This letter was written by Benjamin S. Bellangee (18xx-1875), a Philadelphia quaker. He attended the Westtown Boarding School in the early 1830s. I believe his parents were Isaac and Elizabeth Bellangee.
The letter was addressed to his cousin, Dr. James B. Bellangee (1828-1864). James was married to Mary A. Payne on 5 June 1860. They were soon thereafter enumerated in the 1860 Census in Franklin Township, Somerset County, New Jersey. James apparently assisted in the general hospital at Alexandria, Virginia, early in the Civil War, and then enlisted as an Assistant Surgeon of U.S. Volunteers in May 1863. He was promoted to Full Surgeon (rank of Major) and placed in charge of the General Hospital (“Mansfield Hospital”) at Morehead City, North Carolina in 1863. He died of malarial (or yellow) fever at Morehead City, North Carolina on 6 October 1864.
Addressed to Mrs. J. B. Bellangee, Little Neck, Long Island, New York
March 21, 1864
My Dear Cousin,
I received your letter of the 3rd promptly and was very glad to get it for I had almost come to the conclusion that I was forgotten or forsaken by my Southern cousin on account of the slow correspondence between us — not for the will, I believe, but for the time and opportunity which in your case seems to be beyond your control occupied as you are in the service of Uncle Sam and no prospect of being realeased for years to come in my opinion — for it seems to me that this war will be in our country for years to come — altho it is predicted by some that it will be ended this year if men enough can be raised and they must be raised either by Volunteering or drafting, which is likely to take place again after the 15th of April as I perceive from the accounts from Washington the President has called for some two hundred thousand more men through the advice of General Grant, our new Commander. Oh how I hope he will be favored to go ahead successfully as he has gone for the good of the country and not politics or the Presidential Chair as some of our great military humbugs have been going for and have lost the game, such as Fremont, McClellan, Halleck, and the Governor of New jersey.
By the by, I see by the Evening Bulletin of today that New Jersey is about to purify herself politically for the city election of Burlington came off yesterday and resulted in a complete triumph for the Union by an average majority of 162. Last year the whole democratic ticket was elected by 30 majority. The result is most gratifying and shows unmistakably the way in which the current of honest public opinion is setting. The hand writing on the wall is plainly visible and the people are determined that what are called the Peace Democrats shall deceive them no longer. Glorious news, Doctor, isn’t it? The country is safe. New Jersey has come back in to the Union again voluntarily without being coerced by the iron hand of Father Abraham who is the fear and dread of the Copperhead Snakes in that wonderful state.
How unpleasantly situated you & cousin Mary must of been a few weeks ago when you were surrounded by the naughty rebs in your sea side cottage far from home, friends, and assistance, with the prospect of spending the summer months in that horrible place — the Libby in Richmond — to be eaten up by mosquitoes and starved to death by Jeff Davis and his robbers.
We are all as well as usual and have heard nothing from Bordentown for some time and do not know how they are except that Uncle Aaron is very feeble. Samuel & Jane Cauley lost their oldest son Frank about four weeks ago with scarlet fever. We will try to comply with your request by sending two pictures in this letter and two in the next. So farewell & no more. All join in love to you & cousin Mary. Write soon.
— B. S. Bellangee