Saturday, May 28, 2016

Memorial Day: Not All Came Home

30th Mass Flag, courtesy 30thMass.blogspot
Patrick Tighe, Private, Co. F, 30th Mass Volunteer Infantry
           by Walter Hickey

            This letter was located in a pension application filed under the name of Patrick Tighe. The 'usual' content of such a file consists of statements of the soldier's wounds accompanied by witness depositions and surgeon's certificates supporting the degree of disability incurred.  It is a rare occurrence to have a letter written to the family included among those papers, but it is exactly such a letter which provides a first person, eyewitness account of the Civil War from the viewpoint of the individual soldier and his concerns for his family back home.

Note: Some punctuation has been added

                                                                                    Baton  Rouge, Louisiana
                                                                                                August 14th, 1862
Dear Sister,
                        I received your letter and was much vexed to hear of Mothers death, hoping she is better off.  I am sorry I was not at home to see her.  We have been here about 4 months.  It is a nice place.  We went to Vixburg, and had to lay in a Swampy place.  The Regiment was nearly destroyed – all sick with fever & ague.  A great many died, but they are getting better now.  I was nearly dead Myself, but am well now.  We had a awful battle on the 5th of August the Rebels attacked us at 5 o'clock in the Morning.  We fought them until they ran away.  We killed and wounded 1500 men.  Our loss was 250 men, Officers and all.  We are going to fight tomorrow again as they have 20,000 men.  We have only 8000 but have more Artillery than them.  The sick and wounded was sent to New Orleans.  Little John Scully is dead from Swamp Fever, and Jimmy O'Neil from Consumption.  Peter Kerrigan, John Tully, and a lot of Lowells was sick in the hospital before the fight and sent to
 N. Orleans.  We have not been paid yet owing to the fighting and sickness.  There is 78 dollars due on the first Sept. & when I get my my [sic] pay I will send it to you.  Mind and take case of Maggy My little sister, above all things.  Give my kind regards & love to Ann & Bridgett.  If I live, I will send you all my pay dirtly [directly] I get it so that you may be comfortable.  Mind and take care of yourselves and when you get my money make yourselves comfortable.  Mind take care.  Maggy, I think we shall soon be back.

                        I am My dear Sisters –
                        Ann, Bridgett & Maggy
                        Your Aff't. Brother
                        Patrick Tigh

            Lord Have Mercy on My Mothers Soul

Eighteen men from Lowell died in service with Co. F in 1862 & 1863
All but one died from disease.
John A. Burns, Corp., 20; 12-5-1862 @ New Orleans, LA
John Cody, Pvt., 24; 9-19-1862 @ Carrollton, LA
Dennis Crowley, Pvt. 42; 11-8-1862 @ New Orleans, LA
Timothy A. Crowley, Capt., 30; 10-5-1862 @ New Orleans, LA
John Dolahory, Pvt; 11-7-1862; @ New Orleans, LA
Bernard Heslan, Pvt; 21; 7-28-1862 @ New Orleans
Jeremiah McCarthy, Pvt.; 18; 10-7-1862 @ New Orleans
Hugh McGuire, Pvt; 30; 9-1-1862 @ New Orleans, LA
James Moran, Pvt; 39; 10-23-1862 @ New Orleans
John Moran, Pvt; 21; 11-26-1863 @ Baton Rouge, LA
James Murtagh, Pvt; 34; 12-22-1862 @ New Orleans, LA
Andrew Oates, Pvt; 19; 3-5-1863  New Orleans
Dennis O'Neil; Pvt; 34; 7-15-1862 @ Baton Rouge, LA*
John Scully, Pvt; 38; 7-29-1862 @ Baton Rouge, LA
Charles Shannon, Pvt; 28; Killed 10-19-1864 @Cedar Creek, VA
James Shaughnessey, Pvt; 35; 9-13-1862 @ Carrollton, LA
Patrick Tighe, Pvt; 18; 7-21-1863 @ Baton Rouge, LA
James Young, Pvt; 38; 11-2-1862 @Carrollton, LA

*  Tighe's letter mentions “Jimmy” O'Neil as having died of consumption, but only Dennis is listed in Mass. Soldiers, Sailors, & Marines of the Civil War, Vol. III

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Walter & Dave. The stories they have left behind are found by the curious! Thanks for digging! And thank you Patrick for leaving a trail...