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11th Maine Infantry

Item LTR-7033
March 15, 1862 Henry C. Long
Price: $225.00


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

Carver Barracks
Washington D. C.
Saturday evening
March 15, 1862

Dear Wife.

The letter that you penned to me last Sunday evening I received Wednesday night and in reply, it is unnecessary to say that I was happy to hear from you. For you know as fully as I can ever tell, how glad I always am to receive a letter from you, no matter if there is but three words and I know that you are well. Then I am satisfied. But I have as yet received no such little letters, nor do I believe that I shall. Sometimes it is hard work for me to find anything to say. I have stayed here so long that everything looks old and it seems to me as if I had written about the same thing over and over again and I presume that I have. But I have got some news to tell you this time and must tell it as I can think of but little else.

Yesterday I started for over the river and for the first time stepped upon the “sacred soil” of Virginia. I visited the 3rd and 4th Maine Regiments and remained all night with the 4th. Mc was with me. I saw but few that I was acquainted with and I did not go for that purpose. I went for not other purpose than to see the country, the fortifications etc. and I saw enough to pay me for my trouble. When we got there the regiments were all ready to start as they had received marching orders. Their knapsacks were all packed and everything in readiness to embark as the river is full of steamboats to take them off. The whole division is going but they do no know when or where. But think that they are a going to reinforce Burnside. But they have no means of knowing, therefore can only surmise. Our troops are following the retreating Rebels and sort of hurrying them up a bit. I saw three fellows, or rather soldiers, that had just come in from Manassas. They said the Rebels left in such a hurry that some of them left their trunks, swords, and everything, all their clothing etc., etc. There is lively times now with our troops and I believe that is less than three months this war will be at an end. They must give up and to before long.

Some of the boys think that we have got to go as General Casey was ordered to be ready but I don’t think that any sign. There has got to be a large number of troops kept in and around Washington and I think we shall be some of them. But I may be mistaken. I had just as leave, go as to stay here, for I don’t think that we shall be kept in the army much longer anyway.

I can tell you some more news and I presume the kind you like best, and it is this. The bill to discharge the Regimental Bands was passed in the Senate last Thursday. Now if it is passed in the House (which in all probability it will) we shall be sent home shortly. Mc went down to see Morrill and he told him that there was no trouble but what the Band would be sent home. He said the bill would be before the House next week and thought it would certainly pass. So you see a part of your dream has come to pass and I hope that when I write you again, that I can tell you that the whole has. But I dare not feel too certain for fear that they will not pass the bill. I thought a long while ago that I should be at home before this, but I was disappointed and perhaps I shall this time. If I was paid off, I would do just as you want - me to go home even if the bands are not discharged. But I will keep up good courage and await results.

I heard something last night after I had camped down that made me think of home. That was the frogs were singing like old times and that I believe is the only natural sound I have heard since I’ve been here. Them frogs put me in mind of lots of bygones. They were Virginians but see no difference between them and down Easters – only their croaking was not so loud. I presume they was a little shy of getting shot by the pickets.

I received a letter from Elijah last Wednesday. As you handwriting was on the envelope, I thought I had got a letter from you certain. His came at noon and yours in the evening. So I got two letters that day. He said that boot business would be better than it ever was before after this war was over and that he and I would run a team if I wanted to. He said that he had converted one old Baptist priest since he had been there. I believe that he can convert them faster than Pray can.

The rain is pouring down tonight like a shower and I cannot help thinking of the soldiers that are now on the march without tents or any place to sleep except the wet ground. It must be very hard and I feel that my lot is that of a king compared with theirs.

Buck’s wife is in Buckfield. She is at his father’s. He got a letter today to that effect. This is all the news I can think of, so goodnight. Goodbye and excuse all the mistakes and poor writing etc., etc.

H. C. Long

I don’t recollect of smoking while writing but once and that was a long while ago. I smoke a good deal as I have got a meerschaum that cost me three dollars. It is a pretty little pipe, I tell you.