This letter was written by Henry Ewell Howard (1847-1909), the son of Alvin H. Howard and Aruthusa Dodge Fiske of Camden, Knox county, Maine. Henry enlisted on 4 February 1864 at the age of 18 in the 6th Maine Light Artillery. He mustered out with the battery on 17 June 1865 at Augusta, Maine.
In Camp before Petersburg, Va.
1864 [should be 1865]
I now take this opportunity to pen a few lines to you. I am well and hope that these few lines will find you the same.
It is very cold here tonight and the wind blows very hard. I was on guard last night and it was quite pleasant. All the boys have gone over to meeting. I thought that I would not go over tonight. We have meetings every night here now. The house is about a mile from here. It is built of logs.
I received a letter from you the other day. I was very pleased to hear that you have got so smart. I should like to see you very much but it cannot be at present. Tell Arbie that I will send him a ring the first chance and he must be a good boy.
I was very pleased to get that picture. I received a letter from Father today. You had better send my box as soon as you can. We shall be on the move before a great while now. We will make the Johnnies get up and get in a manner. There is quite a lot of deserters come in every night.
Petersburg never can be taken by assault. All the way it can be taken is by flanking them. All in front of their works is a stockade built of poles. They are driven into the ground and made sharp. They are driven in slanting so that the sharp end is four feet from the ground and close together. They are put in so solid that it would be hard to pull them out under fire.
I cannot think of anything more to write this time.
Yours, — Henry E. Howard
To my sister, — E. Leach