A Wife’s Plea for Help


Governor Andrew Curtin;

Dear Sir:

It is with the greatest of pleasure that I have seated myself to draft a line to you to inform you that I was sent a letter from my husband who is at City Point in the 88th Regiment, and I have received this letter back. He has yet to contact my family and we have never had any of his pay yet. I truly hope you will do something for me. I went to the Commissioners and they said they would not give me any of his pensions until I proved his disposition. I heard that you were willing to assist the wives and widows. For nights and days I have struggled to keep my children and my family together, but now I have took sick and under the doctor's hand. We could really use the bounty which has added up but I fear that disaster has fallen and I think he has been killed. Am I a widow now? Is he, God forbid, a deserter? I am enclosing the letter that I received to assist you in finding his whereabouts. I want you to write me and let me know if he is alive. Be sure to write his status in a letter so that the Commissioners will believe me. I am full of anticipation.

Yours truly,
And guide me for doing so,
Esther Jane Campshonn

This letter inspired a ready-to-ride roadtrip. Relive it for yourself: