1862: Henry P. Corse to Lodusky Corse

Henry P. Corse (1865) Vermont Historical Society

This letter was written by Henry P. Corse (1832-1865), the son of Gad Corse (1799-1869) and Lucetta A. Morey (1807-1886) of Cambridge, Lamoille County, Vermont. He wrote the letter to his younger sister, Lodusky L. Corse (1846-1925). Also mentioned were his brothers Deforest Dillion (“Dill”) Corse (1834-1873) and Rodney V. Corse (1829-1905) and his sister Mary “Jane” (Corse) Steinhour (b. 1838) and her 4 year-old son “Willie” Steinhour (1858-1925). Henry’s brother, Rodney, served in Co. B, 4th Vermont Infantry.

Before the war, Henry was married in 1853 to Helen A. Kenneston (1833-1861). She died in 1861, however, as did their daughter Harriet (1854-1860).

When this letter was written, Henry was serving in Co. G of the 2nd Vermont Infantry. The 2nd Vermont was part of the 1st Vermont Brigade led by Brig. Gen. Wm. T. H. Brooks. That brigade also included the 4th Vermont in which Henry’s brother Rodney served. The brigade had just participated in McClellan’s Peninsula Campaign and suffered heavy losses at Williamsburg and Savage’s Station. Henry datelines his letter “Camp in the Field” but near the end of the letter he instructs his family to send a box to Harrison’s Landing on the James River so we can assume Henry was his regiment.

Henry remained with the 2nd Vermont until he was “discharged for disability” on 8 March 1863. But three months later he enlisted in Battery L, 1st Vermont Heavy Artillery (also known as the 11th Vermont Infantry), receiving promotions to sergeant (Battery C) and a commission as 2d Lieutenant (Battery D — other sources say Battery B in error, I believe) before his death from disease in July 1865 at Fort Washington. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery (Grave #B/3127). A fellow officer (Charles G. Gould) who knew Henry in the Heavy Artillery claimed that he was in “good health and habits” and that he faithfully discharged his duties until he was stricken suddenly with an “apoplectic fit” at noon on 28 July 1865 while on duty at Fort Washington and died a few hours later.

When Corse’s mother attempted to file for a “Mother’s Pension” after Henry’s death, she was denied on the basis that a “Widow’s Pension” had already been filed. It seems that Henry and Asenath A. Warner of Nashua, New Hampshire, had been married on 1 January 1865 at St. Johnsbury, Caledonia County, Vermont. It is unclear whether Henry’s mother knew of the marriage previously. Asenath was awarded a pension of $15 per month.

Addressed to Miss Lodusky Corse, Jeffersonville, Vermont

Camp in the Field
July 25th 1862

Dear Sister,

It is with pleasure that I write these few lines. I have just received your kind letter and was glad to hear from you but am sorry to hear of Father’s ill health. Tell him to lay still and let Dill do the work and I will try and help him. My health is very poor. I am not fit for duty and have not been for a long time. Rodney is better that he has been but not so far as to do anything yet.

You said that you would send Hellen my picture if I would send another one to you. In the first place, I have lost yours and all of your letters that I have received since last fall and I feel bad about it. Now if you will send me yours, I will send you mine in a locket as soon as I can get it taken. I had kept yours very choice and now it is gone. I miss it much and I want you to send me another one and have it taken up in style. I would like to get Willie’s but Jane don’t seem to want I should have it. I want yours and I think that Hellen will send me hers.

Brig. Gen. Wm. T. H. Brooks

I was talking with Rodney yesterday about having Father and Dill send us out a 100 lbs. of sugar. We could sell it for one dollar a pound as quick as it gets here. Tell Dill if you  have not got it to buy it and have it caked very hard and we will send the money all back as soon as we get he sugar and it will be a great help to you all. Tell Dill that Mott lost but one piece and that he spiked [it] so the rebels could not use it.

I shall try and get a furlough when we get to Richmond. If you send me that box, direct it to Harrison Landing.

Yours as ever, — Henry P. Corse

Enclosed is the picture of Brigadier General [William T. H.] Brooks of our brigade — the bravest man in the service. He was wounded in the leg at Savage Station but he never flinched nor left the field. Write often and tell the rest to write. Give my love to all. — H. P. Corse

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