Date: July 21, 1862
Address: Mrs. Rev. Henry E. Parker
From: Henry E. Parker
Notes: Enclosed with this letter is a
dried leaf and a map of the United
States. There is a note written on the map: “This
Ivy leaf from the bridge near Alloway Kirk where Tam O. Shanter made his
escape from the pursuing hag.” The
reference is to a poem written by Robert Burns in 1790 entitled “Tam
o’Shanter.” The Alloway Kirk is a ruin
of a church in Alloway, Scotland. As there is no reference in the letter to
the map, the leaf or the poem, it is quite likely they were sent in a different letter.
Parker did visit this area of Scotland during a
tour of Europe in 1865.
N.H. Reg’t Near Harrison’s Landing
Va. July 21st, 1862
What can be the reason
that I do not hear from you? God grant
you may not be unwell. The last letter
I had from you was mailed I think the 30th. ult., and written
before you had received my short letter from Fair Oaks
written just after my return to the Reg’t.
I have not written to you since a week ago yesterday, daily thinking I
must receive something from you and so waiting from day to day. Whenever any such interruption occurs in
your sending me letters I fear there is sickness in the family. I am apprehensive there may be now. If there be, may God raise the dear one up
whichever of the family it may be. You
are all in His hands, and there I must leave you—thankful that I may commit
you to such gracious & sufficient care.
I received a letter last night from Sister Mary,
mailed the 18th. inst. which, as she did not speak of any of you
being unwell, encourages me to think that my fears may be groundless. It takes some time for letters from here to
reach home but our letters this way now come promptly &
expeditiously. There is very little
variety of incident in our daily life here.
Monotony is the general characteristic of camp life but eminently so
of ours now. My own health, I am
thankful to say, continues quite good, but there is considerable sickness in
the Reg’t although few cases of severe illness. The spirits & strength of the men are
reviving, and the army is already again in formidable condition for meeting
We heard the other day by a letter
from one of our absent wounded men that Burleigh Jones, one of the members of
Comp. B. who is wounded on the 25th of last month died on board
one of transport steamers employed in removing the wounded East before the
steamer had left the York River. This young Jones was brother to Mrs.
Merrill, wife of the young man from Hopkinton who with his father used to
supply us with eggs, butter, berries, &c, &c. The death of Burleigh seems very sad as I
knew him so well. On board the same
boat, too, died another of the same Camp, wounded at the same time, who was
from Concord: his name was
Lamprey. Perhaps you may remember his sister calling
upon me to make enquiries respecting him.
I would like to have you get a horse from Mr. Dudley’s and ride down
and see her. Her father resides near
Mr. Meeks. She heard of her brother’s
wounded & wrote to me with reference to it. I replied to her letter then, but as I have
heard of none of the particulars at all in regard to her brother’s death, I
would like to have you call & present my sincere sympathies with your own
to her & the family. This would be
much better than a letter. There is a
young Hodgkins here from Keene
sick with typhoid fever & not likely to survive the day out. His family are near neighbors to ours
there. It is a sad, sad case, &
the blow will fall very heavily upon his widowed mother. If Johnny was with you he would tell you,
undoubtedly, all about them. I have just
been to the tent where he lies and I found him realizing his situation
fully. He gave me a kind message for
his mother & the other members of the family asked me to pray with
him. Poor fellow, he told me that he
tried to trust in the Savior with all his heart—speaking in this emphatic
way. I hope his is a trust that will
not be disappointed. I have of late
felt more than ever hampered and confined in regard to my religious
intercourse and influence with the men.
Still I pray that I may not altogether fail of doing good.
I had a pleasant Sabbath service
yesterday morning preaching from the 10th ch. of Acts,
the 33d verse – more especially the latter part of the verse.
Capt. Bramhall, in command of one
of the batteries that has been connected with our division, asked me Saturday
afternoon, if I would not conduct a religious service at his encampment
yesterday – I was glad to consent, and at five o’ cl’k yesterday evening I
had what was to me a delightful service with his men. Capt. Bramhall is son of a wealthy New
York importer—the family live out at Rakway. He is one of the most agreable young men I
have met in the army.
Our Colonel has not yet returned;
we shall look very confidently for him this evening. I have been waiting for his return before
writing to Dr. Stone. I had hoped that
I might see my way clear to return by the end of this month; I am, indeed,
not without a little hope that I may yet: but it is only a very little hope
that I can indulge. Yet if Providence
thinks it best for me He will open the way.
How desireable it does seem that I be with my people when the Gen.
Association meets. It will undoubtedly
be a large gathering and I know the people will do everything they can to
make it comfortable and agreable for all who come. I pray and hope that the happiest
influences will result from this meeting of the Association with our people.
Our cause at present seems to be
at a stand-still. We have a rumor here
from Richmond that Jackson
with a large force is making his way by some route towards Washington. If the report be correct I think he will find
the movements disastrous to himself.
God, I am confident, will yet smite the efforts of the Rebels in utter
in her letter spoke of having just heard from Johnny that he was well. Have you yet made any arrangements for
getting a little change yourself? I
hope you may be able to.
Capt. Godfrey enquired for you
particularly on my return. He is in
almost every day to see me. Has been in today to ask me to go over and
drive with them. As I have told you
before, there is no one here who does more, perhaps no one who does as much
for my comfort as he. I shall always
be under obligation to him.
I am afraid from what you last
letter said of those who had written to you about the money I took home for
the men, as well as from the various letters of inquiry I have received, that
you have had not a little trouble mad you on account of it. The Cashier at Great
Falls was very dilatory in distributing what I
entrusted to him, and Mr. Sanborn, our State Treasurer, quite so in regard to
what I placed in his hands. Has Mr.
Sanborn returned the lists of those whose moneys I placed in his hands? He was to do it after he had completed the
work, as also the cashiers severally of the Neag Bank at Manchester,
the Great-Falls Bank, and the Cheshire Bank at Keene. I directed them to return the lists to me
at Concord, or to you if I was
I must hasten to close or be too
late for the mail today. I suppose
Austin Sanger is about returning and I shall certainly hear from you him, if
not before. Major Stevens we have
heard has reached home. A report has
reached us from Washington that
Col. Marston is to be made a Brigadier.
It is very doubtful about his accepting the rank even if it be offered
him. If he does recept it, however, it
may open the way for me honorably to leave the Reg’t also: I however, not
like him for another post & higher honor in the army, but for my dear
home where God had given me a companion marvelously answering all my wishes
in a wife, and sweet children, sweet & dear as a kind Providence ever
bade irradiate the home of any man.
This long separation and the many, many trials connected with it, are
attaching me more & more to my family ties & household joys. What great, undeserved mercy that He gives
and spares them to me.
May God kindly keep you all, and
soon happily bring us together again.
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