1862: John DeLaite to Maria (Jewell) DeLaite

This letter was written by John B. DeLaite (1819-1881), the son of Lewis DeLaittre (1793-1869) and Hannah Noble (1800-1840). John wrote the letter to his 2nd wife, Maria E. Jewell (1835-1924) with whom he married in December 1860. His first wife, Rachel Bacon Folsom (1830-1860) died in 1860 leaving him with four young children after six years of marriage.

In early 1864, John enlisted as a private (later promoted to corporal) in Co. F, 1st District of Columbia Cavalry (which absorbed 1st Maine Cavalry).

At the time this letter was written in 1862, John was not yet in the service. Rather he was working away from home in Lewistown, Maine. [Note: Family name sometimes spelled DeLaittre]


Lewiston, Maine
February 14, 1862

Dear Wife,

It is with pleasure that I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well [and] hope these few lines will find you well. I should like to see you very much tonight. It seems so long since I have seen you. I hope that you and the children are all well. Give my love to Lizzie and kiss the boys for me.

I have heard some good news from the war tonight. Gen. Burnsides has taken 5,000 prisoners at Roanoke Island, 13 Colonels, and all their Navy. Governor Wise’s son [Capt. Obadiah Jennings Wise] was killed in the battle. Our army has taken Roanoke Island and Elisabethtown and Edenton in Virginia and Springfield in Missouri and Fort Henry in Tennessee and Romney in Kentucky. They are advancing on all the borders of the Rebel states. The Rebels will find that the Yankees are better for fighting than what they thought for when they opened their batteries on Fort Sumter last spring. The people are all excitement here at the present.

Dear wife, how I would like to see you this evening. I would kiss you until you got tired of me. Well, I shall have a chance by and by if I am well. My love remains the same as when I was at [end of letter missing].


Griff View All →

My passion is studying American history leading up to & including the Civil War. I particularly enjoy reading, transcribing & researching primary sources such as letters and diaries.

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