December 26, 1863

West Point

Dear William,

I received your letter of the 18th inst. You asked me to write as soon as I got my box. The box got here today, it contained a turkey cake, apples, etc. also a dressing gown which fits me exactly and is a very nice one. Christmas we had a very good dinner of turkey, etc., at the Mess Hall.[…]

The standing for Nov. is made out. I came out in Philosophy 58, Chemistry 67, in Drawing I had no standing made out. I did not draw any for November.  I have not been well for a few months past. I was taken with a lame ankle, it swelled up and was very painful, there did not seem to be any cause for it. The Doctor called it the rheumatism. I went to the Hospital on 29th Oct. and was there little over three weeks. I was out about a week when I got worse and had to go back again, stayed there over a week, got better and came out for good 8th December. I have not done Military duty since but think I shall be able to return to duty in a few days.[…]

I was sorry you was not promoted to Major but perhaps there will be another chance soon. […] I should like to have you write as often as is convenient.

Malcolm McArthur to his brother, William McArthur [McArthur Family Papers]

December 6, 1863

12 6My Dear Mother:

I have received Father’s letter in which were enclosed, copied by you, those beautiful lines of the Dean of Canterbury –

“One fragment of the blessed Word,
Into the Spirit burned,
As better than the whole, half burned,
And by our interest turned.

Yes, the discipline of our Heaven by Father is best, but at times how hard it seems. We shrink from trials, and disappointment is bitter to us. Yet, how it purifies; and how glad it makes the spirit, when, leaning on them, we walk strongly through all.

I have also recd a long interesting letter from Catherine which in a few days, perhaps, I will try to answer.[…]

I am quite comfortably situated in every respect.

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

September 29, 1863


Dear Sir

Having received intelligence that my son was wounded, Orlando Staples, I though it best to write to you thinking perhaps you would know all about it, as there is not any one of the privates that I know in his company.

I want you to write all that you know about him for I shall feel very anxious indeed. Tell me all, let it be good and bad for I want to know the worst, nothing but the whole truth will satisfy me. Please write as soon as possible and oblige your friend.

Sophia Staples to William McArthur [McArthur Family Papers]

August 30, 1863

Office Prov. Marshal, Hilton Head, S.C.

Dear Mally: …

I am still on duty here as Provost Marshal far from the glories and dangers of the siege of Charleston.  Our regt was not [illeg. word] to go, there were so many vacancies in it.   Only one field officer for duty, the Col. being under arrest.  It was a great disappointment for us not to be allowed to participate in the only important service that has been or will be in the history of this Department. …

I have three companies here numbering about 270 men, and about the same number of prisoners of all sorts.

It is quite healthy here considering the latitude and everything, and if the yellow fever does not visit us we shall not lose many men.  Company “I” has lost but one man by disease since last fall, nearly a year ago.  I take some pride in stating this as I believe it is in part owing to the rigid enforcement of cleanly habits, attention to their kitchens, &c., &c. …

William McArthur to his brother, Malcolm McArthur [McArthur Family Papers]

June 8, 1863

Head quarters 11. S. Forces

Hilton Head, S.C.

Capt. Wm. M. McArthur, Judge Advocate

Captain –

Upon looking over the Records I find that the charge against Sergt. R. Sulton, 1st S.C. Vols. were received and forwarded to you from this office June 2nd 1863. They must consequently be in your possesion.

Very Respectfully, Your Off. Servant , S.S. Stevens

S.S. Stevens to William McArthur [McArthur Family Papers]


May 24, 1863

West Point

Dear Father,

Your Sunday letter was received on 21st. inst. There is nothing new. Examination commences week from tomorrow. There are two Maine men on the Board of Visitors, Rufus Dwind of Bangor and Hon. J.H. Goodnow of Alfred. He tried to get the appointment for his son. I suppose you know. How long is Catharine going to stay at Malden?

The Lieut. Colonel of 8th. Regiment has resigned. Do you think there is any chance for William to be made Major? I hope so.

Your Aff. Son, Malcolm McArthur

P.S.-The Standing for April has been made out. I came out in Math 54, in French 45, in Drawing 11; have 13 demerits for month.

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

April 5, 1863

West Point.

Dear Father,

I received your short letter of 29th. inst. on 2d. You spoke of my letter being short. I think we were about even on that point.

The standing for Feb. is posted. I cam out in Math. 48, in French 49, in Drawing 10. I had 15 demerits up to first of March.

I saw in yesterday’s paper the troops were ordered back from Florida. I suppose the 8th Regiment was with them. I am expecting every day to hear of the attack on Charleston. The 8th Regiment will probably be there.

Snow is all gone off and we have commenced drill.

I believe I have no questions to answer in this letter, if there is any more you meant to ask I shall always be ready to answer them.

Your Affectionate Son, Malcolm McArthur

Malcolm McArthur to father, Arthur McArthur [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]