William Wirt Henry to Mary Jane Henry

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Head Quarters 10th Vt Camp in thefield below Petersburg Va. July 3rd 1864My beloved wife

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Since I wrote you last I have received two good long letters from you and both of them have done me lots of good, first because I hear that you are all well, and second because you are so brave and patriotic If ever we wanted to hear such words it is now, for this Army never had to indure such hardships of fighting and marching as they have since the 4th day of May. We are all completly used up and tired out. The Sixth Corps got back yesterday from a march of about ten miles which we had to make down on the Weldon R.R. to Halifax and Reams’ Station. We destroyed about ten miles of the Rail Road, had a hard march and plenty of hard work, but not much fighting, and now we are back

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again in our old Rifle pits on the left of the Army, and we have the promise that if the Johnnies keep quiet we shall have a few days of rest, which I do hope we may get. My finger is not well yet but I am able to use my hand considerable and am in command of the Regiment Wounds do not heal kindly here or my hand would have been well before this. My general health is good only I am a little thin and somewhat tired out. We are having such awful dry, hot weather that it is enough to kill anybody but niggers. And it most kills them – by the way speaking of niggers makes me think of our colored troops or as the boys call them now “whitewashed yankees”. In these fights around Petersburg they have fought nobly and if there was prejidice among some before it is all gone now in this Army. They have fought splendidly and all they want is good officers to make them fight

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well every time, and a good cause. I have got a nice colored boy about 16 years old named George Washington Jones Henry We have got a cow which we managed to find on our way and he takes care of her and the old Mess Horse. We have lived better on this Campaign than we did on last summers’s, which shows we can live and learn something yet. Oh! darling I was so glad to have you praise me up so, and hope I would be brave and all the other good things. I made my reputation as a fighting officer at the battle “Cold Harbor” for I was feeling just right for it and had a good chance to lead my Regiment in a charge and thank God I did lead it and did not ask a man to go farther than I did, and I think God again that I got off with the loss of only a finger – but I hope we shall not have to make another such a fight for it is awful work. You must still continue to be brave. Keep up good courage and write me good letters – no matter if you do not

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hear from me for a few days at a time. If you noticed, every time that you have not heard from me for everal days we have been on the march and could not send or receive letters, and you can lay it down as a rul that we are making a big move when the letter stop coming, then watch the papers and you will soon find out where we are and will know that in a few days they will come all right again. Keep cheerful so you may enjoy good health for I should hate to come home by and by sick or with an arm off and find you sick, for I should want you well to take care of them then – you were right in saying that I must be glad to have Maj Dill. here with me now. I should be very lonely but for him – he camps and sleeps with me – but I miss my old friend Frost so much. It was awful to see him die and leave us. I ought to write sister Katie and Eli letters but it is such hard work to write while my hand is sore that it is as much as I can do to write you my blessed and well beloved one. oh! darling how I do want to see you, but must bide my time. Our boys are all feeling as well as could be expected. I do hope Delia will be able to get home and where she can live in peace and get something to eat – this is a desert.

As everWilliam