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4th Vermont Infantry

Personal Papers
The Henry B. Atherton Collection

696 Elm Street, Manchester, NH, 18 Nov., 1885

To: Captain Henry B. Atherton, Nashua, NH

From: George L. Bates [on the matter of brother, Henry D. Bates' widow pension]

Captain H. B. Atherton, Dear sir: My brother Henry died in West Fairlee, Vt.

23 Aug., [1885] after a long illness. He was confined to his room but three days and although he had not spoken a loud word since last February, he cared for one horse, one cow, and tended two gardens all summer. I was sent for and reached him a few hours before he died. Being my eldest brother, we had been much together until war separated us; and he was very dear to me. He left a wife and son. The wife is very low with consumption and her friends are anxious to get a pension. I send you a portion of General G. A. Davis' letter to me showing what is wanted of you.

Henry was taken with the Measles late in the Fall of 1861 while we lay in our first Camp Griffin and I cared for him and seven others in a company tent as no regimental hospital had been started yet, you will recall. After he was able to be around he was kept in the company but did no duty and soon after moving onto higher ground, he was taken with Typhoid Fever and sent to the Regimental Hospital which had been started in the meantime; and as I had been detached as nurse I cared for him through the Fall a short time. Before the move was made on to Manassas he, with others, was sent to Georgetown and in a few days to Philadelphia where he came near dying with pneumonia. He was kept there until the Fall of 1862 and when the time came that he was thought able for field duty, he got transferred to the Regimental Cavalry and served out his enlistment and then he reenlisted and severed out that. You will see what Mr. Davis wants you to say and I enclose a stamp, hoping you will do this as soon as possible and send to me with Mr. Davis' letter which I send you.

How plain all the old army life seems to me in my mind just now. How sad it is now that so many of the men that took part in it are being "mustered out" for a different place. I am glad that I lived in those times and that I bore a little part in freeing the Slaves and saving the Union. --With respect, G. L. Bates.

696 Elm Street, Manchester, NH, 28 Nov., 1885

To: Captain Henry B. Atherton, Nashua, NH

From: G. L. Bates

Captain Atherton, Dear sir: I sent you a letter enclosing stamp and part of a letter from G. A. Davis of Windsor, Vt. some two weeks since asking you to make an affidavit of my brother Henry's sickness at "Camp Griffin" in winter of 61-62. Not hearing from you I fear you may not have received it. I went over the principal facts in the case as of course it would not be remembered so well by you as by myself, but as he first was taken with the Measles and cared for in the Company, I thought likely you would recall the principal facts. Henry was unwell for so long a time that his wife and child are left in destitute circumstances and besides she is sick with consumption and cannot live long. We want to get a pension for her and the boy. I know it will be a hard case, but it seems that after looking over his service --six years in all, taking part in Stoneman's Kilpatrick's and Sheridan's raids and being in over thirty (30) of the leading battles and above all, going in so young and having such a year of sickness as he had the first year, that it would be plain to them as it is to me that no one could go through all this and come out a well man. Henry was proud and as he was not wounded he did not like to apply for a pension and too, he always seemed to think he was going to be better until near the last. If General Torbert, Sheridan's Chief of Staff in the Shenandoah was alive he would help much as Henry was his Orderly for two years and he treated him more as a friend than as a soldier under him, but he is dead and I cannot find but one man in his company "Co. "M" 1st U. S. C. that was in it when Henry was discharged at Fort Lyon, Idaho Territory in 1868.

When I commence to write about my brother Henry, I hardly know where to stop.

Did you get my letter and if so, will you make an affidavit of what you recall and send to me with Davis' letter as soon as possible? I have received a line from Dr. Allen of White River Junction. Poor old man. I was intimate with his son Sam while in the 4th, and never would have expected he would commit murder, but whiskey did it. Respectfully, -G. L. Bates.

[Note: Henry completed the affidavit for Mr. Bates' widow. She applied for her pension 6 Nov., 1885, and was approved. She died in 1891. The only child of Henry D. Bates was "Dearborn Bates." After the death of his mother, his guardian applied for a "Minor" pension for him 24 Aug., 1891. These two letters are very important and show how caring the two brothers were for each other. They plainly whow how the sacrifice of war, its hardships and its aftermath, remained with a family throughout their lives. I am very glad that Henry Atherton saved these two letters and we can include them here. --L. M. Welch]

These letters and documents are from the Henry B. Atherton Collection, contributed by Linda M. Welch, genealogist and historian of southern Windsor County, Vermont towns. She has many more of these letters and is planning to publish a book in the near future which will include them all."