1864: John B. Cooper to Mary (Moody) Cooper

A post-war image of John B. Cooper

These two letters were written by John B. Cooper (1841-1911) of Newport, New Hampshire who enlisted as a corporal on April 22, 1861, and was mustered into Co. D, 1st New Hampshire Infantry. He was mustered out on Aug. 9, 1861. On Aug. 15, 1862, he was commissioned captain, Co. K, 9th New Hampshire Infantry. He was wounded in action on Sept. 17, 1862, in the battle of Antietam. He was mustered out of service on June 10, 1865.

On 23 August 1862, just as week after he re-enlisted in the service, Cooper was married to Mary O. Moody (1840-1931) at Concord, Merrimack county, New Hampshire.


Camp of 9th New Hampshire Vols.
Near Pegram House, Va.
November 17, 1864

My own dear Mary,

I arrived at the regiment last evening after a very pleasant trip although it was rather lonely. I got into New York Saturday evening, stayed there till Sunday eve, then started for Baltimore. Arrived there Monday morning where I remained till Tuesday evening, then started for City Point. Got there Wednesday noon, went up and visited the 18th Regiment. Saw Edwin. His health is very good. Took the evening train for the front. Found the 9th [NHV’s] in the same place that I left it. They had had no fighting since I left them. I found the Colonel here and the regiment in a flourishing condition.

I have not time to write more this time as we have just all we can do but I thought that I must steal just a moment and write you a line. I will write more next time. Please accept this from your loving husband, — Jno. N. Cooper


Camp of 9th New Hampshire Volunteers
Near Pegram House, Va.
November 27, 1864

My own dear Mary,

When I left you I promised to write to you often but I am almost ashamed to say that it has been over a week since I have written you. All the excuse that I can give is that I have been very busy all of the time since I got back here. In the first place, we have to drill four hours a day. Dress Parade at five o’clock every afternoon. Then almost every afternoon or evening we have a lesson in the tactics and regulations to recite to the Colonel. ¹ Then three evenings out of the week I have to go to Brigade Headquarters and recite a lesson in the Regulations and Tactics. And beside this, I have two companies to look after and all the duties to attend to. By attending to it all, I assure you it employs about all my time. But I have got things straightened out somewhat and I hope I shall be able to write you often hereafter.

My health is very good and I hope you are enjoying the same great blessing for it is truly one of God’s greatest blessings.

Col. Herbert Bradwell Titus, 9th NHV

I have today got moved into my new house and it is a nice one too, and I hope that we shall remain here for a time and let me enjoy it. I have a good large fireplace in it which makes it warm and comfortable. It is thought by a good many that we shan’t have any more fighting here this fall but go into winter quarters ‘ere long and remain here until spring and I sincerely hope it will be so for then I should have a chance to get out of it—and that is what I want. I want to get out of this, go home and settle down with my Mary and enjoy myself while in her society. I told the Colonel a day or two ago that I should get out of it just as soon as I had a chance and I told him some of my reasons for wanting to get out of it. He said he didn’t know but my reasons were good enough but he should hate to have me go just at present if there should be a chance for we have but four officers besides himself. He thinks if I remain with the regiment, I may be promoted soon. I told him that I had rather go home than remain and get the promotion. I shall watch the chances and the first one that offers itself, I shall jump for it.

I have not heard from you since I left. What can the matter be? Are you sick? Have you gone to work at the place you were talking of going to when I came away? If so, how do you like the place? Well, I hope if you don’t, I hope you will not stay. How are all of the people in Concord—particularly Rufus, Mattie, and Jack? Tell them that I should be happy to hear from them and that I will write to them as soon as I have time.

We received a large lot of fowl from New Hampshire for Thanksgiving dinner but it did not [get] here until the next day. But it was all the same to us so that we got it. Since that we have been living high, I assure you.

Captain Cuse is rather homesick. I think he is sorry that he did not get married while he was at home. Well it is getting very late and I must close my letter and retire. Give my kindest regards to all and accept this from your affectionate husband, — Jno. B. Cooper

P. S. Please give me the number of the Post Office Box. — J B. C.

¹ The Colonel of the 9th NHV’s in 1864 was Herbert Bradwell Titus. He was wounded at Antietam and was absent from the regiment for many months. The Lt. Colonel of the regiment commanded during the Wilderness Campaign and Capt. Cooper actually commanded the regiment during the Battle of the Crater on 31 July 1864 in which the 9th NHV’s were among the first to enter the crater following the explosion.

The following quote refers to the Battle of Antietam where both Col. Titus and Capt. Cooper were wounded: “Among the officers who were severely wounded were Lieut. Col. Herbert B. Titus and Captains John B. Cooper and Smith O. Whitfield. Lieut. Col. Titus was himself taking an active part in the conflict, having picked up the rifle of a disabled soldier, when he was struck in the side by a bullet and compelled to leave the field. As the word was passed along the line, expressions of sorrow and regret were heard on all sides. The disabling of two of their best captains as well, was naturally trying to soldiers so lately brought into action, and it is greatly to the credit of the Ninth New Hampshire that the work assigned them was performed so faithfully and well; and in so doing it, they were as essential a factor in the victory as those who were placed in more conspicuous positions.”

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