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James Carter
Pembroke Maine
1864

"[Mother] sees murder in the countenance of every one who wears soldiers’ clothes.." James Carter to his sister Sept 13, 1864


West Pembroke

Sep. 13/64

Sister Annie

Asking pardon for my seeming neglect. I will now try to make amends and first acknowledging the receipt of yours of August 21 proceed to answer your questions. Will’s family are all well. You do not seem to keep posted in family affairs of your relations for Will’s family consists of four children, on boy and three girls so it seems that little Louella, three and a half years old, and Minnie Imogene or something like that, born last April are entire strangers to you. George’s youngest child is five years old, himself anf family are well, his wife and little girl are here now on a visit—been her almost a week.

George and Henry wree here last Sunday. Elisa has not got any more or any babies either. Plummer is still a batchelor and likes to be. He is at work blacksmithing with Adonisan Wilder. You say you hope your mother is enjoying herself and I think she is, in the same old way. She curses ever one that upholds the war in any way and says Hell is their portion. [She] sees murder in the countenance of ever one who wears soldiers’ clothes whether they have ever seen a battle or not. She met two soldiers one day that had just enlisted long enough to get their suit of blue and of all the orations that you have ever heard, how they had changed—they [now] carried the mark of murder in their countenances. We had a good laugh at her about it and she got excited and I never have dared to say anything about the signs of murder in solders faces since.

I think Wellington acted very foolish in taking the course he did. It would have been much better for him to have gone and reported himself like a man, and I have not the least doubt but that he would have been exempted. We have our quota and a surplus in Pembroke so we are clear of the draft.

You speak of your revolver and swords and the old musket that my Grandfather carried in the old Revolutionary War. It is more than one hundred years old, has been in two wars and is good for another. I think you and E. would fight a great battle, rather think you would take Richmond before soon if you was out there.

Brother Lewis is home on furlough sick from the effects of a sunstroke. He is some better. Allen Brown is also home on furlough sick from the same cause. He is getting quite smart again. There is only thirty of their Reg[iment] left fit for duty and only two of their Company. They belong to Company “B”, 31. Some are buried at Spottsylvania, in the Wilderness before Petersburg, and some are in the hospital. I have told you all the news that I think of now for I have been sick and cannot think so fast as I can some times, but think I shall get so that I can go to work again by and by.

You must excuse bad writing and all other imperfections for I can do better when I am well. I should be happy to receive a letter from you at any time and will try to answer all as well as I can. Mary has forgotten how to write I expect or has got blind or something else as I do not hear anything from her now.

Kisses to Emma and the baby, but Emma especially..from James Carter.

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Submitter: Sherri Cawley Notes:

This letter is from Pembroke, Maine and is dated September 13, 1864 from James and addressed to his sister, Annie or Mrs. Grenville Redding. James’ brother Lewis Carter was in Company B of the 31st Maine Infantry, along with a friend, Allen Brown. James’ sister, Annie Redding’s husband, Grenville Redding, was a Captain and fought in the civil war, too. He was commissioned in to Company H, 47th MA Infantry. On January 19, 1864 he was commissioned into G Co., 56th MA Infantry. He survived the war and was member of GAR Post #66, and died a ripe old age in 1909.

At or around the time of James’ letter to Annie, her husband was engaged with the 56th Regt. Mass. Vol. Inf. (a Veteran Regiment) at the battle of Weldon Railroad on August 19, and at Poplar Grove Church or Peebles’ Farm on September 30.

Brian Brown, author of In the Footsteps of the Blue and Gray: A Civil War Research Handbook which can be purchased from ABE Books kindly sends the following information: Lewis Carter enlisted and served twice:
(a) Lewis Carter, age 42, from Harrington, Me. enlisted and mustered in 10/10/62 into Company D, 22 Me., discharged 8/14/63.
(b) Lewis Carter, age not stated, from Harrington, Me., enlisted and mustered 3/8/64 in B, 31 Me., mustered out 7/15/65.
In 1880, he applied for (and received) and invalid's pension (certicate #315931). At the time, he was a resident of Maine. In the 1860 census (Washington Co., Me., Town of Harrington, p. 1080), I find the following:
Carter, Lewis age 38 day laborer, $85 - $15 born Me. remarks "pauper"
Lovina age 30 born Me.
Laura age 12 born Me.
Hannah age 10 born Me.
Mary e. age 8 born Me.
Willis E. age 6 born Me.
Marshall P. age 3 Born Me.
Wm. R(?) age 2 months born Me.
Alice age 4 born Me.

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