The Civil War Letters of Henry A. Allen

August 2, 1864

An episode of The Civil War Letters of Henry A. Allen

By Keith Harris

Brought to you by The Rogue Historian.


The Civil War Letters of Henry A. Allen, Captain, Company A, 9th Virginia Regiment. Allen was captured at Gettysburg on July 3rd, 1863. These are the letters written to his wife while held in Union prisons between 1863 and 1865. Allen would survive the war and later join a group of Confederate veterans known as the Immortal 600.

Henry A. Allen's private correspondence is housed at the Albert and Shirley Small

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Final Thoughts on the Letters of Henry A. Allen
Allen returned home and resumed his work as a brick mason, contractor, and builder and lived out the remainder of his life in Portsmouth. He died on July 7, 1912 and is buried in the Cedar Grove Cemetery in Portsmouth, Virginia. 
01:38
April 25, 2019
May 6, May 16, May 23, May 26 1865
I hope this is my last letter to you while a prisoner as the news is that the order for our release is at this post how true it is I am not able to say...
06:15
April 24, 2019
April 25, April 28, May 4 1865
...we now have no possible hope for the success of our cause.
05:39
April 23, 2019
April 13, 1865
 We have indeed met with sad reverses within the last three weeks but I am not as yet hopeless and still trust something good may turn up...
02:07
January 26, 2019
April 10, 1865
Since we have been here we have heard nothing but bad news this morning it is reported that Genl Lee has surrendered with his whole army bad news for our cause if true...
02:13
January 25, 2019
April 6, 1865
No doubt you have heard ere this of the evacuation of Richmond. Rather sad news but I am willing and satisfied if our authorities think it best no doubt...
01:57
January 24, 2019
April 2, 1865
Poor little Ida I can almost see her crying now...
02:29
January 23, 2019
March 22, 1865
I was much surprised to find Ida so very different from what I expected so soft and easy in her manners when I thought she would be wild and noisy as when I left her they are both sweet children and both pretty and I trust we may both live to be proud of them at a future day...
02:18
January 4, 2019
March 14, 1865
At any rate I had the pleasure of seeing my dear wife & children and feel very thankful after being separated so long it is time I had but a short time to remain with you but it was a source of great gratification to find you and the little ones in such good health...
01:49
January 3, 2019
February 14, 1865
Since I wrote you last I have been quite sick confined to my bunk for ten or twelve days. I am now getting along pretty well my eyesight gets no better I have given up reading cannot read my bible.
02:05
January 2, 2019
December 25, 1864
 I know you will think of the absent me while eating the Christmas dinner I have nothing but dry bread for mine.
02:30
December 31, 2018
November 27, 1864
Ah: how I would like to see all of you if but for a few moments 2 ½ years since we parted well do I remember that day. How much longer it will be but one knows.
01:56
December 30, 2018
November 21, 1864
A good many sick & wounded are being exchanged there is some talk of our following soon doubtful I expect...
02:39
December 11, 2018
October 25, 1864
We are in very comfortable quarters although rather cool at this time for a southern clime...
01:56
October 3, 2018
October 16, 1864
There is a rumor that we will leave here shortly our destination Savannah Georgia merely rumor but do not let it stop you from answering this.
02:16
October 2, 2018
October 12, 1864
Sarah Allen's Loyalty Oath...no kidding.
01:31
July 19, 2018
September 9, 1864
Six hundred of us left Delaware on the 20th last month and landed at this place...
02:14
July 18, 2018
August 29, 1864
I have been quite sick since being here having had another attack of rush of blood to the head but I am better at this time...
01:29
July 17, 2018
August 20, 1864
I leave immediately for South Carolina whence ‘tis thought we will be exchanged...
01:05
July 16, 2018
August 18, 1864
How are my little darlings tell them I look at them every day and wish I could see them...
01:51
June 29, 2018
August 12, 1864
Dear Sarah I expect we are again to change our prison home as we have a rumor here that some of us will leave tomorrow for Charleston SC...
02:01
June 28, 2018
August 10, 1864
Dear Sarah try and arrange it with some of my friends so as to send me something I do not care what it is...
01:37
May 1, 2018
August 4, 1864
None of my Portsmouth friends answer my letters regularly...
01:58
April 30, 2018
August 2, 1864
I have often thought if he has forgotten who buried his poor mother when the yellow fever was there in 55 and he, dutiful son, had left the place...
01:54
April 27, 2018
July 29, 1864
Would to the Lord it was in my power to assist you how much better could I bear my imprisonment if I could only know you and my dear children could have what you wished...
01:48
April 26, 2018
July 19, 1864
Mr. Handy is here with us and has been here for twelve months he looks quite venerable with his hair as long as a lady’s flowing down his back...
02:16
April 25, 2018
July 8, 1864
It is not pleasant to be engaged in battle but I would ten times rather take chances charging a battery of artillery than remain here...
01:55
April 24, 2018
July 6, 1864
Lucky I am not...
01:45
April 23, 2018
June 26, 1864
You will form the above see that I am again at my former prison
01:42
April 20, 2018
June 22, 1864
It is highly possible we will leave this place when I do not know but it is supposed very soon as they seem to be making preparations to take us somewhere...
02:07
April 19, 2018
June 20, 1864
If I only had the material I would have some necklaces made...
01:56
April 18, 2018
June 14, 1864
You say you are quite thin and not as large as when I left home. I should judge from the picture that you were larger by thirty pounds...
02:16
April 17, 2018
June 12, 1864
The shirts you sent me came in box also, for which I thank you kindly they fit well I have one on at this time...
02:06
April 16, 2018
June 3, 1864
It was indeed a pleasure to look upon the faces of the dear loved ones not seen for so long a time... 
02:01
April 13, 2018
June 1, 1864
Dear Sarah the pleasure it gives me to hear from you all and to know you are all enjoying the blessing of health...
02:24
April 12, 2018
May 22, 1864
As you say many a loving heart has been made sad many a fond wife will wait anxiously for the dear one who will never return, many the dear little ones who will be left father[le]ss by this civil war... 
02:05
April 11, 2018
May 21, 1864
Brother has been transferred to another Battery, and I am sorry to say has been badly wounded and had to have his leg taken off...
02:31
April 10, 2018
May 12, 1864
 I am truly glad to hear that Aunt Mary is getting better and trust she will regain her former good health...
01:58
April 9, 2018
May 5, 1864
Do you suppose I would much rather have the pleasure of looking at the faces of my dear wife & children than to have money when so many chances are against my ever seeing their dear faces again God only knows whether I shall ever be allowed that pleasure again...
02:39
April 6, 2018
April 15, 1864
Almost every letter conveys to me the intelligence of the death of some of our Portsmouth folks. it pains me much to hear of so much sickness there.
01:35
April 5, 2018
April 10, 1864
I was again pained to learn that the hand of death had visited Mollie’s family they have indeed been sorely afflicted Mother and Brother taken from them in so short a time...
02:10
April 4, 2018
April 2, 1864
Would that I could come to you all never to be parted again, but rather than come as some have I would sooner die and I know you feel as I do on that subject.
01:44
April 3, 2018
March 29, 1864
If I should be so fortunate as to be exchanged I hardly think I would be allowed time to send for you as it is very likely I should have to go to the army although it would be a great pleasure to see you all...
01:41
April 2, 2018
March 25, 1864
We moved last Tuesday evening and had a heavy snow storm that night which was not very comfortable. it is now raining and will end with quite a storm I think...
01:30
March 30, 2018
March 19, 1864
Three lots of officers and men have left here to be exchanged the last left on Thursday. I hope to be among the next...
01:51
March 29, 2018
March 8, 1864
I was very sorry to hear of the imprisonment of Mr. Bain & Uncle Joe...
02:14
March 28, 2018
March 1, 1864
May God in his infinite mercy bless my dear ones at home and spare us all to meet again...
02:07
March 27, 2018
February 23, 1864
I have been waiting very patiently for an answer to my letter and I assure you it was a source of much pleasure to me to get a letter from you...
01:46
March 26, 2018
February 14, 1864
You will no doubt as this reaches you have heard of the removal of some officers from Johnsons Island to this place...
01:43
March 23, 2018
February 3, 1864
I am sorry to learn that the small pox is in Portsmouth you must be careful with the children and do not let them run out...
01:23
March 22, 2018
January 27, 1864
I was truly sorry to hear of the death of Jordan. Many more will meet with the same fate. It is a hard life in any prison...
01:59
March 21, 2018
January 9, 1864
It has been rumored here that we would be sent to Pt. Lookout...
01:56
March 20, 2018
January 5, 1864
It was a sad christmas to us all dear Sarah but I trust the next will be better...
01:57
March 19, 2018
December 30, 1863
Would that I was in Richmond I would certainly send for you and my dear children and place you in some place more pleasant than where you are now...
02:05
March 16, 2018
December 24, 1863
Tomorrow is Christmas Day no doubt you will spend a lonely one...
01:42
March 15, 2018
December 15, 1863
Thanks to the good Lord I am enjoying good health and trust it may continue so...
02:11
March 14, 2018
December 5, 1863
I do not wish you to put yourself to any trouble...
01:33
March 13, 2018
December 2, 1863
I thought it best to pen you a few lines...
01:30
March 12, 2018
November 19, 1863
Thanks to the good Lord I am up again although not well...
02:19
March 9, 2018
October 27, 1863
I am much better than when I last wrote and will I trust soon be hearty again...
01:22
March 8, 2018
October 25, 1863
Yes to be with you and know that this cruel war is over...
02:37
March 7, 2018
October 23, 1863
I am at this time quite sick - suffering with sore throat, fever, and head ache...
02:21
March 6, 2018
October 14, 1863
I was indeed sorry to hear of your sickness...
02:07
March 5, 2018
September 29, 1863
No doubt dear Sallie, you think my letters are cold and formal...
02:12
March 2, 2018
September 23, 1863
I could not think eleven days had rolled around since I wrote you...
02:07
March 1, 2018
September 16, 1863
You will not be able to remain in Richmond, I do not think...
01:44
February 28, 2018
September 9, 1863
You speak of passing through many trials...
02:35
February 27, 2018
September 1, 1863
Would that I could meet you there...
02:20
February 26, 2018
August 29, 1863
It is indeed a dull and monotonous life we spend here.
02:14
February 23, 2018
August 20, 1863
Money does not last long here...
02:09
February 22, 2018
August 14, 1863
We would all rather be in Dixie
02:26
February 21, 2018
August 11, 1863
A discussion of letters and money.
01:51
February 20, 2018
August 4, 1863
The very first in the collection...discussing money.
02:44
February 19, 2018
Introducing Henry A. Allen
Let's get to know a little about the soldier and begin to think about what this set of letters can tell us about the war and the people of the Civil War era.
02:19
February 18, 2018
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