This letter was written by Private Ellwood S. Daly (1845-1907) of Co. G, 12th Maine Infantry. Daly was born in Augusta, Maine, the son of Zebedee S. Daly (1818-1889) and Catherine T. Sanford (1824-1846). He wrote the letter to his younger brother, Franklin W. S. Daly (1850-1925) and his father who were in Lowell, Massachusetts.
The 12th Maine Infantry Regiment was ordered to Savannah GA on 3 January 1865 and remained there until April 1866. While in Georgia, six new companies were organized and attached to the regiment — Daly being in one of them. Company G was not mustered out until February 1866.
Daly writes of the frustration shared by the members of the regiment toward their officers who kept volunteering their regiment for extended occupation duty rather than mustering out and returning home to Maine. In truth, most officers received such better pay in the service than they would receive in civilian employment that they were loathe to terminate their service and give up such “easy money.”
Addressed to Mr. F. W. S. Daly, Lowell, Massachusetts
August 10, 1865
Dear Brother and Father,
I received your letter last night with three dollars in it & I was very glad to hear from you all & my health is very good out here. I never was so well in all my life as i am now. I wish you could just see me in my tent. You would laugh, I guess. My weight is about 128½ pounds. All I had on was pants and shirt [and] cap. I am so damn lazy that I have a negro boy to work for me. I don’t have the first thing to do — only go on guard. I did not think that I was going to have such an easy time of it when I came out here & the 14th Maine Regiment are on their way home.
All the Maine regiments are to home but this [one]. Our colonel say the 12th Maine Regiment have got to serve their time out. We should have been home by this time if it had not been the damn officers. We was ordered home when we got into Savannah from Augusta & the boys in this regiment are now raising hell nights. They get drunk, sing, and holler about the officers. I should pity the officers if we was going into a battle for I believe the boys would shoot them all. The companies are altogether now but we are going to be scattered about again in a few days.
Well, I am thinking now when I get home I shall go to sea the rest of my days to see some more of the world. I dreamt last night that I was sailing around Cape Horn and I saw a lot of ships that got wrecked. I never dreamt of being home yet — only I have seen you in a strange place but I cannot tell where.
You said in your letter that Emma has not wrote to you since I went down East so she now writes to Father instead of you. That is strange. (I suppose you know why it is strange.) Well Frank, you are getting so you can write damn well.
Well Frank, there may be some bad words in this letter but I don’t care [a] damn who reads this letter. Please tell Storay that little doctor Daly is well and should like to see him on the street some night in Lowell. I think we would have one good time. I have not had no letters from down East since I have been out here so I think Father must had a hard [time] to get that money from Mr. James S. Sanborn (by Gord). I write just as I think of him (James). I have wrote five or six letters to him. I have not [received] one yet. This is yours, Frank.
From, — E. S. Daly
P. S. Dear Frank, I thought I would finish that letter in this. July & August are the warmest months in the year. It is warmer this month than last month. We have showers most every night. Such showers I never heard.
I cannot think of much more to write now. Please excuse my poor writing and spelling. Please give my respects to all the folks. From your friend, — Ellwood S. Daly
This is a weary hot day. Please write often. I don’t hear from you only once a month. Please send me a paper if you can. — E. S. Daly