These two letters were written by Homer Skiff Sackett (1838-1899), the son of Homer Sackett (1801-1871) and Flora Skiff (1808-1859) of Warren, Litchfield County, Connecticut. Homer enlisted in the 19th Connecticut Infantry, which subsequently became the 2nd Connecticut Heavy Artillery. Homer served in Battery H; he was promoted to Sergeant in May 1865.
Homer participated, under Sheridan, in the Shenandoah campaign, and was with the Army of the Potomac in the battles of the Wilderness. At Cold Harbor he was quite severely wounded, but remained in active service, participating in many battles and serving with credit in the final campaign which ended in the surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox, receiving his final discharge in July 1865.
Homer wrote the letter to his brother, Augustine Sackett (1841-1914). He served in the Regular Navy, as an assistant engineer, doing duty on the ships Wissahickon, Chippewa, Algeciras, Spain, Ascutney and Mattabesett.
Augustine was with the Gulf Squadron in the blockade of Mobile and capture of New Orleans; was with the North Atlantic Squadron in the sounds of North Carolina; was in the Roanoke River service, and in the conflict with the Confederate ram Albemarle. See also — 1864: Charles R. Mosher to Augustine Sackett.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
Addressed to Augustine Sackett, 2d Asst. Engineer, USN, USS Mattabesett, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron
May 11th 1864
Your long looked for letter has arrived. I have kept a good lookout thinkingI might learn your whereabouts from the papers but have seen nothing about the Mattabesett but once & then in a list of boats that had gone from New York to Fortress Monroe. And knowing that some of them were in the James River, thought you might be there too. I am sorry to hear that you have been sick. I am afraid you will not gain your strength for some time. These Southern climes are not very good for recruiting.
I received a letter from home last week. Pa’s health was better than when we were home. Myron Hine had signed over to his creditors. He had met with some losses from the butchers in New Hampshire. I don’t know whether he was owing or not.
Austin had a letter from Dr. White yesterday. He was in Crawfordsville, Indiana on a leave of absence. You perhaps remember he was thrown from his horse & broke his ankle about the time we were home. Had it not been for this accident, he would have gone to the Red River with the artillery which have been captured by Kirby Smith. His accident has proved an advantage.
My health has been the first rate since I saw you. I have heard from Sis twice. She feels rather lonesome since you left. [Homer S.] Curtiss has got his commission [as] 2nd Lieutenant & assigned to Co. D — a good company. Co. H made his a present of sword, sash, & belt costing $50.00. He made a fine looking officer.
Alfred Hatch is with Butler’s command somewhere on the James River.
News from the front is quite encouraging. The First Connecticut Heavy Artillery have started for the front. I believe they go with a mortar fleet. I wish we could go but think we may stay where we are. Should Lee take a stand in Richmond, we may go with a siege train.
I see by the papers that the rebel ram Albemarle has been sunk. Sink them all — that’s the way to use them.
The weather is hot. We have to drill five hours a day, every fourth day on fatigue. I have got entirely sick of this drill. It does no good where they drill so much. The boys won’t try & I don’t blame them. Write soon.
Yours truly, — H. S. Sackett
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER TWO
Addressed to Augustine Sackett, 2nd Asst. Engineer, USN, USS Mattabesett, North Atlantic Blockading Squadron
Camp in the field
September 5, 1864
I have neglected writing too long. It is a rainy day & I am in the Division Hospital tent writing. Have been in the hospital 5 or 6 days — not flat on my back, but worn out & weak. I have a touch of chronic diarrhea which is the principal cause of that & I think it is a little better.
When the Doc sent me here I thought I would do what I could to stay awhile but shall go back just as soon as I can keep up with the regiment marching. Could it have been done, I would like to have gone to a Gen. Hospital & so got rid of this jolting round in an ambulance. We are marching but little at present but like two puppies, we trot up and down the Valley, each army taking its turn chasing, stopping to skirmish a little nearly every day. When they have the choice of position we let them have it & they have been willing so far to do the same by us. We have force enough to hold the Gaps & I suppose all that we wish other than that, is to keep their troops from joining Lee.
Grant seems to be doing well & Sherman & Farragut nobly. I think the Rebs will get pretty well punished before Mac ¹ gets hold of the strings.
I hardly think it will be best for me to try to tell any particulars about our doings here in the Valley other than that we have made free with the mutton, pigs, poultry & vegetables. Apples & green corn have been and still are plenty. I cannot enjoy it at present but did my part for a time.
I hate to write when I feel so lazy. It makes me hurry to get through & I never took too much pains. Please excuse the looks of this.
The boys are well with the exception of Curtis who is in Washington sick [and] has been since we left for this trip.
Cousin Alfred ² — poor fellow — just as his time was out or nearly so, was wounded & had to lose one leg below the knee. Abner Mitchell ³ was helping amputate it when a stray ball struck him & killed him. Cousin Charles is back in the Gen. Hospital, I think at Baltimore. Guess he will get a furlough. They have been giving them pretty freely in the hospitals.
When I heard from home last, all were well. Write soon, — H. S. Sackett
¹ Referring to Gen. McClellan’s nomination as the Democratic Candidate in the upcoming Presidential Election.
² Sgt. Alfred Hatch 7th Connecticut Infantry, WIA James Island, SC 6/16/62 & Deep Bottom, Va., 8/16/64. Died of wounds on 9 September 1864.
³ Pvt. Abner W. Mitchell, Co. B, 6th Connecticut Infantry, died of wounds 20 August 1864.