William H. Noyes Letter,
Scope and Content Note
On October 13th 1861, William Hazen Noyes sent a letter to his family from White Herring[?] camp by Muddy Branch on the Potomac in the state of Maryland. The letter is written between the 13th and 14th of October. Noyes opens the letter by retelling his guard duty the previous day on which there was a murder, though no further detail is given. Noyes Proceeds to describe the weather in tha camp and the layout. There were thunderstorms and lightning strikes near the camp. Noyes commented that "...by and by we many suffer for Blankets to our tents are not sufficient for winter and some wooden buildings must be had or stoves and tents or we shall freeze."
On the topic of supplies in the encampment, Noyes tells his family about food and prices. Butter was 30 cents per pound and cheese was 20 cents per pound. Honey was marked at 33 cents though Noyes does not specify further on quantity. In the area, there were peach pies that were marked at 12 cents per piece. Noyes noted that there were no apple or minced pies. He further compared the price of bread with the price of pie at approximately double the cost making bread about 24 cents. Noyes explains to his family that slaves cook food for the regiment. He notes that they sometimes have tomato rice.
Before Noyes ends the letter he tells his family that he sent them 20 dollars. Noyes makes an error in his math or in the letter, telling them that he sent money through the mail, 5 dollars at one point, 10 dollars at another and 10 dollars at another. Noyes finishes his letter with a hand drawn sketch of the 12th Massachusetts camp pointing out which tent is his. He titles the sketch: "The way a camp is laid out. I sleep in No. 6 Tent".
- 1861 - 1861
Collection is open for research.
Permission to publish material from the William H. Noyes Letter must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.
William Hazen Noyes was born in about 1841 in Massachusetts. Prior to the war, Noyes was a shoe maker. Noyes joined the 12th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, Company E on 26th, June 1861 and survived his time in the line of fire to leave the Union army. Based on his service record, Noyes was promoted to Full Sergeant on 18 October, 1863.
After the Civil War, Noyes returned to Massachusetts, married Laura J. (Maiden Name: Sample) Noyes, and had a 3 year old daughter named Grace H. Noyes by 1870. Later Census records indicate that William and Laura married in 1863. They continued to live in Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts. There are no records on Noyes after the 1930 census, at the time Noyes was about 89 years old.
Ancestry Library." United States Federal Census records." 1870-1930.
Ancestry Library. "U.S. Civil War Soldiers. 1861-1865.
Ancestry Library. "Civil War Solider Records and Profiles." U.S. 1861-1865.
0.1 Cubic Feet ( 1 folder)
Language of Materials
The William H. Noyes Letter includes a description of the climate, food price and availability, the camp set up, and a hand drawn map in correspondence to his family.
The William H. Noyes Letter was purchased by Special Collections in August 2015.
The processing, arrangement, and description of the William H. Noyes Letter was completed in September 2015.
- William H. Noyes Letter, 1861
- Kaitlyn Britt, Intern and Kira A. Dietz, Archivist
- ©2015 Virginia Tech. All rights reserved.
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