Pension file gem: Amos Day, 1856 letter to his father Nathaniel

The War Eagle, upon which Amos drafted this letter to his father, Nathaniel Day.

I spent my Valentine’s Day happily buried in pension and land records at the National Archives in Washington, D.C.  On my agenda was the review and photographing of the pension and land records of the family of my 3rd great grandmother, Cynthia (Day) Bursley.  Most interesting was the file for Amos Day, a Union solider who died in a Georgia Confederate prison on 14 October 1864.   His mother, Eunice (Boobar) Day, had filed for a mother’s pension, and as proof of Amos’ support, she included in her pension request several letters which showed Amos’ financial contributions toward the family.  The first of these letters is dated 13 October 1856, while Amos is traveling west from Maine to Minnesota aboard the War Eagle.

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Oct 13/56

Dear Father I now take my pensil in hand to let you know that I am well.  Wee all got our tickets in bangor to carry from boston to duleith.   Give 2960 and giv $5 more to go from bangor to boston in the cars.  Wee should went in the boat but it did not go out til the next day.  Wee went from  boston to albany, albany to buffalo, buffalo  [to] niagra falls  and forom thare to dunleith.  We got to dunleith saterdy and had to giv 9 dolars from dunleith to st paul.  Wee are sailing up the river now but the water is rather low.  Thay run the boat onto a sand bed satedy night.  It giv them a quite a lift to get it off again.  Thay think wee shal get up to st. paul Tusdy morning.  I and Agustors bout a lite veias in bangor and poot sum grub in it and when that was gon I bould not get eny more.  Thay would not sel it by the loaf so wee had to buy sum by the meal.  Had to pay fifty cents a meal sumtimes but the first chans that I found I bought a puf for a dolar to last us a weak when wee dont hav anything to eat with us.  Wee cannot get it.  Wee want it.  The cars stop 4 or 5 minits in a place and sumtimes a half an our and when thay get reddy to start thay are off.  Thay will not wait for any one to eat on mouthful or eaven get aboard.  This boat is named war eagle she is very heavy loaded.  She has run a ground again and the captain ses all ashore and I shal haf to go.  Thay hav got the boat off again it has taken them a half an our.  Amos Day.

Wee are all well that cum from maine.  Daniel Smith takes his regular biters.  He he gets quite warm sumtimes if any any tells him to stand round he gets sasted.  I shal hav sum money left and I shal send it to you as soon as I can get a chans to go to work I can’t think of any thing to write now.  Amos Day

I don’t think I can get any postage stamps until I get up to st paul.  The oald boat trembles so that I cant rite so that you can read more than half of it I dont expect.   Rite as soon as you get this.  Wee are on lake pipin now whare the boat can run without stratching scratching gravell adams

Click the following link for a transcribed PDF of this document:  Letter from Amos Day to Nathaniel Day.


Letter to Father dated 13 Oct 1856, Eunice Day, mother’s pension application, no. 222,450, certificate no. 248,452, service of Amos Day (Pvt., Co A, 9th Maine Inf, Civil War); Case Files of Approved Pension Applications, …, 1861-1934; Civil War and Later Pension Files; Department of Veterans Affairs, Record Group 15; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

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