Notes on Letter to Pvt. Albert Penno, Co. D, 1st RI

4 08 2011

The following notes accompany the transcription of this letter and can be found at The Civil War Day by Day, maintained by the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The good folks there have given me permission to add some of their wonderful collection to the resources here – more to come.

Letter from Lucinda M. [Hayne?] to her husband Albert B. Penno, a private in Company D of the 1st Regiment of Rhode Island Volunteers. The following words are written on the front of the envelope included with this letter, “Found on field, Bull Run, July 21 ’61.” This note is believed to be in the hand of Edward Porter Alexander, a Confederate officer who was also present at the Battle of Bull Run.

Albert Penno was wounded on 21 July 1861 (three days after the date of this letter), at the Battle of First Bull Run. Penno was then taken as a prisoner of war to Richmond, Va., and died on 2 August 1861 of his wounds.



8 responses

4 08 2011
5 08 2011
Jeffry Burden

Penno may well have been one of three otherwise-unidentified Union soldiers buried just outside Shockoe Hill Cemetery on August 3, 1861. He had suffered a leg wound resulting in amputation.


11 11 2011
Bill Kleppel

This is a remarkable find, and I hope I can help with some information regarding Albert Penno. There are a few inconsistencies. Albert’s wife’s name was Elizabeth (Wiley) Penno, not Lucinda (There’s only one Lucinda in the Penno family at this time. She was a cousin of Albert, who’d never married, and was about 15 years his elder).
However, the line in the letter “Lizzie is all life expecting Albert home” may have had substantial meaning to him.

Two other of Albert’s cousins were veterans who survived the War. Thomas Henry Penno (my 2nd Great Grand Uncle) with Company D 2nd Infantry Regiment RI, who fought at Bull Run as well. And Benjamin Leonard Penno (my 2nd Great Grandfather) of Co. D 3rd Heavy Artillery Regiment RI.

There are extracts in a diary from POW William J. Crossley, Sgt. Co. C 2nd RI Infantry, that also refers to Albert in regard to his injuries (it’s name ‘Extracts from My Diary, and from my Experiences While Boarding With Jefferson Davis in Three of his Notorious Hotels in Richmond Va., Tuscaloosa Ala., and Salisbury NC.’)

July 23: “Colonel Slocum died at one o’clock this morning. Penno, of the First, had his leg cut off. We had some porridge made from meal the men brought in from the woods.”
July 24: Colonel Slocum was buried this morning at the lower end of the garden (would this be at Sudley Church?). Major Ballou’s and Penno’s legs in the same place…”

I’m not sure if any of this information can help, but if you’d like to send it along to Special Collections UNC Chapel Hill, please do so. If anyone comes across more regarding Albert Penno please reply to this comment post. Thanks.


12 11 2011
Harry Smeltzer

Thanks for the note. I’ll look in to the diary entries…they may be worth posting to the resources.


29 02 2012
Bill Kleppel

I’ve done some further research on the letter and the story behind it recently. I’ve sent this following post along to the UNC’s ‘Civil War Day by Day’ blog.
-Bill Kleppel

I read your post last week and went to work on trying to answer your questions, gather more information that may be of help to you, and to shed more light on the mysterious aspects of the letter itself. I’m happy to write that I believe more progress has been made on the later. I need more authentication on what I’ve found, but I’m fairly certain I’ve figured out who Lucinda Hayne(s) was, and who the letter was intended for.
The answer to your 1st question is that Albert was the only member of the Penno family to serve in The 1st RI. My Great-Great Grand Uncle Thomas Henry Penno was a member of the 2nd RI. After Albert’s death, his father-in-law, William A. Wiley, joined the 11th R.I. Infantry. Albert’s older cousin William A. Penno Sr., and My 2nd Great Grandfather Benjamin Leonard Penno, were members of Co. A 5th Heavy Artillery RI, and Co. A 3rd Heavy Artillery RI respectively.
I did find some information regarding the transfer of Albert, and many of the POW’s from the battle, to Richmond. I’m uncertain how specific the source that I found is, but it does give a decent, general account on how it transpired. I’ll discuss this at the end of the post.
The name of Albert’s wife was Elizabeth A. Wiley. The marriage record can be found in The Rhode Island Historical Library in Providence, RI( or ‘Rhode Island Marriages 1636-1930’ on Her immediate family members are buried at Grace Church Cemetery, also in Providence, RI.

Albert’s cousin Lucinda Penno never married. She’s buried with some of her siblings, mother, and her father John Penno (Albert’s Uncle and my 4th Great Grandfather), in Locust Grove Cemetery, just down the road from Grace Church Cemetery.

Your questions of whether Lucinda was writing the letter as “Lizzie” dictated, or if Lucinda acted as an intermediary, or had helped deliver it, are fascinating, and really stoked my interest when I read them. However, I’d stumbled across some other information that made me place these ideas on the back burner for now.
I did a search on both Lucinda Hayne & Lucinda Haynes. I found a family genealogy website which claims that a Lucinda M. Haynes married Richard Thornton Remington in Scituate, RI on Jan. 12, 1868.

It also contains information regarding Richard Remington’s 1st wife, Sophia (Unknown), and the children they had before her death on Jan. 29, 1862:

Isabella b. 1846 d. Feb. 12, 1871
John R b. 1848 d. June 1, 1880
Nicolas J b. May 1850 d. Jan. 13, 1920
Sarah J b. Aug. 4, 1852-

I’ve added this information from the website because it does pertain to the 1870 Census. It shows Richard and Lucinda Remington, along with Richard’s sons from his 1st marriage, along with what looks to be Lucinda’s daughters from her 1st marriage, Anna and Celia “Haines” (The two 1870 Census records are attached. Lucinda’s daughters are listed on top of the second.).

The family site also states Richard’s involvement in the War, as a member of the RI 1st Light Artillery. The letter mentions “give my love to Dick and Daron…” as well as “The Roy’s all send their love and Hannah, Marty (?), and John to you and Dick…” The letter was obviously not written to Dick, but I thought I’d check further into the military record of Richard Remington.
This led to the discovery of a very informative old text called ‘Diary of Battery A, 1st Regiment Rhode Island Light Artillery’ by Theodore Reichardt. Within it, I found the names of Pvt. Richard T. Remington, Cpl. Albert Remington, Pvt. Gilbert T. Haynes, and Pvt. William Haynes. All of the 1st RI Light Artillery. Richard T. Remington mustered out from Poolesville, MD on Feb 14, 1862, which makes sense considering his 1st wife Sophie died just over two weeks earlier from this date.
In the postscript of the book, Reichardt lists promotions and casualties (I’m not sure how comprehensive it is). It states William Haynes disability discharge at Poolesville, MD on Feb. 14, 1862(the same as Richard T. Remington’s). Yet, the information found in the ‘U.S. Adjutant General Military Records, 1631-1976’ claim William Haynes was discharged in “July 1861 on surg. Certificate”. Gilbert T. seems to have gotten through the War unscathed. I’ll try to get more information regarding the extent of William’s injuries.
I wanted to find more on William Haynes but couldn’t come up with anything (at least not yet). I decided to check into the website, find a, and this is what I found.

William Haynes died on July 7, 1867. He’s buried in North Burial Ground in Providence (a very large & old cemetery). His headstone mentions “Co. A 1st Light Artillery Regiment RI. It does seem plausible that Lucinda remarried to “Dick” Remington, since the Sorenson Family website does include the Scituate, RI marriage in January of 1868.
I then checked into ‘Rhode Island Births 1636-1930’ (The Rhode Island Historical Library in Providence, RI and ancestry .com) to see what I could find on the “Haines” children. U.S. Census Records throughout the decades are accurate to a certain extent, and vary from region to region. Ages listed can be general, and there’s always bad spelling to be found. What I did find in the birth records is as follows:
Hannah H. Haynes b. Oct. 7, 1853
1st Parent William Haynes
2nd Parent Lucinda M. Haynes
Clara S. Haynes b. Oct. 11, 1855
1st Parent William Haynes
2nd Parent Lucinda M. Haynes
Even if the census taker mauled the spellings of the two girls names, I’m fairly positive the two birth records are a match for “Anna” and “Celia” on the 1870 Census.

The letter itself, and the envelope, is of different handwriting.
“Mr. Wightman and Saunders was in here tonight and said that Mr. Pratt was going on there to morrow and if I wanted to send any thing they would get him to take it…” Lucinda writes.
It’s likely the writing on the envelope is that of Mr. Wightman, Mr. Saunders, or Pvt. John Pratt (“He belongs to the 1st Regiment…”).
Some other intriguing questions come to light. Since John Pratt received the letter, did he send it to Albert Penno through a mail service, or transfer the letter to him by hand? Did he believe Albert would get the letter to William Haynes more expediently? And if so, why? Did the letter ever get to William Haynes? Was the letter ever opened by either William or Albert?
There are other items in Lucinda’s letter that can be explained in further detail, thanks to the diaries of Theodore Reichardt, and substantiated by other resources.
“I see by the papers that you are in the midst of battle and that one of the 2nd Regiment has got wounded and that your regiment took the secession flag from Fairfax Courthouse.”
According to Reichardt, Union Troops entered Fairfax, VA to find it abandoned, and he mentions proceeding to the courthouse (pg. 10 entry for July 17, 1861 “…Rebels having evacuated town shortly before our entrance.”)
“But as much as I want to see you I should rather you would never come than to see you sent home as those fellows were last week, their names published in the papers and what they was sent home for.”
Lucinda is likely referring to Pvts. Nathan Morse and William Bourne, both of 1st RI Light Artillery, who were killed in an accidental explosion during a drill at Camp Clark in Washington D.C. on July 9, 1861, detailed by Reichardt in his book (pg. 9 entry for July 9, 1861). The link for the book is listed below.

“Give my love to Daron and Dick and to your friends Charly and George.”
I’ve looked into rosters of the 1st RI Light Artillery, and it’s a good possibility that one of his friends was Pvt. George William Flagg. They both served as privates in the same company at the time. George Flagg died on Aug. 3, 1861, in Gordonsville, VA from wounds he suffered at the 1st Battle of Bull Run. He’s buried with his parents. Details of his death are transcribed on the headstone. He’s also buried at North Burial Ground in Providence, RI (just as William Haynes is). The stone can be seen on the link below.

I think many of the pieces regarding the letter are falling into place. I do believe Lucinda intended the letter to be received by William Haynes. Unfortunately, I’m still having trouble seeing how my old cousin Albert Penno fits into all of this. I know he received medical treatment (leg amputation) at Sudley Church soon after the battle and then was transferred by train shortly afterward. The book I found on this subject is called, ‘Richmond Prisons 1861-1862’, by William H. Jeffrey. It tells us a little more about how Albert, and over 1000 POW’s were eventually transferred to Richmond, VA. It claims that shortly after the battle, a train left Manassas Junction with the POW’s, and eventually got to Richmond. They were then marched to a large brick building on the corner of Main St. and 25th Street known as The Liggon & Company’s Tobacco Factory, where they were left for an indeterminate period of time.
(If the doc. doesn’t come up, please go to and use the browse keywords “Richmond Prisons 1861”. That should bring it up.
I hope this isn’t too overwhelming. I’m not sure if I’ve left anything out. But if you have any further questions that you feel I can answer, or if some of the downloads didn’t open for you, please don’t hesitate to contact me again. I do have more insight regarding both the Haynes and Remington families if you’d like it.
Thanks Again,
Bill Kleppel


27 12 2013
Chris Grossi

Hi – thanks very much for posting this article. My wife is a direct descendant of Richard T Remington, through his middle child Nicholas.

I’ve hit a genealogical dead end when tracing Richard’s first wife, Sophia. Sophia was from Pittsburgh (noted on her death record), and it appears that somehow, Richard went out to Pennsylvania and married Sophia in PA. Their first daughter, Isabella was born in 1845 in Pittsburgh (per her death record). The family had moved back to RI by 1847, when the second child John was born.

None of the birth, marriage, or death records for any of their children reference Sophia’s maiden name, and with Sophia dying of TB in 1862 with 5 young children (a fifth child, Richard W, was born in Cranston 1857), it’s possible that they didn’t even know.

My question: do you have access to any correspondence between Richard Remington and Sophia that might provide information about her or extended family, or can you point me in any direction where I might find some? My email is submitted with the comment.

Thanks for your time,

Chris G.


30 12 2013
Harry Smeltzer


No, I don’t have any more info. Hopefully you found Bill’s comments helpful, and perhaps he’ll add some more for you.



30 12 2013
Bill Kleppel

The first places I would contact would be the Rhode Island Historical Library in Providence, and The New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston. Both RIHL and NEHGS (esp. the latter) have very comprehensive genealogical archives, and the people who work for them are very helpful. In the meantime, I’ll see what I can find. Hopefully I can reply back with something for you soon.


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