William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

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Head Quarters 10th Vtcamp in the field near Spottsylvania Va.May 20th 1864 To his Excellency Gov. Smith

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Yours of May 4th is received. I am pained to learn that you consider, “that the diciplin of this Regiment is not what it ought to be,” and see cause to censure me as its commanding officer as the cause of it. It has always been my study to make the 10th Vt. one of the best Regiments that ever left the state, and one they would be proud of, and it seems hard to be censured for

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a thing beyond my control. The night after Col Jewett left I called upon Major Chandler, and had a talk with him in regard to the new promotions. I told him who I thought ought to be promoted, and he agreed with me in all except Capt Frost – but said I could go on and recomend him just the same, and gave me his word of honor that he would not do the first thing to prevent his promotion, but for reasons which he could not explain to me then he wished to be excused from joining in the recomendation Also he told me that probably

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no officer in the Regiment was more opposed to what we call “Town Meetings” among officers than he. And yet I find by your letter that he protested in a letter to you against it and I learn by officers that he was the very man that did the most towards getting up, and influencing the officers to sign the paper for Capt. Dillingham. Now how am I to blame for such conduct as that on the part of my only field officer? who should have done all he possibly could to stop such a thing as the line officers getting up a paper effecting one of

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the ranking line officers, for anything that broke down Capt Frost and Capt Dill. would in the end help some of them. It is the first time in the history of this Regiment that the recomends of the commanding officer have been interfered with, and it has already had a very bad effect among us, all of which would have been stoped at once had your Excellency promoted according to my recommendations. I believe it would give as good satisfact- -ion, as any other promotion could give, and they would never attempt the thing again. I have not so far heard one word against Capt Frost

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that was not dictated by jealousy or self interest.

Enclosed I send you a paper which has just been handed by the line officers to forward to you, and although I protest against the principle, and do not hesitate to say that in my opinion it is unmilitary, yet at their earnest entreaty and considering the peculiar circumstances under which I find myself, I have concluded to send it, but it is all wrong and does more to impair the discipline of this Regiment than any other thing that ever happened to us.

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so far since we crossed the Rapid Ann. We have been under fire almost every day, but yet it has not happened that we have been charged upon by the enemy or had to make a charge upon them, yet we have been in the front line all the time, and now are laying behind a “rifle pit” we dug last night, and about 1000 yards from the enemys “rifle pit”, and about two miles south and east of Spottsylvania. The Regiment has formed twice under a heavy “shell” fire

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yet upon all occasions they have done their duty nobly, and you may rest assured they will never bring disgrace upon the honor of Vermont troops, which I am proud to say is second to none in this Army. I hope you will excuse this paper and writing, as the paper is all the kind I have with me, and I have to write this laying on my belly flat on the ground. And it is the best I can do under the circumstances. My loss is 4 killed & 23 wounded have forwarded a list to Genl Washburn

Respectfully your obdt servtWm. W. Henry
Lt Col Comdg 10th Vt