A Guide to the Henry Howland Letter, 1862 Howland, Henry Letter Ms1991-016

A Guide to the Henry Howland Letter, 1862

A Collection in
Special Collections
Collection Number Ms1991-016


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© 2008 By Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. All rights reserved.

Processed by: John M. Jackson, Special Collections Staff

Repository
Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Va.
Collection Number
Ms1991-016
Title
Henry Howland Letter 1862
Physical Characteristics
1 container; 0.1 cu. ft.
Language
English
Abstract
Civil War letter of Henry Howland, quartermaster of the 51st Illinois Infantry, to his mother in Chicago.

Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Henry Howland Letter must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Preferred Citation

Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Henry Howland Letter, Ms1991-016 - Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Acquisition Information

The Henry Howland Letter was purchased by Special Collections in 1991, under the title "Mississippi River Letter." With new information regarding the author's identity, the item was renamed the Henry Howland Letter at the time of processing.

Processing Information

The processing and description of the Henry Howland Letter commenced and was completed in August 2008.


Biographical Information

Henry Howland, the son of William Avery and Hannah Morton Howland, was born in Conway, Massachusetts, on March 20, 1827. A carpenter, Howland moved to Chicago in 1854 and worked in the lumber industry. He married Jane Elizabeth "Eliza" Gray in 1856; the couple would eventually have three children: Allen, Grace and George.

In September 1861, Howland joined the 51st Illinois and was commissioned the regiment's quartermaster. He left Chicago with the regiment on February 14, 1862. By the end of the war, Howland was a captain, serving as quartermaster for the Union Army's Department of Kentucky. His military service ended on January 19, 1867.

Howland returned to the lumber industry, then engaged in a short-lived mining operation in Leadville, Colorado. Howland apparently left Leadville around 1881 and fell into what his obituary described as "unsettled habits." He seems to have moved frequently, occasionally working for various Chicago businesses while his wife returned to live with her parents. In April 1883, Howland traveled from Buffalo to Rochester, New York on business for the National Blue Book of the shoe and leather trade of Chicago. Howland drowned in a canal there on May 6. He was buried in Chicago's Rosehill Cemetery.

Scope and Content

This collection contains a letter written by Henry Howland, quartermaster for the 51st Illinois Infantry while aboard the the steamer D. G. Taylor on the Mississippi River. Writing on April 17, 1862 to his mother in Chicago, Howland makes general comments about his health, then notes that his regiment had captured 5,000 Confederates near Tiptonville, Tennessee. He then describes General Paine as "a most excellent man and a very fine officer," notes his division's position, and describes the fleet on which the troops embarked to journey southward on the Mississippi from New Madrid, Missouri. The army, Howland writes, is under orders to "proceed up the Tennessee to aid our troops at Pittsburg." He anticipates a journey of three to four days, followed by "one of the hardest fought battles that has yet been fought," and expresses his readiness to die in battle. He then relates a few anecdotes about his young son, including one in which the boy prayed, "Please God send some big Bears to eat the Rebels up." Howland concludes by stating the hopelessness of receiving a furlough and the likelihood of a lengthy war.

Index Terms

    Subjects:

  • Civil War
  • United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865

Adjunct Descriptive Data

Bibliography

"Col. Henry Howland" Chicago Daily Tribune, May 8, 1883.
Fitch, John, Annals of the Army of the Cumberland (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1864).

Bibliography

"Col. Henry Howland" Chicago Daily Tribune, May 8, 1883.
Fitch, John, Annals of the Army of the Cumberland (Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott, 1864).

Contents List

Folder 1
Letter 1862