This letter was written by Elmore Dane (1827-1910) of Company F, 26th Massachusetts Infantry. He was the son of Benjamin Dane (1788-1867) and Lydia Brown (1789-1862). Elmore was married to Sophia Hardy, the daughter of Micajah and Susan (Bailey) Hardy, who was born in West Andover in 1823. Sophia was married first to Henry Cochran but he died in 1844 leaving her with two children: George Henry Cochran (b. 1841), and Sophia Augusta (“Gusta”) Cochran (b. 1844). The Danes had three children of their own: Marie Antoinette (“Netty”) (b. 1853), Eliza Ann (b. 1855), and Lucy Jane (b. 1860). Prior to the war, Elmore Dane’s occupation was shoemaker. He served from September 1861 until August 1865.
The Danes resided in Andover near the railroad tracks in a house built about 1850 by Gideon Woodcock.
At the time this letter was written, the 26th Massachusetts was in camp at Carrolton, Louisiana, having arrived there from New Orleans on 22 March 1864. The day following this letter, the 26th Mass. moved to Morganza. Louisiana, where it was attached to the 1st Brigade, 2d Division, 19th Army Corps in the Department of the Gulf. They returned to New Orleans on 3 July 1864 and then were transported back to the Eastern Theatre of the War.
Several of Dane’s letters are housed in the Library at Baton Rouge University. The earliest letter, written in New Orleans, Louisiana, during the Federal occupation, comments on local social and economic conditions and remarks on food prices. Letters (1863-1864) written while Dane was stationed in the Teche Country of Louisiana comment on wages received from the Army, the improvement of his family’s standard of living, and social and economic conditions of the Teche Country. The University of California at Santa Barbara also has two letters written by Dane in its collection.
Camp Lewis, Carrolton, La.
June 7, 1864
I thought I would write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and I hope this letter will find you the same. The humer troubles me in my feet but my health is good. Galon’s health is good. Give my best respect to Father and to Mr. Brown’s folks and to all the neighbors and my best respects to you.
We expect to move this week up the [Mississippi] river. The boys have had their fortune told and said they were coming home in eighteen hundred and sixty-five. Keep up good courage, dear wife. I think I shall be at home next year if nothing happens. Don’t worry about me, dearest wife, for I shall take care of myself the best I can and you must do the same.
Tell Gusta to write. Tell George to write about home. You, dear wife, tell Mrs. Brown that I found a flag in a woman’s bosom the other day and I had some fun with her but I got the flag from her. But I had to feel on her. That suited me and I should like to find another one. What do you think of that, dear wife? I feel quite smart once in awhile. I wish I was at home. You would think so. Write as soon as you get this and let me know all about home and the news. Tell Netty to write to Pa Pa and Eliza Ann to write to Pa Pa and little Jane to be a good girl. Tell Gusta I don’t think that Boston will come again for he said that she had a beau when he came up before. She was up to Mr. Brown’s and Charley came home with her. Boston said it was her beau and he [thought] it was no use for him to come again. Tell Gusta that Boston is writing to his girl in Lawrence. Tell Gusta she must look up another one and write to me.
Dear wife, when you write a letter, put in a blank sheet of paper and a postage stamp and I will answer them when I get them. You must write as often as you can and I will do the same. Do write once a week, dearest, ad I will do the same.
We have got to do infant[ry] duty awhile. Probably next fall we shall get our horses and we shall be mounted. Some have been mounted already but they don’t catch me in that service, I tell you. I look out for that. Don’t you worry about me; I take care of myself. I am thinking what a good time I will have when I get home.
Dear wife, this is my last sheet of paper. Tell Lydia that I will take good care of Galon as [best] I can. He has not had any rheumatism since he came out here. He is on guard today.
Dear wife, give my best respects to all the folks. tell the children that Pa Pa will come home by and by and they must be good girls and Pa Pa will give them something when he comes home. Tell Gusta she must send me her miniature and dearest, you must send me yours too. I must close this time. Write as often as you can. I pray that we may meet again. May heaven bless you and protect you from all dangers. Kiss the children for me. Goodbye.
— E. Dane