24th Mass Reg't is dead. There is considerable excitement in our reg't now about reinlisting. The Quarter Master General of the state of Connecticut came hear yesterday to reinlist them. The men reinllst 3 years from tomorrow they get a very big bounty and a furlough of 30 days in their state within 60 days from now. There is 250 men enlisted out of our regt now and may be more will yet Some company nearly evry man that could enlist has. There is 19 men in our company enlisted. Silas Loudan, Norvel Green, Charles Mccan are amoung them They would not let us recruits enlist they dont take only men that has benn In the service 2 years, so I cant enlist now They have to stay in this regt The boat has not gone out yet so I suppose you will get this letter with the one I wrote last We was payed off 2 months wages today. They get 4.75 down as soon as they enlist and the rest in regular instalments the whole bounty amounts to over $800.00 then they get their board cloths and wages besides. They would have to stay 9 monts more if they did not reenlist. R Miller has reenlisted the man you see home on a furlough.

Handwritten letter by Elias Peck on 6th of January of 1864

January 6, 1864

January 6th

A boat has just came in with a mail on & I got one letter from Lib the last date of it was Dec 21st. Cononel Legget come on this boat. Although it was dark and raining he came up to camp in a wagon and each as he passed it gave him three rouseing cheers and then the regt formed in a circle and he came in and we gave him cheer after cheer he uses crutches yet. We was very glad to see him back again & he was glad to get back. The men that have enlisted over again wher swore in today. So they are fast for three years more. Then Oscar is going to school up on North Greenwich it apprears to me he has started late did he go at the commencment of the school. Oscar must be as old now as I was when I went to learn my trade. I suppose you have seen Sergeant Knapp of our company by this time. And the men that have enlisted will soon be home on a furlough. Jan 7th The soldiers aid society have sent our reg't a lot of potatoes onions, apples for Christmas We have just got them. I am well write soon In closed you will find a $20.00 bill

Let me know if you get it. The men are getting their bountys today for enlisting. From

Elias S Peck Co I 10th CV

St Augustine


Handwritten letter by Elias Peck dated January 13, 1864

January 13, 1964

Comp 10th Reg’t CV
St Augustine
Fla Jan 13th 1864
Dear Sister
A mail came in yesterday and I got one letter it was from Uncle John. They wher all well. General Gilmore came hear last sunday and Monday he reviewed the two reg’ts hear and told the men that had reinlisted that they could all go home together as soon as their furloughs wher made out. He said that
he would let the whole reg’t go home but if he did they would have to take their flag with them and if we did that the reg’t would not be under his orders any more and when they came back they might be sent to any other department. We got new tents and altered our camp yesterday. I think we will stay hear two months longer. I hope so until the cold weather is over. It is raining hard today. Yesterday morning I went on guard. it rained a little about 11 oclock I was taken with the fever ague and had a shake I was relieved from guard. I had the dumb ague while we was on James Island SC last summer &
had had 3 or four shakes the first month we was on Morris Island but have not had any sinc untill yesterday. I have not been sick a moment before yesterday since we have been at St Augustine and for some time before we left Morris Island. People before the war used to come hear from the country
around to cure the fever ague. I dont think that I will have it again. I can tell tomorrow. There is 3 men in a tent now except our tent. Joshua Lyon has gone in another tent so Paul and me have a tent by ourselves. We have built us a bunk & we have got a carpenters chest to put our cloths in it is one Paul got when Newbern was takes it is a very handy consurn (?). Our whole mess put their extra clothing what they cant carry in their knapsacks in to it when we move around from place to place. We can lock it
up so things are safe. The express box you sent me we use for a closet to put our dishes & bread in. Salter & Wm Burns have not been sent home yet. I suppose they will be sent with the furlough men. I went to meeting last sunday our chaplain has the Presbyterian church to preach in. He is going to have communion there next sunday. Did father get the letter with the $20.00 bill in that I sent Where is bille Husted & Emily agoing to live. You must write soon again. I feel pretty well today. Paul wants to know
if you singhed your name to that poetry you sent him he said that he got some a good while ago with no name to it he thought it came from somebody els. I have just wrote a letter to Wille Peck, Uncle Johns boy
Elias S Peck
Co I 10th Reg’t CV

Handwritten Elias Peck letter dated 15 January 1864

January, 15 1864

Comp 10th Reg’t CV
St Augustine
Fla Jan 15th 1864
Dear Sister
A mail has just come in and I got two letters one from you and one from Elisabeth Holly. I wrote a letter to Lib day before yesterday so I have nothing much to write about now. I wrote in it about haveing a shake. I had a very hard one yesterday I feel pretty well today. I think it is the bad weather
we have had lately that has brought them on there was two or three others in the Co taken with them yesterday If I dont have one tomorrow I will be all right
Handwritten Elias Peck Letter January 16 1864

January, 16 1864

Jan 16th 1864
It is now most night and I have not had a shake today although it is the day for it. I have been two days not with haveing one and I hope I shant have any more. I busy myself while I am on the sick
list in reading library books. I got one today the title: The fate of Sir John Franklin, Discovered: by Captain Mclintock it is a very interesting book. It tells all about this Cap’ts spending a winter in the arctic seas with his ship frozen up in the ice and a good deal more that I have not read yet. We had apple sauce dealt out to us last night for for supper it come with the potatoes and other things from the Soldiers Ade Sosiety, Bridgeport Ct. Paul wants to know why you dont answer his letter

Last updated: January 16, 2018

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