Letter from Henry, dated 1862-05-18

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Camp near White House May 18, 1862.

Esteemed Friend -

I improve this my earliest opportunity to reply to your excellent letter and also give you some information concerning William in addition to what we wrote you from Camp Scott and Yorktown. I left Yorktown Wednesday last. William left the same day for Washington on board the Hospital Boat. He went to the Hospital Sunday and when I got transportation up the river for the ammunition he was unable to go with me. Dr. Childe pronounced his disease slow fever. I think it is the penalty of his untiring labors in the Hospital last fall. When I last saw him Wednesday morning he was quite weak, but able to walk and sit up a little, [strikeout]was not in any pain[/strikeout] had but little pain, but could endure no exertion. At times getting up and washing would so exhaust him that he would have to lie down and keep still some time. At other imtes he would be quite strong and endure considererable. I am sorry that he is unwell at this particular time, for it is the very time when one least wishes to go home, expecialy one of William's disposition. I presume he may be sent to Vermont and may be at home long before this reaches you. I hope he may be

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for a home affords better care than any hospital can. You must cure him up soon and send him back for we want him here.

I presume some history of my wanderings and the sights I have seen would be of interest to you if properly written out, but I am unable to write even a hundredth part of what is transpiring daily around us. We are in the most pleasant portion of the world it was ever my fortune to see. The "White House", so called, is a large Plantation of some 11,000 acres, in an excellent state of cultivation owned by Col. Lee, Confederate Army, son of Genl. Robt. E. Lee. Commander in Chief of the Confederate Forces. This is a place of historical interest. It was formerly owned by Col. Custis, first husband of Martha Washington. Here The Father of his Country wooed and wed the woman no less celebrated as the wife than Mary, as the Mother of Washington. The Custis Family are buried here, but the Plantation is so large that I have not seen their burial place. The House is a nice wood building with an ample Yard and is occupied by Genl. McClellan as his Head Quarters. Vegetation is quite forward. Wheat is [headed?]. Clover is a foot high. Peas are in blossom in the Garden and the trees are in full leaf. It seems like June at Home. The weather is quite warm at midday but the heat is rendered less intense by the breezes which blow

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[upside down:]

Please write at your ealiest convenience and believe me

Your Friend Henry.

[right side up:]

The wholesale slaughter of man by his brother man is [lamentable?], nothing can be more so, but out of this Fratricidal war I have faith to believe great good will ensue. I do not think faith is necessary to lead me to form such a conclusion for we have the evidance of sight already. There is great good in store for the noble sons of Africa, our national Capitol is purged at last which is one of the results of the war. Thousands have gained their freedom by coming inside our lines the President has given his sanction and high executive authority to a gradual Emancipation scheme, and better still, Genl. Hunter under the authority of Martial Law, has with a dash of the pen abolished slavery forever in the states of North & South Carolina & Georgia. It now remains to be seen whether he will be sustained or whether he will suffer the fate of Fremont. The times have changed since Fremont was removed and we have great reason to believe Hunter will be sustained. If so, a great point is gained and slavery will be abolished by martial law. Good can come of evil as good could come out of Nazareth. Slavery is doomed, but at a great cost of blood and treasure, which we should never regret as it purchases freedom for the slave and freedom for our country. "It is sweet and becoming to die for one's country", but more so still to die for our fellow-men and the best interests of humanity.

[in left margin:]

I must close this. Please remember me to all who may inquire.

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