Butler Letters 1865

Camp 16th Me. Near Petersburg, Va. January 1st, 1865

Dear Mary, I received a letter from you a few days ago. I will take this opportunity to answer it. I am quite well now and have moved into my new quarters. There is four of us in my tent. We have got the best quarters our regiment ever had, but we have not got them all built. It will take about one week to finish them. Today is Sunday, the first day of the new year. It appears some like winter today. There was about one inch of snow fell last night, but I think it will not stop long. We have got a good camp ground and plenty of wood nearby. If we can only stop here all winter, we can take some comfort. Do you know the Methodist Minister that preaches in Castine? His name is Jewell. He has a nephew in this regiment. His name is Ham. He tents with me. You can do as you think best about keeping those lambs, but you ought to have them marked. If they should get with other sheep you could not prove that they was yours without any mark on them. Anyone would own them that happened to get them. I would have them marked as soon as I could if you thought of keeping them. I hardly know what to do about sending for a box. I have not received my boots yet, so I am afraid if you send me a box I shall not receive it. I will not write for one this time. I will wait a while longer and see if the boots come. If I don't get them this week, I shall think I never shall get them. I have nothing new to write. I received a letter from Mother yesterday and one from Mason. I must answer one of them today, if not both. Frank has got home from Boston. He got tired of his chance. It kept him up nights more than he liked. I suppose you are going to have something good today. I suppose I shall have to eat what Uncle Sam giver us. We had some very nice baked beans this morning. We have a hole in the bottom of our fireplace where we bake beans as nice as they can be. We bake them in a pail with a cover to it. We put hot coals around the pail then cover them up with dirt. We put them in at night and in the morning they are nice and warm. I should think it would be cold for you taking care of the stock this cold weather. You must be careful of yourself and not get cold. I dreamed the other night that Freddie was very sick. I hope it is not so, but I have thought a great deal about it ever since. Write as often as you can. A Happy New Year to you all. Yours affectionately. Henry B. Butler Seargt. Co. K. 16th Me. Volt.

Camp 16th Me. Near Petersburg, Va. January 1st, 1865

Dear Mary, Your letter of December 15th, I received in due time. I will take this opportunity to answer it. It is eight o'clock in the evening. Rather late in the evening to begin a letter, but as I have such a comfortable place, I thought I would improve it. It has been a rainy day, but I have been busy at work in my tent making a table to eat and write on, besides doing some other little jobs. We have got the best quarters our regiment ever had. They are very comfortable. If we can stay in them this winter we can take comfort. I dread another summer campaign, but if I am fortunate enough to get out of it without being hurt any worse than I have been, I shall be thankful. I have not received the boots Isreal sent me yet, so I shall not send for anything else at present. There was a number of boxes come to the regiment today I was in hopes that there was one for me, but was disappointed. Henry Wescott and I went to Fort Warren a few days ago. It is about three miles from here. That is the fort our regiment helped build in July last. We were there over two months. The 31st Me. Garrisons the fort now. We saw Augustus Wescott and took dinner with him. Well, Mary, I shall have to stop writing for tonight for it is getting late and I am getting sleepy, so good night and pleasant dreams. Saturday evening 7th Here I am again sitting in my little warm tent. I have been busy all day so I had not time to finish this letter until this evening. I have just been to supper. I suppose you would like to know what I had. I had some potatoes and onions fried together and hard bread and pork and tea. A pretty good supper for a soldier. Tonight we are going to bake some beans for breakfast. I have been building my chimney higher today. You would laugh to see what chimneys we have here. We build them with wood and mud. We lay the wood up for the outside and plaster the mud on the inside. They would not be very safe chimneys to have to our houses at home. They are apt to catch fire often, but they do not much harm to our tents if they do get on fire. I am sorry Freddie has a tooth ache. I know how to pity him. I have it quite often. I have used tobacco most ever since I have been out here. I thought it might save what teeth I have got, but I don't know as it does much good. I expect you will scold me when I get home for using so much tobacco, but I believe that is the only foolish habit I have taken up with since I have teen out here. I have not gambled any nor drunk but a very little whiskey. Well, this is all nonsense I have been writing, but I don't know what else to write. I hope the next time I write I shall have something more interesting to write. You must write as often as you can. Write me all the news. I shall write again soon. Much love to you and Freddie. I remain your ever affectionate Husband. Henry B. Butler Seargt. Co. K. 16th Me. Volt.

Camp 16th Me. Near Petersburg, Va. January 22nd, 1865

Dear Mary, I received your letter dated January 15th the 26th. Was glad to hear that you were well, all excepting your tooth ache. I am sorry that troubles you. I am quite well at the present time. It is a very cold day today, but I have not much to do but to get fire wood. I have been helping Lieutenant Davis for the last three or four days on his tent. All of the men have got theirs done and the officers are building their own tents. They have been very good. They waited for us to get ours done before they commenced on theirs, so I went to work voluntarily on the Lieutenant's tent so he could get into his before it got to be much colder. He will move into his tonight. The other Company Officers have not got theirs done. You wrote about going to singing school. I am perfectly willing you should go if you want to. If I was at home I would go with you. I could get a furlough if I wanted one, but I think it will not hardly pay. It will cost me fifty or sixty dollars to go home in any decent shape, and I have only about six months and a half more to serve, then if I am alive I can go home and stop as long as I want to. I think I will come out again if I can get a chance to get a hundred dollars a month. I have been out here most three years for small pay, not I want to make it up. I have not received my boots yet. I think I will write to Ithiel soon. Perhaps he can look them up for me. I have nothing to write that is interesting. I want you to send me a few postage stamps for I am entirely out. I have been expecting to be paid soon, but the paymaster has not got along yet. I sent my warrant about a week ago. I sent a letter to you at the same time. I wrote to Mason a few days ago. Send me some black thread in your next letter and also a needle. The cars run as near to our regiment as James Hatch's house is to ours. They are just coming in blowing away like an old steam boat. How is Freddie? Does he slide down hill any this winter? Well, Mary, I shall have to stop writing for I cannot think of anything to write. Perhaps the next time I write I shall have more news. You must write as often as you can. My love to you all. From Your affectionate Husband. Henry B. Butler

City Point, Va. February 8th, 1865 Ninth Corps Hospital

Dear Mary, I received a letter from you the 6th. We started on a raid the 5th. I received your letter about two hours before we attacked the enemy. After I was in the fight some over an hour I received a wound in my left shoulder. I walked of from the field with the help of one of my comrades. That evening the Doctor cut the bullet out of the back side of the shoulder. He said it was quite a serious wound, but I hope I shall get over it. The bone is fractured some. I came here to City Point yesterday. The 5th Corps Hospital was filled up so they put a lot of us in the 9th Corps Hospital. I have a comfortable place and am getting along as comfortably as can be expected. I do not know how bad the regiment is cut up, but I know it must have been lost heavy, for it was a hard fight. The Colonel was slightly wounded and I hear that Capt. Davis was wounded in the hand. He has been lately promoted Capt. of Co. C. I have not heard from Henry Wescott. He was all right the last time I saw him. You better not write until you hear from me again, for I don't expect to stop here a great while. Henry Wescott has just come with 4 others from our company. Henry Wescott is wounded slightly on the top of the head. Our regiment had a hard fight yesterday. I wrote to you for a box. I hope you have not sent it. I have not seen Jack Mograge since the fight. I presume he is all right, for he don't have to go into the fights. I will write again soon. From your Husband. H. B. Butler I will send a little book to Freddie that the Sanitary Commissioner gave me. I thought it would please him.

McKims Mansion, Baltimore February 11th, 1865

Dear Mary, I will write a few lines to you to let you know where I am and how I am getting along. I left City Point the morning of the 10th and arrived here this morning at an early hour. I rode to the above named Hospital in an ambulance. I do not know how long I shall stop here. Perhaps as long as I am unfit for duty, and I am afraid that will be quite a long while. I wrote to you when I was at City Point, all about my wound. I was wounded the 6th of the month in the battle at Hatchers Run. I was helped off from the field and carried to the Hospital in an ambulance, and there the Doctor cut the ball out of my shoulder. It is a pretty severe wound, but I think with the best of care I will get over it. But the most that troubles me, I am afraid I shall never have the use of my left arm again. I can not move it the least bit now, but we have got good nurses and they take the best of care of us. There is about twenty five of us in one room. We have plenty to eat and good beds to lie on. Henry Wescott stopped at City Point. He will probably be well enough to go to the regiment in three or four weeks. Well, Mary, it tires me so to write. I shall have to close. You better write to me as soon as you get this. I think I shall stop here long enough to get one letter from you. Don't give yourself any uneasiness about me for I have got a comfortable place and my pains are not so bad as some others here. Soldiers have to suffer sometimes and they bear it like heroes, too. Yours with much love. Many kisses to Freddie. Direct to McKims Mansion, Baltimore, Maryland. H. B. Butler

McKims Mansion, Baltimore, Md. February, 21st, 1865

Dear Mary, I will write you a few lines to let you know how I am getting along, although I have not had a letter from you since I was wounded. I wrote to you at City Point and once since I have come here. My wound is getting along well. I have it dressed two and three times a day. I cannot sleep much unless I take sleeping powers. I will come home next summer on a furlough. I am not well enough to come now. They have taken our names to send us away to Pennsylvania, but they do not seem to be in a hurry about sending us. There is about 16 wounded ones in this section. There was over 400 come in the boat. I cannot write you any more for it beats me out so to write. I will write longer letters after I get stronger. You must write often. I am looking for a letter from you every day. My best respects to you all. Write to my folks and tell them I am getting along nicely. Perhaps I will write tonight if I feel smart enough. I have wrote to them once since I have been here. Yours with much love. H. B. Butler Direct to McKims Mansion Hospital, Baltimore, Md.

McKims Mansion, Baltimore, Md. February 25th, 1865

Dear Mary, I received two letters from you yesterday and I was pleased to hear from you. One of the letters had three stamps in it. That is all the stamps I have received. Well, I suppose you want to know how I am getting along. My wound does not pain me very bad, but my appetite is very poor. They have everything here to eat, but I do not seem to have an appetite for it. My wound is dressed three times a day. I shall have to stop writing for I am all beat out. Hope I shall be able to write more next time. I received a letter from Edward B. the other day. He sent me two dollars and said if I wanted anyone to come and take care of me he would come. Well, Mary, write as often as you can. My love to you all. From your affectionate Husband. H. B. Butler If Webster wants to plant on shares I am willing.

McKims Mansion Hospital, Baltimore, Md. March 13th, 1865

My dear Madam, The letter to your husband of March 5th was brought to me and I read it with very painful feelings, for I am sorry to announce to you the death of your Husband on ________. Your Husband (you will be pleased to learn) received every attention in this Hospital. A surgeon visiting him twice every day and myself, the Chaplain, going through wards administering religious counsel and furnishing suitable reading to those capable of using it. I send you some publications of mine, which will give you an idea of my instructions. I pray God that he may temper the wind to the shorn lambs and that you may find in Your Heavenly Father a Husband of the Widow and a Father of the Fatherless. I buried your Husband today with the Funeral Service in this small book, and he is interred in the Western Cemetery about 4 miles from this Hospital. May He who cherished Mary and Martha stand by you in this your hour of Trial! I am yours in the Gospel.
Geo. A. Seakin Chaplain U.S.A. The information as to the date of any death, I very much regret I cannot furnish on order from the War Department requiring that it be sent through the Adjutant General's Office.
Cemetery Address Western Cemetery, 3001 Edmondson Avenue, Baltimore City, MD

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