June 3, 1863

Headquarters Eleventh Corps
Near Brooke Station VA,

My dear brother,

We were glad to get your letter directed to Otis, but intended for me I thought.

Tonight it is quite cool and comfortable. I hear the bands playing in almost every direction and if I could lose the consciousnous that we were in the midst of hideous war (as I often do) it would be quite pleasant. You speak of your future occupation. I see no opening in the Army for you but something may yet “turn up”.

Otis wrote in answer to some private catechisms on the subject – that he thought his duty lay in the Field and that some one else better be selected as the nominee for Governor. You were wise not to give any opinion as to his accepting.

I hear you sustained the Senior dignity while at Bath.

We move our Hd. qrs tomorrow into the woods not more than 1/4 mile from here. [...]

Charles Henry Howard to Rodelphus Gilmore [Charles Henry Howard Collection]

May 17, 1863

Headquarters Eleventh Corps

My dear Mother,

It has been a warm pleasant day. We have had services at out Hd. qrs., as usual. The Band of the 33d Mass which plays so beautifully was in attendance. Rev. Mr. Warren of the Christian Commission officiated who has been laboring in the hospitals many of which – in fact all the General Hospitals of the Army – are located in this vicinity. The General Hospitals have all the worst cases of sick and all the wounded except such as have been conveyed to Washington – farther North. They consist of a large encampment (like a brigade) for a Corps. The Hospital tents are some 20 by 12 feet or perhaps larger.
These in this vicinity look very neat & comfortable. Otis intends visiting our Corps hospital this P.M.

We had the great rarity of two ladies at services and at dinner today. Mrs. Genl. Barlow and Mrs Parker wife of Lieut. Parker of the Regular Army. Mrs. Parker was an acquaintance of Mrs. Barlow – and stays with Mrs B in a house not far from here although Lt. Parker belongs to another Divn. & another Corps. He gets Leave to visit his wife often now that we are doing but little. I think you will remember Gen. Barlow who now commands one of our Brigades and was formerly Colonel of my Regiment, 61st N.Y. -
was with us at Fair Oaks. He is a brave & good officer. Mrs. B. is a very smart woman. She reached the Antietam battle field, the next day after the fight and was in time to take care of her husband who was wounded very severely. [...]

Charles Henry Howard to his mother, Eliza Gilmore [Charles Henry Howard Collection]

 

May 8, 1863

Headquarters Eleventh Corps
Near Brook’s Station, Va.,

My dear brother,

You must be aware that for the past week I have had no opportunity to write. Since the furious attack upon our Corps which began about 5 o’clock on Saturday neither my outward circumstances nor my feelings were favorable to letter writing. Sunday, Monday, & Tuesday we were more or less under fire. On Tuesday the Rebels showed a special design upon Otis. Finally shot Col Meysenburg’s horse under him as he was by the General’s side. After that Otis consented to go on foot when on the front and in certain range of the enemy’s rifles.

Sunday, Monday & Tuesday until 3 o’clock Wed. morning we held the left with Gen. Slocum who was upon the extreme left. We were behind rifle pits but all the time expecting an attack and several times during night & day our Pickets were driven in. Continue reading

May 4, 1863

Hd. Qrs. 11th Corps

Dear Mother

It is after dark and I have no candle but I will write you a little in the dark. In the terrible battle yesterday although we were often exposed to shot and shell yet our troops were not actually engaged. Our troops did not behave well yesterday & we were badly driven. My tentmate and fellow aide Capt Dessars was killed. Col. Miles was badly wounded. Last night we wakened several times by attacks upon our lines. By the guns we knew yesterday that Sedgwick was fighting near Fredericksburg. We heard the roar today and tomorrow will march to his relief, though we got pretty severely handled in yesterday’s & Saturdays battle.

The Lord is our trusted guide.

I hope the Rebels will let us sleep tonight. I was awakened hrs before now by a tremendous firing on our right. So you see we sleep daytime.

We are behind rifle pits and could hold them against any force – if the troops will stand. You cannot tell how badly Otis felt so see them run away. A force seemed to seize them. Two German Regiments, first on our right which Jackson turned. We think this will be the death blow to Rebellion.

Your loving son,
C. H. Howard

Charles Henry Howard to his mother, Eliza Gilmore [Charles Henry Howard Collection]

April 26, 1863

Headquarters Eleventh Corps
Near Brooks Station Va.,

My dear Mother,

It is a bright warm afternoon and now the moon has changed we anticipate fair weather for some time.

We had our Religious services this morning, conducted by Rev. Mr. Johnson Congregationalist of Bangor. Maj. Whittlesey had known him before. He is simply on a visit to the army. I have written to Rowland today. Got a letter from him & Ella yesterday. We were rejoiced to hear of Everett Bridgham’s [a first cousin] conversion. Poor Aunt Aurelia [the sister of Charles’ father Rowland and the mother of Everett] is very sick he writes. And Jane Bates has passed away from earth. We can hardly realize that Jane will not meet us with her cheerful face whenever we go home again to our good old neighborhood.

But the future life was very real to Jane. Her friends left behind are the only sufferers. God grant them the consolations of His infinite word – and that they all may be ready to go & join Jane when the summons comes. I desire to be ready. I know not as we are in the midst of any more uncertainty than you but it often seems so.

We search tomorrow morning for the upper Rappahannock – not so much as this has been revealed but I judge from indications unmistaken to me. The 12th Corps is also expected to march. How much more I do not know.

The Fast-day is nearing & I do hope for if not resulting from the united cry of many hearts. We will carry the works with the faith & prayers and perhaps God will this time bless us. At any rate in his own good time his Kingdom shall triumph & I cannot be too bitterly disappointed with this pure hope ever present.

Otis & I are perfectly well. The promotions (it is announced by telegraph) have been made. So I will have to exchange the title of Captain which I have held less than a month for that of Major. But this is of very little moment to me. Pray that I may always have a willing mind and grace needed for every duty.

Your Very Affectionate Son
C. H. Howard

P.S. Remember me kindly to Isabella & brother if you see them.

Charles Henry Howard to his mother, Eliza Gilmore [Charles Henry Howard Collection]

March 15, 1863

It was very cold and cloudy this morning, but it moderated in the afternoon and rained in the evening with thunder and lightening. Was due to the 5th in the afternoon, staid with C. until nine o’clock. Reading Bulwer’s “Night and Morning.” Had a call today from the Chaplain of the 104th.

Diary of Henry Hastings Hunt [Henry Hastings Hunt Papers]

 

March 11, 1863

Wednesday.

It cleared up this morning.

Went had a call from Seymour in forenoon. Went over to the 5th in the afternoon – all hands at work building their new houses. Stayed til nine o’clock with Brown.  Came back read some in Harper’s. Had cold in head. Took big draught of hot drink and turned in.

Diary of Henry Hastings Hunt [Henry Hastings Hunt Papers]