New Orleans Feb 24th 1863
I will write you a Letter to night, although I cant write you any news that will be interesting, but I know you will be glad to hear from me, and to make you feel cheerful and keep you in good Spirits. I would do any thing in my power, but as I am so far away from you, you must take hold and help yourself. You cant help seeing by my Letters that I am contented and if you could only be here a while to see how we manage things, and the way we pass the leisure hours, you would be satisfied.
You remember how you found us at Lynnfield?1 Well! The day's were Weeks then compared with what they are now. Walter Bradlee is near me writing and every few minutes I have to stop and laugh at his dry jokes. I tell you he is full of it. There are a great many large Mosquetoes that stay in the Tent but dont bother us this weather. Walt says they are young ones and grow untill next Summer. rather consoling to think of.
I should think you would like to have mr Nute to talk with. If there is anything I like, it is to talk about the War with those who know and are well posted, and some of them have mighty queer ideas, I would like to have a talk with Mr. Nute, perhaps I could tell him something and I know he'd like to have me.
I was rather surprised to hear that the command of the Potomac Army had been given to Hooker2 but I hope he will have good luck. if he should fail like Burnside he wont lose the whole Army, mark that.
We have had no good news for a long time but I expect to hear something from Vicksburg very soon. and you will probably hear from other points where the 38th will have a hand. Our Quartermaster has got his Stores packed and we shall leave here, but perhaps we shall not for two or three Weeks.
We shall be paid in a few days and I shall send my Money in a Letter as I shant send so much this time, for I want a pair of Boots and other things. I have got the Suspenders on that I left home with and they are getting played out. but I shall make everything go as far as possible that I have to pay for and send home all the Money I can.
There is one thing I want to know, that is if you intend to have Mother go without her Teeth. Now I want you to answer this, for I do think its a shame if you dont make her get some.
Benny showed me a letter from his Mother & she wrote about Ditsons telling her about me. he say's I'm a real smart Boy & that he likes me. Well: I knew as much before for I worked enough for it. I shall write to Mr. Haynes & hoe in there all I can & they will do the right thing by me one of these day's. if they dont I can get along myself. I feel as independent as a Hog on ice but we have to be dependent on others to a great extend. I think Oliver owes me considerable for what I have done for him & he knows it. if he dont pay me it shant be my fault.
Do you ever go to Boston and see Abby? Tell Mother to write what they say when She goes in there. I have not heard from Abby since we were at Ship Island. I wrote to her then and once since we came here but I dont think I shall throw away any more time or Paper there. I get Letters and Papers from Louis quite often, but she sends no word.
I suppose you cant skate this Winter as you did once when I was at home. I feel very sorry for your lame Knee and hope you will be able to use it soon as you did when we raced across Churchills Field once. how does Johnny get along with Nate. I suppose he is a regular Giant by this time. I want you to write me how you are getting along & how things look at Home & up to Forbes3 as it would interest me more than anything else. Give my love to all the Folks and remember me to Mr. Nute. Tell him to write. Write soon
From your Son Henry
1 Lynnfield MA is where the Thirty-eighth Regiment was organized and trained.
2 Hooker: Major General Joseph Hooker ("Fighting Joe Hooker" — at right) assumed command of the Army of the Potomac January 26, 1863 from Maj. Gen. Burnside. He and his much larger Army were vanquished by General Robert E. Lee's Army at the battle of Chancellorsville. He was replaced by Maj. Gen George Meade June 28, 1863.
3The Forbes's estate and the Churchill's estate are at the top of Churchill's Lane and Adams Street — Forbes is to the west, Churchill to the east. Henry's father was a farmer and probably worked on one or both of the estates.