[Louisville?] On Board the Steamer Diana, May 24, 1846. 1 page, single leaf of blue ledger paper, 13.5 x 8 inches, approx. 310 words. One small clear tape repair to a hole on the verso; some soiling and discoloration to the verso; a few short instances of splitting along old folds; in very good condition, easily legible. Item #18858
The optimistic letter of a man leaving for war in Mexico by way of New Orleans. Heritage, on the verge of embarking from Louisville, writes his unnamed wife with regrets that his promised enlistment bounty has not yet been paid: “It is with a heart somewhat full that I address you at this time but it is not because I have Volunteered in the service of my Country and [am] bound for the seat of war but from the fact that money has not been furnished me according to promise that I might leave you in a better situation. Capt. E. B. Howe has given me 2 Dols that I send you by Mr. Johnson.” Heritage assures his wife not to worry in his absence, noting, “I sincerely hope that you will not worry yourself but keep good Heart trusting that we will meet again, At least in one Year but probably sooner for it certainly will not take 30,000 men long to make Mexico sue for peace on any terms.” He also adds a note for his young daughter, “Now my Dear Martha I sincerely trust that you will be a comfort to your Mother by being dutiful and Obedient to her during my absence and rest assured that I shall never disgrace the stars and stripes under which I rally in thought word or Action believing that our cause is just and that we shall be protected by the God of Battles.” The steamer Diana and mention of Captain E. B. Howe both suggests fairly definitively that Heritage was enlisting in the Louisville Light Artillery under Ebenezer B. Howe, which was organized in May, 1846 for a year’s service; the Register of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914 records 23-year-old Philadelphia cordwainer named Thomas R. Heritage enlisting in Louisville on May 12, 1846 and mustering out as disabled in April, 1847 in Puebla, Mexico. See also the finding aid for the Ebenezer Howe Journal 1846-1847 at the Filson Historical Society. With an evidently 19th century autograph ink note on the verso, “Ellen I have kept this over 20 years I now transfer it to your keeping.”.