Abiel to John

                                                                                    Camp Oliver

                                                                                    Newbern, NC Aug.14 [1862]

Dear Brother John

            Among other letters received I was very glad to get one from you. The letter received from home do me more good than all the others I receive. I suppose by the time you will get this the Dudley boys will have lest for camp to drill. Wm. Chaffee1 tells me that he heard the boys [joined a] battery of artillery. George wrote me that they thought some of going into a battery that was going to join Seigel2, is it so. If they go out there they will have enough to do to keep them from being homesick & I guess will have a chance to congratulate themselves they have been the means of helping settle this rebellion. Those that go into infantry regiments will not be likely to see much fighting as cavalry or artillery because they will probably have garrison duty to do at some place already captured and thus see a life of drill which is the hardest part of a soldiers life for me. The hardest time I have seen since I enlisted was at Worcester & Annapolis when we were obliged to drill six hours a day. Now we drill one hour in the A.M. and about the same in P.M. which we get along with very well if it is not too hot & when it is we don’t drill.

            Heat don’t seem to affect me as it used to do at home. I can go out here and drill when the sweat will not wet my clothes through & run off my face & still not feel it so very much. Things are going on much as usual here in Newbern Gov. Stanley3 still occupies his trust as Gov. of this department but theres not much doubt in my mind that he is half traitor & I should not grumble if I was detailed as one to shoot the rascal. He has at present men holding responsible offices under the U.S. who refuse to take the oath & some of the secesh women tell the Negroes that Stanley is going to return them all to their masters and some of them feel like death about it. These things are a bitter pill for the Yankees to swallow but the power is not in their hands to remove him if it was he would soon be a martyr & Gen. Foster4 says he (Stanley) is independent of him & he can do nothing. The report is still current here that the rebels are going to retake this place. When will it be. When the Govt. has sent a few more men like Stanley to responsible offices.

(Written upside down on top of page 1)

            George wrote about a bullet proof vest that I have and as he is going I am going to send it to Hezzie for him in a few days. George need not say anything against it for I shall send it. I think it will be a good thing.

                                                                                    All well love to all

                                                                                    Bro. Abiel P. Williams

(Also included in this letter was a sheet of paper with the following daily schedule of camp)

roll call

+ Revellie                                 5 1/2 

Breakfast                                  6 1/2

+ Dress Parade                        7                               O'Clock AM

Guard Mounting                       7 1/2

Surgeons Call                           8

+ Company Drill from     8 1/2 to 9 1/2


Dinner Call                               12 1/2                           N


When orderlys report to headquarters

Orderly’s Call                           1 1/2                               PM

Supper Call                              5 1/4

+ Battalion Drill                         6


Those that I have marked + I have to be on


(Written on back of page)

Give best respects to all volunteers

Has Waylan5 gone with the boys


1 William Chaffee was a 19 year-old farmer from Dudley who enlisted on October 5, 1861 as a private into Co. “C” of the 25th Massachusetts Infantry. He re-enlisted on December 17, 1863. He died on August 9, 1864 at Philadelphia of wounds received at Cold Harbor, VA. He was listed as wounded February 8, 1862 at Roanoke Island and on June 3, 1864 at Cold Harbor, VA
2 General Franz Sigel was the Commander of the 11th Army Corps which fought at the Second Battle of Bull Run shortly before this letter was written.
3 President Lincoln commissioned Edward Stanley, a native of North Carolina, the Military Governor of North Carolina.
4 Brigadier Gen. John G. Foster commanded the First Division of the 9th Army Corps at the time this letter was written
5 Probably refers to Wayland Smyth a 26 year-old milkman from Melrose when he enlisted on November 7, 1862 as a private into Company “A” of the 43rd Mass. Infantry. He mustered out on July 30, 1863 at Readville, MA. Not sure of the relationship, but he was obviously known by both Abiel and John Williams.
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