APRIL 1865 LETTER WRITTEN BY 15TH MAINE SOLDIER MENTIONING LEE’S & MOSBY’S SURRENDER & THE LINCOLN ASSASSINATION

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Letter is four plus pages and is written on Christian Commission stationery. The text is in period ink and is very readable. Paper is in excellent condition.

The writer of the letter signs his name simply as “Seeley.” There were numerous Seeley's in the Union Army, but the tip off in narrowing down the ID was his regiment's move from Stephenson's Depot; in the letter he indicates they are just about to move from there.

Aaron Seeley was a 37 year old resident of Edmunds, ME when he enlisted on 12/16/61 as a Private. On that date he mustered into Co. K, 15th Maine Infantry. listed as Sick at Pensacola, FL (date not stated, 1862); mustered out on 1/19/65.

The letter was written from Stevenson’s Station and is dated April 19th with no year given, however from the content it was obviously done in 1865.

Seeley begins by chastising his friend Edward for not writing him. He then goes on to talk about someone being “blackballed” in their hometown Masonic Temple. Apparently, Seeley is a member of the Masonic order of the Knights Templar. He then goes on to mention a Miss. T. that Edward is paying attention to and tells him to “freeze to” (stick to) her.

He then writes “I like soldiering better and better. The news of Lee’s surrender came a few days ago. It made everyone feel so good and happy and then while we were rejoicing over it the news of that WICKED ASSASINATION came and changed joy to sorrow… Oh I wish I was Judge of the Assassin. I would hang him by the heels and stick pins and needles in him till he died.”

Seeley then mentions the fall of Mobile and how there was no celebration because of Lincoln’s death. He also mentions a Grand Review and how he thinks it portends a move. Some think to Ohio and others think to home but Seeley says “I hope not anyway for now I am a soldier, I want to see a little of the world and make the trip pay.”

Mosby and his men are the next topic. “Mosby’s men come into our lines and give themselves up at the rate of ten or twelve every day. Rumor says that Mosby himself came into Winchester and gave himself up. We were ordered to draw three days rations and be ready for a raid after him. We drew rations, packed knapsacks and put them all in one tent; and put a guard over them, drew forty rounds of cartridges and were ready to march when to our dismay the order was countermanded and we had to give it up. I tell you I was sorry for I would like nothing better than to get after Mosby.”

Seeley ends the letter by discussing a meal he bought at a local farmhouse and by asking Edward to let his mother know he was okay.

A nice newsy letter in very good condition from an eager soldier who was also a Mason.  [ad]

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