April 19, 1863

West Point

Dear Father,

Your letter of 12th was received on 15th inst. I received a letter from William on 16th. which was dated on 2d. inst. He had just returned from Jacksonville and was starting for Charleston. I received a paper from him last evening on which he wrote that he had just returned from to Port Royal all safe.

We have been having quite a stirring time today, Gen. McClellen is here. He was serenaded last night by the Corps. We turned out ten minutes after taps, music by the Cadet Band. Several tunes were played when he came to the door, made a short speech. He is stopping at the Hotel. Today at dinner he came into the Mess Hall, walked round to each table and was introduced to the First Classmen, afterwards he shook hands with the whole Corps as each one went out the door. I don’t know how long he will stay here.

[...] I saw a Maine man here a few days ago, Joel Marshall from Buxton. He went to school at Limington to Mr. Emory. Graduated at Brunswick last summer. He is teaching at Poughkeepsie. He is the first Maine man I have seen since I have been here. [...]

From Your Aff. Son, Malcolm McArthur

Malcolm McArthur to his father, Arthur McArthur [McArthur Family Papers]

April 12, 1863

West Point.

Dear Father,

[...] How do you get along with your business, is money scarce?

I was very glad you had heard from Charlie and that he was teaching. I like that business better than being a salesman.

I have been very anxious all this week to hear from William, we heard Monday that an attack had been made on Charleston but no particulars and did not hear any tell yesterday. The gunboats had made an attack on Fort Sumter. The land forces had not done anything then. This week we shall hear news, good or bad.

William, I know will distinguish himself if he goes in to the Battle, he is a good officer.

Mother has not written me for some time. I shall write as soon as I can get time.

Your Aff. Son, Malcolm McArthur

Malcolm McArthur to his father, Arthur McArthur [McArthur Family Papers]

March 22, 1863

3-22West Point

Dear Father,

Your regular Sunday letter was received as usual. I have nothing new to write. I have written quite a long letter to William today so I hope you will excuse this short note this time.

I have forgotten most of my marks for week ending March 14th.

Your Affec. Son
Malcolm McArthur

Malcolm McArthur to his father, Arthur McArthur, Sr. [McArthur Family Papers]

March 1, 1863

3-1West Point

Dear Father,

Your letter of the 22d. was received on the 25th., bringing me the sad news of Aunt Mary’s death. It was not unexpected. You wrote me she was sick in your last letter.

I received a letter from William last evening, I have not had a letter from Charlie since last fall. I have written to him several times. I guess he has forgotten me.

You will find my marks for the week ending Feb. 21st. enclosed.

From your Affectionate Son, Malcolm McArthur

Malcolm McArthur to his father, Arthur McArthur, Sr. [McArthur Family Papers]

February 12, 1863

Hd Qtrs 8th Regt Maine Vols Hilton Head S.C.

Dear Mother:

Sometimes I come across a piece of poetry that I wish to save, same as is your habit. Cut it out and lay aside. Enclosed i send you several such. The African’s song in Whittier’s “At Port Royal” does really make us turn away. “With a secret pain, and smiles that seem akin to tears, to hear the wild refrain.”

And the last verse in “Jonathan and John” quite comes up to my standard.

God’s price is high. We have held our blessed government too cheaply. Strange, we never could realize it’s value!

I should not have a peaceful moment if I did not think that after passing through an awful trial we should have the good old government and we never can except by the entire suppression of the Rebellion and ‘As’ every element and cause. Even then I fear there will be a mistaken party at the North who shall have been converted to this idea that a stranger government is necessary, forgetting that while the lack of executive power invited the rebellion the attachment of the people to it and their patriotism was a sufficient shield against all attacks and forgetting for that this suppression, and then Rebellion is not worth a possibility. [...]

Affectionately your son, William

William McArthur to his mother, Sarah (Miltimore) McArthur [McArthur Family Papers]