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    Civil War. Letter Archive of Lemuel P. Foss, 13th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry. An archive of forty letters to and from Lemuel Foss, various sizes, most running between three and four pages in length. Twenty letters are to Foss from family members and friends, dating from January 4, 1863 to May 7, 1865. There are eighteen letters from Foss, primarily to family members, dating from January 13, 1863 to December 2, 1864. One of his letters is on 13th Regiment letterhead. In addition, there is one letter from Amaziah J. Foss, Lemuel's brother, who served also served in the 13th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry, to his father and one letter to Amaziah from his parents. Overall the condition of the letters are in fine condition.
    Foss' letters, written from camps Falmouth, Newport News, Suffolk, Portsmouth, and Hampton, Virginia, and from Union hospitals in Portsmouth, Virginia, Concord, New Hampshire, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, report primarily on his health, information on his brother, Amaziah, camp life, and requests for food and supplies from home.
    Lemuel Foss' brother, Amaziah, was severely wounded in the leg in late April-early May 1863 and hospitalized. Foss' other brother, Edwin Frank Foss, wrote to Lemuel on May 3 of that year inquiring, on behalf of the family, about Amaziah's health, having heard that he was wounded. Edwin then wrote again on May 11, 1863, informing Lemuel that he heard that Amaziah "had to have his leg amputated...above his knee." In a May 25, 1863 to his family, Lemuel discussed Amaziah's death, which occurred on May 7.
    "You said you should not come after Amaziah's body until next fall, and I don't know but what it will be better for it would be a bad time now it is so warm. You wanted me write you if Amaziah had his leg amputated. He had his leg amputated just above his knee. I should have writen [sic] you so before he died but we all thought he was getting along well until his last day and I thought I would wait until he got better before [I] told you that his leg had been taken off."
    In a letter to his father, dated August 3, 1863, Lemuel responds to new from home concerning Copperheads in New Hampshire:
    "You say the copper heads of Newhampshire are agoing to offer resistance to the draft. I don't think there will be much trubble [sic] in subduing them for we have sent a force of nine men and a Lieut. Home to bring them out and I guess they can do it. You tell me they had better come out and not make to [sic] much fuss about it for we need some men to fill up our Regs. for we have got hardley [sic] men enough to do our guard duty now; They will have to come at last and they may as well come now and without trouble to any one and when they get here just for a change we will show them a Specimen of Southern life."
    In the same letter, Lemuel informs his father of an outbreak in camp of diphtheria, a disease that he would soon contract. On August 16, 1863, Mr. Foss received a letter from Lemuel written by a fellow soldier because his son was too sick to write: "By the request of Lemuel I seat myself down to write a few lines to you to let you know how he is getting along. Well he has been sick for about a fortnight of what the doctor call Dyptheria [sic] although he has been able all of the time to move around and as far as he has been able to talk. He has been cheerful all of the time." Five days later, on August 21, Lemuel was able to write a letter home on his own, discussing his recovery and the impact of the disease on his regiment.
    "I don't believe you can read it for my hand is not very steady yet: this is my first attempt at writing anything since I have been getting better. They thought they were agoing to get rid of the old fellow this time but they didn't do it quite so easy for I engaged with Uncle Sam for three years and I ain't agoing to give up the bargain so easy as they thought....I am getting along first rate now: I have got so I can sit up all day and am beginning to eat something....There are quite a number that are sick in one way or another in the Regt. now about one hundred I should say."
    In one letter to his father, dated September 4, 1863, Lemuel reported that "They have drumed [sic] one of our Regt. out of the Service to day after a confinement of three months...for robing [sic] dead Soldiers at Fredericksburg last winter."
    Though Foss seldom mentioned details of military activities of his regiment, he did occasionally give insight into the mood of his fellow soldiers and even the enemy. In a February 14, 1864 letter to his father, Foss wrote that "There is no news to write: except that Deserters from the rebel lines still continue to come in here from all directions and have been coming in for the past two months. They are sick and tired of the war: so they say."
    Foss' recovery from diphtheria was slow and required several hospital stays in Virginia, New Hampshire, and Philadelphia. In a July 10, 1864 letter to his father, Foss showed his annoyance and frustration at being sent back to his regiment before he was ready to leave the hospital. "You could hardly guess how I come to be sent here and I don't think I can enlighten you much on the subject myself for I hardly know why I am here. All I can tell you about it is this. I reported to New York for transportation expecting to go back to the Hospital at 'Portsmouth Grove' but was furnished transportation to my Regt. instead of to P.G. Wether [sic] it is a mistake of the Provost-Marshel [sic] or not, I can not say, but am of the opinion that it is; for quite a number that were sent here to the front with me are men with but one arm and one of them has but one leg." Foss' letter to his father on September 26, 1864 indicates that his health problems were exacerbated by an attack of fever: "The fever I have had was the Billons [Bilious] together with the Intermitent [Intermittent] fever. I have now been sick in bed 17 days." The last letter from Foss in the archive, dated December 2, 1864, was written to his father from another hospital, this one the Chestnut Hill Hospital on the outskirts of Philadelphia, apparently due to a wound rather than sickness: "You wanted me to write how many pieces of bone had come out of my leg. There were three pieces came off the bone before the flesh formed over it and one since the flesh has formed. It does not blead now and is healing fast."
    This is an interesting archive that highlights the life of a private in the Union Army, his contact with his family during his service, and the persistent impact of disease on the life of soldiers in the Civil War. The letters are accompanied by biographical information on the Foss and information on the 13th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry.
    Born in Strafford, New Hampshire, Lemuel P. Foss enlisted as a private in the 13th New Hampshire Infantry on August 22, 1862 in Concord, New Hampshire, and mustered into Company F on September 9, 1862. He was discharged as a private in Concord on June 28, 1865.
    The 13th New Hampshire Volunteer Infantry was organized in Concord, New Hampshire, on September 9, 1 862 and was mustered out in Richmond, Virginia, on June 21, 1865. The 13th New Hampshire participated in a number of military operations, including the battles of Fredericksburg, Drewry's Bluff, Cold Harbor, and Fair Oaks, and the sieges of Petersburg and Richmond. The regiment lost 181 men during the Civil War, including five officers and eighty-four enlisted men killed or mortally wounded, and ninety-two enlisted men lost to disease.


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    17th Saturday
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