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Pugh Family Letters

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Document Type: Autograph Letter Signed

Author: John Pugh
Date: June 21, 1862
Place: Key West, Florida
To: Joseph T. Pugh

Physical Description: ink on paper; 4 pages (33 x 20 and 24 x 20 cm) on 2 sheets

Number: MSN/CW 5009-1.5

Transcribed by: Brandy Hutton and George Rugg, 2001

(Please click on our Technical Details button at left
for more information on transcription conventions,
image scanning conventions, etc.)

Page 1      Images: 150 DPI100 DPI72 DPI

Key West Florida
Saturday June 21st/62

Dear father.

     I have just got through making out my weekly report of expenditures, and handed them in. I have to make out weekly, and monthly expenditures in the Boatswains, Sailmakers and Carpenters Dept. And monthly & Quarterly, in Gunners Dept Some days I have a good deal of writing to do. I am just eight months and two days in the service, to day. We arrived here the 12th inst. I wrote Evan [i.e., the author's brother, Evan Pugh (b. c1839)] the 14th I presume it has been received ere this. I fully expected to get a letter last wednesday, as the U.S.N. Steamer Cuyhaba [sp. Cuyahoga], and yacht Wandere [sp. Wanderer] arrived. but none. The Wanderer is a the most beautiful, and the fastest craft of the kind afloate. If you recollect, she was taken some time ago, as a prize. She was then in the slave trade. We are not in so much of a hurry to get ready for sea, as we were when we first came in. From all probability we will be here two weeks longer. We have painted Ship all over, inside and out, and made a general overhaul The firemen, (and three boiler makers,) (from shore,) are now working at the boilers, which are in a very bad condition. twenty-five patches to be put on. We came very near being sent home on that account. But the inspectors thought they might be fixed to last another cruise or two. about two & a half, or three months. Carrying not more than 12lbs steam. I understand there is a great demand here for mechanics. (government work.) I suppose more so for boiler makers, more than The Commodore has already taken several men from some of the vessels for that purpose. They pay $3.00 pr day for good worksmen, and $1 75/100 for laboring hand. that is, a good helper.

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I thought some of applying for a job. but I dont think they would let me off, as I am yeoman. They that do go, that already belong to the service, have to stay six months and then they get their discharge. But I think I can get my discharge sooner than that. Another thing, I don't think I would like to stay here during the summer. it must be very hot. for it was only yesterday that the thermometer indicated 125° in the shade. If I do stay, (which from all probability I will, aboard ship.) I will be at sea the most of the time, which will be much more pleasant, (in some respects.) than being ashore here. The health of the ships company is very good at present. Mosquetoes large, and very troublesom Oh but I wish I had something good to eat. Our grub is very hard. Nothing for breakfast but sea bread sconce, and coffee that is half beans or something els burnt to give it the colur Supper, hard tack and something that looks like tea. Dinners sometimes midling good. We are anchored close by the flag ship, and have to do just as they do. Oh these white clothes we have to dress in every day, is a bore. The Lieut will order the all hands to dress in clean white clothes, and then set them at some dirty work, painting with black paint, white washing, oiling, tarring or something els, and if they get any dirt on their clothes, they are shure to be punished. One of the boys has just toled me that the U.S.M.S. Rhode Island is comeing in. I hope she has some letters for me. Our latest paper is date June 13th. I am going to say some-thing about one of the steamers [i.e., the British steamer Memphis] that we boarded, while at sea the last time. Well, it was tuesday May 27th All hands called to quarters in the morning 4 o'clock. Steamer in sight, off hole in the wall. We steamed up as hard as we could

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and made after her. We could see by the black smoke comeing out of her smoke stack, that she firing up hard, and tried to run away from us, and would have got away, but for the land (Isle of Providence) on one side, of her & we on the other. We had to bring put the pivot gun in action. We fired two blanks, but did no good, she wouldn't heave to. The Lieutenant sung out, load with shell, which was done, and fired. it fell short. Load with shell again and fired, went over her. Load gaain with shell & fired. it burst just by her rudder, but did no damage. The order was then to load with shrapnel, it was done and fired. did no damage. By this time we had gained considerable on her. Another charge of shrapnel was sent at her. which made her officers think it about time to heave to, and she did so. We all thought we had a prize, and would have had if we had officers of the right kind. One of our officers, boarded her but that was all. This was a new steamer, & one of the 8 or 10, or maby more, (I dont recollect,) (You might have seen an account of them some time ago) that was fitted out in England, by some of those Southern Oligarcies, for the purpose of running the Blockad. We heard a few days ago that she had run the blockade. She had a very valuable cargo. $1500000 We also heard yesterday, that the captain of the Nashville was aboard her. There. has been several similar cases. We might have had more, & more valuable prizes, than any other vessel out, if -- Thats so.

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I have just been to tea. And learn that the Rhode Island has gone out again. Whether she left a mail or not, I dont know. But I do know, that she left news that Jef Davis has been captured. Is it so. I hope it is. It has got so dark I will have to close. soon.
First day morning. Last night about 11 o'clk, the Master-at-arms came to me & woke me and woke, me saying, Yeoman, (what.) sir The Captain has a letter for you, aft, well I thought I would go and get it. And in letting myself down out of my hammock, what do you think, I let my foot right square into a large spit box, that was half full of tobacco juice. Well I didn't mind that much. I was after a letter & didn't care I started in my shirt t, got part way, & thought I had better go back and put on my pants, for I might scare the capt, (for he is mighty easy frightened.) Well, the two letters (Date June 2nd) were from Sister and Ettie, & were gladly recd. I undertook to read them before I turned in again, but the light being dim, & the writing so very fine, I had to give it up & wait until morning. I do wish the girls would try and write a little coarser hand, so a body could read it. I learn this morning there is still a large mail ashore for us Therefore I hope to get some more letters soon. Tell Sister, & Ettie I haven't time to write them at present, but will soon. How does our garden look this summer. Have you as good a gardner, this as you had last summer? My Love & a kiss, for the Bride. Well, Well well, who would have thunk it. What a change. I suppose Billy Maggie will be the next, if not already. Is there any more signs of Sallie Ann [i.e., the author's sister, Sarah Ann Pugh (b. c1835)] getting marrid. She had better look out, time is [illeg] around I shouldn't wonder but Evan will beat her yet. How is all the folks. Write soon & often. Direct to Key West. As I have about filled this new kind of letter paper, I think it time to close/

Your Son

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How are you making out with the sewing machine Or is it a fizzle. I dont think you have recd more than 1/3 of my letters mailed home sister says you have 150 young chicks. I hope to be home in the fall to help to eat some of them Put up pleanty of fruit. Is the prospects for apples good.

I would have written on some other kind of paper, if I had any. Paper & stamps are scarce here. I will have to send this without a stamp, unless I can borrow one.

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Does Henry [i.e., the author's brother, Henry Pugh (b. c1853)] know his abdabs yet. I hope he will be able to read, by the time I get home. Tell him to hurry and learn fast, And I'll bring him a secesh if I can catch one.

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One of our Marines is in double irons for sleeping on post. He has not yet had his trial. But when he does, I think it will go hard with him.

Transcription last modified: 21 May 2007 at 02:11 PM EDT

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