Letter, 24-25 Jan. 1863, from David L. Hodges| Manuscripts Gifts 2007 | Front Page 2007 | Previous Issues | Friends of the Library |
to his Parents
A gift to SCL Manuscripts Division announced in 2007
Letter, 24-25 January 1863, of Union soldier David L. Hodges was written to his parents in Norton, Massachusetts, while in transit with his unit, the 4th Massachusetts Infantry, from New York to New Orleans. | Manuscripts Gifts 2007 | Previous Issues | Endowments | Friends of the Library |
Hodges began writing on 24 January while "On Board the Steam Propeller Continental Somewhere on the Florida Coast" and finished the letter during a stop at Key West. While aboard the ship he witnessed the burial at sea of Zacheus Macumber, who had died of "the brain fever… brought on by sea sickness." The service was conducted by Benjamin Franklin Whittemore (1824-1894), chaplain of the 53rd Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers who later served as Reconstruction-era U.S. House of Representatives member and state senator from South Carolina.
Hodges was struck by the beauty of his surroundings, the mild climate, and the abundance of fruit at Key West, noting "…of all the scenes I ever saw this surpasses all everything is green and such oranges you never saw in your life…I cannot describe the beauty of the scenery and climate…if peace should be settled I should live in the Sunny South…it must contrast strangely with the climate in Norton at the present time." He seemed surprised by the friendly reception the troops received from locals, but noted that "I guess they have to be by the number of Gunboats that lie in the stream."