These two letters were written by Levi Hull (1820-1907), the son of Dr. Luther Hull (1789-1858) and Clarissa “Sophia” Denison (1795-1848). Levi wrote the letters to his wife, Caroline M. (Bishop) Hull (1830-1901). Levi and Caroline had at least seven children by September 1862 when he enlisted to serve 9 months in Co. B, 24th Connecticut Infantry.
The 14th Connecticut left Connecticut for eastern New York November 17, then sailed for New Orleans and Baton Rouge, La., November 29, arriving there December 17. Duty at Baton Rouge until March 1863. Operations against Port Hudson March 7–27. Moved to Donaldsonville March 28. Operations in western Louisiana April 9-May 14. Bayou Teche Campaign April 11–20. Irish Bend April 14. Bayou Vermillion April 17. Expedition to Alexandria and Simsport May 5–18. Destruction of Salt Works, near New Iberia, May 18. Moved to Bayou Sara, then to Port Hudson, May 22–25. Siege of Port Hudson May 25-July 9. Assaults on Port Hudson May 27 and June 14. Surrender of Port Hudson July 9. Ordered to Plaquemine District July 11, and duty there until September.
TRANSCRIPTION LETTER ONE
Addressed to Mrs. Levi Hull, Essex, Middlesex county, Connecticut
On Board Ship New Brunswick
December 8, 1862
I have just come from witnessing a sad scene. we have just committed to the deep the body of one of our company. Elisha Parker died this morning, December 8th, after an illness of about four days. He had a hard cold before we left New York which settled upon his lungs. The Doctor and friends did all they could to save him but could not help him. It will be hard news to those he leaves behind.
We have now been at sea about 6 days and expect to make the harbor of the Tortugas Islands after which we shall proceed to Ship Island. We have had a rough passage a part of the time. After we had been out two days, the sea began to run very high. It lightninged very sharp, the ship rolled and became so unsteady that we had to hold on to our seats to keep in them. Then it began to grow rough. I began to grow sea sick and vomited nearly all one day until my stomach go so weak and deranged that all I have done nothing since but lie upon my back without eating anything until this morning but a few figs which I bought on board for the last four days. There has been a good many sea sick but I think it has gone harder with me than anyone that I know of.
It is calm now and the weather is pleasant and warm and I begin to feel better. As soon as I can get some appetite, I shall get along again. Ship Island, to which we are bound, is between Mobile and New Orleans and we expect to reach it in two or three days when I will write and tell you where to direct your letters.
In regard to affairs at home, I hope you will have money to carry you until you can get the rent from the Town which I think you can do in about three months. I shall be entitled to 50 more on mine and 50 more on Mr. Buck’s which will be paid by Lyman Pratt. I think you cannot pay many bills out of what you have but if you can pay for the pigs, you had better do so because I promised to pay Garnot for those shawls for the girls. I think you had better tell him that I could not get a chance to come home as I expected and that when you get another payment from the Town you can pay him. I think you will be called upon for the money to pay for the white fish which was $6.00. I believe I owe Egbert Doune 25 cents. If he makes a fuss about it, I would pay him. You had better not pay too much away until you are sure of some more.
I saw mackerel at 162 Parmaley. I think you had better get a half barrel of No. 2 like those & get if he does not ask more than about four dollars for them or you can send by Sylvanus Tyler if he should be going to New York.
But I cannot write much more until I feel better. I have had a hard time this week and hope to get more strength in a few days. I have learned that the direction for letters will be, “General Banks’ Division, New York, Co. B, 24th Regt. Connecticut Volunteers” and they will be forwarded to us.
With my love to all enquiring friends, I am — Levi Hull
Addressed to Mrs. Levi Hull, Essex, Middlesex County, Connecticut
Baton Rouge [Louisiana]
January 20th 1863
I had made up my mind to not write any more until I had heard from home and had ascertained whether any of my letters had been received or not for I have got about tired of writing without hearing anything from home.
The mails do not run very regular between New York and New Orleans and we have had a mail sent to us belonging to the 24th Maine Regiment and it is supposed ours has been sent through mistake to that regiment. We hope to get ours in a few days. As it is, no letters have been received in reply to ours in our company from home since we left.
I learn from Bela Post that he has received one from his wife dated the 16th of December in which she writes that she had been down to see Captain Johnson’s wife and found she had gone up to live with you so I suppose you have got some company in the house.
There is not much news that I can write. There has been some very cold weather for the week past for this section of the country. The negroes say it has been colder than has been known for several years. We have not been very uncomfortable as we have stoves in our tents but from the accounts which I have seen, I should judge that it has been pretty cold weather up in Connecticut.
There are a good many sick with bowel complaints in this place and a good many have died belonging to the other regiments but as yet no one but Elisha Parker has died from ours since we went into camp at Middletown. They tell us here that new regiments do not suffer as much the first summer that they stay here as they do the second and it would seem so for the old regiments here are losing a great many of their men by sickness now more than they have before. There has been a good many in our company complaining but have got better except [Sgt.] Benizet [A.] Hough ¹ who is very sick with Typhus fever.
I had an attack of bowel complaint and dysentery which laid me up about three days when I got better and have been as well as usual since. Some of our company are getting home sick at times and as our regiment is small, it has been decided to reduce the number of officers and some eight or ten have resigned and I suppose will come home.
I suppose I shall owe the Savings Bank about eight dollars on the 10th of next month. If you have money to spare, I wish you would, but if you have not, you had better see Edward Redfield and ask him if he will wait until you get some more from the Town for I have not received a dollar yet for my wages and if I should, I do not know as I should have a chance to send it home. I want you to write me how you get along and how the boys get along with the cattle for I hope they will have hay enough for them. Send me also some state papers and let me know what is the news. Tell the boys to do the best that can until I get home. I will write about their work in the spring.
Yours, — Levi Hull
¹ Benezet A. Hough (1842-1918) was a sergeant in Co. B, 24th Connecticut Infantry.