Hd. qrs. 11th Corps Athens – McMinn Co. Tenn
My dear Mother
I will have an opportunity to send a letter to Chattanooga by an officer we are to send there for Coffee & Sugar & Shoes for our troops. He will start at 11 tonight and now it is ten o’clock.
We have been listening to music from the 33d Mass Band. Gen. Sherman is in town and has been here (at Mr. Claige’s) where our Hd. qrs. are. We came to town yesterday. He came today and we gave up our Hd. qrs at the Hotel to him and have <Camped> here. Mr. Claige is a union man and his wife is very much of a lady. We took Supper & will take all our meals with them. They have plenty of Negro servants. He is the cashier of the Planters Bank of Tennessee – quite wealthy. Athens is a pleasant town. We may remain several days waiting orders from Gen. Grant.
I wrote you at Loudon on our way up and mailed the letter last Sunday at Knoxville. We hear by Gen. Sherman that Burnside moved out in pursuit of Longstreet after we left but with what result we do not know. The force under Foster at Cumberland Gap moved also upon Longstreet’s flanks and is said to have a portion of the Rebel Army in a tight place to use a phraze. I think we will move down to Charleston on the Hiwassee River soon. This will bring us 15 miles nearer Chattanooga. We wish to keep East Tennessee entirely clear of Rebels while we are here at any rate.
There are a great many Union people but I think they all wish to retain “the institution”.
We hope to get some mail this time. I read over your good long letter again today. We have got some leather here and are employing all the tools & shops making shoes. We got some salt also from a Rebel citizen and we can always find plenty of fresh beef & mutton.
I send with this a letter to Dellie and a long one to Ella.
This is “Secesh” paper. With much love to father. I will draw to a close. Imagine us in a large bed chamber – carpeted and elegantly furnished. Otis always has his camp cot but Capt. Stinson & I deign to sleep in beds such as we find. We brought along our robes which we are obliged to make serve as feather beds and Coverlids and all some times. When this campaign is over I hope to have a leave of absence at least to go & get some clothes at Louisville Ky.
The Lord deals kindly with us. May His blessing be upon you & all whom we love at home is my daily prayer.
Your Affectionate Son C. H. Howard
Charles Henry Howard, to his mother Eliza Otis Howard [Charles Henry Howard Collection]