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]

November 20, 1863

Mayfield Santa Clara Co., Cal.

Dear Brother William,

Surprised doubtless you will be at receiving an epistle from you long absent Brother Charles. Yet I am determined to remind you that your prodigal brother yet exists and in the far off God Forsaken State of California, and a country pedagogue in the rural little village of Mayfield, where he pursues the “even tenor of his way.” […] I am begining  to come to the conclusion that I have so honed mine so as to turn out to be nothing but a “bounty school teacher – Bah! It realy  disgusts me. I grow richer and sicker of my business every day although I am getting very good wages. $811 per month. I am happy to hear of the prosperity that attends you and Malley. […]

I have been in California now over three years.  I have had a good many “ups and downs.” It would consume many sheets of paper for me to give you even a very slight sketch of my adventures, and they are many. Some amusing and some  – not quite – so much so to me.  Suffice it to say I have a very good position as teacher at present but how long I shall remain I hardly know. I can retain the position as long as I wish, but I am  working for something more lucrative. In fact I have almost made up my mind to go into Mexico in the Spring. If I make certain arrangements I shall be off in about two months. I have a number of friends there in the mining business.  ––– My health is very good. The climate of California is excellent. I often meet Maine men here + a number of Bowdoin College Students. I was in San Francisco and met on one of the street cars a College class mate of mine. He has been here only three months – You have no idea what a fast country California is. By that I mean immoral. You can have no conception of it. […]

Your affectionate Bro. C. S. McArthur

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

October 18, 1863

West Point

Dear Father,

Your letter of the 11th. inst was received on 14th., Wednesday. I believe you got my letters Wednesday, now if you should mail a letter to me the same evening I should get it Saturday  evening and I could answer it Sunday. I think we had better try that arrangement you spoke of last year for a while at least. Don’t you think it would be a good plan?

I received a paper from William this week. I am getting along well in my studies. There is no news.

Your Affectionate Son

Malcolm McArthur to his father, Arthur 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]

May 16, 1863


Dear William,

I have written to you but once since you left home. I am alone this afternoon, and it very quiet, so I will write a few lines.

Mrs. L.W. Rounds of Malden wrote to Catharine and gave her an invitation to visit her in the month of May, which invitation she has accepted, and started upon her journey this morning, to be gon a fortnight.

Malkey writes he expects to be on his way home in five weeks, it is not probable that he will be at home again for some time, can you not make your arrangements so as to be at home, this summer? If it is only for a short time, it would be very pleasant, for you both and all of us.

I do not see any prospect of the war being ended. There are awfull battles, without any decided victory. Do you think we have one great, good man in the country? (I mean “among the powers that be”) it seems to me that each one is seeking his own individual interest and honor and not that of the nation. […]

Your affectionate Mother

Sarah Prince Miltimore McArthur to her son, William McArthur [McArthur Family Papers]

May 5, 1863

West Point

Dear Father,

Your letter of 26th. was received on 29th inst. I have received two letters from William this week, in one of them $15. He said he sent you $35 which I could have when I wanted by sending to you. I shall want it by the middle of this month to pay for clothes, etc. So you had better send it in your next Sunday letter and then I will get it in time. I expect to be at home in about six weeks.

When William wrote he was on his way to Charleston. It seems they are going to make another attack. I hope it will be more successful than the last.

Charlie has not written me for nearly a year. I can not think why it is. I have written him and sent him several papers.

Your Aff. Son, Malcolm McArthur

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