1863: Henry S. Olney to Colonel Edwin Metcalf

The following letter was written by Henry S. Olney (1831-1907), a 2nd Lieutenant in Co. G, 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery from February 1862 to August 1862, six months and 5 days, serving as the regimental quartermaster. When this letter was written in November 1863, Henry had been discharged from the service for 15 months and was working as a manufacturer in South Scituate, Providence county, Rhode Island.

Henry was the son of Amos Atwell Olney and Elizabeth Williams. He wrote the letter to Col. Edwin Metcalf of the 3rd Rhode Island Heavy Artillery. At the time of this letter, the 3rd Rhode Island Heavies were still stationed on Morris and Folly Islands near Charleston, South Carolina.

[Note: This letter is from the private collection of Greg Herr and was transcribed and published on Spared & Shared by express consent.]


South Scituate
November 15th 1863

Dear Col.,

Yours of the 1st ult. received night before last. If you had borne in mind that the subscriber lived at South Scituate instead of North, I should have received it two or three days earlier. I receipted for all the ordnance furnished the 11th after it left Rhode Island and accounted for it in my returns and I will send you a certificate to that effect though I I wish you had sent the form.

I have never got a certificate from the auditor yet so that I could get my last two months pay though I paid my proportion of Parkhurst expenses to W. to attend to getting all the accounts audited and he came back and said they are all right and that I should get it in a few days.

I suppose you will. know that Gov. Sprague was married Thursday in Washington before you receive this. That is all the news of much importance just now. People are holding their breath expecting great news from Meade & Grant but Charleston has got to be an old story and the opinion is that you won’t take it this winter.

I saw Lt. Col. [Charles R.] Brayton a few minutes when he first arrived home and I saw Day in the street with some ladies but did not get a chance to speak to him. How came he to resign?

There is a Sergeant [James W.] Slocum in Co. L of your regiment who is from this town. He was pretty well posted in the drill before he went to South Carolina and has written me once or twice to try and get him promoted. I wish if you can you would give him a lift. He is a pretty good fellow & more deserving of shoulder strop than many that wear them. If you don’t want him there, please recommend him for the 14th [Corps]. Some of the 11th [Corps] are going out in the 14th & some in the 3rd Cavalry.

Thomas, I see, has a 1st Lieutenancy—this is wonderful, isn’t it. I should have thought Parkhurst would have kept him out. I was sorry I could not have seen you and had a long talk when you were North & intended to have done so but I was starting the old mill & did not have much time to stay in town. Write me again sometime. Please remember me to Brayton. Tell [him] he owes me a letter.

Yours, — H. S. Olney

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