This letter was written by 52 year-old Susan Maria (King) Noyes (1810-1894), the wife of Courtland Noyes (1813-1886) of Norwich, New London, Connecticut. Susan was the daughter of Seth King (1777-1850) and Lucretia Geer (1777-1852). She wrote the letter to her cousin, Mary E. (Caulkins) Clifton (1825-1880), the wife of Royal G. Clifton (1827-18xx), a machinist in Westfield, Hamden, Massachusetts.
Susan’s letter informs her cousin of the enlistment of her son, Charles Courtland Noyes (1842-1863), who mustered in as a private in Company C, 18th Connecticut Infantry on 18 August 1862. Charles was mortally wounded during the Second Battle of Winchester Virginia and died on 15 June 1863.
Addressed to Mrs. Royal G. Clifton, Westfield, Massachusetts
September 14, 1862
Dear Cousin Mary,
I should have answered your kind [letter] before this time but you know, dear cousin, the reason. Before Charlie went away my mind was so excited that I could not do much of anything, and since he went away — which was the 22 of August — my mind has been taken up with receiving letters from him and answering them. We have had two and expecting the 3rd letters besides two views of the place. It is Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Md. They say it is a beautiful place. They have a splendid band of music that plays at 8 A.M. and at Dress Parade at ½ past 6 P.M. He has been on guard 4 or 5 times since he went away. I am afraid it will be too much for him but I will put trust in my Heavenly Father that he will give him strength and courage to do his duty to him and them that has command over him, mores now than ever. I would not mind it if he was here.
Courtland has advertised his farm. He thinks he cannot take care of it alone and to hire it would not be profitable. I thank you for that handsome ____ and beautiful poetry you sent me by Ably Case. How appropriate. I could not read them when your mother gave them to me. Eliza read them with much difficulty. I have let Mrs. Moore take them to copy. She could not read them at first. She thought they were beautiful.
Allen has gone in the same regiment (18th) with Charlie. They have gone for 3 years or the war. You understood 9 months. I wish it was no longer or less time. Your father was up here the fore part of the week and helped Courtland cut stocks. I was down yesterday. They were all tolerable. Well Jane has been sick but is now better.
Mrs. Fraiser’s daughter Althea was buried this week. She died last Sunday with quick consumption very suddenly. Mr. William L’Hommedieu ¹ died a week or two ago. Mrs. Lewis Edwards ² died and was buried this week.
They have got up about two more regiments since the 18th went away — the 21st and 22nd. The 21st started a Thursday night, I believe, for Washington. I hear that they are trying to surround Stonewall Jackson — as they call him — and not let him go this time. I hope the war will soon end.
Charlie had his photographs taken before he went away but they do not look much like him. Looks as if he had large whiskers — he had none — and brother Gurdon wanted he [Charlie] should get Gurdon’s soldier coat and have it taken in it. Gordon is an officer in the home guard and Charlie is not an officer. He had not received his dress coat, nor any of them till they got to the fort. He wished me to send them around to his friends and I send you one. I have got his Ambrotype he had taken just before he went away that looks like him — very good one.
I do not think of any more news to write at present. Do write soon. From your affectionate cousin, — Susan M. Noyes
Our love to you and Royal.
¹ William L’Hommedieu (1793-1862) died on 3 September 1862 in Norwich, Connecticut.
² Eliza Ann Edwards (1805-1862), the wife of Lewis Edwards, died on 11 September 1862 in Norwich, Connecticut.