YOUR CART 0 items - $0.00
Roll over image to enlarge (scroll to zoom)

11th Maine Infantry

Item LTR-6730
March 4, 1862 Henry C. Long
Price: $175.00


Original Civil War soldier's letter with envelope. 5 pages written in period ink.

Carver Barracks
Washington, DC
Tuesday Evening

March 4, 1862

Dear Wife,

I do not take this opportunity to write because I have anything new or particular to say, but because I felt sort of lonesome and knew that I could not pass the time away so happily in any other way. And another thing, you will probably get this letter Saturday night instead of Monday. So you will (if nothing happens) get two letters from me this week. They will not amount to anything. Only that you can know that I am well and enjoying myself as well as possible under these agreeable circumstances.

I have not received any letter from you this week. But I don’t believe it any fault of yours the reason for it. The letters that you write on Thursday, I get the next Monday. And those you write Sunday, I generally get Thursday. And I see that you get mine in about the same way. So I will hereafter write so that you can get a letter every Saturday night and one either Wednesday or Thursday night, unless some more important business detains me. And I think it will be very important to do that. I am looking for a letter tonight from you as they have sent a man after the mail. Sometimes we get two mails a day. But not every day. Jim Larrabee is the postmaster now and I do not turn him heels over head when I don’t get a letter. For I am afraid it will make trouble in the family. And another thing, he is considerably larger man than I be. I have got to sticking point now and shall have to wait until the mail arrives. Perhaps by that time, if I get a letter, I can fill up the sheet with something if it is not quite so interesting. Writing anything interesting is out of my line of business by the way.

I have got a few words more to write before waiting. If you recollect, I wrote you some time ago that a New York Band was going to get their discharge. Well they have got it and have gone home. They started last Sunday. Left in the five o’clock train (the cars run Sundays, the same as other days). About all of us band fellows went to the depot to see them off and bid them goodbye. We had been together so much that we had become quite old friends. There were a fine set of fellows and it made us feel homesick to have them leave. I was almost sorry that I went to the depot with them for I have not wanted to go home so bad since I’ve been here. I told one of our boys when we had started to come back that I should not feel any worse if I were a going to jail, but such feelings have since subsided and I feel as well as ever.

There is not so much rainy weather now as there has been and I hope that it is about over for I think then that we shall hear some good news. It is well understood that the army is preparing for an advance as soon as the traveling will permit.

While I was at the depot, I saw a lot of released prisoners that had been confined in Richmond, Virginia. There was three or four hundred of them. They looked much better than I expected but they told us some sad stories of how they were used and what they saw, etc.. Each one is to have a furlough for twenty days so they can go home and then they have got to return to their former regiments to fight it over again. They all said they wanted to fight and be revenged. I will not try to write the stories they tell about the Rebels but will wait until I get home and then I will tell you lots of stories.

But I don’t know when I shall get home. Bands are not yet discharged but I know they will be. I will wait a spell longer before I try to get mine. I want to get paid first for perhaps I could not get over seventeen dollars a month. Fuller did not and he had the same pay that I do.

After he got his discharge and went to the paymaster to get his money, they paid him third class pay. I don’t want any of them kind. As near as I can ascertain, we shall not get paid before the first of April. If I could get home in April, I should be there in season to plant a few potatoes. I don’t believe I could find anything else to do. Business will be no better until the war is all over, in my opinion, but I will say no more of it now. My few words that I had to say has nearly finished this sheet of paper. If I had another few words to write, I guess that I should make you a day’s work to read it.

Wednesday morning, March 5th

I sat up last night until half past ten waiting for the mail but it did not arrive until past eleven. I was not one bit disappointed for the looked for letter came. I am glad that you are so well and able to return the many kindnesses that you have received at the hands of those you are now serving. I should think some people, if they had any feelings at all, would think of these things. I suppose that it’s the best way to return good for evil. It will be better in the end. I recollect all and recollect what little I did, and condemn myself that I did not do more. But it is all in the past now and there let it remain. It is pleasant to bring up happy recollections of the past. But there is most always some sad ones with the rest which is necessary so that we can realize the good. All the recollections I have of the times we used to be together so much are happy ones and how I long to live them over again. It seems that if I was there to live over old times again is all I could ask for to make me contented and I trust the time is not far distant when I can meet you there. Until that time comes, I must make up my mind to bear whatever little inconveniences there is in the army with courage. You must not think that I have given up the idea of going home for I have not. As soon as I am paid, I shall try for my discharge.

I should think it about time for Elijah to write. I don’t know as I ever saw anyone so prompt. I wrote him over three months ago and have never got an answer. I’ll give him some when I write him again. Tell Wallace if he wants his wishes to come to pass, he must call upon Uncle Thomes. He will put him in a condition for three dollars.

I have written all that I can think to say and shall have to close now so goodbye. You must excuse the many blunders I have made. I have tried to do well.

Truly thine,

H. C. Long