The Letters of John M. Jackson–April 1, 1864

On one of his usual treasure hunts in Maine, our CEO, Will Seippel  stumbled upon a massive collection of letters that belonged to a soldier in the Civil War. These letters will be published in chronological order in The Insider over the coming weeks, months and years, as we follow John Mower Jackson’s personal victories and struggles within the greater national struggle of the Civil War. Click here to read our introduction to this new column that sets the stage with our soldier’s background story.

This week we have a letter from Delora, one of John’s sisters.  We haven’t heard from her in a while!

Swallows Nest, Lewiston

Apr. 1st 1864

My Dear Brother

We have just received a letter of the 29th I got your of the 28 Tues but did not know how to direct an answer, and we hoped too that you would be at home this week. I do most heartily congratulate you in your success in Office seeking, after quitting so high a position I suppose the poor privates are looked down upon with content however it is all they can expect. The weather has been frightful this week, this is the third day of drizzle, some snow and some rain, I thought an hour or so ago that it would clear off but I think the prospect darkens. Alonzo is going after Delinda this afternoon if it doesn’t rain. She went Tues. to visit her friends the Barrells and has not returned.

I fear the weather will not make your sore throat any better. You must be very careful of your health. I am very glad if through “Military necessity” or otherwise you have made your barracks half way comfortable. Joseph Taylor says he thinks you have men enough enlisted without him Mother has fun carding and spinning yarn for you some new stockings enough for two pairs is not that equal to “Revolutionary” times! One pair is nearly knit, except your pants. Delinda will probably go to the city tomorrow or Monday and we will make them immediately Father intends to visit you Monday if it is pleasant, he will come by the way of Brunswick. They think they will send but two dollars today and when father goes he can let you have what you want.

The report is that Col. Quimby is dead that he died Tues. night or Wednes. Mr. Nath’l Sleeper’s little girl was buried Saturday. Mr. Lowell attended the funeral. I can think of no special news in our quiet village just now except that Mrs. Buker and her beloved “buffy” gone on a —- Mrs. Sedgeley I believe has finally gone to her delightful cottage in Greene, a way from the noise and tumult of the dusty city. As much as you may regret it my beautiful epistle must close, for Alonzo’s arguments are strong in favor of it, he is nearly ready to go. I mustn’t charge you again to be careful and not expose yourself more than you can help. Write as often as you can, and come when you can.

Your aff. Sister in haste


Delora writes to John to say that she received his last letter, but delayed writing a reply because John was expected to return home for a while. Yet despite being somewhat disappointed with her brother, she is elated to hear that her brother received an incredible promotion of some variety (we think that’s what happened–it doesn’t say exactly what his new position is). 

Things at home appear to be the usual, with the exception of the weather. It has been raining for three days straight, and there’s even been some light snow in April! With so many April showers, Delora must be hoping that May will bring plenty of flowers. However, what troubles her most is her brother’s health- John has caught a cold once again, and the miserable weather can’t be good for his sore throat. Delinda and Mrs. Jackson are preparing some stockings and pants for John, and Mr. Jackson is even planning to visit him. Hopefully, the love and kindness of the Jackson family will help improve poor John’s health.

Delora finishes with some depressing news: a local officer, Colonel Quimby, is confirmed to have passed away; and, Nathaniel Sleeper’s little daughter was put to rest on Saturday. Death is a natural part of life, yet it must be so heartbreaking to have it occur so frequently in times of war, especially to so many people you care about.

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