U.S. Sanitary Commission
New York City
Jan 27 '65
My Dear Mother
Although I do not expect to hear from you for some little time I will write to tell you that I am well and enjoying myself first-rate. You have probably read my Letter to Luther & heard of my getting in to the Soldiers Depot. We left there yesterday Afternoon & came down here to the Battery Barracks, foot of Broadway, not so neat a place as the other but good enough and better living: We have two good Stoves and in 15 or 20 minutes the Room is quite comfortable: I am in the Library and Reading now where there is good Desks to write on, and Plenty of writing material, all "Gratis"1
I dont know how it is but I honestly believe that Mass uses her Men, when they come home, the meanest of any State. Why I'd rather be here twice over than at Readville, if it want so near Home. This Morning we all had a Boiled or Broiled Mackerel plenty of Potatoes, Bread & Coffee to go with it; a better Meal than I ever got in a Mass Hospital.2
As we dont have any Guard the Boys go round considerable but it is so cold that I keep in most of the time. We shall lay round here a few days, perhaps a week, waiting for transportation to Savanah but I dont want you to write again untill I'm settled & am sure of getting your Letter. I cant imagine what the Boys are doing down there but I dont believe we shall see much hard service, if any.
I anticipate considerable pleasure in seeing something more of Rebeldom though I have seen enough to last a Life time: There are not many Reg'ts. that have been round so much as ours. I dont feel in any great hurry to get to the Reg't. but suppose I shall enjoy myself when I get there quite as well as I have since I came out.
I feel quite contented after seeing Luther & getting all I needed to commence Soldering with: I shall take just as good care of myself as possible, while out this time & though time is short I shall do all I can to make it fly as rapidly as possible.3
If I am here Sunday I will write to you again & in the mean time I hope you will not worry about me; if I thought you was I should worry myself. Remember if I am as fortunate as I have been I shall be home soon.
Give my Love to Father, Lute, John, Hattie, Carrie & Ch & accept the same from
Your Aff. Son — Henry
1 The "Gratis" stationery has printed at the top, U. S. SANITARY COMMISSION. It appears Henry was transferred from Baltimore to New York in preparation for being shipped South.
2 Henry was among the early arrivals at the new Army hospital at Readville, which had undergone considerable renovations, and it's lack of readiness may account for some of Henry's criticism.
3 Henry's reference to "time is short" deals with his three year enlistment, which is up in August, as much as it does his optimism that the war is winding down.