Letter – James Peckham, 2 August 1866


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Letter written by former Colonel James Peckham to his mother, from St. Louis. Peckham writes that he and his wife Kate are both at home and doing well. He has been asked to go to Philadelphia during the National Convention to act as a correspondent for the Missouri Republican, but he declined. Peckham mentions a book he has written, and says the publishers Wynkoop & Hillenbeck have agreed to have it out by August. Peckham is already thinking of the election next fall, and says that he wants to “see what kind of a state of affairs we are going to have here in Missouri.” Peckham disputes rumors he has heard of an outbreak of cholera in the city.

-Page 1-

St. Louis August 2, 1866

My Dear Mother

     I got home safe & quite well in the night of July 3d. Kate came home last Saturday night, and is well enough to eat her regular rations. Today I do not feel so well as I would like, and I am at home resting & keeping cool & quiet. The Missouri Republican wants me to go to Philadelphia as its correspondent during the National Convention to be held there on the 14th of this month, but I am so adverse to making such a long trip again this summer that in my present mood I positively decline it. I haven’t got my book out yet. Wynkoop & Hillenbeck agreed to have it out by the 1st of August at latest. Their draft for the whole expense was paid July 25th.

-Page 2-

Kate has got house keeping on the brain, but I rather think now I won’t think of housekeeping until after our next fall election, and see what kind of a state of affairs we are going to have here in Missouri. These are terrible times all through the state now. We have had awful warm weather for the last two weeks, but today it is delightfully cool. There have been rumors of cholera being in the city, but I doubt it very much.

     My throat troubles me very much. Last night I made a short speech and today I suffer from it. Spank Fan and Belle for me, & kiss & shake hands & say “how’d’do” to all the balance. God bless you all.

                                  Yours affectionately,


James Peckham was a member of the Missouri Legislature before the Civil War and was a strident Unionist when the state was debating to secede or not. He left the legislature and organized the 8th MO Regiment. Peckham served as the 8th MO Regiment’s Lt. Col. and led the regiment at Shiloh and Pittsburg Landing, TN, and at Jackson, MS. He later went on to lead the 29th MO. After the war he published a book on the history of the war in Missouri and General Nathaniel Lyon. He passed away in 1869 and is buried at Bellefontaine Cemetery in St. Louis, MO.

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