1863: Frederic Henry Howe to Unidentified “Jennie”

This letter was written by Frederic Henry Howe (1844-1884), the son of Francis Howe and Emily Hill of Guilford, Vermont. Frederick mustered into Co. E, 9th New Hampshire as a private on 6 August 1862 and was transferred to Co. F, U. S. Veteran Reserve Corps, 13th Infantry Regiment on 1 July 1863. He mustered out of the service on 28 June 1865 at Concord, New Hampshire.

On 4 July 1868, Frederic married Minerva Antha Howard (1842-1914), the daughter of Abiel Howard (1810-1895) and Ruth Hall.

Frederic wrote the letter to a “kind and respected friend” from the vicinity of Grafton, Sullivan county, New Hampshire who is identified only by the name of “Jennie.” There envelope that was sold with this letter does not belong with the letter.


Washington D. C.
July 16, 1863

Kind and respected friend,

I fear that you did not get the letter that I wrote to you last and so I will drop you a few lines tonight to let you know that I am as well as usual and that I received your letter safe. I was very much pleased to hear from you and to hear that you was well and having a gay time. I should like to pay you a visit. I see that you are away from home but as long as you can enjoy yourself it is as well off as you would be at home.

You say that Minerva Hastings ¹ is married. Yes, I heard of it soon after she got married by way of Oliver B. Buswell ² as I hear from him once in awhile but as you say, there is time enough for any person to get married after they get to be 25 or 30 years old. I know that I should not care about getting married so soon anyhow. You say that you saw my picture last winter and you think that I am partial because I did not let you have one but let me tell you that Marsella would not have got one if she hadn’t have come into camp there at Concord just as I had it taken and before I could get a chance to send it home. And let me say that I gave it to one that I am sorry that I gave it too for when I gave it to her, she promised to write to me and answer every letter that I wrote to her and I have written 4 or 5 to her and she has written 2 or 3 to me. And I had a letter from home a short time ago stating that she was keeping company with Charles Hammond and [if] she is a mind to keep company with a fellow who has always had the name of being the biggest villain and scoundrel in town, then let her go. I can tell you the truth and say that she has deceived and betrayed me and that [I] should rather the picture would be smashed than that she should have it and that from now until the day of judgment—if I should live so long—that I shall have nothing more to do with Mary M. Leavitt.³

And I will now say that if you wish for a picture from me, you will please write and let me know. Please forward me yours and you shall have mine as soon as I get paid off which will be in a few days now. I am not in a hospital now but I am in the 1st Battalion of the Invalid Corps and we are encamped on Meridian Hill about 50 rods from the hospital which I was in. We were ordered to Philadelphia to enforce the draft day before yesterday and we slept out in the open air and in the morning we found that we could not get transportation until Saturday and so the order was countermanded for the present and we were marched back to camp and I don’t know whether we shall go next Saturday or not.

The weather here is very bad. It has rained for over a week almost all the time. You say that you should like to be out here to go around and see what I have seen. I should be happy to take you around and let you see the Capitol and Patent Office and Post Office and the Treasury building—all of which are very nice ones.

I expect to sign the payrolls for 52 dollars today and I shall get it soon and then I will get some pictures taken and send you one. I want you to write to me as soon as you get this and write me all of the news and tell me whether you received the last letter that I wrote to you before this one. You say that I prefer to be called Frederic instead of Friend Henry. You may be assured that I shall call you Friend Jennie whether you call me Friend or not. I prefer to be called just what suits your ear the best. I can’t think of anymore to write now so I will close by asking you to write as soon as you get this and direct to 3rd Company, 1st Battalion Invalid Corps in care of Lieut. Woodbury, Washington D. C.

From your friend, — Frederick H. Howe

N. B. I remain your constant friend and well wisher.

¹ Mary Minerva Hastings (1843-1879) was the daughter of Samuel B. Hastings (1809-1868) and Phylura Leavitt (1818-1900). She married Jonathan Merrill (1841-1926) on 5 April 1863 at Grantham, Sullivan county, New Hampshire.

² Oliver Beal Buswell (1802-1892) was a farmer in Grantham, Sullivan county, New Hampshire.

³ Mary Marcella Leavitt (1845-1941) was the daughter of William Burnham Leavitt (1812-1895) and Frances B. Merrill (1817-1893) of Grantham, Sullivan county, New Hampshire. In May 1864, she married Oscar Fitzalon Buswell (1844-1916)—the son of Oliver Beal Buswell (footnote 2).


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