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    U. S. Steamer "Albatross".
    In Quarantine, Pensacola.
    October 21st 1862

    My dear Liz,

    I believe I can sit down now and
    write with a good grace. Yesterday the mail came
    in bringing me your letter of Oct.10th and all the
    newspapers that should have come before, besides
    three other letters and papers from Merriam, Whitney etc.

    These supply steamers are mighty uncertain things,
    but your directing to Mobile made no difference, ex
    cept in the way of a little delay. They find there
    way to the ship somehow. I began a letter on the
    4th -- the day we arrived -- meaning to keep it along till
    the regular mail left, but some how or other I
    let it go till a day or two ago, when we heard
    an outside vessel was to sail. We had but ten
    minutes notice -- so I just sealed it and let it
    go as it was rather than send nothing -- to let you
    know I was alive at any rate. I enclosed an attempt
    at the Albatross in India Ink -- a very fine thing.
    Please let me know if it reaches you -- I ask for
    I hadn't time to put a stamp on -- or a stamp
    either for the matter of that.

    The Fever is on its last leggs and
    we hope to get out of Quarantine by next Monday

    We are not as badly off as we might be, but
    the first week was bad enough. They kept us
    then way out to sea and we rolled about like
    a porpoise -- but now we are up in a place called
    Navy Cove and can go on shore hunting and fish-
    ing as much as we please and the ship is as steady
    as a house. The Captain, Doctor Burge -- a volunteer
    Surgeon from Taunton and a good fellow -- and I go
    on little excursions every day. Yesterday we contrived
    to pull the boat over the beach and launch
    her into a little lake inland -- just the neatest
    little place you ever saw. We saw the tracks of
    turkeys, deer and wild cats and laid low for
    a shot but didnt succeed in scaring up either,
    until we were just about coming off to the ship
    when one of the last named critters came down
    on the opposite shore and took a long look at
    us a long way out of range though. A turkey
    would be a great treat for our larder is getting
    in a very bad way. I have eaten nothing for the
    last six weeks but corn meal cakes, baked
    beans and pickles, with coffee and tea -- so called.
    When the steamer came she sent us fresh beef for
    one day and potatos and onions for two or three, but
    except that it is just as I tell you. The water we
    drink is bright yellow and sometimes red from iron
    rust -- pretty to look at and a good thing for canaries
    when moulting -- but nasty as a beverage for man.

    We have had no clothes washed since we left Key
    West last Aug. and altogether are a pretty seedy
    lot. Lying at anchor so, our fires are out so our
    mess room is as comfortable as such a dirty hole can
    be and our butter begins to look like something besides
    oil again -- say wheel grease.

    Captain F. is in rather low spirits just
    now. He has been "overslaughed" as they call it
    by the "Advisory Board" at Washington and so loses
    his promotion and is perhaps retired. Its an affair
    unfair "Board" at best and is kicking up Ned
    among the older officers -- It has disgusted poor
    French to such an extent that he has lost all
    ambition and only longs to get home to investigate it.
    Added to this the Admiral must go and write
    him a savage letter for leaving his station off
    the Rio Grande without orders, he, bless him, not
    deeming the lives of the ships company of any
    consequence compared to leaving a station without
    his permission. If we had been doing any good
    there, there might be some reason for his kicking
    up about it, but as it is, I think the old fellow
    has been a little hasty. I hope when we can
    once more meet our fellow men the Captain
    will be able to smooth matters over. All this
    comes back on me in a small way, you know.
    I was in hopes of going with him into some
    regular fighting man of war, but my luck seems

    to jam me still -- If he goes home-- as he is trying
    to -- I shall go too I suppose unless I can get with
    Thornton, or in some large vessel. I could have gone
    with him when I was here before but of course
    I couldn't leave French.

    Old Boston, is a perfect
    old trump, and the longer I live the more
    I glory in being born there. I have been blow-
    ing and bragging about her and her women
    ever since I read your account of that Sunday
    work at Tremont Temple till I am nearly black
    in the face. It was the most splendid thing
    I've heard since the war and I glory in it.

    The deserters and prisoners from the Con-
    federate Army tell awful stories of the cruelties
    of slave holders since Lincoln's proclamation. They
    say a niggers life isn't worth a straw now and
    if they as much as look queer they are shot
    down in their tracks. There are lots of Guerillas
    just back of Pensacola, who make little cat
    like darts and dabs out of the woods on any
    stragglers from our camp that they can find --
    They bagged five or six the other night, who
    are probably all comfortably dead by this
    time as these gentlemen know not the meaning
    of mercy. Mobile, I suppose will be the next

    point to attack down here, and why it hasn't
    been done before seems to puzzle some of the
    newspaper people at home. I suppose you
    saw an account of the Rebel Steamer "Oreto", or
    what ever her name is, running by the "Oneida"
    into Mobile. Capt. Preble has been dismissed
    but Thornton, who commanded the "Winona"
    gets off clean. Its a mighty bad business. There,
    I'll pull up for today.

    Wednesday, Oct. 22nd. A large steamer came in
    this morning and is at anchor with the fleet.
    We are left in the dark as to where she may
    be from but are living in hopes it may be the
    supply str. During our usual trip yesterday
    afternoon the Army surgeon came on board &
    said if our sick list didn't increase, he
    thought he would let us go on Sunday. It
    will take us two or three days to fill up
    with water, coal etc. and then we shall be
    ready for sea again.

    You say I write nothing about
    the officers. The reason is there is nothing to
    write about. They are all volunteer officers
    excepting the chief Engineer and Capt. and
    I cant say I over and above much like the
    breed as a general thing -- A Mr. DuBois is

    our Executive Officer, and as good natured, jolly
    old soul as ever lived. He was a merchant ship master
    A Mr. Washburn comes next -- ditto. ditto. Then comes
    a Mr. Willson-- son of a dentist in Tremont St. The
    Doctor and a fellow named Martin from New York
    -- the purser -- young but green -- make up the party in
    the cabin. Except Bampton, the chief Engineer, I forgot
    him. In that house on deck, which you will
    see in the picture, are four berths and a cracked
    wash hand basin -- This is my house. The other
    berths are occupied by two masters mates -- one agreeable
    and the other a beast. Our mess room is, as I
    have told you, next and almost over the boiler
    and besides the two masters mates -- four or five
    beasts mess there too. And sleep down there
    somewhere -- away from me thank Heaven. We are
    a pretty peaceable lot all round and never quarrel.

    I suppose you are safely housed in Wal-
    nut St. There are not many things I should like
    better than dropping in upon you some fine day.
    It strikes me, that if our much beloved country
    should continue to go to the devil at the rate
    it has been travelling for the last year, it
    will reach its destination quite soon enough.
    When it gets there, I move we quietly pack
    up our traps and move to some country that
    isn't quite so free. Canada seems to offer
    inducements -- With what it costs to live in Boston

    one might, I imagine, hire the best house in
    Montreal and live like fighting cocks and
    Mother might slam round town behind her
    own horses too. Lay this view of the case before
    her -- it deserves consideration. To tell the truth
    I am looking forward to the time when I can
    live at home. While the war lasts I shall keep
    afloat of course -- but I am growing old and need
    repose. Did it ever strike through your skull
    and get into your brain, to wonder what two
    or three hundred thousand of these soldiers are
    going to do with themselves after the war? Free
    niggers, too, will be more than plenty, and, I
    doubt not, unpleasantly so. I will now close.
    . The steamer that came in yesterday
    Thursday is the "Connecticut" and we are all on pins &
    needles of expectation, -- the captain & I particularly
    for a boat from the "Preble" came within hail
    last night and said a Capt. Hart was to
    come relieve French in his command of this Albatross
    and that F. was either to take some other
    ship or go to North. He is crazy to go home and
    doesn't want a command at any price -- All
    he thinks of is that advisory board and a trifle
    of revenge. I think he will take the "Oneida"
    in place of Preble, dismissed. She is a splendid
    vessel -- a steam sloop of war -- but I want to
    go home too. I am writing this in the cabin and a boy has just reported the mail boat.
    French is half crazy with impatience and all
    hands are gabbing as fast as they can. Friday 23

    I could write no more yesterday, I was too mad.
    Ever since we came back Farragut has done everything
    to slight and annoy us -- or seems to. He sent us
    the mails but I got nothing. He kept back the
    Capt's orders, so we are still in the dark as to our
    fate -- No grub came either, so here we are with
    no comfort and empty bellies. No news of course.
    Gun boats keep coming and going and thats about
    all. I rather think you wont growl at short letters
    again. The fever is almost gone -- only two or three
    old cases left -- convalescent devils -- We are breaking
    out the hold today to white wash it -- the smell is enough
    to breed not only yellow fever but fevers of every color. Saturday
    The "Connecticut" has gone and our grub in her
    I suppose. We have heard nothing yet and I am in
    a high state of the fidgets. If I go home I land
    with no money and no immediate prospect of another
    ship -- if I go on board the "Oneida" it will clap another
    18 months on top of what I have already had in the
    Gulf -- but upon the whole I think I should prefer it.

    Another case of fever has broken out -- cant tell yet
    whether its yellow or not -- probably is -- at any rate it will
    probably give us a fortnight more in Quarantine --
    Damn! Sunday. I scratch out the unpleasant word I
    was guilty of using yesterday. I have always thought
    Boston the place for sudden changes in weather, but
    I back down now in favor of Pensacola. Yesterday

    the thermometer stood at 80° or there abouts -- today
    it is down to 39° and blowing like blazes. I dont
    think I ever really suffered as much in my life
    as I did last night -- The wind came through
    the cracks of our house strong enough to blow
    a candle out and the top of my head nearly
    froze. We have service aboard every Sunday
    and poor old French as he read the Bible
    under the hatch chattered and jabbered
    over it to such an extent that I thought
    his pet false tooth would drop out every min-
    ute. He stood it out like a good fellow though
    and his dentist proved true. A steamer has
    just come along side with the Army Surgeon
    who says we may go out of quarantine tomorrow,
    the fever that broke out yesterday being only intermittent
    so all we wait for now is the order from the Admiral
    and if he only does the handsome thing I shall
    be able to tell you my destination before tomorrow
    night. My hands are almost frozen.

    I read a book last night that some
    how or other reminded me of Mary Berry -- Do
    any of you ever write to her now? If you do, please
    make my what -- do -- you -- call -- 'ems in due form,
    will you. Tell Frank that the Naval Register
    for this year shows that we have, or shall
    have before the first of January 51 oneiron
    clad gun boats and monitors. There is one

    building at N. Y. to be called the "Dunderburg" to
    carry 10 guns and measure5,090 tons. Another of
    3,033 tons with only 2 guns, called the "Dictator" is
    Abe's pet I believe, together with the "Puritan" of
    3,265 tons and 4 guns. These are iron clad
    steamers and will prove smarter I trust. I
    dont know that you can get any idea of their
    size by their tonnage -- but the Dunderburg will
    be 500 tons larger than the "Niagara" the largest
    man of war we have and was, I believe, the
    largest afloat when she was launched, if she
    is not now. The pretty Albatross is 378 tons. The
    guns that these vessels are to carry will be enor-
    mous and will weigh I should think some 20,000
    pounds. Adieu. Wednesday , Oct 29th -- We came
    out of quarantine on Monday and I felt so
    sure of going home in the "Rhode Island" that
    I didn't think of writing -- but there seems a
    little doubt again so I once more address you.
    She sails tomorrow and we may yet go -- but there
    is no knowing, -- The new man, Captain Hart, paid
    us his first visit this morning and didn't
    appear over and above charmed with
    his quarters. He wants me to stay with him
    but I dont quite see it -- I dont find it quite
    so easy work to write as I might and as there
    is no news I will again say farewell. Thornton goes
    up in the "R.I." [?] --He was on board to see
    [Start of crosshatched writing on page 10] me yesterday. -- Thursday . French sails for Boston today -- I remain
    and go on board the steam frigate "Susquehanna" Capt Hitchcock
    so direct your letters to her in future please. Western Gulf etc.
    same as before -- She carries a full band and I
    anticipate some comfort while in her -- She is one
    of the old fashioned side wheel steamers -- very
    large and with a crew of four or five hundred men
    I know Capt Hitchcock slightly -- he sent for me
    last night -- He is almost a Commodore -- Give
    my love to Mother and all at home -- Carrie, Sarah
    -- Direct to U.S. Ship Susquehanna -- We are to lie here
    I understand for the present -- Good bye -- The steamer
    that takes this -- (the Rhode Island) goes to Boston
    and will leave there again in a week or two --

    Yours affec
    Eliot
    [Written up the left side of page 1]

    [Postscript]

    P.S. Give my brotherly love to Frank and thank him for the papers. if there happens to be a parcel of old novels of any kind that are of no value would Never mind about that last -- Ta. Ta.