29th Mass. – Sgt. J. Murray Atwood Writes from Newport News, Virginia February 9th, 1862

John Murray Atwood, a 25-year-old clerk from Plymouth, Mass., enlisted in May 1861 as a Sergeant in Company E of the 29th Massachusetts Infantry.  Murray (as he liked to be called and as he signs the letter) is writing his sister from Newport News, Virginia on February 9th, 1862. 

Murray gives a description of life at Newport News:

“We have awful weather… I don’t believe we have had a dozen pleasant days for two months and it is awful underfoot.  The clay and mud is nearly ankle deep.”

“I have just come in from inspection and a nasty time it was for it, for we have to lay our knapsacks right down in the mud or anywhere else so they can inspect our clothes.  We have an inspection of everything every Sunday even to our shanty, so you see that we have to keep pretty clean, if we don’t we are told of it and likely put in the guards house.”

Murray then goes on to mention the Union victory at Henry’s Island:

“I suppose you have heard the victory at Henry’s Island – for fear that you will not hear of it, I will just mention it.  Gen. Mansfield here has just received a telegraphers dispatch stating that our troops have taken the island with one General, 5 Colonels and any quantity of men besides forty cannons.” 

Murray then talks about rumors of attacks on Norfolk.  The letter four pages in pencil. 

#HB122.2.9.62 – Price $65