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11th Maine Infantry

Item LTR-6488
December 19, 1861 Henry C. Long
Price: $200.00


Original Civil War soldier's letter. 4 pages written in period ink.

Washington D.C.
December 19, 1861

Dear Wife,

As usual, I have nothing particular to write about. Everything has the same appearance as before. There is no excitement of any kind and it is the same thing over and over again every day alike and so it makes the days drag slowly by. Some of them are as long as any days that I ever saw in anyplace or under any circumstance, but I expect that I shall out grow this kind of feeling after a while. If I do not, it will only be the worse for me. But there is no good writing this way to you for it cannot alter anything. I might just as well say that I never knew how to enjoy life before as to say so. But I must not expect to have everything that I asks for and never know any sorrow for that is impossible for any one. And how natural it is for everyone to find fault with their lot. It makes no difference in what kind of circumstances they are placed in. The rich and the poor are all alike in this respect. But there is that I know certain – that if I had a small fortune, that I could take more comfort than I now do and that is what brought me here, trying to get a little sum that I can call on some rainy day. And if nothing happens to me, I think that I can manage to accomplish my object. But I shall have to trust luck about that. You must not think that this is an index to poor fare or hard living. So far as physical wants are concerned, I was never better supplied. I have everything that heart could wish to make anyone comfortable.

You spoke in your last letter about my being in danger. You need not think so for I am in no more danger than I was at Augusta. There is no troops on this side of the river that are in danger at all. Those that are on the other side (and especially those that are the farthest advanced) have to be a little careful, and they are very strict with them too. They are so strict in the Maine 5th that a man cannot write home or anywhere else without the letters being read by the officers. I suppose that they are afraid of them revealing something that they ought not to.

Fuller has not gone home yet but sits here with a bottle of hair dye waiting for me to color his whiskers and I have got to do it before I can write anymore.

I have got through with him. He looks pretty, I tell you.

I have been to work on our barracks this week, a part of the time. We have got them about half done. We could finish them in two days more if we had the lumber to use but we cannot get but a little a day. Each regiment have to build their own barracks so there is pulling and hauling to see which will get the most.

I made me a chair today. It is a good one. It seems natural to sit in a chair. I am sitting in it now and writing on a table that we have also made. We have got a pretty good assortment of furniture now. It is not so stylish as some, but answers all purposes.

McDonald has gone to Annapolis – that is between Baltimore and here. He is acquainted with most of the Band fellows. I am acquainted with the largest part of them. Some five or six of them has been to see us since we have been here. It is the 10th Regiment that are there. They are put there to guard the railroad.

Col. Beal and Wirt Virgin of Norway was here last week. Charles Branch of Gardiner was here yesterday. I have seen a number of Gardiner people since I came out here. They all come to see the 11th Regiment – it is a good a regiment as has left Maine, so says report. We have got some good officers and the men all like them.

How does Ettie Farrer and his Dumpling get along now? Is Rowenna there? If she is, I presume that you hear that organ occasionally that Uncle Burrows was learning her to play. I expect that her organ gets out of tune once in a great while but I don’t expect that it would be hardly safe for her to go to Missouri to get it tuned now. I don’t know as the Balls would fly any too fast to suit her or their guns be of too long a range but I think she would be like the rest of the name, prefer the kind that the old man killed his wife with which neither had lock, stock or barrel (but was a ram rod). But I guess this will do for her this time.

Have you seen Joseph Shaw or has he enlisted and gone to Augusta? How many went from Buckfield with Bradbury and what regiment did they go into? I understand that there is three regiments there now that have not started. When I came through Portland en route to Washington, I saw Alec Record with the 12th Regiment. They cheered us as we passed by. I think that it was him. If not, it was someone that looked just like him. I should not think strange if he saw some warm weather and some warm work. Before he gets back, the regiment is going south.

You must write all the new you can think of. More the better. Anything from you will be most happily received, I assure you. Write often. You must not work hard, will you? I can think of nothing more that would be of interest. Give my respects to all.

Tell Ann that I had some beans for breakfast but will say nothing about them. They speak for themselves. So I guess this will do. Goodbye. Write soon.

From your ever true and devoted - Henry