William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

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Seneca Lock Md.Sunday Eve.Nov 2nd 1862My Darling wife

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I wrote you a few hurried lines this morning before the mail left, but am not satisfied with that for an answer to your good letter of the 28th. The “Shadows” I am very glad to receive, for I was almost forgetting how you looked. I think they are first rate and I do not see what made you run them down so. You can preserve this letter as one written during an “awful battle” for as I write the ground is jarring all the time with the continual roar of Cannon. You take notice of the papers and see if you do not find that an awful battle was fought sunday afternoon – it is now just half past and it seems they roar louder than ever – it is somewhere in the vicinity of “Aldie” and “Charlestown” and has been going on since Friday afternoon – it was quite hard yesterday, but

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worse today. We cannot get any news from it here yet although we cannot be more than twenty five miles off. We are expecting every moment to get orders to go up and help them. I hope it is the “big battle” that will settle this awful war, for it is to bad to take the lives of so many human beings. About your coming out - I wrote you all about that in my last long letter ¬ which is all I have to say on that matter except that I think more and more that I want to see you very much and the very first chance I get to leave honorably you will see me there for a few days. If I should be sick or get wounded I should send for you at once, and I think you have proposed just the thing – “for Emory and Eliza to live at the house and take care of the Pets while you were gone. They would be glad to do it, and would do it well. I would like to see my blessed little Mollie very much, but it would be very hard work

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for you to take her out here. The drum has beat for “dress Parade” and I must “halt” a moment. After “dress parade” and supper. It is now dark and the booming of the Cannon has ceased, up the river and all is quiet again with us here. It is a lovely evening, the moon is shining bright and lovely, but there must be an awful field of death and suffering only a short distance from us, but it is the fate of soldiers. Thursday last I was quietly at work building me a very nice “log cabin” when I looked and who should I see coming but John. He slept with me all night and had a grand good visit here. The Col. took quite a shine to him. If he had stoped until about one hour longer Friday he would have heard the cannon roar, and I guess he could hear it as it was, for he took a canal boat for Washington, so he did not get off far. As I told you this morning, the same mail that brought your good long letter and ambrotype with Mollies

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also brought me a “document” from “Uncle Freddie” (as we call him) saying that he considered your husband a proper person to become “Lieut Col” of so good a Regt. as the l0th Vermont, and I am now commissioned and acting Lieut Colonel of the Regt. and you know very well I will never disgrace the position if it cost my life. I little thought when I went to Brattleboro with Captain Dillinghams company sometime about the seventh of August, that the first of Nov. I should be a Lieut Col. of a splendid Vermont Regiment, yet so it is and I am grateful and proud of the place, proud that I was considered worthy. Are not you my darling one? Remember you are “Lieut Col” too!! Nobody but you and I!! Now I think you will be glad you let me go to serve my country, and I know that a good many of my friends at home will be glad to hear of it too. We do not know yet who the new “Maj” is to. be but likely some one of the Captains of the Regiment. Capt. Dillingham is about well again. His company had only one excused from duty to day. Corp Stickney one of Katies Montpelier friends. He has had Typhoid fever but is most well now. Sarah Wells will remmember him. you say she is going to write me - that is right. I like to hear from all my friends. Geo is first rate he will go home after “pay day”, which I hope will be soon. Good night my darling one, God bless you all.

As ever your loving husband William