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Benjamin F. Cook Letters, 1860-1865

By Ian Woolsey and Anne Bahde

Collection Overview

Title: Benjamin F. Cook Letters, 1860-1865

Predominant Dates: 1860-1865


Primary Creator: Cook, Benjamin F. (1833-1915)

Extent: 0.25 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The collection consists of 2 series: Series 1: Letters, 1860-1865 and Series 2: Service Papers, 1864-1865.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


This collection is comprised of approximately 150 letters sent by soldier Benjamin Cook to his wife Julia during his service in the Union Army in the Civil War. His letters provide a first-hand account of certain battles and events in the Civil War and detail his life and concerns as a soldier.

This collection has been digitized; reference scans are available upon request. Due to the age and fragility of these materials, researchers are encouraged to use the digital copies.

Scope and Content Notes

The letters in this collection were written and sent by Benjamin F. Cook to his wife Julia from various locations throughout the Northeast and South as Cook served with the 12th Massachusetts Volunteers in the Civil War. The letters date from his time before the Civil War while serving in the state militia, and run through the end of the war. Handwritten in pencil or ink, Cook's letters vary in length from a single scrap of paper to several pages. The correspondence is fairly regular throughout the war years, though there are long periods of time when letters were not sent, either due to a planned leave of absence or unknown circumstances.

Cook details the trials of a soldier's daily life in the Civil War, including limited resources such as clothing and food. He describes political situations within his company, as well as relationships between the soldiers, including incidents of disobedience and punishment, fighting and petty arguments, and theft. He frequently requests his wife to send him needed supplies, including new clothes, paper, and shoes. The letters show the misery and monotony of life at the front, including complaints about the weather, trouble sleeping, illness, late pay, and idly sitting waiting for something to happen. He reports to his wife on troop movements, skirmishes with Rebels, battle strategy, and troop plans. He continuously expresses a longing for home and family, asking for more letters from his wife, and trying to participate in home life by giving advice on the raising of children and spending of money. The end of the war is a frequent subject of speculation in the letters, and Cook vacillates between expressing confidence and fear, good spirits and depression, eagerness to fight the enemy and the overwhelming desire to run away.

Letters of note include a description of the Battle of Antietam (Box-Folder 1.4, Item 9), comments on Negro regiments (Box-Folder 1.3, Item 3), an encounter with a conscientious objector (Box-Folder 1.5, Item 26), and letters written from the battlefield (Box-Folder 1.6, Items 16-18).

This collection has been digitized; reference scans are available upon request. Due to the age and fragility of these materials, researchers are encouraged to use the digital copies.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Benjamin F. Cook was born January 1, 1833 in Boston, Massachusetts to Jeremiah and Harriet Cook. He married Julia Franklin Friend in 1853, and had five children with her. After serving in the state militia, at age 28 Cook joined the Union Army, serving as a Lieutenant 1st class in Company K, 12th Infantry Regiment as of April 1861. He was commissioned as Captain of Company E in 1862, promoted to provost marshal of the Second Division of the First Corps in 1863; promoted again to Major of the Twelfth Regiment in 1863; then promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1864. Cook saw 21 battles, including Antietam, Bull Run, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg. After the Civil War, he was elected to the House of Representatives and served on committees on printing and railroads. In 1886, 1887, and 1888 he was elected to the Senate and served with distinction on the committees for fisheries and game, mercantile affairs, federal relations, and soldier compensation. He also edited the History of the Twelfth Massachusetts Volunteers (Webster Regiment). An active Republican for life, he served three terms as mayor of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and participated in the G. A. R., the Sons of Veterans, and other orders. He died September 3, 1915 in Gloucester, Massachusetts.

Biographical Note

Note:  The non-authorized form of this name is being used in the local (Archon) version of this finding aid.  The LC authorized form of the name -- Cook, Benjamin Fl., 1835- or 1836- -- is used in the Archives West version of the finding aid and the catalog record.  A request will be submitted to cataloging to submit changes for this name to LC.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 1 box

Statement on Access: The collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: Purchased in 2015

Related Materials: The small U.S. Civil War Collection contains materials generated by both North and South. The Duke University David Rubenstein Library holds Benjamin F. Cook's diary for the years 1862-1863.  The Peabody Essex Museum holds a small file of Cook's personal papers.

Preferred Citation: Benjamin F. Cook Letters (MSS CookBF), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Processing Information:

We acknowledge that materials in SCARC collections and the language that describes them may be harmful.  We are actively working to address our descriptive practices; for more information please see our SCARC Anti-racist Actions Statement online.

Please be aware that some of the content in the Benjamin F. Cook Letters may be disturbing or activating; racist, derogatory language is used toward African Americans in the letters. We acknowledge the racism represented by this language and the harm it may cause our users. Providing access to these historical materials does not endorse any attitudes or behavior depicted therein.

[Date of acknowledgement: April 2023]


Cook, Benjamin F. (1833-1915)

People, Places, and Topics

United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives.
United States. Army. Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, 12th (1861-1864)

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Letters, 1860-1865
This series consists of approximately 150 letters written by Cook to his wife Julia describing his troop movements, everyday soldier life, notable events, and more. The title for each letter is the location Cook specifed when writing.
Box-Folder 1.1
Item 1: Head Quarters, February 28, 1860
Cook explains when he will get paid and when he expects his regiment to be mustered again. He asks his wife to have a ring made with specific instructions. He also mentions that Colonel Allen is in charge instead of Colonel Bates due to a hand wound.
Item 2: Head Quarters, March 13, 1860
Cook mentions how tired he is of the conflicts he sees, but doesn't expect they will be ending soon. He tells his wife to burn the letter after reading it.
Item 3: Fort Warren, June 13, 1860
This letter details a "row" had amongst the company between the captains and a Mr. Bapson. This argument made it impossible for Cook to visit home.
Item 4: Fort Warren, July 21, 1860
Says that he misses his wife and children very much while explaining why he hasn't visited home yet.
Item 5: Camp Banks, August 11, 1860
Cook talks about receiving a letter informing him of the death of his only son. He describes how New England feels 50 years advanced from where he is now and also mentions the price of local foods.
Item 6: Gloucester, September 22, 1860
Cook explains why he will be late in visiting and asks his wife to pass his love on to his two children.
Item 7: Gloucester, n.d., 1860
Reports a safe journey without rain and a meeting with Kate (a family friend).
Box-Folder 1.2
Item 1: Fort Warren, June 9, 1861
In high spirits after a splendid parade, a good meal, and subsequent Sabbath. Mentions his protocol with reporting deserters.
Item 2: Fort Warren, June 12, 1861
Talks of missing home, while mentioning how Julia hasn't replied to several letters, and of a possible promotion to First Lieutenant if Lieutenant Bapson resigns.
Item 3: Fort Warren, June [1861]
Cook has just been mustered and given the rank of First Lieutenant. Says he earned his position based on qualifications and didn't have some rich friend pay for it.
Item 4: Harper's Ferry, July 28, 1861
The company traveled through New York with a great reception, but also got robbed. While in Baltimore, Cook met women who were in favor of secession. He was also near the place of "John Brown's notoriety" or Harper's Ferry.
Item 5: Camp at Hyattstown Maryland, August 26th, 1861
Letter conveys that the enslaved people Cook encountered say their masters are for secession, but pretend to be for the union while the troops are stationed there. Talks about the housing of the company and chain of command.
Item 6: [location not specified], August 27, 1861
Mentions eating stolen food, then talks about the high prices of goods. Reports on strict disciplinary code in his unit.
Item 7: [location not specified], September 4, 1861
Talks extensively about wanting to be back home with his family, about fighting in battle, and says he would rather get shot than run away. Tells his wife what to do in case he does die, but assures her he won't.
Item 8: Darnestown, Maryland, September 4, 1861
A man from another regiment got drunk and was subsequently court martialed. He was punished by being hung from a tree by his wrists. Cook's regiment becomes a bit disorderly and noisy while observing the man, but "not more than was natural." Captain Allen instructs Cook to disperse the men. Captain Allen is then arrested by the other regiment's Colonel for not doing his duty. Cook and his regiment are upset by this and tensions rise, but nothing comes of it. Cook questions the legitimacy of the arrest, but praises Allen for his willingness to be upheld, even unjustly. Cook calls him a "gentleman, a soldier, and a scholar."
Item 9: Darnestown, Maryland, September 5, 1861
Writes to correct a mistake in his previous letter and to say that he misses his family and wonders why he hasn't received letters from his wife.
Item 10: Darnestown, Maryland, September 8, 1861
Explains that all he thinks about is his wife and children contrary to what his wife believes. He again urges her not to discuss the arrest he mentioned in his previous letters as talking in a derogatory fashion of a superior could get him court martialed.
Item 11: Darnestown, Maryland, September 10, 1861
Recounts two separate events in which soldiers stole from wagons on the road. Both instances involved fighting.
Item 12: Camp of the 12th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, October 2, 1861
Explains how his company is currently guarding the river, but had to move camp as the enemy was shelling their camp in the mornings. Spends half the letter telling his wife to be brave, and to try and not miss him. Promises good times when he visits next.
Item 13: Camp of the 12th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, October 1861
Requests a new watch to be made. Talks a lot about money including the last $200 he sent her. Wishes he had more letters to read.
Item 14: Camp of the 12th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, October 1861
Talks of the cold weather and his longing to be home. At one point he asks her if she would rather be unmarried so that she wouldn't have to be alone.
Item 15: Muddy Creek Ford, Maryland, October 6, 1861
Was happy to receive his wife's letter. Seemed in great spirits. Explained what a forced march is. Talked of an ailing friend in the company, but is, himself, in good health.
Item 16: Camp of the 12th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, October 16, 1861
A very detailed telling of his march to Washington with some fifty men.
Item 17: Seneca Mills Camp of the 12th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, October 27, 1861
Talks of marching up and down the Potomac River looking for a crossing. Complains of a lack of proper bridges.
Item 18: Camp of the 12th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers near Seneca Mills, October 30, 1861
Complains of the cold weather, the excessive marching, and a lack of letters from his wife.
Item 19: Camp of the 12th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers near Seneca Mills, November 8 and 10, 1861
Again says he longs for home, but not before he has had a good fight. Expresses confidence in his men and himself if they ever have to fight. The second part of the letter explains details for supplies that he would like to remain warm. Written on letterhead.
Item 20: Headquarters 12th Regiment Company K Camp near Seneca Mills, November 10, 1861
Talks of gifts he received from friends. Tells his wife that the men are not as well clothed as the papers make them out to be. Also mentions giving away some of his clothes to a man that shot himself. On letterhead of Commander of the Federal Forces on the Potomac.
Item 21: Camp of the 12th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, November 29, 1861
Talks about theoretically switching places with someone at home. Says that Henry, his father, is safe. Says the weather is so bad and muddy that the men can't do any work. Says many men gamble and some have lost all their money. Reflects on hearing gunshots across the river. Realizes that he has gotten used to hearing them so he doesn't notice them anymore.
Box-Folder 1.3
Item 1: [location not specified], February 27, 1862
Details his troops' movements.
Item 2: Camp of the 12th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, March 21, 1862
Left Winchester, Virginia with General Shields in charge. Subsequently lost one hundred men there and feels personally responsible for not having cleared the area of rebels. Now bound for Centreville and then Richmond. Mentions his return to Winchester. Talks of forced marches, worn out troops, and a lack of skin on his heels.
Item 3: Camp of the 12th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, Winchester, March 21, 1862
Mentions several places he expects to be marching towards. Mentions trouble sleeping because of a longing for home.
Item 4: Warrenton Junction, Camp of the 12th Regiment Massachusetts Volunteers, April 3, 1862
Arrives in Centreville after about two weeks of marching and observes abandoned Rebel fortifications. Then marched to Bull Run and observed the mass graves. Says Captain Allen and the men under Cook's command both think considerably of him.
Item 5: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Warrenton Junction, April 13, 1862
Talks of a man from Gloucester that defaulted and ran away. Says that he wishes to be in the regular service so that he could have Julia and the children with him. Considers applying to the regular army when he returns home. Ends the letter with a romantic sentiment to his wife.
Item 6: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Warrenton Junction, April 14, 1862
Explains the last few days in which he was temporarily promoted as other officers were away. Apparently answers a question that his children had previously asked about Captain Allen's dog.
Item 7: Camp of 12th Mass Vol at Cooksville, Maryland, April 15, 1862
Expresses concerns about the effectiveness of the Generals' movement orders and claims he could do a better job. Says that the men feel similarly.
Item 8: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Warrenton Junction, April 23, 1862
Explains that he will be sending her money when he can and that next pay should be around $400. Talks of shelling the Rebels back 15 or 20 miles to Culpeper Courthouse.
Item 9: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Warrenton Junction, May 3, 1862
Says he has been Officer of the day for a month straight now and that other Lieutenants are jealous of the higher ups partiality. Was recommended by Col. Webster and Brigadier General Abercrombie for a promotion. Tells a short story of his soldiers that, while on picket, put flowers in their guns and wore wreaths.
Item 10: Camp of 12th Mass Vol, May 10 and 11, 1862
Sends his condolences for a Charles Friend who died by drowning. Believes they will be heading towards Fredericksburg to join McDowell. Hopes that a Captain Swift is not convicted of cowardice.
Item 11: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Fredericksburg, May 16, 1862
Spends the letter expressing his doubts that he will get the appointment that he had originally thought he would receive. Complains a bit about his higher-ups. At the end talks about a photo he sent his wife and if she likes his facial hair.
Item 12: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Fredericksburg, May 23, 1862
Has heard from several people that he will receive the promotion when the board convenes next so now believes he will get it. The President and the Secretary of War came to visit. Believes he may see fighting soon if the enemy does not retreat soon.
Item 13: Camp of 12th Mass Vol Manassas, May 28, 1862
Talks of traveling aboard a steamer named Vanderbilt. Mentions riding with the New York Ninth Coloured. Explains how his men got quite drunk and rowdy and led to some arrests including Captains. Tells his wife that he is very loving and has stayed faithful unlike many other men.
Item 14: Camp of 12th Mass Vol, June 5, 1862
Talks of hearing about the evacuation of Corinth and Richmond which he thinks will hasten the ending of the war. Mentions several officers who were disciplined for their rambunctious behavior in Alexandria. Talks of setting up to engage the enemy, but not being able to find them.
Item 15: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Front Royal, Virginia, June 8, 1862
Bemoans the current weather and his own downward feelings. They are chasing Jackson by marching constantly. There is a small drawn map displaying a crossing of a river.
Item 16: Front Royal, June 8, 1862
Describes his unit’s movements from the 27th to 30th. Arrived in the second battle of Bull Run on the 30th. Colonel Webster is killed, "A braver man never breathed." Lieutenant Colonel Bryan ran and is branded a coward.
Item 17: Camp of 12th Mass Vol Front Royal, June 8, 1862
Writes during a day of rest. Explains that their chaplain is resigning. Spoke to rebel prisoners. Says that McClellan almost cut off Jackson, but McDowell failed. He and the other men do not like McDowell. Says he doesn't know where they are headed to next, but expects backtracking.
Item 18: Camp of 12th Mass Vol Front Royal, June 11, 1862
Says that he hasn't received any letters for some time because of issues with the mail system. He talks a lot of pay, his hopeful upcoming promotion, and the wisdom in saving for a "rainy day."
Item 19: Camp of 12th Mass Vol Front Royal, June 13, 1862
Finally receives a great many letters. Explains that they have been resting for almost a week now. Cook doesn't have much to talk about.
Item 20: Camp of 12th Mass Vol Front Royal, June 15, 1862
Writes playfully to his wife. Apparently his wife read a note that was addressed to an "Edwin" and not her. Explains how he shouldn't have talked about potentially getting the captains position, but that the process takes some time.
Item 21: Head Quarters 2nd Div at Centreville, Virginia, June 16, 1862
Letter explains the latest march and the expected next march. Thinks that they may encounter fighting soon. Last page appears to be a shopping list.
Item 22: Camp of 12th Mass Vol Manassas, June 19, 1862
Mentions George Friend who got medically discharged and now resides at a hospital in Alexandria. Observed a lunar eclipse. Says they are under McDowell's division. Wishes he was in Banks' and says he has never "heard him spoke well of," referring to McDowell. The men are not well-disposed towards McDowell.
Item 23: Camp of 12th Mass Vol Manassas, June 20, 1862
A detailed list of objects he wants his wife to get for him.
Item 24: Camp of 12th Mass Vol Manassas, June 23, 1862
Receives his Captain's commission. Requests for a speedy delivery of everything that he previously asked for.
Item 25: Camp of 12th Mass Vol Warrenton, July 9, 1862
Hears of his children being naughty and is sympathetic to his wife. Tells her to remind them that when he returns they will "catch a stick." Recommends keeping them from school for a while. Handwriting very faded.
Box-Folder 1.4
Item 1: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Waterloo, July 26, 1862
Wishes to be back home, but explains why he can't get a leave of absence. Confides that he doesn't much care for anyone he is with.
Item 2: Head Quarters Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Waterloo, Virginia, July 30, 1862
Seems very pleased with the men in his company. Average age of 21, only two foreigners, and he gets along well with them all. He wishes more men from Gloucester would be drafted because his company still needs more men. Doesn't seem to think another promotion is very likely.
Item 3: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Waterloo, Virginia, August 3, 1862
Has been sick for two days now. Talks about his symptoms and treatments he receives. Reports that he expelled two eight inch worms.
Item 4: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Waterloo, Virginia, August 4, [1862]
Writes after recovering from a remittent fever. Talks about his treatment and his experience of being sick.
Item 5: Camp of 12th Mass Vol Culpeper Court House, August 7, 1862
After a two day march from Waterloo, Virginia, he tells of a terrible meal he purchased in the town of Culpeper. Relates that he was sick during the march over from Waterloo.
Item 6: Company E Head-Quarters Camp Allen near Waterloo, Virginia, August 10, 1862
First portion of the letter replies to questions his wife had talked about in a letter. Does not know of any planned troop movements. On letterhead of Company E, Head-quarters.
Item 7: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near the Rapidan River, Virginia, August 16, 1862
Tells his wife that he is in good spirits. Says that he fears she is being too easy on the children, though wishes he could be there to help raise them.
Item 8: Camp of 12th near Warrenton, August 27, 1862
No days of rest in ten days. Plenty of hard marching, sometimes through the night. Occasional hard fighting along the Rappahannock River. May have lost his chest when they retreated from Rapidan. Rebels were there the day after they left. Raiding Rebels almost successfully stole personal baggage of regiments near Warrenton Junction.
Item 9: Camp of 12th Mass Vol Sharpsburg, September 20, 1862
This letter is dated three days after the battle of Antietam. Cook was the only Captain not injured. His company went in with 45 men. 10 died and 23 were injured. His whole regiment had 330 and 210 of them were either killed or wounded. He is acting Colonel and was responsible for sending the list of casualties to the papers. Has now seen 7 fights and suspects his luck is running out. 570 dead rebels lay in a row. Has seen all he wants to see of war. Says "we have whipped them." Written on illustrated "Union" letterhead.
Item 10: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Sharpsburg, Maryland, September 29, 1862
Wishes to be at home. Says "I suppose I have seen the hardest fighting that ever was on this Continent." Talks of the injured Captains and which ones will be promoted to fill vacancies. Mentions a father who came to see his son at the hospital.
Item 11: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Sharpsburg, Maryland, October 2, [1862]
Explains that he has been Officer of the Day for a bit and that he is charge of the pickets protecting the Potomac River. Talks about some religious debates that he and Colonel Bates had with the chaplain. Cook calls himself a Universalist while the chaplain is a Methodist.
Item 12: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Sharpsburg, October 4, 1862
The first third of the letter describes a dream he had of returning home. His wife would not recognize him and a dead soldier was there at the family house too. He goes on to explain some of the terrors he faced in battle and how there are very few officers left now.
Item 14: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Sharpsburg, Maryland, October 8, 1862
Talks of a chaplain that he gets along well with. Also mentions how great of a man Colonel Bates is. Reminds him of John James Babson, a Massachusetts state senator from Gloucester.
Item 15: Camp of 12th Mass near Sharpsburg, Maryland, October 16, [1862]
Talks of not really expecting a promotion because none are available. Says that Captain Allen might be eligible for the Lieutenant Colonel position. Hears fighting going on nearby all day long. Says the surgeons are getting ready for the wounded.
Item 16: Camp of 12th Mass Vol, October 21, 1862
Talks of expecting to march soon. Asks his wife to not read his letters to visitors for fear that his ignorance would show. More praise for Colonel Bates.
Item 17: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Sharpsburg, Maryland, October 23, 1862
Talks about the politics of "earning" promotions and how the best men are often not rewarded for their skills.
Item 18: Camp at Edward's Ferry, October 25, [1862]
Tells of a miserable wet march to Edward's Ferry. Also tells a story that he finds amusing about the men accidentally starting a fire while they were all trying to get warm and go to sleep. Seemed to be in good spirits.
Item 19: Camp of 12th Mass Vol on the march, October 28, 1862
Talks of bad, rainy weather.
Item 20: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Bloomfield, Virginia, November 4, 1862
Talks of past marching orders. Mentions that they are headed to Ashby Gap and expect fighting. Tells a story about how the men stayed up all night in the cold waiting to start marching because a mistake was made, all while the general slept.
Item 21: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Warrenton, Virginia, November 8, 1862
Talks of very poor weather and more snow than last year already. Expects to support General Bayard at the Rappahannock River.
Item 22: Camp of 12th Mass Vol Rappahannock Station, Virginia, November 11, 1862
Short letter explaining how often he will be able to write back. Talks of many promotions because people have either died or been transferred. His own Lieutenant was promoted even though Cook didn't want him to, but he is glad to be rid of him. Cook weighed himself at 153 lbs.
Item 23: Camp of 12th Mass Vol Brooks Station near Acquia Creek, [November 1862]
Apologizes for his poor handwriting that his wife can't seem to read. Says that the men are cold and missing shirts because they lost supplies in the Second Battle of Bull Run and still have not been resupplied.
Item 24: Camp of 12th Mass Vol Rappahannock Station, Virginia, November 14, 1862
Learns who is elected governor, says he doesn't have much interest in politics and thinks the men at home don't either, but should. Talks of McClellan being superseded and how this is bad for the army as he had their trust.
Item 25: Camp of 12th Mass Vol Rappahannock Station, Virginia, November 15, 1862
Complains of army just sitting around and waiting. Talks again about Burnside superseding McClellan. Mentions that the pay master is still late (over two months late again). Daydreams about saving up their money and buying a farm out west.
Item 26: Camp of 12th Mass Vol, November 16, 1862
Talks of being within sight of the Rebels that are across the Rappahannock River. Considerable artillery fighting across the river. Talks about wanting to go across the river to fight the rebels. Says that they chased the Rebels so fast that they didn't have time to destroy the railroad bridge that they had built. Another of his men has died from wounds from the battle of Antietam. Sixteen have been killed or died of wounds. Some men are still in the hospital.
Item 27: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Stafford Court House, Virginia, November 19, 1862
Thought they were headed to Fredericksburg, but appear to be headed to Acquia Creek. Explains how his regiment got transferred to another to serve as an example for them. Says the government must be stretched pretty thin to pay their troops once in four months. Comments about receiving letters from his deceased troop's friends wanting descriptions of the men and how it's hard to reply to them all.
Item 28: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Stafford Court House, November 20, 1862
Talks of poor weather and not having butter for some days. Says that he and the Colonel agreed to quit smoking, but after two weeks he feels the need to smoke again and says it is too much of a sacrifice for a soldier to give up while in the army.
Item 29: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Acquia Creek, Virginia, November 25, 1862
Some men do not have shoes. It has been five months since he was paid. Talks of a potential winter campaign and says that while he is willing to do anything to bring the war to an end, he believes a winter campaign will not succeed.
Item 30: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Acquia Creek, Virginia, November 27, 1862
On Thanksgiving, he reflects on his last holiday last year when they had enough food for a Thanksgiving dinner unlike now. He says that the rebels have cannons set up to prevent them from crossing into Fredericksburg. Colonel Bates tells him that he knows more about the military than some generals and he means this as a compliment to Cook.
Item 31: Camp of 12th Mass Vol near Acquia Creek, Virginia, December 10, 1862
Talks highly of Colonel Bates again. Mentions a doctor being captured by the rebels and is very angered by this because it violates the rules of engagement of war.
Item 32: Camp of 12th Mass Vol, December 16, 1892
Detailed description of the battle of Fredericksburg that he was involved in. Crushing defeat for the union.
Item 33: Camp of Company E 12th Mass, December 20, 1862
Gets a promotion to Provost Marshall. He is now stationed in General Taylor's headquarters. Talks of new duties to be expected of him. Still hasn't been paid and expects to in January, making it nearly six months without pay.
Item 34: Head Quarters 2nd Div Provost Marshall's Office, December 23, 1862
Talks about his new duties and position more. Reminisces about all the Captains that left Fort Warren with him and how many are left.
Item 35: Head Quarters 2nd Div near Belle Plains, Virginia, December 26, 1862
The camp seems to be settling for the winter. Didn't realize it was Christmas until the morning of, remarks that only gift he got in his stockings was probably lice. Is quite lonely with his new position.
Item 36: Head Quarters 2nd Div, December 29, 1862
Talks more about life in headquarters and adjusting to the changes there. Wishes to go home, but explains that to get a leave of absence he would either need to be wounded or handicapped.
Box-Folder 1.5
Item 1: Head Quarters 2nd Div 1st Army Corps, March 5, 1863
This letter functions as an apology as Cook had been a bit "extravagant" with his money recently. It is briefly mentioned that he visited his home sometime between this letter and the last one.
Item 2: Head Quarters 2nd Div 1st Army Corps, March 8, 1863
Talks about his horse and how well he gets along with it and how well it serves his purposes. Hopes that the president will use his power granted to him by Congress to end the rebellion.
Item 3: Head Quarters 2nd Div Provost Marshall's Office, March 15, 1863
Talks more about his duties and how he has never let a prisoner escape. Expects the war to end within a year. His wife asks him if would accept being in command of a "Negro" regiment and he says no. He understands that the president uses these soldiers because they can fight, but he is opposed to the idea of them being officers. Comments that if men were in the dark they would not be able to tell black and white apart.
Item 4: Head Quarters 2nd Div 1st Army Corps Provost Marahall's Office, March 29, 1863
Talks of enjoying his position as Captain. Says that if another Massachusetts regiment gets mustered he would apply for the position to be a field officer and he thinks he would get it due to recommendations. Quotes a report in which his regiment is referred to.
Item 5: Head Quarters 2nd Div 1st Army Corps, April 14, 1863
Says they were just about to go on the march but a storm prevented them. Thinks a hard fight is coming, but says that he will be in the rear thanks to his position. Says that some of the prisoners he is supervising are deserters and will be branded as such. Enjoys his position and says other captains want it. Tells of playing cards with his old regiment and Colonel Bates.
Item 6: Provost Marshall's Office 2nd Div 1st Army Corps, April 20, 1863
A letter assuring his wife of his love for her. He alludes to something that occurred as a result of his visiting last month which caused some distress to his wife and he apologizes for it, but never mentions what it was.
Item 7: Head Quarters Provost Marshall's Office, April 21, 1863
Talks of his father not doing well and asks that his regards be given to him. Some talk about other members of the army and their cowardice.
Item 8: Provost Marshall's Office 2nd Div 1st Army Corps, April 27, 1863
Short letter. Says he sent her $200 but will send more as the government owes him for two months’ pay. Has a cheeky remark where he says, "I received a letter from you which you did not scold me at all. You must have felt better."
Item 9: Head Quarters 2nd Div 1st Army Corps, May 31, 1863
Another update on his time in camp to his wife. Says he is worried about spending too much money so he may send more to her to keep him from spending. Asks his wife to make a rosette for him so he can wear it as an emblem.
Item 10: Head Quarters Provost Marshall's Office 2nd Div 1st Army Corps, June 7, 1863
Says that Colonel Bates requested for him to come back to the old regiment, but General Robinson said that Cook was the best Provost Marshall he had ever seen. Realizes that he is bragging again and hopes that his wife will forgive his weakness in character.
Item 11: Head Quarters 2nd Div 1st Army Corps, June 21, 1863
Mentions fighting either in Aldie, Virginia or Leesburg, Virginia close to where he is. Apologizes again for coming home when he did.
Item 12: Head Quarters 2nd Div Camp near Middletown, Maryland, June 28, 1863
Army is still on the march, though this time northwards and into Maryland. General Robinson thinks that that the Rebels cannot hold on much longer.
Item 13: South Mountain, Maryland, July 9, 1863
Is thankful fo a recent victory [possibly Gettysburg or Vicksburg]. Says that if the Rebels would have won they might have been in Washington by now.
Item 14: Head Quarters 2nd Div 1st Army Corps, July 17, 1863
Has been marching for days. Thinks the Rebels won't come north again. Thinks they could have gotten Lee's army too, but did not. Talks of the severe cold he has, the lice in his clothes, and his only extra set of clothes being moldy. Talks of not wanting friends or relatives under his command. Thinks of after the war, if there was another war with England he would have a high ranking position.
Item 15: Head Quarters 2nd Div 1st Army Corps Camp near Bealeton Station, Virginia, July 26, 1863
A minor rest day after many days and nights of marching. Talks of the Massachusetts 8th returning home. Government now owes him three months of pay. Requests that his father send him a new suit of clothes with a sash.
Item 16: Head Quarter's 12th Mass Vol, September 10, 1863
Letter seems to be missing content. No parting signature or farewell address. Talks of a dress parade in which he led.
Item 17: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol near Culpeper, Virginia, September 17, [1863]
Remembers today as the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam. Takes the moment to reflect and examine the differences in the war and notices how much better the north is now. Expects to have fighting soon and believes he will be in command, but does not fear the fight and almost seems to welcome it. Thinks the heavy fighting is all but over. Apologizes again for visiting when he did. He has apologized several times for this, but it is not apparent what event he is referring to, although it seems to have pained Julia some. Talks of a man that Julia must know, who is very sick and might not recover. Says they sent him by ambulance to Alexandria, but Cook doesn't think he will survive.
Item 18: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol near Culpeper, Virginia, September 20, 1863
Talks about the cold weather and how it has made him feel ill. Explains how the Provost is going to execute three deserters soon and how he almost had to do that duty. Says that many people desert, especially conscripts. The ones he talks about do not speak English well as German is their first language. Tells his wife to take care of herself and wishes her well on her confinement in pregnancy.
Item 19: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol, September 23, 1863
Tells a heartbreaking story about a father arriving to visit his son a day too late. Weather is getting colder. Briefly mentions meeting with Lt. Mason who he says replaced him as Provost Marshall.
Item 20: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol near Raccoon Ford, Virginia, September 28, 1863
Hand drawn hand pointing at text to be read first, "Try and read this before you burn it." Received a long awaited box from wife. Talks of a friendly meeting with Rebels across the Rappahannock River. Witnesses a deserter being shot and says, "it was a solemn thing, but necessary."
Item 21: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol near Rapidan River, October 8, 1863
Talks of wanting his wife to stay with him, but believes the battlefield is no place for a woman. Very confident that the war will end in nine months. Says he doesn't care what the baby will be, but he would prefer a boy. If it was up to him, he would not want any more children on account of his wife. Wouldn't trade either of his girls for fifty boys apiece even if he had the ability.
Item 22: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol, October 9, 1863
Says the Rebels have backed off of their side of the river. Thinks they are trying to out flank the Union army. Feels sympathetic to his wife while she is in confinement.
Item 23: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol, October [?] 1863
The regiment moves slightly each day. Cook thinks it is a tactic to appear as a larger force, but he believes it to be a futile tactic. He doesn't believe he will see any more fighting this summer. Talks of a couple run-ins with Rebel pickets and how friendly they were. Can't imagine the war continuing past next summer. Wants peace badly and talks of potential plans for occupation after the war.
Item 24: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol near Thouroughfare Gap, October 23, 1863
Talks of being in command for six weeks straight while Colonel Bates is away. Complains a bit about some of the unfairness of his duties in proportion to his pay. Reports losing his valise and how if he found the person responsible for the theft "there would be a funeral." Says there are several of those types in the regiment. In very small handwriting at the top of the letter is a sweet note to his wife remembering time when they courted.
Item 25: Head Quar 12th Mass Vol Bristow, Virginia, October 29, 1863
Talks of the regiment’s potential plans of hunkering down for the winter. Tries to console his wife who seems to be having a bad time of it. Says that he might consider faking a sickness to get a leave of absence so he could visit her.
Item 26: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol Camp near Bristow Station, Virginia, November 5, 1863
Believes the regiment will head to Fredericksburg to hunker down for winter because fighting a Potomac campaign in the winter is fairly worthless. Tells of meeting a "fine looking fellow with conscientious scruples against learning arms." Cook attempts to get him to participate in drills or even hold a musket but he refuses. Interestingly, the man says he isn't religious. Tells a story of a man who shot his own hand off and how he receives no sympathy from anyone. Cook says that war hardens a man. Says men at home would think the things they do to be horrid. A dead officer makes room for a promotion.
Item 27: Head Quarter 12th Mass Vol near Kelly's Ford, Virginia, November 5, 1863
This letter is written the same day as the one before, but after marching orders were given. Talks of a near engagement they almost had. Cook says that tonight he has the blues again. He thinks this has to do with his poor health. All these thoughts amount to him giving all of his money to the doctor with instructions to send it to Julia, his wife, if he dies, and him keeping his Bible in his coat pocket so that if he should die, they would be able to recognize him. However, the battle did not ensue. Mentions a boy weighing four pounds which we can assume is his newborn son.
Item 28: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol near Kelly's Ford, Virginia, November 7, 1863
Says that he feels much better. Wants his wife to send him a new trunk with specific dimensions. Expects to get a leave of absence soon and wants to return home. Hopes his wife is feeling better and the baby as well.
Item 29: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol Bealeton Station, Virginia, November 22, 1863
Slightly frustrated letter about a lack of letters from his wife. He seems to think it is being done intentionally to receive attention. Finally says something about wanting to see his new boy.
Item 30: Head Quarters 12th Bealeton Station, Virginia, November 22, 1863
Hasn't received a letter from his wife in three weeks. Wants to hear from her badly. Says it isn't right that he can't see his newborn boy. Wants to hear a vivid description of him. Says that if he takes after his mother he will be very good looking. Tells of being sent a man that was previously discharged for disability. Sends him to Alexandria because he does not want him.
Item 31: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol near Kelly's Ford, Virginia, December 13, 1863
Says Julia will do a great job with the boy. Asks her if she has a name picked out for his approval yet. Expects to apply for his leave within a month.
Item 32: Mass 12th, December 20, 1863
Short letter explaining his future plans for visiting Gloucester and home.
Item 33: Head Quarters 2nd Div 1st Army Corps, [n.d.], 1863
Receives a box from his wife and is pleased with the contents. Complains a bit about what is expected of the attitude of being an officer. Apparently Cook is perceived as being too timid or polite. He seems agitated by the notion.
Box-Folder 1.6
Item 1: Head Quarters 12th Mass near Culpeper, Virginia, February 20, 1864
While reading some of the papers that his wife sent him, Cook reads about a fire that occurred. Cook is sick and may request another leave of absence if he does not mend. Tells of being kept up all night by a man who has the typhoid fever.
Item 2: Head Quarters 12th near Culpeper, Virginia, February 20, 1864
Says he is fat at 160 pounds. Hears about a great fire in Gloucester and feels sorry about it. Talks of a cold he currently has. Mentions that a lot of the officers have their wives there at the camp with them. Mentions places he visited in Washington including the Smithsonian. Reminds her about sending some more photographs.
Item 3: Head Quarters 12th Mass near Culpeper, Virginia, February 22, 1864
Still feels sick and wishes for his wife to be with him to nurse him back to health. Says he misses his wife very much since he was just with them. Expects the baby to be about twenty pounds by now.
Item 4: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol, February 27, 1864
Encloses money to his wife.
Item 5: Camp of 12th Mass near Culpeper, Virginia, March 3, 1864
Talks about going to the theatre with some other officers and their wives. Explains that he is almost fully better apart from his persistent cough.
Item 6: Head Quarters 12th Mass near Culpeper, Virginia, March 5, 1864
Talks of a party he had with some friends and their wives in which they ate roast mutton. He expects to be on court martial duty soon. Talks of being invited to go riding with some ladies but declining.
Item 7: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol near Culpeper, Virginia, March 12, 1864
Talks of court martial duty and how that is keeping him busy. Doesn't think the war will be over by June anymore. Says the army needs more officers and explains that some higher ranking officers are commanding from away and not actually present.
Item 8: Head Quarters 12th Mass near Culpeper, Virginia, March 17, 1864
Talks about how fat the new child is. Hears his father say the property is worth two thousand dollars, but Cook says he would like to sell it for ten thousand if he sold it. Vaguely mentions an official document that his wife sent him.
Item 9: Head Quarters 12th Mass near Culpeper, Virginia, March 20, 1864
Cook was just paid and is now sending $275 home. Instructs Julia to not talk about the specifics of the money. Says that where he keeps his money, the interest is five percent.
Item 10: Head Quarters 12th Mass near Culpeper, Virginia, March 28, 1864
Colonel Bates returns after an eight month absence in which Cook was in command for most of the time. His duties have decreased significantly and he is glad for it. It is still incredibly difficult to be given a leave of absence. Tells Julia to name the boy.
Item 11: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol Camp near Culpeper, Virginia, April 4, 1864
Talks of disagreeable weather, poor living quarters, and other sacrifices he has had to endure for his country, namely being away from his wife. Tells a story of him and a friend spilling dye on themselves and Colonel Bates making a colored joke. Tells his wife to name the boy.
Item 12: Head Quarters 12th Mass Culpeper, Virginia, April 7, 1864
Chides his wife for getting Kate's hair cut. Complains about a photograph that was sent and promises to send some photos back. Was given a new duty in which he is on a board for examining applicants that want to transfer to the naval services.
Item 13: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol near Culpeper, Virginia, April 19, 1864
Talks about receiving about one hundred men from Boston which means that Cook's regiment will not be mustered out like he was hoping for in June. Suggests that he might put in an application to go to Baltimore and asks if his wife would be willing to meet him there. Agrees with his wife that prices for things are rising and that if this continues, it will be hard to live on the wages that they live on currently.
Item 14: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol near Culpeper, Virginia, April 28, 1864
Tells in detail of his journey to Baltimore. Tells of soldiers getting drunk on the train and some falling to their deaths. Also mentions how he only received one month’s pay when he should have received more.
Item 15: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol near Culpeper, Virginia, May 1, 1864
Reminiscences about courting his wife while he picks flowers. Says that he was given orders to command another regiment, but the orders were canceled. Isn't sure if his regiment will be mustered out this June.
Item 16: On the Battle Field, May 7, 1864
Colonel Allen has died. Three days of fighting so far, but Cook is safe. No real ground has been made or lost in this stalemate of a battle.
Item 17: On the Field of Battle near Spotsylvania, Virginia, May 11, 1864
Has seen seven days of fighting. Says half the men in his regiment are incapacitated. Says, "A man's life is not worth much in these times." Seems to think that they have whipped the Rebels and expects to chase them into Richmond.
Item 18: Skirmishing near Spotsylvania, Virginia, May 14, 1864
Writes during a brief lull in the battle. While being in command temporarily, his men have formed a skirmishers line in front of the Rebels while the rest of the army regroups elsewhere. Talks of the constant rain and how the fighting has died down somewhat.
Item 19: Head Quarters in the field near Hanover Junction, Virginia, May 23, 1864
Follows the Rebels south towards Richmond. Tells of Colonel Allen's death and how they couldn't send his body back home so instead buried him. Expects to see more fighting either today or tomorrow.
Item 20: Head Quarters 12th Mass Vol on the Battle Field, May 25, 1864
Talks of having another fight today. Talks of several officers being killed, him being in the midst of all the fighting, and even hearing several bullets hitting close to where he was during the battle. Says he has now been in over twenty engagements. Cook has been in command of the regiment. He talks of how small the regiment has become and thinks it will be mustered out on June 26th.
Item 21: On the Battle Field 9 Miles from Richmond, Virginia, June 5, 1864
Begins by correcting a false report that said he had been killed. His wife appeared to have asked him a question in regards to some possibility in the future and he replied, "I don't feel like planning much as I do not know as I shall live through this month." Talks of surviving many close calls on the battlefield while in command of the regiment. Gets a recommendation for Lieutenant Colonel.
Item 22: In the Field, June 9, 1864
Is still just outside of Richmond, Virginia, but they haven't fought for a few days. Before that, they had been within rifle shot of the enemy for a month straight and fought nearly every day. Meets a person from Gloucester who heard he had died as well. Plans on marching the regiment to Boston to get there before the 26th of June. He says they will be mustered out then, but until then the war department wants them fighting until the last day.
Item 23: In the Field near Petersburg, Virginia, June 19, 1864
Explains that he has seen some hard fighting in the last few days but is well.
Item 24: Head Quarters 12 Mass in the Rifle Pits near Petersburg, Virginia, June 23, 1864
Writes before they are about to go skirmishing. Writes from inside the rifle pits and can't expose his head without getting shot at. 12 men have died and his men haven't even fired a shot.
Item 25: [location not specified], September 3, 1864
Thanks his wife for the box she sent him even though its contents apparently spilled out. Explains that his men are guarding some woodsmen who are working with timber to clear a way for a battery. This involves protecting them as they attempt to cross the Potomac. The river is a bit too swollen for them to cross for now. Explains that he misjudged a person in his home town and tells her to go to him if she needs anything. Written on illustrated "God and Our Native Land" letterhead.
Item 26: Darnestown, Maryland, September 17, 1864
Is within ten or fifteen miles of the enemy, but is expecting "fun" every day. They had planned some reveries with General McClellan, but it rained. Seems in good spirits about the war. Doesn't know when it will be over, but expects it to be soon. Talks a lot about desiring a letter from his wife. Written on illustrated "God and our Native Land" letterhead.
Item 27: Darnestown, Maryland Camp of 12th Mass, September 19, 1864
Responds to several questions posed by his wife in her last two letters. The questions vary from being about pay, to frequency of letters, to responses about a photo of their boy, to questions about why she can't come visit him as she perceives incorrectly that other women are frequently around the camp. He talks of some of his current duties and how they are to his liking and easy.
Box-Folder 1.7
Item 1: Camp of 12th Mass Vol, March 28, [year unknown]
Writes from within seven miles of Centreville, but laments not being able to write in a while. Promises to write later when he gets the chance. Says he is now in the land of slavery. Also asks his wife if he is spelling "whife" correctly.
Item 2: Head Quarters 12th Mass near Culpeper, Virginia, March 26, [year unknown]
Talks about possibly requesting a leave of absence for sickness to go and visit.
Item 3: Head Quarters 2nd Div 1st Army Corps, March 26, [year unknown]
Eloquently talks of the beginning of spring. Expects to be on the General's staff when General Hooker comes to review them. Explains the type of dress he will wear while on the General's staff. Talks of an enjoyable night had with the officers. Asks for a picture of his wife, that she promised him when he last came home.
Item 4: Camp of 12th Mass Vol, April 6, [year unknown]
Talks of delays in receiving letters from his wife. Mentions that his letter may have been opened by a secession spy. Talks of a General Fremont that his wife supports, but he does not. Talks of almost encountering a large Rebel force, but at this point has not seen any combat. Answers a question that one of his girls had asked about Captain Allen's dogs. Wishes the war will end before this fall.
Item 5: Camp Stanton Cedar Creek near Warrenton, Virginia, May 7, [year unknown]
Says that Lieutenant Saunders is requesting a leave of absence because of his health. Talks about a skirmish in which he led the troops, but tells Julia not to tell anybody because Captain Allen was away and should have been leading them. Later in the letter, and in pencil, he tells her that he lead a dress parade and didn't make any mistakes.
Item 6: Camp of 12th Mass Vol, May 19, [year unknown]
Is expecting his appointment any day now. Jokingly says that he expects some "worthless cuss" will get it instead. Expects to be traveling south so he is sending a chest back home with most of his possessions in it. Along with the chest he gives specific instructions about what to do with the contents.
Item 7: Camp of 12th Mass Vol Manassas, Virginia, June 3, [year unknown]
Fairly inconsequential letter talking about the receiving of letters and requests for items in return.
Item 8: Head Quarters 2nd Div, June 20, [year unknown]
Writes his wife after an absence of letters. Asks for money to purchase a horse. Had previously given her money, but is now out of money.
Item 9: [location not specified], June 22, [year unknown]
Repeats the same instructions in the previous letter for his wife to give him money. Adds that a successful fight was had yesterday.
Item 10: Head Quarters 2nd Div Middleburg, Virginia, July 22, [year unknown]
Talks of finishing a 16 mile march that took them from Berlin, Maryland, Waterford, Virginia, and then Hamilton, Virginia. Believes to be heading towards Warrenton, Virginia. Talks of wanting to come visit his wife, but won't be able to for about eleven months. Relates that the general of his corps and the corps commissary were taken prisoner. Says he doesn't want men from Boston, but if they were in his company he would treat them well.
Item 11: Camp of 12th Mass Vol, October 3, [year unknown]
Talks of missing out on some grand event because he was officer of the day. Takes comfort in the fact that his men did their picket duty well. Claims to have met McClellan when he was wounded and in the hospital, though he didn't recognize him immediately. This letter is hard to read due to ink bleed and marginal writing.
Item 12: Camp of 12th Regt Mass Vol near Muddy Branch Ford, October 20, [year unknown]
Writes in response to a six page letter he just received from his wife. Seems very dispirited about many things. Says that he has the blues again. Tells a brief story of a man who was shot with friendly fire. The man lived, but will be recovering for six months. Seems very lonely and talks a lot about how much he misses his wife and girls. Worries that his clothes will become lousy.
Item 13: Camp at Fredericksburg, Virginia, [undated]
Very short letter. It took Cook three days to get to where he is now and is in good spirits.
Item 14: Head Quarters 2nd Div 1st Army Corps, [undated]
Talks about the money he has sent his wife and wants to know if she got it. Talks about his great love for his wife and how she is the only woman in the world that he loves. Talks about wanting to get a new watch and says that he would want the chain of the watch to be made of her hair.
Item 15: [fragment], [undated]
Pages 2-3 of an unknown letter. Talks of needing to pay off a debt. Talks about being in good health, saving suffering from piles. Expects to be in Virginia next week. Talks of some trouble with his mother.
Item 16: [fragment], [undated]
Pages 5-6 of an unknown letter. Gives his wife permission to travel somewhere, but then later says she should stay home because she has children to take care of. Mentions his name being in the papers along with another Captain. Says he doesn't spend much on extra things except tobacco, but not much of that.
Item 17: [fragment], [undated]
One page of an unknown letter. Requests writing materials and warm clothing for the upcoming winter season.
Item 18: [fragment], ​[undated]
One page of an unknown letter. Talks about the lack of clean water. Apologizes for less frequency of letters, citing lack of paper.
Item 19: [fragment], [undated]
One page of an unknown letter. Mentions walking through farms and trampling the grain and feeling bad about it. Talks of McDowell's 80,000 men. Sees a surgeon practicing amputating limbs of a wounded soldier and carrying him to the back lines. Believes they may go to Richmond.
Item 20: [fragment], [undated]
Pages 5-8 of an unknown letter. Very animated letter. Talks of a person named "Saunders" leaving the regiment and how much he disliked him. Talks of missing his family, says that if his wife dressed up like a man, perhaps she could get the position of his clerk. Talks of seeing his family this winter by either a leave of absence or by deserting. Also says that the state owes him a good deal of money and that if he dies and she stays unmarried she will receive a pension.
Item 21: [fragment], [undated]
One page of an unknown letter. Reports that he has heard from Henry.
Item 22: [fragment], [undated]
Believes the men will be mustered out in seven months. Talks of trying his best to look out for the Gloucester men. In the last march tells of losing several men from the wagon train and finding them and others some time later with their throats cut. Believes this to be the work of guerrillas. Talks about how he will feel odd after the war without a horse, as he has gotten used to it, and how it will be odd working for and around those he commanded for such a long time. Requests her to send his pistol, bullet mould, and gold watch.
Item 23: [fragment], [undated]
One page of unknown letter. Talks of some good food and a good cigar that he was given. Mentions Captain Allen and Saunders in this letter. Promises that he will return soon.
Item 24: [fragment], [undated]
Talks about wanting to come home. Says that if he were with her he could take all the comfort in the world. Says that where he is currently is no place for a lady and that she wouldn't stand it for even a week.
Item 25: [location not specified], [undated]
Short undated letter with no location. Tries to comfort his wife who worries about his absence. Complains about the price of coffee, tea, cheese, letter paper, and other items.
Item 26: [location not specified], ​[undated]
Two pages of an unknown letter. Troops, cannons, and horses are pouring in from all directions. Says he is in good health and that the men are as jolly as ever. He says he isn't afraid. Thinks that there is a plan to trap the Rebels at Harper's Ferry.
Series 2: Service Papers, 1864-1865
Series 2 includes a small number of documents, primarily related to the end of Cook's service in the war. The title in this series is comprised of the agency and location from which the document was sent.
Box-Folder 1.8
Item 1: Ordnance Office, War Department, Washington, D.C., December 23, 1864
An ordnance letter from the War Department addressed to Cook. Explains that if he returns everything that he needs to and complies with the department he will receive a certificate of indebtedness.
Item 2: Property Returns Division, January 6, 1865
An affidavit signed by Cook that he had not taken ordance stores, including those captured from the enemy, without reporting them.
Item 3: Head Quarters 2nd Brigade 3rd Division, January 21, 1865
This letter is written to Cook from a friend from his old regiment. The author talks a lot about how he misses the old regiment. Explains how boring military life is now that the war is waning.
Item 4: Treasury Department, Second Auditor's Office, February 4, 1865
Another closing of accounts letter. Interestingly, they call him "Major" although he is a Lieutenant Colonel at this point.
Item 5: Treasury Department, Second Auditor's Office, February 4, 1865
Another closing of accounts letter. This letter addresses him as "Captain."
Item 6: Washington D.C., April 5, 1865
Apparently Cook is seeking restitution for payment owed to him for his services. This letter seems to imply they are granting him ten dollars.
Item 7: Washington D.C., April 5, 1865
This letter says the indebtedness amount is twenty dollars.
Item 8: Washington D.C., May 4, 1865
Another letter attempting to sort out accounts. This letter is more personal than the ones before and explains more of the problems had with the payment system.
Item 9: Massachusetts Military State Agency, May 20, 1865
This letter finally encloses the required payment to Cook. They reduce his payment and charge him extra for all the trouble they went through getting him his pay. On top of that, the claims agent only asks for twenty dollars because of his mistakes, but has his supervisor ask Cook to pay another twenty for a total of forty dollars. Cook is not obligated to pay the man any more than the twenty.

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