Tuesday, February 5, 2013

1863 February 1 camp across the Rappahannock from Fredericksburg

[written in the top margin on page one]
 send some stamps   J. H. Howard

                             Head Quarters 15 Conn Vols
                             Camp opposite Fredericksburg
                                       (No 17) Sunday  Feby 1st /63
Dear Sister Helen,
                                    I received your No 11
Friday and No 12 from George yesterday
I had commenced a letter to George
No 16 and had put it into an envelope
and directed it thinking I would
finish it in the morning but when
we sent the mail Phil saw it and
put it in without my knowing it
but it wont do any harm it was
as long as most of his but I hadent [sic]
written all I wanted to..   I am
glad that you have got some drawers
under way as mine are coming through
in several places – my shirts are
good yet and all whole..   I have plenty
of stockings as I have drawn one or
two pair.   about a coat I don’t know

what I shall do   I need one very much
as this is wearing out and in very small
for me now – I would like a jacket
very well made similar to the cavalry
jackets but minus the yellow trimming
standing collar and button up to the chin
military buttons   what do you think about
having one made   I cant get a coat here
as they wont probably draw coats again
in a long time or if you don’t like
the idea of a jacket   a short saque
of blue with military buttons
don’t believe you will be able
to send the boots and other things
by next Thursday so will have to wait
until Heisdale goes again the 15th
     I almost need another vest as
this one is getting very small and
is ripping in a few places but I am
not in a hurry about the vest
        I don’t think of any thing
else that I want now unless it is
a furlough or discharge,  if you find

either please send them on.  Am very
glad that the organ is up in good
order – was just like Powers to rush
ahead and make a fool of himself
couldent [sic] wait to have a regular opening
but must pull out all the stops and
make a big noise.   I can imagine just
how he acted and appeared.
     We are having very pleasant weather
since the snow storm but the mud
is immence  [sic] beats every thing that
I ever saw in Meriden or Conn –
there is no use of the Army thinking
about doing any thing until spring
as we shant  probably see dry land
until then.        Tell George that I
like Biddy’ proposition first rate
of sending him down to take my
place and let me come home for
a while -    It will be 6 months
Feby 6th that I have been out as a
soldier and I have seen about all
I want to but meeting ain’t quite

out yet I guess.   It is most too bad
about Mary Strong’s benefit but is
about the style of Powers to hurry
up things when he gets short of
money and then over do    tell him
that he better enlist where he can
get his 13$ a month – board & clothes
would like to see him in the army
                   I haven’t seen any thing of
Charlie’s letters that you speak about
hope they are not lost.        I must
stop now for I want to wash myself
this morning and the mail goes at
2 P.M. but am most ashamed of
this short letter in answer to your
long one but there is nothing new
down here   it’s the same thing from
day to day – but will write again
before long –
                   Your loving brother
The stamps came just in the right time.

James H. Howard, 15th Connecticut

[transcript by Mary Roy Dawson Edwards]

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