1862: William Henry Brink to his Uncle

A young, unidentified member of the 46th Ohio appears ready for action. (Carl Fogarty Collection)

The following letter was written by 18 year-old William “Henry” Brink (1843-1920), the son of Calvin B. Brink (1820-1880) and Cornelia Caroline Butts (1823-1903) of Rome, Athens county, Ohio. The family moved to Coatsville, Adams county, Ohio in the 1850s. After the war, Henry married Sarah Amanda Weaver (1854-1938).

Henry enlisted in Co. B, 46th Ohio Infantry on 5 October 1861 and was with the regiment throughout the entire war, mustering out in July 1865 at Louisville, Kentucky. The regiment was organized at Camp Chase in Ohio but were ordered to Paducah, Kentucky, in mid-February 1862, and then taken to Savannah, Tennessee, where they went on an expedition to Yellow Creek, Mississippi, and then to Pittsburg Landing where they took part in the Battle of Shiloh. Following that, they marched on Corinth with Halleck’s army throughout the month of May when this letter was written.


U.S. Camp No. 7
May the 24th 1862

Dear Uncle,

I take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well at present and hope that these few lines will find you all the same. We received our pay last week and I sent 15 dollars home. I will send the receipt to you and you can go to the same place when you want for the money.

We have not had any battle since the Battle of Pittsburg [Landing]. There has been skirmishing and I have had the chance to try my gun by myself. We are but a short distance from Corinth where we expect a hard fight. The pickets have been skirmishing five days when we came here on the 21st and put up breastworks. We worked until nearly twelve o’clock at night throwing dirt. We will move tomorrow half a mile farther and throw up some more works. There is a great many men here and our works are 17 miles long and still making them longer. There is five siege guns right close to us. They are 24 pounders and other things called a mortar ( 4 pound shells).

“We cut all the trees down as we go along and tear all the houses down and take the boards to sleep on.”

—Henry Brink, Co. B, 46th Ohio Infantry, 24 May 1862

I have written to John Walton two weeks ago today. Tell him to write. I have not had any letter for a long time. Everything looks very well here. It is a very pretty country. The apples are more than half grown as plenty of them and peaches too. But we cut all the trees down as we go along and tear all the houses down and take the boards to sleep on.

It rained very hard last night and we just had to stay out in it for we had no tents to sleep in and have not had for a month. But I must not tell you all until I get home. Write soon. Tell me how all the folks is a getting along. Tell our folks that I am well. I send my best respects to all enquiring friends—if I have any. Excuse this scribbling for it was a very bad pen. No more at present.

— Henry Brink

to Lewis Walton

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