Civil War Diary: Stoughton's Alfred Edward Waldo Enlists in 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 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 from Stoughton, dying at the age of 20.

Below are his first diary entries and first letter sent home to his parents. Only minor edits were made, to preserve Waldo's voice. To learn more about Waldo's past, click or visit



August 11th, 1862 – Today I enlisted into the service of the U.S. for the term of three years unless sooner discharged as part of the quota of Stoughton, and was sworn in at Camp Stanton, Lynnfield the same day about 5 o’clock P.M. I drew a woolen blanket tonight and shall commence my camp life.

Aug. 12th – This morning I obtained a furlough of 4 days and took the first train from camp to Boston and from there to Stoughton.

Aug. 13th – I received a check for $200.00 on the N.B. [North Bridgewater, now Brockton] Bank.

Aug. 15th – My furlough being up today I rode into Boston with George and took the cars for camp where I arrived in due season.


First letter to his parents sent from Camp

Camp Stanton, Lynnfield, Aug. 18 [1862]

Father & Mother.

I arrived here in season Tuesday. I found our company had changed their Quarters to where the 33d Regiment formerly were which left for the seat of war. 

Thursday our Regt. is full. Part of the company have been mustered in and ours will be this after noon. We expect to go South the last of this week or the first of next.  

We have been expecting to come home on a furlough. All of us and the captain said he would get one for us but the orders came this morning to grant no more furloughs for a longer period of 4 hours which would do us no good as we could not come home. 

The capt will do all he can for us. We have got some first rate officers. 

The Stoughton boys present Capt. Niles with a handsome sword Sunday morning. The presentation speech was made by M.B. Hany.

Sunday we had meeting here in the [forenoon] by the chaplain of the regiment.  There was many persons here yesterday [and] the Stoughton boys all slept in here.  You would think it was pretty hard to live as we live but you can not find one [who does not] like it. 

For breakfast we have bread & coffee. For dinner bread & mear. For supper bread & coffee. I am on guard today. I went on this morning and shall be on 2 hours and off 4 till tomorrow morning.  I got me a book to carry my letter paper & etc in. I must go on guard now.

So good bye,


Uncle Samuel Capen is here I shall send this by him.


Check back next week for more diary entries and another letter from Waldo to his parents.


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