WILLIAMS FAMILY LETTERS- #12
Mother to Abiel
Dudley, July 19th, 1864
My Dear Precious Abiel
I am feeling quite unwell not able to much about house so I thought I would try and see what I could by way of writing. I have been unwell for three or four days. I think my liver is considerably affected my skin is very yellow and my stomach is energized with a great deal of pain but I am in hopes to be better soon. Mrs. Stone is doing my work so that I can keep still. I have had much to pass through with for a few weeks which I thing has had something to do with being on this state of feelings. I suppose you would like to hear as much about home as I can write well I will try and do the best I can which will be poorly done with my weak body and mind.
Last Sabbath on the hill we had a funeral discourse on the death of George. The congregation all assembled at the Goodell’s1 when the bell ceased tolling we all walked to the meeting house. Ellen walked with John clad in mourning the pulpit was covered with the flag and on each side of the minister was two glass preserve dishes filled with beautiful flowers and on the table before the pulpit was a very large preserve dish filled with a variety of flowers with myrtle hanging all around it. There were two flags hung around the singers and flowers like were in front I never saw the church more beautifully fixed they seemed to embalm George’s memory with flowers. I have learned that Mrs. John Larned and Mrs. Clark did a great deal of the work. Mrs. Davison brought in the flowers. I should have said before that the flag was drapped (sp.) in black with black rosettes where it was caught up and in front was written in huge letters “My Country Tis For Thee” the house was well filled the text was 13th John ever what I do thou knows not now but shall now hereafter. George had true friends he has died greatly lamented. W.A. Barnes said in here there was not one of the boys that went out but he could have spared better than George. There has been many such expressions but as well as we all loved him we could not keep him. He has gone I trust to a fairer world and more congenial clime. It seems to me as much as I loved him I would not call him back into this world of suffering and death if I could He has none but the poor and holy who with him I trust have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ. He will die no more free for suffering and care. I have just received your sorrowing letter your feelings coincide with ours; and a letter from Loretta all at once and one from one of the drummers who was with George not in his last moments but a little while before; G took off his shirt and handed it to him to wash but before he got it ready for him to put on he was met by one who said G was dead. He says he is buried about 4 miles from Petersburg the grave is marked so he can find it while he is there and if at any time we wish to come out or send for the body he would willingly do all in his power to help. His name is Edward Egland2 there is one of the drummers by the name of ________ who has what things George left and will bring them home excepting his watch which John Davis3 gave to Marsh as he could not carry two or else it might have been in the enemy’s possession. Have not seen Hez4since this letter came neither am I now able to see what measures he thinks of taking. Bro. Goodell5 starts for Washington tonight to see about Edwin6 whether Hez will try and have him do anything I don’t know I think it would save expense if he could do it for we should be willing to pay his fare I do not know as there is anything more I can say about George.
George Elwell7 is dead his remains are looked for every day. They have been embalmed so there will be another sad ceremony to be performed. The war is telling on our young men. There is a great anxiety felt for John Davis8 and Frank Curtis9. Frank’s wife has sent out a letter to Frank and one to Gen. Butler hoping to get a word to know whether he is dead or alive. She has felt great confidence that he would come home she says now she had rather he would be a prisoner than wounded. I think it would be hard to choose Henry Healy was in the same hospital with George Elwell his wound has not been quite as well thinks he has taken a cold in it. I suppose there will be some of the boys home soon Marsh10 and Hall11.
We are having very dry weather the brook is all dry only what runs from a little spring in our lot. John says where you used to keep the fishes. I never saw it so dry it seems so sad God is dealing with us as a nation for national sins. Some pretend to say we are upon the eve of same great event. I do not know who can tell but it will make no matter to those who are watching and ready.
Father is getting along with his haying they are finishing the great lot today except the ___ road. John and Albert Albee Ell’s brother is helping him Willie left about two weeks ago had to work to hard get up to early set up to late and worked to sheep (sp.) sometimes father told him to run these and similar excuses are made by his mother I think Willie liked well enough John says he does not care and is rather glad for he was so slow.
(Written upside down on top of page 2 and 3)
Wm. Eddy12 is in the hospital at Washington but in a different ward from Edwin. Wm. has good treatment a good nurse Edwin has bad treatment and no nurse. Uncle G. said he should not want in the surgeon’s place if Edwin should get well and meet him alone.
The large preserve dish of flowers Mrs. Clark brought to me Sunday after meeting. They stand on the table in the setting room which reminds me of never wilting flower where George has gone.
(Written sideways down center of page 2 and 3)
Write soon and often as you can for it is a comfort to hear from you.
(Written sideways across the top of page 1)
And now Abiel there is one thing that I want to engrain upon you If there is anything that we can do for you I want you should write. I sent one dollar in a letter and told Hez. to put it in. There has been so much trouble we have been most afraid and if you should chance to get wounded get someone to write immediately that me may know and come to you if we can do not lay and suffer if we can do anything at home for you. I hope love is in that God who has kept you in the past will keep in the future and if we can send anything I the shape of a box of comforts let us do it. Loretta has sent Claire’s picture which if you like we will send to you. John thinks we had better have some photographs taken from it if we should they would be better to send and would not be the trouble to you.
I must now close
Pray that God may preserve you to us and that we may meet again yet if I remain.
Your Praying Mother
(Written sideways over text of page 1)
I enclose in this letter 5 dollars
1 The Goodell’s resided at The Black Tavern
2 Edward Egeland a 20 year-old clerk from Amesbury enlisted as a drummer on November 14, 1861 into Company “E” of the 1st Mass. Heavy Artillery. He mustered out August 16, 1865 at Washington, DC.
3 John Davis a 26 year-old farmer from Dudley enlisted as a private on August 8, 1862 into Company “E” 1st Mass. Heavy Artillery. He mustered out on July 20, 1865. He was listed as POW June 22, 1864 at Petersburg, VA and exchanged May 16, 1865.
4 Hezekiah Williams, Abiel’s older brother.
5 Warren Waldo Goodell brother in law to Abiel’s mother Becca Davis Williams.
6 Edwin D. Goodell brother of Anson P. Goodell and Cousin to Abiel.
7 George Elwell a 21 year-old shoemaker from Dudley enlisted on August 8, 1862 as a private into Company “E” of the 1st Mass. Heavy Artillery. He died of disease on July 14, 1864 at Washington, DC.
8John Davis a 26 year-old farmer from Dudley enlisted as a private on August 8, 1862 into Company “E” 1st Mass. Heavy Artillery. He mustered out on July 20, 1865. He was listed as POW June 22, 1864 at Petersburg, VA and exchanged May 16, 1865.
9Frank Curtis a 26 year-old farmer from Dudley enlisted on August 9, 1862 as a private into Company “E” 1st Mass. Heavy Artillery. He mustered out on August 16, 1865 at Washington, DC. He was listed as POW June 22, 1864 at Petersburg, VA (confined at Andersonville, GA) and released April 25, 1865
10 Alphonso H. Marsh a 22 yea-old carpenter from Dudley enlisted on August 8, 1864 as a private into Company “E” of the 1st Mass. Heavy Artillery. He mustered out July 7, 1864. His father Daniel L. Marsh who also served in the same regiment died of disease while in service.
11 Thomas Hall a 24 year-old farmer from Dudley enlisted on August 8, 1864 as a private into Company ”E” of the 1st Mass. Heavy Artillery. He mustered out on July 8, 1864. (served most of the time as a cook)
12 William P. Eddy a 27 year-old farmer from Dudley enlisted on August 8, 1864 as a private in Company “E” 1st Mass. Heavy Artillery. He was discharged for wounds on July 20, 1864. He was listed as wounded on May 19, 1864 at Spotsylvania Court House, VA
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