The Letters of George Henry Moulton Service Records, Medical Records,
and Pension File
1861, August 28: letter to mother from Milton
Henry Moulton's first letter in the collection was written on his 17th birthday, a year before his enlistment. None of the letters have mailing addresses but this one was probably sent to his mother who was visiting family in York, ME. He refers to himself in the third person as "Henry the Boston Music Clerk." He mentions Mr. Forbes and his ship - "Ed Wardsworth is going as Captain & Nat Lias as Mate"; Mr. Todd; Chas Churchills; and tells of going down to Aunt Martha's last night to spend the evening. He mentions Chas Davis' "Imprudence" and ends the letter with "its time to make up a fire & Boil some Clams which we got all the way down to Squantum this morning."
1862, August 2: enlistment
1862, August 21: company muster-in
1862, September 18: letter to mother from Baltimore
His first letter as a soldier tells of a hard march leaving Boston and harder one after arriving in Baltimore and marching to Camp Belger. He received a letter from Carrie Lowe and sent two to Abby Noyes & one to Lewis but hasn't received a reply and complains 'I have a mind if they do send one to send it back' . Mentions his father 'went down east'. Talks about the season and Johnny 'going nutting' and asks mother to 'send Barberries fixed as I tell you'. Mentions news of the 'Main Army' and 'hardest fighting yet'. The camp joke is that the Army with 'the laziest men would conquer as more men have died from disease & hard work than anything else'. Thinks he'll be home soon but wants a 'chance to kill a few of the Rebs.' Says he fired his Enfield on picket duty and nearly hit his mark at 200 yds.
1862, September 26: letter to mother from Baltimore
Mentions receiving paper and map from cousin Abbie but supposes she talks so much with Frank she don't have time to write. Says there are some young females who are quit good looking but he's too busy getting ready for the dress parade to come round. Tent companions are Lute and Hiram Nye, getting off his dry jokes. Asks mother to send underwear & gloves and tells that the pie she sent went sour but 'Jack ate it and wagged his tail. He knows that the box came from home at least we think so by his actions' Blackman is not well but sends his love 'he liked you the minute he saw you.'
1862, October 1: letter to mother from Baltimore
Tells mother 'I have never enjoyed myself more in my life.' He prefers a 'place in Uncle Sam's Army...than [to] be cooped up in Boston & down in the Cellar of Ditsons Music Store.' Complains of false friends at home and says 'Benny came into camp with his company and showed me a letter he had from Abby.' Moulton complains that he's written her three times with no reply. He asks mother to 'send a box...[with] 2 rubber blankets and some writing paper.' Mentions still waiting for those Barberries. He talks about 'friend Blackman' and how much he likes him and 'if all in our Tent were like him we'd get along well enough but they are not.'
1862, October 26: letter to father and mother from Baltimore
Assesses pro/con of three year enlistment in regular army; averaging 11 regiments passing through Baltimore daily; freight for barrel of apples, $2.50 - John Crossman has better deal; will pay for lessons for Hattie
1862, October 31: company muster
1862, November 13: letter to father and mother from Fort Monroe, Va
Letter written on 'large Steamer Baltic' while waiting to disembark - can hear 'cannon booming' up the Jones River; mentions 'Louis practical friend except those at home'; Mr. Twombly; Tommy Pierce; Mrs Nute
1862, November 15: letter to parents from Fort Monroe, Va
Still on Steamer Baltic; provides instructions for addressing mail; through spy glass views houses at Hampton Village burned by Rebels and at Sewells Point where they had a great battery; hopes they will go to Texas instead of Port Royal for it will be a long time before the Rebels are whipped on the Potomac; received letter from Henry Westcott who deserted; Moulton states 'Our a real baby & not fit for a Capt.; men are living more like prisoners than Uncle Sams children, are half starved, eating hard bread & stinking meat & pork half raw; received letter from Waltham
1862, November 30: letter to mother from Fort Monroe, Va
Talks about thanksgiving and Walter Bradlee's turkey; mentions 'The Gunboat Pasaic [Monitor Style]...went up the James River this morning'; contemplates taking Richmond and loosing 'a few thousand lives'; mentions arrival of 'Our Lieut' - thinks the boys will like him very much; thanks mother for box with pork and chickens; asks her what she's going to do about her teeth - will send money next payday to help; glad to hear Hattie is taking lessons and sends love to 'little ones; Johnny, Hattie, Carrie & Charlie'.
1862, December 4: letter to father from Fort Monroe, Va
Waiting to get underway South, maybe to Charleston, maybe to Texas; tells of boredom and pranks played with rope and the bunks on John Crossman and Albert Martin; thinks father should let Johnny learn to milk the cows; asks him to write again soon, as his 'letters are the best I get & most welcome.'
1862, December: company muster
1863, January 18: letter to mother from New Orleans
Owing to the damp nature of climate' many are sick from colds & rheumatism which has effected me over a week but now nearly left me.' Grateful of brother Lute's assistance. Tells of being in the City with Charles Thayer but thinks he shall never want a better City to go to than Boston. Had a dinner cost $1 and recalls a John Crossman saying. The boys are out on drill and have been complimented by Banks and staff. Says he's not over anxious to go into battle. Tells of a 'poor fellow' on guard duty who shot his 3rd and 4th fingers off which gave the surgeon about two hours of work. Concerned that if they were in a fight it would take them all day to attend to one company's wounded - 'which accounts for the wounded lying out three or four days without care. Asks about cold weather at home and sleighing and hope to be home before another New Years; hopes his mother is pushing Hattie along on her piano studies; gives his love to Father, Johnny, Hattie, Cas. & the young Squidunk Charlie.
1863, January-February: company muster
1863, January 29: letter to mother from New Orleans
Thanks mother for 'quite a number of papers' and 'large Family letters. Reports getting letter from 'Louis' who proves himself one of his best friends. Doesn't hear from Abby and she can't have much excuse; got letters from Carrie Lowe and some papers from Cousin John. Complains about people not writing and says this is the place to find who are your friends. Tells of Mr Badgers Son being by, a captain of a cavalry company who was surprised to see so many Milton boys. Not interested in going into city, not a man there who wears Broadcloth but what is a Secesh. Tells about Lute's remittent fever and getting the surgeon to let him into the hospital. They have good conveniences - a great box of Bakers Broma Cocoa & Prestons fixings which they have never given the patients so he took a few. Complains about the poor soldier being cheated and all the guard in other regiments having rations of whiskey but not them. Talks of 'poor officers... Lieut Waitt is the whole Regiment.'
1863, February 4: letter to father from New Orleans
Mentions cold and ice forming in tents 1/4 inch. Describes smoke and cinders from piles of dry stalk being burned at sugar plantations. John Crossman says we ought to have the 'Old Hydrant' out. Tells of playing ball with Charlie Hunt, Crossman and the Milton Boys on 'our side', reminded of seeing them play ball on Boston Common. Tells of being a little down and not looking forward to going back to that 'prison of a store' Able to buy butter at 40c per pound & milk 10c per quart. Asks for father to get book on the 'State Agriculture by Flint' or have Joe Churchill get one for you. Mentions $2 owed by 'Gannett'. Tells of many being sick from change in climate; Charlie Moulton is in the hospital, Charlie Thayer is not well. Sees Lute two or three times a day in hospital where Abraham Holmes from Milton is head steward. The New York 116th left yesterday and it was 'rumored we shall go to New Orleans & do Guard Duty'. Asks to have his respects given to Mr. Daniels; mentions getting letter from aunt Martha.
1863, February 7: letter to parents from New Orleans
Furlough to Carrolton City, river rising over 15 feet. Says river broke through levee above City of Vicksburg allowing our gun boats to get through. Mentions troop movement toward Vicksburg and hopes one or two decided battles go a great way to ending war - but they don't come. Luther still sick and comments 'we have lost some of the most healthy looking men in the Regiment so you see its hard to tell who will stand it best.' 'Blackman' given as an example. Says he answered letter from Helen Green & Lizzie Carter. Asks if they got the $40 sent and what they will do with it.
1863, February 20: letter to parents from New Orleans
Writes to expel anxious minds as to where he has been for the past 10 days. Recounts river excursion to Plaquemine which was 110 mile from New Orleans & about 20 from Baton Rouge where they lay with the Mass 31, 175 New York & 165 N.Y. etc. [Bradlee and Clark mentioned] Says he will write all the particulars next mail.
1863, February 24: letter to father from New Orleans
Henry wrote separate letters to his mother and father, both dated Feb 24th - perhaps to different addresses [no envelopes survive]. Here Henry is philosophical about the war and being independent 'as a hog on ice', mentions Abby in Boston and her not responding to letters; Ditson's comments about him in 'Benny's letter [was Ditson the owner of music store]; Mr. Haynes; Mr Nute. He confronts father over getting his mother's teeth fixed and is sorry for father's lame Knee and recalls better times when they raced across Churchills Field once. Asks how Johnny gets along with Nate
1863, February 24: letter to mother from New Orleans
Explains to mother that he had been sick since '1st Jan. until the 8th Feb. but didn't want to trouble her with Luther being sick also. Says he's better now and fatting up like a pig, gaining 10 lbs and weighing 135. Thinks they may have lost a large mail off the Cost of Florida. Talks about the officers in the Company - Lieut. Mitchell promoted and on Banks staff; Lieut Waitt sick; Capt. Wade; Lieut. Nash of the Abington Co [CoC]; our Lieut. Col is a thick headed man...we call him the jack of clubs and Col Ingraham who is very smart and everyone likes.
1863, March 12: letter to parents from Baton Rouge
A hurried letter written 'on the eve of a great battle' while in a large building, high on a bluff which was held by the Rebels prior to Com Faragut's arrival. General Banks Head Quarters are opposite ours...Pat Roonie is here on the Signal Core.' Sending flowers home with Walter Bradlee. Estimates 30,000 troops and reports seeing the Iron Clad Essex and draws small sketch. Captain Badger is here and looks starving.
1863, March-April: company mustering as corporal
1863, March 21: letter to parents from Baton Rouge
Describes long march and encampment - 'on a bluff, below the city'; says from the mound he's sitting on the 'Great Mississippi 'don't look much wider that the Neponset'. Gives his take on 'Abe Lincoln', Grant, others. He longs to get back to the land of Seed Cakes and Hot Doughnuts. Asks what Mr. Twombly will think when Albert is compelled to go to war [Henry had an uncle from York, ME, Albert Moulton, who was in 1st Cav.] He mentions he was pleased with Hattie Eleason's letter.
1863, April 6: letter to parents from Algiers, La
Mentions leaving Baton Rouge the night of the first and arrived here the next morning. Awaiting cars to take them to Berwicks Bay to reinforce Gen Wietzet, who has been replaced, etc. Claims Luther looks better but his leg is worse. Col Rodman & surgeon arranging his discharge. Mentions Col Rodman has been in Milton and is acquainted with Forbes. 'Holmes' is mentioned [possibly a Milton resident]. Describes Algiers: 'nothing can be seen but the White tents of our Division which extends as far as you can see and then around the bend of the River. The city here is a dismal and dirty looking hole but a great business place before the war.' Mentions seeing George Farnerna and several of the 42, expecting George Sloane and more, all heading home soon. Talks about his company and problems with Diarrhea - Walt Bradlee in hospital but 'he can get pies there and take care of himself'. Give statistics on the fitness of Company and Regiment. Regarding Co soldiers: Hyram Nyes is not well; Charlie Thayer looks better now than I ever saw him and same with John Crossman and Chas Hunt; Geo Farnum gives him 50 cents. Talks about going to Meeting - an interesting preacher from 16th N.H. Provides a revealing insight to his displeasure with his work life back at Boston. Adds to letter, Tuesday morning Apr 7th: describing preparations to move out: 'cooks have cooked 3 days rations... battery left on the Cars this morning with several other heavy Guns... looks like work ahead but the 38th been clear of fighting so far...I should really like to have one chance at them.' Mentions writing an answer to 'Hattie E's' letter and hopes his mother got the flowers and roses he sent home.
1863, May 9: letter to family from Alexandria, La
This letter was written more than a month after the Algiers letter and its possible this was his first since then. Recounts a 'tedious march from Opelousas of over 90 miles in 4 days'. On the march Capt. Badger lost 30 horses. He speaks of this incident 'to show you a man can out walk a horse & that with considerable load'. Describes mood of troops on the march - 'when we stop it is snap and snarl every body worn out and limping round with sore feet.' Had tooth ache attended to by Dr. Ward. Says 'Rebs have gone to Texas but we shant follow them. I think we shall go to Port Hudson.' Mentions two union gunboats blocking transport of rebel provisions on the Red River and their cheering of the Cavalry coming to Baton Rouge from Tennessee. Adds Postscript, Sunday P.M. Says he just washed his cloths and had good swim with Charlie Thayer. They heard 'heavy firing in the morning which commenced at 12 last night and continued until 9 o'clock.' Claims 'Gen. Banks went down on a Gunboat [toward Port Hudson] the night we arrived & I guess something is up at any rate you will know about it as soon as I'. Talks of plantations and sugar mills, says their masters who 'profess to be union are rank Secesh'
1863, May-June: company muster
1863, June 5: march on Port Hudson, La
1863, June 13: manuevers at Port Hudson
1863, June 14: assault on Port Hudson
1863, June 18: List of sick & wounded
1863, June: listed as wounded on returns
1863, July 2: letter to mother from Baton Rouge
Writes an answer to mother's 'Kind letter of June 4th.' and briefly mentions a battle wound. 'I forgot to tell you about that little Buck Shot. It don't trouble me much & is most healed up. I'll be well soon. Mentions his awareness of Luther being home. Alludes to hardships and 'sacrifices' - thinks often of the boys at Port Hudson 'who perhaps I have seen for the last time.' Refers to a 'Track Society Agent' who gave a sheet of paper & envelope to everyone and closed with 'real sensible & patriotic remarks [and] a prayer.' Says 'Brother Mudge is here in a Hospital and I have seen him twice & lent him some Zions Heralds. I like him very much...' Comments curtly on mother's picture that 'don't flatter much. I believe I shall have to come home & see that you have those new teeth...' Then he chastises mother for letting 'my picture's go here & there. I am a very modest young man & I don't want to be looked at and criticized by every one so you will oblige me by not giving away another one...' He helped 'Jim Thayer unpack a Box last week.' Claims 'when we came down here I got 11 stamps out of 9 letters sold 10 & got some Blackberry pie.' Says 'we have some real good boys here from Wisconsin, N.H. and N.Y., Conn. and Maine besides the Mass Boys. One of the 4th Wis. is just like Uncle Oliver & talks him.' Mentions seeing 'Frank (Oliver's Boy) of the 26th Mass he carries Mails for head Quarters.' In closing he gives his love to Father and all inquiring Friends '- no others -'.
1863, July-August: company muster
1863, July 17: Admitted to hospital
1863, July 8: letter to mother from Baton Rouge
Henry has 'left the old hospital and is in the old Camp of the 116th N.Y. who have gone to Port Hudson'. He is now tenting with corporal Weston and they are in front of the Deaf & Dumb Institute and up a few rods from the river with a nice breeze. Mentions Charlie Graham is there now and Weston has cut a buckshot out of his arm below the elbow. It went nearly up to the shoulder and glanced down below the joint. Says the boys were wounded alls sorts of ways and had many narrow escapes. Refers to his own wound. 'I shall carry that shot in my side as long as I live'. He learned of a dispatch of Vicksburg being taken and thinks the regiment will go to New Orleans and do Provost Duty. Mentions Hyran Nye is there and hasn't heard from home in two months - looks pretty well but is rather weak yet. Tells mother he has written to Mr Haynes and expects an answer telling him what Mr Haynes plans on doing with him when he gets back [probably referring to his job]. He says he is not homesick but claims 'it wore on him considerably working in Boston.
1863, August 5: letter to mother from Baton Rouge
Thanks mother for letter and chides her for working so hard. Mentions Ann Harrington sending cake and being a good woman; his taking brandy and temperance. Crossman and all the boys are there and Capt Badger gave him some money. Mentions the $50 he sent home and hopes she will use it as she wishes. Claims again he is 'not homesick in the least'; mentions being close to God; giving up his pipe, etc. In closing says he hasn't heard from father 'think he had forgotten me'. Asks mother to 'tell John to sing Bass for me in Quartet - "When there's love at home" I shall think of you singing that on the 28th.' Asks to be remembered to Aunt Martha & Mr. Daniels and Johnny Hibbard.
1863, August 14: letter to mother from Baton Rouge
Received two letters dated 15th and 20th of July since coming to regiment. He describes in detail his picket duty. Claims he feels as good as he ever did and weighs 134 pounds but his nerves are all 'unstrung' and he would loose his health if he had to go through an other campaign. Mentions confidence in Grant, Rosecrans & Meade and that the opening of the Mississippi allows produce to flow down to New Orleans. He compliments the fine food they receive in camp, believing they 'live better than any soldiers in the world'. Talks about Mr. Webb and Albert Twombly [possibly avoiding draft by paying $300] and being discouraged 'to have them act so at home'. Believes the war could go on another year. Discusses going 'down town' the 'Christian Commission'; 'Sanitary'; 'poor' and 'Upper Crust or Aristocracy'. He has an interesting comment about his employer who 'subscribed $100 for this place: 'I don't believe he would if there had not been any Music Trade here: I can read him:' Mentions hearing about 'Dr Fields Death'. Ask if his mother has seen 'Annies Husband'. Is 'anxious to hear about Aunt Martha.' Asks to be remembered to Mr Sloane & Cousin George also to Lizzie who he is 'real glad she has got settled down.' PS, 'Tells of hearing from Cousin Nelle.
1863, September 21: letter to mother from Baton Rouge
Explains long interval in not writing and acknowledges Mother's letter of Aug 11 and one she wrote at York and expects in her next letter she will tell about the Camp Meeting and York. Mentions grandparents and hopes to see the old folks again [at York probably]. Talks about pictures received from home and his sent home where he was bleached out from lying out at the hospital, also of 'A Golden Chain by Sirut Jackson' that Abby sent [this may refer to sheet music]. Talks of grand Review held last Friday and orders read about Burnside & Roseman. Mentions Gen Banks has gone to Texas with 14th Army Corps. He thinks when the war is over the US and France will go to war against England and the US 'will be the best and most powerful government ever known.' Mentions letter received from Liz Carter; not hearing from Mr. Daniels; and the Milton Boys and C. Littlefield.
1863, September-October: company muster
1863, October 12: letter to mother from Baton Rouge
Tells mother of his affections to her. Talks about not making a 'God of money' and recounts: 'Barber of my Co "Lute know him" died because he would not give a few dollars "which he had" for Negro Medicine that has cured hundreds.' Ask mother to tell Lute he has been out on 'Left Guard'. Mentions Blackman and says only a few of the Milton Boys who came out with him are still there and the Regt. now numbers only about 200 fit for duty. Talks of religion and thanks 'God for sparing my Life & leading me safely through so many dangers.'
letter to father from Baton Rouge
Tells father he would be proud of him. Mentions Churchills Pasture in reference to using a rubber blanket during heavy rain. Says we all miss Charlie and asks father not to allow him to come out here again. Mentions hearing Lute has a good chance in 'Town' but doesn't like having to get up so early and the long walk. Asks father 'why don't you move to'll have to after I move home...I'll pay good part of rent'. Talks about John [at home] being a strapper and getting a chance to develop his muscles as a Machinist. Comments about John 'keep the name of his ancestors as it has been...' [?] Says he's pleased Charlie took to Uncle John. Mentions writing long letters to Mr Haynes and Ditson. Explains why 'I talk pretty bold for a Boy'.
1863, November 3: letter to mother from Placquemine
Tells mother they have returned to Placquemine to protect 'Negros coming from New Orleans' to fix a quarter mile breech in levy bank. Their force includes one company of the 156 New York and 10 pieces of the Indiana battery. Things are cheaper here: 20 cents per peck of sweet potatoes, 20 cents per pound of beef steak and oranges and apples in abundance. They are tented in front of the Catholic church where they attended 'meeting' in the forenoon, a 'magnificent concern inside, rather to much like Idolating for me.' Mentions [D---] Davis and Captain 'D' being away on a Court Martial at B.R. Says he is acting sergeant and getting acquainted with some officers and hopes to 'make something of it.' Comments on 'Vicksburg paroled Reb good hearted though as most of them are.'
1863, November-December: company muster
1863, November 22: letter to mother from Placquemine
Tells in some length of going to church and a minister 'one would think to be a Methodist.' Describes room in 'Court House' where they are now quartered. Mentions Thanksgiving coming fast and 'Mrs Forbes sending some shirts.' [Moulton seems to reverse his attitude regarding his employment.] 'I know very well they like me at the Store and it seems a second home to me.' Asks how 'Charlie Davis looks after his vacation...' Asks to be remembered to 'Uncle Oliver...a regular trainer if ever there was one' and to 'his wife [Aunt Hattie]'. Doesn't think 'Charlie Hunt' should have to come out again. 'He is any body's Fool or rather inclined that way...' He talks about talking patriotic but claims 'I've backed it up & I think if I get home I shall have a good chance to talk loud if I see fit.' In closing say 'John and Hyram are well & in good spirits.
1863, December 8: letter to mother from Placquemine
Mentions receiving letter from Carrie Lowe and numerous papers from Lute and that the 'western troops' arrived and picket duty has been light. Tells of Lieut William's, 4th Wis Cavalry, skirmish with rebel pickets 30 miles out. Claims patriotism and determination of the army has been increasing for some time. Believes that when the affair is over many at home will be ashamed of the stand they took. Says the war has been 'prolonged by their traitorous hearts & hands.' He is 'real glad Father has so good an opinion of the war & I hope he is as patriotic as when he sent me.'
1863, December 25: letter to mother from Baton Rouge
Doesn't mention Christmas directly but claims the 'Colored Folks' are having a grand time today. They gather together and a Fiddler keeps them flying until morning. Mentions a woman giving 8 of them a young porker all cleaned, stuffed and ready to bake. Says he is interested in hearing about the war meetings [back home] and 'I wish they would enlist without drafting - but they wont. There are many like Brewer...who like to do the talking but have no idea of going themselves.' Talks about his brother 'John the Mechanic' not being old enough for the draft and glad of it because the family has done its share. Claims he is happy that father joined the church because 'I have often thought it was the only thing needed for he always has been a good Father and I am only one of a large family that loves him.'
1864, January: letter to father from Baton Rouge
Tells father 'Oliver arrived last Tuesday looking tip, top and in good spirits. He is in my tent and we sleep together under the same blankets.' Says 'Charlie was lucky to get his discharge on account of his health.' He claims he doesn't hear much from the armies and believes Banks is the only one pushing the Rebs and he states 'I am in hopes to help him into the White House before many years.' Mentions news of a military pay raise but hasn't been paid in two months. Wishes he could have a few weeks to help his father at the 'old place' as 'I don't think I am quite so green using an Ax or building a Pig Pen as I used to be...[and] don't be afraid of the old Cabot, but make him do his share.'
1864, January-February: company muster
1864, January 17: letter to mother from Baton Rouge
Informative letter. Tells mother he is 'not only well but quite fleshy and my arms look more like Lute's did when he came back from California [the reference to CA may imply that Luther made the Forbe's trip mentioned in the first letter]. All the men are fit for duty where as a year ago 25 were on the sick list. Now mentions to mother that a year ago, January 8 to February 17, he was sick and almost went into the hospital. Talks about Hyram being on guard duty at the slaughter house and full of jokes and of Oliver being good to his family and 'chubs' [children], sending them all the money he can. Glad mother is there to help nurse Luther along. Mentions going to meeting on Sunday and a soldier of Company C playing on the Melodeon.
1864, January 24: letter to mother from Baton Rouge
Tells of fine weather although it the coldest there in 18 years. He is enjoying the best of health and doesn't believe the summer will effect this year like it did last year for 'I can't see much hard work before us.' Claims 'our Capt. Came near breaking Corp. Weston for going' [to church?]. Says it did him good to hear her 'tell of Mr Daniels and your Company.' Talks of being a good Christian and comfort he gets from 'religion to live by'. Mentions he is glad Daniel comes to see her and how he gets along with his wife.
1864, February 2: letter to mother from Baton Rouge
He 'received a real good letter from Mr. Daniels...there are not many that know what a good man he is.' Mentions he 'was much surprised to hear of Sammy Cox quiet he was, [etc.]' Tells of a small squabble in the dirt and a scrapped face.
1864, February 9: letter to mother from Baton Rouge
Opens with 'Your last letter was received...[but] the last two mails brought me no letters...' He was glad to hear she went to Mr. [Teeles?] and saw so many of his old friends - recalling how he used to play with Stilly Tucker and many others round the old school house. Tells mother he hopes to live some time yet in the old Town of Milton and always near there [old school?]. Councils mother in detail on how to handle John and is very glad Hattie is well again. He wonders if there will be much to do this summer and hopes to stay at Baton Rouge which is more than he can say for any other part of state except Placquemine. In closing, he cautions his mother, 'your love for showing my letters don't work well for me, & if you show any more I must be careful what I write. I will explain when I write to Lute.'
1864, march: letter to brother Charlie
Short note neatly printed, probably enclosed with a letter to another family member. Reminds Charlie to 'fill up the pig pen with leaves and keep a good dry bed for him . Sweep up the Barn and Yard and pay father for the boots and mother for the pants.' At the bottom of the note he writes 'For Charlie, Let him make this out himself & tell me if he does.'
1864, March: appointed to regimental color guard
1864, March: letter to sister Carrie
Short hand written note. Says, 'I guess you and Hattie like Mr. Daniels pretty well & I hope you love to go to Sunday school.' He asks her to tell John he had a great wrestling match with Jack Lacy.
1864, March-April: company muster
1864, May 29: letter to mother from Texas Landing, La
Recounts to mother the 'awful sight at Cain River...Forward was the word & off we went with a Cheer over Dead & dying.' Talks about 'Banks 2nd & 3rd Order to Smith to retreat' and states 'the burning of Cain and its capture by Smith with 2000 men is a lie!' Expresses his opinion on the 'draft', 'quotas' and the 'Peace Party' back home. He is worried about the climate and his stamina there and tell his mother 'All the wealth of J. Forbes would not tempt one to stay any longer than my duty prompted one...but I can stick it out' In reference to the caliber of soldier there he remarks 'As John Bradlee said of Capt. Wordsworth: We know what stock he came from...' Tells mother that 'Hyram is tough & is detailed as the Regimental Butcher.' He claims 'John C., Sergt. Simpson & Parker & Wigley & Myself have a big hut all together.' Mentions having a night-mare 'was in Boston'. In closing he informs mother that, based on her comments about Aunt Martha being 'rather low spirited' he 'inform myself that she is insane.'
1864, May-June: company muster
1864, July 1: letter to cousin from Morganza, La
Henry expresses irritation at not hearing from his cousin and asks if 'you intend to write again or drop me altogether.' [Henry is from a large family and with some thought there appears to be enough clues to identify this cousin.] The cousin may work for a 'Mr. Fernald' who occupies much of the cousin's time. Henry states 'you folks at home are hardly awake to what war is...' [so I don't believe this is his cousin Charles who was discharged with a disability.] He mentions the' 6th Mass Cav, formerly 21st Infantry, preparing to leave for home.' He asks cousin to spur 'Louis' into writing and asks to be remembered to 'all at the store.' Henry's 'P.S.' is interesting: 'Please let me know where Hen Wescott is: Berry is OK'
1864, July-August: company muster
1864, July 29: letter to parents from Georgetown, Va
Henry tells parents 'how glad I am to find myself in old Va. For we are in a Paradise compared with La.' Talks of leaving the 'boat yesterday morning at the Washington Arsenal and marching up into the city over the Penn Avenue...' He mentions receiving a letter from Lute and is surprised to hear he is just across the river - on garrison duty. He claims the 'Boys are in fine spirits and we shall go ahead and keep up the reputation of the 38th.' They are camped in an 'orchard on a big hill... full of Springs of Splendid Water and Shade Trees' He talks of hearing that a number of the 'Big Boys have gone for 100 days..' Here Henry vents his frustrations about the draft and govt. handling of war. He asks his mother what she thinks of Lute being in Washington and states 'if he had seen as much service as Walt Bradlee I don't think he would have come...' Tells parents they can send him money 'if there is a loose Dollar or 2 lying around...for my last 2 mos pay has gone into my belly.'
1864, September 16: letter to mother from Berryville, Va
Henry is perturbed again about shortage of mail. 'My dear Mother, I have made up my mind not to write you this Mail as I have not heard for two mails.' He tells her 'Louis...sends me an Envelope directed, Stamped & with Papers inside: he is a dear friend...I hope you will always see him when you go to the store and tell me what you think of him.' Claims rations are insufficient for Men...[but] I weigh more than I have for 18 months...and running around through these woods...I feel about as free as when I used to go barefoot.' He describes the layout of his tent and a 'nice woolen shirt' he wants his mother to send 'no matter how much it costs.' Says the Reb are 'now at or around Winchester and our cavalry are right on them all the time', claiming 'they captured a Regt. of S.C. Troops and their Officers.' Mentions 'our Lieut has a Colored Servant who has just escaped from Winchester: he is a regular darkey but has some intelligence.' Talks about Sherman taking Atlanta and makes other interesting comments about politics, 'Old Abe', McClellan, Grant and the duration of the war.
1864, September-October: company muster
1864, September 19: battle at Opequon Creek
1864, September 24: Admitted to hospital
1864, September-December: listed as absent sick
1864, October 2: Admitted to hospital
1864, October 4: Admitted to hospital
1864, October 8: letter to father from York, Pa
This letter is written on stationery of 'U.S. Christian Commission' with patriotic/Christian letter head. Henry is in the hospital at York, Pa. recovering from a battle wound but this is not evident from his letter. He explains his difficulties with the cold, the lack of adequate clothing, and asks his father 'to try and get me home...' [perhaps earlier letters describing his wounds have not survived]. He has not heard from Lute in 4 weeks nor 'a word from any one from the Regt. since I left it.'
1864, October 10: letter from Col. Gardiner Tufts
This is the only letter in the collection addressed and written to Moulton. It is signed 'Your Obedient Servant, Gardiner Tuft, Mass Military State Agt.' The letter acknowledges 'the receipt of your favor of the 6C inst.; and in reply would say I have referred the the Medical Director, Department of the Susquehannah...'
1864, September-October: hospital muster
1864, October 11: letter to mother from York, Pa
Describes his condition as being 'very lame and sore across my back and the Cold weather we have has effected me considerable... He mentions 'I went down town yesterday for about an hour and went into a Farm House & got some Bread & sweet milk [but]...I guess I hadn't ought to gone around so yesterday.' Tells mother not to worry about him 'if you do you ought to see some of the poor Boys at the Front.' His 'P.S.' states 'speaking about my sitting up I cant set up strait a great while & writing tires me'
1864, October 15: letter to mother from York, Pa
Acknowledges receipt of 'kind letters...[and] money for I needed it badly & and it does me great good.' He wonders why he hasn't heard from Lute and mentions 'Lutes time will be out soon and it would be so good to be together again.' Tell mother he can't say how long he will be at hospital, 'probably not more than 3 or 4 days.'
1864, October 16: letter to mother from York, Pa
Updates mother on medical condition. Wishes he could have six months at home or 'down east' to recruit his strength. Reports having 'very good weather but it feels cold to me [but] I would not care how cold if I had plenty of clothing. Mentions having 'some cloths in my Knapsack...[but] I may never see them.' He 'wonder[sl] that I don't hear from the Boys at the Regt. I sent for my letters at H [headquarter] and they should have been here some time ago. I always think of them and I know how to sympathize with them for they are having a hard Cold time of it. But I trust we can soon talk of these things & perhaps, I can tell you what War is:'
1864, October 19: letter to mother from York, Pa
Explains the circumstance of a medical transfer to Readville or a furlough and states 'Mentzer is the name of the Surgeon in charge here & I suppose an Order to him for my transfer would receive immediate attention.' Mentions again, about not hearing from Lute and 'strange to say I have not heard from the Reg't. yet: Well: I never thought I have my great "Friend" there except "Berry" and he don't belong to Co I." He wishes he could be home on Election Day for 'I'm right on any "Politics"...'
1864, October 20: letter to father from York, Pa
Moulton's answers father's letter received the evening before. Advises father 'as to sending Mr. Cook I don't wish you to do that: If I was badly wounded it would make all the difference...' Expresses feelings about false friends and outsiders 'who have forgotten me for 2 years can keep on doing so.' He anticipates being transferred to Readville at anytime or being furloughed in 2 or 3 weeks.
1864, October 21: clothing receipt
1864, October 22: letter to mother from York, Pa
Tells mother there was 'an Agent here from Boston, yesterday and our Head Surgeon said he could not get us off [to Readville] for a week & I will add perhaps not for 2 weeks...' Complains of cold it 'takes right hold of me and I long to get well rigged out with Gloves, Boots & C...Uncle Sam is rather behind time in this Dept. "to much Red Tape" as usual.' Says he 'was pleased to hear of Sheridan's last victory He was born in Boston & was a News Boy: Gen Grover was wounded I can see him now: a fine looking Man from Maine to.' He is 'obliged to Lizzie C. for remembering me I thought she was mad with me: don't tell her that but give her my Love.' His P.S. asks again about Lute's whereabouts.
1864, October 25: hospital transfer
1864, October 28: Two-day pass
This document, approximately 5x3½ inches is a 'Pass' issued to 'George H Moulton' granting him 'permission to be absent from the General Hospital until Oct. 30.' The permission was granted by 'George S. Osborne, a. u. Surg. U.S.A, Med. Officer of the Day'.
Camp Meigs and the U. S. General Hospital at Readville, Mass
1864, November 2: clothing receipt
1864, November-December: company muster
1864, November-December: hospital muster
1864, December 20: clothing receipt
1865, January: listed as absent sick on returns
1865, January 16: return to duty
1865, January 22: letter to mother from Baltimore
[Moulton has returned to service and is detailed as a Color Guard] He is presently located at the 'Battery Barracks at the foot of Broadway... 'We have good stoves and in 15 or 20 minutes the Room is quite warm.' He claims he 'would rather be here twice over than at Readville, if it want so near Home...I honestly believe that Mass uses her Men, when they come home, the meanest of any State...We shall lay around here a few days, perhaps a week, waiting for transportation to Savannah.' He talks about 'being quite contented after seeing Luther.'
1865, January-February: company muster
1865, January-February: hospital muster
1865, January 27: letter to mother from New York 1865, January 29: clothing account
1865, January 30: letter to mother from Fort Wood, NY
Describes the view from the fort with 'a fine view of New York, Brooklyn and Jersey City and watch the numerous Ships and Steamers coming and going all the time: This is a splendid Fort, mounting about 75 heavy Guns and just above us towards the City is another built of Brick, perfectly Sound...I have seen the forts, coming up the Potomac, below Washington and have a good idea of the strength of the Country which makes me think a great deal more of it.' Tells of going 'to meeting' in the evening at 'a neat little Chapel and a good Minister I believe it is the only Sermon I ever heard that I could remember so long; it was on parts of the 7th Chapter of Revelations and a real Soldiers Sermon.' Advises mother he will leave for Savannah on Wednesday.
1865, February 10: letter to mother from Savannah
Reports 'I am not on Color Guard now so I have to take my turn on Guard and Fatigue duties which is much better for me as I need exercise if for nothing more than to keep me from being lazy.' Talks about the city; 'some parts are rather dirty which makes it appear like all the Southern Cities I have been in: One peculiarity about it is that there are more Churches than any place I have ever been.' He supposes mother 'read about the great fire they had here just before I arrived...The Arsenal and several Buildings stored with Shell were completely blown to pieces...' He wants to get acquainted with the people 'but the citizens look distrustful and I don't feel the best towards them: I believe they are Rank Rebels. Asks for information about 'Esther Beal's sister' who he thinks lives there.
1865, February 16: letter to mother from Savannah
Mentions going to different churches, with John to the Unitarian, Weston & Wigly to the Methodist. Says he went on picket last Tuesday which was a novelty since he hadn't done picket since last March when he went on 'Colors'. Tells mother 'the Service has lost the Glory and Honor which it once had to me before they jumped me and which was undoubtedly for the best. I used to love Military and if I had prospered in it I would have staid.' Talks of the great spring weather and his health being excellent and thinks it 'absurd to wish the time away; I shall be out of it and settled down at my old Box full soon enough...' Mentions 'Hyram was in here yesterday...He looks first rate now and is having an easy time...he never did like being in the ranks.' He 'wish[es] we had some good Singers in our company but all they are fit for is to play cards: so I go out of the Company for my enjoyments just as I used to. [Letter ends here - there may have been an other page.]
1865, February 24: letter to mother from Savannah
On letter head: 'The new York Branch of The U. S. Christian Commission, 30 Bible House, New York...I Company, 38th Regt., 2nd Div., 19 Army Corps.' He tells of a parade in the park on Feb. 22 with a 26 gun salute and bands playing. 'Hyram is back to the Company.' Discusses mother's health; 'So Martha Maria is or has been with you: I hope she will stay and help you until you get a good rest for I know you need one.' Says he sent letter to Martha in Waltham and claims he is 'glad Lute has taken an interest in our Sunday School: I despise anyone who does not for it's as necessary for our Government to have religious principles as an Army.' He 'believes 'this state of affairs cannot last much longer: this cruel war will soon be over & Johnny'll come marching Home. My time may not see it but now, I believe it will.'
1865, February 26: letter to sister Hattie
Mentions going to the Baptist church with 'John Crossman and Weston. Compares the singing there to back home and 'Lizzie at the organ and having [Sabiz ?] singing Tenor. Comments 'so Lizzie has got married.' Says he is 'anxious to hear about Aunt Martha' and has heard from 'Cousin Nelle' He asks Hattie [his sister] to have Luke send him some music 'We're tenting tonight on the old camp Ground.' and two other pieces.
1865, March 12: letter to mother from Newburn, NC
Recounts their travel since leaving 'Savannah the morning of the 6th', including passing Fort Fisher and a boat rigged by Lieut Cushing to appear to be a Monitor which was a sham to fool the Rebs. Tells of a Reb attach on Schofield who had 40,000 but was hard pressed so all available forces were sent to his relief. Later 'Sherman, Schofield, Terry & Gouch's forces combined & probably numbering over 150,000 are pressing on: As I predicted, we, our Brigade only are here to keep the communications clear. We came through the Town or City at Midnight on the Tops of the Cars yelling like Demons & arousing the Women Folks who did not stop to dress before coming to the Windows'. Explains that 'the reason I write so poor is that my right Thumb is done up in a Rag having punched a good there with a "hook".' Directs future correspondence to Co I, 38th, 3rd Brigade, 2nd Div, 19th Corp. Morehead City, N.C.
1865, March-April: company muster
1865, March 23: letter to mother from Morehead City
Reports 'No letter from Home or anywhere else since leaving Savannah... He corrects a statement in his last letter about 'Sherman having formed a Junction with Schofield which was a mistake but will happen shortly.' Tells of supplies and men arriving in great numbers but having time to enjoy 'eating Oysters...frying just enough to fizzle...' Recalls 'Just one Year ago today we Started on this Campaign of Grants which will end only with the War...' Is sentimental as he writes from his tent with sand flying against it like rain: 'John calls Weston his "Laughing Mageranie" Dan. How much I should like to look in on you and see Father in his Shirt sleeves. Johns dirty, I should say dingy Face. No insult intended to the young "Machinist". Does Hattie play any new pieces learned at Singing School...there will be enough when I am "Musical Conductor" which I should prefer to a Captains Commission.' Closes with a 'P.S. There is a great Fire in the Woods just back of here and spreading very rapidly: You know this is the Country for tar, pitch and Turpentine, hence the combustive quality of the Wood.
1865, March 29: letter to mother from Morehead City
Tells mother 'I just received your kind letter of the 22nd and being the only one received for a Month is quite welcome as also Hatties.' He apologizes for frightening mother about his thumb injury but explains; 'I have been opening Oysters lately with my Knuckles but I guess you don't know about that.' He tells of just being 'out for "Rushes" to spread on the bottom of my Cabin: Berry came along, singing out "Moses" in Bull Rushes" He is a great Friend of mine and we are just like Brothers.' He refers to Carrie as "the little Dear" whom his mother informs him has been sick. Mentions 'Last Sunday we had quite a large fire just inside our Line...Crossman was on hand and could act out Johnny McWhite when the Hydrant "I's" were coming and there was great squirtment of Water.' Claims he is doing his own darning and sewing but has to 'fall back on Berry for thread and Dan for Yarn so you will please send me a Box...' Tells of receiving 'good news lately from the North of Sheridans bold move: We have him here now on Shermans left...'
1865, April 14: letter to mother from Goldsboro, NC
He is expecting orders to march to Raleigh shortly and alerts mother he will be sending home cloths he doesn't need. He 'cannot express ...the joy and thankfulness we all feel over the great News of the surrender of General Lee's Army...and it will not surprise me if General Johnson gives up to Sherman without firing a Gun...' [This letter contains a post script, written the next day, April 15.] He mentions 'My friend Baker is the "recruit" Lute saw in Boston. He will be discharged with the Reg't. as well as all the other Recruits with us: When convenient Grant's Coat may be sent to Mr. Langs at the Rail: Nat C. can take it'. He talks more about the prospects of leaving for Raleigh and being reassigned to the '3rd Brigade...Terry Comdg'
1865, April 18: letter to mother from Goldsboro, NC
He mentions reading many papers, including the 'Zion' and the 'N.Y. Herald of the 14th which gives us the first particulars of Lee's surrender...' He then mentions Lincoln's assassination and being 'very much excited since yesterday about the President who has been reported assassinated and today the rumor is confirmed: I shall not believe until I have to but it does not seem to impossible for those who sympathize, even now, with the Traitors:' He has an interesting comment why his regiment is still at Goldsboro: '...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 don't Col. Beckwith "Reg Army" Chief Commissary 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' He talks of going to 'Meetings often' and psalms read by 'the 102nd Ohio Chaplain' and of singing that 'reminds me of 'York & not a little of the Negro Singing.'
1865, April 29: letter to father from Goldsboro, NC
He opens with 'I may as well send you a few lines by way of remembrance...' He then touches on the horror of war with an explanation. 'I did not wish to disturb your mind: 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 fight 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...' He closes with a statement concerning Milton. '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: They are to receive the Regt. & will give us a good reception.'
1865, May 7: letter to mother from Savannah
He mentions 'one week ago today at Goldsboro I received your last letter.' [This establishes the origination of April 29th letter.] They arrived in Savannah 'after 2 1/2 days on the water and found it dreadfully hot. We formed line & stacked arms in an open Field just back of the Jail, where so many of our poor Boy's were starved to death and near the park which looks so splendid.' Talks of attending a 'Presbyterian or Episcopal Church' where he met 'Mr Lowe of Somersville [who] I was very glad to see him & and as he is coming to see me to-morrow will write about him in my next.' He then tells his mother that if they are on the move 'I shant write much: I see by Papers that all Volunteers are to be mustered by the 1st of June & I think you will see the old 38th Home about that time: It will be such a joyous time that I feel like putting it off as long as I can.' [This is the last letter in the collection.]
1865, June 30: company muster-out
1880, March 31: Physician's Afadavit, Edwin Ward
1880, June 15: Claim for Pension, Henry Moulton
1880, June 21: Certificate of Disability, James Wade
1881, September 3: Proof of Disability, John Simpson
1881, September 5: Physician's Afadavit, George Thompson
1881, September 20: Proof of Disability, Elbridge Blackman
1882, March 25: Physician's Afadavit, Charles Hayes
1882, March 25: War Dept summary of treatment
1882, May 20: War Dept summary of service
1882, August 9: Surgeon's Certificate, J. Hayward
1882, October 10: Pension Office
1882, December 20: Afadavit, William Holmes
1883, January 9: Afadavit, George Frost
1883, January 16: Afadavit, J. Walter Bradlee
1883, January 18: death of physicians, Henry Moulton
1885, December 16: examination for Increase of Pension
1886, February 12: letter of support, George Frost
1886, November 20: Physician's Afadavit, W.A. Gorton
1887, January 27: Probate Office
1898, June 3: Bureau of Pensions
1903, January 29: Registry of Probate
1904, December 5: Pension Certificate
1905, June 16: Pensioner Dropped, Pension Agency
1905, June 23: Death Certificate
1905, June 23: Widow's Claim for Pension
1905, August 21: pension appeal, Caroline Moulton (transcribed) 1905, August 21: pension appeal, Caroline Moulton (scan)
1905, August 29: Probate witnesses
1905, September 1: Death Certificate
1905, September 4: Pension Office
1905, September 18: Probate witnesses
1905, November 24: Afadavit, Caroline Moulton
1906, January 20: Pension Office
1906, February 7: Bureau of Pensions
1908-1930, Pension Payment Cards, Caroline S. Moulton
2015: Memorial Day


presented by Mike Doyle and Steve Kluskens,
with help from Claire Kluskens, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC