Letter No. 13 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. 13.

U.S.S. "Monongahela"
Yokohama, April 1st 1879

To "the dear ones at home".

I was not a little surprised the other day to receive all the missing papers that should have come by the last mail. They were mis-sent to Hong Kong and returned. I have had a right good time over them for the last two evenings. The "Alask"a is now out twenty-six days and is expected at any time. However, there will be no disappointment should she not come in four or five more. Her speed is too well known here to be depended upon. 'Tis hoped, nevertheless, she will bring good news to everyone. We continue to have most beautiful weather : clear, calm and sufficiently warm to dispense with

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artificial heat, and when walking a little fast, a little too warm for real comfort. Mrs. Boyd and Mrs. Adams go down in the "Alaska" to join their husbands at Amoy. Mrs. Coles will join her husband in Shanghai in a few weeks. We hear nothing more of General Grant or the "Richmond". The bill for the perfumery for General Grant's apartments is only fifteen hundred dollars. I can't imagine how they spent it ? Well ! I can only wish they had given it to me to put in bonds for Charlie. Something tells me I am going to get a picture of her by the next mail, yet there is a little fear of disappointment I must admit. How very pretty she must look ; so well and strong. She will be four years old on the 27th of this month. I hear nothing of our leaving here, or anything of the least interest. 'Tis

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very stupid work. I suppose the "Alert" has arrived and the saddle delivered to you. Mrs. Barbour is here waiting to learn if her husband will return or not. I was introduced to Mrs. Boyd a few days ago. She is not so quiet as Mrs. Held by considerable degree, yet she looks something like her. Mrs. Adams told me she would return to Yokohama in June, surely. 'Tis said here, that Colby is to relieve Paymaster Woodhull at the Store-house in Nagasaki. I don't think he knows much about the place or he would not, if it could be helped, accept it. Nagasaki has very little society, and is otherwise a quiet stupid place. I can't say that I have heard anyone say they liked it. I greatly fear he will be disappointed ; more so if Mrs. Colby comes out. The place is not healthy in summer. However, I would not have him know that

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I have made any comments. Mrs. Woodhull had to return home and Woodhull goes long before his time is up, which means something. I am going ashore tomorrow to get the locket which I wrote of some time ago. I have taken it to a jeweller's to have some of Addie's and Charlie's hair put in it. It is so arranged that there is still two places for small pictures, which I wish to have occupied by Addie's and Charlie's. I will some day have a nice locket with both their pictures on a larger scale. I believe it is a year today since our darling left her home never to return alive. How sad your hearts must be on this first anniversary of that parting which was to be forever on earth. These thoughts compel me to stop writing tonight.
Farewell for now
~ Henry
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April 4th.         2

Since my last writing we have experienced a most radical change from our beautiful weather of last three weeks. Heavy rains and cold have set in full force which confines me to the ship. The "Alask"a is out twenty-eight days today and nobody disappointed or anxious for her safety, her peculiarities are so well known. My interest is in the letters she will bring. We are a little excited tonight over the word that the Admiral has received a telegram from Washing., but nobody knows its contents. Some say they think it is orders to repair here, while others think the ship is ordered home. For my part, I do not know what to think and will wait patiently for developments until morning when we will all know for a certainty.
Good night
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April 5th.

The telegram was from Singapore, say the "Richmond" with General Grant on board will be in Hong Kong about the thirtienth of this month ; so that is settled, and we are not ordered home. The Admiral thinks the "Richmond" will leave him in Hong Kong and come directly to this place. I don't know what his reasons are for thinking so. He will certainly be very happy to get on board his regular Flag Ship. It is quite probable he will start on a cruise as soon as he is fairly settled in her. I have the little locket from the jeweller's, but the hair is arranged very poorly. I shall do no more with it until I get home and have it done nicely. I cannot bear to have anything belonging to Addie mutilated. Her hair is all she left me of herself and I will keep it sacred so long as I shall live. Poor dear Addie. She is never from my

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mind. Tomorrow will be Sunday ; a day we always passed together. How much I should like to look upon her child tonight ! My impatience to get a picture of that little soul is very great. I hope this mail will not disappoint me. We shall have two steamers within three or four days of each other on account of the slow progress of the "Alaska" ; the next being due on the 13th. As this mail for San Francisco does not leave until the 11th I shall be able to acknowledge the receipt of the "Alaska's" letters only. I was weighed today, and find that I keep at 170 lbs. which is better than 153 lbs. I hope my little girl continues to gain and is well and happy. I am very glad you managed to save her hair. It was so pretty all last summer. She used to attract considerable attention by her little ways and looks. She was quite thin during the hot weather
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April 6th.

Thirty days since the "Alaska" left and no sign of her yet. In a few days more it will begin to look as if she has gotten out of coal, as she is quite as safe against accident as any other ship. Sunday has arrived and a very quiet day it is. Nearly all have gone ashore who could go and the others are asleep. I should like to be with you today ! although 'tis clear to me, that home can never be to me as it was when I left it. Still, it is yet the dearest spot in my heart and I long to be there again. I suppose it will be hard to settle down again in any place, and my disposition would hardly allow me were it not for the love of my little Charlotte. When I think how much of my life must be apart from her, her lot in life appears most pitiful which makes me wretched indeed -

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April 7th.           3

No "Alaska" yet, and we have commenced to feel a little disappointment. We shall have two mails within four days of each other even if the "Alaska" arrives tomorrow. I can't understand how a ship can go so slowly. Had she came in today her speed would have been only 6¼ knots. The old "Saranac" used to do much better than that. I would much prefer to have the mails more evenly distributed than have them come so closely together. We are again having lovely weather, and everything is looking like Spring. The cherry blossoms of this country are the most beautiful and profuse I ever saw. The people make excursions and go in thousands to see them every year. I have not the time to go where they are the finest ; it being a days journey from here.

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April 9th.

I am very much afraid my letter will have to go before the "Alaska" arrives ; thirty-three days out and no sign of her yet. The "Oceanic" is due on the 12th. I will be sorry not to be able to reply to your letters ; knowing you will say much about our darling Addie and our little girl. Although there will be nothing requiring an immediate answer from me. I am always very anxious to say as soon as possible all required of me and be done with it. I have not been ashore for some days on account of rain and work detaining me on board. I would go this afternoon, but it is storming very badly and cold again. No further news from General Grant or the "Richmond", or do we hear from Washington concerning our repairs. They will all come in time I suppose. But it is the "Alaska" we want. Can do without the others.
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April 10th.

As the mail closes this afternoon I am compelled to close my letter to be sure to get it ashore in time not to be left. I am sorry to say the "Alaska" has not yet made her appearance being thirty-four days out. Consequently no letters to answer or pictures of my little girl to acknowledge. I went ashore last evening and as a storm came on I had to remain all night at the Grand Hotel. I slept in the same bed that my little Charlotte and I used to sleep. You can easily believe how much I missed her. She will soon be four years old. Dear little soul, how my heart aches to see her. I haven't a word of news to write about. Everything is very quiet and moves along in the usual course. For me, I go nowhere to see anything. I am well and as happy as my disposition under the change will allow. Whatever my feelings are I keep them to myself and avoid

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forcing them upon others. Still my mind never leaves our poor dead Addie and our child. Day after tomorrow the "Oceanic" will come in when I hope to hear something more of the last resting place of our darling. My impatience is very great to know all that is being done for her. My love to all at home, and respects to friends. Many thanks for the papers ; they are most valuable to me. A big kiss to my little girl and her papa's love. I will leave these last few lines to say a word in case the mail comes in the next two hours. With love again. I am very affectionately
~ Henry

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