It has been almost impossible for me to write for a long time and we have had rather severe weather, so cold you could hardly keep warm in the Tent and a few days were Rainy which made it rather disagreeable for the Boys on Picket.
I was on last Sunday but it was a little more comfortable. I thought if you could have been here to see me I would have given almost anything. If I should tell you half of what we have been through you would hardly believe me and when I recall many past scenes I say, can it really be! Our present duties suit me to a T, but they would be and look hard to you. Give me my Rubber Blanket only and I can step in Churchills Pasture during the hardest Showers that ever fell there and come home with dry feet and dry Clothes.
All that I dislike is being away from Home and you can count on my sticking by if I am permitted to return. No knowing what there is in store for me but if it is in me to influence the result I shall try hard to do so.
John Crossman is the same old John, full of his jokes as ever what I should do without him, I dont know. We miss Charlie1 very much but are willing to give him up for the better and hope you will not let him come out here again. No doubt you have enjoyed many a good talk with him and you will feel easier about me after it.
I am glad Lute has got a good chance in Town2 & I hope to hear the particulars about it from him soon, only one thing I dislike is getting up so early and the long walk is too much for him. Why dont you move into Dorchester as you used to talk about doing for me. You'll have to when I get home. I would be willing to pay a good part of the rent any way I shall send home more money after this. Write and let me know what you think of it.
You say John is a Strapper and could handle me quick. Well: I am not so very strong but the Science is there every time as the Boy's know in this Company. He is smart, no doubt & will have a good chance to develop his Muscles as a Machinist. Good luck to the dear Boy & may it be his object to keep the name of this ancestor as it has been & proudly hand it down to the next generation3 as we mean to, this United States.
I was much pleased that Charlie took to uncle John4 & if he has the least idea that he should like to live with him I should encourage it and let him try it for it would be the making of him.
You may think by the way I write that I talk pretty bold for a Boy, but what I write is not for others to criticize & it is Hen every whit. I have been through enough to make me feel independent of the world & what I do or say may go before the world & I am ready to be criticized.
I wrote Mr. Haynes & Ditson long Letters & as I read them over I thought if it didn't suit they could look for better. They were both pleased very much & I feel encouraged to go on doing what I think if right. The world could not help me at Port Hudson & I shall not give up to now.
I have written so much I cannot write to Mother to night but will tomorrow. Keep up a good heart & live a good & happy life with your Family around you.
Write soon & think of me as your ever loving
1 'Charlie' is the Charlie Moulton referred to in Henry's Feb 4, 1863 letter (footnote 4). I had originally thought Charlie was Henry's cousin but if so he was a distant cousin. Henry wrote in the Feb. 4th letter that "Charlie Moulton has been in the hospital and has been very sick but is much better now." Apparently Charlie had a turn for the worse as he was discharged for disability March 27, 1863 and appears from Henry's latest letter to be living with Henry's family in Milton. Coincidentally it was Corporal Charles Moulton's discharge that opened a slot for Henry's promotion to corporal, the following day, March 28, 1863.
2 Lute's opportunity ('good chance in town') may have been with Ditson Music in Boston, where Henry had worked.
3 Henry's brother, John Wesley Moulton would marry Susan F Walker from Dorchester. They had six children, three died young and two married and had children. John worked as a machinist at the chocolate mills in Milton/Dorchester his whole career.
4 Uncle John was perhaps Henry's father's older brother. John and Pricilla (Patten) Moulton had a farm in York, Maine. They appear not to have had any children. 'Charlie' was Henry's youngest brother.