7 August 1864: “nothing ever happens in a prison worthy of repetition that we can tell”

Item Description: Letter dated 7 August 1864 from Joseph Wilson Alexander. He writes to his sister from prison in New England and describes the monotony of prison. Before his capture, he served as an officer in the United States Navy from 1857 to 1861 and then in the Confederate Navy.


Item Citation: Folder 12, William Alexander Hoke Papers, #345, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Item Transcription:

Fort Warren

Aug 7th 1864

My dear Sister

I hardly know when I wrote last but am convinced that I owe you a letter + as I have not written here for two weeks I must try + get off a note to-day. What shall I tell you? That I am in good health? Well when I’ve told you that it is all nothing ever happens in a prison worthy of repetition that we can tell. The same unvaried incidents occur again + again. Sunday is really the only day that is a lot different from the others + that not for the reason you imagine I am certain Well the reason is that the mail only comes once on Sunday while it comes twice on every other day. Therefore Sunday is twice on every other day. Therefore Sunday is twice as long as any other day + consequently twice as hard to pass– Did you ever know what it was to have absolutely nothing to do but to criticize your neighbors? But I must tell you that notwithstanding all my disappointments I am again somewhat hopeful of an early exchange. Early now has a vastly different meaning from what I used to attach to it. It means three or four or perhaps six months! Perhaps if I stay here long enough a year or two will mean early. Who knows? I wrote to William twice the other day sent one letter to New Orleans + requested the County ? there to forward it the other I sent to the blockading flush off Galveston + asked the County officer to send it ashore. William may get one of them Tell Daisy I will write to her next Sunday I have never received ? letter– Something is wrong about the mails. My love to all

Your affec. brother

J.W. Alexander

Miss M.W. Alexander

Lincolnton N.C.

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