December 14, 1861 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr.

December 14, 1861

To: Sarah Keith

From: Hiram Crawford Jr., Camp Hamilton, VA

Surprised to learn that the Seely Boys and Charley Long had taken such a course when there is so much at stake. Galesburg hasn’t been very patriotic as far as his friends and schoolmates are concerned [apparently they are shirking military service.] Two fellow soldiers fell asleep while on duty and will be shot in a few days.

1861-12-14 1861-12-14B 1861-12-14C 1861-12-14D

Camp Hamilto[1]           Dec 14th/61


Dear Sister

Yours of the 4th was duly received last Monday. Was very much pleased to hear that yourself and family is in the enjoyment of good helth. I received that letter you spoke of, But as I had written you but a few days before I thought I would not be in a hurry to answer it.

I am somewhat surprised to learn that the Seely boys and Charlie Cory has taken such a course. It was far different from what I expected from them especially when there is so much at stake that to, which will not only effect them but their Children and Childrens Children. In fact I dont think Galesburgh has been very Patriotic at least as far as my old Friends and School Mates are concerned. I received a letter from Mother[3] last week. They were in tolerable good health. Also one from Henry[4]. They were in the enjoyment of the same blessing. I have written to Edwin[5] but have received no answer yet.

The weather has been very pleasant here. We have not had any snow yet. Those that is aquainted with this part of the Country tell me that there will be but very little here. It seems very strange to me who at this time of the year is in the habit of being up to his knees in snow to find myself in a country where there has not been a particle of that article. Also where a farmer might have sun to Plough any day up to this date if he wished.

Nothing much of importance has happened here lately. Almost every day our Gun Boats exchange shots with the Rebel Batteries at Sewell Point[6], or drives back a Rebel Steamer that ventures out from cover of their Batteries, while on land a scouting party starts out towards the enemies lines probably meets a Party of the Enemy on the same errand, exchange shots, kill or wound two or three and return at night pretty well tired out. But these are every day occurrences and create no sensation with us. In a few days probably we will have a witness a very sad scene viz. the shooting of two of our fellow soldiers. Members of the 16th[7] Mass Regmt. Their crime sleeping on Post while doing Picket duty. I cant help but pity the poor fellows, but it is just for on their vigilence depend the safety of the Army. Well I guess I have written about enough this time, so I close by sending love to yourself, Luke[8] and the children also to Lois[9] and Byron[10] and their large Family. Hoping that you will see fit to answer I remain

Ever Your Brother

H Crawford

2nd Sergt

[1] Camp Hamilton was located in proximity to Hampton Roads, near Fort Monroe across the James River from Norfolk, VA

[2] See following page for more information about the 20th Indiana Infantry

[3] Nancy (Comfort) Crawford Betts

[4] Hiram’s brother, Henry Crawford

[5] Hiram’s brother, Edwin Crawford

[6] Sewell Point was the location of the Federal shipyards in Norwalk, VA which were abandoned to the Confederate Army at the beginning of the Civil War

[7] In mid-November, three soldiers from Delaware were found sleeping while on picket duty. When discovered they were immediately awakened and placed under arrest. There was a subsequent court martial and the soldiers were ordered to be shot

[8] Sarah’s husband, Charles Luke Keith, Jr.

[9] Charles Luke Keith, Jr.’s daughter by his first wife, Minerva Payson

[10] Lois’ husband, Byron Clark


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: December 14, 1861 letter to Sarah Keith from Hiram Crawford Jr. – Letters & Diary Entries From the 1860s

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