Fort Warren, Virginia
August 25, 1864
Yours of the 18th was received this morning. I am very glad to hear from you again. It revives my spirits ever so much. Now I could go to work and whip half a dozen Rens before dinner. There was several just came in on our front. I did not think it worth while to get up to see htem. The other Rebs tried to shoot them but they got out of the way.
I am very sorry to see that Mother is not well. I hope she will soon get better. You must take the best of care of her for she has always been too good not to receive the best attention. If I was able, I would like to have Mother put in a position that would enable her to have all she desired and to have all the money she wanted so she could give things to the poor. I believe it would do Mother more good to give than to receive.
I hope you will soon get the house done but I know you will have to work pretty hard if you think of getting it done time enough for Mary, but Father, I do not want you to put yourself out of the way at all. I know you are all alone and it must be pretty hard work and you can’t do any more than you used to for you are now getting older. But I hope soon to be home myself and then I can help you and perhaps I will take charge altogether. But that will be just as you say. If the country is not at peace by that time, I do not think it will hold me long for I will not stop where we cannot have peace. But it’s time enough to talk about that. Now is the time to settle this war and how we are to do it, I cannot see because the Rebels are now just as firm as ever they were.
They say that they will not give up if every house in the South is burned and every rail of fence is torn down. They say they can get all they want from our Northern States whenever they want anything to wear. All they have to do is to get up a small party and make a raid on our store houses. They have plenty of friends there who will fill up the Government storehouses and then tell Jeff Davis to come and get the things. And he can come too. And as soon as our Generals see him coming across the Potomac, they fire a few blank shots at him and then surrender, giving Jeff a lot of cannon and muskets, powder and ball, and there is provision enough for you, Mr. Jeff, right over yonder in the house. I will send some men down here and say I expect you to come this way while you come round the other way and then I will have more ammunition for you. Hurry up and get around before tomorrow night for I expect some reinforcements here next day. Youy get all the spoils, Mister Davis, and then you know you can pay me half and as soon as I get rich enough, I know Old Abe will discharge me. Then I will do all I can to join the main army and if anything turns up, I will make a blunder for I command 40,000 men and about 20,000 niggers. I will fix it so you can catch all my niggers and about half of the whites. And if you can’t kill nearly half of them, you are good for nothing. You know I expect a good situation after you have gained the Confederacy. I would be in your army now only I can do more for you here than I could there. You had better let the mudsills recruit all they want to in our states for we can get a few good men among them and they can keep us posted. We can get some of the men to be clerks for the Generals and we have some now that is clerks for General Meade [and] they let us know all about his movements as far as they can. Everything is working in our hands. It is no use for the Yanks to fight any longer for we have as many friends in the ranks as they have, and most of their best commanders are for our cause, as long as they get our pay and the Yanks’ too, they will stop in this army. The only thing I feel sorry for is that so many good and loyal men are killed every day by the fraud and money-making Generals if I can see straight.
Old Abe, the Butcher, will not promote a good and loyal private but if he can find a man that will kill a white man and lift a nigger to glory, then that old pirate will run him up anyhow. For the North, this war is played out. I see that a great portion of the people are against the administration. I hope they will put that old rail splitter in the first sink they can find. He is the man that has killed or caused to be killed more good & brave men than this U. S. can ever boast of again. Through his power, all this bloodshed is come about. He thinks too much of the nigger. It is a pity he hadn’t a wench—and a coal black one too—for a wife, and then he could have some of those mesigen children—the thing that he advocates so much. How he would like to see us soldiers marry niggers. But I am running away with my self. I don’t suppose you will be able to read one half of this letter for I am so mad I don’t know what to do. I have supposed myself a Rebel for awhile and it is just so as I have written. I do not exaggerate the thing at all. I say this war is no more to save the Union than Black soldiers are as good fighting men as white ones.
Father, I am very sorry to say I have no more faith in Abe Lincoln. He desires nothing but the advancement of the nigger and to fill his pockets. I believe he would sell our beloved country if he thought he could make himself rich by it. Father, I hope you will not think I love my country the less now if it was for my country—and my country alone—that I was fighting, I would be willing to remain a private and fight all my life time. But as it has come now to a speculation business, I must have some of the spoils or I will not stay. Everything has gone up so now with this great tax that I am hardly able to keep my wife and I do not know what men does with three or four children. I shall use up more than my bounty twice over if things do not take a turn. I say I must have more wages if I am to fight for niggers and Abe Lincoln, or I will leave the first chance for parts unknown. I will not stay here and see my family want for a thing. But as soon as they commence to fight for the Union of States and of hearts and not the emancipation of slaves, I will suffer all the hardships and go through anything that it is in human nature to go through. I have already suffered and borne the worst of hardships and am willing to bear more fr=or my beloved country, but not as I said before, for the accursed negro. I would to God they might all sink and never be heard of for they and them alone have been the cause of all this war for if it had not been for the agitation of slavery, all would have been well yet.
I am very sorry, Father, that you are very much wrong when you say that McClellan has as many men as Grant. He did not have much more than half, but then he would have done well enough with them if it hadn’t been for the administration. You say that Abe Lincoln is bound to enforce the laws against traitors. Why don’t he get them out of his midst? Why don’t he catch and hang those men all about Washington? There are thousands of men in and around Washington that he knows are not loyal and why don’t he do his duty? But I have said enough for a letter. If I could talk to you, I know I could convince you that you would be doing a great sin if you should vote for Abe again this fall. I have found out too much about him. I am the one to experience all his misdeeds for it is the soldier that suffers by this war and administration. He does not only suffer in the field, but he suffers while he sees his family that he moves more than all the world suffer for the commonest food.
I read a letter from a wife of a good soldier who I know has a good wife and he sends every cent he can rake and scrape to her and three children. I accidentally saw his letter and I thank God that I am not in the same condition. It was enough to make a man do anything. His wife and one of the little ones have been sick and everything is so high that she has not a cent in the house or a morsel to eat, and very little to wear. I intend to get her address and let you go to see her for he is a great friend of mine, and I should like to do something for him as soon as my buckwheat is ripe, but I don’t suppose it will amount to much for it will take all of my half to pay the tax.
I am very sorry there has been a delay in my writing. I acknowledge it was all my fault. Neither Mr. Harrison or Uncle Robert has answered my last letter. If they don’t answer these, they need not expect to hear from me again. I am well and almost happy. We are in a fort near where we were on the 22nd of June when the papers said we lost our Battery. We have seen enough of the niggers for there was a brigade of them in here when we came. They are the biggest cowards I ever saw. Now we have the 5th, 6th, and 7th New Jersey Regiments with us, wr can old this fort at all hazards. Frank Sullivan is in the Seventh. He looks first rate. He sends his respects to you and Uncle. Give my love to Mother. Tell her that I am still progressing by the Grace of God and hope that I may some day stand firm on the rock Christ Jesus. May God bless you all. Write soon. My regards to all while I remain your devoted son, — C. V. H.