Alvah Marsh Letter: January 1, 1864


Creator: Alvah Marsh
Subjects: Civil War, 1861-1865, Desertions, Military life -- Morale, Health aspects -- Injury, Military life -- Enlistment, Hospitals
Description: Alvah complains of how bored he is in the hospital. He explains that one of the men in his ward was accused of shooting off one of his fingers to avoid the battlefield. Alvah believes the man will be executed if found guilty for he claims to have seen this happen to other deserters. Alvah makes it clear to his mother that he has no intention of reenlisting when his term of service is up.
Date: January 1, 1864
Format: Image/jpg
Original Format: Document
Resource Identifier: 13.5 - Alvah2Mother18640101_1.jpg
Collection Number: c00110 – Papers of Alvah Marsh
Language: English
Rights Management: Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by Michigan State University and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.
Contributing Institution: Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections
Relation: c00110 – Papers of Alvah Marsh
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
Alvah Marsh Letter: January 1, 1864, Page: 1

Alvah Marsh Letter: January 1, 1864
Alvah Marsh Letter: January 1, 1864

Fairfax Seminary Hospital January 1st
Dear Mother
As I have not anything to do this afternoon
I take my pen to inform you that I am
well and do hope you are the same
Mother I did not take my pen to write
to you because I had anything of importance
to write to you but it is a rainy lonesome
day and I took a notion to write to
you as or rather to write and think that
perhaps you like to read my letters as
every one I write to you I am in the Hospital
to day sitting by my bed the most of the boys
are asleep or reading I have been reading
for sometime I spend the most of my time
reading or writing for there are but these for
us to do here we only eat sleep read write
from morn to morn again so the time goes
off slower at least I sometimes I think so
but alas how fast the time flies away it
seems but a short time ago that I
left home for the seat of war but time
has its changes for me as well as you I
am growing old fast I soon shall
be in the prime of life yet I am growing
old as well as any one I am not
Alvah Marsh Letter: January 1, 1864, Page: 2

Alvah Marsh Letter: January 1, 1864
Alvah Marsh Letter: January 1, 1864

Looking as old as some that are younger
than myself if you could see me you would
think perhaps I had grown old some in
the last two years today there has
been some excitement in this ward one
of the men here it seems ran out of his
place in the line of battle for being
a deserter after he got to the rear it seems
he took his gun and shot off one of his
fingers but one his company happened
to be in sight and see him do it
and told of it for which there came an
order from the Headquarters of Gen. Mead
to arrest him and bring him
back to his regt. he had got a furlough
for thirty days to go home but if the
report be true he will go to his
long home for his sentence will
be death he will be taken out in
front of twelve men and a cloth [illegible]
over his eyes seated on his coffin and
be shot it is not very pleasant to
see a man shot but such is the fate
of one who deserts from the army
I have seen a good many men shot
for deserting but it is right I think
for if they were not severe our army
would not be worth any thing of
Alvah Marsh Letter: January 1, 1864, Page: 3

Alvah Marsh Letter: January 1, 1864
Alvah Marsh Letter: January 1, 1864

Course I like to see every man do
his duty it is no worse for one to be
shot by the rebs than another
Perhaps you have seen some of the
old 7th by this time for there has
[1,621?] of them gone home they have
reenlisted for the term of three years more
but they don’t catch me again I am
one of this kind that I like to get
one job done before I take another you
thought that I was a going to stay
for three years more did you
not no I am coming home to take
care of you I think that if every
Family furnished as many as ours
only 2 in the family and all of them
in the army when I serve the rest
of my time I can afford to stay at
home some don’t you oh I am
sick of the Hospital. There is but
one bad case in this ward now that
is a man from Detroit his mother
and Brothers are here don’t think
he will get well he was shot in the
shoulder and had part of the bone
taken out and his arm is all rotten
as seemingly so I hope for the sake
of his mother he will get well

Alvah Marsh Letter: January 1, 1864, Page: 4

Alvah Marsh Letter: January 1, 1864
Alvah Marsh Letter: January 1, 1864

But I guess I will close for
this time for I cant content my
pen to write more
if you cant read this
keep it till I come home
and I will read it for
you with this I will close
from your son
A H Marsh

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