April 18th '65
I may as well write you again as I have little to do this afternoon and I am tired of reading: I have read every Paper old or late through and if there is a particular one that interests me it is the Zions Herald.1 I love to read it and the little advocate which reminds me more of the Children if I can so call them, than anything else excepting the Letters:
I have just read the N.Y. Herald of the 14th which gives us the first particulars of Lee's surrender: I have heard more than one thank God for it and I believe if anyone has need to it is the Soldier: I trust the end has come, that Johnston2 will not hold out but have it settled at once: if he does it will be worse for him and his Men who will be exterminated and justly so.
By Grants order relieving the Blockade from the Atlantic Coast & allowing Trade I conclude that he thinks the war at an end also by the stopping of enlistment: It will be a joyful time for us when we get home but how much rather had I be here now to see the end: We have been very much excited since yesterday about the President who has been reported assassinated and today the rumor is confirmed: I shall not believe untill I have to but it does not seem to impossible for those who sympathise, even now with the Traitors:
As you have noticed, we are still at Goldsboro, the order for leaving being countermanded, and our new Houses may be honored by our presence for some time: "so much for being a good Brigade": we should be called the 1st for we always have had the lead in an advance, the Rear in retreat and now a duty which we are or have been envied of, but deserve: Why dont Col. Beckwith "Reg Army" Chief Commisary for Sherman take his own Men: he gives his reasons that he can trust us & says the 38th & 24 Iowa are the Regts. for him:
I had quite a pleasant walk yesterday over the South end and find it a very pretty place: the Houses look as at the North and the Gardens are well laid out with Flowers: I will send a few now, the next shall be more acceptable:
It seems more like Home here now for we are having Meetings often. Sunday was the first day & at the evening meeting the Church was crowded, so last night when the 102nd Ohio Chaplain from "Psalms" What is Man that thou art mindful of him: I hope I shall never take less interest in Religion than I do now or have for the last two Months: I know I never shall
We have a Meeting again tonight held by the Christian Commission who have some very smart Men here: I believe they are from the west & the singing by them & the Men here who belong to Sherman reminds me of 'York3 & not a little of the Negro Singing: it is between the two & though you know what they sing you cant get the: will: like when Jaby come up: I dont believe John could get it: Do you miss me any about the singing at Home? I love to sing just as well as ever but shall have to wait to enjoy it as I only can when at Home:
I have anxiously looked for Letters from some of you but suppose they are on the way: I shant have to look for them much longer which is one consolation:
Give my Love to Father, Luther, John & all accepting the same from your aff.
1 (From Wikipedia) The Zion's Herald was founded by a group of lay Methodists to be a journal "devoted to religion and moral subjects". After it was acquired by the Boston Wesleyan Association its editorial stance was one of "boldness and outspokenness on questions which agitate the public mind." When in 1844 the Methodist Episcopal Church separated into northern and southern conferences, the Zion's Herald was the only northern Methodist paper that did not condemn abolitionism, having in 1836 opened its pages to discussion of slavery while not itself taking a stand. In 1851, the Zion's Herald was considered one of the leading papers of the Methodist church, and described by the Buffalo Christian Advocate as, along with another paper, "the radical organs of the church, ... ably conducted, and by sound and discriminating men."
2 Johnston was General Joseph Eggleston Johnston, one of the most senior general officers of the Confederate Army. He surrendered his armies to General Sherman at Bennett Place near Durham Station, North Carolina on April 26, 1865.
3 Although Henry was born in Milton, MA, his family's roots were from York, Maine.