Frederick Tomlinson Peet.

Civil war letters and documents of Frederick Tomlinson Peet online

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Modern History and French. I guess I
will stop writing. Give my love to Mother
and the rest of the family. I almost forgot
about the paper you sent me. I think the
extract you allude to is a very good thing,
may do good, I hope it will.

With much love I remain

Your affectionate



Marine Barracks

Washington June 17, 63
Dear Mother

Your watch came to me yesterday. I
cant tell you how grateful I am, but what
will you do without it. I am afraid you
will need it and I know you will miss it.
You cant imagine how many reminiscences
are brought up by looking at it, especially
on the back where the hunter and dog are
engraved. It takes me back at least ten
years when in church tired with a long ser-
mon I used to take it and imagine where
the hunter was going, and whether he
would kill his game. I will take good care
of it and return it before long. For some
time however I can not buy a new one for
I have just been getting two new coats.

I understand that some officers must go
to Pensacola. I hope I wont be one. I


went swimming in the Potomac yesterday,
water was very pleasant. I suffered no in-
convenience from it. Received a letter
from Mr Hubbell this morning. Gen
Wright & Div had not been in the fight up
to yesterday. Every thing goes on as
usual, the band is practising under my
window, they play this evening at the
Capitol, Thursday here, Saturday at La-
fayette Square.

Is my straw hat in a good state of preser-
vation, if so can you send it on. Tell
Father that 1 always keep an account of
my washing, I dont loose "them" in that

I have just bought a bottle of Benzine to
clean my black coat. I dont wear my uni-
form once a week in town. How does
Wms boat sail ? I must leave off now as
my time for reading has arrived. Again


thanking you for remembring me I am
with love to all

Your affectionate Son


Marine Barracks

Washington June 27, 63
Dear Father

It is Saturday afternoon and not at all
pleasant. Win wrote to me Thursday. It
seems you must have forgotten me for I
have not had a letter for some time from
home. Robert wrote about two weeks
ago. The Rebs may soon cut off our com-
munication with N. Y.

Today we are pressing every one into
the Service for the defense of Washington.
Part of Hookers army crossed into Mary-
land last night. Is it not shameful the way
the Pennsylvanians respond to the call for


They deserve to be invaded. I wish the
7th had been ordered to Harrisburg in-
stead of Baltimore.

Last Sunday I went to Mr Morsells Sun-
day school anniversary or exibition, it was
well attended. Reports were read, hymns
sung and class-offerings given with em-
blems, names etc. There are 150 & odd
girls and 100 & odd boys together with 10
male and 19 female teachers in the school.
Mr Morsell is a very good man for he
gave me a chair in the vestry-room near
the chancel where I could see all that
transpired. Mr Syles was expected but
did not arrive.

It is very dull in Washington nothing
going on. I go up town in the night to pay
a call once in a while. The band plays at
the Presidents Square this afternoon.
What do you think of the rebel invasion,


will it turn out well or badly for them. I
may possibly get a crack at them if Wash-
ington is attacked.

We have just adjourned a Gen Court
Martial to day, two men were tried. I
shall learn the sword and bayonet exercise
also the howitzer drill as soon as possible.

Have you a book on Grecian or Ancient

I wish you would send me Plutarch's
lives if you have it at home.

Give my love to all, tell Greighton to

Affectionately Your Son


Marine Barracks

Washington July 3, 63
Dear Father

Your last letter was received. There
are two mails a day and as I had not re-


ceived a letter for two or three days it
seemed very long to me.

June 30th I was ordered to take 20 men
and guard the Naval Magazine situated
about 1 1-2 miles from here, so I passed
the night from 10 to 12 on the bridge look-
ing at the river and moon thinking of the
past year, (of our Corps)

Capt Hebb's Mother & sisters live there
and have charge of the Magazine. I ar-
rived there at 7.30 P. M. and after posting
the sentries made love to an old lady, the
best looking of them ; there are in the fam-
ily as well as I can make out, four or five
ladies from 50 upwards. Mrs Hebb is the
only married one. I worked at a guitar
they had but could not get it in order,
lucky for them for I should have made a
conquest certainly. They gave me a bed
in the house.


Yesterday I went sailing and lost the
center-board, which being of iron sank re-
markably quickly where it now lies on the
bottom of the Potomac a warning to all
sailors not to go to sea without having the
center-board fast.

Quite a number of my friends were
down here yesterday to hear the Music.
While the band played we danced, appro-
priating the Captains Office for the pur-

Last week I lost one of my white panta-
loons & three stockings. Yesterday I
bought four of the last named articles, so I
am one better than last week. If I had
only known that there was to be a sail of
Marine clothes I could have bought white
pantaloons for 16 cents a pair. I suppose
the Hubbells and Creighton will be in
Bridgeport tomorrow, if I was in Brooklyn


I would go too, but as I am not I guess I
will postpone my visit.
Give my love to all.

Affectionately Your Son


Marine Barracks

Washington July 14, 63
Dear Father

You are having rather gay times in New-
York, why are the riots not put down, and
the rioters shot, it seems to me that the au-
thorities are doing nothing.

What do you think of Gettysburg? I
am inclined to think it was not as great a
victory as some suppose ; it is true we had
a much less number of men than they and
we repulsed them, but there was not the
slightest indication of a rout on their part.
Gapt Hart of a New York battery (for-


merly a Sgt of Marines) was engaged dur-
ing the hottest part in the left-center; he
says that the rebs came within 8 paces of
his howitzers, but did not get any nearer,
they were fighting for 1 1-2 hours to get as
near as they did. Hart says that the rebel
infantry outfight our infantry. I dont be-
lieve it. I see by tonights paper that Lee
has crossed the Potomac. I hope the
Army will follow him up and not allow
him time to intrench.

Our band plays every Thursday at the
barracks. I have last week lost one pair
of my "Lesure white pants," and a file and
a half of stockings. (3) I will send my
boy away next month. I wrote to Robert
but he has not yet answered it. Tell
Greighton his letter has been received, I
will answer it soon.

I am very warm so I will say good bye.


Give my love to Mother and the family.
Affectionately Your Son


This was written on the 14th, but for
some reason or other I did not mail it.

Your letter has been received I cant

tell you how terribly I feel about the news

of your becoming deaf. I only hope it

may not prove as bad as you suppose.

Write soon with much love


NOTE— July 23— Lt Peet was ordered to Brooklyn Navy
Yard ; and soon after he was joined to the Marine Battalion
which was bound for Charleston Harbor.

U. S Transport Arago

Off Gharlestown-bar

Aug 4th 63
Dear Wm

Here we are at last somewhere between
Gharlestown and Port-Royal.

Our voyage has been as pleasant as


could be; for the vessel, captain and even
the weather has been all that we could
wish. After I had shaked the last good-
bye from the stern of our vessel, I man-
aged to find something to occupy myself
with until bed, or bunk-time, when I
turned in and enjoyed a very good sleep in
spite of the dear little creatures who by the
effect next morning I judged must have
made the most of their time for I was cov-
ered with their marks from my neck to my
ankles. I hope soon to get accustomed to
them for I understand that they abound in
numbers and "excel in strength" on Mor-
ris-Island. But to return to my voyage.
Sunday was a beautiful day. We all sat
upon the deck. For although there are a
few finer ships than the "Arago" yet the
staterooms are intensely warm and to day
my water in the bowl was nearly boiling
(literal truth).


Monday was passed in reading some pa-
pers which I had bought and in loitering
around the vessel. To day we descried
several vessels, one apparently making for
us. She caused quite an excitement for
she was the image of the "Alabama." She
turned out to be, as near as we could
judge, an English Gun boat. At 6 oclock
P M we arrived off Gharlestown. The
blockaders were all there ready to "slip
cable"— at a moments notice. We could
see distinctly Fort Sumter, Moultrie, and
Morris Island, with Gharlestown in the
back-ground. We stopped at or near "Os-
sipee" and gave them their mail. Guns
are now being planted on Morris Island.
In about ten days the arraingements will
be completed when Sumter will be knocked
to pieces, while the Gun boats settle Mor-
ris Island. The Marines from one of the


frigates are on the Island now with a naval

I will now bid you good bye. We go to
Port Royal and from there report to the

My next I guess will be written from
Morris Island.


Your brother

Send this to the girls at home.

You must excuse mistakes if there are any, it is so hot
in the cabin I must go on deck.

U. S. S Frigate Wabash

Off Charleston Bar Aug 9. 63
Dear Hattie

I wrote to Wm several days ago but as
the Arago has been detained I expect to
get this otf to-morrow. I am at present


and will be until the assault is made upon
Wagner on the Wabash. Our quarters
are much preferable to those of the Army.
The programme for the attack is as fol-
lows ; Sumter is to be reduced by land
batteries and Iron Glads, after which, or at
the same time, Wagner will be attacked by
Gilmore in the front and by our battalion
of Marines in the rear. We are to lay
along side of the Ironsides in boats. At a
signal we will land and form on the beach
between Wagner and Gregg, under fire
from Moultrie, Wagner, Gregg Cummings
Point and possibly Ft Johnson on James
Island and Ft Sumter. After landing we
will storm Wagner in the rear. In our at-
tack the iron clads will attempt to keep Fts
Sumter, Wagner, Gregg & Cummings
Pt silent while we land & form on beach.
If the expedition is not successful we will


all be gobbled up or killed, for you see we
cant retreat or we will get into Ft Gregg &
Cummings Pt. The fate of Wagner will be
decided by this time next week before you
can get a letter to me. We had service on
board to-day, the Admiral favored us with
his presence. The weather here is mighty
hot, if we only had ice we might get on
very well.

Tell Rebekah & Libby that I was very
sorry not to have seen them. 1 could not
see Libby as we passed we were too far at
sea. Does Mother & Father know that I
am here. Tell Sarah that she forgot to put
in my trunk any nightshirt. Write by
next steamer for if I get through all right I
would like to receive it especially if
wounded. Send this to Wm. when it is
read. I shall not take Mother's watch in
the tight.


With love to all I am ever your brother


On Morris Island

September 7. 63
Dear Father

Your letter came to hand yesterday I
had written an answer but as I have a little
piece of news I concluded to give it to you
in full. This A. M. the long roll was
beaten and soon we were marching on
Wagner. By day light (4 o clock) we en-
tered it having endured a pretty brisk
shelling from Moultrie while on the march.
News came to the brigade doing duty last
night in the trenches by an Irishman, who
swam from Wagner through the creek to
our trenches, that the rebs were evacuat-
ing I was surprised to see how our guns
had knocked the Fort, nearly all the guns
left had been disabled by our incessant


fire. Our trench was up to the rebel moat
not 30 feet from the parapet, had the rebels
not evacuated we would have stormed it
to day, and captured them all.

Greg also is evacuated. To day John-
son and Moultrie are keeping up a sharp
fire on our troops stationed in and near the
forts. The Admiral has sent a flag of
truce to demand that the rebels surrender
Sumter I suppose it was refused as his
boat was fired on.

I have brought off" a sword bayonet and
Canteen as a trophy. Our troops went in
Wagner at 2 this morning. Our Monitors
are nearly up to Sumter ; a rebel battery is
anchored behind Sumter.

I think it quite likely that we will be sent
home soon for they certainly cant get on
without us much longer up north, and if
we recommence a campaign on James Isl-


and it will be some time before we can get
off. Every one is talking in my tent and I
cant write as I wish.

Tell Rebekah and Libby that I intended
to see them but through a mistake in my
reading of the time-table. We expected to
leave on Monday but got off on Saturday
the day I expected to see Libby. Tell
Mother that I will write her a letter soon.
Can you not send any stamps. The Arago
& Fulton are the regular steamers to Port
Royal Direct them to Lt Peet Marine
Batallion South Atlantic Bl (ockading) Sqn.

I hope Mother is well. How did you
enjoy your visit to Iowa? Can you send
me any paper collars 14 1-2 inches.

Give my love to all at home

I will write soon again
with love I am

Your affectionate Son



Morris Island S. G.

September 8, 63
Dear Rebekah.

I have intended answering your letter
for some time. For some time I waited
expecting to receive some stamps but as
none are on the way I will write this and
borrow one. Yesterday was a gala day for
us. We were turned out at 2.30 A. M. and
marched up under fire from Moultrie &
Johnson into Wagner which the rebs had
evacuated at 12 Midnight. The Officer
Com (manding) the trenches was informed
by a man who had deserted from Greg,
and reached us by swimming, that the last
of the rebels were then leaving the forts.
Six men were immediately sent into Wag-
ner, then twenty more followed ; creeping
in the moonlight they stealtly approached si-
lently glided down the ditch and soon were


peering over the ramparts, waiting here hut
a moment to see that all was clear, they dis-
appeared ; after some fifteen minutes, dur-
ing which time the old fort had been occu-
pied and one or two men taken, they
reappeared with the welcome (or rather
unwelcome in some respects) report that
the rebs had skedaddled and Morris Island
was ours. Had not they left as they did,
we would have stormed the fort the next
morning, our traverses were run up within
two or three feet of their ditch. Not a man
during the day preceding the evacuation
could put his head above the ramparts.
Our Navy boats or launches which hold
about forty men with a howitzer in the
bows had been out for several nights cruis-
ing between Johnson Greg & Sumter, saw
the Butternuts depart and put after them,
had they not got aground every rebel


would have been ours, as it was we cap-
tured two boats of them. Three nights
ago an expedition was gotten up to take
Greg. The Army and Navy with a few
marines were to land in boats and storm it.
They were to meet at 1 a. m. as the Army
was not up to trim, the Navy, not knowing
exactly what was on-foot, set off before the
Army arrived and captured a boat or
yacht belonging to Gen Ripley, including a
Major, Dr, and eleven men. This put the
rebels on their guard and, the Army de-
clares defeated the project for we were
fired on and obliged to retire. There is a
heavy fight going on between the batteries
on Sulivans Island and our Iron Glads,
comprising the Ironsides & six monitors
It commenced last evening at dusk. Sub-
sided at nine P. M. and was recommenced
this morning It has been by all odds the


heavyest firing of the war here abouts.
The roar is (the most) terrific I have yet

I am I suppose about to go on a rather
hazardous expedition. I have just sent in
name as a volunteer. We are to be on the
Flag Ship with 100 picked men by 4 P. M.,
it is now about 12.30 P. M. Sumter we all
expect is to be attacked. The great risk is
in being blown up by an electric battery
from Sulivans Island attached to the Maga-
zine. The men are few for they can not
keep many on it while we are bombarding.
You will know by the Steamer which takes
this letter, so you will know when you re-
ceive this whether we have been successful
or not.

If I dont come back tell Father I did as
he told me when leaving in the 7th Rgt; to
volunteer for any forlorn hope that came


up. I hope soon to read a letter from you
I send my love to Mother, Father, Libby,
and the rest of the family. Tell Fred I
have captured a sword bayonet and belt
from Wagner the morning of the evacua-
tion which I will give him when I return.

I received letters from Hattie written
from Katskill, and one from Mr Hubbell,
enclosing a letter to Kate which I think 1
can get through the lines.

Again good bye— Tell Libby I intended
to see her before I left but our departure
was sooner than we expected.

Your Affectionate brother


P. S. I open this to say that Lt Mead of
my Go has been ordered for the duty. I
suppose they thought I had seen enough
service, so there is no help but I must stay
here while others fight. F


Morris Island S. G.

September 9. 63
Dear Father

Yesterday I wrote to Rebekah of an ex-
pedition to storm Sumter. Having volun-
teered my services I expected to go later
in the day. Before the letter had been
sent I was informed that I was left out and
Lt Mead of my company was the lucky
man, so I opened the letter and wrote a
post-cript to that effect. The expedition
took place last night between 12 & 1
oclock. There were 100 and odd Marines
with 400 Blue-Jackets— The Marines were
under Capt McCauley of my Company ;
the expedition was commanded by Capt
Stevenson of the Navy.) The Marines were
to be the last line and when the rebs
opened fire, were to return it from the
boats. It seems that Capt Stevenson was


slightly intoxicated ; the boats when cast
off from the tug were in no order but for
an hour were pulling about the harbor.
When the attack was made the Sailors and
Marines were all mixed up in a glorious
confusion. When within 100 yds of the Ft
they were challenged the sentry calling out
"strange boats," when three sentries fired
their pieces. In a moment the fight com-
menced in earnest the Butternuts firing
from the ramparts and from holes nearly
down to water line through the walls of the
Ft. Our men fired from the boats as they
had been previously ordered, in order to
cover the landing of the Sailors, the order
to cease firing was to be given when the
Sailors landed. So far the programme
worked well. The order to cease firing
being given, and obeyed, Gapt McCauley
ordered the Marines to fix bavonets and


land. At this moment Capt McCauley
found all the boats near him rowing away
for "dear-life" — he being in a light Gig-
caught up to the formost one telling them
to stop or he would fire into them, they re-
plied that it was Capt Stevensons boat,
with the Commander of the expedition in
it leading the runaways Capt Mc.C. was
ordered then by him to return to the Tug.
One or two boats were lost in the darkness
and landed on the N.E. corner while the
others were on the S. West side The for-
mer were all captured Lt Mead among
them. Lt Bradford is badly wounded in
the groin but I believe not dangerously.
The Negroes who pulled some of the boats
on the first fire, threw themselves in the
bottom of the boat and could not be
moved. This with the fire of the rebs
from Sumter with musketry and hand


grenades, and from Moultrie with shell,
while an Iron Ram poured grape and can-
ister into them, was enough to scatter any
boat attack. The rebs threw the lights
right into the boats and made them as visi-
ble as if in the day time. Calcium lights
were used by them. This is the whole of
the story.

I wish you would send me some stamps.
Give my love to all

Your affectionately Son


Head Qtrs 1st Div. 6th Corps

Near Culpepper C. H. Va.
Sept. 19th 63
My dear Fred

Your letter written from the "Wabash"
frigate whose decks I have trod many a
time was reed, in due season, and was 1


can assure [you] very interesting in its de-
tails of the proposed attack on "Wagner"
in which the festive Marines were to do
some heavy charging. I did not answer
your letter at the time, as I wished to wait
and see whether you would get thro' the
scrape all right, and if you did to congratu-
late you— But luckily for you old Wagner
caved in before you could get a chance at
it, which I think was lucky for you, for
though you might have gotten lots of glory,
it would hardly have made up for the al-
most certain chance of a broken head, or a
hole cut through your stomach. Your let-
ter reached me while our Divn were sta-
tioned in Warrenton, a "right smart" little
place containing plenty of pretty secesh
girls. We rusticated there about two
months after the Pennsylvania Campaign.
Our tents were pitched right on the main


Street in a nice shady grove, & our regular
afternoon amusement consisted in sitting
under the shady trees, our chairs tipped
back at an easy angle, puffing away at our
Havana's (I wont swear they were genu-
ine) and watching the beauty and fashion
pass & repass. And the queerest part of it
was that they would most all of them in-
variably when immediately opposite head-
quarters, no matter whether the weather
was wet or dry, lift their drapery & show
their pretty ancles & garter boots, Wasn't
it aggravating? I enclose you a letter
written to a newspaper by one of our or-
derlies which will give you an idea of what
was going on there— He does not mention
the horseracing tho', of which we had a
good deal, and much sport over. My
mare won at several. About the middle of
last month Genl. Wright reed, orders to


relieve Col. Bowman as Superintendent at
West Point. It was entirely unexpected
by him, and very distasteful. In peace
times it is the best berth in the army, but
of course now a young & active man like
the Genl, would prefer being in the Held.
The next morning he went on to Washing-
ton, Rice, Haydn, & myself accompanying
him, he spent a day there, & in that time
got the order countermanded, and was sent
back to the Divn, to the great joy of
everyone, and shall I confess it? Yes I
will — there was a big drunk at Hd. Qtrs
that night in honor of his return. When I
say drunk, I do not mean in a vulgar man-
ner, oh no ! only merry, & jovial. Our
first brigade band, the best in the Army,
beats the 6th Cavalry, furnished the instru-
mental, & the whole crowd furnished the
vocal music, singing patriotic songs in a


manner that made the rebellious citizens
of Warrenton open their eyes— On only
one other occasion did we get slightly
sprung, & that was when Uncle John
Sedgwick's old Division presented him
with a horse, sword etc. Five days ago
the whole army moved south, and we that
is part of our forces, are at the Rapidan,
with the enemy entrenched on the other
side. We are going to have some big
fighting this fall. I see that Gapt Mc Caw-
ley was in that unfortunate assault on Sum-
ter, am glad you were not in— You are
probably now having delightful weather.
It is cold here, but clear & bracing, good
weather for marching. I keep a fire all

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Online LibraryFrederick Tomlinson PeetCivil war letters and documents of Frederick Tomlinson Peet → online text (page 8 of 9)