(Apologies for posting one day late).
Letter of James F. Ramsey
Fort Warren May 19th 1861
Dear Mother I am very well. I have not got much time to write If you come down the first of the week Tuesday would be the best day I should like to have a box of crackers? I was on guard last night it was pretty cold. There are a great many visitors here to day some that I know we had a real pot pie for dinner and beans and brown bread for breakfast I should like one or two pens my pens were in my pocket book and got a break.
Letter of John B. Noyes
MS Am2332 (1) By permission of the Houghton Library, Harvard University. John B. Noyes enlisted in the 4th Battalion of Rifles. He wrote the following letter to his brother Stephen in New York. Noyes was a prolific letter writer. He seems to be having a jolly time playing soldier at this time, but he would live to see hard service and prove a very capable officer with the 28th Mass. Vols., mustering out as Captain, Brevet Lt-Col. with that organization in Dec., 1864.
Cambridge, May 19, 1861
Your letter to Martha reminded me that yours of hte 22d ult. was still unanswered. I have thought several times of writng, but occasional duties have prevented at the moment. The war progresses without the immediate results desired by some. I take it that Gen'l Scott knows what he is about as well as another man, and that his plans are the best possible. I did duty at the Arsenal for the week ending May 3d. During this time I was on guard six to eight hours a day, sleeping at the arsenal. The Drill Club of which I was a member under Capt. Meacham had orders to protect the arsenal, and of course I obeyed. While there we were the observed of all observers, and attracted much attention from the Citizens of Cambridge. We lived while there, for a time at least, on the fat of the land, sent to us in part by friendly citizens. Cigars and drinkables were plentifully provided. On the whole I passed a grand week there, albeit a somewhat rainy one. What a proud thing it was to be guard at the gate, holding the keys of office, at an afternoon parade when the fair demoiselles of Cambridge flocked to behold the scene; and to bellow forth with stentorian voice "Sergeant of the Guard, No. 1." How jolly to join in patriotic and other songs after Supper before turning in to snatch a couple hours of sleep, if possible, before doing guard duty at dead of night! How like a "sojer" to cry Halt! Who goes there? And porting arms, or at charge bayonet to order the Sergeant of the guard, or officer of the night to "advance and give the countersign." Since the week we were there, we have not been stationed at the arsenal as we did not care to serve there except under our own officers. The students now take turn in defending the state property.
Payson Tucker was not there as Captain, but served in the ranks as a private. His eyes prevented him from quartering at the arsenal, and he accordingly slept at home. I have not gone yet, as you might surmise from the reception of this letter. I hold myself ready to go however, having joined the Fourth Battalion of Rifles, Major Leonard. I hope we shall go to the wars, but whether we shall or not is a matter of uncertainty. The Governor does not know, not as yet having determined whom to send. I attend two Evening battalion drills, and one Company drill a week in Boston, and occasionally drill at other times during the week. We have splendid accommodations at Nassau Hall on Common Street.
Gen'l. Butler seems to be gaining a great reputation by his energy and direction. I suppose Maryland is now safe for the Union. I hope Gen'l. Harney will do as much for Missouri, though the obstacles against it are incomparably greater. New England is doing nobly and hereafter may not be quite so much black guarded by partisan politicians.
Several students have gone into the army. Some are at the Forts in the Harbor, and some are earning laurels farther South. Two belong to the gallant Salem Zouaves, who helped convey the Constitution to New York. Sam Bigelow, I believe is now a Lieut. in the 7th Regt of New York. Sociables were broken off by the fall of Fort Sumpter. Up to that time there had been considerable gaiety in Cambridge Society. Our old friends Alfie & Martha Brooks are now in Cambridge. I told the former to night that you had not gone & probably wouldn't for some time to come, I might have added till you could see an enemy before he would pistol you. Charles is getting along very well, and that little girl of his. He is strong on the war question. Business is at a stand still, as I suppose it is in Brooklyn.
John B. Noyes