Butler Letters 1862
Aug. 17th 1862
Since I have left home, I have wrote two letters to you, but have not received one. I sent one by W. Hooper and one by Reuben Devereux. I looked for an answer last night, but was disappointed not to get one. I want to know how you are getting along. I was on guard last night for the first time since I have been here. George Devereux is very sick at the Hospital. Mark Hatch and John Blodgett is there, but not very sick. The talk is now that the 16 regiment is going to leave here Tuesday morning for Washington. I don't know how true it is. I suppose that you have received that order for the town bounty. I sent it by J. Wilson. I have received all of my bounty. 85 dollars in all, I think I shall send it by express to you Monday. I shall send 80 dollars. I should have sent the whole, but I had to buy me a pair of flannel shirts that cost me $3.50. The ones the government furnish are nothing but white cotton. I thought they would'not answer. I went to the city to get my photograph taken, but they had so much to do I could not get a chance. I want you to get yours and Freddie's taken and send them to me. I will get mine taken the first chance and send it to you. Jack Jarvis expects Charles here tomorrow to carry home his things. I shall put my pants and shirt in the same box and direct them in care of Ithiel. Does little Freddie ask where I am? How I do miss him. Kiss him for me. I received a testament from Mason's wife. I sent the one you let me have home, because it was larger to carry. I have signed that allotment bill. I signed 10 dollars to be sent to you and the other 3 dollars will be paid to me. I shall try and get along with that much. The 10 dollars will be sent to the town treasurer and he will do it faithfully. You must write me all about the affairs at home and how you are getting along. I shall write every chance I have and you must do the same. You must not let anyone see this. It is written so poor. I don't have a very good chance to write. You must not worry about me. I shall try and take good care of myself as long as I am able. Give my love to all and receive a share yourself from your affectionate husband.
W. B. Bulter
Virginia, Arlington Heights
Aug 25th 1862
Being the only chance I have had since I left Augusta to write, I will improve the present time. We left Augusta the 19th at about 7 o'clock in the morning in the cars. We arrived in Boston just before dark. We marched through the city to the depot. We took the cars there to Fall River. We arrived there at 12 o'clock in the night. Then we took the steamer there for New York. We arrived there somewhere near noon. We left there for Baltimore. We arrived there before night. You know that is a secession place, but the Union flag waves in a great many places. In Baltimore, they got us a supper there that was what we did not expect. But I forgot to write about the people of Philadelphia. If they aint Union folks, there, there is no Union folks anywhere. We cine through there at midnight. They had a nice supper for the whole regiment. After we ate what we wanted, they told us to put what we wanted in our sacks. They left a book by the side of every plate for us to take called the Soldier Player Book. They said every regiment that went through there was treated the same as we was. It does not come out of Uncle Sam, but the good Union folks of Philadelphia which ought to be long remembered. We got to Washington Thursday night at 8 o'clock. Most every building we passed, the inhabitants came out and waved their handkerchiefs, or put out a flag. Some large places they fired a salute. We left Washington Friday at noon for Arlington Heights, Va. Seven miles....we had to walk all the way. Quite a number gave out on the way it was very warm. I could have gone as much further. Charles Devereux stood it well, but he was lucky enough to get his knapsack put on to a baggage wagon. It made it easier for him. We passed a great many soldiers' tents. There were two New York regiments went past here this morning for the beat of war. A great battle is expected soon. They are sending the soldiers that have been quartered near Washington off to war as fast as they can. I sent 80 dollars to you by C. Jarvis. Write me if you received it. I also sent my ambrotype by him. I received your first letter after I left Augusta. A fellow gave it to me in the cars. He said he hound it after we took down our tents. It was given to someone to give to me and they neglected to do it. George Devereux was left at Augusta sick. He is discharged and will go home as soon as he gets better. John Blodgett was quite sick on the way, but he is well now and with us. Jack Morgrage asked me to say that he was well. If you see any of his folks, tell them he is well. We don't know how long we shall stay here, but expect to move soon. The Capt. Says if we have our letters directed to the person's name that write and the 16 Maine regiment paper with this. You write as soon as you can. This is written very poorly. I have a poor chance to write. Give my love to all. Tell Freddie to be a good boy and save a good many kisses for me when I get home. I must close with much love from your affectionate husband.
H. B. Butler
I could write a good deal more if I had time. I expect to have to go on guard every minute. Write all about how you are getting along. H. B. B.
Sept. 4th, 1862
I received your letter Tuesday night. I was happy to hear from you. I should have written the next morning after I received your letter, but we had orders to move the next day. We moved a mile nearer Washington to Fort Albany. It is a splendid place. We have a fair view of Washington City. The talk is now that we are going to stop here during the war to garrison Fort Albany, but I don't put any confidence in what I hear. Yesterday there was baggage wagons and soldiers passing here all day. It was quite a sight. I saw a man that belonged to the second Maine regiment. He said that they was badly cut up on the last battles. David Webber was killed. That was all that was killed from Castine. The Rebels are near here, but I think they won't dare to come much nearer. They are well fortified. I am sorry that the cattle and sheep plague you. Tell Edward to be sure and keep the board on the ox and you had better get a good man to put the fence up so that the sheep and cattle can not get out. Tell Edward to take that fence where we sowed English turnips, if the turnips aint likely to come to anything which I think they will not. There is a plenty of fencing there to make a good fence. I don't care to have the sheep sold. You had better keep the old buck in the barn at present. I wrote to Reuben not to sell the colt at present. I think a good deal of her and there is a plenty of hay to keep her. Perhaps some of my brothers will go and take care of her this winter. You can keep her on the poorest hay. It may be that I shall be at home by winter. You must not give up taking doctors' medicine. You must keep on taking it and if your throat don't get any better, you had better go to Boston now you have got the money. You can get some girl to do the work. You wrote to know how I liked the soldier's life. I like it just as well as I thought I should. The living is the worst part of it. If I didn't buy something, I should grow poor. We have beef, but it is so salt that it is hard work for me to eat it. We don't have any potatoes. I miss them the most. We have flour bread, but it is rather dry, but I don't know as we ought to complain for the soldiers that come in here from the late battles say that they have lived 3 or 4 days on nothing but raw green corn. If any of the soldiers' folks get up a box to send here, I want you to send me some cake. Frank Devereux and Mark Hatch have wrote to their folks to send them something. I don't like to buy much. They charge so high and I am afraid my money will not hold out. That man that I saw from the second Maine says Edward is well and has a easy time. Charles D. is well. Kiss little Freddie lots of times every day for myself. Tell him I will bring him something when I come home. I will get a drum for him if I can find one. One man died this morning. He camped in the same camp that I did. He was only sick a few days. He was as healthy a looking man as ever I saw. He got cold on duty. He belongs in Sedgwick. If I had thought that William was in Augusta when I was there I should have tried and found him. I have a woolen and rubber blanket, overcoat, dress coat, and blouse to wear around the camp. I have a bed sack. I am a going to get some straw to fill it with. You must write me all the news and how the crops look. I heard that the mail did not go from Washington under 5 days, but I don't know as it is so. Give my love to all of my friends. Direct your letters the same as before. Don't let any one see this letter. Be sure and write me all about everything. I will close with much love to you Mary from you affectionate husband.
Henry B. Butler
Sept, 27th, 1862
I received a letter from you today. I was happy to hear from you. It had been so long since I have received a letter from you that I had almost given up the idea of ever hearing from you. It has been over three weeks since I received a letter from you. I have written three letters since I left Fort Albany to you and one to Alvin. I am glad he is with you. I hope he will stay all winter. I wrote to him go and stay with you next winter. The bargain I think I made with Edward's mother was to give him six dollars a month for six months and I was to give him 20 dollars if I could raise the money conviently and the rest store pay and off from the farm. You might see his mother and I think she will take half money. If Alvin stays, you won't need Edward unless he insists on working his six months out. You will have to arrange that with his mother. The name of the place we are in is Sharpsburge, Md. We camp in a white oak grove. We have been here one week today. Since the great battle, we have had a easy time although we was not in the battle. But they keep us a marching about all the time for two weeks. I wrote all about coming over the battle field after the battle was over in my last letter. Before this it was a horrible night. The dead Rebels lay over a great many acres of grown. My health was never better than it is now. I and another fellow went to a farm house the other day and got some short cakes and milk and apple butter. It seemed like being at home. The money you sent me came very acceptable although I wasn't quite out. I shall try and get along with as little money as I can. We have plenty of apples, but they are rather scarce now. I think you had better try and keep two cows and that beifer that is with calf. You had better swarp one of those young cows that is not with calf with someone for a cow that is with calf. I think there will be hay enough for three cows and the colt and 7 or 8 sheep. How is your health? You must keep on taking medicine. You need not send me any more money now. If I should want any more, I will let you know. There is some talk of our regiment going back to Virginia in a fort to practice on artillery. I hope we shall, then I can get letters oftener. Our regiment was detailed for that in the first place, but through some mistake, we were ordered away. You must get all you can for the oxen. They ought to bring as much as Thomas', if not more. Write me how many potatoes you raise and grain and beans. Write all about everything. Charles D. is well. How does little Freddie do? I should like to see him. I send him lots of kisses with the ones I send you. I wrote to Reuben sometime ago, but have not received any answer yet. I shall look for that box. For I expect there will be something pretty good in it. I should like to have some of your good pumpkin pies. You know I am very fond of them. I have had some apply pies, but they did not taste like the ones you make. You must write me often and write long letters. It is getting late and I must close. Remember me to all. So good night Mary from your appreciated and loving husband.
H. B. Butler
Sept. 30, 1862
I have just received two letters from you. I was happy to hear from you, but am sorry to hear that your health is not so good as it was when I came away. I am afraid that you have not kept on taking medicine as you ought. If Doc Brigham does not help you, I want you to go to some other doctor. You had not better put it off much longer. I shall feel much better if you only had your health. You had better go to Boston if you can not get help nearer home. Attend to your health. Let it cost what it will. You can get some one to do your work. Perhaps you might get helped in Rockland from some of the doctors. You better go there on a visit and take little Freddie with you. I received your letter dated Sept 14 Saturday 27, and I answered it the same day. I wrote in it about the bargain I made with Edward's mother about his pay, but I am afraid you will not receive it, so I will write about it in this. I agreed to give him 20 dollars in money and the rest out of the store and off from the farm and if I had not the money, I think you can settle with her by paying her half money. I think you had better keep that heifer that comes in the spring and swap one young cow for one that is with calf and keep the old cow that will be as many cows as you can keep. The other cow and calf, you will have to get Reuben to sell. Keep the colt and sheep if you can. I am glad Alvin is with you. If he will stay I will satisfy him for it. I shall feel that the things will be taken care of in good shape. About 80 men of our regiment came today. They was left to guard our tent and knapsacks and when we left Fort Albany, they brought any amount of letters for our company. My two were with them. One was dated Sept 27, the other Sept. 21. Charles Devereux had 6 letters. A good many others had as many as that. I am glad you were lucky enough to save those pigs. I think you had better keep one of them if you think the hog won't make pork enough. You had better have the shots fatted and killed if you think the hog will be enough, you can sell the shots. You can judge from what pork you have on hand. I received the paper and postage stamps you sent me and the money you sent me in the other letter. I can get plenty of paper here, but the stamps are scarce, sometimes. I am glad you settled with Mason, but I thought I was owning him. You had better not take money. You may want him to do some work for you: He had been very good about doing work for us and not asking money. I think I could have easily eaten as much as most anyone. Do you love boiled dinners as well as you used to? Well, Mary, What would you think if I tell you that I had a boiled dinner while I have been writing? A fellow soldier come along with a cabbage head and some beets that he swapped for coffee. I bought the cabbage and Henry Wescott bought the beets and he went to work and boiled them with beef and pork that we had. I tell you we made a good dinner. I am glad you did not send that box for me. I would never got it while we are under marching orders as soon as we go into winter quarters, then you can send something. You need not send me any more money unless I write for it. I have clothes enough. When I want anything, I can draw it. The women seem to have babies if the men have gone to war. Janett Hatch has big babies. I wonder if there is not some sesesh about it. I went to the canal and had a good wash today. It is close by the Potomac. The Rebels are on the other side. I have not any more room to write this time. You must write often. Give my love to all the folks and accept a large share yourself from your affectionate husband.
H. B. Butler
Take good care of little Freddie. I wish I could have your and his ambrotypes. Perhaps you will have a chance to send them to me. Be sure and try to cure yourself Mary. It worries me to hear that you are no better. Tell Alvin to write.
Oct. 10th 1862
I am sitting in my tent and thought I would employ my time in writing to you. The last letter I received from you was dated September 21. I answered it. The mail has come twice since and I was disappointed not to receive any letters from you Mary, but I know you must have written unless your health is so poor you cannot write which I hope is not so. My health has been poor for 4 or 5 days, but I am much better today. I went to the doctor, and he gave me some salts. They helped me. I had no appetite for anything, we had. Charles D. got some ears of corn and he ground it into meal with a thing something like your gratter and made me some gruel. That's the way the soldiers make their meal. Some make pudding with it and some Johnny Cakes. I expect I shall learn to be quite a cook if I stay here 3 years, but I hope the war will close before that time. The regiment is over half sick with dysentery. I understood the 20th Maine only had 300 fit for duty out of 1,000 men. It seems to be a sickly time not, but we shall soon have cold weather. I do not know when we shall leave here, nor where we shall go when we do leave. Some think we are going back to the Fort, and some think we shall go into Virginia. I hope we shall go somewhere I can get letters from you oftener. Klisha Bickford had been quite sick, but is getting better. We were out on a review the other day, and I saw President Lincoln. He rode by us on a horse with MoLemen and a number of other officers. I saw Edward a few days ago. He was well. He came 4 miles to see us Castine boys. He has an easy time.
Saturday Morning, 11th
As I had not time to finish my letter yesterday, I thought I would write a few lines today. I am not so well as I was yesterday. I am troubled with the jaundice. I have just come from the doctor's. I think he will send the sick to the hospital. I hope he will, for the quarters we stop in now are not fit for a sick person. We have to be on the bare ground with two rubber blankets pinned up in the of a roof of a building. If I go to the hospital, I shall have good care taken of me and a good chance to rest and sleep and I shall get well in a short time. I want you to write all about your health and little Freddie's. I suppose if I was at home, he would pity Papa. I should feel him crawling over me if I was in the bed. You must hug him and kiss him for me. You must write me all about everything. Write how much grain and potatoes you raise and how much of everything. I suppose Alvin is with you yet, I hope he will stay next winter. Tell him, if he wants to do joinere work, he can go into the blacksmith shop. Perhaps you can get him to finish off a room in the chamber. It won't cost much for what lumber he will want. I don't know if you can read this. It is written so poorly and the paper is so dirty. It is impossible to keep anything clean here. Well, Mary, I have not much more room to write more. You must take good care of yourself and Freddie. Give my love to Father and Mother and Alvin likewise, and I send you and Freddie much love and many kisses from your affectionate husband.
H. B. Butler
Write often as you can for I am anxious to hear from you often, Mary.
Oct 14th, 1862
I have just received your letter of Oct. 5. I was very happy to hear from you and that you are as well as you was. When I came away, you said that you would write every Sunday. The last one I received before this was dated Sept. 21, so there must be one between Sept. 21 and Oct. 5, that I have not received. I have answered every letter that I have received from you as soon as I received them and a good many besides. I wrote Oct. 11. I was not very well when I wrote and I wrote that I thought I should go to the hospital, but I did not go. I am better than I was, but as not able to do duty. I have got the jaundice. I had them once before about 12 years ago when I was an apprentice. How did you make it settling with Edward? I wrote all about the bargain I made with his mother in regard to his pay in some of my letters before this. I suppose you have received them before this time. I received the two postage stamps and a sheet of paper you sent me and I am now writing to you on the same sheet. I hope Alvin will stay and take care of the stock next winter if he possibly can, or if he can not, I hope he will get someone that can take care of the colt. I don't know, Mary, as I have anything more interesting to write as I have just written a few days ago. We have had very pleasant weather out here and some days has been very warm. I suppose you have had some quite cold weather. How does little Freddie do? Does he run out doors as much as he used to? You must have him sled. I expect he will have an jacket and trousers by the time I get home. I think he would look funny. I wish I had something to send the little dear, but I have not anything but kisses and I will send him a lot of them. You must take good care of yourself and doctor your throat all you can. Charles Devereux is well and hearty. He had 3 letters today. I promised Mason and Sirima I would write them. Tell them I will write soon. I wrote to Mother a short time ago. I expect a letter from her soon. I should like to have you get me some kind of a vest and send me for winter. I will write you when I want you to sent it. You can get one ready for me. Perhaps that black one will do if not, you can get a new piece of cloth and make me one. It would be of no use to send one until we get into winter quarters. I believe that is all I want in the shape of clothes. All the Castine boys are well except Elisha Bickford. I shall be able to do duty in a few days. You just write often and I will do the same. Write all the news. If we go back to the fort, I shall get letters ofener. I will close by wishing you good night and much love from your affectionate husband.
H. B. Butler
Oct. 25th, 1862
Today is Sunday, and I cannot 1et it pass without writing to you, Mary. My health is quite good. That is, it's better than it has been for the last fortnight, but I do not feel so well as I did when I first came out here. I stand guard when my turn comes. That is once in 5 or 6 days, and go out to drill every day besides. They do not give us much time to rest. We are under marching orders all the time. We may march in one hour and we may not march for a month. We cannot tell anything about what time we are going to move. We all looked for letters last night, but were disappointed not to get any. There has not been any mail this week. It seems strange that the mail cannot come more regular. I received a letter from you a week ago last night, and I answered it last Sunday. I hope you received it. We Castine boys all draw our rations together and cook together. We sometimes swap our fresh beef for flour and make it into flapjacks. They go very well. There are some in the regiment that make donuts and carry them around and sell them for a cent a piece and some make apple pies. They are hard up for money and they take that way to get some. It rains today and Charles D. and I are both in our little tent writing. It is rather snug quarters to write in, but it is better than it is to be out in the rain. Last Sunday I sat on a box and wrote on a barrel head. It is quite cold here nights. Charles and I turn in together. He has a woolen blanket and I have one. We cover them both over us and we lie quite comfortably. We have straw to lie on. They have sent to Fort Albany after our knapsacks. If we get them, we shall have another blanket apiece, and I have two good shirts in mine and my dress coat and a pair of stockings and all of the little things you know that you stowed away in that thing you made for me are in it. There is one thing I want very much and that is a pair of mittens or gloves. I had rather have a good pair of knitted gloves if it aint too much work to knit them. They are better about handling my musket, but if you cannot get time to knit them, a pair of mittens will do. If you will get them ready, I will send for them as soon as we get into winter's quarters. Klisha Bickford was carried off the other day to another hospital. I think if he does not have good care taken of him, he will not get well. There was one died last night out of our regiment and one night before last. One died. A good many of the sick ones are getting well. How did the turnips grow that I sowed out in the woods? I fenced in two pieces for turnips. I do not know if Alvin knows where they are. I expect it was too dry for them there. There is an account with Jesiah Davis on my book I should like to have you see how we stand. He promised me a lamb this fall. If he owes me enough, you can get Alvin to get account settled whether he owes me or not. Have you seen about that money that you ought to draw? They tell me that it belongs to families of volunteers, and it belongs to you as much as anyone. I had to leave my farm to come here, and what is a farm good for without someone to work on it?
October 29th 1862
We had orders to leave before I finished my letter. I will try and finish before we make another move which I think will be soon. We left Sharpsburg Sunday at 4 o'clock in a rain storm. We went about 6 mile that night. We went into the woods and built a fire and fried some bacon and made quite a supper on that and hard bread. It rained all night hard. Charles D. and I bent down a small tree and tied our rubber blankets over it and made a shelter and we slept quite well, but a good many never shut their eyes for the night. The next day we went 6 miles further. Yesterday we went 8 or 9 miles. This morning we had our guns inspected. I think we shall cross the Potomac into Virginia today. You must not let it trouble you if you do not get a letter from me very often, for I do not get a chance to write when we are on a march very often, but I shall write every chance I have and you must write often. I have not had a letter from you for almost a fortnight. My health is good to what it has been. I hope you will take good care of yourself and little Freddie. Kiss him for me. Give my love to all and receive a large share yourself from your affectionate husband.
H. B. Butler
I do not know when I shall get a chance to send this, but will send it as soon as I can.
Near Brooks Station or Acquia Creek, Va.
Nov. 29th, 1862
I received a letter from you last night and one from Maria Hatch. I also received the one dollar bill and 2 postage stamps and 2 envelopes. They come very acceptable. I have never seen anything of the 2 dollars you sent me. I received a letter from you last Tuesday and I answered it the next day. I write oftener than once a week, but I don't know as you receive all of these. I know that I do not receive all that you write, but I think we shall get letters oftener as long as we stay here. We are close by the railroad where we can see the cars every day. It seems something like home to see the cars and hear them come in. They sound so much like a steam boat. Your last letter was only 5 days a coming. It was mailed the 24th and I received it the 28th. I am glad you have got a good boy and I hope as I wrote in my letter before this that he will take good care of the stock and be saving of hay and be careful of the colt for they are a very easy animal to get spoiled. Tell him to not give the sheep much hay at once for they don't eat but a very little and they will waste it. They say 8 sheep only eats as much as one cow. Boys that are not used to feeding sock would give a sheep as much as they would a cow, and it would be wasted. You want to know if it is best to hire the wood out for next summer, or to have it cut for 42 cents or 50 cents a cord and board them selves. I suppose you can get Heath as cheap as any other man, but you will have to get someone besides him to measure it. Perhaps you can get Thomas to cut it and haul it out as cheap as anyone. The boy will get some time between now and spring to cut some of it up after it is hauled up. I received those gloves, and I think a great deal of them. They are warm and pretty. I could sell a great many pairs of them for one dollar a pair if I had them and I suppose they did not cost much more than half of that. That vest you had better not send yet as I am not in want of it much now. We have got our knapsacks at last. Mine had everything in it just as I left it. Some had almost everything taken out of theirs. I wrote for you to send me some thread, but if you have not sent any, you need not, for I had a plenty in my knapsack, and I have got 4 good shirts and I can make myself quite comfortable. The boys never received that box that was sent them. They have looked for it until they got tired of it. You better not send me my box nor boots yet nor any more money at present. I have never received any letters from John Lawrence. How long ago did he write? I think you had better pay Miss Bowden that money and Samual Bowden and Johnathan Perkins what I owe him. You know that I have quite a bill against Samuel Bowden, but I believe that I have none against Mr. Perkins. If you settle with Mark P. Hatch for horseshoeing, it will be just 6 dollars. It had been half of a year that I shod both of them. I shod them just before I came away. Don't you take less than 6 dollars. You know that he always wants me to take off a little. I have a bill against him for ex showing. I don't know as you can settle up what bills I have out. If you can not you can let them be until I get home. Your dry wood in the cellar will be very handy for you this winter. You have been saving of it. I hope you will have enough to last all winter. It will make a great difference where you only keep one fire. I never know how you made it settling with Edward. I suppose you wrote about it but I never received it. I shall try and write to Sirima to say if I have a chance. You must write often as you can. I shall do the same. I must write a letter to Freddie, so I must close this. Give my love to your father and mother and accept a large yourself from your affectionate husband.
Henry B. Butler
Near Brookstation or Acqui Creek, Va.
December 1th, 1862
I will write you a few lines to let you know that the Castine boys are a going to write home for a pair of boots and I want you to send me a pair. We thought we would have them all come in one box. There are six of us that are a going to send. Mark Hatch, Frank Devereux. Joseph Varnum, Lorenzo Bowen, Charles Devereux, and myself are the ones that are going to send, and you can send my vest in the same box and if you want to send me anything to eat, you can. You will have to do it up snug in something. I saw Lieut. Col. Tilden. I asked him if he thought we should be likely to get a box if it was sent. He said he thought it would come to Washington straight and he said he would give the Sutler that goes to Washington quite often an order to obtain everything that comes directed to this regiment. We shall have to run some risk, but I think if we stay here long enough, we shall be likely to get it. I do not know how much it will cost to send a box. I think a box comes free of cost to Washington. It will be likely to cost something from there here, but it will not be much apiece. We want the box to be sent immediately. I thought I would write a few lines in Charie's letter to his father to pick me out a good pair of boots. I thought he would be a good hand and you would give him the money to buy them with. I want thick boots, number 8 with long legs to them, and I want them tapped if it can be done soon enough for there is no chance to get them tapped here. I did think of getting along without boots but Col. Tilden said we should need them. The boys seem to want the box come directed to me. It wants to be directed the same as a letter. I received a letter from you last Friday night. I answered it Saturday. I also received a letter from Elisa and Arevesta and one from Frank. They are all well. Klisa wrote me that Harriet had a little girl and Lissy was much pleased with it. I wrote to Sirima and Maria Sunday. Augustus D. was over to see us yesterday. We see him quite often. We were over to see him Friday. We had a good time. I should liked to have been at home Thanksgiving Day and took dinner with you. I suppose you had something pretty good. Reuben wrote to Charles that he had my calf. I think you better sell it or swap it for a sheep. I don't know as I have much of anything more to write this time. I must write a few lines to Reuben. The boys think he will be a good hand to see about sending that box. I hope we shall receive it. I think a good pair of boots won't cost 3 1/2 or 4 dollars. I want them tapped if they can be done in time enough. I am well with exception of a cold in my head. I never had a better appetite in my life. I want all the time. I hope this will find you all well when you kiss little Freddie, remember and always kiss him for me. My love to all and a large share to you Mary from your affectionate husband.
H. B. Butler
Dec. 18th 1862
It has been sometime since I have written to you. The reason why is I have not been well, I have had a bad cold in my head and I have the diarrhea all the time. I suppose you have heard all about the battle at Fredricksburg. It was a hard battle. If I had been well I should been there. All the Castine boys all come out right. Charles D. & J. Varnum had a ball put through their coats. I received a letter from you about two weeks ago dated Nov. 29 and I received 3 letters last Monday night. Two of them was back letters & one of them had that 2 dollars in it so I have got that at last. I received that pair of socks this morning. They are very good ones. I needed them very much. I am at the hospital but I almost might as well be with the regiment for there are so many wounded ones here that the ones don't get any thing done for them that are sick. I hope that I shall not be sick long. You better pay what debt you can but keep what money you want to use. Our regiment has not been paid off yet but I should think was time. I received 2 letters from John Lawrence. One of them was a back letter. Tell him I will write to him as soon as I get well. I am writing where I can look across the river and see the rebels. Our force is all on this side & the rebels on the other. I suppose our forces will cross over again very soon and they will have another fight. Henry Leach was killed in that battle. Albert Veasea is missing. He was either killed or taken prisoner. Tell the boy to be saving of hay this winter. It will be expensive to buy hay this winter. Tell little Freddie I thank him very much for those socks. I will bring him home some pretty thing when I come home and I will give him a thousand kisses. I don't know as I can write any more this time. You must write often. Take good care of yourself. Give my love to all. I suppose you received the letter I wrote about the boots. There were 6 of us wrote for boots at the same time. I will close with much love and many kisses to you and Freddie from your affectionate husband
Camp Near Bell Plains, Va.
Dec. 23rd 1862
I received a letter from you last Sunday dated Dec. 13th. I was pleased to hear that you were all well. I am some better. I have a bad cough. It keeps me awake nights. I have spells that I cough nearly an hour at a time. I have got better of the diarrhea. I am with the regiment again but I don't do any duty. I fare full as well with the regiment as I do at the hospital if not better. They are crowded full all the time. I am in hopes to get well of my cold soon. You say you have sent that box. I hope we shall be lucky enough to get it. I saw Col Tilden. He said all the boxes that were sent to the regiment would be forwarded where the regiment was. The story is that we are going into winter quarters right away. I hope it is so. Charles Devereux is well. Henry Leach was shot in the battle at Fredericksburg. Albert Vesea they suppose was shot or taken prisoner. 3 or 4 other boys are missing out of our company. Our regiment was badly cut up. I got the 2 dollars bill you sent so long ago. I got those stockings too. They were nice ones. I needed them to, for I only had one pair that was good for anything. They were the ones that were left in my knapsack. You say that Bevan made you pay all the money, but 4 bushels of beans. Edward had some things out of Jarvis' store. Did you take that out? I think it was between 2 and 3 dollars. It is on my book and I paid him one half of a dollar in cash. I wish I had been at home to settle with that rascak. He pretended he had nothing to do with Edward. I may have a chance to give him a piece of my mind sometime. You ask me if you had better go add collect my bills or let them come and settle with you. I think the most of them will come and settle with you. Tell little Freddie that I think he will have a pretty frock. I should like to see him with it on. Is the little darling as fat as he used to be? I am glad your boy gets along so well with the cattle & things. I hope he will continue. So I will tell you what kind of a chance we had when we were at the hospital. A good many of us had to lie an old shed in the barn yard. The barn and a good many other small buildings were filled up with the wounded. Some sick ones had to lie out in the open air. If that aint a hard way to use soldiers, I don't know anything about it. If I could only have my health I could get along will enough. I wrote to you most a week ago. I carried it in my pocket 3 days before I could get a chance to send it. I don't know as I have anything more to write. You must write often. You have a better chance to write than I do. I shall write as often as I can. I should like to be home and have some sleigh rides. The ground is bare here now and I hope it will be so all winter. I should thought Iareal would have sent you a set of furs. It is most night and I must close. Give my love to all and accept a large share of love and many kisses to you and Freddie from your affectionate husband.
H. B. Butler
Camp near Bell Plains, Va.
Dec. 30th, 1862
I received a letter from you Sunday night. I was pleased to hear from you and that you were well. My cold is some better although I cough considerably nights. I do light duty. I do not feel so strong as I did when I left home, but hope I shall get well of my cold soon. Mark Hatch and Frank Devereux are sick with a cold. They go out around the camp ground but they don't do any duty. There is a good many sick ones in this regiment. There was some Maine women here yesterday at the hospital. They had preserves and butter for the sick ones. We have not received that box yet, but I hope we shall. Other companies have received boxes with butter and cheese and apples and a good many other things in them. Boxes come for ones that got shot at the battle at Fredericksburg. Their things were sold to the highest bidder. The sold 8 apples for one dollar. I would go without apples for a long time before I would give that price. I have never broken that one dollar bill nor the two dollars bill you sent me so long ago. I have them both. I wrote to you in two letters before this that I received the stockings and the one dollar bill you sent me, but I don't know as you received them. I was surprised to hear of the death of Charles Jarvis. He was always so well and smart. He will be missed a good deal in the store. I suppose Mr. Klaiades' folks feel bad to loose their little girl, but we have all got to die sometime or other. We don't know when, I hope little Freddie will not forget me. I hope he will not have that fever. Does he like to mark on the slate as well as he used to. I hope Santa Claus will put lots of pretty things in his stockings. I hope he will fill it b--g up. Tell him he must write and let Papa know what Santa puts in his stockings. I am glad that you have got that sheep. I thought she must have got hung in the fence. I don't see how she come to get out and leave the rest. I am glad that you are a going to have the state pay. It will be quite a help. I suppose you will get it from the time I enlisted. I understand provisions are very high. I am afraid it will be hard times for poor folks if this war holds on much longer, and I don't see much signs of its ending very soon. I don't know as they're ever a going to pay us off. I shall save as much of my monthly wages as I can for my family. I shall not buy anything only what I can not get along without. You need not think about my folks thinking you were the means of my going to war. I wrote to them all about it that you were not willing for me to go. I wrote how Alvin talked to you about it. I told them the whole story, so you must not think any more about that. Charles Devereux is well. He is out on picket today. I see Augustus quite often. He is well. I suppose you, had better pay all the depts. You can keep money enough as so not to suffer for anything. Soon as I am paid off, you can draw 20 dollars a month from Charles ?oges. You know I signed 10 dollars a month home and the other 3 dollars I thought I should want, but when I get it, I shall send the most of it home to you. You must get along as well as you can. I shall be at home as soon as the war closes if I am alive. I don't know as I can get home before that time. How was the cow and hog? Were they fat? I always like to know about such things. You must write often and write all about everything. Give my love to all and accept a large share to yourself and Freddie. Your ever affectionate husband.
H. B. Butler