Monday, October 24, 2011

Letters from the Front - Henry Abbott

Thursday, October 24, 1861
Lieutenant Henry Abbott wrote a letter to his mother to reassure her that both he and his sister Caroline's fiance, Lieutenant George Perry, were not wounded at Ball's Bluff. He continued by reassuring her of his belief that George would be returned home from prison quickly:
I have written several letters already to notify the family of my whereabouts & George's, because I knew you would be so anxious ... The telegraph of course has, before this, assured [you] of my safety. George is equally safe as far as wounds go, but is undoubtedly a prisoner with the col., major, adjutant & Dr. [Edward] Revere. He will be well treated & released on paroll not to engage again in the war, which will bring him home much quicker than any thing else...
Abbott bemoaned the fate of Colonel Lee, the regimental commander captured at Ball's Bluff, “It is the col. we grieve for … All we want now is another fight to avenge his capture …”

Abbott finished the letter by expressing his concern and grief for his decimated regiment, ending with a note of optimism:
Now all I have to do is to tell you about the dead & wounded, which [is] so awful melancholy because we got licked in that infernal slaughter pen instead of whipping the scoundrels. Of the 315 men we took in ... nearly one half escaped to this side. We brought out one half [of] our company, but amongst the killed were 3 of the noblest fellows that were ever born, men that we love. However, we are cheerful as we ought to be, of course, that it was no worse…1

1Robert Garth Scott, editor, Fallen Leaves: The Civil War Letters of Major Henry Livermore Abbott (Kent, Ohio: The Kent State University Press, 1991), 66-69.

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