This 126-page letter book contains retained drafts of 20 letters that William L. Hudson wrote to his wife (10 letters), children (7 letters), and acquaintances (3 letters) while serving onboard the U.S.S. Vincennes along South America's Pacific Coast and in San Francisco Bay between April 1850 and April 1851. Hudson's letter book (13"x8") is bound with a canvas cover (15"x9").
Hudson's letters to his wife are often religious and philosophical, and he frequently considered the impact that his career and frequent separation from his family had on his marriage and family life. He also commented on financial affairs. In letters to his children, he offered advice on education, courtship, and careers. During his time on the Vincennes , Hudson wrote from Valparaiso, Chile; Guayaquil, Ecuador; Panama; and San Francisco, California. He described aspects of the local cultures in these areas, including women's lives in Guayaquil, the cost of living in Valparaiso, and political developments in Ecuador. Hudson's letters to acquaintances pertain to business affairs.
One incomplete letter to "my dear Henry," dated April 22, 1863, was laid into this volume. The anonymous author wrote from the U.S.S. Commodore Hull , off Hill's Point, Pamlico River, and described the 18-day Confederate siege of Washington, North Carolina (beginning March 30). The relationship between this Civil War letter and the Hudson letter book is unknown.