The Civil War Letters of Aaron Jones Fletcher


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Letter dated July 5, 1863 from George P. Paul (nephew), Eliot Maine, to Aaron Jones Fletcher

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                        Eliot July 5th /63

Dear Friend:
I shall give no excuse
for not writing for so long a time because I
have none to offer; for the future I promise
better conduct and from this date shall try to
write more often if acceptable to you. I have
not much news to write that will interest you
but you must pick out the good/? if it contains
any and leave the rest. Yesterday was the 4th
as you will notice by subtracting 1 from the date
of this instrument, and not of much account
other than as a holiday on which to burn snap-
ping crackers and gunpowder, for you know that
people dont think much about freedom and
independence except to drink liquor, especially
black reps around these parts. At Portsmouth
a man whose name is John Denier walked on
a rope stretched across the street from the top of
a 3 or 4 story store to the belfry of the North
church on the Parade, about 100 ft from the
ground; he carried a stove with him and cooked
his supper consisting of fried eggs on the rope;
he walked on it backwards and that blindfolded.
Father and William went to Concord NH
to a mass meeting of the Democracy
there were only about 50,000 there mostly men


Frank Pierce, Voorhees, Cox, and other noted
democrats were the speakers. Your nasty Ben
Butler was not there, by the way BB got a
threshing in Lowell on his own premises too
a week or two ago; he was having an aqueduct
laid in his garden, and it had all been laid but
one piece, when Ben came along and ordered a
mason of the name of Russell who was at work
there to take away a stone in the ditch which
he thought would be in the way of the lay, the
mason said he was not a dirt digger and that
he was not hired by Ben but by his agent and
he should look to this agent for his pay, then
Ben kicked the piece into the ditch, and the
mason took it out, and then Ben slapped his
face then Russell took hold of Major General
Benjamin Franklin Butler and gave him
the most thorough pummeling we have any
history of; he got Ben down and got hold
of his windpipe and made him beg, it is
said that the Gen thought of Mumford
who was hung at New Orleans; if he had
been choked he would have got his deserts.
Have you heard anything of Billy’s voyage?
he started on the first of May for Acapulco
in Mexico on the Pacific coast; he left here
and went to Boston and went on board of
the Ship Kate Prince bound for that port
and staid in her about ten days windbound
in Boston harbor; he soon got sick of sailors


life. While he was on board all he had to eat
was horse meat hash and duff and scant
at that; they kept two policemen on board
while they were laying at the wharf two or
three days to keep the men from deserting;
they were all foreigners – Scotchmen, Spaniards
and Englishmen. When he came home
we thought he was miles on his voyage
for we had heard that the ship had
cleared a week before.  The day before the
vessel sailed the Captain, carpenter
and William, went up to the city and
got there about twelve and the Capt
ordered them to be at the boat at three
then Billy skedadled and came home
the next day, he looked like a nigger
just as we did when we blacked
ourselves with burnt cork: dont you
remember the time? He lost
all of his things but he got 20 dollars
advance which wouldnt pay for a
third of what he lost. The weather
is rainy here to day, but it is so
much needed that it is really more
cheerful then a sunshiny day. Billy
and I went down lobster catching
a few weeks ago and caught about
35, there are any quantity of them
down where we went when you was
here. I should like for you to be here now


We have plenty of work now we have
one barn to build and could have another
at the upper part of the town, if we wan
ted it. The rebels are at work here North,
they have burnt somewhere near 50 sail of
fishermen around New Bedford and
cape Cod. A little more than a week
ago some of the crew of the privateer
Tacony went into Portland harbor
and captured the Revenue cutter
Caleb Cushing and left for sea,
but two steamers were fitted out at
fort Preble and started after
her and fired seven or eight
shot at her when they set fire
to her and left her; she was
valued over a hundred thousand
dollars with her stores aboard. Poor
Joe Hooker has been turned loose from
the army and Gen George G Meade
appointed in his stead. I have not
any more news to write. I dont know as
I have written any, So Good bye
George P Paul
Write when convenient  Yours Geo