UNION CHAPLAIN LETTER — CHAPLAIN SEBA F. WEATHERBEE, 15TH MAINE VOLS.

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Dated “Matagorda Isle Texas, Dec. 31, 1863.” From Chaplain Weatherbee to Col. Isaac F. Dyer, 15th Maine Vols. 3 pp., in ink, on lined paper, 7.75” x 9.75”. Exhibits fold-marks. Else fine. In protective sleeve. Accompanied by documentation.

Chaplain Seba reports the condition of regimental morale and religious enthusiasm. Selected excerpt as follows;

I have the honor to submit the following report of the moral and religious constitution of your command for the Quarter ending with December  1863. In doing this I am unable from my recent connection with the regiment to compare the present with any previous condition, further than is shown by a few facts.

Under the labors of a former chaplain, a Regimental Band or church was formed with about thirty members. Soon after his resignation however, the organization was abandoned and I have not been able to find any records of its existence.

When I joined the Regiment Dec. 3, there had been no regular public worship for nearly six months and for five months not a prayer meeting nor Conference had been held in the Regiment.

When called unexpectedly to leave New Orleans, but few of the men took a Bible or Testament with them, and many who died, lost them on their forced march up the Coast of Texas, and I doubt if fifty Bible or Testaments can be found in the Regiment at the present time…

But while there has been such decline in Religious interest, there has not been a corresponding decline in morale. This may be perhaps owing to the absence of those temptations to which the soldiers are peculiarly susceptible.

The soldiers have not forgotten their homes, and their faithfulness in corresponding with absent friend have a powerful restraining influence upon them…

My intercourse with officers and privates has been of a most pleasant character, not marred by an act of a word on their part that leave a painful memory. /Respectfully submitted / S. F. Weatherbee, Chaplain 15 Me. Vols.

S.F. Weatherbee was a resident of Bath, ME, who enlisted as Chaplain of the 15th Maine, 12/3/1863. He resigned on 3/15/1864. [Estimated date of resignation].

Excellent collectible, as official Civil War chaplain correspondence is scarce.  [jp]

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