December 20, 1863

Headquarters Eleventh Corps, Lookout Valley

My dear Dellie,

I was sorry to learn by a letter from Ella that your health is so poor – and your own letters some of them alluded to the cause for it. If your health is not good and studying makes it worse (as it usually does) I am sure it is better that you suspend awhile – even one season. Perhaps if you remained at home reading a little generally and “choring” about with the diet and care mother could give you, you might get well and rugged by Spring and renew your studies with fresh vigor.

You know I suspended a year after leaving College and many young men find it necessary to do the same. Health first then you can look to studying, earning money or anything you choose – but without health our frail machines are useless and indeed might about as well be destroyed as to get out of “running order”.

I sent my last to you from Cleveland – adding a brief Postcript there. Two days after we reached our old camp here – last Thursday afternoon. Next day it became cold and for two nights water has frozen 1⁄2 inch thick in our water-pail. Continue reading

December 13, 1863

Hd. qrs 11th Corps
Charleston (on the Hiwassee) Tenn.

My dear brother

If Capt Stinson had not just upset my little pocket ink-stand I should have written you a tremendously long letter upon this stupendous sheet. The paper was captured from the office of the Athens Post – a flourishing Rebel paper publication as its name indicates – of the town 14 miles above here. I believe I did not write you but I wrote mother a brief letter from there. It is the County-town of McMinn Co. There are many warm union citizens – men, women and children there. Sherman caught the Editor of the Athens Post running away into the mountains, trying to get off toward North Carolina or Georgia. He was originally from New Jersey but told Sherman he was a Secessionist. So Sherman says he shall advise his banishment to the Coast of Africa since that is the only place where Secession can be allowed. Some old copies of the Athens Post show that the Editor was a rank Rebel. He had some pretty daughters and Gilbreth (Lieut.) who boarded there had most vivacious discussions with them to use a mild term.

You perceive we are wending our way back. The Rebels, while we were gone, got at and destroyed this Charleston R.R. Bridge which we spent a whole night in repairing on our way up. So we had to rebuild it – taking another day and night’s work. Continue reading

November 15, 1863

Headquarters Eleventh Corps Lookout Valley

My dear brother,

[...] They fire every day more or less. Yesterday a Shell buried itself three feet in the ground within a dozen yards of where Otis & I were riding along. They possibly fired at a Wagon-train which was passing near us. As soon as we get the roads all corduroyed to Kelly’s Ferry, the wagons can go a route very little exposed. Our Head quarters are rather long range for them besides they are somewhat concealed by trees and we have no apprehensions that they will trouble us from Lookout though shells have struck within one quarter of a mile this morning.

I suppose this would be quite near enough for our peaceful people at home. I might say it is quite near enough for us but still we are so accustomed to the noise and so well aware of our safety when they are that distance from us that we have no more feeling of fear than father would have should he hear the sound of turning out a cart load of stones – which you know makes considerable noise.[...]

Your Affectionate brother C H Howard

October 14, 1863

Hd. qrs. 11th Corps Bridgeport Ala.

My dear brother,

[...] We have one of the Soldier’s California Fire-places and my colored man “Nash” came in and kindled a fire before I got up. So you see I am living quite luxuriously. The fire-place is Constructed by sinking a trench about a foot wide & deep and extending outside the tent. This is walled up with flat stones and in ours is covered inside the tent with a flat piece of cast-iron which our “Pioneers” had found somewhere and appropriated. Outside, and usually the whole length it is covered with flat stones – and at a distance of two or three feet from the tent a chimney of flat stones and mud rises to a height about equal to the top of the tent. In the scarcity of stones the chimney is heightened by the use of boards. The inner end of the Trench is left uncovered for a foot or little more and here is where the fire is kindled. Of course two of us have little room to spare in one of these “7 by 9” tents, so our table with writing desk is set over the fireplace and as I sit and write it is very convenient to warm my feet. In fact I am compelled to warm them whether they are cold or not. For our table we have four stakes driven firmly into the ground and the table made of two boards fastened together is laid upon the tops of these. Our little Pine desk which is loaded down like all desks serves to keep the table in place. Since I arrived we have had a floor made to our tent. It was well that it was completed before the rain – the fireplace ditto.

We are located upon a hill and in the enclosure of a Rebel Fort.

We have reason to be thankful that the Enemy did so much digging for our profit – yet we would have been better pleased had they not so unwisely left their rear entirely unprotected. For since it now becomes our front we must needs go to work fortifying. [...]

Charles Henry Howard to his brother, Rodelphus Gilmore [Charles Henry Howard Collection]

 

February 10, 1863

Head Qrs 2n Divn
Near Falmouth, Va

My dear brother [Rodelphus Gilmore]
It is my turn to write again, almost doubly so, as Rowland sent me your last to him. It is a bright warm morning like some April day in Maine.
Otis is sitting upon a Military Commission for the trial of a Rebel citizen who was with a party of Rebel soldiers who fired upon some of our troops. It may cost him his life. Otis is the President of the Comn. It consists of several Generals and some 3 or 4 Cols. The Comn sits at the Phillips house and Otis is going round by the 3d Maine. Continue reading