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4th Vermont Infantry

The Henry B. Atherton Collection

Camp Holbrook, Brattleboro, Vt., 15 Sept., 1861

To: Mrs. Abbie L. Atherton, Cavendish, Vt.

From: Captain Henry B. Atherton

My Dear Wife: your telegram was received this afternoon and answered immediately. Adjutant Stoughton who handed it to me at the same time assured me that we should not leave for a week or ten days at least. As you are doubtless aware we have previously received orders to leave immediately much to the Col's astonishment and disgust. I believe and hope we shall not do so, and as soon as I ascertain anything for a certainty, I will let you know. I have not had a moment's time nor did I leave the ground at all since I came till a little while this afternoon. Yesterday I was officer of the day and was in command of the post, while the field officers were off the ground till the Chelsea and Bennington companies came last night. Last night I went the "grand rounds" after midnight and in fact have slept but little since I came. I have very good fare and am quite comfortable in my tent. Am feeling quite well, only tired and sleepy. Captain Tuttle has just made me a call. If we do stay as I expect we shall during the week, I shall come up without fail and bid you all goodbye. Things are different here from what they were at St. Johnsbury. We are engaged every moment at present, dealing out hats, blankets, guns, etc. to the men, so it is almost impossible to leave the grounds and the Colonel is very strict. So if you should come down to stop with strangers or at a hotel, you would find it anything but pleasant. If you had friends in thetown it would perhaps be different.

There are a thousand rumors afloat in camp about our leaving tomorrow, etc. but I believe from what I told you that the Colonel has no intention of leaving at present until we can get regulated, equipped, paid off mustered in. If Jenny S. & Mrs. Tracy should be coming however, or if you should hear certain news of such a nature as should make you think we must leave without my being able to come up and you are certain of our being here when you arrive, come if you think it desirable under the circumstances. I want very much to see you and mother and all again before we go. I thought this morning I should not be able to, but now think I can come up and stay overnight at least before we leave. I will let you know as soon as I have any certain news to impart. It is a beautiful night. A bugler nearby is playing Annie Laurie. The camp is alive with men, singing, visiting, etc. Joe Spafford is writing to his folks by my light (a tallow candle with a piece of paper for a stick) and everything seems new and strange. I wish I were withyou. Good night. Your affectionate husband, -- Henry. Give my love to mother and all.

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