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.

I have a cold – not been sick of it since I went away – but I am improving upon it. How fortunate that we got back before this inclement weather since some of our brigades had no blankets. They left these upon their knapsacks which they left behind in going into Battle and going right in after Bragg so rapidly and suddenly and thence running so directly to the relief of Burnside – they had not time to return for
anything – and we suffered greatly for thus coming back from Knoxville. I will enclose Otis’ order – Gen. Sherman wrote a letter to Otis, too personal to publish but exceedingly complimentary and gratifying to us both. I sent a copy to Rowland.

Did you see Blaine’s from the N.Y. Evening Post. This was also gratifying not only because voluntarily given, but because it connected him with his Corps – and he has always said he wished to rise in face with his command (in reputation) and he never desires to be praised while the Corps gets no credit.

I will send you the N.Y. Herald of the 2nd containing the most correct account of the battles of Chattanooga I have seen. Newspapers had accumulated in our absence. You know we got no mails. Our new Qr Mr. Col. Hayes works admirably. Capt Cross the new aide was an old acquaintance formerly of 5th N.H. & recently of Gen. Caldwell’s Staff 2nd Corps.

Today I have been reading <> – writing some letters for Otis – listening to him reading – talking much – sometimes over letters – sometimes about what we had been reading – Everett’s Oration at Gettysburg follows Meade’s Report very closely and gives less credit to Otis than some of his admirers might desire. Yet it is mainly correct and some parts of it very good though as Rowland says perhaps an ordinary man could have written the great part.

Did you see the Praze by Flockton and the President’s brief speech?

I was speaking of today. We had Divine Service this afternoon. It is now late and fully time I were in bed. Trusting the Lord will bless and will guide you as to duty. I will say Good Night.

Your loving brother C. H. Howard

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

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