Leland, Henry S.
Age: 20, credited to Arlington, VTVITALS
Birth: 10/21/1843, Windsor County, VTADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Alias?: None notedDESCENDANTS
West Athens Cemetery, Athens, VT
Check the cemetery for location/directions
and other veterans who may be buried there.
Headquarters 1st Vt. Battery
Mar 11th 1864
I will try and fulfill my promise of writing to you and let you know where I am, doubtless you have heard long before this of my coming down here. I thought of going into the 3rd Regt. with Levi. But just before I went to Brattleboro & we mustered in Levi wrote home he thought he should not reenlist and I thought if he did not I should not be with him long. So I chose this Battery and I am not sorry when that I came here. It is much easier than the Infantry Service. As on a march we all ride and our knap-sacks are carried for us. We have six guns now before we came there were but four. (before the new men came.) The right and left Sections are steel pieces, 6 lbs, rifled. The center Section are two brass pieces 12 lbs. The teams we have drew since the new men came out, I am in the Center Section, on Gun No. 3, am a Cannoneer, as I don't like a horse well enough to be a rider. We have four horses to a gun & six on the Caisson. Most of our horses are grey, and splendid ones too. It is called by all the troops about here, "The Grey horse Bat." Cannoneers have nothing to do with horses & riders nothing to do with the guns.
We left Brattleboro Jan 28th got to New Orleans Feb 9th. We staid in N.O. till the 13th then came up to Brashear City where the Bat. were Stationed. - we left there and came up here, 28 miles west of B. last week Thursday. How long we shall stay here I don't know. Our Capt. was appointed Chief of Artillery of our Division a few days ago and so will do with us as he pleases as he controls all the Art. in the Div. By what I see going on I think there is a large expedition fitting up here. To start soon up towards red river and into Texas. But I think it doubtful if we go, as I think the Capt. will keep us here. All the old men in the Bat go home the 1st of June this time being out then, none have reenlisted. Most of the Officers will go to. We number all told about 125 effective men able to do duty. I don't know what they will do with us when the others leave. If the Officers all go we will shall loose our organization, and there is some talk of the whole Bat. going home & reorganize & recruit up again. What are they going to do about the draft, will they have to enforce one? Everything looks encouraging in this Dept. now. The Spring Campaign is going to give the Rebs a hard one. This State has reorganized a Free State Gov. and is coming back into the Union all right, and I think it is but the first of others that will follow. Everyone that I have seen and talked with citizens and residents here express the opinion that the Confederacy is fast caving in. We have a splendid camp ground here. The land is higher here than most of what I have seen in La. And the most beautiful farming country I have ever seen. The water is rather poor, grass is up quite high now, peaches are out of the bloom, trees most leaved out, when it rains hard one day mud will be so deep & sticky that you can carry a small farm round on your Boots. Let the sun come out the next day and by night it will be baked as hard as a brick almost. I have seen corn-stalks twice as tall as I am. The corn is quite short-ears and very large around they never husk it. Use it mostly to feed to mules, and give it husks and all. Most all farm work is done by mule teams.
On the Miss. River are some plantations two or three miles long and none lay more than four feet above the level of the stream. Levees are built up to keep the water from overflowing. This is below N.O. City. I don't know how it is above the city but all say it is much better than below. But it looks handsome enough below the city. They were (plowing?) on most all of the plantations. A great many are worked by the Gov. and some gone to ruin. The owners left for parts unknown or in the Rebel Army. From N.O. west to Brashear, a distance of 80 miles are Thousands of acres just enough under water to prevent cultivation, low swampy land. The railroads for miles are built on tressle (sic) work. The wood here is mostly cypress and gum wood, some live oak and now and then a white maple. The way property is destroyed is a caution. At Brashear our Bat. tore down two Splendid brick Sugar mills, Slate roof, to get to the boards to the floors, to build us barracks and timber bunks of, and the bricks to make fireplaces. Since we came here we totally demolished a large wooden house near our camp ground. Three others with myself went in for our Share of the plunder, and got enough to put us up a snug little frame building about ten feet square, got a board roof & a door and are housekeeping on a large scale. We know how to confiscate anything that comes our way. Put in a five-fingered requisition for what we want and can't get at the commissary.
My health has been excellent. I am getting fat as a pig. As our mail goes out very soon, I must finish in order to get this in, write soon. Love to all and a kiss for little Freddie. Your aff. Brother
H. S. Leland
Direct to the 1st Vt. Battery New Orleans, La.
Transcribed 25 Feb 1999 by Ron Foster, Columbus, MS.
Letter written to Joseph Willard Leland by his brother, Henry S. Leland. Henry was 21 years old and he died of disease 8 months after this letter. The Freddie mentioned is Joseph Willard's new child, my grandfather, Fred A. Leland. Levi is also Henry's brother.
Ron has also contributed correspondence written by Henry's brother, Levi P. Leland.