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

Camp Near Mitchell's Station, Va.

January 26th, 1864

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last evening. I was glad to hear from you and that you were all well. My health is quite good. It seems you have sent another box, I hope we shall get it all right. You did not write what it cost to send it nor you did not write whether you paid Mrs. Varnum or not your part for sending that box. I would like to know so as to pay Mr. Varnum if you did not pay his wife. We are having very pleasant weather here now. It seems like spring. There is no snow on the ground nor there has not been but a very little this winter. You seem to want to sell the colt and I suppose you had better if she is breechy. When I enlisted, the colt would not jump over one rail. It is no sign she should jump because her mother did. You know I never let her go with her mother after she was weaned for fear she would learn to jump. If Augustus had kept the fence up she never should have learned to jump. I thought a great deal of that colt. She was so kind and I thought she would make a good beast, but she is spoiled for me now. I feel bad to think of it. I know horses will be high after this war and I shall not be able to buy one, but it seems to be my luck for everything to work against me. But I suppose it is all right if I get out of this show alive and well. I ought to be thankful. There is but a few of us volunteers left in our company now. One died the other day. His name was Thomas Wilson. He belonged to Sedgwick, Maine. He was taken prisoner when I was and went home on a furlough at the same time. He was a good fellow. He had a fever. He was detailed at Corps Headquarters where he would stayed his time out if he had lived and would not have to done any fighting. There is more dies by sickness than there is by the bullets in the army. That colt is worth one hundred dollars but if that man will give you ninety dollars cash down, you can sell her. I would not sell her any less than that. That ought to pay Edward's note and some of Ithiel's and buy you a set of furs besides. If we are going to sell off the stock, we ought to pay all the debts we can. I think you can get a boy to stay with you somewhere without paying him much money. You will need one. How does the hay hold out? I heard that hay was 24 dollars a ton in Maine. I hope you will not have to buy. See that Augustus does not waste any. Write as often as you can. How does Freddie and the dog get along? I suppose they have fine times. I should like to see the little rogue. Give his a kiss on his fat plumb cheek for me. Yours with much love and affection Husband.

H. B. Butler

Let no one see this.


Camp Near Michell's Station, Va.

February 1st, 1864

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last Saturday evening and the box Sunday evening. I was happy to hear from you and much pleased with the box you sent. There was nothing spoiled. I was on guard when it come. I come off at 10 o'clock in the evening and went to my quarters. The boys had all gone to bed and asleep. I saw the box the first thing. Jack Mograge got it and brought it to our tent and they opened it and Jack took our his things. It made quite a hole in the box but I found some doughtnuts and I commenced eating. I was hungry and they tasted good. We have not eat any of the pies yet, nor the cake. Everything come that you sent. We have had vary pleasant weather for a week. It rained some last night. It has cleared off pleasant today and it seems very much like Spring. We have got a new Chaplain in our regiment. They had divine services yesterday. I could not go for I was on guard. Our brass band played well. They play every night on dress parade. There is sixteen of them that belong to it. Well, Mary, I don't seem to have much of anything to write that will be interesting to you. I heard that there was 32 rebels come into our lines last evening. They seem to be coming into our lines very fast this winter. They say they do not get half enough to eat and they are getting tired of the war. I was in hopes that our regiment would be paid off soon, but we don't dear much about it. I did hear that we were going to be paid this month. We have not got our ration money yet. I suppose you had better sell the colt if you cannot get more than 80 dollars for her, for she will plague you next summer. Try and get you a boy to live with you if you can. You must have someone to do the outdoors work. I am glad you are going to take Freddie to meeting. I think he is old enough to go some in pleasant weather. I hope he will grow up a good boy. Write often and write the news. Much love to you, Mary, from your affectionate husband.

H. B. Butler

 


Camp Tilden Near Mitchell's Station, Va.

February 18th, 1864

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last Sunday evening dated February 10th. I should have answered before but I went out on picket the next day and we had severe cold weather, so cold that I would not write. We come in today. It is now eight o'clock in the evening. I have just been out and answered to roll call, which we have to do every night and morning. I thought I must write to you this evening for I thought I should not get a chance to write tomorrow, for I have got to mend my pants tomorrow, which will take me one half of a day and we have got to have a batallion drill in the afternoon. The next day I expect to go on picket again. My tent mates are just getting a kettle of beans ready to put in to bake. They have got them parboiled and are waiting for the hole to get hot that we bake them in. We had some flour biscuits for supper. We baked them in what they call a dutch oven. I don't know as you ever saw one. It is a flat kettle with a cast iron cover. We put it on the coals and put coals on the cover. It baked them very nice. I signed the other day for a military register. It tells the number of battles our regiment has been in and the number that has been killed and wounded, and their names and the names of the officers of our company. It will look well in a frame. The man said it would be done in about three weeks and he will send it to you. I am to pay him $1.50 next payday. Most everyone in our regiment signed for one. Jack Mograge signed for one for his wife and one for Samuel Bowden I think. They will think a great deal of it for Frank's name will be on it. It is getting to be late and I shall have to close. So good night, Mary, from your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

Kiss Freddie for me often. I receive all the stamps you send me. Get a boy to stay with you to do the chores if you can possibly. I you can not, you had better sell all the stock.

 


Camp Tilden Near Michell's Station, Va.

February 21st, 1864

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last evening dated Feb. 11th. I was happy to hear from you and that you were all well. My health is very good now. It is Sunday morning. I have just come in from inspection of our muskets. Tomorrow I have got to go out on picket. It is very warm and pleasant today. I should like to be at home today and take a walk out in the woods with you and Freddie, but as I am not at home I will devote a part of the day in writing to you. Tell Freddie the gum he sent me was very good and a pretty testament he sent me. I am much obliged to him for it. Our Chaplain is going to preach Capt. Whitehouse's funeral sermon this afternoon at two o'clock. He was our Capt. And was killed in the battle of Gettysburg. He was a good man. Mr. Varnum received a letter from home last evening. They wrote that Charles Devereux was at home on twenty day furlough. I received a letter from him a few days ago. I partly answered it yesterday. I shall not send it until I find out where he is going to stop after he comes back. I understood he was going into the invalid corps. I suppose his folks are pleased to see him. I have seen quite a number of Northern ladies here this winter, the officer's wives. When I get to be an officer I will send for you. Our Doctors wife has been here most all winter. She rides out on horseback with him. We are close by the railroad. We can see the cars pass every day. I wrote to you two or three days ago, so I have not much to write today. I heard Colonel Tilden got our of prison at Richmond. Do you know if it is so? I should like to see him back to the regiment again. We had for dinner yesterday a baked bread pudding with plums in it. It was very good, so you see we have some good things to eat. I must write a short letter to Fred. You must write often. I will close with much love from your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

 


Camp Tilden, Near Mitchell's Station, Va.

February 28th, 1864

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last evening. I was happy to hear from you and that you were all well. You say it has been a long while since you received a letter from me. That seems strange, for I write every week. I answer every letter you write me as soon as I receive them. I am on picket today. We come out this morning. We shall be relieved in two days. It seems very much like spring today. I am sitting on my knapsack away from the fire and I am warm enough. My health is very good and am hearty as a bear. We have plenty to eat this winter. One of my tent mates had a box come the other day full of eatables. He had doughnuts, pies, butter, cheese, apples and cakes. He had one cake that was frosted with white sugar one half of an inch thick. He shared with us all. One of my tent mates fried some sugar doughnuts yesterday. The was very good. He used to be a steward on board the cutter at Castine. He is quite a good cook. Have you received that twenty dollars of Mr. Roges yet? Our regiment was paid about two weeks ago. I wrote to you about it at the time. Have you received a military register that I signed for? I understand it has been sent to you. I thought you would be quite pleased with it the reason why I signed for it. You can have a frame for it some time. One of Robert Condon's boys joined our regiment the other day. What relation are you to him? He said he believed he was a cousin to you. I think he must be mistaken. I believe you are related to the Condons at Brooksville, but it seems to me that you are not a cousin to this boy. Write and let me know what relation you are to him. He is sixteen or seventeen years old I should think. He may be older than that. Has Mason moved away for good? I am sorry if he has, but I suppose there nothing for him to do in Castine. I shall miss him a great deal if I live to get home. I read a letter that young John Bridges wrote to Thomas Staples. He wrote that business was very dull in Castine. It can not be any more so than it was when I was at home on a furlough. I think it is a hard place for a laboring man to get a living in. A Lieutenant come in to our lines last night. He was one of the number that escaped from Libby Prison at Richmond a short time ago. We stopped at a negro house nine days and got rested up and the negro come with him. I have wrote all that I can think of this time. You must write as often as you can. Write all about how you are getting along. Don't go without anything you need. If you are out of money you can get things on credit until you get money. Take good care of yourself and not get sick. I wrote a letter to Freddie and one to you a few days ago. I will close with much love now and forever from your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

 


March 1st, 1864

Dear Mary,

As I had no chance to send this letter from the picket line, I had to keep it until today. I have just come in to camp, so I thought I would write you a few lines more. The first night we were out on picket two contrabands came in on our reserve post. They deserted from the Rebels. One of them was a very intelligent fellow. He was not more than half nigger. He said he saw Col. Tilden the first night he got out of prison. He stopped at a negro house in the city all night. They furnished him with seven days rations. He left early in the morning. He said the Colonel said he guessed he could flank the Rebels. The second night we were out there was one Rebel Captain, one Lieutenant, one Corporal, seven Privates and five contrabands (two of them were women) come into our lines. I saw them all. The officers and soldiers belonged to the 48th Mississippi regiment. They said their regiment numbered two hundred and fifty men last fall.. Now there is only thirty two of them left. The rest have all deserted this winter. It rains hard today. I am glad that I am not on picket today. If I was I should get wet. The boys are eating stewed beans so I guess I shall have to close and help them. I shall send this today. Mr. Varnum has been writing. He gets letters oftener than I do. Write me all the news. From you affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

 


Camp Tilden, Va.

March 23rd, 1864

Dear Wife,

It has been most two weeks since I have received a letter from you. I expected one last evening, but was disappointed in not getting one. I hope you are not sick, the reason why I do not get one. We has a tuff snow storm yesterday. I should think there was about ten inches of snow fell. It looks quite winterish this morning. My health is good and I hope this will find you the same. Our regiment was paid off again last Sunday, two months pay, so you will have twenty dollars more due you from Mr. Roges. Have you received the last allotment money? I should think it was time that it was paid. I will send you three dollars the next time I write. Our regiment goes out on picket tomorrow. I hope I shall get a letter from you before I go out. Mark Hatch come to the regiment a few days ago. He looks healthy. He tents with us. We was ordered into line of battle in double quick time the other day. The order come in that the Rebels were close on us. We packed up every thing and was already for them, but they don't come. If they had they would meet with a warm reception. We have a block house close by. We could hold a large force of them. We have not received our ration money yet. I am afraid we never shall. We expect Col. Tilden the last of the month. We are going to have a great time when he gets back. The officers are going to have a great dinner for him and the soldiers are going to make him a present of a horse and sword. How does your boy get along? Is he faithful? I hope he will be a good boy. If he is not I would not keep him. Write as often as you can. How does little Freddie got along? I would like to see him. I suppose you see Aloin quite often. Give him my respects and tell him to write. Yours with much love from your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

 


Camp Tilden, Va.

April 13th, 1864

Dear Mary,

I will write you a few lines to let you know that I am well and hope you are enjoying the same blessing. I wrote to you a few days ago. I don not much expect a letter from you till the last of this week. I most always get one letter a week from you. I write every week to you, sometimes oftener. Today is very pleasant. I have just come in from drill. We drill two hours in the forenoon and two in the afternoon. I received a letter last evening from Johnson Lufkin. He is in Hartford Conn. He sent me one dollar in postage stamps. It was a dollar that I lent him when we first come out. So you need not send me any more for some time. When I get out of stamps, I will let you know, Mary. I want you to send me three yards of black velvet three fourths of an inch wide. I want it to put on the seams of my pants. All the Corporals wear them. I don't want it wider than three fourths of an inch. I expect we shall move from here soon as the weather permits. We have had a great deal of rain since this month come in, and it is very wet and muddy under foot. Mark Hatch and me went to a prayer meeting last evening. A good many of the soldiers take quite an interest in the meetings. I enjoy myself better there than any where else out here. But there are many wicked ones in this regiment. It makes my heart ache sometimes to hear what oaths come out of their heads. I have got a bone ring that I made. I will send it to you in this letter. I will make Freddie one if I have time. Write often and write all about every thing and how you are getting along. I will close with much love from your loving Husband.

Henry B. Butler

 


Near Hanover Junction, Va.

May 26th, 1864

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you the 23rd. I will take this opportunity to answer it. I am with the regiment but my ankle is not well enough to do duty. All I can carry is my rations and overcoat and blanket. My ankle is swelled a good deal and it troubles me about marching. The Doctor says it will be some time before it gets well. There has been some of the hardest fighting since this campaign has opened that ever was known. Our boys go into it like going into a days work, with the bullets flying like hailstones and shells bursting all around them. Our Brigade lies in a think grove of large pine trees with good breastworks in front of them. They have skirmishes out about one hundred yards from the breastworks. They have been firing all day and was firing all day yesterday but there has been no general engagement for three days. There have been quite a number killed and wounded on the skirmish line, but have not heard of any being killed or wounded from our regiment. Our Cavalry captured back three hundred of our men that the Rebels took prisoners. About twenty of them belonged to our regiment, two from our company. They returned today. The Rebels give them nothing to eat while they was with them, but our Cavalry that captured them captured over one million of rations of bacon and flour from the Rebels. So our boys filled their haversacks and burned the rest. I wrote you a few days ago. I suppose you are anxious to hear from me. You must write to me often. I shall write as often as I can get a chance. Henry Wescott and Jack Mograge are both well. I heard today that Mr. Varnum had gone home on a furlough. I am sorry that you have had such hard luck with your sick cow, but I suppose it is all right. I will close with much love to you and Freddie. From your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

A fellow in this regiment told me that he took care of his Father and Mother and he drawed $1.50 a week State Aid. His Father does a good deal of work too. A lawyer got it for him a few weeks ago. He got it from the time he enlisted, so it belongs to you just as much. A man told me last winter that it belonged to me and I could get it.

 


Near Petersburg, Va.

July 4th, 1864

Dear Mary,

I improve the present opportunity in writing to you to let you know that I am well and hope you are enjoying the same blessing. It has been over a week since I have had a letter from you. I am expecting one every day. Our regiment has not received any mail for three days, while other regiments in our brigade get their mail regularly every day. I was Parker Noyes this morning. He is in the 17th Maine regiment. They lay about ten rods from us. He said they got a mail this morning. The 18th, 19th, and 29th Maine are close by here. The 31st and 32nd are one mile from here. I saw Nelson Bridges the other day. He belongs to the 18th Maine. He used to work with Ithiel. He said he was the only one left out of 19 men from Penobscot. He is sick enough of the army. Today is the fourth day of July. It seems very different to me from what it did one year ago today when I was with the Rebels. Then I was suffering for something to eat, today I have plenty to eat. I don't want to fall into their hands again. Seventeen Prisoners were taken yesterday. They reported that Lee was going to break through our lines today if possible, but he had not tried it yet. My ankle is about well. We was mustered last Saturday for two months more pay, so we have four months pay due us now but it is doubtful of us being paid at present. A bill come to our Captain the other day against us boys that was at home on a furlough. It was for transportation from Anapolis to Bangor. They told us that we would only have to pay for transportation one way. The bill was fourteen dollars. The Captain went and saw the Colonel about it and he said he supposed we would have to pay it. The Colonel said he would try and get our ration money for us. If it can not be got any other way, I am going to put mine in a lawyer's hands. There are men employed by government that spunge everything they can out of the soldiers and I am going to have what belongs to me if it can be got. I wrote to you some time ago that we was entitled to the State Aid for your Mother and Father while he was alive. They draw the same a week that you do, 75 cents a week. I have been told that the State could not get clear of paying it. There is a man in this regiment that supports his Father and Mother that gets the State Aid, and his Father does a good deal of work, and I don't seen any reason why it don't belong to us. It will amount to quite a sum. I suppose if you could see Lawyer Abbott he would get it for you for eight of ten dollars. I never shall get half paid for what I have suffered since I have been in the service and I never shall be able to do the hard work I have done if I live to get home. I have not anything more to write this time. You must write often. Give my best respects to all. I will close with much love and many kisses to you and Freddie. From your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

 


Petersburg, Va.

July 24th, 1864

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last evening dated July 17 and one from Eliza and one from Mrs. Jane Butler. I was pleased to hear from you and that you are well. My health is good. It must be very sad news to Mr. Varnum to hear of the death of his Wife. He has not returned to the regiment yet. He will be likely to get another furlough if he wants one and I think he may get his discharge. If he is very sick the news of his wife's death may be the means of his, but we all must die sooner or later. There has been more died in Castine since this war began than there has been killed and died in the army from Castine. We had the news read to us yesterday that Atlanta, Georgia was in the hands of the Union troops. That was a very important place to the Rebels. We have been expecting an attack here for some time. If they do attack us here there will be a hard fight. We are well fortified and have a large force. I am glad you have got someone to get the hay but you ought to have someone to see that it is divided right. You say you get three loads to Webster's two. There is quite a difference in loads of hay. He might give you a load that had no one to load it, throwed into a hey rack loose, and then take a load for himself, and have someone to load it, so it would not look any larger than the load he give you, but still be more than double the hay. If you don't have someone to see to that a little you will get badly cheated, but I suppose it is a hard matter for you to get anyone to see to it, everybody is so busy. I wished you could have got a better man to get the hay, someone that you could trust, but I know you have done the best you could to get the hay cut. Wages is very high and I think that is the best way you could get it cut. Eliza wrote me that they paid from two to four dollars a day for men in Rockland. It costs a good deal to board a man now the way provisions are. I don't know what poor folks are going to do to make a living. A man in our company told me that his taxes last year was eighteen dollars, this year he is taxed forty dollars. Do you know how much our tax is? Find out and let me know. I have not got my ration money yet but I think there is no doubt but what I shall get it. You said I must make out my bill and give to them. I cannot do here as I can at home. We have officers to command us. They are the ones to get our ration money for us. Everything of that kind has got to be done in military style. I cannot do anything toward getting it without their help. All I can do is to sign my name to the papers they make out for the money. You said Reuben said he did not know as I could get the State Aid for your Father and Mother. I don't know why we can not draw State Aid for your Father and Mother. I don't know why we can not draw State Aid for them as well as I could for my Father and Mother if I supported them. I think Lawyer Abbot would be likely to know more about it than anyone in Castine. I think it can be got if the right way is taken to get it. So Aloin is done with Emerson. He stayed as long as I thought he would. George always has trouble with everyone he has in his store. I have just come from meeting and have got my dinner now. I will finish this letter. Our Chaplain preached us a very good sermon. The first time he has preached to us since the campaign began. The bullets and cannon balls have flew to thick for him to be up with the regiment. He has kept back in the rear. Gen. Grant and Gen. Mead passed by here the other day. I see Thomas Hooper every day. He is one of our Sutlers Clerks. He has lately come up. He said he saw you when he was at home. Jack Mograge and Henry Wescott are well. Write as often as you can. Don't be afraid of the rebels getting into Maine and harming you, for there will be enough there to take care of them. Kiss Freddie for me. Much love now and forever. From your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

 


Feldon Railroad, Va

August 28th, 1864

Dear Mary,

I received two letters from you this morning and one from Mother and one from Eliza. I was pleased to hear that you was well. I wrote you about the last battle on this railroad. It lasted part of three days. Our Corps has not been engaged in a fight since. We hold the railroad and are well fortified. The 2nd Corps had a fight on our left since then and we were sent to reinforce them, but they did not need us. We are now in camp near where the battle was and hold the ground where we fought. How fortunate I was in getting out of that battle without getting hurt. I come very near being captured. A good many of the boys that was captured before when I was captured again and I suppose they are on Belle Island suffering for something to eat. I know how to pity them. I had rather not fall into their hands again. We are about six miles from Petersburg. We have a strong force here and it would be hard work for the rebels to drive us out of this position. The rebel loss has been very heavy in the last battles. They have charged so many times on our works that it has cut them down dreadfully. My folks wrote me that Oris Butler had his house and barn and all of the hay burned lately. I feel sorry for him. They are making up something for him. Capt. Johnson give him 50 dollars. I received the files you sent me and they suited me well. I also received the stamps and paper and envelopes. You wrote to know if I thought a girl wrote such a letter as that I sent you. I know it was written by a girl. I saw the letter she wrote. Augustus Wescott had it. The one I sent you was copied from it. It was found by the side of a dead rebel. I have seen a number of letters similar to that, written by a southern lady to her Beau. I thought I would send you that one to let you know what a set of vulgar girls there is in the South. I expect they talk just as they write. Where we was in camp before we moved here we was in plain sight of the rebels. We could see thirty or forty girls to a time with the soldiers walking around. I suppose Petersburg is full of those polite talking girls. I have got to write to Mother today so you must not expect a long letter this time. I will write again soon. You must write often as you can. Give Fred many kisses for me. Much love and many kisses to you both. Your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

 


Camp, Sixteenth Me. Vols.

September 4th, 1864

Dear Mary,

I again sit down in my tent to answer your letter I received this morning. I was happy to hear from you and that you was well. Our regiment is still in Camp near the Weldon Railroad. I have just come from the 31st Me. Regiment. It is in camp one half of a mile from here. I saw Augustus Murch. He come over with me. He is well but quite sick of the army. He thinks he had rather be at work on a farm than to be a soldier. We broke camp the second day of this month at three o'clock in the morning. We marched one mile. A squad of Cavalry went in advance of us. WE expected we was going into a fight but it was only to make a feint and find out what force the enemy had. We returned after being gone two hours without having any trouble. We have had quite a number of men come to our regiment, since the fight, from the hospitals. Some of them went away last winter sick, and some of them were wounded the first part of the summer. The number present in our company now is 17 men. Some of them have never been in a fight since they have been out here. They are with the company when in camp but soon as we go into a fight they limbar to the rear till the fight is over. I saw one of the first Me. Calvary boys the other day. He belongs to the same company that Augustus does. He said he was well and he thought he would come to our regiment soon but I have not seen him yet. They have probably gone on another raid by this time. The Cavalry has hard fighting this campaign as well as the Infantry. The most of our company are detailed away today to work on a fort they are building by the railroad. I am acting Sergeant. I have no guard duty nor fatigue duty to do. My duty is to see to drawing our rations and making the details for guard and fatigue duty. I am sorry that the sheep and cattle plague you so much. If the fences are poor they will bother you all the fall. It seems strange to me that Mr. Varnum did not send those things to me that you sent by him. I should thought he might send the letter if nothing more. The towel I need very much for I am without one. We have not been paid yet. We have got six months pay due us. I hope they will pay us soon. I don't know as I have anything more interesting to write this time. You must write as often as convenient. Write me all the news. Kiss Freddie for me and much love to you both. Your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

 


Camp, 16th Maine Vols.

September 21st, 1864

Dear Mary,

I take this opportunity to write to you to let you know that I am yet alive and well. It has been over a week since I received a letter from you. I hope you are not sick, the reason why I do not receive any. Our regiment is now in a fort by the Weldon Railroad. Fort Duane is the name of the Fort. The 15th our Brigade broke camp at 3 o'clock in the morning and advanced in front of our line of battle two miles. The Cavalry went in advance of the Infantry. They had a pretty hard skirmish with the rebels. The Infantry went to support the cavalry. The move was to find out what force the enemy had in our front. We returned to camp after being out half of a day without having any engagement. The next morning we moved into this fort. It will be a very strong one after it is finished. Our regiment and the 107th Pennsylvania regiment is all the infantry there is in the fort and they are to work finishing it up. The morning we come into the fort our skirmish line was attacked and driven part way in. We expected a hard fight, but our boys soon drove them back, and held their ground. If they attack us here it will be a bitter pill for them, for our fortifications are strong and we are making them stronger every day. I think there is a prospect of us stopping here some time. I saw a fellow from the first Maine Cavalry yesterday. He said Augustus was well. My duty now is to make the details for guard and fatigue duty and draw rations for the company. WE have 20 men in our company now and it is quite a job to deal out rations to them. I hope I shall hear from you soon. I have not anything interesting to write. I hope I shall have more to write next time. You must write often as convenient. My love to all. Much love to you and Freddie. From your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

 


Fort Duane

September 25th, 1864

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you the 23rd dated Sept. 11th and mailed at Orland the 17th, thirteen days on the way, and I received one this morning which was only five days coming. I was glad to hear from you but sorry to hear that your Mother is troubled with the rheumatism. I am well as usual. Our regiment is in a fort. How long we shall stop here I cannot tell but I like the place very much. I am sorry that the sheep plague you so much. I would not keep more than 8 next winter. I think it is the old buck that makes them get out of the pasture. He ought to be tied, then I think the sheep would be more peaceful. I saw Augustus Devereux the other day. He looks nicely. His time of service will soon be out. I expect we shall be paid soon. I shall get 18 dollars a month from the first of May. That is what Corporals get. Privates get 16 dollars a month. So I shall have some money to send you. I think I shall send it by express as soon as I am paid. I would not keep a pig next winter if I was in your place. It will be better for you to buy one in the spring. My tent is pitched close by the side of a bomb proof, so near that I can step into it at 6 steps. Anyone would be perfectly safe there. I don't think the rebels will ever attack us here. We are too strong for them. Our Chaplain is preaching to the soldiers in front of my tent. I can hear all that he says. I should attend the meeting if I was not writing to you but I can't miss writing to you today for I know you are anxious to hear from me often. I wrote to you a few days ago. My pen is so poor that I don't know as you can read it. I suppose you have seen an account of the late victories our army has gained over the enemy lately. This war cannot last much longer if our army is as successful as it has been. I see Augustus Murch quite often. He is well. Thomas Staples has got back to the regiment. Well, Mary, I shall have to close. My pen is so poor I can hardly make a mark. Write often and take good care of yourself. From your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

 


Fort Wadsworth, Va.

September 28th, 1864

Dear Mary,

I sit down once more to write you a few lines to let you know that I am well. We was paid yesterday, six months pay. Two months amounted to twenty six dollars and the other four months I got 18 dollars a month. The whole amounted to 98 dollars. 38 dollars was paid me the 60 dollars you will get of Mr. Roges. Colonel Tilden left this morning for home on twenty days furlough. His health is very poor. I sent 25 dollars by him to you. He will leave it to Ithiel's for you. I have got 13 dollars left. I don't know but I shall send some of that to you. I owe some of that. I bought me a portfolio and some paper and pens this morning. You need not send me any more paper and envelopes at present. They have changed the name of this fort. It is now called Fort Wadsworth now. It is a splendid fort. Well, Mary, I have not much to write that is interesting. I wrote all I could think of in my last letter, which I wrote a few days ago. WE have plenty of music here. There is six or seven brass bands within hearing distance of this fort and some of them are playing all the time. Our band plays often and well. It plays Annie Laurie and it sounds splendid played by a band. I hope this will find you all well. You must write often and write all about everything. Kiss Freddie for me. Much love to you both. From your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

 


Fort Wadsworth, Va.

October 2nd, 1864

Dear Mary,

As I am alone this evening in my tent, I will improve the time in writing to you. I am well as usual. I was disappointed in not getting a letter from you this morning, as I generally do get on Saturday or Sunday morning. Today is Sunday, but it has not seemed much so to me. We have been expecting an attack from the enemy most all day. Most all of our regiment went on picket last night. My two tent mates went, Henry Wescott and a fellow from Bath, Maine. They are out yet. I don't know when they will be relieved. There has been cannonading and musketry firing all day and also yesterday. The most of the army is advancing on the enemy. The report yesterday was that our troops took a fort and one line of fortifications and three hundred prisoners. The report today is that our troops carried another line of their works. The 97th New York and 107th Pennsylvania regiments and our regiment had orders to hold this fort at all hazards. I think we can do it with what artillery we have with us. Three rebels come into our lines this morning and give themselves up. They say the opinion is among their soldiers that they are whipped and they are getting discouraged. Their men are deserting every day and our army is growing stronger every day. They might as well give up for they will never gain their independence. Our regiment is lucky in having the chance to hold this fort. I had rather fight here than to advance on the enemy works. Our regiment has been very unlucky ever since it has been out here. It is about time for our luck to turn. I think the move that the army is on now will about wind up this war. Eighty recruits come to our regiment today. They was a noble looking lot of men. I helped issue seven days rations to them this afternoon. Some of them got eight hundred dollars bounty for coming. I wrote to you a few days ago about being paid, but for fear that you may not receive the letter I will write about it in this. I was paid six months pay, two months at thirteen dollars a month, the other four months I got eighteen dollars a month. It all amounted to 98 dollars. You will have 60 dollars due you from Mr. Roges. I received 38 dollars. I sent 25 dollars to you by Colonel Tilden. He will leave it to Ithiel's for you. As it is getting late, I shall have to stop writing tonight and finish it tomorrow, so good night, Mary.

Monday Morning 3rd day

I received your letter this morning, was pleased to hear from you. Well, Mary, here I am this morning in my tent. I have just been helping set a flag staff in this fort. I made an iron cap for it two day ago. They will have it ready to hoist the flag today. I am glad you are going to send me a pair of socks, for I am entirely out. The ones we draw from Government don't last more than two weeks. I owe Mason a letter. I will write to him soon. Write me where he is to work. I heard of the death of Mr. Devereux' Daughter before I received your letter. They must have felt very sad about it. You must try and get a boy to stay with you this next winter. I don't see as you can get along without one. You must write often. Tell Freddie I send him lots of kisses to pay for the ones he sent me. Give my respects to Mother and all inquiring friends. Much love to you and Freddie. You affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

 


Fort Wadsworth, Va.

October 10th, 1864

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you this morning. I was pleased to learn that you were well. My health is good. The weather here has been very cold for the last two days. We are in the above named Fort yet. Everything is quiet in our front with the exception of picket firing. Our pickets advanced last Friday and drove the rebels pickets in, and took their rifle pits, but they fell back again at night. We had one man killed from our regiment. He was buried yesterday. I received the socks you sent me. I like them much. I also want a good pair of woolen gloves. I wrote to Isreal to get me a pair of boots and send me. I expect they will cost six or seven dollars, for I sent for a very good pair. It is what I need out here. I wrote him that I would send him the money soon as I got the boots, although he owes me. It seems you have not heard of Col. Tilden's arrival home yet. Lieut. Davis had a letter from his Wife yesterday. She spoke of him being at home. I sent twenty-five dollars by him to you. He will leave it to Ithiel's. You have 60 dollars due you from Mr. Roges. I received a letter from Elisa two days ago and one from Gilford this morning. They are all well. Frank is with Alvin in Boston. You need not send me any more postage stamps nor paper or envelopes at present. I am pretty well supplied now. I received three stamps and some thread with the socks. Augustus Wescott has got back. He was here to see us a few days ago. I expect Augustus Devereux over to see me every day. He goes home in a few days. I would like to have you send me a fine comb and a few pins. We had eighty more recruits come last night. I cannot think of anything to write this time. You must take good care of yourself and write as often as you can. Write all the news. Kiss Fred for his papa. Much love to you both. Your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

Co. K 16th Me. Vols.

 


Fort Wadsworth, Va.

October 21st, 1864

Dear Mary,

Yours and Freddie's letter I received this morning. I will take this opportunity to answer it. Was happy to hear that you and Freddie were well, but sorry to hear that your Mother does not get any better of her lameness. It is evening and the bands are playing far and near, and the soldiers are cheering from right and left of the line. It makes the air ring. It is probably good news. We had good news last evening from the Shenandoah Valley. It was read to us the Gen. Sheridan whipped the rebels there and took 23 pieces of artillery and very many prisoners. We shall probably get the full particulars in tomorrow's paper. The bands was ordered to play till one o'clock. I have just heard what the cheering was tonight. A fellow just come into my tent and said he heard that Gen. Sheridan had whipped the rebels again in the Valley, and took 1600 prisoners, 53 pieces of artillery, and Gen. Longstreet. I hope that is so, but I am inclined to think it is to good to be true. I have been out drilling the new men today. We have seven of them in our company. That makes 27 men we have in our company. I had the pleasure of seeing two ladies today. They was in this fort. I was almost frightened. They was with two officers, Gen. Grant and Gen. Mead, and a number of others, officers and citizens was in this fort a few days ago. Gen. Grant is a very pleasant appearing man, not stuck up a bit. He does not dress up so much as some of the Lieutenants do. It is getting late, so I shall have to close and finish tomorrow. So good night and pleasant dreams.

Saturday afternoon, 22nd.

Well, Mary, I have just been to dinner. What do you think I had? Well I will tell you. I had some boiled corned beef, potatoes, turnips, and soft bread, something that I am very fond of, and I eat very hearty. Just as I stopped writing last evening, Samuel Mograge come into my tent. I hardly knew him. He stayed all night with me. He is in the Cavalry band. He is very fleshy. I have just bought you one of those pictures of Camp Tilden. I should have bought one some time ago, but I was short of money. After I was paid off I thought the man had sold them all, so I did not try to get one. I put it in the office. You will probably get it as soon as you do this letter. The price of them was one dollar. The one I got as was broke a little on the side, so he let me have it for 75 cents. If you get it framed that will not hurt it any. I saw Augustus Devereux last Sunday. I expect him over tomorrow. His time of service is out but he is not mustered out yet. Samuel Mograge is here yet. I expect he will stay all night. I cannot think of any more to write that is interesting. You must write often. Tell Freddie I will write him a letter soon. That was a very good letter he wrote me. I am much pleased to have one from my little boy. I suppose he has grown considerably since I last saw him. I will close with much love from your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

I will send you a few Virginia beans. I would like to have them planted next spring.

Henry

 


Fort Wadsworth, Va.

November 6th, 1864

Dear Mary,

I take this opportunity to write you a few lines to inform you that I am well. I have not received a letter from you for a week. I thought I should get one this morning, but was disappointed. It is Sunday and quite pleasant. I am in my tent sitting by a good fire in our little fireplace that I built last week. I made it of brick. It is very comfortable to sit by these cold evenings. The end and sides of our tent is made of boards. The rough is covered with cotton cloth. It is very comfortable. Everything is quiet in our front. Last night there was hard fighting about four miles from here. It was midnight. The noise awoke me from a sound sleep. It was heavy musketry and cannonading. I have not heard the result of the fight, but I think there must have been a good many hurt and killed. I received the gloves, comb and pins you sent me. I was much pleased with them. I have not got my boots yet that I wrote to Isreal for. If I don't get them, I shall get along with shoes for it will be most to late to send for boots now. We, Mary, I hardly know what to write. Henry Wescott is quite lame with his legs. They pain him so nights that he can hardly sleep. He is excused from duty by the Doctor. I am well as I have been for some time, except a cold that I have in my head, that I am most always troubled with this time of the year. I received a letter from Gilford a short time ago. They are all well at the time he wrote. We shall soon have cold stormy weather. I don't see how you are going to get along without a boy to take care of the stock in stormy weather. You must not expose yourself to much in wet and cold weather. It is most time for dress parade, so I shall have to stop writing for today. Perhaps I shall have something more to write tomorrow.

Monday morning November 7th

I have just received a letter from you. Was pleased to hear that you were well. It is raining quite hard this morning. I have just come in from guard mounting and have made out the morning report and carried it in to Headquarters, so now I have a few moments and I will improve them in writing to you. Augustus Wescott was here yesterday. He is well. Write me what your hog weighs when you kill him. I should like to be at home to have some fresh pork. It would be a great rarity to me. How many apples did you raise this season? Apples are five cents apiece here and everything accordingly. Butter is eighty cents a lb., cheese fifty cents a lb. I am not able to buy much at these prices. I have two months pay due me now from government. There will be 14 dollars to come out of that for transportation from home to the regiment. They did not take it out the last time I was paid. I got the ration money that was due me while I was at home. It amounted to six dollars. I sent to Annapolis and got my furlough and went to the Commissaries and got the money. Henry Wescott sent after his furlough twice but they did not send it. I don't know when I shall get the money that's due me when I was a prisoner. That has got to come a different way. Our Major tried to get it for us last winter but did not succeed. I shall get it after my time of service is out if not before. I have eight dollars by me now and I want to keep some by me all the time, for I don't know what might happen when I shall need a little money. You may send me some yarn if you have any. I want some to mend my stockings with. I believe that is all that I want now. You must write often and all about everything. I will write again soon. Much love to all from your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

Co. K 16th Regt. Me.

 


Fort Wadsworth, Va.

November 18th, 1864

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you this morning, or rather two in one envelope. It had been over a week since I received a letter from you. It is evening and quite pleasant. I should like to be at home some of these pleasant evenings. We would take a walk, but it is no use to wish. I suppose I could get a furlough next winter to go home but it would cost me quite a sum of money, so I think I shall not go home till my time of service is out. I am happy to hear that you are well. My health is very good now. Joseph Varnum's son was here yesterday. He feels very bad on account of his Mother's death. He thinks she died on account of his enlisting. I received a letter from Elisa and one from Arevesta. They are all well. I wrote to them two days ago. Our regiment voted the eighth day of this month. There was 213 votes throwed, 152 for Lincoln and 61 for McClellen. I think there is no doubt but Lincoln will be elected and I think he is the man to settle this thing up. The rebels are deserting very fast. They come into our lines every night. I saw three coming in this morning. They come in where our regiment is doing picket duty. If they come in at that rate the whole length of the line, there would be a great many of them. They say that there is a great many of their men that are coming into our lines soon as they get a chance. They think it is of no use to fight any longer. I am glad you received that picture of Camp Tilden, but was sorry that it got jammed. The man I bought it of done it up for me and I thought it would go all right. He done up a great many that way for other ones and sent them, so I thought he could do them up better than I could. I heard of that raid at Castine before I received your letter. That was a bold thing. I hope they will get found out. I don't have much to write about more than what I have wrote a number of times, so you must not expect very long letters every time. I think Fred has quite an idea of drawing pictures. Those he sent me was drawed well for such a young boy. You must write me all about everything. You said you had lots to tell me. Why don't you tell it to me on paper. I would like to hear what it was. I shall have to close with much love to you all. Your affectionate Husband.

H. B. Butler

 


Fort Wadsworth, Va.

November 21st, 1864

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you this morning. I will take this opportunity to answer it. Was happy to hear from you and to hear that you were well. My health is good. It is a rainy day and a lonesome one, I received a letter from Mason a few days ago, I wrote him yesterday. I have not received those boots I sent to Isreal for yet. I shall try and get along without any this winter. I don't blame you for getting something to defend yourself with, but I am very afraid that if you get a revolver that Freddie will get shot with it. I have heard of so many accidents with revolvers. It will cost you 15 or 20 dollars for a revolver that is good for anything. I wrote to you that I received the gloves and socks you sent me soon as I received them, and I wrote to you to send me another pair of socks. I think I shall send for a box if we go into winter quarters here. I want you to buy something that is pretty for shirts, some kind of flannel. I only want one to sear on dress parade and inspection. Get something that is square checks if you can find it. White and blue is quite fashionable here. If I have a box sent, you can send that in it. I want one or two pair of socks sent as soon as you can send them. I might have a sergeants birth now if there was any vacancy, but we have five sergeants in our company and they are all absent. One of them is a prisoner in Richmond, Va., the other four are in the hospital somewhere. Some of them will probably never come back again. If one of them should be promoted Lieut. Or one discharged, I should then be made Sergeant. Five sergeants is all one company is allowed. I have to do first sergeants duty and all I get is a Corporal's pay, but I have not guard duty to do. I have all night to sleep in. I have to detail the guard every day and report them to the Adjutant, so it is not so hard for me as it would be if I was doing Corporal's duty. It is growing dark so I shall have to stop writing. Write as often as you can. I remain your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

I don't think I shall be at home this winter. It costs so much to go and come and I could not get more than 15 or 20 days furlough at the most. I would like to see you all very much, but it is not a great while now before my time of service will be out. You must try and get along as well as you can until that time. Kiss Freddie for me. Yours with love.

Henry


Fragment of letter

Dated December 6th, 1864

Our army on this raid tore up 11 miles of rail goad and destroyed a great deal of property that belonged the enemy, and got back without losing buy a few men. What fighting was done, the cavalry did, as they went in the advance. Some of our men were found as we come back, with their throats out. They were men that got beat out and got behind the army and the citizens cut their throats. They found some of them that done it, when we come back, and they were hung up and their houses burned. Our Corps, which is the 5th Corps, and one Division of the 2nd Corps and one Division of Cavalry was what force we had on the raid. I have not room to write all the particulars about the raid, but it was a very hard march and we had some very cold weather while we was gone, and the men suffered beyond all account. A good many had to throw away their blankets and other clothing on account of their loads being heavy. It used up a good many men for awhile. Some had such sore feet that they had to throw away their shoes and go barefooted. I received the stockings you sent me the night we got back and if I had on hundred dollars give me, I should not have felt any more pleased, for I only had one pair and they were on my feet, wet and dirty. They are very nice ones and warm. They are worth a dozen pair of Government Stockings. I think I will not have any box sent until we get settles down some where for winter. All of the Castine boys are well. I shall now have to close. You must write at often as you can. Write all the news and all about how you are getting along. Give Freddie many kisses for me. Much love to you all from your affectionate Husband.

Henry B Butler

Co. K. 16 Reg.

 


Camp 16th Me.

December 6th, 1864

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you last evening. Was very happy to hear from you and that you were all well. I am better than I was, but I am not very smart now. We left Fort Wadsworth yesterday. We was relieved by the six Corps. They have been in the Shenandoah Valley all summer. We marched about three miles yesterday and went into camp, where we are going is more than I know. Some think we are going to North Carolina. I think we shall have another fight before we go into winter quarters. I received a letter from Isreal a few days ago. He said he sent me a pair of boots and they arrived in Washington a long time ago. He sent them in a box with a lot of chestnuts. I also received a letter from Elisa. She had been to Portland. She said Isreal sent me a pair of boots just before she got there. They cost 10 dollars. I wrote to Isreal to write what express he sent them by so I can write and have them forwarded. I hope I shall be lucky enough to get them. I am sorry the sheep trouble you so much. You better have them all killed if your cannot keep them at home. I think Freddie must be a very smart boy to tie up cows. I am afraid he will get hurt by them, though I suppose they are well acquainted with him. You wrote to know how much it would cost me to come home. I think it would cost somewhere about 30 dollars and I cannot get more than 15 or 20 days furlough. Colonel Tilden got back a few days ago. He looks healthier than he did when he went home. He brought all of the Castine boys some tobacco that George Witherlee sent us. We have not had any snow here yet, nor such cold weather. I think Freddie draws very good pictures for so young a boy. It is better thin I could do. Have you sold your wool yet? I would like to have another pair of socks as soon as you can send them. I shall now have to close, hoping this will find you all well. Write as often as you can. Much love to all. Many kisses to you and Fred from your affectionate Husband.

Henry B. Butler

 


December 11th, 1864

Dear Mary,

I received a letter from you yesterday morning. We started on a march the morning of the 7th, so I had no chance to send this letter. I carried it with me. We was gone six days. We went within 7 miles of North Carolina. The distance was 40 miles. I was not very well the morning we left, but I thought I would try and march with the regiment. But the second day I had to give up. The Doctor give me a pass to go in the ambulance. He said I ought not started on so long a march. I was not strong enough. So I rode the rest of the way and back. My legs were so lame that I could hardly stand on them. We are now in camp near by where we was the morning we left. I am better now and if I could lay still awhile I would soon be well again. We have had no orders to go into winter quarters yet and I don't know as they are going to let us have any peace this winter. I expect they will keep us on raids all winter.