done anything to call forth the praise of such a plucky set of fellows as we have in our company.
June 18, 1863, just before the expiration of their term of service, he writes: ‘Won't we be a happy set of boys to get home again! . . . . It will seem good enough to throw off the Orderly
with a good kick into the bargain, and return once more to civilized life.’
But the days of their stay yet to come were the hardest of all: fever was rife; all his officers were sick; but Henry was at his post, trying, as he says, ‘to keep “chipper” myself, and to induce others about me to do so also.’
On his return home he too was prostrated by violent fever, but the early part of September saw him again at his business.
On September 17th he writes to his brother William that he has just seen Colonel Macy
, and has been offered a first-lieutenancy in the Twentieth Massachusetts.
The great question arises, am I really needed?
It is much pleasanter and more agreeable to one's feelings to hear the timid response no, and to try to think it a bold and sound answer.
I wish, as I suppose every timid man like myself does, that somebody else would give me a satisfactory answer; but of course no one wants to send me to the war again who cares for me or whom I care for; so here I am almost astrand. . . . . God only knows what a coward I am; but I have a great mind to go and accept the offer, for all that.
That noble Twentieth deserves to be kept up and alive with the best material our country has to offer, and I don't want to see it go down for want of good officers.
But here, again,—should I make a good officer?
You have told me very kindly what you thought, but I fear brotherly love gave that answer.
I suppose, as mother said one day when I hinted that I might return to the army, “That is a matter which must be between God and yourself, Henry.”
That unselfishness which, through his whole life, had made him sacrifice his own pleasure in minor things, now enabled him to sacrifice it in the greatest.
He gave freely home, business prospects (for he was so situated that he was compelled to sever permanently his connection with his firm), the