by Henry T. Johns, Late Private Co. C., Forty-Ninth Massachusetts Volunteers
"This evening I enlisted, thus deciding the contest of months," wrote Henry T. Johns in a letter dated August 29, 1862. After considerable soul-searching, Johns, a Methodist minister from Hinsdale, Massachusetts, answered President Abraham Lincoln's call for volunteers to join the Union Army. He enlisted in the 49th Massachusetts Infantry, a Berkshires unit that participated in the critical siege of Port Hudson, Louisiana, the following spring. Johns later received the Congression Medal of Honor for his valor on May 27, 1863, during the Battle of Port Hudson. During his service Johns wrote vividly detailed letters that he later collected and published in 1864 as Life with the 49th Massachusetts Volunteers. With humor, insight and compassion, Johns chronicled the soldier's everyday life as well as the uncommon heroism of ordinary men. The Troy Book Makers is pleased to make this fascinating episode in Civil War history available to a new generation of readers.