This letter was written by William H. Linscott (1841-1907) who was 20 years old when he enlisted as a private in Co. A, 8th Maine Infantry in September 1861. He mustered out in September 1864.
William was the son of Henry Lewis Linscott (1808-1885) and Betsy Mariah Trafton (1813-1899) of Readville, Kennebec County, Maine. The 1860 Census indicates that Henry was a clergyman in the Methodist Episcopal Church. William’s older brother, Melville C. Linscott, was a teacher in the common school, and William was a student at the M. W. Seminary.
William was married to Mary Ann Evans in 1876. He lived in Kansas for a time and eventually moved to Benton County, Arkansas, where he died in 1907.
William’s brother Melville served in Co. K, 13th Maine Infantry and later was commissioned as a captain of Co. D, 74th USCT and of Co. G, 91st USCT.
Camp of the 8th Maine Volunteers
Beaufort, South Carolina
November 23d 1862
I make it a rule to answer all letters which require an answer and if in attempting to answer yours I do not satisfy your expectations, please accept the will for the deed.
I was always pleased in receiving letters and since I enlisted, I have derived more enjoyment in receiving letters than in any other one thing. Therefore, you need have no fears but what yours of the 8th was received in the same spirit in which it was sent.
It was truly a surprise for I was not expecting an entire stranger to manifest so much interest in a soldier — and a private at that. Still you do not seem quite a stranger to me having heard Seba and John B. speak so often of you.
I have found a great difference in being a soldier and student and if it had not been for the cause in which I was engaged, should long ago have been discouraged. The society and company in which one is obliged to associate makes him wish for the time to speedily come when he may choose his own associates. He may do so in part here, but thanks to the instructions of a mother, I trust I have been kept from many of the evils attendant upon a camp life.
It has been vastly different in this Department from other parts of the Union army. We have been debarred from all society except that of ourselves and many a time while keeping a lonely watch over my comrades has my mind wandered back to the pleasant circle on old Kent’s Hill. I have not suffered my patriotism to abate in the least, but think after I have served three years in the ranks, I shall have done my duty to my country for the present at least.
The 8th [Maine] is now stationed at the pleasant town of Beaufort. Our first winter was spent at Hilton Head and adjacent islands [during] the summer of ’62 while the following winter was spent here. Last spring we removed to Hilton Head again where we stopped all summer. A few days ago we came back to Beaufort. We have shared in none of the glories of the summer campaign in this Department but have been engaged in doing guard duty.
But I fear I am wearying your patience so will conclude by saying that I am greatly obliged for your well wishes and if this meets with your approval, should be pleased to hear from you again.
Most respectfully, — W. H. Linscott
Co. A, 8th Regiment Maine Vols., Beaufort, S. Carolina