Civil War Letters of
QM Sgt Edward N. Boots, 101st PA Infantry
The following 21 letters were previously published in both The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography & The North Carolina Historical Review. These letters, as well as others, are currently in my possession; being passed down through my family. I present them here in the hopes of a better understanding of the life of a Christian Soldier in the Civil War.
North Carolina 1863
North Carolina 1864
Andersonville, Georgia 1864
April 1st  on board the Steamer State of Maine, near the entrance of the Potomac river into chesapeak bay
In an hour after I mailed a letter to [brother] Horace on the 28th an order came for us to cook three days rations, and prepare to move in the afternoon. We started in the afternoon for Alexandria, where we arrived at 11 O'clock at night. We marched into an open field rolled ourselves in our blankets and lay down on the ground until morning. In the morning I felt as if I would like to have something more than hard crackers for breakfast so I went down to Alexandria, and found a place where I got a warm breakfast. The landlord said that he was a union man, but that his father and five brothers were all secesh. he may have been telling the truth for out of a population of thirteen thousand, there were not two hundred union voters three weeks ago. After I went back it began to snow hard and continued to snow and rain until night and I may say all night. We marched back to the hill back of Alexandria and got a couple of tents which we pitched, but the ground in them was a perfect swamp, but the boys carried in brush and leaves and spread their blankets on them, about 10 O'clock at night orders were given us to be ready to march in the morning. When we got up it was still raining but we packed up and marched to Pier No 2 Alexandria to embark on board steamers. We had to wait until after dark before we got aboard. before we went aboard a storm of lightning, thunder, and rain came up, and in the midst of it we went aboard the steamer Georgia. It was very dark. We could see nothing except by the flash of the lightning, but at last we all got safely aboard the steamer Georgia, but we were not much better off than on shore, for we were placed between decks, where one side was open to the weather, and when it rained it pelted on us beautifully, in the morning it was found that the Georgia was too heavily loaded and five companies of our Reg't had to go ashore again. We did so and about noon two companies of us were embarked on the steamer State of Maine. We are placed on the boiler deck. it is rather damp but otherwise is pretty comfortable. there are about fifteen hundred troops on board, so you may be sure that we are pretty well crowded. We have long ago passed the Georgia though she started three hours before us. The remaining three companies will follow on the steamer Hero. Another Steamer the Constitution had about five thousand men aboard, she started yesterday morning, about six hours before we did but we have passed her so I suppose we shall arrive at Fortress Monroe first. When in Alexandria I visited the Marshall House where Ellsworth was shot. I saw the stairs where he fell. my health is good, though I have had almost all kinds of exposure in the last five days. We have fine weather to day, and our steamer is making good headway with her living pkg. April 2nd. We are at Fortress Monroe. We landed this morning. There are a great many vessels here. The Monitor, which fought the rebel steamer Merimac so well is here. The Merimac came to Newport news (three miles from here), and fired three shots at some Union vessels, and then back to Norfolk. We expect to march back into Virginia immediately, so I do not know when I can write again. please write immediately. my love to all
your son etc E N Boots
Head Quarters 101st Regt.P.V., Camp Kiem. Va, April [12th, 1862]
I sent a letter to Horace to-day, and to-day I have received one frome you which I may well say was very welcome, for I have not received a letter from you for a long time. My health still remains pretty good, for which I desire to be thankful to a kind Providence. We were under arms nearly all day yesterday under the expectation of having to repel a rebel force from across the river. All the artillery belonging to our division was ordered down to the shore. The rebel vessel Merimac and another rebel war vessel came out from Norfolk. The vessel captured three union trading vessels. The Monitor and the Merrimac exchanged a few shots and then the Merrimac put back. Our artillery would have tried their hand upon the Merrimac, but two abominable British war vessels lay at anchor just between where the artillery, and the Merrimac lay and there they would stay. I think that our men would have been justifiable in firing on the Merrimac through them if they would not move. It is another fact that shows that the sympathies of England are with the rebels. To day every thing is quiet, but we expect orders every hour to march towards Yorktown. There has been some pretty hard fighting there already. We could hear the cannonading plainly. Yorktown is but twenty miles from here, and the rebel entrenchments extend to a considerable distance on this side. The rebels are consentrating troops there very fast. They have about one hundred thousand men there now, and five hundred cannon in position, but McClelland is here and I think that we shall be able for them. I hope that this army will be able to whip them as bad as the western army has, which you no doubt read of often. I hope that every one of us may be fully enabled to do our duty. We have had some very wet weather, but we have very fine weather now. I want you to send me a full account of the Maria & Sherlock [Stone] bussiness. I have sent a letter to you some days since which you will receive before this one. In it I have sent what was the proper direction then, but the Post Office department has since ordered all letters to be sent to Washington. I enclose five dollars, which I wish to have taken care of for me. I do not like to send much at once in a letter. Please write immedeately so that I may know whether the money went safe. give my love to Mr. Phillis's folks, tell Tom [Phillis] to write and I will answer as often as possible. I answered T. French's letter long ago, and have received no answer. Tell him so.
your son truly E N Boots
Com H Keystone Reg't. 101st P.V.
Camp sixteen miles from Richmond, May 20th 
I received a letter from you this morning & two newspapers, which were very welcome visitors, especially the letter, for I have not had a letter from home since I received one from Emma on the 3rd. since I last wrote to you many changes have taken place. then we were preparing to besiege Yorktown, but though our enemy had a strong position and strongly fortified, yet he would not risk a siege & so he left his forts and fled towards Richmond. The battles of Williamsburgh & Westpoint have been fought & won by the Union troops & though many brave men fell yet they did not die unavenged, & plenty still remain to do brave deeds & if kneeds be to die in defence of the same old flag. I think that we are pretty close to the enemy's lines now, but I am not sure. We hear that they intend to make a stand behind the Chickahominy swamp. I think it very likely for they never come out fairly into the field & face us. I should have liked to have spent a few hours in Williamsburgh. it is the oldest corporate town in Va. its charter dates back to 1735. it is also the seat of William & Mary's College, except Yale, The oldest college in the United States. its Charter was given by William & Mary after whom it was named; near to Williamsburgh is the place of burial of the Custis family, but their tombs are said to be fast going to ruin, but the family will still be remembered for Martha Custis; the wife of Washington was one of them. within a few miles of where we now are is the white house, which stands on the spot that the old mansion did, where Washington, when on his way to Williamsburgh, stoped for the night & saw her who afterwards became his wife. The house is now used by Gen McClelland as his Head Quarters. Yesterday I saw McClelland for the first time he looks quite young, is light haired & about the size & build of Uncle Edmund [Boots]. He is decidedly a fine looking man & we believe a good General. We have marched more than fifty miles in the last two weeks, much of the time through heavy rains, laid out at night with no shelter and the rain pouring all the time, but thanks to my heavenly Father who ever cares for me I have got through it all so far. much of the country that we have passed through presented a splendid appearance. In fact it is the most beautiful country that I have ever seen, but the rebel army destroyed things terribly in their retreat. if you lend my money to Sherlock [Stone] do not lend it for more than one year at lawful Interest, and a good judgement note, drawn payable to me or bearer, so that you can collect it if I never come back. I will send more money home as soon as I get a safe chance, for I have much more than I knew, but I am afraid to trust it in a letter just now. please write oftener & send me a paper whenever you can.
Etc E N Boots
I think that I told [Elijah] Baxter to leave the package at Kenedy's but I am not sure. Do not work too hard. my love to all
Savages Station, June 3rd 
I embrace the present opportunity of dropping a line to you, though letters from home are very scarce. Our Division was in a terrible battle on saturday afternoon. We were the advance Division on the New Bridge road to Richmond & We had got within five miles of the city. Our Division did not number over six thousand men & we were attacked by three or four times that number. Our Division held its ground until it was nearly all cut to pieces when we were ordered to fall back behind Couche's Division, which shared fully much the same fate as our own. The rebels were repulsed towards evening and driven back & on sabbath our troops attacked them & drove them still further, but our loss is fearful. The rebel prisoners admit that their force was sixty thousand strong, commanded by General Joe Johnston, but with all their force we whipped them. their loss in killed is greater than ours. [Cousins] Ed & George have been rather unwell for some days back, consequently they were neither of them in the fight. They are not seriously sick. I have been unwell for some ten days & did not take part in the fight for I thought, that it would be like a skirmish, that I was in on Friday, merely a few volleys & a lot of shells thrown over our heads by the artillery of both parties, but though I did not take part in the fight, I saw plenty of rebel balls fly over my head & as I was trying to help move back the sick. The rebel cannon balls were flying over my head in a rather brisk manner, but I escaped through it all and am in quite good health. I expect that we shall have another big fight, before we get into Richmond, but you may depend, that we will be there some of these days. give my love to all. [Brother] Horace in the last letter that I got from him, complained, that you did not get any letters from me. I have written at least half a dozen letters home in the last month. Write soon
your son etc E N Boots
Com H. 101st Reg't P.V.
Camp on the Chickahominy river on the road to Fort Darling, June 9th 
I embrace an opportunity, which I now have of sending a note to you by esqr J. Wilson, who has come to remove the body of the Col [Wilson] to Penna. The excitement of the battle has passed away & the wounded have been sent to Northern Hospitals. Cannonading is frequent, but there has been no regular fight since the end of the three day's battle on Monday 2nd but I expect that there will be a terrible battle, before Richmond, some of these days. Our Pickets are close enough to Richmond now to see the spires of buildings in the city & the frequent balloon ascensions of Prof Lowe gives to Gen McClelland all the necessary information about the whereabouts of the rebel army. We often see the balloon when up, it is generally just before sunset & it look grand to see it floating in mid air while the tops of the vast pine forest are made glorious by the rays of the setting sun. [Cousins] Ed & George have both been unwell, but both are getting better & will soon be well. I think that you might as well quit sending papers for they never come to me. The reason is; I suppose, because you try to make one cent pay the postage on two papers & the result is that the Post office department throws them under the table as the law commands. Papers are continually arriving for others from our Neighborhood, but none come for me. I send home ten dollars $10.00 in this letter, you will put it on interest as I directed before. Our labors here are not so heavy as they were, when we occupied the Richmond road, but still we have enough to do. I think that we shall stay here a few days, until we get rested from the effects of the fight & then we shall occupy the Richmond road again. I hear that they are enlisting fresh men in Penna. Tell the boys to be sure & not enlist, but to stay where they are, for they could not stand the climate of Va. if they were sent into it at this time of the year. send me a few postage stamps both one & three cent, but do not send many at once for the letter may get lost. give my love to all Write soon
ever your Son, E N Boots
Com H. 101st reg't P.V.
Camp near the White Oak Swamp, June 15th 
The long hours lengthen into days & the days drag slowly into weeks, & still no letters come from home & I wait & wait until the heart is tired of waiting. some weeks ago; your letters complained, that you got no letters from me. Well I have no doubt but such was the case, But, nevertheless, through all those weeks, it mattered not how hard the labor was, nor how much I was exposed; I still wrote a letter for home every week & sometimes oftener. I did not wait for letters to come, but I wrote as often as possible & I feel sure that you have better chances for writing at home, than I can have among the swamps of Virginia. I wrote a long letter to you on the 3rd, though I had received no letter from home. last week I sent a letter home by J. Wilson, esqr (the Col's Brother). In the letter I also sent ten dollars, which I wish you to take care of for me. We are laying in a rather pleasant camp for Va., that is; we have pretty good water & there is no swamp nearer, than twenty rods. We are in the woods, among tall Pine Timber. We occupy the road, leading across the White Oak Swamp & the Chickahominy at long Bridge to Fort Darling on the James river.
We are stationed here to prevent the rebels, from making a flank movement from James river, as a natural consequence we have frequent alarms. On the night before last Com. A. was sent out at midnight to guard a ford & at 3 o'clock in the morning, the whole Division was ordered out under the expectation of an attack, but the rebels did not come & after awhile the troops were allowed to return & get their breakfast. Yesterday; we were ordered to pull down our tents and clean all the rubbish off from the ground (a thing that we have done three or four times already in the last two weeks). soon we were busy picking, scraping & burning, causing our camp to look like a vast smoke house, for as all the brush is of the Pitch Pine kind, the smoke is of a very dark character, but by noon; we had it all cleaned off & our tents pitched in fine style & to-morrow we may be ordered to march ten miles & leave all our work behind us, but such ever is camp life. The weather is very warm & we do nothing in the middle of the day, unless we are forced to it. We think that the dry season has began, for we have had three days without rain. [Cousin] Ed is with me his health is much improved, George Coleman is also pretty well. I wish that you would send me a few postage stamps, both one & three cent, do not send many at a time, for they may never come. We cannot get them here. Do write. my love to all.
your son etc E N Boots
Com H. 101st reg't P.V.
Camp one and one half miles from Harrison's Bar Landing Va., July 8th 
I received your very welcome letter of June 28th last evening. I can truly say that I was glad to get it, for I had not heard from home for a long time & was beginning to wonder what you were all about. I have lately sent two letters to [brother] Horace, which will tell you what we have been doing for some time past. We are occupying, what I think is a strong natural position, and we are laboring to make it as much stronger as possible by cutting down all the timber on the slope of the hill in our front & leaving it for the rebels to climb over if they can, throwing up Breastworks & digging rifle pits, so the rebels will have a pretty hard job to drive us out I think, unless they shell us out & I do not think that they can do that, for we have as good cannon as they, & a gunboat is laying in the river at our left, which has already thrown shells over our heads & three miles beyond us just to show the rebels, what she can do. I wrote in the letter to Horace that we had lost our knapsacks & everything except what we had on. I want you to send me a needle in the next letter & some thread, both black & white in every letter, for I can get none here. I have plenty of money, but there is nothing to buy. I also want you to still send me a stamp or two in each letter. sending these things will be some trouble to you, but I have no other way of getting them. I received an Argus [newspaper] from home a few days ago. I see by the papers that enlisting has began again, Tell the boys to be sure and not enlist, but to stay at home. I think that I can do fighting enough for our family. I received a letter from T French a few days ago, In which he speaks of not receiving any letters from me. Tell him that I cannot tell the reason. I received the letter that he sent just after the battle of Fair Oaks & sent a long letter in answer, to North Sewickly immediately. We have heard from our Orderly Sergeant (J.D. Harris) at last. He is wounded & a prisoner in Richmond. I am sorry to hear of Grandfather's illness. I pray that he will make preparation for the journey, that he must soon go alone. I still try by Gods assisting grace, to love him who first loved me & gave himself for me, but the army is a poor place for religious improvement. I have heard but one sermon since last May & know not, when I shall hear the next. I want you to send me a full account of your celebration. We were reviewed on the 4th by Gen McClelland, accompanied by his suit, among which are the two princes of the House of Orleans. Curious thing; two princes of the royal family of France, fighting for liberty in America. Last evening we were reviewed by President Lincoln, who is on a visit to the army. He looks care worn, but the whole expression of his face is one of goodness. He was received with loud cheers. In my letter to Horace; we were the rear guard of the army; We are now in the advance, but no movement is being made. The weather is very warm. my love to all.
your son etc E N Boots
Com H. 101st Reg't P.V.
Peck's Division. (formerly Casey's)
Camp near Harrison's Bar Landing Va, July 13th 
At last I have another letter from you, and not like you; I am going to answer right away. I do wish that you would quit that bad habit of putting things off & then I should get more letters from you. This is a beautiful sabbath day; we have had a couple of wet days & the weather has got some cooler, which we are glad of, for it has been most terribly hot. We have preaching to-day but I have been prevented from attending, because of duty at the same hour. I would like to have attended, for preaching has has been a scarce article with us for the first two months. Our camp is quite a pleasant one & the water is very good, though the tide water comes up the creek every twelve hours & almost covers up the spring, but the fountain is so strong that the tide water never gets mixed with it. This is the first place that I have been enabled to observe the action of the tide & it is worth seeing. For six hours it comes flowing up the creek & then stands still for a short time, then it flows out for six hours & then we have low water for a short time & then the upward flow begins again & so it has ebbed & flowed since the dawn of creation & will flow on until the finger of time shall mark the last hour on the dial plate. Along the tide water of the James river; are now congregated in the Union & Rebel armies nearly three hundred thousand men, yet the last one of them will soon die & the historian's story will be all that will remain to tell of their deeds; not so with the tide; it will still flow on powerful as ever, for it does not grow old. This is called Harrison's Bar, because on the bank, stands the old Harrison mansion, in which Gen Harrison, was born. He died without ever dreaming that the country that he so bravely fought for & afterwards, so honestly ruled, would in a few years be divided into two parties, whose chief object is mutual destruction. Happy are they who lived and died while the Union was yet one and undivided. In my letter to Horace I have given an account of my loss of all my clothes etc in a letter to Horace. my needles, pins, thread & needle book are all gone. Now I want you to make me one & send it in a letter. make it the size of a common Portmoney (not any larger), of new oil cloth. I send you a pattern of the shape I want it. the piece in the inside is to be fastened to the back, so that I can stick needles etc on it, let this piece be of woolen cloth & not too heavy, Make it to fasten with a bit of ribon fastened on to the lapp. I want it to carry in my pocket, & mind to put some needles & thread in it when you send it & I shall be much obliged to you. I thank you for the stamps, for I have to depend upon home for all of them that I use. give my love to all, write soon & mind to send the needle book. if you cannot get oil cloth, get some fine coloared morocco leather
your brother etc E N Boots
Com H. 101st reg't P.V.
Peck's Division. (formerly Casey's)
Camp near Suffolk Va., Sabbath Nov 9th 
It is a long, long, time since I have heard from you & as I know not whether you intend to write to me again or not; I will spend the little time that I have this morning, in writing to you, my best earthly friend. I have not the privilege of attending church this morning, in fact I do not know that there is any service anywhere around here this morning. I have attended the M E Church South, since I have been here. The preacher was a talented young man, and a faithful preacher, saying nothing that could wound any ones feelings, though his congregation was nearly all composed of Union Soldiers, men whom he must consider his enemies, such alas! are the terrible consequences of civil war, those who heretofore were friends are now at deadly strife. The weather is very unpleasant here now, on the 7th about two inches of snow fell, which has made the streets very muddy. The inhabitants say that they never remember to have seen snow so early in the fall before. The most of the regiment have built winter quarters. The camp presents the appearance of a small town of log cabins. We have built one, twelve by seventeen feet, in which ten of us dwell in peace. I should like to have you drop in & see us, but I should not wish you to tarry long, nor do I suppose that you would wish to do so. The work of fortifying this place still goes on briskly, & what has never happened since we have been here; They are working away to-day, though it is the Sabbath day. I do not know the reason for it, but suppose that Gen Peck wishes to get done fortifying before winter sets in & I hope that he will, for we are tired of it; I do not see very much use for it anyway, for the rebels appear very willing to let us alone. I wish that I could be with you to-day, but stern war will not permit it, but I hope that the time will soon come, when this terrible war shall end & peace once more shine upon us. I know not what the final results of the fall elections will be, but they are a terrible rebuke to the republican party, for allowing itself to be led by the infidel abolitionist of the east, but the God of nations will do right & to him we may fearlessly trust the result. if we do our part he will do his, but I fear that we do not do our part, We are indeed a very wicked nation. We have not humbled ourselves before him & asked him to forgive our many sins. O that we would humbly implore his mercy upon us. Be Sure to send all that can go, to School. give my love to all. Write to me soon.
your Son etc E N Boots
Com H. 101st reg't P.V.
How much of my money have you lent out & who to.
Camp on the Trent river two miles from Newberne, N Carolina., Tuesday Jan 6th 1863
I have at last arrived here & the first letter that I write shall be to you. I left Suffolk on the cars Dec 30th, came to Norfolk, saw the baggage loaded on a barge & the Steamer Phenix. Left Norfolk on the Phenix on New year's morn. Came by the way of Elizabeth river, Chesapeak & Albemarle canal, North land river, North river, Currituck sound, Albemarle sound, Croatan Sound, Pamlico Sound, & the Nuese river, arrived here on the evening of the 4th. We had no adventures on the way of any consequence except running aground in currituck sound & remaining so on the night of the 1st. We were just abreast of Currituck Court-house, a rebel nest & expected that they would come in boats during the night & attack us, but they did not, if they had come; we must have fallen an easy prey to them, for we had not more than half a dozen rifles aboard & but few cartridges. I now fully understand, what you have often told me about the depth of English rivers. Our steamer was quite a large one & yet we came through rivers so narrow, that I could have jumped from the boat to the shore & still we had plenty of depth of water. some parts of the rivers that we came through were more crooked than any run that you ever saw. We did not get through with unloading until last night, so you see that I write at the first opportunity, I found the reg't encamped on a sandy plain that slopes down the Trent river, which empties into the Neuse at Newberne. Newberne stands on the point between the two, of the town I cannot tell you anything, for I have had no time to visit it. I found the boys all well; They had a hard campaign in N Carolina, but they gave the rebels a good drubbing. I expect that we shall soon move from here, but where to, I know not. I have not heard from Will since before the battle of Fredericksburgh, if you have heard from him let me know. We have six months pay coming to us, but no sign of being paid. I want you to send me a dollar in the next letter, I did not spend any of the one that you did send, but lent it to one of Our Lieuts on board the steamer to keep him from Starving. I can say nothing about the box yet. The weather here is pleasant; I find no difficulty in sleeping on the ground. I hope that you will encourage all at home to learn all that they can this winter. I believe that you are right in not letting them go to Buhl. [Cousin] Ed is well. give my love to all. write often, The mail comes here once in a while & that is all, but if you write plenty of letters to me I will be satisfied.
your son etc E N Boots
Com H. 101st Reg't. P.V.
Newberne North Carolina
Still send me some stamps.
Newbern N Carolina, Monday Feb 16th 
Your long looked for letter reached me on the 8th. I was glad to hear from you once more, letters from home are almost all the pleasures that I have. I had the privilege of attending divine Service twice yesterday. The preachers were both strangers to me, even the name of the one that preached in the morning, I do not know. His text was Numbers 10 - 29, 32. One verse of the text brought to my recolection the long ago past, I once heard Pap preach from it. I think that it was one of his favorite text. The speaker in the afternoon was the Revd. Dr. Lathrop of Boston a Unitarian. It was a very good lecture but no sermon, Christ crucified was not in it. The text was Job 12 - 23. It was especially addressed to the 45th Mass Regt who were all present in full equipment. The church is built in the olden style. Pulpit half way up to the ceiling, gallery around three sides, organ & choir in the gallery opposite to the pulpit. The wall is adorned with marble tablets in memory of those who were the first members & founders of the church. I observed that the dates of the births of some of them were far back in the last century. They have lived & passed away ere the terrible struggle that we are engaged in began, happy are they. The communion will be celebrated in that church next sabbath. I shall attend if possible. I do not expect that I can have the box that you prepared for me sent, our movements are too uncertain, but I would like to have some of the articles & I think that you can send them by mail as some in the company have had things of the same kind sent in that way, I would like to have the Shirt, handkerchief, gum ribband 1/4 yd, pattent thread & testament, & any thing else that you like to send. The gloves you kneed not send. The testament that I want is of the 64 mo. size. They are generally bound in morocco & gilt edged, sometimes the Psalms are bound with it. The way to pack these things is, get a large sheet of the heavy Buff I should say yellow paper, such as Books are packed in, double the shirt to the width that you wish for rolling, have the paper wider than the doubled shirt, sew it to the shirt strongly, double the edges of the paper in on the shirt & then roll up. both tie it & seal it with either wax or mucilage, when packed this way the postage should be but one cent an ounce. Direct it plainly, in large hand, send me a letter at the same time that you send the package, send me the price of the shirt, Handkerchief & Testament. if you can send it, send it soon for we may move, my health is improving, give my love to all, God bless you all.
your Son etc E. N. Boots
Write to me often.
Camp 101st Regt P.V. Newbern. N Carolina., St Patrick's day March 17th 
Your kind letter of March 1st arrived last saturday & the package which the kindness of the "loved ones at home" sent arrived yesterday. You may be sure that yesterday was a gala day with me. The shirt pleases me very much. The Testament is just what I wanted, just the size I wanted. The handkerchief is just the right size & kind. you certainly must remember my taste well, for I could not have made a better selection myself. You do not know how much I am obliged to you for those nice things. I would like to know the price of the Testament & handkerchief. I think that I can get my boots without much trouble to you. Capt Hemphill is going home on a short visit soon & he says that he will bring my boots. I will try to write about the time he goes, but you may not get the letter in time as he is going by way of Norfolk & all letters go by way of New York, but Capt Charles can tell you, when he is at home. Wrap each boot by itself in paper, rolling the leg around the foot. Please put that hundred cigars in the feet of the boots. You do not know how much I want to smoke a Penna. cigar. If you will send the boots etc you will do me a great favor. The wet season is about here & I kneed them. My health has got pretty good. I left the Hospital on last Friday & I am doing duty. I am not very strong, but my appetite is good. [Cousin] Ed is not very well, but I hope that he will be better soon. You kneed not be uneasy about the draft. The law for the new draft says that where two of a family are already in the army, Two are to be exempt & left at home. You have only two grown up sons at home so they must be exempt. If either should be drafted. Let some good lawyer be employed (Tom Cunningham is the best), to get him exempted. I still have the testament that I got at Pittsburgh. It is much worn for it has seen hard service. I have carried it in my pocket ever since I started. I am going to send it home, either by Hemphill or by mail. Put it in my book-case, & if I never return I give it to you. I have found it a precious friend. I send home a picture of Hood, one of Englands bright galaxy of poets, press it out in a book & then put it in my desk. I sent two to Emma. I am still trying to love & serve him who first loved me. Still pray for me Mother dear I kneed your prayers. I have attended service three Sabbaths since I came here. Last sabbath no one could leave the regt on account of the rebels. Instead of being a day of rest it was a day of excitement & unrest. The sound of the death dealing cannon mingled with the sound of the church bell.
your son, with love E N Boots
Write to me often.
Camp of 101st Regt P.V., Newbern N. Carolina, Afternoon April 15th 
Your kind letter of April 1st arrived last night & found me well. To hear that you are well is a source of great pleasure to me. I still hope that I may be permitted to see you again, but if Providence otherwise determines, I shall expect to meet you in a "Home beyond the Tide" where no sorrow is but where all is joy. I know that there is a crown of glory prepared for all that prove faithful. I pray that we may be kept faithful & to him that hath loved us & redeemed us we will give glory forever. I have been on two expeditions since I last wrote, both of them were destined to get Gen Foster out of Washington or to drive away the rebels that surround him & both of them failed. Little Washington is situated on the Tar river, about thirty miles from Newbern by land & one hundred & twenty by water. The Union troops have occupied it about a year. about the last of March Gen Foster went there to see how things were going on. just after he got there, the rebels came down in force & surrounded the place, cutting off all communication by land or water. They built a battery five miles below the town on the bank of the river, which showered shot & shell on anything that attempted to pass, several small boats have run past in the night & from them we have obtained all the news that has been got since the rebels surrounded the place. On the morning of April 4th we embarked on the steamer Northerner, & arrived at a point four miles below the rebel battery on the morning of the 5th (sabbath) about 9 O'clock. We had a rather rough passage. The night before had been very windy & Pamlico Sound was very rough. I now know what waves are & I have seen some that were sea-sick, but it did not effect me in the least. I rather enjoyed the wild waves. We found several gun-boats below the rebel works. In the afternoon they opened on the rebel works, but received no reply. We could see the smoke from a number of fires some distance back from the shore, whether they were rebel camp fires or the woods on fire we could not tell. In the afternoon a flag of truce appeared on the opposite side of the river. a boat went to it & brought off two men, one quite young reporter himself a deserter from the southern army, The other middle aged, flying from the conscription. About sundown, the gunboats led off by the battered old "Hunchback" again attacked the rebel works, this time the rebels replied, some of their balls fell very near to the Hunchback. I stood on the upper deck of the Northerner & had a good view of the whole scene. For some hours all had been very quiet. The broad river flowing onward to the sea was almost smooth as a mirror, The sun had just gone down behind the dark pines which on either shore were beginning to cast a dark shadow upon the waters, when all at once a cloud of dark sulphurous smoke burst forth from the Hunchback amongst which was a lurid flash & then a sound as of many thunders, after a few seconds would be seen the flash of the exploding shell as it scattered its death dealing fragments. It was a strange sabbath evening scene. We remained at anchor until the next morning & then started back for Newbern, where we arrived on the morning of the 7th. About 9 O'clock at night (the same night) we got orders to start at midnight. & cross the Neuse for Washington by land. I left camp about 1 O'clock A.M. in charge of the wagons, I got two teams across the next day loaded with rations but had to let the other teams remain until next day. just as they were on board ready for crossing an order came to stop crossing, so they went off the boat, & remained. The next day I received orders to cross the Neuse & get the two teams back again as the expedition was falling back I crossed over & got the teams over again. I crossed the Neuse four times, twice I took a horse over in an open scow full of horses and mules, but though it was dangerous work no accident happened to me. The next scow that crossed after I did upset & drowned twenty horses & one man. I got safe back into camp about 9 O'clock the night of the 10th. The troops advanced to Swift Creek, fifteen miles distant & found an enemy there that they could not move. about twenty artillery men were wounded. Two other expeditions have since started for the same place. Two companies of our Regt are with the last one. Capt Hemphill will not go home for the present. I have written to have my boots sent by Capt Mays who is now at home. give my love to all & receive a goodly share
from your son E N Boots
Com H. 101st Regt P.V.
Newbern N Carolina
Mrs. Sylvia Boots.
Sherlock [Stone] can have the money another year if he wants it. But when the year is up have him to pay the Interest on it for the year & receipt for it on the back of the note. send me word how much the note is for & when the year is up. if you make out a new note for next year, you will have to get a revenue stamp & put it on it, but I expect that the old note will still do, but be sure about it.
Quartermaster's Department 101st Reg P.V., Newbern N.C., Tuesday evening April 28th 
The Steamer Albany arrived last night, but brought me no letter from home, but she brought Capt Mays & a pair of nice boots for me. They please me very well in everything except size. They are too large. You know that I do not belong to the big footed class, but you could not help their being too large. I must blame the maker for that & so I will say no more about it. The last letter from home (from Emma), spoke of your being unwell. I hope that you are better now. I can endure the hardships of army life but I cannot endure the thought of your being sick. Dear Mother, I beg of you to take care of yourself. I know that you have made yourself sick by toiling too hard. You must rest yourself more. I know that you will answer "I must work or things will be left undone". Well then let them be undone. your health is more account than they are. If I should live to get home again I want to find you there & well, otherwise it will be no home to me. I have been very busy to-day. We drew our months supply of clothing & issued it out this afternoon, which took some hard labor but I am through with it & though tired am well. I was able to eat a hearty supper, composed of what I have often heard you talk about, Viz, fresh herrings. Fresh fish are abundant here now. This is the fishing season & the North Carolina coast has long been celebrated for its fisheries. We can get Herring, shad, Perch, trout & a number of other kinds & the supply is so abundant that they are very cheap, & form a great addition to the army ration. We are expecting orders to leave this place every day. We expect to go to Plymouth on the Roanoke river. It is about two hundred miles from here by water. It is said to be a very healthy place. I expect that we shall be stationed there for some time unless the rebels drive us out, or the army of Virginia drive the rebels south. The future alone can tell. We have any amount of wet weather here & thunder & lightning. The health of the troops here is generally good. I attended divine service last sabbath & heard an excellent sermon from Heb 11 & 1st by Revd A L Stone. In the forenoon the funeral of the surgeon of the 44th Regt Mass Vols was celebrated. He died up at Little Washington while the rebels were besieging the place. The officiating preacher took suddenly ill while in the first Prayer & being unable to preach the congregation were dismissed -- such is the uncertainty of health, strength & life. I pray that I may so number my days that I shall apply my heart unto wisdom. The Regt came back yesterday morning. They have been at Washington. They had a hard march, but returned well. It is raining hard. I must close for this time. Let me hear from you soon. give my love to all.
your Son etc E N Boots
Com "H" 101st Reg P.V.
Newbern N Carolina.
I almost forgot to say that the cigars came all right & received a very warm welcome
[This letter and the rose that accompanied it are on display at the Port-O-Plymouth Museum in Plymouth, NC.]
Q M Dep Plymouth N.C., Night May 29th 
The steamer "Massasoit" arrived this evening & brought a mail among which was your welcome letter of May 11th & 17th. I cannot tell you how glad your letter made me. It told me of all of you at home & it also told me of [brother] William, that he was safe. I know that his Regt [139th PA] had suffered severely & I feared that he was among the killed, wounded, missing, or prisoners: but your letter gives me the glad news that he is safe & I feel satisfied. It is true that I wish that the battle had been more fruitful in results, but as it was not we must "bide our time". The right will triumph in the end. "The Lord God omnipotent raineth". "He doeth all things well" I am glad that you are still able to get out to Church. I hope that the boys are always willing to drive the buggy for you. I do not think that it is safe for you to drive Jenny. I fully agree with you that George Coleman will never do much good, at least not until he changes considerable, which I hope may be soon, for if he turns out worthless, we may consider the whole family as worthless. I attend Church some, but there is but one Chaplain here & he is so poor a preacher that it is painful for me to listen to him. I generally read a good deal on sabbaths if I am not on duty, & I hope to have my sabbath generally to myself, but there is really but little sabbath in the army. Sabbath is a sort of holyday [holiday], spent by the greater part in foolishness & very often in wickedness. The weather here is very warm, fully as warm as July in Penna. I saw rye out in head a week ago. Onions are nearly out of season & they are altogether out of price. A small handfull is 10cts & they are very scarce at that. Lettuce is 5cts a stalk & scarce. Eggs 30cts per doz & scarce. But I get along very well I spend considerably of money, but I think that I do not spend any foolishly except what I spend for tobacco, & that is considerable. I wish that you would make me a good callico shirt & send it to me by mail as you did the one last winter. Make it without a collar, but put a button on the back of the band. Put two pockets in it, not so large nor in the same manner as in the one last winter. Let the shirt form one side of the Pocket, sowing a piece to it. Let a box plait run down the middle of the front but do not put any other plaits in it. if you can send me this you will do me a great favor. Let me know as soon as possible. I am needing a shirt very bad & cannot get one here. give my love to all. write often.
your son etc E N Boots
101st Reg P.V.
I kneed not tell you any thing about Ed, he will answer for himself. I send you a rose that I have pressed. There are many & most beautiful varieties of the rose here. They have one variety of a bright green color. If I can get one I will press it & send it to you.
Plymouth N C, June 21st 
It is now 8 O'clock A.M. & the mail leaves at 10 O'clock A M So I have not much time but I will scribble a line or two to you in answer to yours of the 19th, which I have received. It was a very interesting letter to me, for it told me about you all & about old friends that I would like to see again & it was also the only letter that I have received from home for a long time. I am very well. We have pleasant weather. A Thunder storm every two or three days. We had a very heavy one last night, accompanied by a very Strong wind. It made my tent careen, but I sat still, smoked my cigar & read "Les Miserables". everything looks pleasant this morning. We are in a great confusion just now, as an of our Com. "A" leaves us this morning for Roanoak Island. They are to be stationed there in place of the Nine month Mass Vols who are just about leaving for home. All the real tug of war falls on the three year men. I must close this short note. my love to all
your Son etc E N Boots
Q M Dep 101st Reg P. V.
Plymouth N.C., Sep 8th 
A mail arrived last night but it brought no letters from home. the letters from home are such a long distance between. I know that you have a great deal to do, but I do want a letter from you so bad. Do try & write me one soon, if it is only a few lines. My health is getting pretty good again & I hope that I am clear of the fever: I think that I ought to be, for I have had four attacks this Summer, but I have not been as bad as some of the others. The weather has become much cooler. this morning there was a heavy fog. So heavy that when I went to put on my socks I found them quite damp. We have been having preaching every night for some days by McGraves an agent of the Christian commission. He is a pretty good old fashioned preacher. It is a great pleasure to listen to an old fashioned sermon once more. We have a Bible class that meets every sabbath. I have attended several times & have found it very pleasant. the teacher is a Sergeant of the Artillery. Last sabbath a boy came into the class that I had never seen before. Last night he was at church, after service he came up to me & introduced himself Saying that he wished to become acquainted with me. He said that he belonged to the cavalry & that they were such a wicked set that he had no pleasure with them. I told him who I was & asked him to call on me. He appears like a gentle boy, not unlike Ezra Hazen in appearance. His is a hard lot, for the cavalry are a terribly rough set. I begin to think that there is some possibility of the war ending after awhile & then I hope to see you all once more. I pray that Our heavenly Father may preserve you all & bless you in body & soul, I have been in the army almost two years now & I know that vast changes have taken place since then both in the country at large & in my old neighborhood. Many that I once knew have passed away from earth, to a better country let us hope. All these things say "Be ye also ready". Let us try to be ready so that when the summons comes we can say that we were "Only waiting." May God bless you all. I received letters from G W Dennis, & Will [Boots] a short time ago. they were well, give my love to all.
your Son etc E N Boots
Q. M. Dept 101st Reg P. V.
Plymouth N. C., Sep 19th 
Yours of Aug 28th reached me a few days ago & found me sick in bed, so sick that if the letter had not been from you I should have put off reading it until I got better, but as it was from you I made an effort & raised myself on my elbow & read the letter. I have had another attack of this wretched swamp fever & a hard one, but thanks to Our Heavenly Father I am rappidly getting better. I should have loved to have been with you at the sacramental meeting at Concord [Church], but though I was not there I feel sure that prayers ascended there for me. We have but little preaching here. There is no encouragement. Officers instead of standing on that side, stand on the other, & give all their influence to evil. I do not mean that all do this, but a majority do. I am glad that you have got a new stove. You should have had one long ago. As cold weather is coming on, It will soon be time for all that can to begin their studies. I hope that you will impress it upon them that now is the time for them to improve. Only make them good scholars & you will leave them a better fortune than all the gold of earth would be. Educated men & women do not often become very bad ones, Self respect will not let them sink. O! how I pity [brother] William because he is not a better scholar. He loved to recite & yet writing a letter is a hard job for him. McDanel has brought my socks all right; they are very good ones but I fear that it is getting too late in the season to wear them. I wish you to write me what they cost & what the shirt cost. We have just had three days of rain, thunder, & lightning, & to-day we have a cold rain which make our tents very wet & uncomfortable. there is still much sickness in the Regt but I think that it is on the decrease. I begin to think that the south will have to give in. This state would come back into the Union at once if she could get her troops home, but "Jeff Davis" very carefully keeps them away to help fight his battles. God grant that peace may soon reign once more. God bless & keep you all. give my love to all.
your affectionate Son E N Boots
Q. M. Dep. 101st Reg P. V.
[This letter is on display at the Port-O-Plymouth Museum at Plymouth, NC]
Plymouth N.C., Oct 11th 
Yours of September 30th arrived & found me in the enjoyment of that great blessing good health, for which I desire to feel thankful to the giver of all good. Your letter was a great pleasure to me. I should be glad to get one from you every day, but as that is impossible I will try to be satisfied with one from you every week. I am glad to hear that you still get to attend preaching. It is a great privilege; I know that I should be happy to enjoy it with you. We are altogether destitute of any preacher at this post & I know not when we shall have one. Prayermeetings are still carried on to some extent. I believe that the sabbath school has entirely ceased. I had a very pleasant visit to Roanoke Island last week, but I have wrote about it to [brothers] Horace & Dan. I came back to Plymouth on last Saturday evening. It was all the recreation that I have had this summer except a few rides with Lt Col Taylor. The sickness in the Regt seems to be on the decrease for which we ought to all feel thankful. We have been among diseases constantly for many months. That so many of our lives have been spared is a great mercy. In the 85th N.Y. Reg the sickness is still very bad - they had two hundred & forty sick one day this week. The deaths, comparatively speaking have been few, yet many fresh graves have been dug since we came to Plymouth. The greater part have been buried at the graveyard attached to a new Episcopal Church (It was being built when the war broke out, was left unfinished). The Post Quartermaster is now having the grave-yard fenced, which is a good thing as it was open to Horses, mules, cattle, & every other thing that could abuse it. A church has existed before on the spot where the new one now stands. The inscriptions on the tombs date many years back. One especially I often look at erected to the memory of Louis Picot a native of sunny France, sleeping his last sleep on the marshy banks of the Roanoke. Like the soldier, he sleeps far from the land of his birth A body of rebel troops are within a few miles of us putting in force the rebel conscription act. The result of it is, that we are crowded with refugees coming within our lines to escape it. black as well as white are flying. The Steamer Massasoit took a boat load of black refugees from Edenton to Roanoke Island last week. They are safe there. I have seen numbers of the white refugees & I can hardly say that I have seen a good looking man among them. The majority have dark hair, sallow complexions, high cheek bones, long visages, a treacherous looking eye, a shuffling sort of walk & almost any other ugly look that you can think of, but I am glad that we are able to afford them protection from the rebel despotism. It appears to be generally supposed that we are to stay here for the winter. Winter quarters are being built here very fast. We shall soon have a small town of log huts. I think that you are doing right in buying that farm, but before you buy, be sure to find out all the claims that can come against it. You will no-doubt have to be very economical for a while to enable you to pay for it, but I think that you will be able to get through with it. You can use my money.
your Son &c E N Boots
Q.M. Dept 101st Reg P.V.
P.S. I will answer Sylvia's letter soon. It is thundering & raining hard to day.
Plymouth N.C., Tuesday afternoon, March 8th. 1864.
Dear Brother [Horace],
In looking over my unanswered letters this afternoon I found a letter from you dated Feb. 9th. Whether I have answered it or not I am not certain & for fear that I have not I will write. I would sooner answer each letter that I get from home twice than miss answering one. Letters from home have been a very scarce article with me for a long time. I think that they now average about one a month & I am expecting for them to stop altogether. If such becomes the case I shall have to submit for I cannot make any of you write if you do not wish to do so. I am enjoying very good health & this is a beautiful afternoon, warm & comfortable, but at present Plymouth is a very lonely place to me. The Regt left on last Friday morning for Newbern I believe, but what object they were they were ordered there for neither they nor anybody else here knows. Either the QM or I had to stay behind & he concluded to go so I had to stay. Two Regts went from here, the 101st P.V. & the 16th Conn Vols. It is said that newberne is threatened again by the rebels. But I know nothing positive, their going away has left this place in a rather defenceless condition. there are not over eight hundred troops here now, & a considerable part of them are North Carolinaans, & how much they can be depended we do not yet know. A deserter came in yesterday, says he came from Goldsborough & that there are but few rebel troops in the state. Don't believe him as all the news that we have had for the past month shows that the rebels have been concentrating a force in this state probably he was sent in to deceive us in hopes that we would relax our vigilance & become an easy prey to the rebels. If such was the object it wont work. We are prepared night & day to do all that our numbers will permit towards defending this place. If you have ever been left at home when all the rest have gone away, you can have an idea of how solitary this place is now that the Regt is absent. If they do not come back I expect a large & troublesome job in moving all the baggage up to them. they went in light marching order, everything of the baggage kind was left behind. I expected to be at home long before this time & we had pretty good reasons for believing that we should start this week, but it is all knocked in the head now. In fact I have not the least idea when we shall go. The gunboat Bombshell had a narrow escape last week. She went up the Chowan river & while she was gone the rebels got below her and planted a battery upon the river bank. The rebels thought that they had her safe enough. they sent a flag of truce & demanded her surrender, But Brinkerhoff her commander could not see the propriety of such a proceeding, he refused & kept up the river out of the reach of the rebel guns, The next day the gunboats Southfield & Whitehead went to his assistance, they arrived at the rebel battery just before dark & were warmly received. A few shots were exchanged, but night coming on both sides quieted down. In the morning the gunboats opened in earnest & the rebels left. The Southfield bursted her hundred pounder & its fragments wounded two men. no other damaged was received. The Bombshell is quite famous since her escape. Harry Brinkerhoff her commander is considered a brave man. He is a German & is most terribly wicked.
Wednesday morning March 9th A boat has arrived but has brought no letters for me. The Regt went to Newbern, got on to another boat & immediately came back to Roanoke Island, where they now are. Reports say that the rebels are threatening this part of the state & I suppose that is the reason that the Regt has been sent to Roanoke. What will turn up time alone can tell. This is a beautiful morning. About like a May morning in Penna., But though it is so warm & pleasant I would be willing to exchange it for Penna's frozen hills for a little while anyway & I rather guess that I would be willing to let the exchange remain for good & all. We have been having quite a number of thunder storms lately. last night when I went to bed it was lightning rappidly in the south. There is considerable sickness here still. The fever & ague still continues in force. I had something of a chill last night. The first that I have had for five months, but I think that I have stopped it I took 10 grains of quinine before I went to bed. I feel pretty well this morning. We have 2 companies of the 2d Regt Mass heavy Artillery here now. They are a hard set. Nearly all foreigners. Came out for the large bounties. A great many of them have been sick since they came here. It is amusing to hear some of them that are Irish talk about their enlistment. They will say "Only sax wakes in this country & enlisted in the Massachusetts waty artillery" I must close for this time. give my love to all-- good by
Your brother etc E N Boots
Q. M. Dept. 101st Reg P. V.
Mr. Horace A Boots
I enclose you a rebel stamp. if I ever should be so unfortunate as to be taken prisoner you can send me a letter & this stamp will pay the rebel postage
Camp Sumpter, Andersonville Georgia, June 23 
I wrote to you from Hamilton N.C. Just after I was captured. I hope that you received it. I am enjoying pretty good health for which I feel thankful to our Heavenly Father. I want to hear from you. Let me know how you all are, especially let me hear of William. you need not write anything except how you all are. I hope that an exchange will soon take place. My love to all.
yours truly E N Boots
Via Ft Monroe & Flag of truce boat
Prisoner of war
The Beaver Argus
Wednesday, July 26, 1865
Edward N. Boots, Quarter Master Sergt. 101st Regt. P. V., died in the military prison at Andersonville, Ga., Sept. 1864, in the 31st year of his age. He was a resident of North Sewickley township, this county.
His parents, John and Sylvia Boots, were natives of England, and emigrated to this country in 1829. His father, who died eleven years ago, was a local preacher in the M. E. church, and a highly respectable citizen. His widowed mother, five brothers and two sisters are left to mourn the loss of a true and noble son, a kind and loving brother.
He entered the service of his country as a private, in Company H, 101st Regt. P. V., October, 1861, and was constantly with his regiment, discharging with the utmost fidelity and patience, every duty to which he was assigned, and meeting with heroic courage every danger to which he was exposed. He reenlisted in January, 1864, resolving to remain in the army as long as his services were needed, or sacrifice his life upon the altar of his country. He had been recommended for promotion to the rank of 1st Lieutenant, and but for the capture of the command would have been commissioned.
At Plymouth, N.C., where he was captured with his command, on the 20th day of April 1864, he distinguished himself previous to the capture, by his coolness and unflinching bravery. Amongst those who fell victims to the cruel and barbarous spirit engendered by the slave power of the South, none will be more deeply mourned by a large circle of friends, than Sergt. Boots, He was a young man of more than ordinary intellect, and had by his own industry and self-reliance, acquired a good education, under circumstances by no means favorable--Many of his old friends who may see this notice will remember him as a most devoted and successful teacher, in which profession, he was unsurpassed. A mind stored with valuable knowledge, a genial, happy spirit, and a true and generous heart, made him a most pleasant and agreeable companion, and secured him the esteem of all who knew him, while those who knew him best, loved him as a brother. Above all, he was a humble, devoted christian; not merely a member of the church--not a formal professor of the religion of Christ, but a truly pious man. No one who knew him intimately will doubt this. He has grounded his arms, we doubt not, at the feet of Jesus, and received a crown of everlasting joy at God's right hand, who sickness and sorrow are unknown.
A. W. TAYLOR [Colonel Alexander William Taylor, 101st PA]