Baton Rouge Oct 12th. 63
My Dear Mother
It is with much pleasure I take a few moments to answer your kind Letter which I should have done before but I had only one Stamp so I send yours with Lutes. "I'll look out & not be out again" I love to write to you more than anyone else & there must be some reason. I always thought a great deal of you even when I tried your patience most & I am impatient to do some thing for you in return for your kindness to me. Your great wish that I should be a Christian has been realized & you feel much easier about me on that account but you seem afraid. I shall do you a favor while if you would accept what I offer it would be a favor to me. Aunt Lizzie wrote me in the last mail what she said to you. I felt a little bad to know you still persisted in having no new teeth1 but I shall say no more only if you still persist. I'll make you a present you cant help accepting.
Now Hattie & Carrie are quite a help to you. I should think you would enjoy yourself a great deal They have probably changed considerable since I left & I have no doubt for the better. I should like to know how Hattie gets along with her studies & be at home to see how you are all getting along.
You say its Hard times well: I suppose you must make the best of it and it will come all right next spring. If you had told me that before I hardly think I should have sent for the Box but a pair of Boots I must have for this winter. I shall always be sparing of my Money but I will never make a God of it. Barber2 of my Co "Lute know him" died because he would not give a few Dollars "which he had" for Negro Medicine that has cured hundreds.
The folks here think we are to have a cold Winter, even now it is hard to keep warm on Picket with Overcoat & 2 Blankets, but the days are warmer than usual & the dust as you never dreampt of, but it wont last long. Our Battalion Drills I like for I take to Military. Tell Lute I am out at times as Left Guide.
You have not mentioned about Blackmans likeness I sent, perhaps a word is coming now. Do you remember you told him to look out for me? He is a real sensible fellow & many a good time I have talking with him. I mean to Tent with him the first chance.
I sometimes wonder where the Milton Boys are who came out with me, only a few of them left3 "en fact the whole Regt. numbers only 200 for duty but I hope we may see no more active Service "and it looks like it now" and that our Service may be short anyway.4 My health is good at present & I might say with impunity, "I feel Bully." I dont forget to who I owe my health & strength & I thank God for sparing my Life & leading me safely through so many dangers.
Some preachers think they can do better by showing the consequence of Sin & frightening them Sinners by foretelling their existence in another world. We want religion to live by & Oh: if sinners could only know how much better it is, how much more enjoyment there is they would only look at the love he extends to all.
I try to live better every day & I feel happy in serving him but I hope the time will soon come when I can see you & lighten your Cares.. Tell Father I expect to hear from him soon & will answer with a long Letter. Give my love to him, Hat Cad & little Carl. tell them all to write —& write soon yourself.
P.S. The Rhubard I rec'd. I can get anything of Mr. Holmes — Hosp Steward,5 lots of Tincture of Ginger to drink in water. Dr. Ward likes me & shows it too. My favorite Drink is Pepper, Vinegar & Water — perhaps it isn't good for me I do no
1 Henry is constantly after his mother to have her teeth fixed — see letters 30 Nov 1862 & 24 Feb 1863
2 Newell Barber enlisted as a twenty-two year old farmer from West Medway. He received a head wound, 18 June 1863 at Port Hudson and died of disease (diphtheria) 14 Aug 1863.
3 Twenty "Milton Boys" enlisted with Henry and served in Company I. Three were already dead and seven had been discharged for disability.
4 Henry was overly optimistic - the war would last another twenty months and Henry's regiment would remain in the thick of it.
5 Henry refers to Abraham Holmes Jr. as "Mr. Holmes". Holmes, a Milton soldier, was forty-one (twice Henry's age) when he enlisted as a private. He would be discharged for disability March 17, 1864.