Letter from ALBERT G. PEIRCE to GEORGE PERKINS MARSH, dated December 4, 1861.
Geo P Marsh Esqr
Your last of Nov 19th came last night, and as Father is now in Boston I will answer for him.
The books I will send tomorrow as you directed
Matters go on in this place after the old way, every body is scratching about to get a living and most of them succeed in keeping soul and body together.
The religious zeal of the two churches continues unabated. side have a new minister every Sunday, as usual. John Perry preached last week. Mr Partridge has been discharged at last and we live in hope of better things in the music lines.
Mr Willard & wife have been spending
some time here but will leave in a few days.
Pres't Pease has resigned his position in college and has accepted a call to preach in Rochester NY. Salary $2000. per annum.
His successor is not determined upon.
Mr O L Ballard was married to Mrs Randall (formerly Miss Seymour) a few weeks since.
Mr N Peck is to marry Miss Pitkin, (a sister of J S Adams wife) in a short time.
Col L B Platts Reg't Calvary has been in camp here for two months but leaves for the war on Tuesday next.
Geo Opdyke has been elected Mayor of N Y city, so the papers say.
Breckenridge the traitor has been from the Senate.
Trumbull of Illinois and Fessenden of Maine have been appointed Regents of the Smithsonian Institute in place of Douglass, and Mason of Virginia
Congress has assembled and the
message and various reports are quite interesting
Secretary of War says we have 700,000 men in the field.
Recruiting is stopped except to fill old regiments. The capture of Mason and Slidell sent a thrill of joy through the whole nation. They are now in Fort Warren, Boston Harbor there till they are sent , as they have put northern prisoners in southern jails
You have doubtless heard of the capture of Port Royal and you may be prepared to hear of the capture of "Fort Pulaski" soon, and the fall of the city of Savannah. There has been a battle at Fort Pickens, with what result is not known except that hot shot from the Fort burnt the Navy Yard for the rebels.
Our fleet seem to be doing all there is done, while our immense army does nothing. Vermont has eight regiments in the field
To "sum up" as lawyers say, I think our cause has begun to gain ground. The most surprising thing is the change of sentiment in the North in regard to slavery.
The Breckenridge democrats are now the most "blatant" abolitionists among us.
Even old Cambell & Rogers go in for freeing the slaves,
putting arms into their hands and fighting out this thing to the death. Excuse me for addressing
you so familiarly but in so doing I thought I might give you some news that your more
correspondents would forget.
Remember us all to Mrs M, & Carrie and believe me
Yours RespectfullyA G Peirce
P S Have had no notion of going into the army. Snow all gone and weather mild and pleasant
References in this letter:
Charles W. Willard (1827-1880) was Secretary of State from 1855 to 1857 and in 1860 served in the Vermont senate.
Calvin Pease (1813-1863) served as the president of the University of Vermont and State Agricultural College from 1855-1861. He was the first alumnus to fill the position.
Possibley refers to Nahum Peck (d. 1883).
George Opdyke (1805-1880) was the first Republican Mayor of New York City.
John Cabell Breckinridge (1821-1875) held several positions in the Kentucky State Senate, the United States Senate and was elected to the office of Vice President in 1856 with James Buchanan as President. He was expelled from the Senate on December 4, 1861, for his support of the Confederacy.
Lyman Trumbull (1813-1896) was a Congressman and Senator from Illinois.
William Pitt Fessenden (1806-1869) was a Representative and Senator from Maine.
There were fourteen members on the Smithsonian Board of Regents, including the Vice-President of the United States, the Chief Justice, three senators, three members of the House, two residents of Washington, DC, and four from different states. Marsh was appointed to the Board, as one of the congressional representatives, in 1847.
Born in Brandon, Vermont, Stephen Arnold Douglas (1813-1861) was a Representative and Senator from Illinois and candidate for the President of the United States in 1860.
James Murray Mason (1798-1871), a member of the U.S. Senate from Virginia, was appointed to the Smithsonian Board of Regents in 1849 and reappointed through 1857.
Simon Cameron (1799-1889) was Secretary of War in Lincoln's first cabinet.
James Murray Mason (17989-1871) of Virginia, Confederate Commissioner to Britain, and John Slidell (1793-1871) of Louisiana, Confederate Commissioner to France, evaded a Federal blockade and escaped to Cuba en route to Europe. Once there they hoped to gain official recognition for the Confederacy and purchase military equipment. On November 8, 1861, the U.S.S. San Jacinto, under the command of Captain Charles Wilkes, intercepted the British mail packet, the Trent, and removed the two men. Wilkes immediately became a hero in the North. The British, however, vigorously protested the action as a gross violation of international maritime law and threatened to enter the war for the South. On December 26th the Lincoln administration agreed to surrender the two men to the British.
Port Royal, South Carolina, was an important harbor on the Confederate controlled Atlantic coast. It fell to Union force on November 7, 1861.
Fort Pulaski, Georgia protected navigable channels at the mouth of the Savannah River. After the Union victory at Port Royal, the Union navy lay siege to the fort which surrendered on April 11, 1862.
General William Tecumseh Sherman ordered a siege on Savannah after the victory at Port Royal. It finally surrendered to Union forces December 21, 1864.
Fort Pickens, located on Santa Rosa Island in the Pensacola Region of Florida, was involved in a series of battles. A Federal expedition overran the Rebel stronghold on January 1, 1862.
In 1853, Franklin Pierce appointed James Campbell (1813-1893), attorney-general of Pennsylvania, Postmaster of the United States. He had practiced law in Pennsylvania and served as a judge.
Carrie Marsh Crane, Caroline Marsh's niece, daughter of her brother Thomas, accompanied the Marshs for a number of years during his tenure as minister to Italy. She died in a shipwreck in 1874.
A Burlington businessman, Albert G. Peirce ran the J. S. Peirce and Sons, a grocery and agricultural supplies store on Church Street with his father, J. S. Peirce. When the Marshes left for Italy, the family looked after their house and forwarded their mail.