April 29th '65
I may as well send you a few lines by way of remembrance & to tell you that I just recieved Letters from Mother & Lute & of the 21st. I was just about to get my Supper when they came & read them as I eat my Coffee and Bread or rather Bread & Coffee.
You are in the midst of exciting times I see by Lutes Letter: In the midst of the great success of our Army and when the Rebels have given up it seems hard to have this sorrowful event mar the great joy: I have often thought what I would do & what ought to be done but I know there is a joyful satisfaction throughout the many Homes because there is to be no more blood-shed.
I did not wish to disturb your minds when I was at home with the worst features of War which were vivid in my imagination then, but I will give them to you soon: If I have kept myself in the front rank in every fight1 it was not because I loved it: "The brave man is not he who knows no fear", so says the Poet, and if I have been scared so have every Man who has been with me or that I have "been in" with or heard of going into an engagement: The Boys are on their good time now & though I should like to be at Home I know I shall never have the time to myself as now, so I think myself lucky: I dont throw it away by any-means:
I should like to have a few lines from you to know how you get along & what you are doing now: I hope you are as well as I am & enjoying yourself as much: I shall have a good time when I get into Boston with the Regt. & have the satisfaction of knowing that if the Citizens of Milton have forgotten us that Cambridge has not:2 They are to recieve the Regt. & will give us a good reception: I will write to Mother tomorrow:
Yours, with much Love & Respect — Henry
1 Henry was a member of the Regimental Color Guard which placed him in the front ranks (see Color Guard - 24 April 2014).
2 The History of The Thirty-eighth Regiment (p. 220-230) records, in great detail, the Regiment's welcome-home and reception given by the citizens of Cambridge, July 13, 1865. The Thirty-Eighth Regiment included three full companies recruited in Cambridge — approximately 30% of the regiment's complement of soldiers. Company I, Henry's Company, and part of the Thirty-eight Regiment was made up of soldiers from Milton, Dedham, Medway, Wrentham and other towns — approximately twenty percent of Company I's soldiers were Milton men — yet only Henry and six of his Milton comrades were fortunate enough to complete their tour and attend the Cambridge celebration.