Butler Letters 1863                 (Letters 1862...Letters 1863...Letters 1864...Letters 1865)

Camp Near St. Georges Court House, Va.

January 4th, 1863

Dear Mary,

We have moved about 3/4 of a mile from where we were when I last wrote the letter. The last letter I received from you was dated Dec. 21. I answered it the next day. I expected a letter from you last night, but did not get one. I shall look for one tonight. My cold is a great deal better than it was, but I am quite weak yet. I don't do anything but light duty. I think I shall soon be able to do military duty as before. Well, Mary, we received that box New Year's Day, so you and we had a New Year's present. That cake was nice. The preserves were good, but the stopper got out and the juice ran all out over everything. Every pair of boots was sweetened. Some got on to the back of my vest but not enough to do any hurt. Joseph Varnum had a large bundle of things and it ran all over that, but it did not do much hurt. Joseph Varnum had quite a lot of eatables. He had butter and cakes and cranberries and other things. He gave me a piece of his butter. It was nice on hard bread. There have been a great many boxes of things come for this regiment. Some of them were filled up with cakes and butter cheese, and other things to eat. Charles Devereux and I thought we would send home fir a box of things to eat. We get somewhat tired living on what we do so steadily and we thought we would like to have something good from home. I don't care about anything that is very nice. I should like to have 7 or 8 pounds of dried apples if they are cheap and a small piece of cheese and some butter if you have it to spare and some cake and doughnuts. Those you know I am very fond of and I should like to have a small loaf of brown bread and a piece of dried fish, and if you have any apples, you may send me a few now. If you do not feel able to send these things, don't send them, for we can get along without them, but we thought they would be a rarity to us. You may put in what other things you are a mind to that I have not named. I should like to have a little tea, say one quarter of a pound. I think the coffee hurts me. We drink it 3 times a day. We draw tea once in a great while and a small quantity at that. Mark Hatch and Frank Devereux are writing today for a box of eatables. They saw Col. Tilden. He told them to have their box directed to Mark Hatch or Frank Devereux, 16 Maine Regiment, Company K., in care of K. W. Hathaway, 273 F. St., Washington, D. C. from Boston Harndons Express. I suppose you better have ours directed the same. I liked to forget to tell you to send me a few flour cakes. Charles and I thought we would have our things put into one box together. You won't want a very large box. I suppose Reuban will attend to it if you have it mailed as strong as the other one was, there will be no danger of its being broken open. They ought to be nailed strong for they are handled very rough and the things want to be packed very snug. There was a man killed out of this regiment this morning. He was looking at a man that was chopping down a tree and there was another tree lodged in a tree standing and that fell on to his head and stove it all to pieces. He died instantly. The vest you sent me suited me well. The letter I found in the vest pocket and cayanne and handkerchief. You must write often. Tell Freddie I want him to send me a cake and I will send him a lots of kisses. I would send you a one dollar bill to buy those dried apples with, but I thought I might be sick and vent it. I will close with much love to you all from your affectionate husband.

H. B. Butler

Kiss Freddie lots of times for me. I should like to see you all, but don't know how long it will be before I shall see you. I hope soon. H. B. B.

 

 


Camp Near Bell Plains, Va.

Jan. 11th 1863

Dear Mary,

I received your letter last Tuesday dated December 28. You say that you have not received a letter from me for most a month. I know that while I was sick I did not write for two weeks. I did not feel able. My health is better than it was. I have got well of my cough but I have the diarrhea most all the time. I suppose we shall stop here all winter. The boys are all building log houses. Charles and I have not done much to ours yet. We have not had any axe to work with so we have to wait until some of them gets theirs done. They build fireplaces inside and it makes it quite comfortable. We shall commence on ours this week I suppose. I suppose you have received the letter I wrote for a box of eatables. Charles and I wrote at the same time, the fourth of January. I hope we shall get it as safe as we did the other one. We have had very pleasant weather here for a good while but I expect it will be cold enough before winter is gone. I should think Wilson Webster would feel bad to have his wife deranged. I don't see how he can keep school. I received a letter from Guilford last night. They are all well. Jack Mograge had got well and got up with the regiment. He is a waiter for Lieut. Col. Tilden. He has got a good chance. He gets the best of living. He has no guard duty to do. When it comes night he can go to bed and not be disturbed until morning, while the rest of us has to turn out two or three times in one night to stand guard. Our company is so small now that our turn comes about every other day to stand guard. I hope they will settle up this war this winter but I don't know as they will. There was a funeral here today and one last Sunday. Our regiment keeps growing smaller all the time. I understood that the fifth Maine regiment, the one Eastman was in, had gone home. I heard that there was only 25 men left in the regiment. We live better now than we ever have before. We drawed today; potatoes, rice, sugar, coffee, beans, pork, bacon, and they say we are going to draw flour and tea. Tonight we have good baked beans. I will tell you how we bake them. We dig a hole in the ground big enough to put in a water pail and build a fire in it and heat it the same as you would an oven. Then we put the beans in and cover them over tight with a dish. Then we put coals in all around the dish they are in and cover the top with coals and dirt and let them be all night. In the morning they are good as they can be. Well, Mary, you must try and get along the best you can while I am gone. The time will soon pass away and then if I get a discharge unless my health is so poor that I cannot do my duty as a soldier. You must write often. My love to all. Kiss little Freddie a thousand times for me. Tell him he must learn to read to he can read me pretty stories when I get home. I will close with much love from your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

I don't know as you can read this, my pen is very poor.

 


Camp Near Bell Plans, Va.

Jan. 18th 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last night. I am glad to hear that you are well, but am sorry to hear that our little boy Freddie is sick. You must take good care of him. I hope he will not be sick long. My health is quite good now. I went out on picket duty yesterday and came in today. There were three went out of our company besides myself. It was very cold standing guard last night. We had to stand 4 hours apiece. There were about 150 of us from different regiments. We have very favorable weather to go on picket. The ground is bare as it is in summer. If there was snow on the ground, it would be very bad going on picket. We could not lie down when our turns come to be relieved. I hope we shall not have any snow this winter. It has been quite a mild winter so far. I have just received another letter from you tonight. Just as Charles and I were eating our suppers, one of our company boys brought it to me. I was glad to hear that Freddie was getting better. I should like to see him when he first gets his now pants on. I think he must look cunning. I think Santa Claus is a very good fellow. Tell Freddie to give him so many things. You say if you were sure that we got that box, you would send me a box of something good to eat. I wrote you that we got the box New Year's Day and everything you sent. The boots suited me well and the vest suited as well as it could. I wrote to you for a box of something good to eat the fourth day of January. Charles wrote at the same time. We thought we would have our things come in one box. I don't know as you ever got the letter. Charles and I have got our tent most done. We built the walls of wood and the roof we make of our canvas tents. We have got it all done but our fire place. I don't know as we shall have a chance to build that for there is talk of moving from here soon. I think there well be another battle soon by all appearances. I am glad you settled with Mr. And Mrs. Bowden. You wrote to know if I had anything of John Witham besides the beans. I think that was all I had of him. I have received all the postage stamps and paper and envelopes you have sent me. Charles D. says he has received 2 letters from Sarah Hatch since he has been out here. I shall have to close on account of being so cold. Soon as we get our fireplace done, I will write longer letters. Kiss Freddie lots of times for me. Write often. From your affectionate husband.

H. B. Butler

 


In Camp on a march, Va.

January 22nd, 1863

Dear Mary,

I take this opportunity to write to you a few lines in camp. We left our old camp ground Tuesday the 20th at 11 o'clock. It began to rain at dark. By the time we got our tents pitched, we were quite wet. As soon as Charles and I got our tents pitched, we spread our blankets and made a supper on hard bread and raw pork without any warm drink, and then we covered our blankets over us and went to sleep. We rested quite well until morning, then we had to pack up and start again. The first day, we marched about 10 miles. The next day 6 miles. I thought I should have to fall out on the march. My knapsack hurt my stomach so and my boots hurt my feet very much being the first time I ever wore them on a march. I was anxious to keep up with the regiment so I kept up. We were sorry to leave our log house that we had just moved into. We were taking comfort with a good fire in our fireplaces and a pretty good bed built up off from the ground. We are liable to leave here at an hour's notice. I think we shall cross the Rapahanock and fight the Rebels soon. We are 2 or 3 miles from the river. The Castine boys are all well. Our Captain has not been with us for over 3 months. Our Lieutenant commanded the company until we started on the march, then he and the orderly sargent and second sargent went to Washington. The orderly was wounded at the last battle in the hand and the lieutenant and second sargent were sick, so it left us without any officers. They took a lieutenant from another company to command ours. Since we left Augusta, there have been 8 men die out of our company. One of them was shot in the last battle. One was lied killed by a tree falling on him. Two died by the effects of a wound in the battle. The others by sickness, and there are a good many sick so our company is quite small. I had a letter from Elisa Tuesday night. They are all well. She said she should like to go to see you this winter, but it was difficult for her to leave. I also had a letter from Guilford a few days ago. They are all well at Father's. Mother worries a good deal about us boys that are absent. They have not had a letter from Alden for most of a year. I shall look for that box of good things that Charles and I wrote for soon. I am glad you have got such a good boy to stay with you this winter. I wish you could get him to stay with you next summer. If I don't get home in the spring, you will not be able to have much of any farming done. It will not pay to hire a man a great while. You can hire someone to plant what potatoes you want for your own use and have a garden made where I planted potatoes and corn last spring. You have survived with oats and barley. How is Freddie? I hope he is better. The mail boy is around after the letter, so I shall have to close with much love from your affectionate husband.

H. B. Butler

 


Camp Near Bell Plains, Va

January 30th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I write you a few lines to let you know that the regiment has been paid from the time they enlisted up to the first of November. You know we got one month in advance and were paid the 29th of January, so I only had one month and 21 day due me. That would amount to 22 dollars and 95 cents. The $2.95 was paid to me. You can get the 10 dollars off the town treasurer, Mr. Rogers. You know I allotted home 10 dollars a month. Perhaps the town clerk will notify you of it. If he does not, you can get someone to get it for you. I thought when we were paid we should get the whole amount that was due us, but there have been so many deserted that they thought if they paid us all that we due us, there would be more desert from the army and I think there would be. I shall never try to get clear from the army in that way. If I cannot get an honorable discharge, I shall never get any. I don't care so much about having the whole of the money that is due me. If you can get along without it that is the most I think of. It is in good hands and I shall get it sometime or other. I received a letter from you last Sunday and I answered it Wednesday. We have not received that box yet, but we look for it every day. There are about 8 or 10 inches of snow on the ground here now, but I think it will not stay long. The sun shone very warmly today. It seems like spring. I am on guard today. I have to stay on 2 hours and off 4 hours, so it gives me a chance to write. I received a paper from you last night. Augustus has been here today. He brought some meal, so I think we will make an Inguin cake for supper. I am standing guard over a prisoner. It is a warm place. He is in the guard house and I stay in there with him. I shall not have time to write any more this time. Kiss the little boy thousands of times for me. If I could see him I would give him a good hugging. I will close with much love from your affectionate husband.

H. B. Butler


Camp Near Bell Plains, Va.

February 6th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received your letter last Sunday night. I was glad to hear from you and that you are well. My health is about the same as it was when I wrote last. That box we received last night. The things you sent was very nice. We opened it this morning. The first we eat was doughnuts and cheese. We hardly knew when to leave off eating, they tasted so good. We gave all the Castine boys some of our things. They come in our tents and knew that we had a box. They would call us mean if we had not gave them something. They thought the things was very nice. Eleven men went out of our company with as many more out of two other companies. Was ordered out last Monday night, about 5 miles from camp on provost guard to pick up stragglers and rebels. We was out 3 days but we did not find anyone. We got back to camp last night. It rained quite hard. We had a snowstorm while we was out. We took our tents with us. We pitched them in a thick bunch of bushes and built a good fire. We found plenty of wood close by. We do not suffer any with cold. We got rather short of rations. Charles and I had more coffee than what we wanted to use and I took it and went out to a log hut and swapped it for some hoe cakes so se made out quite well. The hut I went to lived a woman and 3 small children. They was poor as they could be. The children was barefooted and you could put you hand through the side of the hut in many places. The woman said her husband was in the rebel army and was taken prisoner and she had not heard from him for along time. She seemed to be a clever woman. I think they had nothing to eat but hoe cakes as they call them out here. They are made out of ingun meal and water only. They don't even put salt in them. One of the little boys asked for something to eat while I was there. All she give him was a piece of hoe cake without anything with it. I should not think he was more than 3 years old. I asked her if she raised much corn. She said she did not raise much and she said she did not know what she should do another year if the war did not close for she had no one to plant anything. They cook as folks used to in old times, by fireplaces. She hauled out the coals and put the spider on them and that was the way she cooked the hoe cakes. I took them and fried them in pork fat and Charles and I eat them. They was quite good fixed in that way. It is past 9 o'clock and I shall have to finish this tomorrow night so good night Mary and Freddie.

Saturday night 8th

I am sitting in the same place that I was last night writing to you. I am writing on the box you sent us. It makes a very good place to write on. I opened the canister of preserves today. They was very nice. Everything had kept very well. Charles opened his preserves today. They was very good. I think we shall live well for a while. We let Elisha Bickford share with us as we all live together. We cannot do other ways very well. Some would not do so, but he has been sick a long time and from the same place and I don't think we shall ever be any poorer by doing so. I wish we could get such brown bread as that was all the time. The men would be healthier than what they are. The dry fish was a great rarity. The nice pies was very nice. We have eat one of them. We wet it and warmed it and it was good. I received the neck tie you sent me and Charles' with it. They are very pretty. We are out of candles and I shall not be able to finish this letter this evening. I will try and finish it tomorrow so I will bid you good night.

Sunday morning

I am on picket this morning. I am on the reserve so I shall have a chance to finish my letter. Charles D. is out with us. He is writing to his folks. His mother wrote to him to share his things he had come in the box, with Augustus. He saved some for him but he has not been to get them yet. Mark Hatch and Frank Devereux have not received their box yet. They sent for theirs the same time we did. You wrote that if we received this box you would send another one. You may do as you are a mind to about sending another one. Charles D. and Elisha Bickford and I thought we would have one come together if you thought of sending another one. I heard that they was going to stop all the boxes but I don't know as it is true. Reuben will find out whether it is o or not before you send another one. I should not want you to send one and have it lost. We have been very lucky so far about getting what was sent us. I want you to write me what it cost to send a box the size of the one you sent last. If you send another box you can put in what you are a mind to. We would like to have another box very much if you have the things to spare and are sure that the boxes are not going to be stopped. The people seem to be dropping off in Castine as well as out here. I understand that Fred Webber willed his property to Charles Emerson. Do you know anything about it? Joseph Varnum had a letter from someone that wrote that old Mr. Emerson seemed to feel dreadful bad and put on a long face while Mr. Webber was sick and was with him a great deal of the time and after he died he looked as pleased as could be. I got Serima's letter. She wrote me that old Mrs. Emerson was a strong secessionist. You want me to write what I do and what kind of weather we have. I will tell you. I go out on drill and on camp guard and on picket. I was out on provost guard 3 days with 29 other men last week to pick up stragglers. Charles was out. We was out 5 miles from camp. We have a brigade inspection every Sunday morning. They inspect our guns and knapsacks and cartridge box, then they inspect our quarters. Col. Tilden came into our tent a week ago last Sunday. We had our bed built up from the ground. We had a lot of brush on it and covered over with one of our blankets. He said we looked neat and wanted to know if we looked as well all the time. I told him we tried to look as well as we could. It is very pleasant today. We have not had much cold weather out here so far, but we may have some yet. How do you get along settling up my bills? Do they come and settle with you? Write and let me know. You must write to me often and let me know how you are getting along. My love to all. Your affectionate husband.

I wrote to Elisa the other day and I think I directed it to you by mistake though. If I did I want you to send it to Elisa. There was someone in the tent at the time and I had my mind on something else. If you send another box I want you to send me a little frying pan. Get one that is made of sheet iron and pretty small. They are so much lighter to carry. I should like to have some more of that good fish and brown bread. If you send another box, Elisha Bickford wrote to his folks to send something in the box with ours. Kiss my dear little Freddie for me. I wish you could send your miniature and Freddie's to your affectionate husband.

H. B. Butler

 


Camp Near Bell Plains, Va.

February 15th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received your letter last Friday. It was most two weeks since I received any letters from you. Today is Sunday. It rains hard but we can keep dry in our log huts. The next time we stayed 3 days and 2 nights and it rained most all the time. All I had with me was my woolen blanket and we had nothing to make a shelter of. I got a bad cold. Yesterday I stayed in the tent all day. I want able to do anything. I had such a head ache. Today I feel much better. It takes about 500 men out of the brigade to go on picket at one time. The reason why it takes so many is a part of the army has gone away out west so it makes it harder for what is left. I suppose they think the rebels may rush in on us as the army has been reduced and they want to have a strong picket guard. I will tell you about that steel sleigh shoe that Blaisdel and Perkins was after. Perkins bought one bar of George Emerson last winter and was going to get me to shoe his sleigh but it got to be so late he thought he would not have it done until another winter. Charles Blaisdel come soon after and wanted a shoe put on his pun and said Perkins said he might have enough off from the bar he left in my shop. I went to work on the sleigh. Blaisdel was there all the time I was putting the shoe on. It took two thirds of the bar. I stood the piece and was left up by the side of the shop. Elisha Perkins come one day to my shop and I was doing some work for Blaisdel and he was waiting for me to do it. Elisha told Blaisdel before me that he never said he might have the steel and they had quite a dispute about it. Blaisdel said he did tell him he might have it. It seemed by what you wrote, that Blaisdel wants to make it out that there was 2 bars, but there was not but one. The piece that was left was about 3 feet long and it was either left in the shop or I might have put it in the chamber with the tools. I cannot remember which. I know that I never used it for anything, that is all I know about it. I have just received a letter from you dated Feb. 7. I received a letter from Mother yesterday. It troubles her very much to think that I am in the army. I wrote to Elisa not long since and I think, through mistake, I directed it to you. If I did you can send it to her. I wrote about it in my last letter but for fear that you would not get the letter, I thought I would write about it in this. Edward Davis is going home on a 15 days furlough. I suppose he will go this week. If you want to send anything by him, perhaps you can. I have plenty clothes to wear, enough to last me a good while. I should like to have a towel if you have one for me. John Bloget has come to the regiment again. He looks thin. How does the hay hold out? Write and let me know. I am glad you have got such a good boy. Try and get him to stay with you next summer. Tell him when he handles the colt, not to put his hand on his back, for it will make him have a hollow back. I want him to handle him all he can. Tell him to put the bridle on him often and lead him around. People seem to be dropping off with the throat distemper and scarlet fever. I hope you all will escape it. Lieu. Col. Tilden has been promoted to Colonel. Have you paid all the taxes yet? Write me how much my tax was. Was the two quart pail that was sent us with butter in it yours? Write me who it belonged to. As I have not much more room to write, I shall have to close. Write often. Tell Fred I should like to see his jack saw boy. Tell him to keep it till I get home. Kiss him for me a thousand times. My love to all from your affectionate husband.

H. B. Butler


Camp Near Bell Plains, Va.

February 18th, 1863

Dear Mary,

As Edward Davis is going home on a furlough, I thought I would write a few lines and send by him. All the boys will send letters by him. He is going to call around and leave their letters with their folks. He will most likely call on you. I am alone today. Charles D. and Elisha Bickford are out on picket. They went out yesterday morning. They will not be back until tomorrow. The last time I went out I took cold. There is about 6 inches of snow on the ground here but it is just beginning to rain and it will not be likely to stay on a great while. Mark Hatch and Frank Devereux have received their box and Frank Bowden received one. Mark Hatch give us a piece of his cheese and sugar cake and he gave me some of his strawberries preserves he had sent him. They was very good. Frank Bowden give us a piece of plum cake and cheese. Their boxes were about as big as ours. We have eaten our things all up. We gave away a good deal. We drawed flour the other day and I thought I would make some flour cakes. I mixed up the flour with water and put in a little pork fat and salt and baked it in a tin plate before the fire, but it was rather heavy. It wanted salutary but that we did not have. The men that was building the bake house have got it done and last night they baked some flour loaves. I suppose we shall draw some soon. We have just drawed some potatoes and I am going to have fried fresh beef and some boiled potatoes. I think I shall have a good dinner. I miss potatoes very much. We do not draw them very often. When we do they taste good. I wish I had something to send Freddie but I have not anything but kisses. I will send him a lot of them. If the little boy wants a pair of boots, I don't see but you will have to get him a pair. How does your dry wood hold out? Will you have enough to last you till spring? Charles Devereux is fat as a pig. He is well and hearty. Lorenzo Bowden is in a bad way. He went to the hospital a week ago sick. I heard yesterday that one of his legs was swelled from his toes to his body end he could not move it. The doctors don't know what to do for him. Frank Bowden has got a lame foot. He has not done but little duty since he come to the regiment. The rest of the Castine boys are well. It is not most 9 o'clock in the evening and it is raining as hard as it can pour down, a very bad night for the pickets. All they can do is to build a good fire and stand by it. The ones that stand on the outer post are not allowed to have any fire. The enemy might shoot them very easy if they had a fire. One goes on and stands 2 hours, then another goes and relieves him, and so on until they take their turns. The picket line extends a good many miles. I think we shall stop here some tine on purpose to do picket duty. It is bed time and I shall have to close. You must write as often and write me all the news and about everything. I hope this war will not last long, for your sake and Mother's, and I am getting sick of it myself. There is nothing to encourage the soldiers. They have been in so many battles, and have not gained much, and they have got tired and sick of it. I know that I have not been in any battle but I have seen enough without being in a battle, but let us hope for the best and expect the worst. I will close by sending you and Freddie many kisses and much love from you ever affectionate husband.

H. B. Butler


Camp Near Bell Plaines, Va.

February 24, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you yesterday and will take this opportunity to answer it. It is a very pleasant day and I shall not have much to do today as I was on guard yesterday, or rather, on sargent of the guard. I had to be at the guard house every two hours. My duty was to get the men into line and the corporal marched them to their post. I had to be up until one o'clock at night. They keep 4 men on guard at a time. They have 4 posts and one man stands on a post 2 hours at a time. In the night they only have on post to stand. At the first and second relieve stand, one hour apiece, I had to put a man on every hour until morning. I have got quite a bad cold and cough, but I feel well other ways. You seem to want me at home, Mary, but I don't know as I can get home at present, although I should like to. If there is any chance for me to get a discharge, I shall certainly do so. I understand that Samuel Hooper had got his discharge. If he has he is a lucky boy. I think he is as well as I am. It seems in your last letter that you have not received the letters that we wrote in about receiving the box you sent us. We wrote as soon as we received it. I believe that was the 4th day of February. It has been some time since we wrote about it. Edward Davis has gone home on a furlough. I wrote a letter to you and sent it by him. We had a very tuff snow storm here last Sunday. There was over a foot of snow fell but it is a going off very fast now. I hope we shall not have any more this winter. It makes it so bad for pickets. You wrote about getting the wood cut up. I think you might get David Sawer to cut it up as cheap as you can get any one, if not cheaper. Charles D. is well. He is sitting in the tent with me mending his stockings. He received a letter from Sarah Hatch yesterday. There was a few lines in it for me from Maria. Tell her I will answer it soon. We have just been to dinner. We drawed soft bread and syrup today and made a dinner on that. They have got the bake house done and they bake bread day and night for the soldiers.

Thursday Morn. 26th

As I had not time to finish my letter yesterday I must try and finish it this morning. It is raining very hard. We have a storm most every other day, of some kind, snow or rain. The Castine boys are all well except Lorenzo Bowden and Frank Bowden. Lorenzo Bowden's leg is swelled bad. They think he has got the arisiplus in it. Frank Bowden has got a bad foot. He does not do any duty. He weights 213 lbs. He is as fat as a hog. Do you have plenty of water in the cellar to wash with? If you do it will save some hard work. I am glad Freddie is such a good boy to say his prayers. I think of you often and hope that it will not be a treat while before I shall see you all. You must write me all about how you are getting along. I write as often as every week, but I don't know as you get all of my letters. I get all of the postage stamps, envelopes, and paper you send me. I don't see as there is much more room for me to write any more, so I will close with much love to you and Freddie from your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

 


On Picket One Mile from Camp

March 7th, 1883

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last night dated February 21. It has been most 2 weeks since I received a letter from you. I have for some time past received a letter from you every week. I am out on picket today with 75 other men from the regiment. 8 Men from our company, Mark Hatch, Henry Wescott, Elisha Bickford, and another fellow and myself are on the reserve post. We have just eat our dinners and fixed a place to lie on tonight. We shall have to stand 2 hours apiece on the outer post. We have a good fire but are not allowed to have a fire on the outer post. We shall be relieved at 6 o'clock tomorrow morning and shall not have to go on again until tomorrow at 6 o'clock. We relieve the out post every 12 hours. We have got to stay out 3 days. It looks very much like rain today. If it does, we shall have a bad time for we have got no tents, nothing but our rubber and woolen blankets. I like quite well to go on picket if we could have pleasant weather all the time. Our captain got back to his company a few days ago. We was all glad to see him back. He has been gone 4 months, at home sick. He is a very nice man and his company all respect him. His name is Whitehouse. I believe he belonged in Skowhegan, Me. I am afraid he will not stop with us long, for the climate here does not seam to agree with him. Our first Lieutenant talks of resigning. If he does he will not be missed but a very little. He is not a man that looks cut for his company. All he cares about is drinking and gambling. Charles had a litter last Monday from home. His folks said they was going to send that box Tuesday. I hope we shall be lucky enough to get it. There is some talk of the brigade, we are going to Washington in the forts. I don't know as it is so. If we do go there we shall get clear of some hard marching next summer. I think Mark P. Hatch is a mean man for not paying you that other dollar for shoeing his horses. It did not lack but a few days of being 6 months that I had shod them and it would not cost me near so much to keep them in shoes the last 6 months as it would the first 6 months, for in the winter they do not wear out their shoes near so fast as they do in the summer, and one of his horses was very bad to show, besides. But never mind, it is all you can expect from a orthydox deacon. You wrote that Thomas Hale said he had a bill against me for a scraper. I got a scraper of him to use on that drain down in the field. I did not use it more than 2 days, put it all together, and I neglected to carry it home. It is in the drain now, if he has not got it. If it is there I wish you would get someone to carry it home and if he asks anything for the use of it, ask him if he remembers the wagon wheels that I let him have through haying and did not ask him anything for it. If he charges me anything for the scraper, he ought to pay for the use of the wheels, which is nothing more than right. The scraper was an old one and if I damage it any I am willing to pay him for it, but I did not use it over 2 days and I think he had my wheels long enough to pay for it. As I cannot send this until I go into camp I will wait till I go in and then I will write more.

Tuesday eve. 10th

I come into camp today at noon. We had quite a pleasant time on picket. It rained a very little this morning. We come in a snow storm. I pitty the ones that releaved us. I received a letter from you while on picket. One of the company boys brought it out to me. When I got into camp Davis give (incomplete)


Camp Near Bell Plaines, Va.

March 15, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last night. I was glad to hear from you and that you are all well. My health is quite good now. I have got well of my cough. I have just come in from inspection. We have our guns, equipment, and knapsacks inspected every Sunday. It takes all forenoon to get through with it. It don't seem much like Sunday here today. There is not regard paid to the sabbath here. Another man died this morning. He belonged to our company but was detailed some time ago as a cook for the ambulance corps. He belonged at Bluehill. His name was Otis Macumber. He was a good fellow. He leaves a wife and two or three children. I received the letter you sent by Davis and I answered it. It had two postage stamps a sheet of paper and envelope in it. I also received one from Sarima. I sent 3 letters yesterday, one to Guilford, one to Frank B. and one to Johny Lawrence. You must not think of getting along without a boy after August goes away. You cannot handle the colt nor suckle the calves nor milk the cows. I don't want you to do it. You have enough to do in the house. You can get some boy cheap. Perhaps Reuben will find you one. You will want a boy all the time. About doing chores, you had better not think of having much planting done, only enough for you own use. I would only plant corn enough far to green. You know you have got no oxen and it will not pay to hire much but you will have to hire some. If you have a boy he can take the wheelbarrow and do quite a lot of planting near the house. You better not plant the bee field, there is so much witch grass you cannot raise anything. You can have it sowed with barley. Plant some of the potatoes where I planted corn last year. If you have barley enough, you better sow it on the piece down by the shore where I had potatoes last year. We have got dried apples enough to last us a good while. Bickford had a lot sent in the box. The preserves Freddie sent me was very good. Everything was good you sent. Tell Sarima I am much obliged to her for the pie she sent me. It was very good. I expect we shall fat while the things last. We draw more soft bread than what we can eat. WE have got 12 loafs on hand now. They use 10 barrels of flour in 24 hours at the bake house. They work day and night. I know that John Hooper that died. He is the widow James Hooper's son. We have had some cold weather since this month come in. I dread the warm weather next summer if we have much marching to do. I think you better have a chopping, if you can get crew enough. Get them a good supper and you can have their wifes come in the evening if you wish and have a good time. I wish I was at home to enjoy it with you. You better get someone to see if the pasture fence is well put up. If the sheep once get out of the pasture they will trouble you all summer. I don't know but you will have to keep the old buck in the barn until the feed gets good. He is so breechy. Well, Mary, I shall have to close. I must write a few lines to Freddie. It will please him so much. You must let him look on the read it to him. Receive this with much love from you affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

Dear Freddie,

I write you a few lines to let you know that I have not forgotten my little boy. Don't you remember how you Papa used to carry you pig back every night to bed, and make pictures on the slate for you. Now I am far away where I cannot see my little boy, but I think of him every day and often with I could see him. How I would hug and kiss you if I could see you. The orange and cake and large doughnut and preserves you sent Papa, he was much pleased with. They was very good. You must be a good boy and learn to read so you can read stories to Papa when He gets home. I send Freddie lots of kisses and much love from your father.

H.B.B.

I did not send any letter by Col. Tilden. He went away so early in the morning, so I sent it by mail.

Henry


Camp Near Bell Plains, Va.

March 24th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I again sit down in our log but to answer you kind letter I received last evening. I was sorry to hear that you had a lame back. You must be careful of yourself and not lift so hard. Again. My health is good all but my stomach, that is quite lame. You know it used to trouble me at home. I hurt it on the last march carrying such a heavy load. I have just come into camp to get dinner. As it was not quite noon, I thought I would write a few lines, so I could finish it, so as to send it this evening. We have been drilling the skirmish drill. The way we have to do is to practice loading on our backs and then turn onto our bellies and fire. Tomorrow morning I have got to go out on picket and stay three days. It seems like spring here now. I think we shall have to move soon towards the enemy. I think there will be some hard fighting this summer. It seems the war cannot be settled any other way. I hope all the traitors at home will have to come out here and help fight it out. They have been the means of prolonging this war, and they ought to suffer for it. I weigh 161 lbs. When I was at home, I never weighted over 148 lbs. I expect those boxes of good things you sent us was what put the flesh onto us. Charles Devereux is heavier than I am. His cheeks stick out like anything. If you can get Augustus to stay with you next summer, you better do it, if you have to pay him 6 dollars a month. He has worked some on a farm and would be better than a boy that never worked on a farm anyhow. I wish I could have yours and Freddie's miniatures to look at once in a while. If there is any chance to get them taken I want you to do so and send them to me. Mark Hatch's wife sent her miniature to him the other day. A man died out of our company 3 days ago. He was left sick at Washington last fall. He lately come to the regiment. He said the Doctors told him he was not able to go, but he said he could not get his pay unless he did. He was put onn picket the next day after he got here and he got cold and did not live but a few days. I and 7 other men went to his funeral yesterday. We took our guns and equipment. After his body was put into the grave we fired 3 times apiece over his grave. The drummers and fifers was there. They played a mournful tune, marching to the grave. Another man died out of our company over a week ago. He belonged at Bluehill. His name was Otis Macumber. His body was sent home. He leaves a wife and 3 children. He was lately detailed as cook for the Ambulance Corps. He told some of the boys in Augusta that when he com away, he looked at his family for the last time, and so it proved. I hope you will have good luck with the lambs. It is rather early for them on account of the cold weather. If they do not freeze, they will be all the better for coming early. I am going to send Freddie a ring in this letter. It is made of a bone. The soldiers make a great many out here. Tell him he must keep it to remember his father by. I have got one most done for you. I guess I will have it done by the next time I write. If I do I will send it. I don't know as I have anything more to write this time. I made the hole in the bone, that I made Freddie's ring of, with my bayonet. You must not let him put it in his mouth, for fear that he will get it in his throat. Write me all of the news there is in Castine. Kiss Freddie for me a thousand times. My love to all from your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

You better collect all the bills I have out before they are forgotten. That bill of John Witham is, I think, somewhere near 3 dollars. You will find it on my books. You better get someone to go down there and get it for you, and to Mrs. Sylvester's. She owes me something. Her account is on my new book. J. Witham's is on the old one.


Camp Near Bell Plains, Va.

March 31st, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last Saturday night. I was glad to hear from you and that you are well. This morning the ground was covered with snow and it is raining today quite hard, so the snow cannot stay on long. We shall soon have warm weather. This month has been a cold one out here and we have had more snow this month than we had all winter. I think this army will go further south soon. Some think we shall either go to Alabama or Tennesee. I see by the papers that things are very high at Fredericksburg, coffee 5 dollars a lb., candles $1.50 alb. And other things in the same proportion. That cake with the towel around it, I received in the box, it was very good. I shall not send for any more boxes very soon. I guess I can get along on Uncle Sam's food. He gives us pretty good foder now. Our dried apples are not quite gone. They are nice, with the soft bread we draw. It is not much lost, losing the calf. The milk will be worth more than what the calf would come to. You have got quite a flock of lambs. I hope they will all live, but it is rather cold weather for them. I saw a piece in the Ellsworth American about the soldiers, with most all the woman's names in Castine signed to it. I saw your name amongst them. I saw Sarah Hatch's name, but I did not her Mother's name. I think the piece would not suit her very well. I should liked to had some of your clam chowder, you wrote about, but we will get home some day, then we will have clam chowders and other good things. Besides, tell Freddie when I get home, I shall have lots of good stories to tell him about the soldiers. I am writing with my paper on my knees, with the pen you sent me. It is a good pen but this is a hard way for me to write. You said you dreamed about me the other night and it was a funny dream. I dreamed about you the same night I received your letter, and I call that a funny dream and a pleasant one. I guess I shall not tell you what it was, because you did not tell me what your's was. It has cleared off very pleasant and the snow has about all gone off. I was over to the second Maine Battery the other day with E. Davis. I carried over an axe and fixed it for our company. Col. Tilden got back last Sunday. He had a present for Charles D. and Frank Devereux and Frank Bowden from Himble' Devereux's Wife. It was a night cap apiece. I sent Freddie a ring in the last letter. I have got one most done for you. I suppose you have had your chopping bee before this time. I should have liked to have been home to helped them chop. Have you collected all the bills that I had out? I had a bill against Capt. Sylvester for shoeing oxen. I hope you will get Augustus to stay with you next summer. He can do quite a lot of planting. Tell him, if he works for you, in planting, to use a good deal of manure on what land he cultivates. You must write often. I shall do the same. With much love to you and Freddie from your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler


Camp Near Bell Plains, Va.

April 5th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last evening. I was very glad to hear from you. We are having a bad snow storm this morning, as tough a one as I ever saw in Maine at this time of year, but we are quite comfortable in our tents. I am glad you had a chopping bee and got so much wood cut up. I should liked to have been there. I have just finished my dinner. I had flour bread and sirup. Our whole regiment goes out on picket tomorrow morning. A regiment goes out at a time and a Doctor goes with them. A thing happened on picket the other day that was quite funny. A soldier from one of the New York regiments had a baby. I was not on picket at the time, but I heard about it. She tented with one fellow all the time. She was promoted at the battle of Fredricksburg for her bravery. It seems strange that she was not found out. If she had been examined as close as was we in Augusta, they would have told whether she was male or female. She must have been one of the girls that we read about. I think it was a queer place to have a baby, on picket, but guess things happen in this world. I have got your ring done and I will send it in this letter. I made it with my knife and bayonet and file. It is made of bone. They are all the go out here. The stuff that is filled into the ring, I got off one of our company boys. He said it was made on purpose for rings. I sent Freddie one. I suppose he has got it by this time. I would have fixed his like yours if I had the stuff to do it with at the time, but it will please him as it is, I hope. I heard that Clarry Bridges' sister to George Brown's Wife was going to have a baby by Elisha Perkins. Do you know if it is so? I know he used to go with her some. I am glad you are going to send mea night cap. I have slept with my cap on every night since I left home. Some nights it gets off and I get cold in my head. Our division was reviewed last week by General Hooker, the commanding General of the Army of the Potomac. He is a smart looking man. The whole division went out into a level field half a mile from our encampment. He rode along on a splendid white horse with his officers. He took off his hat and _____ us. As he rode along, we saluted him by presenting arms. I saw a bill of what clothes and shoes that I have had of government the other day. It was 30 dollars and 47 cts. Not so much as I expected. Some of the boys bills is 55 and 58 dollars. Charles Devereux' bill is 36 or 37 dollars. I have got nearly clothes enough to last the year out, I mean from the time we enlisted. How is your throat? Does it trouble you any now? I am glad you have got you a new dress. I should like to see it. You must take good care of yourself and little Freddie. Most 8 months of my 3 years time is passed. It has seemed a year since I left home. I hope I shall be at home before 8 months more. I am well, as usual. You must write all the news about everything. We are stewing peas for supper. We drawed them today, the second time we have drawed them since we have been in the army. I will close with much love from your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

Kiss little Freddie lots of times for me.


On Picket

April 13th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last Thursday evening and I will take this opportunity to answer it. Most all of our regiment come out on picket yesterday morning. We have got to stay until Wednesday. We may have to go in before that. The Colonel come in this morning and told us that we had marching orders, and that we must be ready at a minutes notice to march. Where we are going, I cannot tell. It has got to be quite warm weather here now. The farmers have begun to plough their grown. This army corps was reviewed last Thursday by President Lincoln. We was reviewed at Bell Plain, 4 or 5 miles from our camp. There was about 20,000 soldiers there. There was 3 brass bands there and any amount of drums and fifes, and they played splendidly. The President and his bodyguard rode on their horses. As they rode by us we presented arms. The old fellow rode with his hat in his hand. He looked as though he had a great deal of trouble on his mind. His wife and Secretary Chase's daughter was with him. I saw them at a distance. It was a great threat to us boys, to be where we could see the steam boats and vessels going up and down the river. The most of us have not seen a steam boat or a vessel before since we left Fort Albany. The river is 4 or 5 miles wide across to Maryland from where we was. Some of the boys has been in the camp. They say the division is packing up to move and that we shall be called in today or tomorrow. I don't think we shall cross the river, although we may. You said you would like me to have my photograph taken for you. I would do so but I have not seen any chance to get it taken since I have been out here. They take any amount of ambrotypes. I sent you a ring in my last letter before this. I don't know as it will suit your fingers. If it does not, I will make you another one sometime. Augustus was over to see us the other day. He is well. He was over to the second Maine a few days ago. He saw Edward. He said he was well. We are going to have a brass band play. It is a great deal of company to me. Well, Mary, I cannot think of much of anything more to write that is interesting. You say you do not want me to go into a battle. You would not want me called a coward. If I was well and should schedaddle from a fight, I should be called a coward forever, and that would be a disgrace to me. I do not feel anxious to go into a battle. I come out here to fight for the Union and I shall have to do so. If I was born to be shot, I shall be. But I hope I shall live through all the battles that I may be in. I want to see this rebel-lion put down and I want to see all the traitors in the north punished. I don't know as I shall have a chance to send this letter until I go into camp. I hope I shall see you all before a great while. You must not lay awake nights worrying about me. It will not do any good. I am glad Freddie's ring suited him. I suppose it pleased him much. The Castine boys are all well except Lorenzo Bowden. He is some better. Write often as you can. Kiss little Freddie for me. I will close with much love from your affectionate Husband.

H.B.B.


Camp Near Bell Plain, Va.

April 15th, 1863

Dear Mary,

As I have just been paid off, I thought I would write a few lines to let you know about it. We was paid 4 months pay this time. I received 12 dollars. You will get 40 dollars of Rodges that I allotted home. I shall send part of the 12 dollars to you the next time I write. I think I will send 3 dollars at a time. If that goes safe, I will send you three more. I don't want much money by me at a time. I might be taken away by sickness or in a battle and then it would be lost. It will be more safe with you then it would with me and I want you to have about all I earn. If I should happen to get out of money, I could send for a little. I wrote a letter on picket and sent it yesterday. We thought we should have to stay on picket till today noon. Instead of that, we was relieved last night by a Massachusetts regiment. It was lucky for us, for it rained all night, hard, and it rains hard today. We had to stay out in the rain until our names was called for our pay. We expected to march as soon as we was paid off, but this rain storm put them back. We had orders yesterday to be ready at short notice to march with 8 days rations. I suppose we shall march soon as it clears off. The 10 companies in this regiment has got to be put into 5 companies. Our company will be put with company I. They will be put together as the alphabet goes. Some of the captains will have to be mustered out. I hope we shall retain our captain. He is such a good man. All of his company thinks a great deal of him. I find my little spider to be the handiest thing I ever had. It is just large enough for one. A good many borrow it of me. I have got a good woolen blanket that I wish I could send it home but we are not allowed to send any clothing home. It seems to be too bad to throw such good blankets away. They cost $2.96 apiece. They would make a splendid horse blanket. I am going to send Freddie the letter K that I used to wear on my hat, and I will send him a flag that I cut out of a paper. I thought it would please him. How I should like to see that little dear. I would kiss his rosey cheeks. I will send him a 10 cent bill. I suppose you have seen them. They have a great many of them out here. My teeth trouble me very much. You know I had 3 filled just before I come out here. The filling is out of all three of them. One of them aches a good deal of the time. I expect I shall have to get it hauled out soon. It is getting dark and I shall have to stop writing. I hope I shall get another letter from you before we march. From your ever affectionate Husband.

H.B.B.

I send the Patriot's Hymn. You can sing it to Freddie and learn him to sing it.


Camp Near Bell Plain, Va.

April 17th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last evening. I was glad to hear from you. I am on camp guard today and I shall have time to answer you letter during the day. We have not moved yet, but are liable to move at a minute's notice. We are all ready to move whenever the order comes. I did not receive the night cap you sent me. It my come tonight. I hope I shall get it. I see that a great many of the soldiers has got night caps to sleep in. You write about planting the bee field with potatoes and peas. I said last summer when I was hoeing that piece of potatoes, that I never would plant anything there again until I got the witch grass out. It was such hard hoeing, and things will not grow well where there is witch grass. I think you better sow barley or oats on that piece and plant that piece where I had turnips last, above where the shop used to set, with potatoes for early ones, and plant the rest of the potatoes where I had corn last year. There will be a good place to plant turnips in the orchard where I had oats last year. You know what a lot I raised there one year. I am glad you have hired Augustus. I think he must be a good boy. You can hire some man and a yoke of oxen to do the ploughing. Augustus can haul out the manure if he can get a yoke of oxen. When Augustus cannot find anything to do, He can cut up the small bushes in the pasture. It will make more feed for the cattle and sheep. I am glad you had such good luck with the lambs. Sheep is the most profitable things any one can keep on a farm. I went over to the ninth New Yourk regiment yesterday and got my ambrotype taken. I thought I would send it to you first and you might do as you was a mind, keep it yourself or send it to my Mother. I don't know as any of my folks would know it. It looks so odd. I shaved my whiskers off just before I got it taken. I should liked to have my photograph taken, but they will not take less than one dozen and they charge five dollars for that. I thought that was rather too much for me to pay. I thought I would not send any money to you at present for I thought the letters would be more likely to be broken open now than they would a week ago, for people know that we have just been paid off and that we would send money home. They might break some of the letters open. I shall send you some soon. I wrote you in my other letter that Rodels would pay you 40 dollars that I allotted home. The peach trees here are all in blossom. The look splendid. I should like to have yours and Freddie's ambrotypes taken for me very much, but I suppose you have no chance to get them taken. Mr. Sylvester never paid me for what shoeing I done for hew last spring. If she had, I should not have charged it. Write me all the news there is in Castine. My love to all. A large share to you and Freddie. Your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

I hope you will have hay enough.


Near Fredricksburg, Va.

April 30th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I have just received a letter from you dated April 23, two weeks ago today since I received a letter from you. I thought you must be sick, the reason I did not receive a letter before. We left our old camp ground the 23 day of April. We moved about one half of a mile on the top of a hill. A splendid spot in pleasant weather. We built new log houses. We built them on a straight line, two companies in a line, so it left a street as wide as a road. Then we set out olive trees each side. That is a tree that keeps green all winter. They looked very pretty. Soon as we got fixed in good shape, the order come to march the 28 day at noon. So we had to pack up and move in a rain storm. We saw our new Governor, Coburn on the march. He is a fine looking old fellow. We marched about 5 miles and pitched our tents in the woods. We marched early next morning, a short distance, and stacked arms. There was a force ahead of us of artillery and infantry this side of the Rapahannock. The rebels was on the other side. Our force drove them back into the woods and behind the railroad. I saw 100 prisoners that our folks took. They killed some of our men as they was putting down the pontoon brides. About noon we had orders to march within a short distance of the river. Two miles below Fredricksburg, a mile below where they crossed before, a part of the army is on the other side close by the river. We can see the rebels batteries and some of the infantry from where we are, on the hills by the side of the woods. It seems as though they had the best position, but they say there is a force on the other side of them. I think General Hooker will whip them this time, but there will be some hard fighting. We have just been mustered in. We have to be every two months. I expect we shall have to go into a battle soon. I am well and in good spirits and I had rather fight and help close this war up now, then have to stay out here over two years longer. Direct your letters the same as you used to. The companies have not been consolidated yet and I think they will not be. That first ambrotype I sent you, you better not send to Mother. I know it looked odd. I sent you another one and a 2 dollar bill. You can keep it if you want to or you may send it to Mother, just as you are a mind to. I thought I would not send you any more money for I might be sick and want it. You wrote to know what mark my sheep are. It is the same mark your Father's used to have. A square piece out of the lower part of the ear, or the upper part, I most forgot which. You can tell by the sheep that I raised, if you cannot by the ones I bought and altered their mark over. I received the night cap the next night after I did the letter. I don't know as I mentioned it in my last letter. I like it very much.

Friday Morning May1

The shells flew from the other side of the river so often that I had not time to finish this letter so I will finish it this morning. We had to move back most one half of a mile to get out of range of the rebs guns. Our folk will not worry about me for I am well. I shall write as often as I have a chance. You must do the same. Give my love to your Father and Mother and accept a large share to you and Freddie from you affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler


Near Fredricksburg, Va.

May 8th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last Wednesday dated April 29. I was happy to hear from you and that you are well. My health is not very good. I have got a bad cold. I am so hoarse that I cannot talk loud. I can only whisper. Our division marched from below Fredricksburg May 2, up the river and crossed the pontoon bridges, and marched 4 miles into the woods. We heard that the enemy had drove our forces 2 miles that day. So our division had to go just so far, to reenforce them. As we got into the road, where one line of battle was formed, they commenced firing a short distance in front of us. That was 10 o'clock at night. We expected we should be into it that night. We was very tired after marching so far. They said we marched 25 miles that day. It was a forced march. We got into line of battle that night at two o'clock in the morning. Our company and 3 other companies went out on picket the next morning at sun rise. The rebels made a charge on the left of our division. They tried very hard to break through. It was very hard fighting and a great many killed. General Berry of Rockland was killed. That morning, our forces crossed over near where they did last fall, and took Fredricksburg Heights, while we was marching round to come in back of them. But after they took the heights, they had not force enough to hold it. What time we was over the river, we had to keep our muskets in our hands about all the time, night and day. We did not get much sleep. We had good breast works throwed up. If they had attacked us they would stood a slim chance. Tuesday morning at 2 o'clock we had orders to march back. It had rained about all night, and it was very muddy, and it rained Wednesday. We marched all day, through the whole of it. When we got to where we camped, we was about wet through. If I had laid in a brook of water I could not laid any worse than I did that night. That was where I got my cold and a good many others got cold. The next morning we marched to where we are now, about 2 miles from where we was when I wrote last. I don't know whether we are a going to cross over right away or not. If they do, I shall not be able to go with them. We are in camp in woods, a pleasant place. I am glad you had such good luck with the lambs. I hope Augustus will do what planting he can. I am glad that other ambrotype I sent you suited you so well. I wish I had yours and Freddie's taken together. I would like to have you send me a little mustard if you can. Any way we have pork so often. I think I could eat it with a better relish if I had mustard to eat on it. Have you ever settled with Elisha Perkins? You know he owes me something. I saw a black snake killed out here the other day that measured 5 1/2 feet in length. He was up in a tree. A fellow went right under him. He said it started him hen he first saw him. You will have to get some man to sow the grain for I don't think the boy knows how. I shall expect a letter from you tonight. I don't know what I should do for stamps and paper if you did not send them to me. Stamps are very scarce here. I can get paper enough but I have got nothing to carry it in to keep it in shape. Write often and write all the news. I suppose you have seen account of the battle at Fredricksburg. We was lucky not to be in the thickest. They shelled one afternoon but there was none killed in our regiment. But they come very near us one spell. Receive this with much love from your Husband.

Henry B. Butler

Kiss Freddie a thousand times for me. Tell him his Father wants to see him very much.


Camp Near Fredricksburg, Va.

May 13th, 1863

Dear Mary,

As I have a leisure time I will improve it in writing to you. I have not received a letter from you since the one dated April 29. I answered the next day after I received it. My speech has not come to me yet. It has been 5 days since I have spoke out loud. It was brought on by a bad cold. I do not do anything but light duty. We have moved out of the woods about a mile and re in camp by the edge of the woods. It is quite a pleasant place. It is very warm here now. Yesterday was a very warm day, but I expect it is nothing to what we shall see this summer. I hope we shall not have much marching to do in warm weather. We had news this morning that Stonewall Jackson was dead. He had his arm amputated just below the shoulder. They say he died last Sunday morning. I suppose there is a plenty of others to take his place. It seems to be the talk that they are a going to draft more men. I think they will need more before they can put down the rebellion. After so much hard fighting to take a place, they have not men enough to hold it. I hope all the traitors will have to come out here before it is done with. How does Augustus get along planting? I hope he will do all he can at it. All the spare time he has, he better clear up the pasture. Cut up the small bushes so that there will be plenty of feed for the cows and sheep. There is plenty of work for him to do on the place but it needs some one to tell him what to do for he is nothing but a boy. I don't know how you will work it about getting the hay. If you hire it done, it will cost a good deal, and if you get it done on shares, you will not be able to keep much stock. I don't know which will be the best way, but we will not borrow trouble about it. There will be some way provided. I should like to be at home to get it myself, but I don't see as I shall be able to.

Thursday Morning 14th

As I did not feel much like writing yesterday, I thought I would put it off until today. I expected a letter from you last evening but was disappointed not to get one. I think I do not get all the letters you write. That is, if you write every week. It is cloudy today and it looks very much like rain. We had a small shower last night and when we have a shower here it most always sets in for a rain storm. We have a handy place to get water to drink and wash with. You can see the soldiers any time of day, stripped naked, washing themselves from head to foot. I do not dare to take off my clothes, for fear of getting more cold. If it was salt water there would not be so much danger of getting cold. I have to be very careful of myself, for I take cold very easy out here. I do not work near so hard here as I do at home. I shall not have to do any guard duty as long as I am speechless. We only have to drill about 3 hours a day and go on dress parade at night, which takes about an hour. But when we are on a march it is very hard work, where we have to carry 8 days rations and our blankets, tents and shirts and other things. I cut my blanket and made 2 of it and let Charles D. have one half of it. Before we marched a great ways, we had to throw them away. We had such a heavy load. I have wrote about everything I can think of. I hope I shall receive a letter from you tonight. You must write to my folks and let them know that I am alive. I shall write to them soon. I have such a poor chance to write that it is hard work for any one to find it out. Kiss Freddie every day for me. My love to you all from your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

Send me a pen if you have one for I have to borrow one to write with.

 


Camp Near Fredricksburg, Va.

May 17th, 1863

Dearest Mary,

I received two letters from you Friday night. One was dated May 8th, the other May 10th. One I got in company I. I think I should not have got it if I had not went and inquired if there was any letters come to there company directed to me. I was very glad to hear from you. I wrote to you three days ago. Edward and George Norse and a fellow by the name of Smith, from Brooksville come over to see us yesterday. They said they expected they should go home next Wednesday and they wanted to see us before they went. They stayed all night and went back this morning. They said they wished we was going with them. They are in camp four miles from here. Mr. Davis and Jack Mograge went with them. Edward wants me to come over Tuesday and stay all night so as to be there in the morning when they leave. I think I shall go, if I can get a pass. He says I can get me a woolen blanket when they leave, for there will be a good many throwed away. And I need one nights, for it is quite cold lying on the ground with nothing but a rubber blanket under us and a over coat on. The most of the regiment throwed away their blankets on the last march. Charles Devereux and I throwed away ours. I wrote you about it in my last letter. We could not possibly carry them, we had such a heavy load. On our way back from the march, Charles come across Silas Leach and he gave him a blanket. But he has been out on picket twodays and he has got his blanket with him. When we are here together it covers us both. The pickets will come in tomorrow. Edward seems to be much pleased to think they are going home and no doubt you will all be pleased to see him. He said he expected his Wife would meet him in Bangor. I am glad their time of enlistment is so near out for they have been in a great many battles and have seen hard time since they have come out here. Thomas Hooper was over here yesterday. He said he was coming back again in three weeks, but he should not enlist. He was going in with a Commissary. I sent a large knife by Edward home. One that I have had most ever since I have been out here. I got tired of carrying it round and it was to good a knife to throw away, so I thought I would send it home. My speech has not come to me yet. This is the ninth day that I have been speechless. I hope it will come to me soon. We was called up Thursday morning before daylight and ordered to have everything packed up by daylight. We done so. Then the regiment formed a line and stacked arms and broke ranks. We thought we was a going to march but did not. The reason why we did so, our folks thought the rebels was coming across the river by their movements. Colonel Root, now acting General of the brigade, was up all night watching their movements. He thought they was coming across and he wanted us to be in readiness. But I think there is no danger of their coming across the river to fight us. I am glad you got that 40 dollars. Davis received a letter from his Wife the same night that I did. She wrote that she had not received her money yet. Tell Freddie I should like to see his mother goose. He must keep it till I get home, then he can read it to me. You must write often. Much love and many kisses to you and Freddie from your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

 

 

 


Camp Near Fredricksburg, Va.

May 24th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you Friday night dated May 14th. I was much pleased to hear from you and that you are well. I am well excepting my speech. That has not come to me yet. It has been over two weeks since I have spoke any louder than a whisper. I have just been down to the brook and washed myself all over, from head to foot. Today is Sunday and very warm. We had a inspection this morning at 6 1/4 o'clock, of our muskets and knapsacks. I received the mustard, postage stamp, envelope and paper you sent me. If Mograge Keeps those wheels a great while I would send for them. He is a great fellow to keep things that he borrows. I lent him the forward wheels once before and he most spoiled one of them. I did not go to see Edward before he went home. It was some ways to walk and I did not feel very well the day I intended to go to see him. They are a going to be stay in Bangor. I expect they will have quite a good time when they get there. We go out on drill mornings now at 6 o'clock and drill till 8 o'clock, then we go at 4 o'clock in the afternoon and drill till 6 o'clock. That is 4 hours a day. We get up mornings at 4 o'clock and get our breakfast about 5 o'clock. I cannot drink coffee out here, it hurts me so. When I cannot get tea I drink cold water. Charles D. and I bought a lb. Of tea together of the Commissary for 70 cts. a lb. We can buy things there reasonable by getting an order from the Captain in his name. There is where the officers get all their living. A private cannot buy anything there unless he gets an order from a commissioned officer, made out in their name. I bought some good sugar of them for 11 1/2 cts. a lb. And I bought potatoes for 1 1/4 cts. a lb. The sutlers here charge a great price for everything they have to sell. 60 cts. a lb. For butter and the same for cheese, and other things accordingly. I can not buy much at them prices. I heard that wool was $1.00 a lb. In Maine. Is that so? If it brings that price, them that has a large flock of sheep will do well. How much has Augustus got planted! Write me how much he has planted and sowed. I received a letter from Gilford a few days ago. He said Mother received my ambrotype you sent her. He said he thought I must be very fleshy by the looks of the ambrotype. I think I should laugh to see Freddie kissing his little kitten. I remember his little rossy cheeks. Are they as rossy and fat as they used to be? It has been most a year since I have seen him. I expect he has grown a good deal. I hope I shall get home before he gets so large that I cannot take him on my knees and trot him as I used to. I send him a thousand kisses. You must write often as convenient. Receive this with much love from you ever affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler


Camp Near Fredricksburg, Va.

May 29th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last Tuesday dated May 20th. I will take this opportunity to answer it. My health is about the same as it was when I last wrote. I have not got my speech yet but hope I may before long. We are having very warm weather here. The regiment was payed off yesterday, two months pay. You will get 20 dollars of Mr. Roges. I received 6 dollars. I think I shall send you 3 dollars of it the next time I write. You may need it more than I shall. My wages is small and I shall have to be economical. One dollar will not buy any more here than 25 cents will at home. Some spend the whole of their wages for something to eat, but that will not do for me. I must live on what we draw, if it is not so nice. The officers live as well here as anyone could ask for. The sutlers are making their fortunes here. I should like to have their change for one year. It would be all I would ask for. Some days they sell 6 or 7 hundred dollars worth. They keep everything anyone wants to eat. The 94th New York left this morning for Washington. They are a going to do guard duty there. They will not be likely to have any more fighting to do. They was in our Brigade. Their Colonel commands the Brigade ever since we have been in it. He is a nice man and was thought a great deal of. He expected to be Brigadier General but the 13th Massachusetts regiment joined the Brigade and they give their Colonel command of the Brigade. Colonel Root did not like it so he went to Washington and got a chance for his regiment to do guard duty. He got his regiment into line this morning and said to them, "now boys give three rousing cheers for the gallant 16th of Maine". We felt bad to have him leave us, he was such a good man. Our brass band has got so they play quite well. A brass band is a great deal of company to me, let me be where I will. I am sorry the sheep trouble you about getting out of the pasture. Augustus must try and stop them before they get too breechy and the folks will not like to have them in the pastures. A man died in this regiment the other day. He was on guard duty the day before. The day he died, he eat a hearty dinner and died in less than a half of an hour. There was a fellow in the tent with him hen he died. He must have died very easy. The Castine Boys are all well. I want you to ask Capt. Hutchingson what his bill is for pasturing my colt, and if you have the money to spare you can pay him. How does the colt grow? Is she as handsome as she was when I come away? I want you to write me all the news there is. Give my love to all. Many kisses to Freddie. Write often. I wish I had yours and Freddie's Ambrotypes, but I suppose you have no chance to get them taken. I see a great many of the married men have their wifes and childrens Ambrotypes with them. I will close with much love from you ever affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

I received the pen, stamps, envelope and paper you sent me.


 

Camp Near Fredricksburg, Va.

June 7th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last Tuesday, I was very glad to hear from you. I expected a letter from you last night as you said you are going to write again soon as the 2nd Maine got home. I am about the same as I was when I last wrote. My voice has not come to me yet. It has been most a month since I have spoken, I do not come to any guard duty excepting camp guard day times. They do not put me on guard nights nor on picket. I feel better to be doing something. John Blogett is quite sick. He is at the Hospital. He have been called out two mornings at 3 o'clock and packed up every thing, expecting to march, but have not moved yet. They say some of our force is across the river again, but I don't know as it is so. Charles and Frank Devereux are coporals. If I had been as healthy and done as much duty as they have since I have been out here, I should not be where I am now. The ones that do the most duty in their company stand a better chance to get ahead. But if I do not ruin my health out here I shall feel thankful, if I never get to be anything more than a private. I wrote in letter before this that we had been paid off, two months pay. As I thought you might not receive it, I thought I would write about it in this. You will have 20 dollars due you from Mr. Regas. I received 6 dollars. I wrote you I would send you 3 dollars the next time I wrote, but I think I shall want it. My appetite is poor for what we get for rations, and I need money to buy something that I can eat. I have got tired of pork and hard bread. Fresh beef is not very good this time of the year, but you must not say anything about what I write about the living. The government allows us a plenty to eat, but it comes through too many hands. I heard one of the captains say today that there was 700 dollars due this regiment for back rations, and we should get it sometime. You got a good lot of wool off from the sheep. I would not hurry about selling it, for I think it will be more than 75 cents a lb. How did the hay hold out? Did you have to buy any? How does the grass look, as though there would be any kind of a crop? I want you to write all about everything. Is my hive of bees alive? You never have wrote anything about them. I wrote my name on my hive with a lead pencil so you can tell which one is mine. I am sorry you are afflicted so with boils. They say it is wholsome to have them. I know they are painful things. How is my little Freddie? You know I never forget to enquire about him. He must be a great deal of company for you. I hope I shall live to get home to see you both once more. I have just received a letter from Elisa and one from Gilford. They are all well. They seem anxious for me to get home. They wrote me that Isreals Wife has got a fine boy. It is Sunday. The mail goes out at 8 o'clock this evening. I shall have this ready to send. It's most time for dress parade. After that we have divine services. You must write often. And write all the news. Kiss Freddie for his father, who loves him as well as any one can. I will close with much love from ever affectionate Husband

Henry B. Butler


Camp New Fredricksburg, Va

June 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last evening and I take this opportunity to answer it. My health is about the same as it was. My voice has not come to me yet. I have been to the Doctors about it but they are not much used to such cases. It makes no odds what ails a person, all they give them is pills and powers and the more anyone takes of that stuff the worse he is off. I should like to come home and get cured but there is no chance for a man to get out of this show now. They do not discharge anyone if they are ever so sick. There has been so many played off sick and got their discharge that they will not discharge anyone now. How did you hear that I was coming home? I should like to know. It is news to me. I think you better get someone to get the hay by the job. Get someone that you can trust. I think that will be the best way. Perhaps you can get Reuban to get someone to get it quite cheap with what Augustus can do. I would not think of such a thing as raising a calf this year, for I know hay must be short and you will want some hay to sell to pay for getting it. I am afraid you will not raise many potatoes in the bee field. If I had been at home I should not thought of planting potatoes there. The land has been planted so much it is very rich and the witch grass has got well rooted and I am afraid you will have a better crop of which grass than you will potatoes. It would not make any difference about putting the cows in the field by having potatoes planted there. They would want to be dug before you put them in the field. If you put them in the field too early they will eat the feed all up so you will have to feed out hay early in the fall. You better not sell the wagon this summer if you can get along without it. I suppose you will have to sell the colt next fall. If I do not get home there will be no one to break him and it will not pay to winter him without having him broke. I received a letter from Elisa and one from Gilford a few nights ago. They are all well. You seem to be losing your teeth the same as I am. I have got 3 that trouble me very much. I shall have to have them hauled out soon. You need send me any more paper and envelopes at present. I bought some the other day of a sutler, but it is hard getting postage stamps here. I received the ones you sent me. I don't know as I have anything more interesting to write. You must write often. Tell Freddie he must keep his flag till I get home so he can put it out then. I send him and you many kisses and much love to you both from your affectionate Husband.

Henry Butler


Gettysburg, Penn

July 8th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I take this opportunity to write you a few lines that you may know that I am alive but in the hands of the rebels. We was taken yesterday after a hard fight. Frank Devereux was killed three feet from me by a musket ball. It went through his head. It killed him instantly. Frank Bowden had his arm shot off. Joseph Varnum, Henry Wescott, Mark Hatch, Jack Mograge and our Colonel Tilden was taken prisoners. They are with me all writing. Charles Devereux. I did not see him after we went into battle. I hope he is safe. I have inquired for him but could not find anyone that had seen him. I saw Edward Davis after we went into battle but have not seen him since. Our Captain was killed. He was close to me when he fell. There was 112 of our regiment taken. I think about all the rest was killed and wounded. Our folks had a small force. The rebels had a large force. They are fighting today. I think our folks have got reinforcements. I do not know what the rebels will do with me but think they will parole us. They have used us well so far. You must not worry about me. I have got so I can talk but not very loud. I don't know when I shall hear from you. If we get paroled I shall hear from you, if we do not, I don't know when I shall hear from you. We have had some dreadful hard days and marches since we left Virginia. You can do as you think about writing to me. If the rebels keep us I shall not be likely to hear from you. But I shall write to you often if I have a chance to send a letter. The last letter I received from you you said your father had been sick. I want to know how he is and I want to hear from you all. Kiss the little boy for me. I will close with much love from your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler


College Green Barracks Annapolis, Maryland

Aug. 26th, 1863

Dear Mary,

It has been a long time since I have received a letter from you and I suppose it has seemed a long while since you have heard from me. I was captured at the battle of Gettysburg, Maryland the first day of July. I think there was 130 of our regiment captured the same day, officers and all. Among them was Col. Tilden. Mark Hatch, Jack Mograge, Joseph Varnum and Henry Wescott was all that was captured from Castine besides myself. Frank Devereux was shot through the head close by the side of me. He died instantly. It was thought it was done by carelessness by a man from another regiment, but I could not say as it was so. Elisha Bickford was wounded and I understand has since died. I did not see anything of Charles Devereux after we went into battle, but Augustus was captured a week or more after we was and he said he saw him and he was wounded in the leg but not dangerous. I wrote you a few lines the day I was captured and sent it by one of our company, that was paroled on the field and went into our lines, but I don't know as you ever received it. We went two days without anything to eat but a few crumbs of hard bread and it was the same all the way to Richmond. We marched to Staunton. That is 175 miles from Gettysburg. We took cars to Richmond. We arrived there the 21st day of July. They put us on Belle Island and keep us there until the 24th of August on less than half rations. I have not time tonight to write you how we was used, but I will write you all about it the next time I write. I never come so near starving before and I had rather be shot than taken prisoner again. We left Augustus D. there. I hope he will not have to stay there long. He told me your Father was dead. You wrote me he had been very sick in the last letter I received from you. I think you must miss him a great deal. I want you to write me as soon as you receive this. I think the last letter I received from you was the middle of June. I suppose you have wrote a number since thin but it is likely I shall never get them. Write me all the news. Did you receive the last allotment money? It was two months pay. We was payed up to the first of May. Write me how many times you have received allotment money. We took the cars to City Point and took the boat there to this place. We got here at 8 o'clock this morning. Direct your letters to College Green Barracks, Annapolis, Maryland. Write soon for I want to hear from you very much. My love to all. Much love to you and freddie. Give him a sweet kiss. for me. From your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

Mark Hatch let Belle Island about a week before we did. He was sick. He is here in the Hospital but I have not seen him.


Annapolis, Md

August 29th, 1863

Dear Wife,

I wrote to you last Wednesday but for fear that you would not get it I thought I would write today. I know you must be anxious to hear from me and I want to hear from you very much. What did you think had become of me by not hearing from me for so long. I was captured at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania the last day of July, after a hard fight. Our Colonel and about 10 other officers and most all of the regiment was captured at the same time. There was only the 1st and 11th Corps engaged that day against Gen. Lee's whole force. I did not see anything of C. Devereux after we went into battle, but I heard that he was wounded in the leg but not dangerously. Frank Devereux was killed close by the aide of me. He was shot through the head. I heard that Frank Bowden was shot in the head and his arm was shot off. I don't know whether he is alive or not. Probably you have heard about him and Charles D. If you have write and let me know how they are getting along. Elisha Bickford was wounded and I understood has since died. Joseph Varnum, Henry Wescott, Jack Mograge and Mark Hatch were captured the same day that I was. The rebels kept us most two months and they treated us very hard. They marched us from Gettysburg to Staunton, Va. - 175 miles. We had a few crumbs of hard bread in our haversacks when we were captured. That was all we got for two days, then they give us half a pint of flour and two ounces of fresh beef. The ration of flour was so small that the most of us made it into gruel. They did not give us talf rations the whole time we was with them. After we got to Staunton they took away our blankets and shelter tents and left us exposed to the scorching sun and the heavy dews and chills at night. They took us in the cars to Richmond and we got there the 21st day of July. Then they robbed us again of our haversacks and canteens, then they put us on Belle Island, one mile from the City. After we had been there a few days they took us out and made another search and took away what money they could find from the soldiers. Some hid it in their clothes and some had over a hundred dollars taken from them. I had none for them to take. They did not allow our men to buy anything to eat on the march. I was surprised in coming through some of the large places in Virginia, to see so many union people. They cheered for the Union and they brought out pies and bread to give us, but the rebel officers would not allow them to give to us. In one place in Virginia, I think it was Martinsburg, the citizens give them a large wagon load of bread to give us and they give it to their own men. That was the way the brutes used us from beginning to end. There was about 300 come away when I did. That was the 25th of August and then there was left on the island 4000 more. Augustus was among them. He was captured soon after I was - a week or so. He was wounded and he said he was not dangerously wounded. I hope he will not have to stay on that island long, for it is the worst place that ever was.

In this time span there is a question of Furlough here.


Camp Parole, Annapolis, Maryland

October 18th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I wrote to you last Tuesday, the next day after I got there. When I wrote I thought we should be to the regiment by this time. I have only been to the City once since I have been here, then I went to the College Green Barracks and got a letter that you wrote me before I went home. Reuben got here last Tuesday night. He and Augustus come up to see us Wednesday. He left for home Friday morning. He sill most likely get home before this letter reaches you. He will tell you all about seeing Charles and finding where Frank Bowden was buried. I was surprised to hear that he was dead. It will be sad news to his folks. The report is that we are going to our regiment tomorrow but I don't know as it is so. I want to hear from you very much. I wrote in my first letter for you to direct your letters to this place. I am sorry that I did not write for you to direct to the regiment for I think I shall not stop here long enough to get an answer from you. You better direct your next letter to the regiment same as you used to. I am quite well and hope this will find you all the same. Mary, you must take good care of yourself and the little boy. Don't let him get hurt. He is such a little fellow to climb fences. I am afraid he will get hurt. I think you better have that heifer killed for beef. I am afraid you will not have hay enough to keep what stock you have got and you will want something for beef. You better get Thomas and his oxen half of a day to haul up the old fencing poles where I had a turnip yard. Let Augustus help him and I think hi will haul about all of it up in one half of a day. He better do it before the snow comes. If you get hard up for money you will have to sell something, the wagon or colt. I don't know when we shall be paid off. I hope before long. I suppose they will take some over one months pay from us for our passage home. Write often and write me all the news. Tell Freddie he must be a good boy and mind his Mother. I shall write again as soon as I get to the regiment. I hope you will get along as well as you have done. I know it is hard for you to have so much care on your mind. I hope it will not be so long. I will close with much love to you and Freddie and Mother, from you affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

 


Therafare Gap, Va.

October 23rd, 1863

Dear Mary,

I write to let you know that I am once more with the regiment, alive and well. We left Annapolis last Tuesday, went to Washington in the cars, stopped there all night. At the soldiers retreat we saw John Bridges. He come to see us in the morning before we left. We took the cars Wednesday and went to Drainsville. We stopped there all night. The next morning started on a march for the regiment. We went to Warrenton, Virginia to General Mead's headquarters and reported. They we marched to where we are now. I wrote two letters to you while I was at Annapolis. I shall expect a letter from you soon. Direct your letters the same as you used to. You must excuse this short letter for it is most night. I will write more the next time. Write often. From your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

I have got a 50 cent stamp on Veasa Bank Bangor. I cannot pass it here but it is good in Maine. I will send it to you. I want you to send me three or four stamps. They are scarce here.

Henry


Liberty Town, Va.

Nov. 12th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last evening. I was very glad to hear from you. I wrote to you a week ago last Sunday at Bristoe Station. We left there the 5th day of November. I have not seen a chance to write since before today. We have been on a march most all the time since we marched to Brandy Station across the Rappahannock. We expected to be in a fight but was lucky enough not to get into one. The 3rd corps was in a fight at Kelley's Ford. They was in the advance of us. We could hear the cannonading very plain. The 6th corps also was in a fight at Rappahannock Station. They drove the rebels at every point. Our corps had orders Monday night, the 9th, to march back across the Rappahannock to Liberty were we are now. We was sent here to guard the railroad. I expect we shall stop here all winter. I have received all the letters you have wrote me since I come away. I received on you wrote me with Freddie's miniature in it. I should think that was a bold person that broke into our house. Let it be who it will. It must have been someone that had been to the house and knew where Augustus keep his gun. I would fasten the windows and doors as strong as I could nights for there is thieves all over the county. I am glad you have got a new stove. I thought when I was at home that you needed on very much. You wrote to know what I got to eat. I get a plenty to eat. I do not eat all the rations I draw. We draw hard bread, pork, beef, beans, sugar, coffee, sometimes molasses and potatoes. There is no danger of anyone starving on that living. I have not drawed a over coat yet. I am in want of one very much. I expect to have on soon. I have a good warm blanket and a piece of tent, so I get along pretty well, only when I am on guard. Then I need an over coat. I think we shall soon be paid off, then you will get 60 dollars. I shall get enough to pay my passage home out of the 18 dollars. If you sell the wagon, don't sell it less than 30 dollars. It is worth that if it is worth anything. I would like to keep it, but if you are short of money you better sell it. Augustus can cut green wood wherever he can find it the largest. He had better buy a new axe. I would have fixed one when I was at home but you know that there was so many of my customers come to get work done that it keep me busy all the time. Tell Augustus to pile his wood in large piles so if the snow comes it will not bury it up so that he cannot find it. I am on camp guard today. It is most time for me to go on my post so I must close, hoping you will get along as well as you have. Write me all about home affairs. I will close with much love from your affectionate Husband.

H. B. B.

Kiss little Freddie for me.

The Castine Boys are all well except Henry Wescott. His health is quite poor.

 


Liberty, Va.

November 18th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received you letter of Nov. 8th last Friday evening. I was very glad to hear from you and that you and Freddie have got well of you cold. My health continues good. I am off from my post, then I will be likely to get time to finish it tomorrow. The paymaster is here and is paying off our regiment today. I suppose that guard will be paid off this evening or tomorrow. I received what postage stamps and paper you send me. The stamps come very acceptable, for I was entirely out. You need not send me any more at present. I have plenty of paper and envelopes. I bought some the other day. I brought me a portfolio at Washington to carry my paper in. I find it a very convenient thing for a soldier. I drawed me a over coat, dress coat and rubber blanket the other day so I am well prepared for cold weather. Lieutenant Davis has command of our company now. Our first Lieutenant has gone to Washington sick. Lieutenant Davis is a good fellow. I think he will look well for the interest of his men. There is quite a settlement here. I think they are all rebels, although they keep quiet. But I would not trust myself in one of their houses after the array is gone from here. The soldiers buy hoe cakes of them occasionally but I have not been inside of one of their houses since I have been here. I wrote to Father and Mother the other day. I ought to have wrote before but we have so much guard duty to do I don't have much time to write. Well, Mary, it is most time to go on guard so I shall have to put away my pen and paper until tomorrow. So goodnight, Mary and Freddie.

Thursday 19.

Mary, I have just come off guard and will try and finish this letter. I got my pay this morning. They charged us $13.20 for our transportation home. That only left me $4.80. You will get 60 dollars of Mr. Rogers soon as he gets it. That is for six months pay. You can get someone to patch up the house till I get home than I will try and have it shingled. You had better buy a axe for Augustus to cut wood with. You cannot get along without one. Don't know as I have anything more to write this time. Tell Augustus to be very careful of the colt on the ice, if he should happen to slip it might spoil him. I want him to put the halter on him every time he waters him so that he will get used to it and it will not be so hard to break him. Write as often as you can. Tell Freddie I send him lots of kisses. I will close with much love from you affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

Send me a little black thread.


Liberty, Va.

November 28th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last Friday evening and I will take this opportunity to answer it. I wrote to you the 19th of this month. I wrote to you about being paid off, but for fear that you may not get that letter I will write about it in this. It cost me $13.20 to go home. That left me $4.80 out of the 18 dollars. You will have 60 dollars coming to you soon as Mr. Rogers Receives it. That is 6 months pay. I hope you will get it soon. We was sitting in our tents when an officer come riding into camp and give orders to fall into line for the guerrillas was rushing in upon us. We then had orders to double quick. We took the road that went to Warrenton. Some of our supplies wagons went that road and the guerrillas made a raid on them. They had not time to take the wagons so they took the mules off and left the wagons. We went about 2 miles, most of the time on a double quick, but we did not overtake any of them. We was out 3 hours, then we returned to camp. Our Cavalry was sent in pursuit of the guerrillas and this morning since I have been writing our Cavalry come in with 3 of the cut throats. I hope they will get the last one of them for they do a great deal of harm. I heard that there was 8 of our men had their throats cut the other day by them. Mr. Varnum and Henry Wescott think of sending for a box from home with some eatables in it. If they do, I don't know but I should like to have some few things sent in the same box. I want a pair of socks for one thing. Both pair of the socks that I brought with me are all worn out at the heals. I think it is because my boots are rather large, what made them wear out so quick. I patched the heels of one pair of them and I shall have to serve the other pair the same way. I will write again when Mr. Varnum and Henry Wescott does, so if you have anything to send me you can send it in their box. I should like to have a little butter if you have any to spare. I will write and let you know when to send it. I don't know as I have anything more to write this time. Henry Wescott has got quite well again. My health is very good. The Castine Boys are all well. You must take good care of yourself. Kiss Freddie for me. Much love from your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

I received the postage stamp and envelope you sent me.


Camp Near Callie's Ford, Va.

December 6th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last Friday evening and one Saturday evening. I was glad to hear from you and that you are well. Our regiment left Liberty, Virginia the 23rd of November. I have not seen a chance to write since before today. We crossed the Rappahannock the 25th of November and the 28th we crossed the Rapadam and marched to a place called Mountain Run, where we found the rebels, fortified and in a very good position. So if we attacked them we should have to cross a creek deep enough to drown a man. The 30th day we expected a fight without fail but Gen. Mead saw that he could not gain their position without a great loss of life and the night of the 1st of December we had orders to fall back. We stopped at that place 3 days. We could see the rebels very plain. There was skirmishing going on the whole 3 days and our batteries fired some shells at them. We lost some men on the skirmish line. We sent into camp here the 3rd day of Dec. Our Major measured off the ground and told us to log up our tents. But it was rumored that we should not stop here long so Mr. Varnum thought it would not be worth while to build a log hut, so we did not go to work the next day. Yesterday we concluded that we would get our stuff on the ground so we went to work and lugged logs most of the day. After we lugged enough to build huts of the orders come to pack up and be ready at a moments notice to march. Then along in the evening the order was countermanded, but to hold ourselves in readiness to march at any time. I think we shall not stop here long but I hardly think we shall have any more fighting until Spring. I am glad you got Freddie a pair of boots for I think he will need them. I shall not send for anything to come in a box at present. Not until we go into winter quarters. I think you better not sell the colt and buy a yoke of steers for it wants a man to drive steers and another thing, we have no cart for steers. I think you better keep her this winter. I have not got time to write any more this time for I have got to go on guard in a few minutes. I will write again soon. You must write often. Henry Wescott's health is very poor. The rest of the Castine Boys are all well. My love to all. Kiss Freddie for me. Tell him I will write him a letter when I get time. I will close with much love from your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

Don't let Augustus put the colt into the sleigh of wagon for I am afraid he my spoil her. Let him put harness on her and lead her around so she will get used to it.

 


Camp Near Kelley's Ford Va.

December 14th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last evening. I was happy to hear that you were all well. I wrote to you last Sunday. I wrote all about the last movement the army made and how near we come being in a fight. Our regiment have all got their winter quarters built and quite comfortable ones they are. Mr. Varnum and I built ours. It is called the best tent in the regiment. We took pieces that was split out of logs, the thickness of plank and set them in the ground endways. The walls are 5 feet high, 12 feet in length and 7 feet wide. The roof is covered with our shelter tents. Then we have a good fireplace which makes it very comfortable. Henry Wescott tents with us. He is some better than he was. I wrote in my last letter for you not to sell the wagon less than 30 dollars. All it wants is one new fill and a set of tires to make a wagon worth 50 dollars and that such repairs would not cost over 10 dollars. But as I wrote you in my last letter before this, if you was out of money you will have to sell it at some price. I don't think it would be prudent to sell the colt and buy a yoke of steers, for we have no cart fit for steers and it wants a man used to toaming to drive steers. You can keep the heifer if you think there is hay enough. I don't know but there is enough if Augustus is saving of it. We expect to get our ration money while we were prisoners. If we do, I shall sent it to you. Write and let me know when you get that 60 dollars from Mr. Roges. I have got 4 dollars and I will send you 2 dollars of it in this letter. Mr. Varnum has sent for his box and I did not know anything about it so I shall have to let you send me a small one. I would like to have you send me a 2 quart pail full of butter, one half pound of tea and anything else that you have a mind to. I want you to send me one of my razors and the shaving brush and a cake of shaving soap. The box and strop you need not send. Send me the knife and fork that I carried home. I have nothing but a plate and spoon now. Send a pair of sooks and some yarn to mend them with. Direct the box the same as you do the letters you send me. Don't send a very large box. There is a small half round file that I carried home I think I left it in a box over the sink. Tell Augustus to give the colt a few small potatoes in a week or two to keep her from having the heaves. I received a letter from Frank a few days ago. He wrote that Eliss had been very sick with the diptheria. The rest were all well. Our Chaplain is at home sick so we have none now. You may send me a testament if you have one. Well, Mary, I believe I have wrote all that I can think of. I hope you will all get along comfortably while I am in the army. Give my love to all. Much love to you and Freddie now and forever from your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

Just as I finished writing, Mr. Varnum received a letter from his wife stating that she had not heard from him since the 25th of November. I think she wrote that you called to see her and said you would send some things in his box, so you need not send me one. Send what you have in his. Tell Mrs. Varnum her husband is well.

Henry


On Fatigue Duty Near Brandy Station

December 22nd, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you Saturday evening and a not from Freddie. I am sorry that he is troubled so much with the tooth ache. I know how to pitty him. I have one that aches quite often and I am going to have it extracted soon. Tell Freddie he better have his served the same way. I come out here last Saturday morning to work building corduroy road. Went back to camp at night. Sunday morning we went back to work again. There was one hundred men detailed from our regiment to work on the road. The way we build it we lay piles and cover them with dirt. They expect to finish it today. I jammed my finger on my left hand yesterday so they left me to guard their knapsacks today, so that gives me a good chance to write. I wrote to you last Sunday and sent a two dollar bill. I should think it was time for you to receive that allotment money. I want you to write me how much you are owing and how much money you have by you. That you have kept secret from me which I think you ought not to do. I am willing for you to have and intend that you shall have for the future all my wages but one dollar a month. I know that you will not buy anything that you do not need but I want to know when you have money and when you are out of money. You ask my advise about hiring Augustus next summer. If you can get him for 50 dollars next summer you better ire him. I know he cannot earn that much money but you can not get along without someone. I think he might have raised more than what he did if he had kept the weeds down more. I think he is very slow but I don't know as you can get a better boy about taking care of cattle. You wrote that the colt liked to get into the road. Does he get into the road by jumping or is the fence down? I never knew her to jump. If she has learned to jump it is through Augustus' neglect, leaving the fence low. If she had got so she jumps, I consider her the same as spoiled for me and I would not keep her at any rate. There has not been any snow here yet but we have had some quite cold weather. I suppose there is snow in Maine by this time. I received a letter from Gilford the same night I received yours. They are all well. Alvin goes to sea. I received the stamp you sent. If we go into camp tonight I will put this letter in the mail bag so it will go out tonight. Where is Charles Devereux and Augustus? I suppose Augustus is at Annapolis. Do you know if he is at College Green Barrack or the new Barracks. Write me and let me know where their address is. Well, Mary, I will close hoping this will find you all well. Much love from your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

Kiss Freddie for his Papa.

 


Camp Near Mithels Station, Va

December 31st, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last Tuesday evening. I was pleased to hear from you. I was sorry you did not get that letter soon enough to send what things I sent for but perhaps you can send me a box sometime this winter. We have not received that box yet. We are looking for it every day. We left our winter quarters or what we supposed would be our winter quarts the 24th of Dec. We marched through Culpepper. We are 7 miles from that place. I felt provoked when the orders come for us to move when we had such good quarters. We had just begun to take comfort in them. Now we are in an open field a good ways from the woods and it has stormed most all the time since we have been here. It rains hard today. I am glad you received the 2 dollars I sent you and the 60 dollars from Mr. Rogers. You must be careful with your throat and not get the diptheria. That is very dangerous. I was up all night last night. I was acting Corporal of the guard over Sutlers goods. I do not feel much like writing today. You will have to put up with a short letter this time. I will write again ass soon as we receive that box. I think it would be a good plan for you to have some kind of a settlement with Lemuel Mograge. You know how much work he has done for you. The work he done for me while I was at home amounted to 75 cts. I believe that note I had against him is about 10 dollars. I think you better try and get a settlement with him. Well, Mary, I cannot think of anything more to write this time. Write often as you can. Give my love to all. Much love to you and Freddie from your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

I received the yarn and stamps.

 

 


Camp Near Fredricksburg, Va.

May 24th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you Friday night dated May 14th. I was much pleased to hear from you and that you are well. I am well excepting my speech. That has not come to me yet. It has been over two weeks since I have spoke any louder than a whisper. I have just been down to the brook and washed myself all over, from head to foot. Today is Sunday and very warm. We had a inspection this morning at 6 1/4 o'clock, of our muskets and knapsacks. I received the mustard, postage stamp, envelope and paper you sent me. If Mograge Keeps those wheels a great while I would send for them. He is a great fellow to keep things that he borrows. I lent him the forward wheels once before and he most spoiled one of them. I did not go to see Edward before he went home. It was some ways to walk and I did not feel very well the day I intended to go to see him. They are a going to be stay in Bangor. I expect they will have quite a good time when they get there. We go out on drill mornings now at 6 o'clock and drill till 8 o'clock, then we go at 4 o'clock in the afternoon and drill till 6 o'clock. That is 4 hours a day. We get up mornings at 4 o'clock and get our breakfast about 5 o'clock. I cannot drink coffee out here, it hurts me so. When I cannot get tea I drink cold water. Charles D. and I bought a lb. Of tea together of the Commissary for 70 cts. a lb. We can buy things there reasonable by getting an order from the Captain in his name. There is where the officers get all their living. A private cannot buy anything there unless he gets an order from a commissioned officer, made out in their name. I bought some good sugar of them for 11 1/2 cts. a lb. And I bought potatoes for 1 1/4 cts. a lb. The sutlers here charge a great price for everything they have to sell. 60 cts. a lb. For butter and the same for cheese, and other things accordingly. I can not buy much at them prices. I heard that wool was $1.00 a lb. In Maine. Is that so? If it brings that price, them that has a large flock of sheep will do well. How much has Augustus got planted! Write me how much he has planted and sowed. I received a letter from Gilford a few days ago. He said Mother received my ambrotype you sent her. He said he thought I must be very fleshy by the looks of the ambrotype. I think I should laugh to see Freddie kissing his little kitten. I remember his little rossy cheeks. Are they as rossy and fat as they used to be? It has been most a year since I have seen him. I expect he has grown a good deal. I hope I shall get home before he gets so large that I cannot take him on my knees and trot him as I used to. I send him a thousand kisses. You must write often as convenient. Receive this with much love from you ever affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler


Camp Near Fredricksburg, Va.

May 29th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last Tuesday dated May 20th. I will take this opportunity to answer it. My health is about the same as it was when I last wrote. I have not got my speech yet but hope I may before long. We are having very warm weather here. The regiment was payed off yesterday, two months pay. You will get 20 dollars of Mr. Roges. I received 6 dollars. I think I shall send you 3 dollars of it the next time I write. You may need it more than I shall. My wages is small and I shall have to be economical. One dollar will not buy any more here than 25 cents will at home. Some spend the whole of their wages for something to eat, but that will not do for me. I must live on what we draw, if it is not so nice. The officers live as well here as anyone could ask for. The sutlers are making their fortunes here. I should like to have their change for one year. It would be all I would ask for. Some days they sell 6 or 7 hundred dollars worth. They keep everything anyone wants to eat. The 94th New York left this morning for Washington. They are a going to do guard duty there. They will not be likely to have any more fighting to do. They was in our Brigade. Their Colonel commands the Brigade ever since we have been in it. He is a nice man and was thought a great deal of. He expected to be Brigadier General but the 13th Massachusetts regiment joined the Brigade and they give their Colonel command of the Brigade. Colonel Root did not like it so he went to Washington and got a chance for his regiment to do guard duty. He got his regiment into line this morning and said to them, "now boys give three rousing cheers for the gallant 16th of Maine". We felt bad to have him leave us, he was such a good man. Our brass band has got so they play quite well. A brass band is a great deal of company to me, let me be where I will. I am sorry the sheep trouble you about getting out of the pasture. Augustus must try and stop them before they get too breechy and the folks will not like to have them in the pastures. A man died in this regiment the other day. He was on guard duty the day before. The day he died, he eat a hearty dinner and died in less than a half of an hour. There was a fellow in the tent with him hen he died. He must have died very easy. The Castine Boys are all well. I want you to ask Capt. Hutchingson what his bill is for pasturing my colt, and if you have the money to spare you can pay him. How does the colt grow? Is she as handsome as she was when I come away? I want you to write me all the news there is. Give my love to all. Many kisses to Freddie. Write often. I wish I had yours and Freddie's Ambrotypes, but I suppose you have no chance to get them taken. I see a great many of the married men have their wifes and childrens Ambrotypes with them. I will close with much love from you ever affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

I received the pen, stamps, envelope and paper you sent me.

 


Camp Near Fredricksburg, Va.

June 7th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last Tuesday, I was very glad to hear from you. I expected a letter from you last night as you said you are going to write again soon as the 2nd Maine got home. I am about the same as I was when I last wrote. My voice has not come to me yet. It has been most a month since I have spoken, I do not come to any guard duty excepting camp guard day times. They do not put me on guard nights nor on picket. I feel better to be doing something. John Blogett is quite sick. He is at the Hospital. He have been called out two mornings at 3 o'clock and packed up every thing, expecting to march, but have not moved yet. They say some of our force is across the river again, but I don't know as it is so. Charles and Frank Devereux are coporals. If I had been as healthy and done as much duty as they have since I have been out here, I should not be where I am now. The ones that do the most duty in their company stand a better chance to get ahead. But if I do not ruin my health out here I shall feel thankful, if I never get to be anything more than a private. I wrote in letter before this that we had been paid off, two months pay. As I thought you might not receive it, I thought I would write about it in this. You will have 20 dollars due you from Mr. Regas. I received 6 dollars. I wrote you I would send you 3 dollars the next time I wrote, but I think I shall want it. My appetite is poor for what we get for rations, and I need money to buy something that I can eat. I have got tired of pork and hard bread. Fresh beef is not very good this time of the year, but you must not say anything about what I write about the living. The government allows us a plenty to eat, but it comes through too many hands. I heard one of the captains say today that there was 700 dollars due this regiment for back rations, and we should get it sometime. You got a good lot of wool off from the sheep. I would not hurry about selling it, for I think it will be more than 75 cents a lb. How did the hay hold out? Did you have to buy any? How does the grass look, as though there would be any kind of a crop? I want you to write all about everything. Is my hive of bees alive? You never have wrote anything about them. I wrote my name on my hive with a lead pencil so you can tell which one is mine. I am sorry you are afflicted so with boils. They say it is wholesome to have them. I know they are painful things. How is my little Freddie? You know I never forget to enquire about him. He must be a great deal of company for you. I hope I shall live to get home to see you both once more. I have just received a letter from Elisa and one from Gilford. They are all well. They seem anxious for me to get home. They wrote me that Isreals Wife has got a fine boy. It is Sunday. The mail goes out at 8 o'clock this evening. I shall have this ready to send. It's most time for dress parade. After that we have divine services. You must write often. And write all the news. Kiss Freddie for his father, who loves him as well as any one can. I will close with much love from ever affectionate Husband

Henry B. Butler


Camp New Fredricksburg, Va

June 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last evening and I take this opportunity to answer it. My health is about the same as it was. My voice has not come to me yet. I have been to the Doctors about it but they are not much used to such cases. It makes no odds what ails a person, all they give them is pills and powers and the more anyone takes of that stuff the worse he is off. I should like to come home and get cured but there is no chance for a man to get out of this show now. They do not discharge anyone if they are ever so sick. There has been so many played off sick and got their discharge that they will not discharge anyone now. How did you hear that I was coming home? I should like to know. It is news to me. I think you better get someone to get the hay by the job. Get someone that you can trust. I think that will be the best way. Perhaps you can get Reuban to get someone to get it quite cheap with what Augustus can do. I would not think of such a thing as raising a calf this year, for I know hay must be short and you will want some hay to sell to pay for getting it. I am afraid you will not raise many potatoes in the bee field. If I had been at home I should not thought of planting potatoes there. The land has been planted so much it is very rich and the witch grass has got well rooted and I am afraid you will have a better crop of which grass than you will potatoes. It would not make any difference about putting the cows in the field by having potatoes planted there. They would want to be dug before you put them in the field. If you put them in the field too early they will eat the feed all up so you will have to feed out hay early in the fall. You better not sell the wagon this summer if you can get along without it. I suppose you will have to sell the colt next fall. If I do not get home there will be no one to break him and it will not pay to winter him without having him broke. I received a letter from Elisa and one from Gilford a few nights ago. They are all well. You seem to be losing your teeth the same as I am. I have got 3 that trouble me very much. I shall have to have them hauled out soon. You need send me any more paper and envelopes at present. I bought some the other day of a sutler, but it is hard getting postage stamps here. I received the ones you sent me. I don't know as I have anything more interesting to write. You must write often. Tell Freddie he must keep his flag till I get home so he can put it out then. I send him and you many kisses and much love to you both from your affectionate Husband.

Henry Butler


Gettysburg, Penn

July 8th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I take this opportunity to write you a few lines that you may know that I am alive but in the hands of the rebels. We was taken yesterday after a hard fight. Frank Devereux was killed three feet from me by a musket ball. It went through his head. It killed him instantly. Frank Bowden had his arm shot off. Joseph Varnum, Henry Wescott, Mark Hatch, Jack Mograge and our Colonel Tilden was taken prisoners. They are with me all writing. Charles Devereux. I did not see him after we went into battle. I hope he is safe. I have inquired for him but could not find anyone that had seen him. I saw Edward Davis after we went into battle but have not seen him since. Our Captain was killed. He was close to me when he fell. There was 112 of our regiment taken. I think about all the rest was killed and wounded. Our folks had a small force. The rebels had a large force. They are fighting today. I think our folks have got reinforcements. I do not know what the rebels will do with me but think they will parole us. They have used us well so far. You must not worry about me. I have got so I can talk but not very loud. I don't know when I shall hear from you. If we get paroled I shall hear from you, if we do not, I don't know when I shall hear from you. We have had some dreadful hard days and marches since we left Virginia. You can do as you think about writing to me. If the rebels keep us I shall not be likely to hear from you. But I shall write to you often if I have a chance to send a letter. The last letter I received from you you said your father had been sick. I want to know how he is and I want to hear from you all. Kiss the little boy for me. I will close with much love from your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler


College Green Barracks Annapolis, Maryland

Aug. 26th, 1863

Dear Mary,

It has been a long time since I have received a letter from you and I suppose it has seemed a long while since you have heard from me. I was captured at the battle of Gettysburg, Maryland the first day of July. I think there was 130 of our regiment captured the same day, officers and all. Among them was Col. Tilden. Mark Hatch, Jack Mograge, Joseph Varnum and Henry Wescott was all that was captured from Castine besides myself. Frank Devereux was shot through the head close by the side of me. He died instantly. It was thought it was done by carelessness by a man from another regiment, but I could not say as it was so. Elisha Bickford was wounded and I understand has since died. I did not see anything of Charles Devereux after we went into battle, but Augustus was captured a week or more after we was and he said he saw him and he was wounded in the leg but not dangerous. I wrote you a few lines the day I was captured and sent it by one of our company, that was paroled on the field and went into our lines, but I don't know as you ever received it. We went two days without anything to eat but a few crumbs of hard bread and it was the same all the way to Richmond. We marched to Staunton. That is 175 miles from Gettysburg. We took cars to Richmond. We arrived there the 21st day of July. They put us on Belle Island and keep us there until the 24th of August on less than half rations. I have not time tonight to write you how we was used, but I will write you all about it the next time I write. I never come so near starving before and I had rather be shot than taken prisoner again. We left Augustus D. there. I hope he will not have to stay there long. He told me your Father was dead. You wrote me he had been very sick in the last letter I received from you. I think you must miss him a great deal. I want you to write me as soon as you receive this. I think the last letter I received from you was the middle of June. I suppose you have wrote a number since thin but it is likely I shall never get them. Write me all the news. Did you receive the last allotment money? It was two months pay. We was payed up to the first of May. Write me how many times you have received allotment money. We took the cars to City Point and took the boat there to this place. We got here at 8 o'clock this morning. Direct your letters to College Green Barracks, Annapolis, Maryland. Write soon for I want to hear from you very much. My love to all. Much love to you and freddie. Give him a sweet kiss. for me. From your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

Mark Hatch let Belle Island about a week before we did. He was sick. He is here in the Hospital but I have not seen him.


Annapolis, Md

August 29th, 1863

Dear Wife,

I wrote to you last Wednesday but for fear that you would not get it I thought I would write today. I know you must be anxious to hear from me and I want to hear from you very much. What did you think had become of me by not hearing from me for so long. I was captured at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania the last day of July, after a hard fight. Our Colonel and about 10 other officers and most all of the regiment was captured at the same time. There was only the 1st and 11th Corps engaged that day against Gen. Lee's whole force. I did not see anything of C. Devereux after we went into battle, but I heard that he was wounded in the leg but not dangerously. Frank Devereux was killed close by the aide of me. He was shot through the head. I heard that Frank Bowden was shot in the head and his arm was shot off. I don't know whether he is alive or not. Probably you have heard about him and Charles D. If you have write and let me know how they are getting along. Elisha Bickford was wounded and I understood has since died. Joseph Varnum, Henry Wescott, Jack Mograge and Mark Hatch were captured the same day that I was. The rebels kept us most two months and they treated us very hard. They marched us from Gettysburg to Staunton, Va. - 175 miles. We had a few crumbs of hard bread in our haversacks when we were captured. That was all we got for two days, then they give us half a pint of flour and two ounces of fresh beef. The ration of flour was so small that the most of us made it into gruel. They did not give us talf rations the whole time we was with them. After we got to Staunton they took away our blankets and shelter tents and left us exposed to the scorching sun and the heavy dews and chills at night. They took us in the cars to Richmond and we got there the 21st day of July. Then they robbed us again of our haversacks and canteens, then they put us on Belle Island, one mile from the City. After we had been there a few days they took us out and made another search and took away what money they could find from the soldiers. Some hid it in their clothes and some had over a hundred dollars taken from them. I had none for them to take. They did not allow our men to buy anything to eat on the march. I was surprised in coming through some of the large places in Virginia, to see so many union people. They cheered for the Union and they brought out pies and bread to give us, but the rebel officers would not allow them to give to us. In one place in Virginia, I think it was Martinsburg, the citizens give them a large wagon load of bread to give us and they give it to their own men. That was the way the brutes used us from beginning to end. There was about 300 come away when I did. That was the 25th of August and then there was left on the island 4000 more. Augustus was among them. He was captured soon after I was - a week or so. He was wounded and he said he was not dangerously wounded. I hope he will not have to stay on that island long, for it is the worst place that ever was.

In this time span there is a question of Furlough here.


Camp Parole, Annapolis, Maryland

October 18th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I wrote to you last Tuesday, the next day after I got there. When I wrote I thought we should be to the regiment by this time. I have only been to the City once since I have been here, then I went to the College Green Barracks and got a letter that you wrote me before I went home. Reuben got here last Tuesday night. He and Augustus come up to see us Wednesday. He left for home Friday morning. He sill most likely get home before this letter reaches you. He will tell you all about seeing Charles and finding where Frank Bowden was buried. I was surprised to hear that he was dead. It will be sad news to his folks. The report is that we are going to our regiment tomorrow but I don't know as it is so. I want to hear from you very much. I wrote in my first letter for you to direct your letters to this place. I am sorry that I did not write for you to direct to the regiment for I think I shall not stop here long enough to get an answer from you. You better direct your next letter to the regiment same as you used to. I am quite well and hope this will find you all the same. Mary, you must take good care of yourself and the little boy. Don't let him get hurt. He is such a little fellow to climb fences. I am afraid he will get hurt. I think you better have that heifer killed for beef. I am afraid you will not have hay enough to keep what stock you have got and you will want something for beef. You better get Thomas and his oxen half of a day to haul up the old fencing poles where I had a turnip yard. Let Augustus help him and I think hi will haul about all of it up in one half of a day. He better do it before the snow comes. If you get hard up for money you will have to sell something, the wagon or colt. I don't know when we shall be paid off. I hope before long. I suppose they will take some over one months pay from us for our passage home. Write often and write me all the news. Tell Freddie he must be a good boy and mind his Mother. I shall write again as soon as I get to the regiment. I hope you will get along as well as you have done. I know it is hard for you to have so much care on your mind. I hope it will not be so long. I will close with much love to you and Freddie and Mother, from you affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

 


Therafare Gap, Va.

October 23rd, 1863

Dear Mary,

I write to let you know that I am once more with the regiment, alive and well. We left Annapolis last Tuesday, went to Washington in the cars, stopped there all night. At the soldiers retreat we saw John Bridges. He come to see us in the morning before we left. We took the cars Wednesday and went to Drainsville. We stopped there all night. The next morning started on a march for the regiment. We went to Warrenton, Virginia to General Mead's headquarters and reported. They we marched to where we are now. I wrote two letters to you while I was at Annapolis. I shall expect a letter from you soon. Direct your letters the same as you used to. You must excuse this short letter for it is most night. I will write more the next time. Write often. From your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

I have got a 50 cent stamp on Veasa Bank Bangor. I cannot pass it here but it is good in Maine. I will send it to you. I want you to send me three or four stamps. They are scarce here.

Henry


Liberty Town, Va.

Nov. 12th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last evening. I was very glad to hear from you. I wrote to you a week ago last Sunday at Bristoe Station. We left there the 5th day of November. I have not seen a chance to write since before today. We have been on a march most all the time since we marched to Brandy Station across the Rappahannock. We expected to be in a fight but was lucky enough not to get into one. The 3rd corps was in a fight at Kelley's Ford. They was in the advance of us. We could hear the cannonading very plain. The 6th corps also was in a fight at Rappahannock Station. They drove the rebels at every point. Our corps had orders Monday night, the 9th, to march back across the Rappahannock to Liberty were we are now. We was sent here to guard the railroad. I expect we shall stop here all winter. I have received all the letters you have wrote me since I come away. I received on you wrote me with Freddie's minature in it. I should think that was a bold person that broke into our house. Let it be who it will. It must have been someone that had been to the house and knew where Augustus keep his gun. I would fasten the windows and doors as strong as I could nights for there is thiefs all over the county. I am glad you have got a new stove. I thought when I was at home that you needed on very much. You wrote to know what I got to eat. I get a plenty to eat. I do not eat all the rations I draw. We draw hard bread, pork, beef, beans, sugar, coffee, sometimes molasses and potatoes. There is no danger of anyone starving on that living. I have not drawed a over coat yet. I am in want of one very much. I expect to have on soon. I have a good warm blanket and a piece of tent, so I get along pretty well, only when I am on guard. Then I need an over coat. I think we shall soon be paid off, then you will get 60 dollars. I shall get enough to pay my passage home out of the 18 dollars. If you sell the wagon, don't sell it less than 30 dollars. It is worth that if it is worth anything. I would like to keep it, but if you are short of money you better sell it. Augustus can cut green wood wherever he can find it the largest. He had better buy a new axe. I would have fixed one when I was at home but you know that there was so many of my customers come to get work done that it keep me busy all the time. Tell Augustus to pile his wood in large piles so if the snow comes it will not bury it up so that he cannot find it. I am on camp guard today. It is most time for me to go on my post so I must close, hoping you will get along as well as you have. Write me all about home affairs. I will close with much love from your affectionate Husband.

H. B. B.

Kiss little Freddie for me.

The Castine Boys are all well except Henry Wescott. His health is quite poor.

 


Liberty, Va.

November 18th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received you letter of Nov. 8th last Friday evening. I was very glad to hear from you and that you and Freddie have got well of you cold. My health continues good. I am off from my post, then I will be likely to get time to finish it tomorrow. The paymaster is here and is paying off our regiment today. I suppose that guard will be paid off this evening or tomorrow. I received what postage stamps and paper you send me. The stamps come very acceptable, for I was entirely out. You need not send me any more at present. I have plenty of paper and envelopes. I bought some the other day. I brought me a portfolio at Washington to carry my paper in. I find it a very convenient thing for a soldier. I drawed me a over coat, dress coat and rubber blanket the other day so I am well prepared for cold weather. Lieutenant Davis has command of our company now. Our first Lieutenant has gone to Washington sick. Lieutenant Davis is a good fellow. I think he will look well for the interest of his men. There is quite a settlement here. I think they are all rebels, although they keep quiet. But I would not trust myself in one of their houses after the array is gone from here. The soldiers buy hoe cakes of them occasionally but I have not been inside of one of their houses since I have been here. I wrote to Father and Mother the other day. I ought to have wrote before but we have so much guard duty to do I don't have much time to write. Well, Mary, it is most time to go on guard so I shall have to put away my pen and paper until tomorrow. So goodnight, Mary and Freddie.

Thursday 19.

Mary, I have just come off guard and will try and finish this letter. I got my pay this morning. They charged us $13.20 for our transportation home. That only left me $4.80. You will get 60 dollars of Mr. Rogers soon as he gets it. That is for six months pay. You can get someone to patch up the house till I get home than I will try and have it shingled. You had better buy a axe for Augustus to cut wood with. You cannot get along without one. Don't know as I have anything more to write this time. Tell Augustus to be very careful of the colt on the ice, if he should happen to slip it might spoil him. I want him to put the halter on him every time he waters him so that he will get used to it and it will not be so hard to break him. Write as often as you can. Tell Freddie I send him lots of kisses. I will close with much love from you affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

Send me a little black thread.


Liberty, Va.

November 28th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last Friday evening and I will take this opportunity to answer it. I wrote to you the 19th of this month. I wrote to you about being paid off, but for fear that you may not get that letter I will write about it in this. It cost me $13.20 to go home. That left me $4.80 out of the 18 dollars. You will have 60 dollars coming to you soon as Mr. Rogers Receives it. That is 6 months pay. I hope you will get it soon. We was sitting in our tents when an officer come riding into camp and give orders to fall into line for the guerrillas was rushing in upon us. We then had orders to double quick. We took the road that went to Warrenton. Some of our supplies wagons went that road and the guerrillas made a raid on them. They had not time to take the wagons so they took the mules off and left the wagons. We went about 2 miles, most of the time on a double quick, but we did not overtake any of them. We was out 3 hours, then we returned to camp. Our Cavalry was sent in pursuit of the guerrillas and this morning since I have been writing our Cavalry come in with 3 of the cut throats. I hope they will get the last one of them for they do a great deal of harm. I heard that there was 8 of our men had their throats cut the other day by them. Mr. Varnum and Henry Wescott think of sending for a box from home with some eatables in it. If they do, I don't know but I should like to have some few things sent in the same box. I want a pair of socks for one thing. Both pair of the socks that I brought with me are all worn out at the heals. I think it is because my boots are rather large, what made them wear out so quick. I patched the heels of one pair of them and I shall have to serve the other pair the same way. I will write again when Mr. Varnum and Henry Wescott does, so if you have anything to send me you can send it in their box. I should like to have a little butter if you have any to spare. I will write and let you know when to send it. I don't know as I have anything more to write this time. Henry Wescott has got quite well again. My health is very good. The Castine Boys are all well. You must take good care of yourself. Kiss Freddie for me. Much love from your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

I received the postage stamp and envelope you sent me.


Camp Near Callie's Ford, Va.

December 6th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last Friday evening and one Saturday evening. I was glad to hear from you and that you are well. Our regiment left Liberty, Virginia the 23rd of November. I have not seen a chance to write since before today. We crossed the Rappahannock the 25th of November and the 28th we crossed the Rapadam and marched to a place called Mountain Run, where we found the rebels, fortified and in a very good position. So if we attacked them we should have to cross a creek deep enough to drown a man. The 30th day we expected a fight without fail but Gen. Mead saw that he could not gain their position without a great loss of life and the night of the 1st of December we had orders to fall back. We stopped at that place 3 days. We could see the rebels very plain. There was skirmishing going on the whole 3 days and our batteries fired some shells at them. We lost some men on the skirmish line. We sent into camp here the 3rd day of Dec. Our Major measured off the ground and told us to log up our tents. But it was rumored that we should not stop here long so Mr. Varnum thought it would not be worth while to build a log hut, so we did not go to work the next day. Yesterday we concluded that we would get our stuff on the ground so we went to work and lugged logs most of the day. After we lugged enough to build huts of the orders come to pack up and be ready at a moments notice to march. Then along in the evening the order was countermanded, but to hold ourselves in readiness to march at any time. I think we shall not stop here long but I hardly think we shall have any more fighting until Spring. I am glad you got Freddie a pair of boots for I think he will need them. I shall not send for anything to come in a box at present. Not until we go into winter quarters. I think you better not sell the colt and buy a yoke of steers for it wants a man to drive steers and another thing, we have no cart for steers. I think you better keep her this winter. I have not got time to write any more this time for I have got to go on guard in a few minutes. I will write again soon. You must write often. Henry Wescott's health is very poor. The rest of the Castine Boys are all well. My love to all. Kiss Freddie for me. Tell him I will write him a letter when I get time. I will close with much love from your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

Don't let Augustus put the colt into the sleigh of wagon for I am afraid he my spoil her. Let him put harness on her and lead her around so she will get used to it.

 


Camp Near Kelley's Ford Va.

December 14th, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last evening. I was happy to hear that you were all well. I wrote to you last Sunday. I wrote all about the last movement the army made and how near we come being in a fight. Our regiment have all got their winter quarters built and quite comfortable ones they are. Mr. Varnum and I built ours. It is called the best tent in the regiment. We took pieces that was split out of logs, the thickness of plank and set them in the ground endways. The walls are 5 feet high, 12 feet in length and 7 feet wide. The roof is covered with our shelter tents. Then we have a good fireplace which makes it very comfortable. Henry Wescott tents with us. He is some better than he was. I wrote in my last letter for you not to sell the wagon less than 30 dollars. All it wants is one new fill and a set of tires to make a wagon worth 50 dollars and that such repairs would not cost over 10 dollars. But as I wrote you in my last letter before this, if you was out of money you will have to sell it at some price. I don't think it would be prudent to sell the colt and buy a yoke of steers, for we have no cart fit for steers and it wants a man used to toaming to drive steers. You can keep the heifer if you think there is hay enough. I don't know but there is enough if Augustus is saving of it. We expect to get our ration money while we were prisoners. If we do, I shall sent it to you. Write and let me know when you get that 60 dollars from Mr. Roges. I have got 4 dollars and I will send you 2 dollars of it in this letter. Mr. Varnum has sent for his box and I did not know anything about it so I shall have to let you send me a small one. I would like to have you send me a 2 quart pail full of buter, one half pound of tea and anything else that you have a mind to. I want you to send me one of my razors and the shaving brush and a cake of shaving soap. The box and strop you need not send. Send me the knife and fork that I carried home. I have nothing but a plate and spoon now. Send a pair of sooks and some yarn to mend them with. Direct the box the same as you do the letters you send me. Don't send a very large box. There is a small half round file that I carried home I think I left it in a box over the sink. Tell Augustus to give the colt a few small potatoes in a week or two to keep her from having the heaves. I received a letter from Frank a few days ago. He wrote that Eliss had been very sick with the diptheria. The rest were all well. Our Chaplain is at home sick so we have none now. You may send me a testament if you have one. Well, Mary, I believe I have wrote all that I can think of. I hope you will all get along comfortably while I am in the army. Give my love to all. Much love to you and Freddie now and forever from your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

Just as I finished writing, Mr. Varnum received a letter from his wife stating that she had not heard from him since the 25th of November. I think she wrote that you called to see her and said you would send some things in his box, so you need not send me one. Send what you have in his. Tell Mrs. Varnum her husband is well.

Henry


On Fatigue Duty Near Brandy Station

December 22nd, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you Saturday evening and a not from Freddie. I am sorry that he is troubled so much with the tooth ache. I know how to pitty him. I have one that aches quite often and I am going to have it extracted soon. Tell Freddie he better have his served the same way. I come out here last Saturday morning to work building corduroy road. Went back to camp at night. Sunday morning we went back to work again. There was one hundred men detailed from our regiment to work on the road. The way we build it we lay piles and cover them with dirt. They expect to finish it today. I jammed my finger on my left hand yesterday so they left me to guard their knapsacks today, so that gives me a good chance to write. I wrote to you last Sunday and sent a two dollar bill. I should think it was time for you to receive that allotment money. I want you to write me how much you are owing and how much money you have by you. That you have kept secret from me which I think you ought not to do. I am willing for you to have and intend that you shall have for the future all my wages but one dollar a month. I know that you will not buy anything that you do not need but I want to know when you have money and when you are out of money. You ask my advise about hiring Augustus next summer. If you can get him for 50 dollars next summer you better ire him. I know he cannot earn that much money but you can not get along without someone. I think he might have raised more than what he did if he had kept the weeds down more. I think he is very slow but I don't know as you can get a better boy about taking care of cattle. You wrote that the colt liked to get into the road. Does he get into the road by jumping or is the fence down? I never knew her to jump. If she has learned to jump it is through Augustus' neglect, leaving the fence low. If she had got so she jumps, I consider her the same as spoiled for me and I would not keep her at any rate. There has not been any snow here yet but we have had some quite cold weather. I suppose there is snow in Maine by this time. I received a letter from Gilford the same night I received yours. They are all well. Alvin goes to sea. I received the stamp you sent. If we go into camp tonight I will put this letter in the mail bag so it will go out tonight. Where is Charles Devereux and Augustus? I suppose Augustus is at Annapolis. Do you know if he is at College Green Barrack or the new Barracks. Write me and let me know where their address is. Well, Mary, I will close hoping this will find you all well. Much love from your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

Kiss Freddie for his Papa.

 


Camp Near Mithels Station, Va

December 31st, 1863

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last Tuesday evening. I was pleased to hear from you. I was sorry you did not get that letter soon enough to send what things I sent for but perhaps you can send me a box sometime this winter. We have not received that box yet. We are looking for it every day. We left our winter quarters or what we supposed would be our winter quarts the 24th of Dec. We marched through Culpepper. We are 7 miles from that place. I felt provoked when the orders come for us to move when we had such good quarters. We had just begun to take comfort in them. Now we are in an open field a good ways from the woods and it has stormed most all the time since we have been here. It rains hard today. I am glad you received the 2 dollars I sent you and the 60 dollars from Mr. Rogers. You must be careful with your throat and not get the diptheria. That is very dangerous. I was up all night last night. I was acting Corporal of the guard over Sutlers goods. I do not feel much like writing today. You will have to put up with a short letter this time. I will write again ass soon as we receive that box. I think it would be a good plan for you to have some kind of a settlement with Lemuel Mograge. You know how much work he has done for you. The work he done for me while I was at home amounted to 75 cts. I believe that note I had against him is about 10 dollars. I think you better try and get a settlement with him. Well, Mary, I cannot think of anything more to write this time. Write often as you can. Give my love to all. Much love to you and Freddie from your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

I received the yarn and stamps.