Letter #4 to Father Amos Hatch
(Somewhere in Mississippi)
“Dec 10th 1862

Father, Amos Hatch

By the time of this letter to his father Amos, December 10th, 1862, Jesse and his regiment have moved to Mississippi. Here he gives a rather thorough description of his actions, but what is most interesting is his mention of some prominent Union and Confederate Generals and for his awareness of what is happening in the eastern fighting This is clear by his reference to Ambrose Burnside at the end of his letter. Burnside had replaced George McClellan as commander of the Army of the Potomac on November 5th. The timing of Jesse’s question about Burnside is auspicious as the Battle of Fredericksburg, VA., would commence the next day, December 11th, 1862. In one of the largest and deadliest battles of the entire war, the Union Army experienced another major defeat. Burnside would subsequently be relieved of command and Joseph Hooker would take over command, January 25th, 1863. Jesse will make regular reference to different generals through several of his next letters.

Brother, Abel Hatch

Jesse writes next to his brother Abel on March 7th, 1863, this time from Jackson, Tennessee (transcription below). Here he makes some judgements about the prosecution of the war in the east and the frustration felt by soldiers in the west. And, as always, he describes the conditions where he is living including the land around him and asks questions about things back home. He closes with two interesting questions, the first having to do with Joseph Hooker, the new commander

of the Army of the Potomac, and of the new Conscription Act. The Conscription Act was considered the first National Conscription law, but was quite controversial, sparking draft riots in some cities including New York. It also allowed people to put forth a substitute to serve in their place, or pay $300 to avoid serving. Once again the timing of his question about Hooker is prescient as on May 6th, he will be badly defeated at Chancellorsville and Lincoln will again have to find a new commander.