1861: Henrietta to James True Bradbury

How Hattie might have looked

How Hattie might have looked

This letter was written by a young school-age girl named Henrietta (or “Hattie”) from Machias, Washington County, Maine. I have narrowed her identity down to either Henrietta Malvina Dorman, born December 1844, or Henrietta Manning (born 1845). My hunch would be the latter. Henrietta Dormer was the daughter of Enoch H. Dorman (1816-1851) and Lydia Jane Clark (1822-1881) though she is enumerated with her sisters in the Stephen Longfellow household. Henrietta Manning was the daughter of William Holmes Manning (1803-1884) and Ruth Ann Gilbert (1810-1876). She married Nathan G. Smith (1846-Aft1910) in 1866.

Henrietta wrote the letter to her friend, James True Bradbury (1841-1863), the son of Wyer Bradbury (1814-1882) and Eliza Webber (1810-1893). James enlisted on 15 July 1861 as a private in Company C, 6th Maine Infantry. He was killed in the Battle of Rappahannock Station on 7 November 1863. [See 1861-63: James True Bradbury to Family]

Henrietta has enclosed a second letter in the same envelope addressed to another soldier named Jimmy who most likely in the same unit as James Bradbury but I could not make out the name which appears to start with an “N.”

A Union infantryman bayonets a Confederate colorbearer as savage fighting engulfs the Confederate defenses at Rappahannock Station, Va. well after sunset on Saturday, Nov. 7, 1863. The 6th Maine Infantry Regiment struck the breastworks beyond where the artist later stood to sketch this drawing.

A Union infantryman bayonets a Confederate colorbearer as savage fighting engulfs the Confederate defenses at Rappahannock Station, Va. well after sunset on Saturday, Nov. 7, 1863. The 6th Maine Infantry Regiment struck the breastworks beyond where the artist later stood to sketch this drawing.

1861 Envelope

1861 Envelope

TRANSCRIPTION
Addressed to Mr. James Bradbury, Company A [should be C], Ft. Sullivan, Eastport, Maine
Care of Capt. Harris

[June 18, 1861]

Friend James,

Capt. Benjamin Harris

At age 29 Benjamin Harris, a lumberman from Machias, raised company C of the 6th Maine Infantry, and commanded it as captain. He was promoted to Major of the Regiment March 10, 1862, and Lieutenant Colonel March 9, 1863. Col Harris was wounded in the leg at the Battle of Rappahannock Station on November 7, 1863. He was discharged for disability on July 19, 1864. He was born in Dennysville, and died in Machias December 30, 1895.

Your kind & welcome letter reached me Tuesday & having a few leisure moments this morning, hasten to answer it. Was glad to hear you liked a soldier’s life but I guess you are having the easiest time now so you don’t know what it is yet.

Well James, guess you will be sorry to hear that we had no Division Thursday night our “Worthy Patriarch” was absent & then was no one else to fill his place. Hope there will be one this week.

I guess by the way you compliment the Eastport girls that you have not seen them all for there are some girls down there as handsome as the girls here. But then you know Machias is noted for its “handsome girls.”

Nellie & Dora send their “best respects” to you. Jennie went to Mill bridge very unexpectedly last week & I have to set alone & it is so lonesome. I shall be glad when she gets home.

It was quite lively here last week. The County Conference met here & there was quite a large number of strangers in town. It made Machias look quite natural.

Well it is almost time for my class to recite & Ellis A. Lawrence, Esq., ¹ is looking this way with all the eyes he is possession of (which I believe is two) & I must close. Give my love to all my friends and acquaintances reserving a share for yourself & tell them all to write.

Excuse this scribbling for you know I never was “over & above” an extra writer and answer soon & you will oblige. — Henrietta

P.S. Please give enclosed to N___ [?]

Machias [Maine]
June 18th 1861

Friend Jimmie,

I am glad you have not forgotten me, but had almost come to the conclusion you had. You have a great many friends you have left behind you as most of them have, & of course we felt sad to have you go and miss you now. But I think every man should be ready at a moment’s warning to march in his Country’s cause. I am proud to think we had such a number of brave young gentlemen in Machias. “Tis not party now, but Union is the word.” I hope God will prosper you all and bring you all home safe. But if we should never meet on earth again, may we all meet in Heaven where we shall never part again.

I should like to have you write often if you would like to. I kind of think sometimes Henry don’t like to write to me. Write a long letter next time. From your friend, — Hattie


¹ Ellis Andrews Lawrence (b. 1836) was the son of Larkin G. Lawrence and Sarah Andrews. He attended Washington Academy in East Machias, Maine and taught school in 1861-62. He later attended Amherst College.

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