This letter was written by 40 year-old Alvin Ozro Brigham (1824-1865), the son of Alvin Lucas Brigham (1799-1870) and Flora H. Baxter (1804-1871) of Roxbury, Vermont. Alvin was married to Lomelia Ann Cady (1829-Aft1901) in May 1854 and resided in Fitchburg, Massachusetts when he enlisted in Co. F, 57th Massachusetts in January 1864.
Described as standing 5 ft. 7½ inches tall, with a fair complexion, blue eyes, and black hair, Ozro (as he preferred to be called) was first wounded in the assault on the works before Petersburg on 17 June 1864. This letter was written while convalescing in a Washington D.C. hospital. After recovering from his wounds and returning to his regiment, Ozro was killed on 25 March 1865 while on picket duty in the pre-dawn attack on Fort Stedman in what proved to be Lee’s desperate attempt to break through Grant’s Petersburg defenses and threaten his supply line at City Point.
Ozro’s wife, Lomelia Ann (Cady) Brigham, was the daughter of James Bigelow Cady of Alstead, New Hampshire. After Ozro’s death, Lobelia married (in 1870) Levi Bean Bickford of Hyde Park, Massachusetts.
July 19th 1864
I received your kind epistle dated 13th last eve. It came into the 16th but I did not happen to be at the Office so I did not get it. I must say in answer I was glad to hear that you was well but I fear you will be a little disappointed when you come to receive my last dated the 10th as I supposed by the way you wrote that you had not received it when you wrote & it may be just as well if you did not as it may not be necessary for me to get a furlough from here as the prospects are now that we shall be transferred in a few days. They have taken our names for a transfer as far as New York & a man told me this morning that the Mass. men was to be transferred to Reedville, Massachusetts. I say good if it is so, don’t you?
But I fear it will not prove true. But if I get to New York, I think I can get a furlough from there & go home. We got ready to go yesterday as a lot went, but they took only those that were the worst off to go by water & those that could go without crutches & can help themselves, they send by railroad. And they told us yesterday that probably we should go today or tomorrow, but after all, we don’t know what will happen. We may be disappointed. This world is full of disappointments & we don’t know who to trust on earth but there is one that we can trust — our Father in Heaven. His promises are sure & we will trust in Him & all will be well. And if it please Him to so arrange things that I can go home, He will do it. And if not, we must submit to His will. I think it will all come around right in the end. And if I get to New York & stop there so that I can write you, I will, so that if I come home you can meet me at John’s if you think best. I should like very much to visit them if it is convenient. I think they have done big things, don’t you? I wonder where they found such a big girl?
My health is good & my wounds are getting along as well as could be expected. I feel sorry for Mr. Wilkins. He is such a good man — always ready to help anyone in trouble. I hope he will get well.
I have been paid for my last two months pay — 26 dollars — & I have the 10 dollars you sent me which makes me just 40 dollars I have now. I have spent 2 dollars of my pay here at the sutlers & I fear if I stop here long he will get it all. You know I think a great deal of something good to eat but if I could get the money to you, it will be safe. But I will not write anymore this time. I hope I shall be in your arms before I write again. My love to all.
Goodbye from Ozro