This letter was written by Irish-born U.S. Naval Seaman Francis Clark (1833-18xx) of Baltimore, Maryland. Clark enlisted in January 1863 for three years service aboard the Potomac and the Mahaska. Francis had blue eyes, brown hair, and stood 5′ 5½” according to his enlistment papers.
Francis wrote the letter to his parents who resided at 176 Dover Street in Baltimore. The 1864 City Directory show Thomas Clarke (spelled with an “e”) at that address and gives his occupation as laborer.
The directory also shows John Clarke, with the occupation of “shoemaker,” and James Clarke, with the occupation of “laborer,” residing at the same address (presumably brothers of Francis).
Addressed to Mr. Thomas Clarke, 176 Dover Street, Baltimore, Maryland
U. S. Steamer Mahaska
off Pensacola, Florida
Dear Father & Mother,
I hope this will find you in good health as this leaves me at present. I am sorry about Edward. I hope you will not let him want for anything. I would sent him something but they have stopped serving money out by the means of so many men running away. The paymaster tells me my half pay is stopped up to the last month — that is to the first of October. The paymaster tells me that it is not worthwhile to continue it on account of my time being so near out. He only sent it for six months because he thought the ship would be home before that time.
I received your letter about three weeks ago and would have written before but was waiting for to get money but it seems that I can get none at present. If I get any soon, I will send you some.
We are laying here now but I expect we will go back to Apalachicola and stop there until my time is out. I send my kind love to you all.
Tell John it is most time for him to stop working and and put up a store with all that money of his. I remain your affectionate son, — Francis Clark
Direct your letter to the Steamer Mahaska off Apalachicola, West Gulf Squadron, Florida