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14th New Hampshire Infantry - Killed at Cedar Creek, VA

Item LTR-9537
November 15, 1863 Henry J. Jenks
Price: $225.00


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

Camp Adirondack
Washington, DC

November 15th 1863

Dear Sister Mattie,

I am reminded almost daily that I ought to write to you. For I see I have a package of paper, which came from fair hands, prompted by a warm heart.

It is a great source of comfort to me to know I have left behind those who hold me in remembrance while battling for the maintenance of our glorious country. After I left you at the depot, I felt sad as I turned my back on home and all my loved friends. Feeling I might never see them again. But I must drive away such feelings, for they will unmind the soldier.

We have been having some beautiful weather since my return. And all nature seems to be struggling to keep off the cold blasts which will too soon cause the soldier to sigh for warm fires around some friendly hearth.

The war news has been of a very encouraging nature of late. General Meade has been quite successful. Most of the prisoners taken last week and the Saturday previous were bought to Washington; 1,840 came in one night and our regiment had to go down and guard them. And the day following went with them to Point Lookout, which is situated a little over 10 miles down the Potomac. Several other squads have come in at various times. Last night about 100 were brought in. A part of our regiment has been down to the front three times to bring up prisoners. We have all we can possibly do and I don’t see how we can be spared from here for the present. Although, there has been talk of our going.

I wish you might come out here while I am in Washington to see the splendid public buildings. If you do not go to Australia, you must come out with my wife in the spring.

Those gloves Brother Ned gave me are of great use. I could not get along without them. I hope you will not go to A. For it is a “right smart ways” there and I might never see you again. You would find when you come to leave home, friends and country, it was the hardest, toughest and bitterest pill you ever swallowed. We all sometimes think for the sake of riches, we would undergo most any hardship. But when we consider the brevity of life, the little while we shall be here, to enjoy it, it does not seem worthwhile to spend the most valuable part of our lives to secure what will be of no use to us or anyone else.

Let us live and enjoy life while we have it and try to spread flowers in the paths of others and thus secure to ourselves happiness by rendering others happy. I think you must be pleasantly situated being so near Worcester. Although it is not pleasant to have your husband from you so much. But if he stays, you will move there, which will be nice. For there is not city in this country equal to Worcester.

I hear from my family quite often. I am glad to learn that Flora is getting better so fast. I learned that Mr. Hershel is unwell. I hope he won’t be sick too long. What a nice young lady Mary has gotten to be. I do think there is something very interesting about her. I hope she will get a good husband. One who will be as good as she is.

I expect to go to the front in the morning with a lot of deserters. So, I must close this tonight. For I start at 7 o’clock. I hope to have more of interest to write the net time. Remember me to all my friends. Write soon and all the news. With much love to yourself and husband.

Yours Truly,

J. Henry Jenks