Pennsylvania 62nd Infantry Regiment

John Henderson's Letter Home

John Henderson

In October 1863, John Henderson of Company D completed a letter to his youngest brother, Joseph Henry Henderson, my great grandfather, who was living at home, too young to go to war. John explained that because he had almost run out of paper, he was writing in two different directions (he calls it cross writing). If that made it difficult for his brother to read, is only barely legible hundred and fifty years later. The letter was discovered more than a quarter of a century ago in an old recipe box in the kitchen of the house where, generations later, the Henderson family still lived. I am very grateful to my cousin Ron Henderson for salvaging the letter and sharing the images of it with me, which I now share with you: front and back.

This is my best transcription of the letter:

Dear Brother

I received your letters a day or two ago and now ... myself to answer them. ...paper but what I ...make the ... both of you ,,, would first say here that ... ought not to ...

a light cold but I am getting better of it. We had considerable of marching to do since I wrote to you last. We broke camp on Thursday two weeks ago and our Corps went to Raccoon Ford on the Rapidan River and stayed around there most all day and then towards night we returned to our old camp but had orders not put up our own tents as we would march again in a short time ... and got what rest and sleep we could for time[?] allowed that we some hard marching. We were aroused [?] about 3 o'clock get some breakfast and started the march about daylight. This was the first indication[?] we were going to fall back

we had but an easy day's march this day and crossed the Rhapahannock River some time before dark. Then the next day we had to cross back again and follow up the Cavalry that was fighting the Rebs Cavalry, we went out as far as Brandy Station and stayed out there until about ? oclock that night. we marched back and crossed the river a short time before daylight. then that day we marched back to ... We stopped for the night the day we marched all day and ... all night and camped about 3 o'clock in the morning about 1/2 [or 12] mile from Centerville. We got shelled some in the afternoon by the Rebs but no one of us ... hurt. The next day we marched to Fairfax stayed there that night

and marc-hed back to Centerville stayed there a day and then marched back to Fairfax

Oct 26th
I did and got this letter and mailed the evening I wrote it. for the Bugle sounded the Pack up called about the time I got it done and then we had to fall in and march about five miles that night, then there was no mail went out yesterday. We are now camped in the woods and have some prosp-ects of remaining in camp for some time and I hope we may for I am tired of march back. When you write again I want you to send me the directions Ballow's Dollar Monthly. excuse this cross writing for this is all the paper I have and no more can be got until the sutlers come up. write love to yourself.
Brother John

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This page authored and maintained by John R. Henderson (jhenderson @ icyousee . org), Lodi, NY.
Last modified: 1 June 2014
URL: http://www.icyousee/pa62d/letterhome.html