Two letters from Shaw, to his father and to his friend Charles Fessenden Morse:

Readville [BCF]
March 4,1863

Dear Father,

I have just received yours of the 3d inst. Governor Andrew says that all Colonel Higginson’s men, and the Colonel himself, wish to get into the regular United States uniform; and strongly advises our sticking to it. We are getting men very fast. There has been a hitch in the Rhode Island recruiting, but we hope to get it going in a day or two.

I trust — — will do something more practical than having meetings, and will manage to send some recruits. What do you think? Had we better send an officer on there to work?

Your loving Son
p.S. —Enclosed is another private letter for Mother.

Readeviile [BCF]
March 4,1863

My dear Charley,

Your letter of the 23d Feb. reached me today. In future address to 44 Beacon St. Though I shall be in camp after this I can get my letters sooner there.

I got yours just as I returned from visiting your Mother & sister at Jamaica Plain. I should have gone there long ago, if I could have found time — and shall certainly make them another visit as soon as I can. Greely Curtis is at home as you know, and his engagement is all right.

I had an invitation to visit the Somerset Club whenever I wished, and the other evening I went there. A great many of them are “bloody Copperheads” but no one made any disagreeable remarks while I was there. It would be a good thing for Greely to go in and give some of them a soaping down.

My regiment is making pretty good headway. We have nearly 150 men in camp, and they come in pretty fast. There are several among them, who have been well drilled, & who are acting sergeants. They drill their squads with a great deal of snap, and I think we shall have some good soldiers. Thirty four came up from New Bedford this afternoon, and marched with a drum & fife creating the greatest enthusiasm among the rest. We have them examined, sworn in, washed & uniformed as soon as they arrive — and when they get into their buttons they feel about as good as a man can. It is very laughable to hear the sergeants explain the drill to the men, as they use words long enough for a Doctor of Divinity or anything else.

The heel question is not a fabulous one — for some of them are wonderful in that line. One man has them so long that they actually prevent him from making the facings properly. Since you were here, I think there has come a change over the public mind, in regard to the war. That feeling which we noticed, was a sort of reaction from the early enthusiasm, and I believe it is fast passing.

The conscription act has encouraged me very much, and must show the Rebels and European Powers, that we have no thought of giving in. If it is enforced we are safe, but if the Government gives in to rebellious demonstrations in the North, it is lost, because that will be a test of its power — don’t you think so? I hope the 2d New Hampshire is only one of many old regiments coming home, to enforce conscription. It can never be done, I think, in many states without military aid. But the talk of resistance may turn out to be mere bluster after all.

I came out to Readeviile yesterday for good — and it seems like Camp Andrew over again. Everything topsy turvy. Nothing to eat and the coldest possible barracks.

George Bangs is in a state of despondency difficult to describe or even imagine.  He says he thinks sometimes that he is going to become insane — and if he doesn’t take up another train of thought, I think there is some danger in it.

I saw Sam Quincy on Monday, just before he left. He may be able to keep the field, but he will need a great deal of pluck to do it. Charley Mudge seems very ill indeed. Between the two, you and Bangs stand a good chance of being Field officers. I hope to hear of your promotion before long, and in the mean time it is good you are in such comfortable quarters & pleasant company.

It has been a subject of wonder to me that the nigger concern meets with so little opposition here. Almost everyone, even those who do not favour it, says that it is a good thing to try. Even such fellows as Bill Horton, now they see that we are not tabooed, by what he considers respectable society, talk of wanting to go into it.

Perhaps though, there may be something rough for us to go through yet, in the way of abuse. It is a matter of chance, which way the public sentiment may take a turn — Especially in the army.

I have been to a dinner or small party almost every day since I got to Boston, and have enjoyed myself amazingly — though my mind wanders sometimes to a certain person in N. Y.

Powdered hair is coming in again. The gayety in N. Y. & Boston is greater than ever.

Postman waits. Good bye & God bless you my dear fellow.

Always afftcly yours,
R. G. S.