Letter No. 12 from Henry S. Davids to Mrs. Calvin Brown
Preserved by William and Sherry Jandt
digital transcription by Tom L. McFarland in August 2001

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Letter No. 12.

U.S.S. "Monongahela".
Yokohama, March 9th. 1879

To "the dear ones at home"

Again I have to commence my letter with almost nothing to say. 'Tis almost a pity something out of the usual routine does not occur that one could write about, but with the evenness of my life it is the next thing to impossible. This is Sunday with us. I have been ashore all the afternoon and walked until my feet and legs are sore, and am contented to get on board again. We have had seven consecutive days of rain which confined me to the ship. Today being the first to bring signs of fine weather, and a very fine day it has been. Mother's and Charlotte's letters and Hattie's papers came

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in due time. I cannot tell how many times I have read over those papers. They help to pass away many lonely hours of the day and night. Tell Hattie she can keep it up as long as she likes it, or until my little girl can relieve her of the trouble. The California papers are by far the best we get out here ; everybody reads them. Of course the New York papers get to be very old on the journey. I hope you will not think I am trying to affect a new style of writing ? I have one of those Hard-pointed pens which I cannot use in any other way. Don't think I will get any more of them : their sensation to the hand is not comfortable. I was weighed again today, standing at 170 lbs. : 17 lbs more than when I left Shanghai, and 11 lbs less than when I left Mare Island. I don't care to gain as long as I feel so well.

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I hope my little girl continues to gain flesh : it brings one of the signs of health. Nothing more is heard of General Grant's movements. I suppose he will break in upon us very suddenly and the Admiral will have all-hands on tip-toe to receive him. No knowledge of the "Richmond" either. The Admiral feels provoked that the Navy Department has never informed him of General Grant's intention to visit this part of the world ; and that the "Richmond" is intended for this squadron. I don't think he is treated with marked distinction in any way. The survey on the ship, of which I wrote in the last letter, only recommended temporary repairs and reported the condition to the Department. 'Tis not thought the ship will go home, but will be detained here for the next six months, or until after the first of July when the new appropriations

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come in to repair her. It has done one thing already, by frightening the Admiral from coming on board to live. He is not bold in such cases. In four more days the home mail is due and there is every reason to believe she will be on time. I am most anxious to hear of our darlings remains arriving home, and of their final burial near you. 'Tis one of my greatest reliefs and comforts to feel that I have done this much for her. I have nothing left now but to care for our child and her grave to which my life will be devoted. Poor little Charlotte : how often my heart aches for her future, and that future too, which her devoted mother so often used to picture to me. I shall look for a great deal about her in all your letters. You must know how fondly I love my child for her own as well as her dear mother's sake - Good night -

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March 12th.


The mail came yesterday, being just five days ahead of time. It brought me mother's letter enclosing one from my little girl and the telegram from father to mother, saying, the tug would arrive with our darling's body about three o'clock. From a telegram received here some days since, I know there would be time to hear by this last mail that our darling was safe at home. I feel greatly consoled by the success of all our undertakings. The worst is over ; there is nothing now to do but erect the monument to her cherished memory. When all is over and done, I can still beautify the spot and dwell upon the past, and watch with tender care her child. I feel more now that I should like to be with you at home, but as I have said before, it is better that I should finish this cruise

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in order to have a full termination afterwards. It is impossible to say what duty I can get. My only hope is to relieve Kulz which is doubtful without some influence. The cruise is just half up, but nobody can say what the necessity of our repairs will result in. I am glad to know my little Charlotte is well and happy. I am impatient for the time to come when you think it proper to send me her picture. What a nice big girl she will be when I see her again. Next month she will be four years old. Dear little soul ! How my heart aches for her. I suppose Bessie felt very happy that Charlie should know her. They were always very good friends. My little girl has passed through many of late ; more than is to be hoped she will again.

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You mention that our darling's tomb can cost $200.00 to $1000.00. My reply is simply this, You know my means. My love for my wife, and love and anxiety for providing for the future of our child, including a disposition to do all I can under the circumstances. Were I with you to see, I might express an opinion, but separated as we are I will simply say proceed as your heart's prompt you, and I will not only be satisfied, but truly thankful for your help in a sad duty in which distance makes me so helpless. My ignorance in such things makes it too venturesome to limit the amount. I beg of you, do what you think is right. I will only say that I would prefer to avoid a show that would appear beyond my means, or a burst of generosity or grief. I think you understand me and will agree

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in what I have said. Let all be done with our reasons calm and rational. Still there is no reason to doubt that our darling's gentle spirit lives and exists with us. I would have it gratified so far as you are able to judge from her living days, or in the flesh. It can be gathered from our sympathies for her. Poor dear Addie ! Would that she could speak and tell us her wants and wishes !

The next mail will not be due until the 1st of April which is a long time to wait knowing that your next letter will contain so much about our darling's grave. It is asking a great deal I know, but I am anxious to know what is done and anything of which you feel able to write. I now close with love and good night to all


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March 18th

I send enclosed, in this letter, a draft for one thousand dollars, made payable to father on the back. Paymaster Braman is the party whom I have to thak for this favor. I wish all bills to be paid as they come due, and after retaining three or four months expenses for my little daughter, to put the remainder in Government Bonds. So far as I know, I don't think you can do better than the four percent. This is all for my litte girl. Perhaps Fulton will make the purchase for father. In order that their value may not be lost in case the Bonds are, I would suggest Registered. I will leeave it to father to do the best he can for our little little one. In a month or six weeks I will try to send you another thousand. This

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money is not costing me a cent for its use, and by investing it as soon as possible and collecting the interest when due and investing that again, it will double itself by the time our little Charlie is of age. You will see my reasons for investing as soon as possible all that can be saved. I will send you a draft every three or four months ; so that you need not make provision for Charlie for a longer time.

There is nothing more to write about. I have been out of the ship but once since my last writing which was last night for a walk.I have been quite lost in the evening of late, for no papers came by the last mail. I miss them next to my letters. The next mail comes in about two weeks. We shall certainly

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be here two more months longer and some think the whole cruise. Not a word from either General Grant or the "Richmond". The papers in this country are too poor to pay for the smallest telegrams. Of course I can not say in what our rotten condition will result until we hear from the Department. It will cost about twelve thousand for repairs. We do not consider Mr. Thompson's Navy as very successful so far. Our fine weather seems to have ended and the bad fully set in ; rain constantly and cold and penetrating. April will soon be with you. How beautiful Mare Island will look with its buds and flowers, and how happy my little girl will be out of doors those beautiful days. I long to see her in my arms

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again. As I have not seen Mrs. Tripler since the mail came I will call on her tomorrow and learn something from Mrs. Hubbard. I hope to be here when the latter returns. I hear nothing from Shanghai, only that the "Thourcocy" is there and will probably remain for some time. Some think we will have to go there to be docked, as the dock here is too much occupied to give us an opportunity. How provoking it will be if I make a broken cruise and then permitted to stay a year home and send off again. I have been very successful in making full cruises, but this may be an exception for me. I want three whole years with my little girl near me. Don't you think I will be happy with her in my arms -
Good - night

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May 20th (1879 . "May" is written, but "March" may have been intended)

While it is on my mind I wish to advise you, not to delay cashing the check very long, for the reason that Paymaster Braman's deposit at the Treasury may run out. That is what he says about it. Another thing I wish to caution you about, Mother wrote of packing something in a Camphor-wood box. My advice is, not to depend upon it against moths. It is only when the wood is green, that is, before seasoned, that it is any good, and even then unreliable. People here do not put much value on them and this is the country where they mostly come from. I suppose a few big lumps of camphor will be the best to put in the boxes. Should we return home by way of San Francisco, I will bring some unseasoned boxes with me - Farewell for now - Henry

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March 22nd. (on back side of same sheet as above paragraph was written)

I have concluded to send the order on the Treasury with other orders in a separate envelope and have it registered. It will be much safer that way. I am sorry to put father to so much trouble. I am very anxious to save something for my little girl. Today, it is said, General Grant will be here in about a month ; being now on the way to Hong Kong. This government having appropriated $50,000 entertaining him. No news of the "Richmond" yet. It looks as if we did not come to use her. Perhaps he is a little influenced by public opinion. This morning's paper calls for a mass meeting of the citizens to decide upon some action upon his arrival. I called upon Mrs Tripler yesterday. She said her mother has not decided when to start for home -

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It will be fully ten days before the next mail arrives. Therefore, this letter will have to go without any to answer, as the home mail leaves on the 27th. It is a long time to wait for a letter which will surely tell me much about my little girl and the grave of our dear one. It is over six months since our darling died. Still, she is never from my mind. I have a neat little locket encircled by the two finger-rings and containing Addie's and Charlie's hair in separate divisions. There are two more divisions for the pictures when I can have them taken, or, copied from the larger pictures. It is purely a design of my own and quite odd. It is intended to pass to my little girl in future years. Charlie will have a great many little things to tell her how dearly her mother was loved. Good night with love to all -

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March 23rd.

I was ashore this afternoon and had a long walk. The day has been most beautiful and very like our April in California ; perhaps a little colder. I long to get back to Mare Island, but I cannot believe that I would be sastisfied to settle down there as heretofore. Still I will do anything for my little Charlotte. If it is best for us live there for a while longer I will not complain. California will always be my home, and when I can occasionally visit the grave of our darling. It will take a year or two to complete all I contemplate doing to that sacred spot. So long as I shall live I hope to have each Spring bring forth its verdure and flowers, and see that time or man does not injure our darling's tomb - Good night
Henry end of page 4

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March 25th.

I can't say that I have anything new to write, only, that General Grant will not be here for two months. Everything is quiet and the same as usual. I am feeling well and contented as one can be under the circumstances. In a week we shall look for the "Alask" (another ship ?) with our letters and papers. still if she is longer it will not be a disappointment for we all know how very slowly she moves. I hope this will find you all well and happy, including my little Charlotte. How I long to see her again. Give her my love and a kiss - my love to all at home with best wishes. Hoping to hear from you soon again, I am affectionately ~ Henry

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