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William G. Hammond Letter

William G. Hammond — An Early Visitor to Fort Phoenix


This short and amusing letter was  written by a soldier in the Civil War stationed at Fort Phoenix.  The misspellings are his, not ours! To see a “corrected” more readable version click here.

The “photograph” of his “bedfeller at Readville” referred to in the letter’s margin is actually the drawing of the chicken near his name (see below). This soldier seems to have a sense of humor.

You’ll be glad to know that young Mr. Hammond, who was 22 years old at the time, survived the Civil War and went back home to Salem to continue his career as a carpenter. He died in 1898 at the age of 56.

 The Letter:

Dear Parents

We arrived here after a ride of about six hours.  it is a nice place mounting 8 large guns.  We arrived at Bedford yesterday at 3 O’clock yesterday PM when we were divided 30 men 2 Corpls 1 Liuet were sent here and the rest of the Boys sent to the other fort to join the Chelsea company.

we have got the best place all to  our selves under Liuet Stevens. Grouse and I are the Corpls, the others have got to work I was sorry when they separated us but I am being well satisfied now Lieut has got a house to live in and the boys another all plaster and white wash Grouse and I have got a room all to ourselves 10×16 ft large we have got a good stove with plenty of coal two nice bunks a good table and closet also pins for our clothes.  live like a Brig.  Gen. we had an new cook stove come yesterday and we are bound to live we get milk every day for which they take swill in pay.

our fort is situated on a hill it takes but three men for guard at one relief it is a very pleasant place about here we are about 1 mile from the city of N. Bedford the other fort is about 4 miles from the city on a point of land but not so pleasant as this I have been down to the village of F. Haven three times it is a very pleasant place but 6 or 8 stores in the place.  I like the appearance of the people very much they are sociable.

I shall get over to New Bedford soon and look around there to look at the city from here it looks like going into Boston. I expect to see some of my forty 11th cousins over to see me if they find out I am here. I shall enjoy myself as well as possible.  the young Ladies come down to see the fort or us I don’t know which.

I am all right Give my love to all my Friends

Write soon   From your Son  William G. Hammond Direct to    Corpl. W.G. Hammond 12th Unattched Co of   Mass V.M.     Fort Pheonix   Fair Haven Mass (until further orders)hammond2

the photograph is of my bed feller at Readville