June 1861: "… the ladies of Stockbridge feel an earnest interest in their welfare …"

By Bethany Hirsch, Intern

Letter from Mary Jane ("Jeanie") Pomeroy to Captain Richard Goodwin, 12 June 1861

Letter from Mary Jane (`Jeanie`) Pomeroy to Captain Richard Goodwin, 12 June 1861

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    This two-page letter, written by Jeanie Pomeroy to Captain Richard Goodwin on 12 June 1861, accompanied parcels of clothing and towels made for the men of Stockbridge, Massachusetts serving in Company K of the Second Regiment Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. In the letter Pomeroy states that the women of Stockbridge wish that the parcels "prove to promote [the troops] comfort, and aid them in performing faithfully the duties they have undertaken in their country's service."

    Mary Jane "Jeanie" Pomeroy was born in 1825 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. She was the daughter of Huldah Fellows Hopkins and Theodore Sedgwick Pomeroy, the grandson of Judge Theodore Sedgwick of Massachusetts. Jeanie joined with other women from Stockbridge to show support for the Union cause by creating care packages for the volunteers from their hometown. Throughout the war, women in Northern cities organized sewing circles, gathered and prepared medical supplies, and engaged in other activities that allowed them to support the Union cause--and their husbands, sons, and brothers--by sending packages to the front.

    Richard Chapman Goodwin, the oldest son of Ozias and Lucy (Chapman) Goodwin, was born on 11 October 1833. He attended Boston Latin and Harvard University, graduating from the latter in 1854. After leaving Harvard, he worked for a Boston merchant for a short time before making a tour of India, the Middle East, and Europe. Goodwin was twenty-seven years old when the Civil War began. He applied for a commission and was named captain of Company K of the Second Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in May 1861. He remained captain of that company until his death during the Battle of Cedar Mountain on 9 August 1862.

    Thirteen men from Stockbridge--Milton G. Bishop, Charles E. Brace, John H. Burghardt, Ethan A. Clary, Thomas Daily, John Lawless, William Logan, William T. Mix, James Mullaney, Michael Mullaney, William Radell, Joseph C. Rathbun, and Benjamin Whitehead--were training with Company K at Camp Andrew, at Brook Farm in West Roxbury, when Jeanie Pomeroy sent this letter and the accompanying parcels to Captain Goodwin. The regiment departed Camp Andrew on 8 July 1861. They spent seven months in Maryland patrolling the Potomac River. In February 1862 they moved into the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia, where the regiment was noted for excellent rear guard fighting in engagements with Confederate forces. On 9 August, the Second Regiment suffered devastating losses during the Battle of Cedar Mountain. Thirty-five percent of the men who actively engaged in the battle were killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. In addition to the loss of Captain Goodwin, two Stockbridge men from Company K were among the casualties: Thomas Daily was killed in action and William Logan was wounded during the battle.

    Sources for Further Reading

    This letter is part of the Goodwin Family Papers held by the MHS. The collection, which consists of two manuscript boxes, contains over fifty letters written by Captain Richard Goodwin to his family, primarily his mother, during the first eighteen months of the war. The collection also contains over 100 letters written to Goodwin during the war.

    Giesberg, Judith. Army at Home: Women and the Civil War on the Northern Home Front. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

    "Richard Chapman Goodwin." Harvard Memorial Biographies. Vol. 1 (1867), 273-274.