This home front letter was written jointly by Joseph Freeman (1791-1865) and his second wife, Abigail (Gross) Freeman (1805-1879) of Minot, Androscoggin county, Maine. They wrote the letter to their son, Lt. Joseph Hewett Freeman (1841-1931) of Co. G, 23rd Maine Infantry—a nine-month’s regiment. They were never under fire during the ten months they were in service but they lost 50 men by disease and two by accident. Joseph later served as Captain of Co. H, 14th Maine Infantry.
Sunday, November 16, 1862
I have just returned from meeting & heard Mr. Bert (who married Liza Farnham of Bedel Hill) preach a very fine sermon. I am going to write you an old fashioned letter such as they used to 60 or 70 years ago.
We are enjoying the good blessings of heath and hope that you are receiving the same blessing.
We are having fine weather for the season though a little cool today, The ground froze some last night, I have got my house banked up and am pretty much ready for winter. I am fattening the old cow. She is doing first rate. Gives a good lot of milk and I think will make some good beef. I bought a cow last Thursday of Mr. Wight & paid him $16.00. I am going to keep her for milk. The pigs are doing finely. I boil up pumpkins and put in a little meal and feed them four or five times in a day.
The old cat is well & hearty & catches all the rats and mice she can get hold on, I have helped your mother dry some pumpkin & apples for you when you return from the war. I see by the papers that six regiments from Maine including the 23rd is going to Texas under Gen. Banks. Should you go to Texas, you will have quite a sail on the Big Water and doubtless experience some rough weather & see some hard times, though I think I should prefer going to Texas than remain in Maryland or Virginia.
I am glad to hear that you fare so well and that you are so contented. Hope you will prosper & keep a clear conscience—be good and then you may be great, Improve all your leisure moments in improving your mind and doing good to others. Your Mother & Abby are going to write you.
Yours, — Joseph Freeman
P. S. How do you spell tow path out where you are? I see you and Capt. Lamb write toe path.
[in a different hand]
My dear Joseph,
Your Father has written and left this half sheet fo me to fill out. We received a soul-cheering letter last Tuesday dated November 6th and yesterday Lucy received another bearing date November 11th. I can assure you, we all leave our work and sit down and read your precious and interesting letters. I am not satisfied with reading once, twice or thrice, but I read them a great many times. Blessed privilege! I would not be deprived for anything. Sometimes I sit up in the morning feeling very sad. It seems as though I must cry. And when the mail comes, your Father will go to the Post Office and return with such a nice long letter from you. Then I feel so thankful and situated so comfortably. Tis then I think I will try and be more patriotic. If you could only stay where you are, but as soon as you get settled comfortably, you have to pull up stakes and march.
I hope you won’t have to go to Texas. But I don’t know but you will get clear from fighting. It seems that the Twenty-fifth [Maine] expects to stay at Washington. I had hoped that you might. Perhaps it will be all for the best if we can think so.
Your Father spoke of Mr. Bert. He and his wife came to her Father’s to bury their youngest child. Miss Stanly went home last Friday and now we are alone. I don’t know where Fernald is to board. He spoke to me last spring. I suppose Lucy Brett is to have the primary school. Your little sister and I have been trying to clean house the past two weeks. We have had company or callers every day. Mrs. Hays and Lewis were here the other day. They send their love to you. Our Circle met to the Dr.’s last Wednesday. We made choice of Mrs. D. Clark for treasurer. We voted to devote ten dollars for preaching. You say to Dr. Ricker that I am glad he is with you. I have confidence he will take care of you if you are sick. Give my love to him and all the rest of our Minot men.
Please to write often and I will try and do the same. Take good care of your health, read the word of God, and oh! that you might be a humble follower of the meek and lowly Jesus is the ardent prayer of your affectionate Mother, — A. G. Freeman
I was thinking tonight that True and Rounds hadn’t any Mother to write to them and they can write me. I haven’t written half I would like to if I had room. Lucy and I visited Mrs. Pierce last Friday. We had a good time.