Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Dec. 26, 1861

Dec. 26, 1861: The United States government agrees to Britain’s demands that Mason and Slidell, seized illegally from the British mail packet ship Trent, should be released and remanded to British custody.

--A Union soldier in the 33rd New York Infantry Reg. writes home, relating this sad tale:

From the Thirty-Third Regiment


Dec. 26, 1861.

I improve the opportunity of writing you this morning. Yesterday being Christmas, of course, our friends at home enjoyed themselves with their accustomed hilarity. Not so here. We had no roast turkey or goose, the only luxury being a taste of a little Old Rye sent from home to Sergeant Martin. – All in all it was a sad Christmas for our Company, in consequence of an unfortunate and fatal occurrence that took place in our camp. It seems that on the night before Christmas a private named Joseph Finegan and Corporal John Tobin got into a dispute in regard to their tents. So after this Finegan attempted to extinguish a fire in a sort of ravine near the fire place itself, and in doing this it happened accidentally that some dirt was thrown into Tobin’s coffee, who was sitting nearby, eating his supper. He then applied some harsh epithet to Finegan at the same time arresting the shovel from his hand, which had been used in throwing dirt on the fire, pushed him into the tent and struck him a violent blow on the head. The blow produced an ugly wound, and The Surgeon was immediately called to dress it; some two hours after the occurrence the physician was again sent for to stop if possible, the profuse bleeding of the wounded soldier. An effort was made to get him into The Hospital, but that institution was so full that it was deemed best not to send him there. He was then taken to the Captain’s tent, and about 6 o’clock in the morning the Captain told me to procure a light for he thought Finegan was dead. – Upon an examination it proved too true, he was dead! Tobin was placed under arrest, to await the results of the investigation now going on. We wish to ascertain whether Finegan has any relations in Seneca Falls or vicinity. The Captain has $33 of his money, and there is now due him two months wages from the Government, which they should receive,

Yours, &c.

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