1862-1864: Herbert Daniels to Salina (Brewster) Waterson

Herbert Daniels

Herbert Daniels

These eleven letters were written by Herbert Daniels (1836-1899), the orphaned son of Judge David Daniels (1805-1847) and Nancy Ballou (1815-1846). He was married first to Elizabeth La Pierre in March 1868 in Boston. He married second Selina (Brewster) Waterson in December 1873 in Hampton, Connecticut. From these letters we learn that Herbert had a history with Mrs. Waterson that predated even his first marriage. After the war he became a surveyor in Providence, Rhode Island.

Herbert wrote the first letter while recruiting soldiers to fill the ranks of the 7th Rhode Island Infantry. The recruits were sent to Camp Bliss, five miles south of Providence, during the summer of 1862. The majority were fifteen- to thirty-year-old farmers and mill workers from southern and western Rhode Island who enlisted in the regiment under the call of President Abraham Lincoln for 300,000 men to defend the Union following a series of humiliating defeats in Virginia. The largest push for recruits came in August, with some towns offering incentives as high as four hundred dollars for men to enlist; though the large bounties encouraged many to come forward, large numbers joined to preserve the Union. Many of their officers were known to them by their first name. They attained their positions through political influence or past experience in the service. In short time one thousand young Rhode Islanders had gathered at Camp Bliss. To command them, Governor Sprague selected Zenas Bliss of Johnston. Bliss was a graduate of West Point and had attained the rank of captain in the Eighth United States Infantry. In the years ahead he would transform these men from Rhode Island from untrained volunteers into a regiment on par with the United States Regulars.

The Seventh Rhode Island was mustered into service on 6 September 1862 for three years.

Herbert mentions his brother Percy Daniels (1840-1916) in several letters. At the time the first letter was written, Percy was recruiting soldiers in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. Percy later joined Company E of the 7th Rhode Island as its captain but eventually rose to Brevet Colonel and commanded the regiment before the end of the war. After the war, Percy went to Kansas where he became a lieutenant governor of the state.

The Pawtucket Times published a notice of the death of Herbert Daniels in their 29 November 1899 issue:

VOLUNTARY STARVATION: A Recluse by Choice, Herbert Daniels Refused All Offers of Aid. Providence, Nov. 29. — Through his own perversity and his refusal of offers of aid, Herbert Daniels, a veteran of the Civil War, died from what was really starvation, the death occurring at the Homeopathic Hospital last Sunday [26 November 1899]. For years Daniels had resided in this city, though living the life of a recluse and having but little to do with his fellow men. Though he has some little income, it had grown smaller and smaller until at last it became insufficient to buy the smallest necessities of life.

At various times efforts have been made by those who knew the man to get him to enter the Soldier’s Home, but he persistently refused, choosing apparently to live the life which was so lonesome and so thoroughly disassociated from that of the ordinary man. His last place of residence was at 322 Knight Street. Here the discovery was made by Mrs. Chapman who resides in an upper tenement in the same house, that the old veteran was slowly starving to death and that he was not receiving proper nourishment. She went to his aid and secured for him nourishing food. But it was too late. The old man’s strength had become exhausted and he failed to recuperate even under the kindly treatment that was given and tempting dishes that Mrs. Chapman prepared for him….

Daniels was born at Branch Village, Smithfield, about two miles from Woonsocket, and was 63 years of age. He was the son of David Daniels and Nancy Ballou Daniels. His father was at one time quite a prominent Woonsocket attorney. Daniels was a brother of the recent Populist Lieut. Gov. of Kansas, Percy Daniels, who was colonel of the 7th Rhode Island Regiment, in which his brother served as a private. Col. Daniels now resides in Girade, Kan., but is ill, and in accordance with his physician’s advice will not come on to attend the funeral of his brother. It is not known whether or not he knew of the destitute condition of his relative, but it is thought that it is doubtful if the old soldier kept his brother informed of his condition. Another brother of Daniels was Francis A. Daniels, once a practicing attorney in this city but who died some years ago at Butler Hospital. Aside from the brother in Kansas, it is not known that Daniels had any relatives.

Daniels enlisted from Woonsocket in Co. C of the 7th Rhode Island Regiment on June 30, 1862. He was mustered out with honorable discharge papers on June 9, 1865. He received a pension of $6 a month, this being practically all the income he had of late…


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Addressed to Mrs. S. A. Waterson, Worcester, Massachusetts
Newton Street

Providence [Rhode Island]
Tuesday, July 1st 1862

Dear Salina,

I got your letter yesterday morning for which I was very thankful. I left the house yesterday morning soon after breakfast and didn’t return until ten o’clock at night. I will try to tell you what I was doing all that time if I can remember. I was down street all the forenoon not doing much (got your letter and read it) but talking with various people, officers, and others, and seeing to those five recruits that [my brother] Percy brought in Saturday. He couldn’t find that Dr. to examine them nor the Rhode Island mustering officer to swear them, and he hadn’t time to take them down to the camp if he had found them, so he left them with Col. [Welcome Ballou] Sayles ¹ who took them to a Hotel where they staid over Sunday & a high time I guess they had too for the Hotelkeeper said he was glad to get rid of them when I told him that I was going to take them to camp.

Welcome Ballou Sayles

Welcome Ballou Sayles

There were 7 of them including 2 little drummer boys enlisted by someone else, but left under the same circumstances. I left word to have them sent to the Col’s office as soon as they got their dinner. I didn’t see them myself for they were not to be found, & then I started about noon to get mine but stopped at Cousin Bell’s on my way & picked cherries for her until nearly one o’clock, then eat dinner with them & went back down street at half past one.

Percy came from Woonsocket about the time I got to the office & the first thing we had to do was to find those young soldiers. I found them at last on the wharf at Fox Point about a mile from the office. Then we had to get them examined & sworn & we couldn’t find an officer. For a long time, we tramped around — well, I tell you, Percy & I with 8 soldier boys at our heels for he brought another with him. At last we got it all done just in time for Percy to take the cars but not until after they had started. After he left the office I thought of something I wanted to ask him so I ran after him & saw him get into the last car while it was going. I followed & got into the rear end of the last car just as he went into the next car. I followed him so through the whole train before I caught him. By that time we had got more than a quarter of a mile from the depot but they were not going so fast but that I could jump off & run back.

Rhode Island Drummer Boys

Rhode Island Drummer Boys

Then there were more papers to write & sign & questions to be asked & answered & explanations to be made to them about their pay &c. & then a requisition or order to be got for their clothing &c. which had to be copied to the Adjutant General’s office & then to the Quartermaster General’s office &c, & finally to the Clothing Department where they were completely fitted out with everything that a soldier needs (in the way of clothing) including knapsacks, blankets, overcoats, underclothes, & everything. I didn’t get them dressed & their knapsacks packed & strapped upon their backs until nearly 7 o’clock — just in time to take the 7 o’clock omnibus which carried within a half mile of the camp & then we had to march the rest of the way. I stayed at the camp over an hour or more & saw them comfortably established, saw that they got their beds & filled them, & looked out for the little drummer boys who were not sworn in & didn’t get any blankets nor anything. I don’t know why & am going to find out this afternoon. But they got their beds the same as the rest & borrowed all the overcoats they wanted so they would get along well enough for the night. They say they are used to such life having served 9 months in Massachusetts 20th Regiment & were in the Ball’s Bluff fight. They were too late to get any supper but were not hungry having been eating a steady stream all the afternoon & I guess they eat enough at the Hotel to last them a good while & when they were with me they kept running out to eating houses. It was almost impossible to keep them in one place 5 minutes at a time or 1 minute either. I was glad to get them off my hands.

I didn’t know that it was so much work to get up a whole regiment. The perspiration ran off my face in streams all the afternoon & I was out in the rain a good deal of the time when it rained so hard for an hour or two at supper time. I started before nine to walk back but it is nearly 5 miles so I didn’t arrive till ten. I heard the 9 o’clock bells ring when I was about 4 miles from the house. When I got into the city, I had a good mind to stop & write to you & let you know where I was & what I was up to, but I resisted the temptation. There, I have written a long letter but I won’t ask you to read it all. I should read all you wrote me no matter how much I feel interested in everything you do. And now I must go down street where I was all this morning & then to camp again. I will send some papers to Grandpa. I got the one you sent Saturday.

Goodbye darling. Yours affectionately, — Herbert

¹ Lieutenant-Colonel Welcome Ballou Sayles. Residence, Providence; commissioned and mustered in Sept. 4, 1862. He was “the idol of his regiment” and was killed at the head of his men by a shell at the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862.


After participating in the battle of Fredericksburg and Burnside’s infamous “Mud March,” the 7th Rhode Island was moved to Newport News, Virginia, and then transported to Lexington, Kentucky, and attached to the Department of Ohio. In mid-April 1863 they were moved to Winchester and to a camp near Richmond, Kentucky, where this letter was written.

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Addressed to Mrs. S. A. Waterson, Worcester, Massachusetts
Corner of Newton & Pleasant Streets
Postmarked Richmond, Kentucky

The 7th Rhode Island

The 7th Rhode Island

Wednesday morning
April 22, 1863
11 o’clock

Another lovely morning my darling & how I wish you were here to enjoy it with me in this beautiful grove or else that I could be with you in Worcester to take a walk in the woods or over to the cemetery. There is a cemetery only a short distance from camp & I must try to go out there some day though I don’t care much about going alone. I can see a little of it from where I am sitting — under a great rock maple tree close to Percy’s tent — & it looks very pleasant over there. I suppose it is rather early in the season to enjoy a walk in the woods at home & perhaps if I was there I should prefer to sit down with you in your little sitting room on the sofa or in one chair as of old. I haven’t forgotten. Or if I was there, perhaps I should be helping you do up your morning’s work. I should like that, & anything in fact & any place if we were only together. I wish I could have been there to help you move. I know it must have been very hard for you to do it alone & it would have given me great pleasure to help you. And I know it would make you happy as well as myself to be here to do a great many little things for me that you can do so much than I & to enjoy this beautiful country & weather with me.

It rained all night which with the warm sun will make everything grow rapidly. I haven’t see many flowers yet & I don’t believe there are many out here. I never saw or heard of our May flowers anywhere in the South, If they grew at Newport News, I think I could have sent you some when we first got there in February. I have seen flowers in gardens — daffodils &c. — for three weeks or more.

There has been no mail Sunday but we are expecting one every day. I don’t see what makes it so irregular. It is only 26 miles to Lexington over a good road & a good bridge across the river. We might have come that way in 2 days easily instead of marching 4 days & stopping 8 days to rest at Winchester. But “it is all in the 3 years” as they boys say — that is, everyday no matter what we do brings us no nearer the end so I don’t care if what we do will help end the war or even if the war can be finished soon without our help. We won’t grumble if we only get home soon.

It is a week since we had any daily papers so we don’t know what is going on. Great events may have taken place in that time. I heard a man say last night that Gen. Hooker had been fighting them for a week & had at last succeeded in driving them from the heights of Fredericksburg [Battle of Chancellorsville]. I don’t know where he got his information but hope it is true & I hope we shall get our letters & papers soon & among them a letter from you of course.

9 o’clock Friday morning. I waited all day yesterday for the mail thinking I would not send this until I got yours but when the mail did come in the evening, I was quite disappointed for there was nothing for me — not even a newspaper from anybody. But this morning I went up to see Percy & he gave me your letter of last Friday — No. 31. He was at Winchester all day yesterday & got a chance to overhaul the mail & took out the Colonel’s and Major’s letters & his own & mine thinking we should get them quicker.

The last of our baggage didn’t come from Winchester last night. With the rest was Percy’s mess chest containing his stove, dishes & provisions. More than half the officers haven’t had any tents for a week. Our Brigade teams & ambulances arrived yesterday from Newport News. It is a great undertaking to move an army — even a small one. I should rather board, as you say. Won’t you come out here & take boarders? Or are you afraid of being kissed to death? I am in no hurry for the necktie. The old one is good enough to wear out here. I would like a box of dandelion pills. I will get one of Percy’s photographs & send it to you when he gets them.

I believe it was April 5th that you spoke of writing to Foss. I hope it wasn’t lost. We had a thundershower night before last & yesterday was cooler & cloudy & showery & the same today. I guess I will send back all those button rings but 2. I will write again Sunday if we don’t move. Good Bye till then. With love & a kiss.

From your own, — Herbert


Letters 3 and 4 were written from Lexington, Kentucky, where the 7th Rhode Island was placed on Provost Duty attached to the District of North Central Kentucky, 1st Division, 23rd Army Corps, Dept. Ohio. They were in Lexington from September 1863 to April 1864 when they were moved to Virginia and placed in Burnside’s 9th Army Corps.

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[Lexington, Kentucky]
9 o’clock Sunday Morning
November 1st [1863]


The bells are all ringing for Sunday School & the children are going past & it would seem very much like home if the guard at this minute with 3 or 4 little drums & fifes & a base drum which isn’t in harmony with music of the bells. The guards from the 7th [Rhode Island] will be here soon with 3 or 4 little drums & fifes. They all come to the Headquarters to be inspected every morning.

Yours of Sunday and Monday (no. 81) came yesterday afternoon as I expected. I am going to write to Tennessee today to know wy they don’t send those letters back. Emory Arnold got his furlough yesterday but no by mail. It came in some other way. I got a Boston Journal yesterday nearly two months old that looked as though it had been to Tennessee & back.

The pills came the other day all safe. I do wish I could take tea with you in your cozy warm sitting room. I should enjoy it more than most anything else. I can imagine no greater happiness than I should enjoy if I could come home Saturday night (last night) & stay till Monday. Can’t you get up a “row” in Worchester & send for the 7th to preserve the peace? Or would there be more trouble than ever? Wouldn’t there be gay times though?

I believe I told you that Capt. [George A.] Wilbur returned Friday. I don’t believe E. would dare to write to him. I had a letter from Aunt Ruth yesterday & there was a little note from E. inside. There was nothing particular in it.

It rained all day Friday & cleared off cold in the night & has been cold ever since. 52 weeks ago today we made a very long march in Virginia & never suffered so much from the heat except in Mississippi. E. said it was very lonesome there without James.

I don’t know what Percy has had since I have been in the city. In fact, I seldom knew when I was in the regiment. Haven’t heard of my small package such as you speak of. Who sent it? Anyone I know? I wrote those letters for the Providence Press. I didn’t think of your thinking I was sick when I was waiting for the ambulance. Well folks sometimes ride when they can get a chance. The ambulances were all empty then. I only told you about it to make you laugh. I used to have a fresh loaf of bread every morning if I chose to take it. My doughnuts are all gone. No, you never told me anything about Mr. Morgan. Who is he?

Lt. [Peleg Edwin] Peckham ¹ is married. His wife lives in Rhode Island. He is on duty at New Haven, Connecticut. I don’t know whether he & P. entered forbidden ground or not, but perhaps they wanted to. I have never heard the particulars. Either of them would have told me if I had asked them, but I hated to. They were put under arrest by an order from the General & no explanations given. Peckham said just before he left us that he had found out who made the complaint & if he ever got to Lexington [Kentucky,] he was going to make him sign a statement taking it all back, or else fight him, & if he wouldn’t do either, he was going to sue him or horsewhip  him, or shoot him — I have forgotten which. I have never heard of P’s marriage. Perhaps he wanted to be — for a little while at least. I suppose I might leave my things here but I don’t want to. I want to carry them & mean to. If we ever go to Tennessee, we may not come back this way.

I shall go in for a good time when I get home, but not before. All I want here is comfort. It is 4 o’clock. I have been writing on this all day when I haven’t had much to do, but am interrupted every few minutes. I am going up to camp bye & bye & when I come back will write some more.

8 o’clock. I have been to camp & returned. [My brother] Percy was busy with his muster rolls. Has E. got any of Percy’s pictures? Have you ever seen her collection? I suppose she don’t know of course what a collection you have got. I wish you could get a sight of hers. If she pries into your things as she used to, it would be no more than fair for you to play the same game.

Now darling, I must “retire” & finish this in the morning. Good night my own love with 10,000 kisses from, — Hxxxxxx.

I will put this in a small envelope so you can put it I know where. I wish I was there this minute. Don’t you?

Monday morning

I am pretty busy this morning. Always have more to do in the forenoon. It is very warm & pleasant & I would like to ramble in the woods all day with you. As ever, your own, Hxxxxxx.

500¹ Peleg Edwin Peckham (1835-1865) was the son of Rowland and Mary Johnson Peckham of Charlestown, Rhode Island. He married at New York City, Martha Emily Ennis (1834-1892) in May 1860. Aug. 1, 1862, Mr. Peckham enlisted as a private in Company A, but was mustered as fourth sergeant September 4th, commissioned second lieutenant Company E, Jan. 7, 1863; first lieutenant of same March 1st; captain Company B, July 25, 1864, and brevet major of volunteers July 30th. From January, 1865, he served as acting assistant adjutant-general on the staff of his brigade commander, Gen. John I. Curtin, until he was mortally wounded early in the day, April 2d. The brigade staff were lying in the rebel trench in front of Fort Hell waiting for something to eat. There was continuous firing, but a somewhat heavier momentary fusillade caused them to rise, when a bullet struck him over the right ear coming out at the eye. He was taken to the Cheever house which General Curtin had occupied as headquarters, though most of the staff, including Major Peckham, had tented in the yard. He received the unremitting attention of Dr. W. R. D. Blackwood, of the Forty-eighth Pennsylvania, the brigade surgeon, but with little avail. He did recover sufficiently to say to the doctor, ‘Write to my wife and tell her.’ Later he was sent in an ambulance to the City Point Hospital, where he died next day, April 3d.


1863 Letter


[Lexington, Kentucky]
Thursday evening
17th December [1863]

I have been looking for 2 or 3 days for a letter from my Darling, but it hasn’t come yet. I guess it will come tomorrow but then I shan’t answer it till Sunday unless it is something very special. I believe I haven’t had anything from you this week — yes, I did, some papers, a New York Herald & Boston Journal.

I moved into my new house Monday & it was as “cold as Greenland” — almost. It tried to snow that day but couldn’t, it was so cold. It has rained every day this week & nearly every day for a month. Last night was warmer & we had thunder & lightening, & tonight it is very windy & growing cold fast. But I am very comfortable here by the fire, writing on the table which has an old newspaper for a table cloth. All I want to make me perfectly comfortable & happy is my x x x x in my arms. If you would only come now, how I would kiss you. You should sit in my lap & toast your feet until the fire went out (would you give me the same privilege if I was there?) & then we would depend upon love & blankets of both of which I have a plenty.

Oh Darling! I do wish you were in my arms or I in yours with my head pillowed on your loving bosom. Good night, dearest, precious one. I must go for it is late. One sweet good night kiss.

Friday evening. 18th.

Your precious letter came this afternoon but as it was later than common & I was busy & it was verity cold & snowing, I didn’t finish this & carry it to the office as I expected. It was No. 99 & dated Thursday 10th & mailed the 11th. I shall look for another tomorrow which I will answer Sunday. I will send this in the morning in one of your envelopes.

I wish I could have been with you that evening & every evening & enjoy all that you mention & a good deal more that you don’t think of. I wish I was with you tonight. It is cold enough to take comfort, as you say. Now keep hinting at things that you say you will tell me all about when I get home. I fear you will forget some of them, there will be  so much to tell — especially if I stay the year out. Hadn’t you better tell a little of it now. I would like to hear something about Warren & N. & E., but when I get home I shall lose all interest in them. I shall care for nobody but my Darlings then.

How I do wish we were all together tonight. I wouldn’t mind sleeping in a bed if there were no Ellas for F. & M. to proclaim it to. If we hadn’t so many friends, I would come see you. If I hadn’t so many friends in the Regiment & you lived anywhere but “Pleasantville,” I would come & spend 4 weeks with you & not speak to anyone else. Wouldn’t we be happy & would they be tickled — especially M to wake up in the morning & fall us all together. But it would be announced in the papers before morning, even if I didn’t get out and the names of those who come home. If it wasn’t for that, I would have come long ago & said “nothing to nobody.” I am going to wash all over now & then go to bed. I wish I could enjoy both with you.

10 o’clock. I am all ready, Lovem to go to bed — with you, I mean. But if you don’t come, I shall put on my drawers, stockings, & go to bed alone.

I have had a good nice bath & am now sitting in the corner by the fire in my uniform waiting for my love. I have got a screen of blankets hung up & if you come, I will blow out the candles to spare your blushes & take you into my loving arms close to my warm heart & if you didn’t enjoy the sitting, as you say, it wouldn’t be my fault. Good night Darling. With 1,000,000 kisses from your H.



In 1863 the Union Army under the command of General Ambrose E. Burnside established a camp and army depot at Point Isabel, Pulaski County, Kentucky, and fortified the site along with a major lookout point called Bunker Hill to control a portion of the Cumberland River. With lookouts posted on all the high points, Burnside’s men could watch over a large part of the surrounding countryside. The camp soon became known as Camp Burnside. Older residents still referred to their community as the Point and some began gradually calling it Point Burnside.

Office Post Commandant
Point Isabella, Kentucky
Sunday morning, January 10, 1864

No mail yet, dear, but it will come soon for the Col. telegraphed to Lexington yesterday to know why it didn’t come. We expected to find it at Somerset when we got there last Monday, but the roads were so bad that they got no mail from anywhere until yesterday & then ours didn’t come. There is a telegraph office in this building so that you could telegraph to me any day if anything was the matter. Do you want me to telegraph you if anything should happen to me? How should I direct in that case?

Col. Zenas R. Bliss

Col. Zenas R. Bliss

Afternoon. They say that there is a mail on the way for us, but I don’t know when we shall get it. Col. [Zenas Randall] Bliss took command of the Post Thursday & of course wanted me so I am here in the Office in the only house in the city & this isn’t finished & the timbers were all growing when we started from Lexington. Come to think of it, there is another house here — a small country store — and a government sawmill where they are sawing lumber night & day for the Government storehouses that they are building. They are going to build a house for Col. Bliss this week. He had a telegram from his wife yesterday & I guess she is coming on here soon. She says all our officers at Lexington are ordered to the regiment & if so, she will probably come with them.

Gen. [Theophilus Toulmin] Garrard started from here 4 days ago expecting to go through Knoxville, 80 miles, in 5 days (16 miles a day) & he is but 5 miles from here — 5 miles in 4 days. Our first orders were to go with him.

We are on the south side of the [Cumberland] River & the current is so swift & so much ice running that they have to take up the bridge everyday & keep it up unless a train of wagons wants to cross. In that case, I detail 50 men to lay the bridge & then take it up again. It is a pontoon bridge or bridge of boats.

There (Monday morning) were no rations here when we arrived & ours were out Thursday night & didn’t get any till yesterday (Sunday) but they got along very well by having a little surplus on hand & shooting pigs & rabbits & buying a little. I have lived on cookies, butter, crackers, & pickled tongues that I bought at the store. The last of those you sent was a doughnut which I kept a long time, but it finally got broken up & I guess it is about all gone now. The last of the walnuts I brought in my pockets all the way & haven’t had a chance to eat them yet.

They are going to establish a great depot of supplies at this Post to supply E. Tenn. 10,000 rations arrived yesterday & 5,000 more are within 3 miles & will be here today or tomorrow or sometime & boats are said to be trying to get up the river from Nashville with supplies. Have you got a map of this region to look at? I have sent to Frank for one of Lloyd’s maps. I think they cost 25 cents or perhaps 50.

An officer arrived here yesterday from Somerset who said the mail carrier started from there before he did & he brought a few letters that were mailed at Somerset after the mail left, but we haven’t seen anything of the mail yet. They will send a mail from here tonight & I will send this. Tuesday morn. A mail has just come but none for the regiment. Col. Bliss received a letter from his wife directed to Somerset. It was a week old. She sent him a pair of boots the same day but he has not received them. Probably our mail is too large to be brought on horseback. The Col. telegraphed to Somerset again last night. The mail is going out tonight & I will send his & write again soon.

Goodbye darling. Till then. As ever, with all love, your affectionate — Hxxxxxx


1864 Letter

1864 Letter


Saturday afternoon.
23rd [January 1864]


No letters yet although the mail some everyday. One of our men will start for home tomorrow or the next day & I will send this by him.

No more news yet. It is beautiful weather overhead — seems like Spring.

[My brother] Percy came in this forenoon. He is going back this afternoon. Capt. [James Norris] Potter ¹ is more comfortable. He is in here every day — looks as well as ever. That young Lady he came so near marrying is a daughter of ex-Gov. [Henry Bowen] Anthony of Rhode Island & her name is Sarah. ² I think she is the one that called at the office one day to see her “Brother.” He has had two very narrow escapes from being dismissed from the service. One was that scrape & the other [was] staying away from the Regiment two months pretending to be sick. We could spare him very well.

I hope I shall get a letter tomorrow. I wish I knew what you were doing this pleasant afternoon.

We don’t hear much about coming home. Sometimes I don’t much care whether they do or not. I should be pretty busy all the time & shouldn’t get much chance to see you. I would’t stay at Camp Bliss though over night again if you were at Smith’s or in Providence unless I was with you, & I don’t believe I should if she was.

The Col. [Zenas R. Bliss] don’t want to go home & I don’t believe I should if I was in his place. She hasn’t come yet but he went to Somerset [Kentucky] yesterday to meet her & hasn’t returned. Probably he stayed with her last night. The Col. & his wife have come & have gone to their shanty. I haven’t seen her yet.

I don’t believe I should want you to come for if it should be cold again, you would suffer. I don’t know how she will stand it. Our door has shrunken so that the boards are nearly two inches apart for it was growing in the woods the same day it was made. But it is uncomfortably warm in here today. If you were here, I couldn’t let you shiver in cold or anything of that kind. You would have to wear my clothes — army blue — thick as a board — & 3 or 4 flannel shirts. How would you like that? Did you try it before you sent my clothes?

Sunday morning. 9 o’clock. I shall send this today. It is a beautiful day — uncomfortably warm in the sun. I wish I could take a ramble with you in the woods, don’t you? I suppose the ground is covered with snow there but it is probably warm & pleasant today.

Goodbye, my darling for a few days. With all love from your Hxxxxxx

¹ Capt. James Norris Potter (1841-1869) was mustered into the 7th Rhode Island Infantry as second lieutenant of Company C. He was promoted to first lieutenant on 1 March 1863, and to captain on 30 April 1863 (though he did not receive the rank officially until 30 June 1864 because of an insufficient number of men in the company). His biography states that during the months of January, February, and March of 1863, while in Kentucky, his health became much impaired. He became sunstroke before Petersburg in 1864 and never regained his health. He died suddenly in 1869 in Providence, Rhode Island. He was said to be “especially neat in his habits and after a hard march or an engagement, was first to appear in a thoroughly brushed uniform, polished boots, and a clean white collar.”

² Something is amiss with this story as Gov. Henry Bowen Anthony (1815-1884) and his wife, Sarah Aborn Rhodes (1815-1854) are reported to have had no children. The 1850 shows the household to have only Henry and Sarah Anthony, two black servants and an Irish maid.


1864 Letter

Letters 7, 8 & 9 were postmarked from Somerset, Kentucky, where Herbert Daniel’s regiment spent the winter of 1863-64.


[Camp near Somerset, Kentucky]
Monday noon
25th January [1864]


I sent the two letters this morning — one to be mailed in Lexington & the other in Providence (I mean they started this morning) & now I will begin another & hope I shall get yours before I send it. We don’t have any mail this morning. It will come tomorrow morning or perhaps tonight.

I heard yesterday that Congress had passed an Act & it only needed the President’s signature to become an law, providing that clothing can be sent through the mails to soldiers at a low rate.I believe I have but 2 pairs of stockings & one of them is quite holy. I don’t see what has become of them, though I gave Percy one or two that Esther sent & lost one — a holy one. But I can get along very well with two pairs. As long as they are good, it is enough. If you sent any clothing, you might put in something to eat. Better wait & see whether we go with Burnside or not.

Did I tell you I received the pills last week? Have you got any more? I wouldn’t start on a Southern Expedition without a good supply for anything. With them, I should feel perfectly safe against everything but yellow fever & bullets & I don’t think they are dangerous.

It is another warm spring-like day. In 3 months this will be one of the pleasantest places I ever saw. If there is any regular communication with civilization, we couldn’t find a pleasanter place to spend the summer — except at home.

Tuesday morning, 26th. The mail has come — nothing for me. I haven’t time to write now. Another beautiful day.

It is said the orders are on the day for us to go back. I suppose they are only waiting to finish our houses — “Winter Quarters.” They are most done. Send me some more pills.

Good Bye Darling. In haste. Your own, — Hxxxxxx


Image 30


[Camp near Somerset, Kentucky]
Tuesday evening
February 23d [1864]


Another letter today. No. 16 dated Feb. 3, 1864. That’s the way they come. I shall look for No. 19 tomorrow or 20, or 17, or 15, or something else. I can’t understand it. I have got used to my papers coming in that way & don’t mind it. Percy is no better. He is pretty sick. I take care of him nights as of old. It would seem like old times if you were only around in the way — somewhere “convenient” — upstairs, for instance. I wish he was in Worcester under Aunt Ruth’s care, or yours, & I was there too. They sent for me last evening in haste & I thought he must be worsen but it was not so. He was a little out of his head though.

We had a flag-raising yesterday afternoon about sunset. Three regiments came out — the 7th with about 50 men (including 15 or 20 privates), the 9th New Hampshire 1,000 strong, & an Ohio Regiment 1500 strong, besides a battery that didn’t come. They fired a salute though from where they were a mile & a half away on the other side of the [Cumberland] River which did just as well. The reason they didn’t come was that they couldn’t raise mules enough to draw a single gun. Their horses “played out” long ago & they had to be sent back to a civilized region to save their lives.

I too hope that our next move will bring us nearer to you — even if we can’t enjoy the happiness of meeting. You mustn’t go down street twice on wet, sloppy days — especially at certain times — not even to meet me. You must make me come where you are which I will do whenever I can.

You think you could keep me warm without your two “stones” “particularly if ________” do you? Well, we shall see when that happens. I sent that letter by one of our men going home. He said he would mail it in Providence but perhaps he mailed it somewhere else. There wasn’t much in it — nothing particular.

It has been uncomfortably warm today & rains a little now & the wind blows hard.

The 9th New Hampshire is ordered to Knoxville which seems foolish for they will have to come back soon to join Burnside. I hope we shan’t go any farther. It is said that we are all to meet at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. I must go to camp now & stay with Percy. Good night love. 7 o’clock.

Wednesday morning, 24th.

It is a beautiful morning, warm & pleasant after the showers last night. I wonder if it is as pleasant at home. If it is, you will want to be out in the woods & I shall want to be with you.

Percy feels better this morning as usual. He doesn’t sit up any. He wants to go back to Lexington & go into the Hospital there. It would be easy to get a furlough from the hospital. I will wait till the mail comes & then send this.

11½ o’clock. The mail has come. Nothing for me but the Press. Good bye dearest. With all love from your, — Hxxxxxx


Image 36


[Camp near Somerset, Kentucky]
Tuesday Morning
March 1, 1864


No letters yet & I don’t see what is the matter. I got one from Esther today mailed last Tuesday. She was very much disappointed when we left Lexington for she had really set her heart upon coming there to see us. She mentioned once before that she had thought of it.

The train of wagons that we expected would bring  our barrel arrived Saturday night, but no barrel, so we don’t much expect it now.

Percy is pretty smart. He lives principally upon peaches, strawberries, blackberries, pineapples, &c. Don’t you wish you could come out here & have all those luxuries? He wanted some white sugar so bad the other day to eat on his pineapple that I gave him what little I had. I shan’t need it here & we are coming back to civilized regions again this spring. After trying hard for several days to find some, I succeeded in finding some yesterday & got a pound for 35 cents.

His leave of absence hasn’t come yet. He will start as soon as it comes. Lt. [Peleg Edwin] Peckham got started for Lexington this afternoon. Percy would have liked to go with him. He had a 4 horse ambulance.

It began to rain Sunday evening & rained steadily until this morning when it turned to snow & has been snowing all day & now the snow is quite deep.

I have just heard from Peckham. He has gone back to camp. Couldn’t get across the [Cumberland] River. It has been rising all day at the rate of about a foot an hour. It rose 5 feet from 3 o’clock to 5 – 3 hours. It won’t come up on this hill half a mile or more from the landing, but may possibly come within a little ways of us. They took up the pontoon bridge this morning & Peckham expected to get his ambulance across in the ferrety boat but they wouldn’t venture. Perhaps Percy will go with him after all. I must go up to camp now. Good night dear.

Wednesday noon.

I am waiting for the mail. Lieut. Peckham has gone. Went across the [Cumberland] River on the steamboat. The river isn’t usually wide enough for the boat to turn around in.

Evening. That package came but not the letter you say you sent with it. I guess it will come tomorrow. I don’t see why the bundle came first. It is usually the other way. Many thanks, darling. I am well supplied now — especially with pills.

Thursday noon. The mail has come. Nothing for me. I wonder what has become of it. Good bye dearest. Yours ever, — H xxxxxx


Image 16


[Postmarked Annapolis, Maryland]
Wednesday morning
April 13, 1864


Percy has just come & will take command immediately, thereby relieving Capt. “Sallie” to our great relief.

Grant & Burnside are coming & the Regiment is falling in to be reviewed by them, or rather to be seen, for they won’t stop for all the ceremonies — only a salute.

I am waiting for your letter which I expect soon. It rained all night & is pleasant this morning. I haven’t seen much of Percy yet. Haven’t asked any questions. Don’t know what he brought me. If there wasn’t so many here to telegraph, I would get a seven days furlough today & be with you tomorrow night & let nobody else know it. The application for more than 7 days has to go to New York.

11 ‘clock. The mail brought me nothing but a short letter from F. written Sunday & mailed Monday. Yours didn’t come nor the Harper’s Magazine F. mailed with his letter. I guess they will come tomorrow.

The Generals haven’t come & they are all waiting in the rain. It was to cold for Percy to come in just as they were coming & take the command of the Regiment away from Potter & send him back to his company of about a dozen men,. When they routed him out of bed at 1 o’clock this A.M. with the order for the review I guess he felt bad.

11½ o’clock. They have been here & gone again. They only rode along the line while the Regiment presented arms & the drums beat, & Percy ordered three cheers for Grant & three for Burnside, & Potter cheered with all the other little boys in the ranks & nobody noticed him. Col. Bliss was among the crowd of Generals. He has a General’s command but is coming back to the Regiment soon. It is very pleasant now.

5½ P. M. Percy’s Regiment is having a dress parade. Percy brought me a pistol, towel, handkerchief, slippers, Atlantic Monthly, Tribune Almanac, & I don’t know what else. I am getting at them one by one.

While I was telling you that it was so pleasant, it began to thunder & we have had a thunder shower. It is now pleasant — or was 5 minutes ago — but I guess it is clouding up again.

Thursday noon. It came. No. 35 commenced Sunday evening & mailed day before yesterday. Have I had No. 34 yet? You say you finished one Thursday (I think I got it) & mailed another Friday, which I don’t think I have seen. I fear it was too bad walking for you to go down street Tuesday. You mustn’t expose yourself. It has been cold here. It was very pleasant this morning, though cool, but I hear it raining a little now. William Daniels & Myron were here this morning. William said his wife would come bye & bye to see Percy. Poor “Sallie” is sick today. Well, I suppose it is time.

You told me about Mrs. Hill’s writing to Uncle John. Where is she now? Will you give me an introduction when I get home? She ought to have a half dozen men all at once.

I will take good care of your Hxxxxxx & bring him home safe & sound. I won’t introduce him to Mrs. H. or any one else but his own x x x x.

The officers have got some printed verses on our old chaplain & are going to send to Indiana for more of them. If they get them, I will send you one. Peckham is also going to try his hand at making verses. I can’t make out whether he was a natural born fool to totally depraved, or a good deal of both, but I guess our officers will never forget him. We have heard several times of his great success in a young Ladies School in Indiana. He used to say that he left his wife because she hadn’t any pillow for his head.

What made you feel so bad at Smith’s palace? Anything [paper creased]? I ____ we didn’t take comfort enough to pay you for going, but never mistrusted the character of the house particularly. At any rate, E. can’t say anything. Henry Daniels & his wife & Father & Mother have just been here. Did you get mine mailed in Covington Sunday April 3?

I would like to introduce our ex-chaplain to A.W. & Mrs. H. Wouldn’t you like to put them both into bed with him?

Evening —

I have been writing all the evening & now I will say goodnight to my darling & retire. I shall be glad when I get where I shan’t have to say “good night” — where I can be with you all the day, or the evening at least, & where bedtime will not part us. I won’t say good night when I get home, nor even kiss you good night (won’t you feel bad?) but I will kiss you all [paper creased] willing. Will that do as well?

And what will your H x x x x x x say to that if I bring him home with me. Good night Dearest. With all love for we are going to bed now. We sleep together, H x x x x x  & I.

I will write again Sunday.




Monday afternoon
November 14, 1864


It came this morning as I expected No. 37 commenced Wednesday evening & finished Thursday noon. I wrote only 3 times last week. Last evening I took a walk over to the P. O. & carried that third stocking leg. I will send the 4th & last soon.

It is very pleasant today but cool. Yesterday was cold & windy. This morning the ice was quite thick. Percy has got a stove & I am going to have a fireplace. Tom has got a stove which makes his little shelter tent hot as an oven as well it might, not being much larger. It puffs like a steamboat. It is so light that I guess we can carry it.

Percy has gone away to the Point today. I wish I could come & give you & myself all the happiness you can imagine, but I shouldn’t advise you to move on the strength of our hopes. I would like to find you somewhere else & if you can better yourself enough to pay for the trouble of moving at this season without taking your Hxxxxxx into account, you had better do it, but otherwise I would wait till Spring & if I should happen to come home before, we would make the best of circumstances. You think I couldn’t inflict any punishment with one arm? I guess I could even without any. If I couldn’t, you could all the more which perhaps would please you just as well. I don’t know about having young ladies sleep in my bed. I shan’t have any Miss B’s in it when I get home & I won’t give it up even to you — not all of it. But if you can’t keep warm with your little stove, you may come & get in at the foot if you will be a good girl & be still. Would you if you could lie where you mention?

I don’t believe they will try to carry me off by assault. What could they make by it? If Kate wants anything very bad, I guess Walter would accommodate her without much urging. Don’t you think so? If you should ever have a chance, you must have them brought together. I will let you know immediately if there is any good prospect for furloughs.

7 o’clock. I am going to carry this over pretty soon. I gave Hunt to understand I was going to have my valise & he said he would sit down so he wouldn’t forget it next time. He wrote & I offered to have Frank call & get it or send the express agent after it to save his “folks” & himself the trouble but no, he said he would write today, but he didn’t in season for the mail so I told him I was going to carry mine over myself & he said he would have his done as I could carry it with mine. I didn’t say anything about your name. I don’t know but I might just as well, but I don’t know as it will make much difference anyway if you have given the Express Company instructions.

I would like to have, or at least see, a picture of me. If you don’t have any to give me, send me one & I will return it. I have got three little ones yet.

8 o’clock. I have got Hunt’s letter to his wife. I must go now.

Goodnight love. My own xxxx. — Hxxxxxx

2 responses to “1862-1864: Herbert Daniels to Salina (Brewster) Waterson

  • Griff

    Thanks to Lynn for sending me the following e-mail:

    My Mom came across your site looking for information on an ancestor and found letters from 1862-1863 Herbert Daniels to Salina Waterson. Salina is my 3x great grandmother. We knew of her marriage to Herbert Daniels after William Waterson, however we did not know they knew each other so long. There are missing pieces in her life that we have been trying to find for years, these letters almost create more questions than give answers, but that’s all good!

    We were curious where you located these letters and if you knew if there were more? I appreciate you transcribing these three pieces of history, it is very fascinating! From some searching online it seems there were many letters, including a couple from from Salina to Herbert. Thank you for any information you can share.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon – thank you for “sparing and sharing” these letters!

    • Pam Beveridge

      Wonderful service you have provided here! I’m researching the 1846+ autograph album of Aseneth (Nichols) Turner of Norwich, Connecticut. Salina A. Brewster of Franklin [no state written] signed two pages in the album in 1847 and called herself Aseneth’s cousin. If you have any information on Aseneth’s parents or if you would like to see the pages that Salina signed, please contact me at heirlooms (dot) reunited (at) gmail (dot) com.

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