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56th Massachusetts Infantry

Item LTR-8925
August 30, 1864 William S. Henay
Price: $185.00


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

U.S. Hospital
Beverly, New Jersey
August 30th 1864

My Dear Wife,

Yours of the 21st came to hand this day with the requisite five dollars enclosed. I am greatly obliged to you for sending it as I directed. Since writing my last letter I thought at times that perhaps I spoke rather sharp to you on account of not getting the money in your last. You must excuse me if I did for to be candid, I must say that I felt very nervous at times and am apt to say things that I don’t actually mean. I am getting along very well. My knee joint remains the same. I don’t feel very strong but think if I had a furlough I could recuperate much quicker at home than I can here. But what is the use of talking or making any calculations upon a furlough here in this place. I must wait my chance. I intend to make application for a furlough this week but even if my name should go in, it might be a month before I would get it. I don’t have much hope of either having my name sent in or getting home for sometime to come. Perhaps before many weeks you may hear from me on the Front. But for you and the children’s sake I hope it won’t be so. As I think I am farther off from danger where I am than if I was there. Besides I know your mind will be much easier. The chances are in my favor that I will not be called upon to go for the present. I shall write to the Regiment today in reference to those letters you mention in your letter. I am surprise to hear that Jim Nugent has deserted. I think he is very foolish as he will regret it on some future day. I don’t envy him, his freedom or any other man who will procure it in that way. My choice will be to take 9 chances in 10 to get killed before I’ll ever resort to any such means. He has made himself since the commencement of the War particularly noted in that line. I am sorry that he should allow himself to fall so low as to desert from the Invalid Corps. I highly approve of Andrew’s movement in enlisting in the Navy. Considering the unsettled state of the Country, I think it’s the best thing he could have done. His health will be improved and as long as this War lasts perhaps he could not turn his time for the benefit of himself and family to better advantage than going in the Navy. I hope he will prosper and come out all right. I think Dick Nason ought to be made a Brigadier General as his maneuvering is very fine. I hope when he enlists again he will meet with the same success and get all he can out of the Government for past services rendered. You might send me some more money as I had a pistol worth $20.00 that I raised four dollars on last week. I want to redeem it for I carried it on my belt all through the campaign since the Wilderness Battle on the 6th of May last. It is a six shooter and the only trophy left me of the many Battles I’ve been in since I left you.

I am pleased to hear that the children are enjoying good health and that they are growing fat and saucy. Particularly so in the baby’s case. I should like to see her and all the rest of you and hope something will turn up soon in my favor to enable me to get home.

[I must here close this hoping it will find you all in the very best of health. Write as soon as you receive this letter. Kiss all the children for me. Give my love to everybody. Hoping that this “Cruel War Will Soon Be Over.”
I remain yours forever,

William S. Henay

P.S. Kate improves remarkably well in her writing. I hope she will continue to take the same interest in the future that she has of late. In dating her letters she should not write it so near the edge of the paper but have it connected closer to the main part of the letter.