1863: Harriet Ann Severance to Samuel Clesson Severance

How Annie might have looked

How Annie might have looked

This letter was written by 25 year-old Harriet Ann Severance (1838-1892), the daughter of Cephas Clesson Severance (1812-1912) and Harriet Miner (1810-1853). After her mother died, her father married Nancy Brown Leggatt (1813-1906).

Harriet Ann wrote the letter to her older brother, Pvt. Samuel Clesson Severance (1836-1917), of Co. B. 52nd Massachusetts Infantry. The regiment saw service at Baton Rouge and Port Hudson but after only nine months, it returned to Massachusetts and was mustered out on August 14, 1863. During its term of service it had lost 1 officer and 10 enlisted men killed in action and 99 by accident and disease. Its loss by desertion was only 3.

1863 Letter

1863 Letter

Addressed to Mr. S. C. Severance, Co. B, 52 Regiment Massachusetts Vol. M., Care of Capt. A. P. Nelson, Bank’s Expedition

Leyden [Massachusetts]
Sabbath Eve, January 11th 1863

My Dear Brother,

We were in hopes we should have heard from you again before now, but we keep writing whether we hear or not.

Imagine us seated in the old kitchen. Jonnie just come in. Charlie is about sick. He has a sore throat — has been sick since Friday. It has been a beautiful day — warm for winter. We had a little snow come last night — cleared off with rain. The folks went to meeting today in a sleigh. The folks stopped awhile after meeting to see lambs. They are in a pen by themselves. They grow nicely.

I guess I have written about all the news. George Davenport ¹ has got his discharge & Henry Moury [Mowry] ² also. There has three hundred soldiers — sick & wounded — come back to Brattleboro.

There is a woman going on from Greenfield to you this week & we think of sending something to you. I wish we could send you a good lot but it is so far we can’t. You are far, far away from us but there is one cheering thought — go as far as you will, God is with you to watch over & guide. O trust in Him. He doeth “all things well” & if we meet no more on earth, let us meet to part no more in Heaven.

It is getting late & I must stop. Love to all. Your sister, — Ann

All send love.

¹ George W. Davenport (1840-1905) enlisted at age 24 in the 16th Vermont Infantry, Company F. He was discharged for disability on 20 January 1863. He was from Brattleboro, Vermont. His obituary:

George W. Davenport died at his home in Greenfield, Mass., Sunday night. George White Davenport was born in Leyden, Mass., the son of Calvin and Lucy (White) Davenport. He attended the schools of his native town, and later went to Powers Institute at Bernardston, Mass., where he paid his own way by working out of school hours. He studied law in the office of his brother at Wilmington, being admitted to the Windham County bar in 1865, and to practice before the supreme court in 1870. From Wilmington he enlisted in Co. F, 6th Regt., Vt. Vols., in 1862. After four months service he was injured by a forced march from Camp Vermont near Alexandria, Va., to Fairfax Court House, and suffered partial paralysis of his legs. He located in Brattleboro in 1870, and practiced law there nine years. After leaving Brattleboro he lived in Leyden and Bernardston previous to going tp Greenfield. He was a member of the board of overseers of the poor at Greenfield for several years.

² Henry Clay Mowry (1842-1876) was the son of John Mowry (1803-1878) and Cordelia Deane (1812-1846) of Leyden, Massachusetts. Henry served in Company C, 1st Massachusetts Infantry.

1863 Letter

1863 Letter


2 thoughts on “1863: Harriet Ann Severance to Samuel Clesson Severance

  1. I believe the date at the top must be incorrect. Perhaps it should read JAN. instead of June, as she says folks are arriving at church in a sleigh..


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