Camp Emory Baltimore
Oct 26th 1862
Dear Father & Mother
I have been thinking of writing for some time but as it has not been convenient I have put it off untill now.1
We are having a drizling rain this morning which at home would be rather disagreable but now comes quite convenient as we have no inspection (Which comes every Sunday).
I wish it would rain all the time for a few weeks at least and then we should have nothing to do. I tell you it sound's good to hear the rain come down on the Tent.
We had a great time down at the river yesterday washing our Clothes but the water was cold and the conveniences none of the best. I can wash quite well now and keep my Clothes as clean as the next one. We have just got settled into Camp Life and have every thing as regular as a Clock. I wish you could come here and stay a few days. I don't believe you would want to hurry home.
I see by the Papers that we can enlist in the regular Army for 3 years from the time we enlisted and get 20 days Furlough and $75 more Bounty. Some of the men are going but I think it wont pay that is if the war don't last 3 years but if it does I think it would.2 I think we shall have a tough time of it yet but if we had good Generals there would be no need of it.
There are on the average 11 Regiments going through Baltimore every day. Luther was down there Thursday & saw a Vermont, Conn, Rhode Island & New York Regiment. I could have gone but as I had been on Guard I did not feel much like it but shall go next week.
I feel very thankful for those things you sent me in the Box and don't think I shall want any thing more this winter if I do I shall let you know. My Knapsack is quite full and a little heaver than you would want to carry long but I guess a 15 mile March wouldn't hurt me much.
How do you get along on the place now. I want you to write and tell me & if you make any Cider you must save one Barrell for Vinegar for I shall want some on the Beans when I get home. I miss them very much but I'll have some the next time I get out.
I get Letters and Papers from Abby and from Louis which come quite handy such a day as this.
Lute is reading a California Paper and is as contented as can be. John Crossman3 is here talking about Apples and sais he will have a Barrell sent if you will pay the Freight so says the rest of us & it would be cheaper than to get them here @ $2.50 a Barrell. Write & tell me how many you had & are going to have for the family at home. I would like to know if you are going to let Hattie take lessons. I suppose it is too late now but you must not neglect it for I will pay for it.4 Give my love to all the little ones & tell them to be good for me. Tell Johnny to write & also Hattie & Carrie. My love to you & don't work hard or worry about us. Write soon
From your Affectionate Son
P.S. We can hear the Church Bells quite plain which makes us think of Home — we are all well
1It has been almost a month since Henry last wrote home (Oct 1). During this period the Regimental History records the Regiment's move to "Camp Emory, on the outskirts of Baltimore, on property owned by the relatives of Charles Carroll of Revolutionary fame."
2Henry makes frequent comments in his letters about the various recruitment plans instituted during the war. This one provides for a 20 day furlough and an additional $75 dollar bounty. Henry thinks it only pays off if the war lasts three years. Since Henry is in a Massachusetts Volunteer Regiment his enlistment could terminate in less than three years if the war ends earlier. Those soldiers, transferring into the "regular army" however, must serve the full three years - whether the war ends early or not.
3John Crossman son of William was probably a nephew of Nathan Crossman who had a farm in Milton. Crossman will be mentioned often in Henry's letters.
4Henry frequently sends home money to help support the needs of his siblings as well as those of his parents.