Civil War Diary: Stoughton's Alfred Edward Waldo Heads Down South with Union Army
Alfred Edward Waldo (1844-1864) was a Stoughton Civil War veteran. Through his diary and letters Stoughton can learn about his story which began nearly one hundred and fifty years ago on the march from Stoughton to Washington to fight in the war.
On August 11, 1862 an 18-year-old Stoughton born resident named Alfred Edward Waldo enlisted in the Union Army in Co. E. 35th Massachusetts Infantry Volunteers.
He left his comfortable home at what is now 310 Lincoln Street in Stoughton where his parents William P. and Mary (Talbot) Waldo would anxiously await his correspondence every week until the day it no longer came.
Waldo was one of the many casualties during the Civil War from Stoughton, dying at the age of 20.
Below are his diary entries and a letter sent home to his parents from late August 1862. Only minor edits were made, to preserve Waldo's voice. To learn more about Waldo's past, click here or visit The Stoughton Historical Society.
August 21, 1862 – Received 25 dollars as bounty [money] for the gov. and 13 dollars as 1 months pay in advance. The reg, is going to leave for the seat of war tomorrow.
Capt. Niles gave me leave of absence to go home on conditions that I should be back in the first train which leaves Boston at 6 o'clock and I went and got home about sundown.
Aug. 22 – I started about 2 o'clock this morning for Boston in a wagon and got there in season to take the first train out for camp, when I got there they were packing up and getting ready to start for Washington.
It began to rain before we got backed up and we got loaded in the cars and went to Boston by the way of Salem and after marching through some of the principal streets we went to the Old Colony & Fall R.R. Depot, where we took the cars for Fall River, and there we took the steamer Bay State for New York.
Aug. 23 – This morning about 10 o'clock we went into New York harbor and landed on the Jersey shore where we took the cars for Pa. we arrived there at night and partook of a supper and then embarked aboard the cars for Baltimore.
Aug. 24 – We came to Baltimore about 8 o'clock, we marched through the streets that the Old 6th marched through the 19th of April and had a good breakfast at the soldiers relief, and about 11 o'clock A.M. we took the cars for Washington where we arrived.
[At] about one we had a very poor dinner and then marched through Georgetown across the Potomac to Camp Casey near Arlington Heights.
Aug. 25 – Today we pitched tents and laid out our camp. This is where the army laid all winter.
Third letter to his parents sent from Camp
Munson Hill, Virginia, Aug 25, 1862
Father & Mother.
We left camp Stanton on the 22nd and came to Boston by the way of Salem. We marched the the principal streets with our packs on our backs & 3 days rations.
We have many in our company that have been in the service before and they say that they never had a harder march before.
About 5 o’clock we started from Boston in the Fall River cars and arrived there about 10 o’clock & then we took the steam boat for New York. We had a first rate ride. It is about 200 miles. I went to sleep pretty soon after we got aboard and did not wake up till morning. There were some [people who were] seasick.
We got to Jersey City which is opposite New York about 9 o’clock. We then started for Philadelphia where we arrived about 5 o’clock at night. We then went and had some supper and then started for Baltimore and arrived there the next morning which was Sunday.
We then marched through Baltimore where the 6th Mass was mobbed. We went to the Soldier’s Home and had breakfast and then we started for Washington which is 40 miles from Baltimore.
We arrived there at 2 o’clock and took dinner in a building which was made to feed Soldiers in. We then went around the city. I went to the capitol. It is a very large building. It is more than 10 times as large as the State House at Boston.
George Gill and I was going around Washington. We met an officer that wanted us to show our passes. We told him who we were and he let us go but it will not do for persons with uniforms to go around the City.
After we got rested we were ordered to get ready for a march and at 5 o’clock we started and marched 9 miles. There was a great many our of the regiment that fell out on the side of the road but there was not many from our company. I am as tough and hearty as can be.
We are across the Potomac and in the enemy’s country. We have orders not to go out without our side arms. You need not answer this because I expect we shall go to Alexandria.
Check back next week to learn more about Waldo and his journey with the Union Army.