Joseph Hodgkins letters to hiis wife Sarah during the Revolutionary WarRevolutionary War

The Revolutionary letters of Joseph and Sarah Hodgkins

(Featured image: Engraving, “New England Kitchen Scene” from A Brief History of the United States by Joel Dorman Steele and Esther Baker Steele, 1885)

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In 1775, a company of Ipswich and Rowley Minuteman was formed with Captain Nathaniel Wade and Lieutenant Joseph Hodgkins of Ipswich in command. The Ipswich Company took part in the siege of Boston and the Battle of Bunker Hill on June 17, 1775.

David McCullough in his book 1776 writes repeatedly of Joseph Hodgkins, who sent letters home from the Revolutionary War battlefronts to his wife, Sarah Perkins Hodgkins, longing for home, and detailing the desperate troop conditions. From 1775 to 1778, Joseph wrote 86 letters; Sarah wrote twenty letters that survive, and at least 22 are known to have been lost.

In 1958, Robert A. Lively finished the work begun by Herbert T. Wade, compiling the letters as written, into his book, This Glorious Cause, the Adventures of Two Company Offices in Washington’s Army. The original letters are physically stored in the Phillips. Library Repository at the Peabody Essex Museum.

Joseph Hodgkins letter to Sarah
Joseph Hodgkins’ first letter to Sarah after marching to Cambridge. Excerpt from the Antiquarian Papers.
This Glorious Cause, the Letters of Joseph and Sarah Hodgkins during the Revolutinary War.

Joseph Hodgkins was born at Ipswich in 1743, son of Thomas and Hanna Hodgkins, grandson of Sgt. Thomas Hodgkins, and great grandson of William Hodgkins, who arrived in Ipswich in 1665, and whose son William Jr. built the house at 76 East St., still standing. The house was sold to Archelaus Lakeman in 1745, two years after the birth of Joseph. Joseph Hodgkins married first, Joanna Webber of Methuen in 1764, who died in 1772 shortly after the death of their fifth child.

In December of that year he married his East St. neighbor, 22-year-old Sarah Perkins, who was 9 years his junior, the daughter of Jeremiah Perkins and Joanna (Smith) Perkins, and grandaughter of Jacob Perkins and Sarah (Kinsman) Choate. The home of Jeremiah Perkins was near the corner of County and Green Streets. With her marriage to Joseph, she became the mother of his only surviving child. In the following year their first child, Sally was born, followed by a baby Joseph in March, 1775. Joseph Hodgkins had already signed articles of enlistment in the Provincial Service on January 24, 1775.

Throughout the war, Joseph Hodgkins maintained an ongoing correspondence by mail with Sarah. He was torn between his allegiance to the cause and his concern for the welfare of his family back home. His letters to Sarah acted as a conduit to the Ipswich community, providing news about their husbands and sons, but also brought the dreadful truth of the early losses to the people of Ipswich. By the spring of 1778, Sarah was “very Low in Spirits” but always ended her letters “I remain your Loving wife till death.

Col. Hodgkins finally returned home in June of 1779, followed by Col. Nathaniel Wade a few months later. On October 19, 1781, General Cornwallis surrendered to the American commanders at Yorktown, ending the last big battle of the Revolutionary War. When news reached Ipswich there was great cheering and bells rang on Meetinghouse Green.

The location of the home of Joseph and Sarah Hodgkins is undetermined. The house located at 80 East St. is known as the Perkins-Hodgkins house. This First Period timber-frame house was rebuilt in 1709 after the original home burned. Ownership is said to have passed through generations of the Hodgkins family to the current owners, remaining in the original family after over 300 years. After Sarah’s death, Joseph Hodgkins married the widow Lydia Treadwell, who was a partial owner of the Matthew Whipple house when it was on Union St., and that is where he lived for the remaining of his days.

Sources and further reading:

The letters of Joseph and Sarah Hodgkins

Edited for readability by Ipswich town historian Gordon Harris. Please credit when reposting.

1775

The Regulars marching on Lexington and Concord
On the night of April 19, 1775, the British Regulars marched on Lexington & Concord. Receiving the news the following morning in Ipswich, Capt. Wade’s company marched through the day without encountering the enemy, and returned to Ipswich on the 21st. By April 24, up to 20,000 colonial rebels had holed up the British in Boston. The Provincial Congress, meeting in Watertown, called for an army of 30,000 to maintain the siege at Boston. The Ipswich company marched to Watertown, and received orders from the Provincial Committee of Safety assigning the company to a station in Cambridge.

Joseph to Sarah

Cambridge, May ye 7, 1775. Loving wife, I take this opportunity to write a line to you to inform you that I am in good health at present, for which I desire to be thankful. I am also very glad to hear that you & the children are well. By your letter I received this morning at Watertown, I also received the things that you sent me. I have nothing new to write. The Company is well. I want to know whether you have got a pasture for the cows, for I cannot tell when I shall come home. I received Martha Kinsman’s letter, and am glad to hear that she is well, tell Martha. Major Wade is very well. Brother Perkins sends his love to you and all his friends. But is now almost dinner time and I must conclude by subscribing myself, your Loving husband, until death.

Cambridge, June ye 8, 1775 Loving wife, I take this opportunity to inform you that I am in good health, & we got into Cambridge on Tuesday about two o’clock, & were very busy all that afternoon, pitching our tents upon the Common where the Company lives much more better than they could in a barrack. The officers have a very pleasant chamber for their quarters, so we have our choice whether to lodge in the chamber or tents. Captain Wade & I lodged in the tents last night, and we were much pleased with our lodging. I must conclude. I want to see you all. Thomas is very well.

P.S. I should be glad if you could get some cloth at Mr. Pickard’s for Thomas to have a pair of trousers; if you send a candlestick I should be glad. Brother Perkins is well and got his coat cut very small.

June ye 13, 1775 Loving wife, I take this opportunity to write a few lines to you to let you know that I am well, and I hope these lines will find you in good health as they leave me. I do not expect to come home very soon; we live very well, but are obliged to expend considerable cash. I have received the things you sent by Mr. Treadwell, and am very glad of them. I should be glad if you could see Doctor Calef, and get some cloth for a shirt, for the weather is hot, & shirts dirty very fast. As for news, we have not much. They say General Gage’s reinforcement has gotten in Boston. But what number we know not, nor don’t care much. But it’s now almost four o’clock and Captain Wade and Ensign Perkins are gone to take a walk this afternoon with their friends, & I am obliged to parade the Company at four o’clock, so I must conclude by subscribing myself your loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

June 14, 1775. I received the shirt by cousin Hodgkins last night. This morning we are going upon guard down to Madame Simmons where our sentinels stand in plain sight of the Regulars. I have sent a shirt and a pair of stockings by Jabez Treadwell. Pray send them again as soon as you can.

Cambridge June ye 15, 1775. Loving wife, these lines come with my kind regards to you, hoping they will find you in as good health as they leave me. I received your letter by Mr. Jewett, and was very glad to hear that you & my children were well. I want to see you and them. But I desire to be content & hope you will make yourself as content as you can in your present condition. I have nothing against your going over to Father’s if you choose it. I was very glad to hear that Joseph is a good boy. I want to see the little Roog. I do intend to come home to see you as soon as I can. I must conclude, it is almost dark. Give my duty to all parents & love to friends. Our company is all well. Tell Brother John that Thomas and John are well. So no more at present. I remain, your loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

Battle of Bunker Hill
On June 13, 1775, 1200 colonial troops marched and took occupation of Bunker Hill and Breed’s Hill in Charleston to prevent the British from occupying and fortifying the hills, which would give them control of Boston Harbor. Throughout the night, the colonial militias constructed a redoubt on Breed’s Hill. On June 17, the British set Charlestown on fire, mounted three attacks on the Colonial forces, and were repulsed, resulting in significant casualties, but succeeded in a third attack when the defenders ran out ammunition. The Colonists retreated, leaving the British in control of the peninsula.

“I would just inform you that we had a verry hot ingagement yester Day But God Preserved all of us for whitch mercy I Desire Ever to be thankful.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, June 18, 1775

Cambridge, ye June 18, 1775. Dear wife, I take this opportunity to inform you that I am well at present. I would just inform you that we had a very hot engagement yesterday but God preserved all of us, for which mercy I desire ever to be thankful. We have been all armed today, but came to no engagement. It is almost night now and we are going to be entrenching tonight, therefore I cannot be particular. Don’t be discouraged. I hope that we shall be carried through all our difficulties and have abundant occasion to praise the Lord together. So no more at present, but remain your loving husband till death.

P.S. Remember me to all inquiring friends. Brother Perkins is not very well, but I hope it is nothing but being worried. He desires to be remembered to all inquiring friends.

Winter Hill and Prospect Hill entrenchments, Revolutionary War
On June 19, the Company relocated a short distance to intensive entrenchments at Winter Hill in Cambridge, General Lee is said to have had his redoubt in the vicinity between Winter Hill and Prospect Hill. Plan of the rebels works on Prospect-Hill and Winter-Hill.

Cambridge, June ye 20, 1775. Dear wife, I take this opportunity to inform you that I am well, but very much worried with our last Saturday scrimmage & yesterday’s moving down to Winter Hill where we now are, and live in expectation of further engagement with the enemy. But I desire to be content with allotments of God’s providence and hope in his mercy for Salvation and Deliverance from all these evils which we feel and fear. I must be short. I want to see you. Pray write as often as you can. I have written several letters but have received but one from you. I must conclude, so no more at present, but remain your loving husband, Joseph Hodgkins.

P.S. I sent a shirt and a pair of stockings by Jabez Treadwell last week. I should be glad of them soon. I sent a sugar box by Nath. Dodge. I have sent a shirt by Mr. Dennis. I believe it wants a little mending. I should be glad of some coffee.

Cambridge June 21, 1775. Loving wife, these lines come with my kind regard to you, hoping they will find you in as good health as they leave me. I will inform you that I have received the things you sent, but if I do not mistake, you did not write to me. But I am very much obliged to you for what you sent me, & was glad to hear that you were well. I want to see you all. Give my duty to my parents and love to all inquiring friends. If you see Brother John, you may tell him that his two sons are very well. Nathaniel Rust is very poorly. I do not know but that he will be sick. Brother Perkins is better and desires to be remembered to all his friends. I have heard that Capt. Perkins has gotten home, & I shall try hard to get home if nothing should turn up to hinder. So no more at present, but remain your loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins

New England Kitchen Scene” from A Brief History of the United States by Joel Dorman Steele and Esther Baker Steele, 1885)

Sarah to Joseph

Ipswich June ye 21, 1775. Loving husband, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to let you know that I am well. I received the letters you sent me with great joy to hear that you were yet alive and well. I desire to bless God for his preserving goodness to you and hope he will be with you still, and protect and defend you amidst all danger, and in his on time return you home. Our children are well. Father & mother are well and send their love to you and Brother. I must inform you that Capt. Perkins arrived yesterday. I must conclude for it grows late. So no more at present. I remain your loving wife till death, Sarah Hodgkins. Give my love to Brother. I long to see you both.

Joseph to Sarah

Cambridge June ye 23, 1775. Loving wife, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to let you know that I am well, and I hope these lines will find you in as good health as they leave me. I would just inform you that we came from the hill this morning, and expect to stay in town two days, unless there should be an alarm. I received the things & letter you sent me and am very glad to hear that my dear children were well. You sent me word that Capt. Perkins is got home, and I was glad to hear of it. I hope he has got some corn for me. Tell him that he must assist in getting the corn home to you.

“We whare Presarved I had one Ball went under my arme and cut a large hole in my Coate & a Buck shot went tthroue my coate & Jacket But neither of them Did me any harme.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, June 23, 1775

I don’t think that I shall be home very soon. Have not time to write particular of ye engagement, but we were exposed to a very hot fire of cannon and small arms about two hours, but we were preserved. I had one ball went under my arm and cut a large hole in my coat, & a buckshot went through my coat and jacket, but neither of them did me any harm. Nat is sick and is coming home. But he must go to his mother’s. I do not expect you to care of him if he is sick, so no more at present. But I remain your loving husband till death.

Brother Perkins is not very well; he complains of rheumatic pain in his hips.

General Washington arriving in Cambridge, 1775
Washington arriving to take command in Cambridge. Engraving by C. Rogers

Cambridge, July 3, 1775. Loving wife, Monday morning about 8 o’clock. I now sit down to write a line to you to inform you that my cold is a little better, but my stomach is very sore yet. But I have got some drops. to take, which I am in hopes will help me soon. George Washington and Mr. Lee got into Cambridge yesterday, and today they are to take a view of ye army, and that will be attended with a great deal of grandeur. There is at this time one & twenty drummers, & as many fifers beating and playing round the parade.

P.S. I have sent you one shirt & two pair stockings, & Brother Perkins has sent two shirts, and they are all tied up in your pillow case, by Mr. Person. Do try and get Thomas britches and send them as soon as you can.

Cambridge July ye 5, 1775. Loving wife, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to let you know that I have got something better of my cold, and am in hopes that I shall get well pretty soon. I hope you are well. I want to see you all. We have no news to write. We live daily in expectation of further attacks by the enemy, but I hope that they will not be suffered to prevail against us. I have bought four yards of cloth for a shirt, & I have sent a dirty shirt by Brother Heard. So I must conclude. From your loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins. The price of ye cloth is £ 1-5 per yd.

Editor’s note: On July 8, 1775 a small force from the Continental Army attacked the British guardhouse at Boston Neck and burned it to the ground.

Cambridge July ye 8 1775. Loving wife, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to let you know that I am comfortable. But my cough is troublesome, yet but I hope it is getting better. Thomas is something unwell today, but I hope he will not be sick. Several of our Company are sick and some others are ailing, but I hope that God will preserve us and continue health where it is enjoyed and restore it to those that want it.

I want to see you all, but I do not know when I shall I have the opportunity. Nothing strange to write– we have had several alarms lately, one this morning about half after two o’clock which was occasioned by a party of our men at Roxbury, which went down to their guardhouse at the Neck, and drove off the guard, and burnt the house and some other buildings. There was considerable of firing. But we left no men at all. They lost some, but we do not know how many. I received the things you sent me. By Mr. Lord I should be glad of the rest of my things as soon as you can send them. I am afraid that I shall wear you out by sending you so much work. But I cannot get anything done here, so I must beg your patience and conclude by subscribing myself your loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins

Sept. 8, 1775 in Camp at Prospect Hill. Loving wife, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to let you know that I am in comfortable health & I hope these lines will find you in health. I want to hear from you to know how Sally does. I feel uneasy about her, but hope she is upon the mending hand. I have no news to write to you, only that the enemy have not fired a gun nor sent a bomb at our people since I have been here, except a few small arms at our people who went down on Charlestown Common after some losses. This was a Wednesday, but at night about 10 o’clock the riflemen took three horses without receiving any harm. But I must conclude, from your Loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

“I whant to see you *& our Children But I Desire to be Contented while I am Absent from you & I hop you will make yourself as contented as you can whilst I am hear.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, Sept. 19, 1775

In Camp Prospect Hill Sept ye 19, 1775. Loving wife, I take this opportunity to write a few lines to inform you that I am well at present for which I desire to be thankful. I received your letters By Mr. Appleton & Mr. Low & rejoice to hear that you are well & that Salle is better, for I have been very uneasy about her ever since I have been here. I hope she will continue mending till she gets well. I want to see you & our children but I desire to be contented while I am absent from you & I hope you will make yourself as contented as you can whilst I am here. I should be very glad to have you come here to see me, but I know your circumstances will not admit of it at present. But I must be short, for it is almost night & I am going upon guard tonight. But as to that rum, I do not know how we shall get it. I think Mr. Kendall was very unkind in not taking it, according to his promise, for I saw him at his own house that day I came here & he told me he would take it. Give my duty to all my parents, & love to all my friends. Got no more at present but I remain your kind companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

P.S. You sent me word that Capt. Perkins was married & I guess by your hints that you missed the pigs as well. I should be glad of my shirts as soon as you have opportunity to send them. If anybody should be coming here that you could send me a pillow, I should be glad. I just like to forgot to tell you, I received the paper by Mr. Appleton. I am obliged to you. But he greased it, so I could not write on it. It seems as if the dogs were in the luck. But I will write to you notwithstanding.

In Camp at Prospect Hill, Sept. ye 20, 1775. My dear, I will try to make amends for past negligence, so I now sit down to write a line or two to you & I hope these lines will find you in as good health as they leave me at present. Blessed be God for all his mercies toward us. It seems to be pretty healthy in our brigade, but wickedness prevails very much to the astonishment of any that beholds them. I have not time to be particular now about matters, I must be short. I have sent for my rum by Samuel Beall & I should be glad that you would get that of Capt. Kendall’s and send by hi, & if you can send me that small rug, that will save buying a blanket for Thomas. I suppose that you may send me anything by Beall. So I conclude by subscribing myself your loving husband till death.

P.S. I would just inform you that the enemy have fired a great many cannon & bombs this week but I don’t know as they have done any damage. Give my duty to all parents & love to friends. Brother Perkins is well. I wrote the above last night, and I expected that Capt. Dodge would send Mr. Beall home this day, but as he does not, somebody else will soon go. I shall write again.

In Camp at Prospect Hill Sept ye 25 1775 Loving wife, I take this opportunity to let you know that I am in good health at present. Blessed be God for so great a mercy. I am sorry that I have the occasion to inform you that Capt. Wade continues very poorly & Brother Perkins is got the rheumatism in his neck & shoulders so that he is not fit for duty. But I hope he is something better today. I have no news to write to you, only the enemy have sent a good many bombs at us lately, but they have done no damage with them. But I conclude at present by subscribing myself as before, your kind companion till death, Joseph Hodgins

N.B. I wish you would go to Mr. Averell’s and get me a yellow ball. I want to hear how you all do. I hope you will write to me as often as you can. Give my love to all inquiring friends.

“I wish I was able to sattisfy you for your troble, But I am not unles writing will Du it for as to money we have none.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, Sept. 27, 1775

In Camp at Prospect Hill Sept 27, 1775. Loving wife, these lines come with my most kindly regards to you hoping they will find you in as good health as they leave me at present. I received your letter of ye 25 instant & I rejoice to hear that you are in a comfortable state of health. I am glad to hear that Sallie is better. I want to see her. Do tell her that father is well. I want to see you all, but I do not expect to at present. But I hope that God will take care of us and carry us through all the difficulties we have to meet with in the way of our duty whilst we are absent and in his good time return us home and give us abundant occasion of rejoice together in his goodness. But I must be short for it is late in the evening. I received the things you sent me safe & I am much obliged to you for your care in sending them. I wish I was able to satisfy you for your trouble, but I am not unless writing will do it, for as to money we have none, and I don’t know when we shall have any, so I must conclude at present by subscribing as before, Joseph Hodgkins.

Editor’s note: On September 27, 1775, Captain Nathaniel Wade took sick leave , and accompanied by Quartermaster Thomas Hodgkins, returned to Ipswich, where he remained slowly recovering until late December, leaving Lieutenant Joseph Hodgkins in command.

P.S. I would inform you that your Uncle Ephraim Smith & cousin Samuel Smith, his wife cousin Willington & his wife was here yesterday and they desire to be remembered to you. Aunt Susie sent Brother & me a cheese. Joseph Smith has been very sick but he is a good deal better. Capt. Wade & cousin Thomas Hodgkins got out for Ipswich this afternoon, both of them very poorly. If you have opportunity, I should be glad if you would go & see Capt. Wade. We have not a man here but what is fit for duty except Brother, & I believe he will be by tomorrow, for his neck is something limber today & he can eat for two minutes. Give my compliments to Capt. Kendall and tell him I should be very proud to wait on him at our tents.

In Camp Prospect Hill Sept 29 1775. My dear, I now sit down to write a line or two to you & I hope these lines will find you in as good health as they leave me at this time. I am as well as ever I was in my life as for anything that I know & I wish I was more sensible of the goodness of God towards me, for his mercies are many & great to us all. But I must be short. I hope you are all well. I want to see you very much. Do write to me as often as you can. I am glad to hear that Salle holds better. I hope to hear she is well soon. I have sent some things by Mr. Wade. You need not send the britches again. I must conclude at present by subscribing myself your kind companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

In Camp Prospect Hill Oct., 1775. Loving wife, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to you to let you know that I am in comfortable health at present, for which I desire to be thankful. I hope you are well. I want to hear from you to know how Salle does. Do write as often as you can and let me know how you all do. I hear that sister Chapman’s child is dead. I sympathize with them in their trouble, and hope it will be sanctified to us all. It is very sickly in the country towns around about. I hear several of our acquaintances at Watertown died the week past. We have no news to write. The enemy are very peaceable at present. I must conclude by subscribing myself your loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins

NB I would just inform you that I invited Lieut. Treadwell & Sect. Harte to come and see you along with Sister Perkins. Give my duty to all parents. Love to all friends

Sarah to Joseph

Ipswich, October ye 1775. Loving husband, these lines come with my kind love to you hoping they will find you in good health as I am at present. Sally seems to be got fine and well, for which mercy I desire to be thankful. God has been pleased to deal more favorably with us in respect to her than he has with many others in this town who have had their children taken from them by death. I hope we shall not forget his goodness towards us in this and many other instances. It is a good deal sickly both with grown folk and children. There are three funerals tonight, old Mr. Hovey & William Appleton’s youngest child & one of Mr. Noyes’ children. The children are crying, so I must leave off for the present.

Monday night I now sit down to write a line or two more to you to inform you that we are all well now, but how long we shall have that to say I know not, for several of our neighbors are very sick. Mr. Ezekiel Dodge is very bad with a fever. I am very much afraid he will never go abroad again, & old Mr. Graves is very sick. I must just tell you that I have been to See Capt. Wade today & he thinks he is a little better. He seems to be very poorly, but I am in hopes he will get it over without being any worse. I rejoice to hear that you are so well as you inform me you are. Do continue to write to me as often as you can, for it is a great satisfaction to hear from you since I can’t see you. But I must conclude for I am always in a hurry. I remain your loving wife till death, Sarah Hodgkins

P.S. Give my love to Brother Perkins and tell him his little son is very sick. Please to excuse my writing, for it very bad, I had a very poor pen. We have sent brother a new pair of mittens by Ezekiel. I have also sent Thomas mittens.

Joseph to Sarah

In Camp at Prospect Hill Oct. 2 1775. Loving wife, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to you hoping these few lines will find you in as good health as they leave me at this time. I want to hear from you very much. Do write to me as soon as you can conveniently. I have been here four weeks tonight & I have sent you a great many letters & I have received but three from you. But I must excuse you as I go along, for I am sensible that you have had a great deal to hinder you. But I must pray you to embrace every opportunity that you may have of sending to me. But I must be short, as I have just come off the main guard, and as I grow sleepy. I would just let you know that I feel concerned about you on account of your having no money. I hope I shall have some to send you in a few days. I would have you send to Capt. Charles Smith for some beef. If you should see him ask him about some Saturday. I have no news to write to you excepting that the regulars desert more or less every night. I must conclude for this time, for I can hardly see. Give my duty to father & mother. love to all enquiring friends. So no more at present, but I remain your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

P.S. I want to have you explain a little upon your not being admitted to a certain feast. Give my love to Martha.

In Camp Prospect Hill Oct. ye 6 1775. My dear, having a few minutes leisure, I sit down to inform you that I am in good health at this time & I hope these lines will find you the same. I want to see you & my little family. I hope they are all well. I hear that it is very sickly at town and a dying time. I have heard of the death of Mr. Dodge & Mr. Graves, a loud call to us all to be also ready for a thousand unseen dangers await us. But I must be short.

As for news, we have not much. One Regular came to our people last night at Plowed Hill. This morning the enemy at Roxbury Neck fired near a hundred cannon at our people. But what damage they did we have not heard. But I hope not much. There seems to be barracks provided for all the brigade, except our regiment. I am afraid we shall have to live in the tents for some time yet. But I hope we shall not suffer. Brother & I can lodge very well. But the Company are not so well provided for bedding as we be. We are about receiving our month’s pay so long looked for. I hope I shall be able to send you some very soon, if not today. I sent by John Hodgkins yesterday two shirts, one for Thomas & I should be glad if you could send me two striped shirts for the weather grows cool. We hear that Brothers’ child is very sick. But I do not know as he can come home at present for our people are almost bewitched about getting home. But I must conclude, for this time by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

Since I wrote my letter I have received some money, therefore I send you eleven dollars by Mr. John Harris.

Sarah to Joseph

Ipswich October ye 9 1775. I take this opportunity to inform you that we are all well and I hope these lines will find you the same. I received you letter of the 6th instant & likewise the money you sent me, and I am much obliged to you for it. I rejoice to hear you are so well, as I hear you are from time to time. I feel quite concerned about you all these cool nights on account of your having no better habitations to live in, but I hope the same that has preserved hitherto will still be with you and preserve you from cold and storms & all the evils & dangers to which you may be exposed & in his own time return you home in safety, for which time I desire to wait patiently.

I must be short. It is with a good deal of difficulty that I write to you so often as I do. It is great pleasure to me to write to you & receive letters from you since we have no other way of conversing together. Do give my love to Brother & tell him I wish I had better news to send him concerning his child. He remains much as he has been seven days past. He seems to be very afraid for the poor little child… if he could come home … so I conclude myself, your faithful companion till death, Sarah Hodgkins.

P.S. Father & mother send their regards, and Brother. Capt. Wade rode by here.

Joseph to Sarah

“I fear I shall weary you in sending to have so much Done for me But I must tel you we live whare we have no women to Due anything for us so you must give som Alowance for so Duing..”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, October 16, 1665

In Camp at Prospect Hill Oct. ye 16 1775. My dear, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to you & I hope these lines will find you in as good health as they leave me at this time. I received the things you sent by Capt. Perkins & I am very much obliged to you for them. I fear I shall weary you in sending to have so much done for me. But I must tell you we live where we have no women to do anything for us, so you must give some allowance for so doing. But I hope I shall be able some time or other to make you amends for all your trouble. I want to see you very much, but when I shall, I cannot tell. I know that you have a great deal of care upon you & I wish I could take part of that burden from you.

I must be short, for it is something late in the evening. I must excuse myself for not writing for these some days past, for I have been very busy at work. I have made Brother Perkins a pair of shoes & I have three pair more spoken for & if you would get somebody to spin me some good shoe thread, I will thank you & love you. I heard that you were well a day or two ago by some of our men & I hope you will write to me as often as you can, for I take great satisfaction in receiving letters from you & in writing to you.

Tuesday morning. I would just tell you that I am a going to Plowed Hill for twenty-four hours & I somewhat expect Brother Perkins will set out for home in a day or two. If you should see Capt. Wade, give my love to him & tell him not to come here before he gets pretty well, for we have cool nights. I must conclude for this time by subscribing myself your most affectionate & Loving companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

I shall have a shirt or two to send by Capt. Perkins today. Give my duty to all my parents & love to all my friends. There is a little box of chestnuts, half for sister Perkins & half for you. Since I wrote, my little brother took my turn of duty because he expects to come home tomorrow, and so I shall do his turn when it comes. If you have not got our potatoes dug, do get Father Hodgkins to dig them if he can so fairly well.

Camp at Prospect Hill, Oct. ye 20, 1775. My dear, having just come off the picket guard and being all alone this evening, I sit down to write a line or two to let you know that I am well, though pretty much worried with being out almost all last night in the storm. But through the goodness of God I am comfortable. I hope these lines will find you and my children the same. I want to see you very much. But as Providence has ordered it so that we are absent from each other, I desire to be content & hope you will make yourself as comfortable as you can, and I hope God will carry us through all the difficulties that we are to meet with in the way of our duty.

Things at present seem to wear a gloomy aspect. But what is before us God only knows. But I hope he that has carried us through many difficulties will still be with us and in his own time deliver us from all our enemies, and give us an opportunity of meeting & hearts to praise his name together. So I must conclude, for I am sleepy. Give my duty to all parents and love to all friends. So no more at this time. But I remain your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

If you could send me a little more course shoe thread you will oblige me very much. Give my regards to Brother Perkins and tell him I bought the rabbit by taking his turn of duty last night. ( * “bought the rabbit” is an old expression for when a person gets the worst of a bargain.)

Saturday night. I wrote my letter last night, but not having an opportunity to send it today, I thought I would write a line or to more to let you know that I am very well, though we had a very soaking time of it. But our tents dry very well, only it smoked very bad in the storm. I hear that wood is very scarce. I would have you buy some while the carting lasts. I am concerned about Father Hodgkins, for I do not know how he will make out to get wood. But I hope Brother John will not see him suffer. Tell Brother John his boys are well. I hope if Capt. Wade should get well enough to come here with Brother Perkins, I shall make out to get a furlough home.

In Camp Prospect Hill Oct. ye 23 1775. My dear, these lines come with my kind regards to you, hoping they will find you & our children in as good health as they leave me at this time. Blessed be God, his goodness to us in preserving us all in health & for many other mercies which we are daily the partakers of. I must be short, for I have nothing new to write. I hope I shall be able to get a furlough as soon as Capt. Wade gets able to come here, but I cannot tell how long that will be. But I hope it will not be a great while. But I would not have you be uneasy about me. I am charming well & live very well, only something lonely since Brother left me. I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your kind companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

P.S. I sent you a loaf of our bread by Mr. Dutch that you may know what fine bread we have.

In Camp Prospect Hill Oct. ye 25 1775. Loving wife, having a few minutes leisure, I now sit down to write a line or two to inform you that I am well at present & I hope these lines will find you the same. I want to see you very much. Do write to me as often as you can, for letters from you are a great treat. But however not to enlarge, I am in haste. I would just inform you that the Quarter Master has just brought into our tent a fine piece of beef, and we have got it down a’roasting for supper, and I hope that while we are making ourselves merry we shall not forget our absent wives and friends. But for fear you should think that we should be unseasonable in our devotion, I would let you know that I was on guard all last night & I intend to go to bed in season tonight. I must conclude, for the beef is almost roasted, so no more at present, but I remain your most kind companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

Thursday Morning. I will just inform you that I am fine as well this morning. my supper sat very well on my stomach. I cannot say anything more about coming home until I see Brother Perkins here, & I expect that will be today.

“I Believe you think I am jocking when I sent for shoe threed But I have made four Pair of shoes and have a number more to make and if you could send me some thread I will Pay you the cash for it, and Thank Ye into Bargain for I Cannot get any hear.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, October 29, 1775

Camp at Prospect Hill, October ye 29, 1775. My dear, I was in hopes not to have troubled you with any more letters till I had seen you. But as it remains a matter of uncertainty when I shall come home, I take this opportunity to inform you that I am in good health at present, & I hope these lines will find you as well as they leave me at this time. I received the things you sent me by Brother & I rejoice to hear that you and all my friends are well, as he informs me, excepting his child, which he says he doesn’t think it is alive now. But however that may be, I hope God will fit it and all concerned for his holy will and pleasure. I must be short, for it is almost meeting time. I would not have you uneasy about me, for as soon as Capt. Wade comes here, I shall try for a furlough. So I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

I believe you think I am joking when I sent for shoe thread, but I have made four pairs of shoes, and have a number more to make, and if you could make some thread, I will pay you the cash for it & thank you in the bargain, for I cannot get any here. Give my Duty to my parents & love to all my friends.

Prospect Hill, November ye 7, 1775. Loving wife, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to you to let you know that I am in good health & I hope these lines will find you and my children as well as they leave me at this time. I have nothing new to write. We have had a soaking time of it in the late storm. Our houses are very good in fair weather. But in a storm they are very bad, for the rain runs down the chimney so that we cannot keep any fire. But however our barracks are a building, & we hope by the first day of January to get into them, so I would not have you be uneasy about us, for I hope we shall be provided for somehow or other. But I must be short. I was in hopes when I wrote the last letter I should been at home by this time. But I cannot come home till Capt. Wade comes here, and when that will be I cannot tell, for some people that come here say that he is well, others say he is poorly, so you can tell when I shall come home as well as I. So I must conclude at present by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. I received yours of the 28th instant and I rejoice to hear you are all well. Give my duty to all my parents, & love to all my friends. I do not think hard of you for not writing no oftener. But am glad that you can write so often to me as you do. I should have written before now, but had no opportunity for some time before now.

In Camp Prospect Hill November ye 17, 1775. My dear, I now sit down to inform you that I got at camp a little after sunset well, & I hope these lines will find you as well as they leave me this morning. I would just inform you that it is the general orders that all the officers & men continue as they were until the last day of December, so I am something disappointed about coming home. I would have you tell Brother Chapman to let you have about two hundred weights of beef if he does not ask more than the market price. I would not have you be uneasy about me. I hope I shall be carried through all the hardship we are exposed to. I must be short. Do send me word how Joanna does as soon as you can. I have received another month’s pay this morning, & I shall enclose eight dollars in this letter. So no more at present. I remain your loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins

In Camp at Prospect Hill November ye 19 1775. My dear, these lines come with my kind regard to you, hoping they will find you in as good health, as they leave me at this time. I want to hear from Joanna. I am a good deal concerned about her. But I hope she is not bad. I have sent the cloth for Thomas’ coat back again by Capt. Dodge, for Mr. Ross is at home & he has taken the measurements and is to make it at home, & I will let Thomas come home if possible. I would inform you that the first Lieut. pay is advanced to better than forty pounds per month old tenor, and had I known it sooner, I should have given in to stay. But now it is too late. But I suppose you are not sorry, so I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. Several of our Company are enlisted & more are talking about it. Men enlist much faster than I thought, for which I am very glad.

“I beg you would not alter your mind about Staying all winter for if you doo it will be Such a disappointment that I cant pute up with it.”

Excerpt from Sarah’s letter to Joseph, November 19, 1775

Sarah to Joseph

Ipswich November ye 19, 1775. My dear. These lines come with my love to you hoping they will find you well as I am at this time. I received your letter of the 17th instant. I thank you for the present you sent me. I am something disappointed about your coming home as you talked of. I beg you would not alter your mind about staying all winter, for if you do, it will be such a disappointment that I can’t put up with it. I would inform you that Joanna is a good deal better. Sally was taken not well that day after you went away and has been very poorly ever since, but I hope she will be better in a few days. Jose seems to be got pretty well again. I hope that all the terrible afflictions we meet with will be sanctified to us for our good. So I must conclude by subscribing myself your kind companion till death, Sarah Hodgkins.

Joseph to Sarah

In Camp Prospect Hill, Nov. 25, 1775. My dear, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to you to let you know that I am well, and I hope these lines will find you as well as they leave me at this time. I have not had any opportunity to send to you lately, so you must not think hard of me, for it is not want of a good will my dear. I want to hear from you very much. Do write to me as often as you can.

I would just inform you that last Wednesday night our people went to Cobble Hill and entrenched there, and have been very busy ever since finishing their work, and have got down their several cannon in order to give the ship a warning that lies up above Charlestown. All this has been done and our enemy hath not fired a gun at our people, which I think is very extraordinary. But however there seems to be a great possibility of a movement very soon. But where I cannot tell, but I hope we shall be on our guard. But our army is very thin now, but in good spirits, and I hope we shall be assisted by him who is able with a small number to put thousands to flight. So I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

“All is at stake and if we due not Exarte our selves in this gloris Cause our all is gon and we made slaves of for Ever.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, Nov. 28, 1775

Nov. 28, Tuesday morning. My dear, I wrote the above letter last Saturday, but had no opportunity to send it. I would inform you that through the goodness of God I am as well as ever I was in my life, & I hope these lines will find you the same. I received your letter last night, and I rejoice to hear you and our children are all well again. I want to see you. But do not expect to do this sometime yet. But I am very well contented. Our men enlist very slow and our enemy have got a reinforcement of five regiments; and if the new army is not raised in season, I hope I and all my townsmen shall have virtue enough to stay all winter as volunteers before we will leave the lines without men. For all is at stake, and if we do not exert ourselves in this glorious cause, our all is gone, and we are made slaves of forever. But I pray God it may never be so. I wish you well & subscribe as before, Joseph Hodgkins

Sarah to Joseph

Ipswich November ye 28, 1775. Loving husband, I take this opportunity to inform you that we are all in a comfortable state of health once more through the goodness of God, & I hope these lines will find you possessed of the same invaluable blessing. I received you letter just now by the hand of Capt. Wade, & I am very glad to hear that you are well. It is Thanksgiving Day night tonight, and it seems to be very lonesome & dull. I did not know any better way to divert myself than by writing to you. I have no news to write, but I remain your loving wife till death, Sarah Hodgkins.

Joseph to Sarah

In Camp at Prospect Hill, December ye 3, 1775. My dear, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to you & I hope these lines will find you in as good health as they leave me at this time. I am very well, for which I desire to be thankful. But I am something overworked with duty by reason of so many officers being absent. But I hope we shall be carried through all the difficulties we are to meet with in the way of our duty. I have no news to write to you. Part of the famous prize has arrived at Cambridge from Cape Ann. Men enlist very slow. I hope Capt. Wade will meet with better success than what we do. I expect him down in a day or two. I want to see you very much. My dear, do write to me as often as you can, for I do not hear from you but seldom. I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

P.S. Give my duty to all my parents and love to all my friends. If you see Capt. Wade, tell him I hope he will come here soon.

“I look for you almost every day but I don’t allow myself to depend on any thing,for I find there is nothing to be depended upon but troble & disappointments.”

Excerpt from Sarah’s letter to Joseph, December 10, 1775

Sarah to Joseph

Ipswich December ye 10, 1775. Mr. Hodgkins, it is with pleasure I now sit down to write a line or two to inform you that we are all in a comfortable state of health, & I hope these lines will find you the same. I received your letter by Daniel Dutch & also the cheese you sent me. I am much obliged to you for it. I want to have you come home & see us. I look for you almost every day, but I don’t allow myself to depend on anything, for I find there is nothing to be depended upon but trouble & disappointments. I must just inform you that I have sent you a shirt and pair of britches by Mr. Norton in his horse cart. There is some shoe thread in the shirt. I have sent a pair of stockings for Thomas by Nathaniel Treadwell. Do write to me as often as you can. Give my love to brother. You have not sent me word lately whether he is dead or alive. But I must conclude by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Sarah Hodgkins

P.S. Please to excuse what is a mess.

*Editor’s note: Joseph Hodgkins was granted a 2 week furlough in December

Joseph to Sarah

In Camp Prospect Hill December ye 31 1775. My dear, I would inform you that I got here safe about six o’clock & am in good health and I hope these lines will find you the same. I have no news to write, only they say there is a great number of ships arrived in Boston yesterday, which occasioned a great firing. I have received since I came here about nineteen dollars for our reasons & a month’s pay for myself & Nat’l Rust & Thomas. The whole is about fifty dollars and I have sent to you by Brother Perkins one thirty dollar bill & two seven dollar bills & one five dollar bill, & perhaps you may have a chance to change soe for silver with somebody that wants to send to Virginia. You may get Brother to go & pay Mrs. Scott for the coffee twenty six shillings. So I must conclude by subscribing myself your Loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

P.S. I believe Thomas will stay along with me, but he expects part of his wages & I am willing to give him what is handsome & right.

1776

Joseph to Sarah

In Camp Prospect Hill Jan ye 2, 1776. My dear, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to inform you that I am in good health at present for which mercy I desire to be thankful, & I hope these lines will find you persist of the mercy. As for news, we have none. We have just been to supper on a fine turkey, and Capt. Wade is gone to bed and I am all alone, & I feel quite dull on account of Brothers’ being gone home, for I miss him a great deal. But I must hasten, for it is late. I would just inform you that your uncle Ephraim Smith has been here today & informs that all your friends at Sudbury are well. Capt. Parker is sick of a fever. Willoughby Nason & several others of the Regt. are also sick. Our soldiers are very much gone home. But the guards are returning, so I hope the duty will not be over hard. I have not been on guard yet since I have been here. I must conclude by subscribing as before, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. I Left a bottom of shoe thread in my old coat pocket which I should be glad of. I should be glad if you would spin some more & send me, for several officers insist on my making them boots. Give my duty to Father & Mother. love to all my friends I would have you let Father Hodgkins have some money & charge the same.

Editor’s note: A smallpox epidemic raged during the British occupation of Boston, and when the British gave up the city in the spring of, 1776, the outbreak spread into the countryside, continuing until the summer.

Camp Prospect Hill, Jan. 7, 1776. Loving wife, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to you to let you know that I am in good health at present through the goodness of God & I hope these lines will find you possessed of the same inestimable blessing. I am sorry that I have the occasion to inform you that it is a good deal sickly among us. We buried Willoughby Nason last Thursday. John Sweet is very sick in camp, & Josiah Persons of Cape Ann in our Company is just moved to the Hospital. Capt. Parker is a little better. Mr. Harden is sick in Camp. John Holladay died last Thursday night. There was five buried that day. We buried Mr. Nason from the hospital. Capt. William Wade has lost one man. He was buried Friday. We live in our tents yet, but the men are chiefly gone into barracks. I must conclude at present by subscribing myself your loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

My dear, do find me a shoe thread, for I must make a pair or two of boots.

Sarah to Joseph

Ipswich Jan. ye 8, 1776. Loving husband, these lines come with my kind regards to you hoping they will find you in as good health as they leave me and the rest of the family at this time. I received two letters from you since left home & was glad to hear you were well. I want to hear again. Don’t miss any opportunity you may have of writing to me since that is all the way we have to converse together. It is much to my grief that it is so. I am a good deal concerned about you on account of the army being so thin, for fear the enemy should take the advantage. I hear you have lost one of your company & hope it will be sanctified to you all. A very melancholy Providence happened here last Monday night. Mrs. Ringe & Spiller as they were coming in from the eastward struck upon the bar & were both lost. I have no other news to write. So I conclude by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Sarah Hodgkins

P.S. Father and Mother send their love to you, and mother is much obliged to you for the present you sent her. Do give my love to Capt. Wade. my pens blot so that I have made a wick of my letter, but I trust you won’t expose it, so I wish you a good night.

Joseph to Sarah

In Camp Prospect Hill Jan. ye 24, 1776. My dear, I take this opportunity to inform you that I am in good health & I hope these lines will find you possessed of the same invaluable blessing. I would just let you know that I got to the Camp at Tuesday morning about nine o’clock & now I am on the main guard, it being a place where there is so much confusion that I cannot write but a few lines. But I must conclude, for it is late. So I wish you well & hope I shall have a better opportunity to write soon, so I subscribe myself your affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

P.S. Give my regards to Brother Perkins and tell him that I have not had opportunity to go to Cambridge since I have been here. But I shall go & see about this paper tomorrow. Thomas is well.

Sarah to Joseph

“Give my regards to Capt Wade, and tell I have wanted his bed fellow prety much these cold nights that we have had.”

Excerpt from Sarah’s letter to Joseph, February 1, 1776

Ipswich Feb. ye 1, 1776 Loving husband, these lines come with my most affectionate regards to you hoping they will find you in as good health as they leave me & rest of the family. I received your letter of the 29th instant. Mr. Caldwell brought me a gun and some peas on Saturday night. Your letters are something of a rarity. I wish you would write oftener if you can. This day was the turn for Mr. Dana’s lecture. He thought the times called for fasting and accordingly he turned it into a day of fasting & prayer, and desired our parish to join with them. I have been to meeting all day & heard two as fine a sermons as almost ever I heard. Mr. Frisbee preached in the forenoon and Mr. Dana in the afternoon. Next Wednesday is our ordination. It is appointed a day of fasting. I should be very glad if you could be at home, but I don’t expect much. If I shall be deprived of it, God only knows. I must just inform you that your brother John Webber has been here. He desires to be remembered to you. He says he wants very much to see you. So no more at present, but I remain your loving wife till death, Sarah Hodgkins.

P.S. Give my regards to Capt. Wade, and tell him I have wanted his bed fellow pretty much these cold nights that we have had. Father and mother send their love to you.

Joseph to Sarah

In Camp at Prospect Hill, Feb. 3, 1776. My dear, I take this opportunity to inform you that I am well at present, and I hope these lines will find you possessed of the same blessings. I received yours of ye 28th of January, and I rejoice to hear that you and our children are well and as it gives me great satisfaction to receive letters from you, so you may depend on my embracing every opportunity to write to you. I have no news to write. We live in our tent yet only when we are smoked out and then we get shelter somewhere else. We live pretty well, and our duty is not hard. We go on guard only once in ten days, but we spend a great part of our time in exercising the regiment. I must conclude. Give my duty to my parents and respects to all my friends. So no more at present. But I remain your Loving husband, Joseph Hodgkins.

My dear, I want a little shoe thread, and I should be glad to have you send my shirt as soon as you can. Tell Brother Perkins he must write to Mr. Hall before he will send the paper.

In Camp at Prospect Hill, Feb. ye 5, 1776. Loving wife, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to let you know that I am well, and I hope these lines will find you and our children possessed of the same blessings that I enjoy. I received yours of the first instant & I rejoice to hear that you were all well. You informed that Mr. Frisbie is to be ordained next Wednesday. I wish I could be at home, but I cannot. You are pleased to say that letters from me are something of a rarity. I wish I could send oftener, but we have not so many opportunities as we used to have. But you may depend on my cheerfulness to embrace every opportunity that presents for my part. I take great pleasure in writing to you & likewise in receiving letters from you. But I must be short. I have no news to write. Capt. Wade has been something unwell, but is better now. Give my regards to all inquiring friends so no more at present, but I remain your loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

“I gave your Regards to Capt. Wade But he did not wish you had his Bed fellow But I wish you had with all my hearrt”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, February 5, 1776

In Camp at Prospect Hill Feb. ye 6, 1776. My dear, having an opportunity this morning to write a line by Capt. Wade, I would inform you that I am well & I hope these lines will find you the same. I should be very glad to come home to the ordination, and upon my making application to Capt. Wade, he went to the Col. & when he found that one officer out of the company might go home, instead of speaking a word for me, he spoke two for himself. But if you should have the opportunity to see him, do ask him to supper with you, though I do not expect you will see him soon enough. So I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins. Give my duty to all parents & love to all friends.

Sarah to Joseph

Ipswich Feb. ye 11, 1776. Loving husband having an opportunity this evening to write a line or two to you I gladly embrace it to let you know that we are well, hoping they will find you possessed of the same blessing. I received two letters from you on ordination day after meeting, which was a great comfort to me to hear that were well. I received one by the hand of Capt. Wade, but not till after supper. I would have been glad to have been invited to supper if I had seen him soon enough. We had a comfortable ordination but there seems to me to be something wanting. I wanted you at home & that would have crowned all. It is very cold tonight. I hope you will be provided for with a comfortable lodging. I think a great deal about you both by night & by day, but I desire to commit you to God, who has hitherto preserved you & he is able still to preserve you at all times. Oh my dear, Let me beg of you to put your trust in him at all times who alone is able to deliver us out of all our troubles, will do it if we trust in him aright, but I must conclude. I remain your most affectionate companion till death, Sarah Hodgkins.

P.S. Father & Mother send their love to you. Wednesday I wrote the above letter. On Sabbath day night I did not know but Capt. Wade would go down the next day, but I hear he is not gone yet, & I don’t know as I shall see him, but I hoped..

“We under go a deall of Defietty for what of a Better house. But I Expect to move in a Day or two to our Barrok, where we have got a Prety Room as I must be short for the weather is Very Cold & our tent smoks so that it is with Defelty that I can stay in it. It is sayed that the General are detarmaned to do something very soon but what the event will be god only knows.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, Feb. 12, 1776

Joseph to Sarah

In Camp Prospect Feb. ye 12, 1776. My dear, these lines come with my most affectionate regards to you hoping they will find you and our children in as good health as they leave me at this time through the goodness of God. I enjoy a good state of health. But we undergo a good deal of difficulty for want of a better house. But I expect to move in a day or two to our barrack where we have got a pretty room. As I must be short, for the weather is very cold & our tent smokes so that it is with difficulty that I can stay in it. My dear, as for news, we have not much. But it is said that the generals are determined to do something very soon. But what the event will be God only knows But I hope God will direct them in their counsels & order everything for his glory & our good. So I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your Loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. Give my duty to Father & Mother and love to all friends. Tell Brother I sent his letter to Mr. Hall. But I have not had opportunity to go to him, since I am pretty much tied at home.

Sarah to Joseph

Ipswich Feb. ye 20, 1776. My dear, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to inform you that we are all in a comfortable state of health through the goodness of God, & I hope these lines will find you possessed of the same blessing. I received yours by Mr. Smith & I rejoice to hear that you are well. I want to see you very much. I think you told me that you intended to see me once a month & it is now a month & I think a very long one since you left home, & I don’t hear as you talk of coming. But I must confess I don’t think it is for want of a good will that you don’t come home. It is generally thought that there will be something done amongst you very soon, but what will be the event of it God only knows. Oh that we may be prepared for all events. I am distressed about you, my dear, but I desire to commit you to God who alone is able to preserve us through all the difficulty we have to pass through. May he strengthen your hands & encourage your heart to carry you through all you may be called in the way of your duty & that you may be enabled to put your trust in him at all times. But I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Sarah Hodgkins

P.S. Joanna Sends her duty to you.

Joseph to Sarah

In Camp at Prospect Hill March ye 12, 1776. My dear, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to you to let you know that I am well & I hope these lines will find you possessed of the same blessing. I want to hear from you very much. Do write as often as you can, for whether you will have the opportunity of sending here to me much longer is uncertain, for the army in general have had orders to be ready to march, but what regiments will march is uncertain yet. But I would not have you make yourself uneasy about it, for I hope we shall be cared through all the difficulties we may meet with in the way of our duty, so I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

British evacuation of Boston
On March 17, 1776, the British forces abandoned Boston and departed for Nova Scotia, after the Patriot fortification of Dorchester Heights.

In Camp Prospect Hill March ye 17, 1776. My dear, these lines comes with my most affectionate regards to you hoping they will find you and our children in as good Health as they leave me at this Time. I received yours by Brother & I rejoice to hear you are all in a comfortable state of health. You wrote me words that you thought strange that I had not sent you any letters, but I wrote to Mr. Dennis, but he did not get home so soon as I expected. My dear, I shall embrace every opportunity to write to you, & I shall expect you will do the same. But as for news, I must refer you to brother. So I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your most kind companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. My regard to Brother Chapman, & tell him I want my breeches very much, for I do not know but we shall march soon.

March ye 18, 1776. My dear, I wrote a letter yesterday morning, and soon after I wrote there appeared a great movement among the enemy, and we soon found that they had left Bunker Hill & Boston, and all gone on board the shipping & our army took possession of Bunker Hill and also of Boston, but none went to Boston but those that have had the small pox. Brother can inform you of matters better than I can by writing. All I can say is that we must move somewhere very soon, but I would not have you make yourself uneasy about that, for our enemy seems to be a’fleeing before us, which seems to give a spring to our spirits. I must conclude as before by subscribing Joseph Hodgkins

“I t is generaly thought that our Regt will March some whare. I would not Be understood that I should Chuse to March But as I am ingaged in this glories Cause I am will to go whare I am Called.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, March 20,1776

In Camp Prospect March ye 20, 1776. Loving wife, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to let you know that I am well through the goodness of God & I hope these lines will find you possessed of the same blessing. I received your letter by Thomas and I am glad to hear that you are well & as you informed me that you were full of trouble for fear that I should be called away. I would not have you be uneasy about me, for I am willing to serve my Country in the best way & manner that I am capable of and as our enemy are gone from us, I expect we must follow them. It is not certain yet who will stay hear But it is generally thought that our Regt. will march somewhere. I would not be understood that I should choose to march, but as I am engaged in this glorious cause, I am willing to go where I am called with a desire to commit myself & you to the care of him who is able to carry on through all the difficulties that we may be called to. I am sensible that the fatigues of marching will be great. But I hope if we are called to it we shall march with cheerfulness, my dear. As for news, we have nothing but what you will have in the papers. The Regulars have burnt and blown up the castle. I must conclude at present by subscribing my self your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins. (*As the British evacuated, they destroyed their fort on Castle Island,)

P.S. I wrote the above letter last night. I would inform you that I am well. This morning I have sent you three black handkerchiefs by Mr. Burley, and he says he will change one for a white one if you choose. If you are a mind to part with any of them, the price is 4-6.

In Camp at Prospect Hill March ye 23, 1776. Loving wife, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to you to let you know that I am in good health at present for which I desire to be thankful. I have nothing new to write to you. We remain here yet, and I can’t find out which way we shall go. I determine to see you before we march if possibly I can. I expected Capt. Dodge would have been here before now. There has just now orders come out for six regiments to be ready to march on the shortest notice, which gives me some reason to think that our regiment will not march this time, if at all. But I would not have you depend too much on our staying here, for it is only my thought of the matter. But I must conclude at present by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. By the appearance of your last that I shall not have another till this gets home to you. But however I have sent you a square of paper by Jabez Farley, for I am so fond of letters that I shall not only embrace each opportunity to write myself, but will furnish you wherewithal to do the same. Give my duty to my parents and love to all my friends. The six regiments that I mentioned, they do not any of them belong to our brigade.

In Camp at Prospect March ye 25, 1776. My dear, having an opportunity to send to you I would inform you that I am well & I hope you and our friends are possessed of the blessing. I received yours yesterday by Capt. Dodge and the things you sent me. I rejoice to hear that you are all well. I have sent by Capt. Tho’s Dodge some dirty things which he will deliver. I have tried on the stockings you sent and they fit very well. I have nothing new, only I have just heard that the fleet are a’coming to sail. But I do not know the truth of it, for I have just come down from Cambridge. I must conclude by subscribing as before, Joseph Hodgkins

Heroes 1776 marching lithograph
Minutemen Heroes Of 1776 Marching To The Fight. 1876 Lithograph by Currier & Ives

On the march

Walpole, April ye 2, 1776. Loving wife, I take this opportunity to inform you that I am well & I hope these lines will find you possessed of the same blessing. I would just inform you that I just got to Cambridge as the Reg’t marched & we marched about ten miles, then we put up and got a good lodging and I judge that we have marched 15 miles today. It is now about three o’clock. We have got to march six miles tonight and tomorrow we shall get to Providence where we expect to receive orders where to go next. It is uncertain where we shall go; we may go to Newport. But if the enemy are not there we expect to go to Norwich. But I must conclude, for we are about to get a mouthful of vittles and then we must be upon the march. But I must conclude by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. I hope soon to have a more leisure time to write. my regards to all friends.

“My Dear I would not have you make yur self uneasy about me for Marching Dos not woory me so much as I Expected and I hope Providence will Provide for us and Carry me through all the Trobles we have to meet with in the way of our Duty and while we are Absent from Each other.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, Apr. 4, 1776

Providence, April ye 4, 1776. Loving wife, these lines come with my most affectionate regards to you hoping they will find you in as good health as they leave me at this time through the goodness of God. I must just let you know how we got along: we got to Providence at Wednesday in the afternoon, but we got pretty wet, for it rained very fast; but then we heard we had good houses provided for both men and officers, and it is a very pleasant town; but we expect to leave it on Saturday morning and march for Norwich, and we expect to go from there to New York. My dear, I would not have you make your self uneasy about me, for marching does not worry me so much as I expected and I hope Providence will provide for us and carry me through all the troubles we have to meet with in the way of our duty and while we are absent from each other.

My dear, I wrote the above last night, and now it is Friday; this forenoon our regiment & Col. Hitchock’s regiment have been under arms to receive General Washington into Town, which was done with a great deal of pleasure and honor to both general and officers. We shall march tomorrow morning for Norwich where we expect rest for a few days, and then I suppose we shall go to New York by water. My dear, I should be glad to have you write if you should have any opportunity. I shall send this by the Post, & I do not know, but you may send to New York by the Post. So I must conclude at present by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

Nathaniel Wade house
The Col. Nathaniel Wade house faces the South Green.

Col. Wade

Providence, April 4, 1776. Col. Hitchcock’s and Col. Little’s regiments are to turn out tomorrow morning to escort His Excellency into town, to parade at eight o’clock, both officers and men dressed in uniform; and none to turn out except those dressed in uniform; and those of the non-commissioned officers and soldiers that turn out to be washed both face and hands, clean, their beards shaved, their hair combed and powdered, and their arms cleaned. The General (Greene) hopes that both officers and soldiers will exert themselves for the honor of the regiment and brigade to which they belong. He wishes to pay the honors to the Commander-in-Chief in as decent and respectable manner as possible.

New London

Joseph to Sarah

New London April ye 10, 1776. Loving wife, I take this opportunity to writ a line or two to you to let you know that I am in good health at present for which mercy I desire to be thankful, & I hope these lines will find you and all our children & friends possessed of the same blessing. I want to hear from you very much. But I do not expect to hear till we get to New York. I would inform you that this is the third letter I have written since I left home, one of the second instant I suppose you have had. I wrote another at Providence of the 5th, which you may possibly get.

I would inform you that we got to Norwich on Monday, ye 8th last, and on Tuesday we marched to this town, and we expect to embark for New York tomorrow, if we have a wind and when we get there I hope we shall have some rest, for I am a good deal tired of marching, though we get very good entertainment in general. People are very kind to us in the country. But where there is so much passing, it is difficult to get things as we should choose. But I must be short, for it is late. I have no news to write, only what our fleet has done, & that you will have in the print before you will get this. So I must conclude at present my dear, by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. Give my duty to all my parents and love to all inquiring friends. Thomas is well & sends his love to all friends. There is not a man in our company that could out-travel Thomas.

Thursday I wrote the above letter last night, but as the wind does not admit of our sailing today, I would let you know that I am in good health today. I want to hear from you. I hope you are well, so I conclude at present as before, Joseph Hodgkins

New York

“My Dear I would just inform you how we got along on our way from Newlondon we saled from there on Sundy Morning the 14 and the next Sunday we got hear But we had a very Pleasant Passage though it was Long we whare in several harbers and we saw several Pleasant Towns Newhaven in Pertulare is a Verry fine Place But I think this City York Exceeds all Plases that Ever I saw on many accounts.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, Apr. 24, 1776

New York April ye 24, 1776. Loving wife, I take this opportunity to write a few lines to you to let you know that I am well & I hope these lines will find you and our children & all friends possessed of the same inestimable blessing of health that I enjoy at present through the goodness of God, & that we were sensible to what a blessing health is & where able to improve it aright. But I hope God will direct our ways and preserve us from every evil, especially from sin while we are absent from each other, and in his good time return us to our respective friends and to the place of our nativity.

I would just inform you how we got along on our way from New London. We sailed from there on Sunday morning the 14th day, and the next Sunday we got here. But we had a very pleasant passage, though it was long. We were in several harbors and we saw several pleasant towns. New Haven is a very fine place. But I think this city York exceeds all places that ever I saw on many accounts. But it is very expensive living here, and so it has been ever since we first marched. I believe I paid for every meal I ate through the whole march. But I don’t mean to lay that to heart; if we do but accomplish the grand desire we are aiming at, that will be everything.

I would let you know that I am very well contented at present on every account, excepting being absent from home, for my dear, the thought of being absent from you and my family is the greatest trouble that I have at present. But my dear, I would not have you be troubled about me. I don’t write this to trouble you, only to let you know that I am not without some care and trouble about you, though almost 360 miles separate us. As for news, I hardly know what to write, only that there are no ships nor troops here of our enemy, and it does not appear to me that we shall stay here a great while. But where we shall go next I know not. But there is a report that we shall go on Long Island which I wish may be the case. But I must conclude, my dear. I want to hear from you very much. I have not heard a word from you since I left home & I can’t expect to this sometime yet. So no more at present. But I remain your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. Give my duty to my parents and love to all my friends. Thomas is well, sends his love to you and all his friends. I would inform you that the Post that carry this letter is to go as far as Newburyport & will call at Capt. Dodge’s as he comes back to take letters for anybody that is around to send, so you may have an opportunity to send to me. I expect to pay the postage for carrying & fetching. Do send to me every opportunity you have. This is the fourth letter I have sent to you, one of April ye 2 another of ye 5 another of ye 15 I think.

Long Island

Long Island May ye 9, 1776.
Loving wife, I take this opportunity to write a few lines to you to let you know that I am in a comfortable state of health through the goodness of God though I have had a bad cold, but I have got pretty clear of that. But I have had two bad boils on my right arm, one of them is not broke yet, and is very painful. I have not worn a coat for this six days, except a great coat. But I hope they will Leave me in good health, as people say they are wholesome but not toothsome however. I hope these lines will find you and all my children & friends in a good state of health. My dear, I want to see you very much. But if I could hear from you that would be a great satisfaction to me. Several men came here this week that left Ipswich three weeks after I did; but I have not heard anything from you since I left home, only Capt. Wade’s mother sent word in his letter that you were gone to sister Chapman’s. We came over to this island the second day of May and pitched our tents, but the weather being cool and the tents being very bad, we got a room to live in till the weather grew warmer. It was the orders that no officer should lodge out of the camp; but the tent being so very thin, the General consented that we should for a few days till there could be some boards gotten to raise the tents and lay floors in them. Everything is excessive dear. Nine shilling lawful money a gallon for rum, and everything in proportion. So I must conclude at present by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

P.S. Give my duty to father and mother, and love to all friends, to sister Hannah in particular. Thomas is well and sends his love to you & all his friends.

“There is grate Reason to think we shall have our hands full soon for there is I Believe By general order a Conciderable Noumber of troops expected hear very soon. Our men are on fatague about all the time but they are Very Healthy in general Our Company are all well Except one and he is not Bad.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, May 22, 1776

In camp on Long Island, May ye 22, 1776. My dear, it is with a great deal of pleasure that I now sit down to write a few lines to you, and these lines come with my most affectionate regards to you, hoping they will find you & our children in as good health as they leave me at this time through the goodness of God. I received yours of the 6 instant which gave me great satisfaction to hear that you & our children & friends were all well, and that you had received all the letters that I have sent, wherein you were informed that I was well. I feel rejoiced to hear that you have had so good luck as to get all the letters that I have written, except one of the 9th instant, & I hope that you have got that by this time. If you have, I informed you in it that I was lame in my arm with a boil. Indeed I was very lame for eight days and I was not able to wear my coat for ten days. But I have got quite well of them now for which mercy as well as all others I desire to be thankful, and hope God will still be with us and succeed in all our endeavors, and carry us through all the difficulty and in his own time bring us home to our dear friends again in safety and give us hearts and occasion of rejoicing together in his salvation.

You may expect some news in this letter, but I have none to write excepting that there is a great reason to think we shall have our hands full soon, for there is, I believe by general order a considerable number of troops expected here very soon. Our men are on fatigue about all the time, but they are very healthy in general. Our company are all well, except one, and he is not bad. But I must just inform you of our situation on the Island. The ferry from York is about a mile wide, and we are encamped about a mile and a quarter from the ferry, where there is a river or a bay that runs in each side of the island, and meet within a mile; and we are encamped between these bays, and have got a fort just by our encampment, and another on a hill at the northward of us, which are almost done, and there is to be another built at the south of us, one other built at the south of us, on another hill, and these forts will stop this passage by land; for it is expected that the enemy will land on some of the eastward part of the island, if they come; for about fifty miles to the east of us, is said that seven eights of the people are Tories, and I fear that one half in York are not much better; for it is enough to make anybody’s blood boil, only to think what destruction was made last campaign in our Province by our army, and now to see what destruction the army are under to keep the inhabitants quiet. For our people are not allowed to tread on the ground scarcely; they are not allowed to get oysters out of the cove; and one man forbid the soldiers catching eels; but he got nothing for that but cusses, I believe.

But I must conclude at this time My dear. I want to see you very much, but as I cannot expect to this for some time, I desire to commit you and myself & children to the care of him who is able to do more and better for us than we are either able to ask or think, and may we be sensible of God ‘s goodness to us hitherto, and be enabled to put our trust in him for the future. So no more at present. But I remain your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. Give my duty to all my parents and love to all inquiring friends. I want to hear whether cousin Jamey has gotten home, for I have not heard a word about him. Give my love to Joanna & Sally. Tell them I want to see them and my little son too.

My dear, this letter comes by the same post that brought the other, and you will have an opportunity to write again & as I do not know whether I shall see him myself or not before he goes, I should be glad if you should chance to see him as it is not impossible. But what he may lodge in Ipswich as he goes as far as Newbury, that you would see if he would bring a couple of shirts, for my shirts wear out very fast, and I can’t think of buying any here, as linen is so excessive, dear. But I would have you ask him what he would have for the postage of them, & not give more than what is reasonable. My letter is folded wrong side outwards, but you must excuse that.

Sarah to Joseph

Ipswich, May ye 23, 1776. Loving husband, these lines come with my love to you, hoping they will find you and the company all in good health, as they leave me and children at this time through the goodness of God. I received yours of the 9th instant yesterday morning. It is a great comfort to me to hear from you. I am sorry to hear that you are troubled with boils. They are very troublesome, but as you say, they are counted wholesome. I hope they will leave you in a good state of health. I am ready to think they proceed from the humor you have been troubled with for some time. I want to hear whether you have got well of it or not. I want to see you very much, but I dust not think much about it at present; but I hope we shall see one another again all in good time. I desire to be contented with the allotments of Providence. You wrote in your letter that you had not heard from me since you left home, but is no neglect of mine; for I will assure you that I wrote the first opportunity I knew of, which was, I think the sixth of May.

Captain Perkins got in last Friday. They are well and have got a good load of corn. Father and mother send their love to you. I saw Sister Hannah yesterday. She told me to give her love to you, and tell you they were well. Brother John’s folks are well, and send their love to Thomas. So I must conclude by subscribing myself your loving wife till death. Joannah sends her duty to you — Sarah Hodgkins

Oh that we be prepared for all events and if it is the will of God that we are not to meet again in this world may we be prepared to meet in a better where we shall not have the grief of parting any more.”

Excerpt from Sarah’s letter to Joseph, June 1776

June, 1776: Loving husband, these lines come with my most affectionate regards to you hoping they will find you in good health as they leave me at this time through the goodness of God.. I am rejoiced to hear you are well. I am sorry to hear that you are amongst a people that are so unkind as you inform me they are.

Monday night—My dear, I began to write a letter last night but it was so late before I begun I could not write much. I have been very busy all day to day a’making you a shirt. You sent to me to send you a couple, & I had but one ready for the cloth that I intended to make you some bodies of. I have not got it quite done, so I was obliged to take one off of the cloth I had in the house & I have got it done & washed and Sister Perkins is now ironing of it. I have been down to Mr. Treadwell’s to desire them to let me know when the man comes, & if he will bring them, I shall send you a couple & by that time the post comes again. I hope to have some more ready, and if you want them, you must send me word.

But to drop that, I must just tell you that Sally met with a mishap last Monday. She scalded her arm pretty bad but it seems to be in a good way to be well soon. The rest of us are in a comfortable state of health. I want to see you very much. Sometimes I am almost impatient but considering it is Providence that has parted us, I desire to submit & be as contented as I can & be thankful that we can hear from one another so often. I must inform you that two of our neighbors have died since I wrote my last. Deacon Potter died last Saturday, and Hannah Fitts the Saturday before. A loud call to all to be ready for death. Oh that we may be prepared for all events, and if it is the will of God that we are not to meet again in this world, may we be prepared to meet in a better place, where we shall not have the grief of parting any more. But I much conclude at this time by subscribing myself your loving wife till death. Sarah Hodgkins

Joseph to Sarah

In camp on Long Island June ye 10, 1776. My dear, I take this opportunity to inform you that I am well & I hope these lines will find you & my children possessed of the same blessing that I enjoy through the goodness of God & for which I desire to be thankful. My dear, I am charming well, but I long to see you & my children. But when I shall is uncertain. But I hope God will preserve us while we are absent from each other & in our own good time. Bring us to the enjoyment of each other and give us hearts to be thankful for all his mercies. I have nothing new to write to you. Our people are healthy in general. But Stephen Colman and William Stone are sick of a fever, and a Cape Ann man in our company is in a very weak state, and I am very much afraid for him. There is none died in our regiment since we came here. Our duty is very constant. The men are on duty five days in seven, but it is chiefly fatigue. There is not much guarding to do, only two subalterns guards, and I have one of them tonight which will oblige me to be short. But I expect the Post in a few days. I hope then to hear that you and all my friends are well and it is likely I shall have another opportunity to write to you, so I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

N.B. My dear, I have nothing to send you but love and good will, but I hope I shall have some money soon, and if I have opportunity I shall send some home. But it is very expensive living here. So that I am obliged to spend almost as much as I earn. Give my duty to all my parents & love to all friends. Capt. Wade is well & desires to be remembered to you & all that inquire after him. This letter comes by Col. Little’s brother, who came here, he and Capt. Kent of Newbury to see their friends; and if there should be any gentlemen in Ipswich that should come this way, I should be very glad to have you send me a pair of shirts. But I would not have you be unhappy about it, for when I can’t do any longer I can buy some here, though linen is extreme, dear.

In camp at Brookline Long Island, June ye 11, 1776. My dear, I wrote my letter last night to send by Mr. Little today, but luckily he does not go before tomorrow morning, and I have just received your letter of the 23rd of May. By the hand of Mr. Napp, and I am greatly rejoiced to hear that you and my children and all friends are all well, for there is nothing in this world that gives me more satisfaction than to hear of your welfare. You informed me that Capt. Jame has got home well. I am very glad to hear it. Give my Regards to him & his wife & Tell him he must come and see us. Give my love to Brother Perkins and sister. Tell them their Brothers are well. Thomas is well and sends his duty to his father & mother, love to you and all his friends. As I wrote my letter last night I shall send it and these few lines enclosed in it. So I must conclude as before, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. As to that humor that you mentioned, I got some stuff at York which seemed to give a great check to it. But it seams to come out a little again. But I intend to try again soon to kill it. I would have you get as much corn of Capt. Perkins as you think you will want. Give my love to Joanna & Salle. Tell Salle Daddy wants to see her very much.

“I must Confess the thoughts of Being absent so Long is the greatest trible that I meet with. but I would have you make yourself as Contented as you Can and I hope we shall have the happiness to meat Each other again in gods good time.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, June 20, 1776

In Camp at Long lsland June ye 20, 1776. My dear, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to you to let you know that I am well for which mercy I Desire to be thankful and I hope these lines will find you possessed of the same blessings that I enjoy through the goodness of God. I received yours of the 2nd Instant last Tuesday, which gave me great satisfaction to hear that you was well and all our friends, that God would preserve us in health while we are absent, and in his one time return us to our friends in safety. I received the shirts you sent me my dear, and am much obliged to you for them. I hope I shall be able to do as much for you sometime or other. But I have not much to send now but love and good will. But I want to see you very much. But as you say I dare not hardly think of it at present. I desire to make myself as contented as I can, though I must confess the thoughts of being absent so long is the greatest trouble that I meet with. But I would have you make yourself as contented as you can and I hope we shall have the happiness to meet each other again in God’s good time.

I have nothing New to write to you, only the fleet is expected every day. General Washington is calling in the militia and I hope we shall be in readiness to meet our enemy, and show them Yankee Play, come when they will. I think we have got pretty well fortified, and I think they will meet with a warm Reception; for our men are in good spirits and seem to be impatient and tired of waiting for them. You informed me that Sally had cut her arm. Tell her that Daddy is very sorry for it, and wants to see her. But I must hasten. You informed me that Salle had cut her arm. Tell her Daddy is very sorry for it and wants to see her and all the Rest. So I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. Give my duty to all my parents and love to all friends. Our sick that I mentioned in my last are all better and all the rest are well. Thomas is well and sends his love to you and all his friends. I shall send you a little money by the Post, which you may give him your receipt

“General Washington is Calling in the Milisha and I hope we shall Be in Readiness to meet our Enemy and show them yankys Playcome when they will.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, June 22, 1776

Sarah to Joseph

Ipswich June ye 22, 1776. My dear, having just heard of an opportunity to send you a few lines, I gladly embrace it to let you know that I & my family are well through the goodness of God. Father has been very poorly but has got better again. I received yours of ye 10th & 11th instant, & I am much rejoiced to hear you are well. Oh that we may be sensible of the goodness of God to us and live answerable thereto. It was last Wednesday I received your letter. I sent you a letter & two shirts by Mr. Craft by the post & I shall have some more for you soon if I can send them. As to your sending me some money doesn’t be uneasy about it, but I must be short. I remain your loving wife till death. Our friends here are well.

“I think I due really want to See you very much but dont understand as I am like to at present So I must be contented to Live a widow for the present, but I hope I Shant always live so. I desire to be thankfull we can hear from each other So often as we doo.”

Excerpt from Sarah’s letter to Joseph, July 3, 1776

Ipswich July ye 3, 1776. My dear, these lines come with my most affectionate regards to you hoping they will find you in good health as they leave me at this time through the goodness of God which I desire to acknowledge. We are all in a comfortable state of health, but Jose, he seems to be something unwell now, but I hope he will be better in a day or two. I received your letter and twenty-three dollars by the Post on the 1st instant. I am very glad to hear you are well and am also obliged to you for the money. I hope you have not straitened yourself, for I was not in present want. I sent you a letter of the 22nd of June. I think I do really want to see you very much, but don’t understand as I am like to at present. So I must be contented to Live a widow for the present, but I hope I shan’t always live so. I desire to be thankful we can hear from each other. So often as we do I hope we shall see one another again in good time.

I think the time you engaged for is now half out, & if you should live to see that out, I hope you will let somebody else take your place, but I durst not depend upon anything here, & since we see the uncertainty of all earthly enjoyments, let us make it our greatest concern to secure to ourselves a better portion, for if we once get an interest in Christ, we shall be sure not lose it to all eternity. Therefore Let us not put off this work of the greatest importance to an uncertain hereafter. You informed me in your letter that the fleet was looked for every day. I hope God will appear for you if you are called to battle as he has done heretofore. May we be prepared for all events. Do write all opportunities. I have got some more shirts & a pair or two of stockings if you want. Do speak to the Post when he comes again to bring them to you. Brother Heard is a mind to buy your gun. You left it at home & if you have a mind to sell it. I should be glad you would. Send me word what you would take for it as soon as you can. Cousin Jimmy sends his love to you & says he would write to you but he think it would cost you something. But I must conclude by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Sarah Hodgkins.

Father & mother remember their love to you. Joanna Sends her duty to you. Sally is gone to school. Give my regards to Capt. Wade

Joseph to Sarah

In Camp on Long lsland July ye 17, 1776. My dear, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to you and these lines bring you my most affectionate regards, hoping they will find you and our children and all friends in good health as they leave me at this time through the goodness of God, which we ought always to acknowledge. Although we are in the field exposed to many hardship and difficulties, yet even in these circumstances we enjoy many blessings which we do not deserve and for which we ought to be thankful. I received your letter of ye 22 June the 8 of July and that by the Post last Sunday, and I am very glad to hear you and all friends are in good health. But Jose you said was unwell. But I hope he is well by this time. I want to see you and my children very much. But it is uncertain when I shall. But I hope God will preserve us from the many evils & dangers we are exposed to and in his good time return us all to our friends again in safety.

You may expect some news, but I hardly know what to write, only our enemies are coming in almost every day, and we expect they will have 25,000 men when they all get in. But I would not have you uneasy about us, for our number far exceeds theirs, and we have 42,000 men now, and they are coming in every day. Two brigades are coming from Philadelphia, consisting of 53 battalions, so I hope with the blessing of God, we shall be able to keep our ground and let them know that Yankees can fight.

You put me in mind of the time I was engaged for being half out, and also if I lived to see the time out not to engage again. But I think so much of this present campaign, that I have not spent any time thinking about another. But I will venture to say if I live to see this out I think I shall be entirely willing to rest a spell, at least. You sent me word that you had some more shirts & stockings. But I can do very well with what I have got at present and if I should want them here after, I will send you word. I have received some more money & I shall send you by the post 45 dollars, for which you may give a receipt at your receiving it, and as for my gun you mentioned, brother Heard may have it for 12 dollars; that is but two shillings more than I gave for it last winter, and guns have been a’rising ever since. I must conclude at this time by subscribing my self your loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. I have wrote to Brother and I must refer you to his letter for some particulars that happened here. As you are so near, I thought it needless to write them twice over. I hope you will write every opportunity that you may have & you may depend on my doing the same. Give my duty to all parents & love to all friends. my regards to Cousin Jamie & Capt. Kendall. My dear, I would have you call on Capt. Charles Smith for such things as you want in the family. I hear that Capt. Moses Harris is got home. As to that Tory plot, I suppose you have had the accounts in the papers before now. One of them was tried on Wednesday, condemned on Thursday, and executed on Friday, and I wish twenty more were served the same sort. Thomas is well & sends his love to you and all his friends.

In Camp Long island July ye 22, 1776. My dear, as nothing but seeing & conversing with you could give me so much Pleasure as writing to and receiving letters from you, and as this is the only way that we can have at present of conversing, do let us improve every opportunity that we have, for it gives me the greatest satisfaction to hear from my friends, especially from one that is so near after my affectionate regards to you. I would inform you that I am in a comfortable state of health at present. for which I desire to be thankful, and hope these lines will find you & our children of the same blessing.

I have nothing new to write to you only our army at South Carolina, under General Lee, has had a battle. The enemy attempted to land, a heavy cannonading for 12 hours was made upon the fortifications near Charlestown. Both fleet and army have been repulsed with great loss by a small number of valiant troops just arrived. The enemy had 172 killed and wounded among whom were several officers and two capitol ships much damaged. One frigate of 20 guns entirely lost, being abandoned and blown up by the crew, and a number of other ships very much hurt, and all with a loss on our side of 10 killed and 22 wounded. This account you may depend on, for it came out in general orders last night and I hope this will animate me if called to it, to act in like manner as there is nothing turned up here since I wrote. I must conclude by telling you I want to see you and all friends very much. But I desire to be contented and hope you will not make yourself uneasy, so I remain your loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins

Give my duty to father and mother Perkins and love to all friends. Sergeant Hodgkins and William Stone are sick with flu. Aaron Waite is got most well. Solomon Colman is very low indeed.

In camp long island Aug. ye 8th, 1776. My dear, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to let you know that I am in good health & I hope these lines will find you possessed of the same blessing. My dear, I received yours by the post last night in which you informed me that my little son was very low and not like to live. I am afraid that he is not living now, but I must hope that it will please God to spare his life, but that we may be prepared for all events. I was afraid I should hear some bad news from home, but I hope God will do better for us than our fears. He is able to raise him even from the gates of the grave, but I am sensible that God will do what is right and just, and I hope God will support you & I under all our troubles and carry us through all the difficulties we have to meet with in this world, and if we should not live to see one another again in this world, may we be prepared to meet in a better place where there will be no more sorrow, nor morning the loss of friends. It is with a heavy heart that I now write to you, but it is a great comfort to me to hear that you and the rest of our children are well. What would I give to see you. I hope God will preserve us and give us hearts and occasion to praise his name together. So I must conclude by subscribing as before your affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. I expect to write by the post in a few days. By that time we may have some news. Give my duty to all my parents & love to all friends. Capt. Wade & Capt. Dodge have been poorly, but are got pretty well again. Sargent Hodgkins has been very bad for three weeks. But he seems to be better now.


In Camp Long lsland Aug. ye 11th, 1776. Loving wife, after my most affectionate regards to you, I would inform you that I am in good health at present through the goodness of God & I desire to be thankful for so great a mercy and hope these few lines will find you & our children possessed of the same blessing. My dear, I can’t help hoping but I don’t know where I have any room for my hope respecting my little son. But God knows how it is and I desire to hope in his mercy & commit him if living, & myself & you to the care of kind Providence hoping he will do better for us than our fears & carry us through all the difficulties & troubles we have to meet with in this world, and may these afflictions be sanctified to us for our good. You said that you wanted me at home to bear part of your trouble. I wish I was at home with you but instead of being with you, to bear part with you, I am obliged to be here & bear it all alone, for you have friends to comfort you, but I have nobody to speak with here and can hardly have the privilege of thinking my own thoughts. I mean by reason of having my thoughts taken up with the cares and fatigues of the campaign, which at this time are great. But I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your Loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. A good many of our People are poorly, not many bad. Sargent Hodgkins is very weak and low. I am a good deal afraid for him. Give my duty to all my parents & love to all friends. The weather here is exceedingly dry & hot, but I hear that you have had fine rains in New England. I Sent a letter By Capt. Parsons 3 Day ago.

The British fleet at Kips Bay, September 1776
The British fleet at Kips Bay, September 1776, by Robert Cleveley

Long lsland Aug. ye 12, 1776. My dear, the Posts not going so soon as I expected and I being at leisure this afternoon, I thought I would write a line or two more to let you know that I am well. I would also inform you a little about public affairs. Our people fitted out 5 or 6 row galleys and sent them up the river to attack the two men of war that went up there some time ago. Accordingly they went up 9 days ago and the ships saw them coming. They got under sail in order to fit the galleys, and the ships fired the first gun and then the galleys engaged them for an hour & a half. But one of the galleys split her best guns, and then another received a shot between wind and water, so they thought best to retreat. But they hulled the ships several times, and what other damage they did we have not heard. On our side were two men killed, ten or twelve wounded. And since, our people have sunk ships and other things which tide prepared, across the channel, so as to stop the ships from coming down or any others going up, and there being a talk of the enemy making attack soon, it was thought best not to send the galleys up again at present.

I would also inform you that there is a fleet now coming in. Some of our officers saw them and judge there were about 80 sail; the fleet are this moment firing three salutes. So I suppose some of them have got up to Lord Howe’s fleet. It is thought this fleet is from the southern colonies, so it seems they will get all the strength they can before they make any attack on us. But we are awaiting and expecting them every day. I hope God will prosper us and give us courage and resolution, and cover our heads in the day of battle and crown our army with success. I must conclude. I hope you are well. I want to see you very much, but can’t tell when I shall. I remain as before our loving husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

“The Enemy had Landed and got within 5 miles of our Lines Judged to Be about six or seven thousand and upon this we got Ready to march as quick as Posible for the Camp there we whas about 42 miles from the Camp amongst a people that 9 Tenths of them whare our Secret Enemy and we whare Cut of from our lines By our oppen Enemy is this sitiuation I whas not without some happrentions.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, August 25, 1776.

In Camp Long Island, August ye 25, 1776. Loving wife, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to let you know that I am well at present, for which mercy I desire to be thankful, and I hope these lines will find you & our children and friends possesses of the same blessing though I never expect to hear that my little son is alive. But I want to hear very much, yet I am afraid. But I hope God will prepare me for all that I am to meet with in this world, and sanctify his various dealings with us for our good, for while God is a’chastising us with affliction. On the one hand, I think it my duty to acknowledge his goodness to me on the other in a late instance which I will relate in a few words:

Last Monday about noon there came orders for a party to be sent down the Island to drive the cattle from the south side of the island and to destroy all the boats we could find, so the enemy might not be benefitted by them. I went with this party. The Party consisted of 200 men beside officers and a troop of ours, about 60 to assist us. So we marched 25 miles that night, and the next morning we proceeded in our business and collected a good number of cattle and destroyed a great number of boats, and on Wednesday the afternoon we marched further down the Island to a place called Jerusalem. There we were until Friday about 12 o’clock. Then an express came from the General with all speed and brought us word that the enemy had landed and got within 5 miles of our lines, judged to be about six or seven thousand.

There we were 42 miles from the camp among a people that nine tenths of them were our secret enemies, and we were cut off from our lines by our open enemy. I was not without some apprehensions. But our men were all in good spirits, and about one o’clock we got ready to march, and we were determined to get into camp or lose our lives. We made but one stop the whole march, and that was about 8 miles from the camp. There we got a little refreshment for the men and set off again and in an hour after we left that place, the Regulars’ light horse were ailing in pursuit of us. But we marched all the byways we could so we outwitted them once. The enemy are in camp on a large plain about 4 or 5 miles from us and we have strong parties sent down near them & lay in the woods against them to watch their motion, they keeping a moderate fire on both sides. But the distance is so great they do but little execution on either side. We have had seven men wounded but none killed. So I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion. Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. Cousin Abraham Hodgkins died last Friday night. His death is lamented both by officers and men. I hope it will be sanctified to us all for our good. I have written a letter to his father which I shall enclose in this. Give my duty to my parents & love to all friends. Thomas is well, and sends his love to you all. been Staniford has had the fever, but he is getting better.

Lord Stirling leading an attack against the British at the Battle of Long Island, August 27, 1776. Painting by Alonzo Chappel.
Lord Stirling leading an attack against the British at the Battle of Long Island, August 27, 1776. Painting by Alonzo Chappel.

In camp, August ye 28, 1776. Loving wife, having a few moments leisure I would just inform you that I am well through the goodness of God though I am very much worried with a skirmish we had yesterday with the enemy. It was as follows:

Our regiment with a number of others was sent down to our advanced post, three miles from our lines in the woods. In the night, the enemy marched out two different ways and got most all around our division which consisted of ours and Col. Hitchcock’s regiment. After having a very hot fire for some time, we were ordered to march for the fort. But we found the enemy were endeavoring to cut off our retreat, and in great measure did; we were obliged to go through fire and water. But through the goodness of God we got chiefly in. It seems the day is come in all probability on which depends the salvations for this country. But what will be the issue, God only knows. But it is the determination to defend our lines till the last extremity. I must subscribe as before. Joseph Hodgkins.

Lieut. Lord received a ball through his thigh. Poor Archelaus Pulsifer is missing. I can’t tell whether he was taken or killed or drowned, for we had to pass over a creek almost up to my armpits, and several were drowned there. Capt. Dodge has one man missing. As to our whole loss it was considerable. The enemy are within a mile and a half of our lines.

A plan of the Narrows of Hells-gate in the East River, near which batteries of cannon and mortars were erected on Long Island with a view to take off the defences and make breaches in the rebel fort on the opposite shore to facilitate a landing of troops on New York Island.
“A plan of the Narrows of Hells-gate in the East River, near which batteries of cannon and mortars were erected on Long Island with a view to take off the defences and make breaches in the rebel fort on the opposite shore to facilitate a landing of troops on New York Island.” (Library of Congress)

New York, Aug. 31, 1776. My dear, having an opportunity this morning to write a line or two more to let you know that we left Long Island last Thursday night. The enemy had got almost around us, and they had much the advantage of the ground; they were posted on the heights very near us, and heaving up works against us to bombard us out of our forts, which they might easily have done, for our forts were very much exposed to them on all sides. The retreat was as follows:

We were ordered to be under arms with packs and everything in order at seven o’clock Thursday night. We all thought it was to go out against our enemy. But about nine o’clock the order was to strike our tents and pack all up and march to the ferry as quick as possible, and we made all the dispatch we could, but I can’t tell you how I felt. and what will be the event of these things, God only knows. I desire to commit myself to him and trust in his mercy at all times, for according to my opinion, things look very dark on our side. But for our comfort, God reins, and what he sees is best for us will be done. I hope you are well. I expect to hear from you soon. I am well at present though the goodness of God. But I have had but one night in bed since last Sunday. But I must conclude at present by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

I expected Mr. Row would have been home by this time. We have heard nothing from poor Archelaus. I fear he is dead. Heavy news for his poor mother.

“I Received your Letter of ye 22 of August Last Sunday by which I was informed of the Death of my Little Son it is heavy News to me But it is God that has Dun it, therefore what can I say. I hope it will Pleas god to santifie all these outward afflictions to us for our Best good, we are all in a Troubblesome world.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, Sept. 5, 1776

New York Sept. ye 5, 1776. My dear, these lines come with my most affectionate regards to you, hoping they will find you and our children in as good health as they leave me at this time through the goodness of God, which has been great towards me. I wish I was more sensible of it and had a heart to live answerable for all God’s mercy. I received your letter of ye 22 of August last Sunday, by which I was informed of the death of my little son. It is heavy news to me but it is God that has done it, therefore what can I say? I hope it will please God to sanctify all these outward afflictions to us for our best good. We are all in a troublesome world and we in a particular manner which are exposed not only to these accidents which are common to all men but to fire & sword, and many hardship which before now I was a stranger to, and which are too many to be numbered.

But I must just let you know as near as I can where I am we have moved three times since we left the island and now we are about 6 or 7 miles above the city of York near the north river to guard a landing place, but how long we shall stay here is uncertain, for the enemy are getting up there ships on each side of this island, for York is an island parted from the mainland by a river about 14 miles from the city, which is called Kings Bridge. It is very difficult to guard both sides of this island against a number as enemy and a large fleet of ships as ever was in America. It is expected they will land from Long Island over here at a place called Hell’s Gate. This place is not far from us, only across the island. There are a great number of our people there and I hope they will be able to annoy the enemy, but as for hindering their landing, I do not expect they can, and when they come we must either beat them or they us and if it should be the former, happy for us, but if the latter the consequences will be shocking to all.

But let us not be discouraged, for if God is for us we need not fear what man can do unto us. You may think that I write too discouraging but only consider a minute, we have been all this summer digging & building of forts to cover our heads, and now we have been obliged to leave them, and now we are here, and not one shovel full of dirt to cover us, but in all probability we must meet them in the open field and risk our lives and country on one single battle. I don’t mean that we have no works. There are a great many forts & batteries, but the enemy takes care not to come near them till they get good foot hold, so as to approach them in a regular manner and secure a good retreat. I don’t write this to discourage you or to increase you trouble but only to let you know as near as I can of our circumstances. For my part I am not discouraged but hope through God we shall do valiantly.

As to our leaving Long Island, I don’t know what most people think of it, but If the wind had not hindered the ships from coming up we must have been all made prisoners, but lucky for us the wind held to the north for some days, but our retreat was so sudden and unexpected that we lost a great many of our things. My best shirt & and our britches & stockings & handkerchiefs were at the wash woman’s and I had not time to get them as I set out, and so are lost in the skirmish down the island, but I don’t mean to lay these things to heart.

But I must just inform you that William Goodhue is dead. I shall not have opportunity to write to his father. He was taken sick about the time the regulars landed on the island. He was moved to York, so I never saw him but once after he was moved and that was last Sunday. I did not think he was dangerous, but he died the next day. Do let his farther know it as soon as you can. He was very much like Sarg. Hodgkins only had more fever, two of the strongest men in our company cut of sudden. Heavy news to their friends. I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your most affectionate com­panion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. Give my duty to all my parents and love to all friends. Tell brother my not writing to him this time was not for want of good will, but for want of time, & I hope it won’t hinder him from writing.

“I Dont write this to Discorrege you or to Encrees you Trobble But only to Let you know as near as I can of our Cirmsances for my Part I am not Discoredged…we had a young man in our Company that had a ball went through his Rist & it was so Brok that he had his hand Cut of since. I had the sleave Buttin shot off my sleave, and the skin is a little grased.”

Joseph to Sarah, Sept. 5, 1776

Friday morning. Having a few minutes leisure this morning, I thought I would write a line or two more to let you know some things that slipped my mind before. As to our loss on the Island: Near as can be computed is about 600 men missing, and it is said the enemy’s loss is about the same number. We had two generals taken, and the enemy had one killed certain, and it is reported that they have two missing. As to our own regiment, we lost but three men. And as to Archelaus Pulsifer and one more, it is uncertain whether they were killed or taken, but I fear they were killed. We had a young man in our company that had a ball went through his wrist, and it was so broke that he had his hand cut off. I had the sleeve buttons shot off my sleeve, and the skin is a little grazed. As to Moses Shatswell’s sons, I have not seen them neither. I do not know what regiment they are in; if I did it is likely I could find them. If they are in Col. Hutchinson’s they are about 5 miles from us.

My dear, I want to see you very much, but when I shall, I cannot tell. But I hope I shall be preserved from all the evils & dangers that we are surrounded with & returned home in safety in God’s good time. Give my love to my two children, and tell them to be good gals and that Daddy wants to see them. It is more healthy among us than it was. We have none sick in our company. We have had plenty of rain here for this three weeks. I am very glad to hear that you have such a growing season. Likewise that you have plenty of West India goods. I wish we had. We are obliged to give 4 shillings lawful money a quart for rum. I can’t get it for that. If the army was clean from New York it would be no matter how soon it was sunk, for of all places, it is the worst. But I must conclude as before by subscribing myself, Joseph Hodgkins.

I shall send enclosed in this Sarg. Hodgkins’, with which I would have you send it to Uncle and tell him that upon our leaving the Island so suddenly, that all his clothes were lost. I have just heard that Ebenezer Staniford is very bad with the fever and has been sick and had gotten abroad last Sunday. I saw him–he told me that he was fine and hearty. Col. Wade has written to Mr. Goodhue, so you do not need to put yourself out of the way about letting him know of the death of his son.

British soldiers disembarking in New York (National Museum of American History)

Sarah to Joseph

Ipswich, Sept. ye 16, 1776. My dear, these lines come with my most affectionate regards to you, hoping they will find you in good health as they leave me at this time through the goodness of God. I received your letters by the Post this morning, and those by Mr. Row last Thursday. I was greatly rejoiced to hear you were well, for I was distressed about you I desire to be thankful that you have got off of Long Island. I think God has appeared for you in a very wonderful manner in several instances of which you informed me in your letters. Oh that we might be suitably affected with all God’s dealings towards us & be sensible of our obligations to him and devote our selves to his glory at all times.

My heart aches for you to think of the difficulties & fatigues you have to undergo, but all that I can do for you is to commit you to God, who has hitherto preserved you and beg of him to be with you & preserve you. Still don’t be discouraged. My dear, God is as able to preserve us as ever and he will do it if we trust in him aright, though as you say, I think things look very dark on our side, but it has been observed that man’s extremity was Gods opportunity, and I think it seems to be a time of great extremity now, and I hope God will appear for us & send salvation and deliverance to us in due time, and if you should be called to battle again, may he be with you & cover your heads & strengthen your hands & encourage your hearts and give you all that fortitude and resolution that is left for you, and in his own time return you home in safety. And may we have opportunity to praise his holy name together again. But if it be God’s will that we are not to meet again in this world, may we be prepared for a better where we shall have no more trouble nor sorrow. Oh let us make it our greatest care & concern to get an interest in Christ, and then we shall be happy, ether living or dying.

I want to see you very much. If you were but one hundred miles off, I believe if you and I were well, I should come & see you before long, but the distance is so great, I know I can’t. Therefore I must wait for Gods time. For my part, I am not wholly discouraged. Many times the darkest time is just before day. Pray don’t fail of writing all the opportunities you have. Let the cost be what it will, for I want to hear every day if I could. I heard that Mr. Noble went through town last Saturday, but he was not so good as to call to see me. I was very sorry. I must just inform you that Cousin Ephraim Perkins coming from the west Indies about 3 or 4 weeks ago. He had got almost home & was taken on board the Milford man of war, where he is with all his hands, yet for ought we know Mr. Ingerson, Daniel Goodhue, Ezek Wells & I can’t tell who else were in camp with him. Capt. Holmes, coming from the West Indies foundered at sea, but the men are all got home well. Our friends here are all well. So I must conclude by subscribing myself your tender & affectionate companion till death, Sarah Hodgkins.

Father & Mother send their love to you. Brother sends his love, and says he would have written but he was so busy he could not get time. Aunt Goodhue sends her respects to you. Joanna sends her duty. Remember me to all friends.

Joseph to Sarah

In Camp at Fort Constitution New Jersey, Sept. ye 30, 1776. My dear, I take this opportunity to write a few lines to you to let you know that I am well, and I hope that these lines will find you & our children & friends possessed of the same blessings, which through the goodness of God I enjoy at this time, and for which I desire to be thankful. I received your letter by the Post last Saturday. I am very glad to hear that you were well, & our friends in general. Oh that we were sensible what a blessing health is, especially here where our lives and health are more particularly exposed than what those of our friends who at home are. But we have the same God who is everywhere present and at all times the same.

“About 12 oClock that night we whare alarmed and marched about one mile and thene took Post and staid Till sun Rise then we marched home we had not got Brakfast Before there was a very heavy Cannoading at the sitty and we whar Told that the Enemy whas about Landing Down to harlem Point.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, Sep. 30, 1776

We have had experiences of God’s goodness to us in preserving us in battle, and carrying us through many difficulties since I wrote my last, of which I shall give you a short account, viz, on Saturday ye 14th instant we moved to Harlem and encamped on a hill about 9 miles from York, and about 12 o’clock that night we were alarmed and marched about one mile, and then took post and stayed till sunrise, then re-marched home. We had not got breakfast before there was a very heavy cannonading at the city, and we were told that the enemy were about landing down to Harlem Point, where we expected they would land by there motion. But while our brigade with two more was waiting there, they landed at a place called Turtle Bay, 3 or 4 miles nearer York, and there were two brigades there, but they being chiefly militia, it was said that two hundred of the enemy made them all run. So they landed without much resistance and marched towards York and took possession of the city about four o’clock on Sunday. Now you must think they were in high spirits and thought all was their own.

So on Monday morning they thought they would attack us with about 3000 men and drive us all over King’s Bridge. But they were much mistaken. As soon as we heard they were drawing towards us, the General sent out two hundred rangers under the command of Col. Knowlton, who soon met the enemy and fired on them, and fought them on the retreat till they got pretty near us; then the enemy halted back of a hill and blew a French horn, which was for a reinforcement, and as soon as they got it, they formed in two columns. But our brigade was posted in the edge of a thick woods, and by some climbing up a tree could see the enemy’s motions, and while they were forming, the General sent a party to attack them, which answered the end for which they were sent; for our people made the attack and retreated towards us, the place where we wanted them to come, and then the enemy rushed down the hill with all speed to a plain spot of ground, then our brigade marched out of the woods, then a very hot fire being on both sides, and lasted for upward of an hour. Then the enemy retreated up the hill and our people followed them and fought near an hour longer, till they got under cover of their ships which were in the North River. Then our people left them.

The loss on our side is about 40 killed and 60 or 70 wounded. One of our corporals was badly wounded through his knees. But I hope he will do well. The loss on the enemy side is not certain. But according to the best accounts we have had, they had near 500 killed, and near as many wounded. They were seen to carry off several wagon loads besides our people buried a good many that they left. We were informed by two prisoners that they found that they had not the militia to deal with at this time. They said the surgeon swore that they had no militia today. This was the first time we had any chance to fight them, and I doubt not if we should have another opportunity. But we shall give them another dressing. At this place where we encamped was within two gun shots of the place where the battle was, for we were always kept on the advanced post next to the enemy until now, and now we are on the Jersey hills where we have been ever since ye 20th of this month, and I hope we shall stay here the rest of the campaign as I have been at the trouble of building a log House with a stone chimney. I got it fit to live in 3 days ago, before which time I had not lodged on any thing but the ground since we left Long Island.

Capt. Wade has been sick & absent from me ever since the 13th day of this month, & has this moment got here and is got pretty well again. During his absence I have had a grate deal of trouble and care. But I have been fine and hearty all this campaign and I hope God will continue this great blessing and preserve us, and carry us through all the difficulties that we may met with, and in his good time return us home to the place of our nativity in safety.

My dear, I am much obliged to you for your kind regards you express, and concern you discover for my welfare in your letter. I hope your prayers will be answered both in respect of spiritual & temporal Mercies. I wish I could answer your letter more particular, but I have not time nor room. But must hasten. I want to see you very much, but I can’t tell when I shall. But I hope to within 4 months. Give my duty to Father & Mother Perkins and love to all friends. I am very sorry to hear the misfortune of Capt. Ephrem & Capt. Holmes, but I must conclude at present by subscribing my self your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

Thomas is well and sends his love to you & all friends. He was with us in all the battle & behaved like a good solder.


Oct. ye I, 1776. My dear, as I wrote my letter yesterday and having taken some money since, I shall send some home enclosed in this letter, and you may let Father Hodgkins have some if he needs & you have it to spare. I think you said that Mr. Noble went through Town and was not so good as to call. As I don’t know, but you might have hard thoughts of me for my not writing by him, but I will tell you how it was. I did not know that Mr. Noble was going home till he was mounted and got off. I then met him in the road, & desired him to call at Deacon Perkins and see you. He told me he would, but as he did not, I have not got him to thank. I shall send 30 dollars. I believe that will be your third. So I subscribe as before Joseph Hodgkins

Sarah to Joseph

Ipswich October ye 19, 1776. My dear, having an opportunity this evening to write a few lines I gladly embrace it to let you know that I am well through the goodness of God & I hope these lines will find you possessed of the same blessing. I received your letters a’ Saturday morning. I was greatly rejoiced to hear that you was so well as you inform me, that you are & have been ever since you left home. I think as your day is so your strength seems to be & I hope God will continue this blessing of health to you during your absence. You inform me that God has been pleased to preserve you through another battle, which I think lays us under fresh obligations to devote ourselves to his service & glory, & of that we may be truly sensible of it. I understand you have gone through a great deal of difficulties & hardship since you wrote before.

It grieves me to think what you have to undergo, but I hope it will be for our good. By what you write I think you are not in so difficult a situation as when you wrote before. I am glad to hear you are so well off as to have a log house to live in, and I should be glad if you could have more of the comfortable necessaries of life than you have, but I hope you will be carried through all you are to meet with in the way of your duty & in God’s good time be returned home in safety.

“I want very much to See you. I hope if we live to see this Campaign out, we shall have the happiness of living together again. I don’t know what you think about Staying again, but I think it can’t be inconsistent with your duty to come home to your family. It will troble me very much if you Should ingage again. I don’t know, but you may think I am too free in expressing my mind, & that it would have been time enough when I was asked, but I was afraid I Should not have that opportunity. So I hope you will excuse my freedom.”

Excerpt from Sarah’s letter to Joseph, October 19, 1776

I must just tell you I have been abroad today up to Uncle Smith’s. Cousin Lucy sends her kind regards. I sent you a pair of stockings for Thomas by Cousin Perkins. I would have sent a shirt but he could not bring it. I did not know of his coming soon enough to write. If you want shirts or stockings do send me word when Mr. Craft comes again, and I will get him to bring them. Mr. Craft was so good as to call and see me when he went through town. It grows late, so I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Sarah Hodgkins.

Father and mother send love; Sister Chapman likewise. Your Father’s family are well & desire to be remembered to you. Joanna & Sally send their duty to you. Give my regards to Capt. Wade.

Nathaniel Wade to his mother

To Mrs. Ruth Wade in Ipswich, New England. In camp at Fort Constitution, New Jersey, Oct. 1, 1776. Honored Mother: Two days ago I read yours by the post, by which I have the happiness to hear of your health; as likewise the rest of my friends; Two days after my last to you I was taken very unwell; and being too sick to tarry in camp, the Col. Thought ‘twas best for me to go into the country, as they were removing the sick from York and other hospitals. They carried us to Toppan, a town 27 miles up the river on the Jersey Shore. We were removed on Saturday the day before the enemy landed on the Island of York. Yesterday I came to camp and have my health pretty well. Blessed by God for it. I am not able to give you a particular account o the action as I was not present; tis like you may have a regular account, as there will many write that was present at the time of the action.

We are now encamped on the Jersey Shore, nearly opposite to where we were when I wrote last; the enemy are encamped where we were at Bloomingdale; they have been very still since the battle. It is generally thought their next attempt will be on this shore, as they were disappointed of possessing themselves of King’s Ridge as they expected. We have considerable number of troops now sick. But the rest in good spirits, though they have been much fatigued.

I had no man killed, but only one slightly wounded. The young man Allen I made mention of wounded in my last, had his arm taken off and is since dead. Our loss in the late engagement was about one hundred thirty killed and wounded, and that of the enemy more than three to one. From the best account we can get about one third part of the city was consumed in the late fire; how the fire took we are not able to inform you as yet. You write you shall send a couple of pairs of stockings by the post, which will be very acceptable, for there are none to be had here. If you have a chance to buy any linen, either Irish or any other, I should be glad of enough for three or four shirts. I lost but a few things on Long Island, though many other s did. I now conclude with my love to my dear sister Polly, brother and sister, with all my friends, wishing you all well, and that you may be blessed with all the happiness in life and happy in the life to come is the desire of your affectionate son, Nath’l Wade.

I have sent here enclosed one hundred dollars which I wish you would be so good as to take into your care.

Joseph to Sarah

In camp at Phillip’s Manner Nov. ye 15, 1776. Loving wife, having an opportunity to write to you I gladly embrace it as nothing except being present with you gives me more pleasure then writing too & receiving letters from you, & as we have no other way of conversing together at present I cheerfully embrace every opportunity, & doubt not but you will do the same. These may inform you that I am in good health at present, & I hope these few lines will find you & our children & all friends possessed of the same blessing. We have been much harried about for this month past & now we expect to move soon but can’t tell where, as the enemy some time ago drew back from us & moved to the North river at a place called Dobbs Ferry, but what their design is we can’t tell. But yesterday they moved from that & it is thought they will attack Fort Washington. But we are just informed that 10,000 of them are embarked onboard the transports, but where bound we have not heard. I think it is likely they are bound to the eastern.

Having just looked over your last letter I think I have not answered you to one or two particulars relative to my engaging again, but I doubt not but you will forgive my neglect, when you consider the situation we were in at the time I wrote last. And as to engaging again, I have no thoughts of engaging again in the capacity that I now sustain, and as for anything better I shall not seek after it, neither do I desire it, as there are officers enough that are fond of the service & perhaps more capable of serving the cause than I am. Therefore I hope I shall have the pleasure of facing you & all friends in a few weeks more if nothing extraordinary happens. I think you hoped that I would excuse your freedom in expressing your desire of have me come home. My dear, you are very excusable, for I am sensible that my being absent must of necessity create a great deal of trouble for you, and if you will believe me my being absence from my family is I think the greatest trouble I have met with since I have been absent therefrom. I hope shortly to have the happiness of see you & all friends then. I hope these troubles in some measure will be done away but may we not ac­count these troubles much, considering what God has done for us in our absence & is still doing every day, especially in preserving our lives & health where they have been so much exposed as ours have ben here, so that we may be sensible of God’s goodness to us and be enabled to live answerable for all his mercies.

As for any other particulars, there are gentlemen a ‘going home that can give you a better account than what I can write, so I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. Give my duty to all my parents and love to all friends. Tell brother Perkins I would have wrote to him but there was so many gentlemen going home that they could give him a better detail of affairs than what I could write. Capt, Wades regards to Mr. Hodgkins.

If you have any opportunity to write after this, I want to know whether you have sold my gun. Do tell Capt. Staniford that we heard a few days ago that Eben had got better, was likely to do well. Also tell Mrs. Pulsifer that Archelaus was well on Long Island about 2 months ago. He was taken there & was wounded in his cheek but then he was got most well. Tell Joseph Wise’s wife that he is along with Eben Staniford. He has been sick but is recovered. These four dollars in gold are for Joseph Wise’s wife.

Joseph Hodgkins, Peekskill, December ye 3, 1776. Loving wife, I received yours by the post last Wednesday which gave me great pleasure to hear that you & all friends were well & i hope these will find you possessed of the same blessing it being through the goodness of God what I enjoy at present & for which I desire to be thankful. I would just inform you that we marched from Phillips Manner last Friday morning, and we expect to pass over the North River today, & then proceed to Brunswick which is our headquarters at present. The enemy seem to bend their strength that way, as if they have a mind to winter in Philadelphia. But I hope they will be disappointed. Our people go over the ferry called Kings Ferry, and then to Brunswick is 70 or 80 miles. This march was very unexpected to us all & the travelling very bad. But I hope we shall do well. The brigade is now marching.

I want to see you very much and hope I shall in good time. I did expect to have been home by ye 20th of January if it had not been for this movement. But now I expect it will be longer. But I conclude by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. This letter I send by Col. Little’s son. Give my duty to all parents & love to all friends. Thomas is well & sends his love to you & all his friends. Tell Joanna & Sally to be good gals and that Daddy wants to see them.

“We are Very Much Fatagued with a long march. we have Ben on the march ever since ye 29 of Last mnth and we are now within 10 or 12 miles of general Washingtons Army. We Expect to Be there to night But how long we shall stay there I Can’t tell neither Can I tell you much about the Enemy only they are on one side of Dilleway River and our army on the other about 20 miles from Philadelphia.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, December 20, 1776

Buckingham in Pennsylvania. December 20, ’76. Loving wife, these lines come with my most affectionate regard to you, hoping they will find you & all friends in as good health as they leave me at this time through the goodness of God, though we are very much fatigued with long marches. Have been on march ever since ye 29th of last month and are now within 10 or 12 miles of General Washington’s army. We expect to be there tonight. The enemy are on one side of the Delaware River, and our army on the other about 20 miles from Philadelphia. We passed over the Delaware River last Sunday, 40 or 50 miles above headquarters, on account of the enemy trying to intercept our crossing, but I can’t give you but a very poor account of our march.

Doubtless you will want to hear how General Lee was taken. General Lee was invited by a gentleman to put up with him that night, and whether that man or another informed the enemy I can’t say, but somebody did. So about 50 of the light horses came ye next morning and surrounded the house. The guard was some way off, so they did but little good. Ye General was five miles from where the army camped that night. We have marched since we came from Phillips Manner about 200 miles. The greatest part of the way was dangerous by reason of the enemy being near, and not only so but the country is full of them cursed creatures called Tories.

My dear, I hope I shall live to get home. But I do not know when, for the passing is difficult at this season of the year. But I expect to lay my head to the eastward in about a fortnight. We have had extraordinary weather, but now it is a snow storm.

P.S. Give my duty to all my parents & love to all friends. I left Thomas at Peekskill, so I expect he will be at home before I shall. Jonathan Wells is with us. He desires that if you see his wife to let her know that he is well & expects to get home by the last of January.

Washington crossing the Delaware
Washington’s troops crossing the Delaware, December 25, 1776

New Jersey, in Crossing, December ye 31, ’76. These lines come with my most affectionate regards to you. Hoping they will fid you & our children and all friends in as good health as they leave me at this time through the goodness of God, which has been great towards me in many instances, especially since I left Peekskill. I cannot express the hardship and fatigue we have undergone on our march from place to place. But I desire to be thankful that I am alive & well & in good spirits at present. I hope God will still preserve us & carry us through all difficulties & dangers we have to meet with in the way of our duty, & give us an opportunity of meeting together again in this world, and give us hearts to praise his name for all his mercies.

I must just give you a broken account of the proceeding of our army for this few days past. On Sunday ye 22 of December, we marched to Bristol and encamped in the woods near the town. On Christmas night we marched with about 2000 men to the ferry about 7 miles from camp, in order to pass over to the Jersey side of the river to attack a party of the enemy, that lay at a place called Mount Holly. But the ice prevented our crossing that night. But the troops that lay about 20 miles up the river against Trenton got across, and marched round and came in upon the back of Trenton about morning, and began a heavy fire with their field pieces, which surprised the enemy, so they soon surrendered. The whole that was taken was 925; about 20 killed and wounded, six brass field pieces, a great quantity of small arms and blankets. This gave the enemy a great shock, so they soon retreated from the other places where they intended to stay while the river was frozen strong enough to cross… (the rest of the letter is missing)

1777

Joseph Hodgkins long march
Joseph Hodgkins’ first visit home was when he was assigned six months of recruiting duty in Massachusetts in January, 1777. He reached Ipswich by early February. His recruits were called into action in Worcester MA on April 8, and Hodgkins joined them in July and they soon marched to Saratoga. He missed the birth of his third child by Sarah Hodgkins, who was born the following November. In February, Captain Wade were discharged at Peekskill, returned to Ipswich, and saw subsequent military activity in Rhode Island and on the Hudson, in addition to being appointed as muster-master for Essex County.

Worcester July, 1777. Loving wife, these few lines come with my most affectionate regards to you, hoping they will find you & our children & friends in as good health as they leave me at this time through the goodness of God. I must just inform you that I got at Worcester on Saturday & I am to march from here tomorrow with the first division of the Regt., which I was in hopes I should not have done. But as I had not but one Lieut. appointed & he is not able to march, so there is nobody else to take care of the men but myself. But I must confess I feel concerned about the small pox. (The remainder of this letter is missing).

Camp Near Saratoga Sept ye 28, 1777. These few lines bring you my most affectionate regards hoping they will find you & our children & all friends in as good health as they leave me at this time through the goodness of God. I am as well as ever I was in my life & I wish to be sensible & improve all those mercies aright. I received your letter last night of ye 18 instant By Mr. Burley & I was greatly rejoiced to hear from you, thou I am sorry to hear you are Poorly. I hope you will be better soon. My dear, don’t ponder too much on any troubles that we may be called to go through, but may you & I be enabled to put our Trust in God who alone is able to do more & better than we Can ask or think, & I hope we shall both be prepared while absent, & in good time have the happiness to meet and enjoy all the blessing of a free People.

I received the shoes you sent me & am much obliged to you for I was all most bare foot. I wish I could make you any returns, but I cannot except love & good will. But I hope I shall be able to send you some money by the next post. We have not drawn any since we Left Springfield & it is very Expensive Living, but soldiers must not complain. We have good provisions, but necessaries are very dear & scarce. I wish you would send me word how things are at home with you, for we hear that things are exceedingly dear, & if you meet with any difficulty in getting necessaries of Life do send me word, for I do not mean to live in the service myself & have you suffer at home, for I think I suffer enough for us both on that account. I am in great haste; excuse my bad writing & likewise indenting, so I must conclude for this time by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

Monday Morning Sept ye 29, 1777. I must Just inform you that I am well this morning through the goodness of God & hope these will find you possessed of the same blessing. I would inform you that when I was at Springfield, I sent fifty dollars to Worcester to Nathan Heard, desiring him to send it to you by the first good opportunity. I expected you had received it before this time, but your not mentioning it I fear you have not. I am in want of some things, but we are in such an unsettled state that I am at a loss to know what to send for. It is cool country & I should be glad of a pair of mittens, & if you can send me a pair of good half soles for my boots I should be exceedingly glad, for there is nothing to be got here. Your circumstances are such that it makes me loath to send for two measly things, but I hope you’ll be able to make me a pair of winter shirts, & if we should be prospered as we hope, I shall try to come & see you and get them. Mr. Shaw is got into camp but I have not seen him yet. But I intend to send by him. Give my duty to my parents & love to all inquiring friends. To Joanna & Sally tell them to be good gals. So I subscribe as before, Joseph Hodgkins.

P.S. I must refer you to Brothers’ letter for some particulars that I have omitted in this.

Surrender of the British at Saratoga
Painting by John Trumbull of the surrender of British General John Burgoyne at Saratoga, New York on October 17, 1777, following battles with American General Horatio Gates near Saratoga in early fall,1777.

Saratoga, October 17, 1777. My dear, these may inform you that I am well, through the goodness of God and hope these lines will find you and all friends possessed of the same blessing. I must just inform you that this day we have received Gen. Burgoyne and all his army as prisoners of war, and may we all rejoice and give the glory to whom its due. I have not time to be particular, we are to march immediately to Pike Hill, and then I hope we shall have a little rest. Brother Perkins has been here today, I expect he will return to Boston with the prisoners. But I shall send this letter by Major John Story, who will set out from here tomorrow and will be likely to get home much sooner than Brother, so I must conclude it this time by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

P.S. I received yours by Brother, and was very glad to hear you was comfortable. Give my duty to all parents and love to all friends. I have been sick since I wrote to you but have got right well again. I did not leave camp, but perhaps I was as sick as hundreds that do. But Major Story was a good friend to me, for he helped me to some necessaries that I could not get.

Albany, Oct. ye 27, 1777. Loving wife, these few lines bring you my most affectionate regards, hoping they will find you & our children & friends in as good health as they leave me at this time. Through the goodness of God I am pretty well now. I have had something of the camp disorder & lost most all my flesh. But I hope soon to pick up my crumbs again. We have had a very fatiguing campaign, but we have done the business we came here for, I hope. None of us will complain of a little hardship. I wish I could inform you that I thought our fatigue was over for this year, but to the contrary. I expect we shall march tomorrow morning down the river towards the Peekskill, and I expect we will be ordered to Philadelphia to take another winter’s campaign in the Jerseys. Soldiers must not complain. If General Washington is but able to take care of General Howe, I hope we shall get into winter quarters in season. But we must leave the event with him. Who knows what is best for us.

I hope I shall have the pleasure of seeing you between now & spring but I don’t know how it will be if General Washington is but able to take care of. How I hope we shall get into winter quarters in season. But we must leave the event with him who knows what is best for us. I am in haste. I have nothing new to write as the complete victory gained over our enemy in this part of the world is by this time an old story. It will be needless for me to say much about it. Especially as you will have the particulars by them that were here on the spot. But I think there is a remarkable hand of Providence in it, and we shall do well to acknowledge it. So I must subscribe as before your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

P.S. Give my duty to all my parents & love to all friends. I have no money to send you. I know not how you will live. But I have not received any money since I left Springfield. I expect every day to receive three months pay. My dear, do get a good stock of cider if you can get anybody to trust you for it. I have sent two letters to cousin Tom to have him come; do tell him he must come if he can. I send this letter by Mr. Hidden who with several others of my company has got furloughs for 2 months. Mr. Ireland is very sick at New City. Joseph Lord is sick in camp; the rest are stirring about.

New York, November 1777. Sunday ye 16.…I desire to be remembered to my friends. The brigade is now crossing Kings Ferry. We shall take the best road to Philadelphia. I hope we shall be able to give some good account of General Howe before I return. I hear that it is Thanksgiving with you this week. I wish I could be with you, but though we are deprived of the happiness of being together yet we have great Cause of thankfulness. We have drawn some money. But I have no opportunity to send any to you, but hope you will not think hard of me for I feel very uneasy.

1778

Washington at Valley Forge
In December 1777, with a victory at Saratoga securing the northern campaign, General George Washington moved the Continental Army to winter quarters at Valley Forge, just 20 miles from British-held Philadelphia. Throughout the winter, the army was short of basic necessities, including food and clothing, which made the winter cold even more miserable. The painting of the winter march to Valley Forge is in the permanent collection at the Museum of the American Revolution.

Valley Forge Camp Jan. ye 5, 1778. My dear, these few lines bring my most affectionate regards to you, hoping they will find you & all friends in as good health as they leave me at this time through the goodness of God. I received yours of the 15th of December on New Years Day and that of ye 7th last night, and I am rejoiced to hear that you have been comfortably cared through all the difficulties that you have been called too in my absence. Oh that we were sensible of the goodness of God to us and were more devoted to his service. I wish I could have the satisfaction of seeing you & our children, especially my little daughters. I am sorry to hear that the babe is got that distressing cough. But I hope God will appear for it & rebuke its disorder & restore it to health again and give us an opportunity of rejoicing in his goodness.

My dear, you say that you have not heard from me since the 17th of Oct. I received your letter of ye 17th of October by the Post. That minute I left Albany, & I could not find him afterwards to send by him. But I wrote about ye 16th of November from Kings Ferry & sent it by Capt. Blasdon. But it seems you have not had that. But I have sent by Col. Colman a letter & some cash which I judge you have received by this time, & have sent another by a Post, since you say in your letter of the 7th that you depend on my coming home if I am alive & well.

“I will Tel you the Gratest incoredgement that I have of getting home that is I intend to Persist on to the Generl for Liverty to go to New England to Tak the small Pox & if this Plan fails me I shall have But Little or no hope. I Believe I have as great a Desire to Come home as you can Possibly have of having me, for this winter’ Campaign Beats all for fatague & hardships that Ever I went through.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, January 5, 1778

But My dear, I thought when I wrote last that I should not try to get home this winter & wrote you some reasons why I should not. But since I have received your letters & seeing you have made some dependance upon my coming home, therefore out of regard to you I intend to try to get a furlough in about a month. But I am not certain I shall be successful in my attempts; therefore I would not have you depend too much on it, for if you should & I should fail of coming, the disappointment would be the greater. But I will tell you the greatest encouragement that I have of getting home, that is I intend to petition to the General for liberty to go to New England to take the small pox innoculation, & if this plan fails me, I shall have but little or no hope. I believe I have as great a desire to come home as you can possibly have of having me, for this winter’s campaign beats all for fatigue & hardship that ever I went through. But I have been cared through it thus far & desire to be thankful for it. We have got our huts almost done for the men. But it’s reported that General Howe intends to come & see our new houses & give us a house warming. But if he should I hope we shall have all things ready to receive him & treat him in every respect according to his deserts. You say you have named your child Martha & you did not know whether I should like the name. But I have nothing to say.. if it suits you, I am content. I wish I could have the satisfaction of seeing it. So I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

“I am dull to think of loosing Thomas who was not only my koock but my wash woman and nurs in sickness in shorte he is good for almost Everything. But he is going home & I wish him well with all my hart. David is Ben a water in the mess sometime & he is going too so it seams as if we must Brake up house keeping….I shall be Verry glad of some winter shirts if I come home & if I should not come Home I must go naked for I can get nothing hear.”

Excerpts from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, December 1778

Pennsylvania, Valley Forge January 11, 1778. My dear, this may inform you that I am in good health at present, & hope these few lines will find you & our children & friends possessed of the same blessing. I have nothing new to write, only that I am dull to think of losing Thomas who was not only my cook, but my wash woman, and nurse in sickness; in short he is good for almost everything. But he is going home. I wish him well with all my heart. David has been a waiter in the mess sometimes, and he is going too. It will seem as if we must break up housekeeping, unless we can find some new ones. But as my paper is very bad and having written so lately, I must beg to be excused, so I shall subscribe myself your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

P.S. Remember me to all inquiring friends. I shall send this by Thomas who can tell you how we live here better than I can write. I want to see you very much. But I know nothing more about going home now than what I wrote by the Post. I shall be very glad of some winter shirts if I should come home. If I should not come I must go naked, for I can get nothing here.

“What our soldiers have suffered this Winter is Beyond Expression, as one half has Ben Bare foot and all most Naked all winter the other half Very Badly on it for Clothes of all sorts and to Com Pleat our misery very shorte on it for Provision….But these Defeltis the men Bore with a Degree of fortitude Becoming soldiers...The Contry Towns have Provided Clothing for there men and Brought them to Camp But From the seport Towns I fear they have Lost all there Publick Spirit. I would Beg of them to Rouse from there stupedity and Put on som humanity and stir themselves Before it is too Late”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, writing from Valley Forge February 22, 1778

February 22, 1778. Headquarters, Valley Forge. My dear, having an opportunity to write to you I gladly embrace it. I would inform that I am in good health at present, through the goodness of God, & I hope these lines will find you & all friends possessed of the same blessings I have not been able to procure a furlough as I expected when I wrote last. But I hope you did not depend a great deal upon it, as I think I wrote that I was not starting of getting one when I tried. I am in great haste as the bearer is waiting.

What our soldiers have suffered this winter is beyond expression, as one half has been barefoot and almost naked all winter; the other half very badly on it for clothes of all sorts; and to complete our misery very short on provision. Not long since our brigade drew but a half day’s allowance of meat in eight days. But these deficits the men bore with a degree of fortitude becoming soldiers.

But I must say one word to the people at home who I fear have lost all sense of compassion, if they ever had any, for the country towns have provided clothing for their men and brought them to camp. But as there has been none from the seaport towns, I fear they have lost all their public spirit. I would beg of them to rouse from there stupidity and put on some humanity and stir themselves before it is too Late. I would not have them think hard of maintaining their soldiers, for what the soldiers has suffered the past year deserves a pension during life.

My dear, I hope to get leave of absence before the opening of another campaign. I have drawn some money for the men that are at home, but I shall not send it, as I shall come home as soon as ever I can. I am in hopes to draw the rest of their wages before I come home, so I must subscribe as before, your most affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

PS Sarg. Charles is very bad with the fever. Give my compliments to all that inquire after me. I hope you will have some shirts for me against I get home, for I am all naked.

Sarah to Joseph

“My Dear I must tell you a verbal Letter is what I Should hardly have expected from So near a friend at So greate a distance. It seems you are tired of writing. I am sorry you count it trouble to write to me. Since that is all the way we can have of conversing together, I hope you will not be tired of receiving letters.”

Excerpt from Sarah’s letter to Joseph, February 23, 1778

Ipswich February ye 23 1778. My dear, after my tender regards to you, I would inform you that I and my children are in good health. I hope these lines will find you possessed of the same blessing. I now set down to write between hope and fear hoping you will come home before I get to the bottom, but fearing least you should not come this winter. I heard of an opportunity to send a letter & I thought I would not miss of it, though you have been writing to me. Cousin Perkins told me he saw you & you was well, but he says he don’t think you will come home, so he is but one of Jobs comforters. I was very glad to hear you was well, but my dear, I must tell you a verbal letter is what I should hardly have expected from, so near a friend at so great a distance. It seems you are tired of writing. I am sorry you count it trouble to write to me. Since that is all the way we can have of conversing together, I hope you will not be tired of receiving letters. It is true you wrote a few days before, but when you was nearer, you wrote every day sometimes. I was never tired of reading your letters. I long to see you, am looking for you every day. If you should fail of coming, my trouble will be great. Surely it will be a trouble indeed, but I must hasten. I have a sorrowful piece of news to tell you– it is the death of Cousin Ephraim Perkins. He died on his passage from the West Indies the fifth of January. He he is much Lamented by all who know him.

Feb. ye 28. After I had written part of my letter, I did not like the opportunity that presented, & I would not send it, but now I have heard of another. I think I will send it for fear you should not come home. The time seems long. I am almost impatient a’looking for you & almost give up over your coming, but don’t know how to bear that. Our friends hear are well in general. Sister Hannah sends her love to you. my babe is got well of her cough for which, & many other mercies. I desire to bless God and commending you & myself & children to his care and protection & hoping you will be at home before this gets to ye army. I shall now subscribe myself, your most affectionate companion till death, Sarah Hodgkins

Joseph to Sarah

“When I think how I have spent three years in the war, have ben Exposed to Every hardship, Ventered my Life & Limbs, Broke my Constitution, wore out all my Clothes & has got nothing for it, & now not to be thanked, it seams two much for any man to Bare.

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, April 17, 1778

Pennsylvania Head quarters April 17, 1778. Loving wife, these lines bring you my most affectionate regards hoping they will find you & our children & all friends in as good health as they leave me at this time, through the goodness of God I am very well now, but since I wrote last to you I have been a good deal troubled with the rheumatism. But through mercy it is left me & I feal hardy. But I am very uneasy in my mind about you for, I am starting that you have long looked for me home, & I am afraid you will suffer for the necessities of life. For I am informed that these things are as dear with you as they are here & if that is the case, I wish you would let me know, it & if you do suffer, I am determined to come home and suffer with you. I believe you think I don’t care much about you, as I do not send anything home. But my dear, you are always near my heart & in my thoughts.

But I am sorry to inform you that I am obliged to spend great part of my wages, or else I should suffer. But I should have sent some money home before now if I had not expected to come home myself before this time. But I am all most out of patience, awaiting for things to be settled so as I can get away on some terms or other, which is my determination to do as soon as Possible I can, for the time seems as long to me, I dare say, as it does to you.

There is a new arrangement of the army which is likely to take place sometime this spring. We have been expecting it to come out every day for this month. But the reason it does not come out is unknown to me. Many officers were very uneasy about the affair, as many officers will be obliged to leave the service. But for my part leaving the service does not trouble me, for it will be my choice to leave it. But to be sent home without any reason why is not agreeable to me, and if it should be the case, I believe I shall not trouble the army much more. But when I think how I have spent three years in the war, have been exposed to every hardship, ventured my life & limbs, broke my constitution, wore out all my clothes & have got nothing for it, & now not to be thanked, it seems two much for any man to bear.

No more of this for the present, My dear. I received your letter by Mr. Wescott by the Post ye 21st of March, & the 25th I wrote to you & sent it by a soldier that was going through Ipswich. But for fear it should miscarry, I would Just mention that I have had the small pox, & all my men, and they are all pretty well that belong to Ipswich, except Josh Pettengill who has got the fever. I have sent by Mr. Wescott in the Post one hundred dollars for which you may give him your receipt & settle for the postage, which will be one shilling on a pound. I have nothing more to write, only I must repeat my earnest desire of seeing you as soon as I possibly can, & beg you to make yourself as contented as possible. And now commending you & my self & children to the care of kind Providence hoping he will preserve us while absent, & in his good time give us an opportunity of meeting together again, which is the Harty Desire of him who is your most affectionate & Loving companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins

Give my duty to my parents & love to all friends. I don’t know but I must go naked soon without I can get home. But I would not have you send anything without I send for it.

Sarah to Joseph

“I received word that you had had the Small pox and was got well which I was rejoiced to hear and it gave me new corage to Look for you but I have Looked for you till I know not how to Look any longer, but I don’t know how to get over. Your not writing to me gives me Some uneasyness for I am sure it is not for want of oppertunitys to Send..”

Excerpt from Sarah’s letter to Joseph, April 26, 1778

Ipswich April ye 26, 1778. My dear, these lines come with my affectionate regards to you hoping they will find you in good health as they leave me & the rest of my family at this time through the goodness of God, but I am very full of trouble on account of your not coming home. I received your letter of the 22nd of February by Mr. Horten. He told me you was inoculated for the small pox a day a two before he came away. You wrote me word you should come home as soon as you could, but did not set any time. When I concluded you would come as soon as you got well, if you lived to get well, & I never heard a word from you since till about ten days ago, which you must think gave me great uneasiness fearing how it was with you, Nat Treadwell wrote a few lines home which they received about ten days ago & he was so kind as to send word that you had had the small pox & was got well, which I was rejoiced to hear and it gave me new courage to look for you, but I have looked for you till I know not how to look any longer, but I don’t know how to get over it. Your not writing to me gives me some uneasiness, for I am sure it is not for want of opportunities to send, for I have heard of a number of officers coming home lately. I wrote to you by a post about two months ago & have had no returns since. I should be glad to know the reason of your not writing to me the first opportunity you have, if it is not too much trouble for you.

“I am very low in spirits, almost despare of your coming home…..I Should write a vollum. I cant express what I feal but I forbear disappointments are allotted to me….I have got a Sweet Babe almost Six mounths old but have got no father for it but Sally Stanwood.”

Excerpts from Sarah’s letter to Joseph, April 26, 1778

Monday afternoon, I am very low in spirits, almost despair of your coming home. When I began, I thought I would write but a few lines & begun upon a small piece of paper, but it is my old friend & I don’t know how to leave off, & some is wrong end upwards & some right. If it was not that I have some hope of your coming home yet, I believe I should write a volume. I can express what I feel, but I forbear disappointments are allotted for me. So committing you to the care of kind Providence, I once more subscribe myself your most affectionate companion till death, Sarah Hodgkins.

P.S. Brother Perkins & sister send their love to you. Sister Chapman is got to bed with a fine son. I have got a sweet Babe almost six months old, but have got no father for it but Sally Stanwood.

*Capt. Hodgkins was granted a two month leave in April, after recovering from the smallpox inoculation. He was reported on leave May 2, and June 2, and was still absent for the indecisive battle of Monmouth Courthouse on June 28. He rejoined his regiment in Peekskill on July 15.

Sarah to Joseph

Ipswich July ye 27, 1778. My dear, these lines come with my most affectionate regards to you hoping they will find you in good health as they leave me at this time through the goodness of God. I received yours by Mr. Wescott this morning. I was very glad to hear you was well & that you had got so far through your journey well, but I should be gladder if you were a’going to take the same journey again as soon as you had rested yourself.

I must just inform you that I am at my father’s. Mother was taken last Thursday morning with a terrible pain in her side. The pain has left her, but she seems to be quite weak & poorly. I hope she will get better in a few days. I have been here ever since she was taken. My sweet baby seems to be something unwell, but I hope it is nothing more than breeding teeth. She longs to see her father. She is a scolding at me like a dog’s tail. Now you informed me in your letter that you had left two of your old companions in the late battle, a loud call. My dear, may we take suitable notice of it, had you been there it might have been your lot, but blessed be God it is otherwise. I think we have reason to hope the enemy will be defeated this year. We have very hot dry weather here, we have had no rain of any value since you left home. I expect to send this by a Post that I hear is going to Camp. I must conclude at this time by subscribing myself your most affectionate companion, Sarah Hodgkins

Battle of Rhode Island
In 1777, Capt. Nathaniel Wade was in Rhode Island, where plans for an October rendezvous with the British in Tiverton was called off due to a shrinking army. Wade was given command of a unit and was promoted to full colonel in March, 1778. On July 8, a French fleet with 4000 troops arrived, and an assault on the occupying British forces at Newport was planned. Hodgkins’ company crossed the Hudson on July 15, and marched through New Haven toward Providence. On the evening of August 11, 1778, a violent storm wrecked both side’s camps, with not a tent left standing, and the French fleet retired to New York for repairs, prompting an exodus of American soldiers. The Battle of Rhode Island took place on August 29 and left the British in control of Newport, but surrounded by American camps. The British eventually abandoned Newport in October 1779.

Joseph to Sarah

Camp at Rhode Island ye 18th of Aug. 1778. My dear, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to let you know that I am well, & hope these lines will find you possessed of the blessing. I have had no opportunity of writing to you since I have rejoined the army, & now I do not know who I shall send this by. But hearing of a young man going to the Eastward tomorrow, I thought I would write a line. I would inform you that we landed on this Island last Sunday, & last Saturday we marched & took post within two miles of the enemy’s lines where we still remain. We are preparing batteries which will be opened on them pretty soon. The enemy keeps. a constant cannonade on our fatigue parties but they do but little damage.

As to the French fleet, I hardly know what to write. Doubtless you heard of their going out some time ago. They have not returned yet. But it is said today that they have been heard of & that they have taken 21 sail of transports, & are now off Block island. I do not say this is a fact, but hope it tis. But I hope they will return soon, and if they do, I think we shall soon do our work here, & I hope we shall have an opportunity of seeing our friends in peace. But I must be short, as I expect to go on duty tonight.

I met with the misfortune to lose my horse at Peekskill, and marched afoot till I got so lame I could not travel. Then I was obliged to buy another which I have got now. But I intend to see him the first opportunity, for it took all my money to buy him. But I hope I shall not loose anything by him. I should be very glad if you can turn my old coat so that if I should have an opportunity I can send for it. But I must subscribe myself your affectionate companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

P.S. Give my duty to all parents & love to all inquiring friends. If I had a good opportunity I should write more particulars. I forgot to tell you that I received your letter By Jacob Hodgkins, which I did soon after I got on this Island and was very glad to hear that you & our children & friends were well. I hope you will not miss of writing every opportunity.

“I met with the misforting to Loos my horse at Pakeskill and marched afoot till I got so Laim I could not Travel. Then I was obliged to by another which I have got now. But I intend to seel him the first opportunity, for it took all my money to buy him for it took all my money to By him. But I hope I shall not Loose anything by him. I should be very glad if you can turn my old coat so that if I should have an opportunity I can send for it.

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, August 18, 1778

Sarah to Joseph

Ipswich Sept ye 3 1778. My dear, I take this opportunity to write a line or two to let you know that I and all our children are well for which mercy as well as many others I desire to be thankful. I hope these lines will find you possessed of the same blessing. I received your letter by Capt. Goodhue Last Thursday morning and was very glad to hear you was well. I believe you and many others are disappointed in your expectations, but I hope it is all for the best. I am very glad to hear you are well off of the Island, for I was very uneasy about you. Doc. Manning is come home, & he says he saw you since you come off; you was well which was a great satisfaction to me to hear. When I first heard you was got so nigh as Providence, I was in hopes to have heard from you oftener than I have done. Pray don’t fail of writing all opportunities. I want to see you very much but durst not hardly think of that, but I hope too between this & cold weather, if we are alive and well.

I received the money you sent me by Mr. Pickard. It was very acceptable to me. I am sorry for the loss you met with in losing your horse. It seems to be rather against us. I think I wrote by the post last week, which I trust you have received before now, that I am at work upon your old coat. I can hardly spare time to write. I shall have it ready to send next week I hope, if an opportunity presents, and if I don’t spoil it. Our friends here are well in general. Father Perkins is not very well. I believe he has worked beyond his strength. He seems to be quite week & feeble, but I hope he will recover again. He sends his love to you, & mother likewise. I must just tell you my baby has got two teeth & she can stand by things alone. I have no news to write, so I conclude by subscribing your ever constant wife till death, Sarah Hodgkins.

P.S. Brother & Sister send their love to you. Brother is over head & ears in work, so that he can’t write to you. He is a’going a’freighting tomorrow. Sister Hannah has been here about a week. She desires to be remembered to you. Joanna & Sally send their duty to you. If my letter is not so correct as might be, you must consider from whence it came and excuse all that’s amiss, so leaving you with the care of kind Providence, I subscribe myself yours as before.

Joseph to Sarah

Camp Providence Sept ye 4 1778. My dear, these lines may inform you that I am in good health through the goodness of God & hope these lines will find you & our children & friends possessed of the same blessing. I would just give you a short account of our retreat. We continued on the Island till Sunday night, then the army all got off the Island with all the artillery & baggage without having the least notice. We encamped on Monday & Tuesday, we marched for Providence and we got there Wednesday night where we are now encamped. But I must be short for the man is waiting.

Thursday Morning 7 o’clock Providence Sept ye 10 1778. My dear, after my most kind love to you our children & all friends, these may inform you that I am in good health at present & hope these few lines will find you possessed of the same blessing. Although I wrote yesterday by Mr. John Story, yet knowing that Dr. Manning was a’going home today, I thought I would write a line or two. I have no news, only I am on the main guard & have had many thoughts in my head tonight. But it would be folly in me to commit all my thoughts to writing. But however, I want to see you very much & I wish your circumstances were such as you could leave home so as to come and see me, for I have no Prospect of getting leave of absence at present. Now wishing you all the happiness your circumstances will admit of, I subscribe myself your affectionate husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

Providence October 12th 1778. I wrote a letter last Saturday, but the storm prevented Maj. Story from setting out till this Morning, and I having felt the change of the weather puts me in mind of what I like to want, & I having no woolen gloves, I must just put you in mind of it and desire you to prepare me a pair as soon as you can conveniently. But for your encouragement I will tell you that I intend to come home to get them and hope that will in some measure satisfy you for the present, as it is all I can bestow. So wishing you our children and friends every necessary comfort, I subscribe my self, dear Wife your most kind companion till death, Joseph Hodgkins.

P.S. Give my duty to all my parents and love to all friends I wish you would let Mr. Sweet Know that it will be much to his disadvantage to stay at home any longer if he has not set out before you get this.

“I have Leet another Candle so I will write a word or two more. You say in your Letter that you are afraid that I shall stay in the Cause of Liberty Till I shall mak my self a slave att my Day. I have two much Reason to fear that will be the Case. But if it should I have no body to Blame but the Continent in general, who will Ever Be guilty of Ruening thousands unless they Due something more for them then what they Ever have Don yet.”

Excerpt from Joseph’s letter to Sarah, October 13, 1778

Providence October 13, 1778. My dear, I received yours by Col. Wade this morning which gave me the greatest satisfaction to hear that you and our children were well, especially my Little Matty who I was much Concerned about. I desire to join with you in wishing we may be truly sensible of the goodness of God to us in this respect as well as many others, and acknowledge our dependence on him at all times who has hitherto preserved us and carried us through so many difficulties. I hope these lines will find you and our children still in the enjoyment of that inestimable blessing of health which through mercy I enjoy at this time. But my candle is almost out, so I must be short. I hope to come home soon and see you, so wishing you good night I subscribe myself Dear Wife your most kind & affectionate husband till death, Joseph Hodgkins. Tell Brother I want to get home to husking, but fear he will get done before I shall get home.

P.S. Give my duty to my parents & love to sister Hannah & all friends. My compliments to Capt. Kendall & wife. We have just heard that there are accounts from General Washington that 12 regiments of the enemy from New York are embarked and sailed to the eastward, and it is thought the same are now off of Newport. But whether they are to land there or go farther is uncertain. Give my duty to my parents and sister, and my compliments to Capt. Kendall and wife.

I have lit another candle so I will write a word or two more. You say in your letter that you are afraid that I shall stay in the cause of liberty till I shall make myself a slave at my day. I have too much reason to fear that will be the case. But if it should, I have nobody to blame but the continent in general, who will ever be guilty of ruining thousands unless they do something more for them than what they ever have done yet, and now as I have spent so much time in the service & now to ask a discharge, when to appearance the war is most to an end, would debar me from expecting any further compensation, as I said before set down by the loss. But I hope to see you in a short time and then we can consider further of these matters. I wish you would contrive some way or other that I can live without work, for you know that soldiers cannot work, especially Continental officers who have lived so high as we have done, especially last winter. But not to joke about the matter. I hope you will excuse my rudeness, so I subscribe as before, J. Hodgkins

*Joseph Hodgkins was allowed to visit home again at the end of August, 1778. Upon returning, Capt. Hodgkins’ joined General Glover’s winter camp a few miles north of Providence.

1779

Providence Jan. 1st 1779. My dear, these may inform you that I am well at this time, only a little lame in one of my legs by reason of breaking the skin a little and getting cols in it. But it is not bad, so I hope it will get well in a few days. I hope these lines will find you and our children in comfortable circumstances. We have had shocking bad weather since I left home, which gave me great uneasiness. But through mercy the weather now is pleasant. I have nothing of importance to write. I got to Providence Thursday night after I left home by traveling 32 miles that day which worried me very much. You may tell Mrs. Ireland that I did intend to send her money. But the pay master says he shall get the back allowance money next week and then he will settle all together. I have no news to write, so I shall take the freedom after wishing you a happy new year, to subscribe myself, dear wife your most affectionate companion till death, J. Hodgkins

(End of letters)

Postscript

Joseph Hodgkins offered his resignation from the military in May, 1779. He appeared for the last time on the payroll in June, after four years, two months and one day of continuous service. Hodgkins returned to his carreer as a shoemaker, and held various public offices for the rest of his life. He was appointed muster master for Essex County in November 1979, with the rank and pay of the colonel. His wife Sarah Perkins Hodgkins, whom he had married at the death of his first wife, died in March 1803 after 31 years of marriage. A year later he married third, Lydia Treadwell, a wealthy widow. He died on Sept. 25, 1829 at age 86, having outlived all twelve of his children except Martha, the baby who was born during his march from Saratoga to Valley Forge. She survived her father by only three days. His third wife Lydia lived for four more years.

Whipple House before it was moved
In 1813 at the age of 70 after the death of Sarah, Col. Hodgkins married fifty-year-old Lydia Whipple CrockerTreadwell, widow of Elisha Treadwell, daughter of John Crocker and Mehitable (Burley) Crocker. His new wife had a financial interest in the Whipple house, which became his final abode. The Whipple House is shown here before 1900 at its original location on the corner of Market and Saltonstall Streets.

Nathaniel Wade enlisted a fourth time. He led a Massachusetts brigade for three months duty in 1780, and was assigned command of West Point briefly in September by Gen. Washington when Gen. Benedict Arnold went to the enemy. Wade and his company returned to Ipswich shortly, their enlistments having expired. He was appointed town clerk in 1784. In the winter of 1786-7 he briefly returned to service, leading an Ipswich company in a march to the Connecticut River Valley to put down the insurgency known as Shay’s Rebellion. In 1795 he was elected to the Massachusetts General Court, and served 21 years consecutively in that position. In 1820 he was one of two Ipswich delegates to the Massachusetts Constitutional Convention. In 1824, he and Col. Joseph Hodgkins were chosen to escort General Lafayette from Ipswich to Newburyport during Lafayette’s return tour of America. Nathaniel Wade died in 1826 in the house he was born at age 77.

e85_joseph_hodgkins
Joseph Hodgkins’s gravestone at the Old North Burying Ground reads:
“Erected to the memory of Colonel Joseph Hodgkins who died Sept. 25, 1829, aged 86 years. A soldier and a Patriot of the Revolution, he Commenced his Military Sevices in Cpl. Wade’s company of minute men, and fought at the battle of Bunker’s Hill. He was also at the Battles of Long Island, Haerlem’s Heights, the White Plains, and Princeton; and at the capture of Burgoyne and his Army. After the war of Independence, he served as a Colonel in the Militia.”
Tombstone of Sarah Hodgkins at the Old North Burying Ground in Ipswich
To the right of Joseph’s marker is Sarah’s tombstone with the words “Pass on, my friends, dry up your tears. Here I must lie till Christ appears. death is a debt to nature due. I’ve paid the debt and so must you.”
e74_mary-sarah_hodgkins
Two daughters of Joseph and Sarah Hodgkins who died in 1794 and 1795

Related posts:

Ipswich MA joins the Revolution Ipswich and the breach with Britain - On June 10th, 1776, the men of Ipswich, in Town-meeting assembled, instructed their Representatives, that if the Continental Congress should for the safety of the said Colonies declare them Independent of the Kingdom of Great Britain, they will solemnly engage with their lives and Fortunes to support them in the Measure.

Categories: Revolutionary War

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3 replies »

  1. Hi – Nice summary. Enjoyed exploring Ipswich when doing research on my paper on Sarah, as part of a graduate seminar at UMASS, Amherst. I have very fond memories of Ipswich and Sarah.

    Unfortunately, link to my article does not work. Thanks!

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