Plaquemine Nov 22, 1863
Your kind Letter came this morning and I shall now write enough to make up for the other which I did not answer.
Most of your Letters are written on Sunday and they are good ones for you always feel in much better Spirits I know by myself. To day it is a most beautiful one. Cool and clear as it is up North if I remember and I think I do. I have thought of you many times knowing about all that's going on and whether rain or shine you are thinking of me and wishing that I may be enjoying myself on having the benefit of good Christian influence. If you could be here with me to day you would not have the least regret for losing me from home in so good a cause and for so short time for I am enjoying myself as well as I ever did in my life and after going to Church & hearing the word of God preached. I not only felt satisfied that I had done my duty but I felt happy. The whole side of the Church was filled with Soldiers and I think he was pleased to get so attentive a congregation. He preached from Isaiah — "They have rejected me and what wisdom have they in them" It would take too much time to tell about it for every thing was connected but I was so much interested I shall not forget it. He is a very learned and able man, more so than any Minister I ever heard and one would think him a regular Methodist (None the worse for that).
I was much pleased with those little juices you sent, Fathers Pants I like very much also your Dress Do you remember that I have selected quite a number for you? perhaps I shall a few more & pay for them too. I should like to see Father when he comes out I would bother him about fixin up as he used to me. I don't think I should be very extravagant if I were at home but I would have good clothes and my Boots shined. To day I have fixed up and feel enough better to pay for the trouble.
We are now quartered in the Court House, the Sergeants in one Room. Corporals in another and the Men in the large Room. I am writing at a Secretary where the Clerk of the Parish has wrote so much & in the room there is a Grate, Table Stools, our Bunks1 — Looking Glass picture of — Spirits of 61 & Washington making his farewell address, so you see we live in good style. We have been eating hard Tack since we came but are now having as nice Bread as Uncle Sams Flour will admit. I hardly Knew for a long time what to eat next, having so many good things but a few have disappeared and I think I am much better in flesh as well as Spirits
I have not been out side the lines lately but while on Picket a few days since I had plenty of Milk and some good Corn Bread which I like very much. It's made with a few Eggs shortening and sweeteners. try it and see how you like it If I should be at home as Lute is now, I think I should be little trouble for I could cook a few side dishes that would answer for me. I have lived on plain food so long that Pies and Cake I care little for but Meat, Poultry and a good fat Turkey I should want them often. The Goose I wrote about made a great Supper for 4 of us and I guess I done my part.
Thanksgiving is coming on so fast I shant have a chance to regret the loss of a good Dinner and the usual good time but if the Paymaster comes round we shall furnish a few Turkeys. The day was not appointed to be one for stuffing but such it is and we should not altogether forget its object which is the case with not a few.
You spoke about Mrs. Forbes sending some shirts. Well: I do not wish the expense of another Box when I can get along with out it but a Shirt, or Drawers would not come unhandy. I have plenty of Socks. I suppose Father will get his batch for the coming winter and it must be a great help to him. I hope I shall be cituitated so I can help him one of these days, any way there is a fine opportunity for helping myself. I know very well that they like me at the Store and it seems a second home to me.
How does Charlie Davis look after his vacation? no doubt he is glad to see you whenever you call.
I had almost forgotten to speak of your new Teeth, anyway I will say that it will please me quite as much as you after they are done.
I wonder of Uncle Oliver ever thinks of me. He is a regular trainer if there ever was one. Remember me to his wife (Aunt Hattie).2 I think I shall write to them sometime.
Charlie Hunt,3 I suppose would not have to come out again & if he had any go ahead to him he would not but he is any body's Toole or rather inclines that way. He may be tough again but not unless he comes out so
Lute asked if I was'nt glad I am for three Years on account of the drafting and it's unpleasant Force. Yes I am but not much more so than before I always talked patriotic but I've backed it up & I think if I get home I shall have a good chance to talk loud if I see fit.
I do not give it a thought once a week of my length of service but it is surely drawing to a close and that very rapidly. It goes none to quickly for me and I believe the better one tries to live, time will pass more quickly and pleasantly.
How do you enjoy yourself among the little ones and what do they all do to make things go along smooth and happily? Write me all that's going on in the Family for it is most interesting to me
Remember me to all Father, Lute, John, Hat & Cad
With much love I will close
From your Aff Son
John & Hyram4 are Well & in good Spirits
1 Here Henry sketched a depiction of his bunk (click on the detail at right to see the full page).
2 'Uncle Oliver & Aunt Hattie: Oliver Moulton was one of Henry's father's younger brothers and for twenty-seven years he was the superintendent of the Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain. Several family members were employed there - perhaps even Henry before his employment with Ditson Music. Aunt Hattie (Harriet M. Hazeltine) was Oliver's second wife.
3 Charlie Hunt is mentioned several times in Henry's earlier letters. Hunt and Henry were neighbors growing up and enlisted together in the 38th Regiment. This is Henry's last reference to Charles Hunt. Hunt would be discharged for disability, a year later (November 24, 1864), in Boston — perhaps adding a level of prescience to Henry's comments.
4 John & Hyram were John Crossman and Hiram Nye, mentioned previously in Henry's letters.