Baton Rouge, August 5th, 1863
My Dear Mother
I received your kind Letter this forenoon and I must tell you it made me feel better to read it. I don't know of anyone who writes to me whose Letters are as welcome as yours but I should judge from what you write that your time is limited and it was quite an effort. I will excuse you from writing often and write oftener myself but I cant see why you should work all the time.
I remember how I used to talk to you and encourage you when I was at home and it is very pleasant for me to think of but if I ever get back I'll see that my ideas are carried out. You have truly done your duty towards me & if I did not seem to mind your good counsils and caused you much pain and grief you can comfort yourself now for the good results and keep on encouraged by these results which you have contributed for so many you will never see the end, Oh: I wish I could be with you but we will wait patiently for the time which is not far distant. Even if we had to stay our time out for time flies and years (especially the last) seems but as a few days.
I got the Box O.K. and a nice time I've had over it but shall be cautious & not eat too much. Dont you think Mrs Harrington a good woman? I always did and I hope you will go to see her & thank her for me. Such nice Cake — Oh: What did you think of my taking Brandy? It was very nice & I shall use it for a long time as a Medicine. Some may think it aint temperance but offer them Quinine in Whiskey or as a dry Powder & see which they take.
Those Cakes you made tasted the same as ever & you know they tasted good when you brought them in town to me They were better here & wont last long.
I have not opened any of the Cans yet & shall carry them over to Camp1 in a few days. The Regt. has got into Camp but are waiting for our large Tents & our Knapsacks. Then we'll be all right.
I see Crossman & all the Boys & feel as contented as possible. Capt. Badger2 is a good fellow & gave me some Money before I was paid. I hope you will get what I sent ($50) & use it as you wish to.
I dont think of a single thing I need for. I have plenty to eat & time enough to Sleep. but the idea of being away from home. I have not been Homesick in the least & would not exchange places with a few who have unfortunately escaped the Draft.
I put my trust in God and go about feeling happy in doing his will. I have no desires to do wrong. Not the least and I mean to live as near him as I can prove myself worthy.
I give up my Pipe, even carried it back after buying it. But once in a while I take a puff & if that troubles my conscience I'd give even that up. We have no good Meetings now & I dont enjoy myself as I should if we did but it's to God we must look. I know you & Father feel easier about me & I want him to write to me. Why! I should think he had forgotten me. but I know he has not & shall wait patiently to hear from him.
I have got to answer Hat & Cads Letters and send them in this. Johns I will answer soon. Give my love to all the Family and tell John to sing Bass for me in the Quartett—"When theres love at home" I shall think of you singing that on the night of the 28th.3 Remember me to Aunt Martha & hers, Mr Daniels & also to Johnny Hibbard.
I shall write again very soon & hope you will do the same.
With my Love & best wishes I close
1 The Regiment was encamped on the Highland Road, just outside Baton Rouge. Prior to this the Regiment had been engaged in activities at Stores Plains and Donaldsonville, LA. The Regiment left Donaldsonville via transport August 1st. Henry and other recovering wounded were just now reuniting with their Regiment.
2 Capt. Badger was footnoted in Henry's January 29, 1863 letter.
3 "When There's Love At Home" was a popular Civil War era song written and composed by John Hugh McNaughton. The first of Henry's letters, in the Society's collection, was written August 28, 1861, on his seventeenth birthday. Although Henry often writes that he is never homesick, this letter belies his claim, as home and family were certainly on his mind.