SOLDIER LETTER - PVT. GEORGE WESLEY NICHOLS, CO. E, 16TH MASSACHUSETTS INFANTRY

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Item Code: L14534

Dated “Baltimore, Aug. 30th 1861. Addressed to “Home” [“Father Mother Sister Brother, Sibley & Friends”] 6 pp., in pencil, on lined paper measuring 8 x 5”, with a 3 cent stamped yellow envelope, addressed to “Mr. Oren Nichols / Cordaville [?] / Worchester County Mass”]. Letter exhibits fold-marks & light stains. Else VG & entirely legible. Envelope chipped in upper right corner. Text as follows:

 

“Dear Home/ I have not received any letter from anyone yet however I expect a great many from you all. And the report was rumord that the 16th Regt. Mass. Vt. Was all cut to pieces but it is not. So we have had had no attack as yet. We may have one for all that yet as we have 80 tons of ball ctridges & besides a quanity of shell and cannon ball stored on the ground in the building that the seceshionists built and where they stored the armes that they stole. There are two holes in each end that Butler stove in when he took them away from the Rebels. There was another man shot in the 16th yesterday morning. I see the papers it is reported that he is dead but he is not dead yet…… ..write to me. I can’t answer all the letters but I want them to keep on writing…I don’t know how long we will be here but it doesn’t make any difference our letters will follow us wherever we go……I wrote this letter to send my [pay] certificate…From Wesley..” Which Pvt. Nichols followed with his mailing address: “16th Reg. Mass. VT Co. E/ Baltimore, Md/ In care of Capt. John Wiley.”

In a two page post-script, Nichols describes Baltimore guard duty as follows: “In camp there are three reliefs supposing there are 16 posts to stands. There are 16 men on a relief making 48 men in all. The first relief goes on at 9 AM to stand 2 hours. The 2nd goes on at 11, stands 2 hours. The 3rd goes on 1 pm and stands 2 hours. Then the first comes again which makes 2 hour one post & 4 off. Iwas up to Newport News last week saw Edd Loneland & had a letter from Arthur Rice & Sergeant & George More in the 13th Mass V…..Give my Love to all Friends But not to Sesesh….. Love to You All / Wesley.”

 

George W. Nichols was 19 year old farmer from Southborough, Mass, who enlisted as private and was mustered into Co. “E”, 16th Mass Vol. Infy., 7/12/1861. He died of disease on 9/16/ 1862 and was buried at the Military Asylum Hospital in DC. The 16th Mass. Infy was organized at Camp Cameron in late June 1861. After serving garrison duty in Baltimore and Ft. Monroe, VA, the unit participated in the 1862 Peninsula Campaign and thereafter all major engagements of the Army of the Potomac. During service it lost 130 men killed or mortally wounded and 95 by disease for a total of 245.

Nichols likely sickened during the Seven Days Battles before Richmond and was evacuated to New Jersey, where he died two months later, which was a shame. A patriotic and affectionate kid was Pvt. Nichols. Invites further research. Accompanied by brief amount of internet research.

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