On November 10, 1862, from a camp in the vicinity of Thibodaux, Louisiana, Capt. Henry Huse sat cross-legged on the ground and penciled a letter to his parents. He kept it brief, for his legs began to tingle and fall asleep. His words reflected pride in his actions over the past three weeks: “In an enemy’s country, fighting, marching and stealing our living with nothing but the broad canopy over us, and only a blanket and one extra shirt.” He added, “Have been in 3 sharp fights.” Switching to the third person, he boasted, “Capt. Huse all right and not afraid of bullets until one has spotted him for earth.”
Huse and his regiment, the Eighth New Hampshire Infantry, had just completed operations in Lafourche District, a rich agricultural area west of New Orleans. The Granite State volunteers were part of a 4,000-man expedition tasked to find sugar and cotton resources, rid the area of Confederates, and secure a base for future movements.
The most intense of the actions referred to by Huse occurred near Labadieville, along a bayou at Georgia Landing. It was here on October 27, 1862, that the Eighth, under the command of Col. Hawkes Fearing Jr., and other units in its brigade attacked enemy forces. Huse led Company G into the fray. According to an historian, “While the regiment was on the charge and just as Colonel Fearing gave the order, ‘right oblique,’ the flag was riddled with balls and the staff shot in two just above the hands of the color sergeant, John J. Nolan. Captain Huse, thinking that he (Nolan) was badly wounded, sprang forward to grasp the colors, but Johnny sang out, ‘No you don’t this time,’ and got them first, bearing them on amid the cheers of the men.” Huse and Nolan advanced with the flag to victory. Later, nine bullet holes were counted in the banner.
Company G paid a heavy price for success. One quarter of its number were killed or wounded. A letter signed by the regiment’s top brass, including Col. Fearing, praised Huse: “He conducted himself with signal spirit and bravery… He has been excelled by no officer in the regt. in ability, fidelity and energy, equaled by but few… He has a happy capacity for military command, and one of the best disciplined Companys in the regt.”
Huse had been associated with Company G since its formation. Born in Vermont and descended from Welsh immigrants, he moved with his family to Manchester, New Hampshire, in boyhood. In 1861, he left his job as a schoolteacher in nearby Barnstead and recruited volunteers from the town and neighboring Pittsfield, where he studied law with a local attorney. Among those who joined was his father, 1st Lt. Thomas Huse.
After a stint at Fort Independence in Boston Harbor, the Eighth sailed for the Gulf coast in February 1862. Huse’s father resigned due to illness, but rejoined the army as an officer in the Fifteenth New Hampshire Infantry, along with Huse’s younger brother, David, in November 1862 — about the time the Lafourche District expedition ended.
Illness took a toll on the Huse men in 1863. Poor health again forced the resignation of father Thomas in February. He did not return to the army. In June, Huse fell ill with malaria. Brother David died of typhoid in August.
Huse’s bout with malaria prevented him from participating in operations against Port Hudson and performing his duties as company commander. An extended leave of absence in New Hampshire failed to restore his health. He resigned in September 1863.
The timing of his resignation coincided with the receipt of a commission as major from the governor of New Hampshire. He left for Louisiana despite lingering chills. In New Orleans, he learned that he had been honorably discharged for disability, and that another man had been appointed major in his place. He wrote home, “I am disgusted with everything which pertains to service, in this regiment. There is an organized clique here which is determined to rule or ruin everything which they can have any power over.”
Huse was left without a command. To add insult to injury, he learned that the new major got his position by currying favor with politician-turned general Nathaniel Banks, the inept commander of the Department of the Gulf.
This was not the first time he crossed paths with Maj. Gen. Banks. In April 1863, Banks dismissed him from the army. The circumstances that prompted Bank’s rash action went unrecorded. However, documents in Huse’s military service file suggest he made a remark that offended Banks. An indignant Col. Fearing and other officers arranged an interview between the two men, which resulted in Huse’s restoration to command.
Huse’s friends came to his rescue on this occasion, but were unable to help him take his rightful place as major of the Eighth. Out of options and patience, he returned home. He gained admission to the state bar, became principal of Pittsfield Academy, and played an important role in Pittsfield’s efforts to raise bounty money for new recruits. In 1867, he married and embarked on a law career. The newlyweds moved to nearby Manchester in 1868. His wife died five years later of typhoid, the same disease that claimed the life of his brother. The couple had no children. Huse remarried in 1874 and started a family that grew to include six kids, three of whom survived to adulthood.
In 1877, he entered state politics as a representative on the Republican ticket, and served as Speaker of the House of Representatives of New Hampshire in 1879. On his move into public service, one attorney bemoaned, “He had a good legal mind, managed a witness skillfully, and argued cases well; and if he had applied himself closely to his profession, and had not allowed his attention to be diverted to politics, he would have been a very successful lawyer.”
Huse was active in veteran’s groups. The political problems that plagued him in the army did not make for lasting memories. Instead, he recalled the bravery of his “Barnstead boys.” Unable to attend an 1882 reunion, he provided a letter of tribute: “I would bring to this Reunion the dying message of a typical ‘soldier son’ of our grand old town, delivered to me in the hospital at New Orleans, after months of suffering following the battle in which he was fatally wounded. In the face of certain death, he said: ‘It’s all right, Captain. Tell my friends at home I fell right under the old flag, and that is glory enough for me.’” Huse did not name the soldier or the battle. He may have referred to one of his company who fell beneath the bullet-ridden colors at Georgia Landing in 1862.
Huse served as chairman of the state Republican Party’s central committee for several years during the eighties. In 1882, he received an honorary degree from Dartmouth College. In 1888, he became New Hampshire’s insurance commissioner, a position he held until a stroke ended his life in 1890 at age fifty-one. One writer praised him as “a man of popular personal qualities, an excellent officer, military and civil, and of much native ability.”
 Huse dated this letter to his parents October 10, 1862. However, the contents indicate he wrote it on November 10. Huse Family Correspondence, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Notre Dame.
 In December 1863, the Eighth reorganized as horse soldiers and designated as the Second New Hampshire Cavalry. Huse left the regiment before this change.
 Col. Hawkes Fearing Jr. (1826–1908) started the war as lieutenant colonel of the Fourth Massachusetts Infantry. After its three-month enlistment ended, he rejoined the army as colonel of the Eighth New Hampshire Infantry. He suffered a leg wound in battle at Fort Bisland, Louisiana, in April 1863. After the war, he served as librarian of the Hingham, Massachusetts Pubic Library, and later served in the Massachusetts legislature as a Republican. Biographical Review, Vol. XVIII, pp. 294–297.
 John J. Nolan (1842–1912) enlisted as a sergeant in Company K. He advanced to second lieutenant in 1864, and mustered out with the regiment in July 1865. Stanyan, A History of the Eighth Regiment of New Hampshire Volunteers, pp. 145–146; Report of Brig. Gen. Godfrey Weitzel, commanding Reserve Brigade, OR, I, XV, 167–170; Col. Hawkes Fearing Jr., Lt. Col. Oliver W. Lull, and Maj. Morrill B. Smith to Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks, April 18, 1863. Henry H. Huse military service record, NARS.
 Col. Hawkes Fearing Jr., Lt. Col. Oliver W. Lull, and Maj. Morrill B. Smith to Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks, April 18, 1863. Henry H. Huse military service record, NARS.
 Stanyan, A History of the Eighth Regiment of New Hampshire Volunteers, pp. 256–257.
 Vermont-born Thomas Muzzey Huse (1812–1881) worked as a miller in Barnstead before enlisting in the Eighth. He and his wife, Elizabeth Scobey Huse, had six children, of which Henry was the eldest. Huse, The Descendants of Abel Huse of Newbury, p. 93.
 David Scobey Huse (1844–1863) was the third of six children born to Thomas and Elizabeth Huse. He started the war as a private in the First Massachusetts Sharpshooters, and later joined the Fifteenth New Hampshire Infantry as a corporal. Ibid.
 Henry H. Huse to his parents, Oct. 31, 1863. Huse Family Correspondence, Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Notre Dame.
 A letter endorsed by Col. Fearing and two other regimental officers testified to Huse’s good conduct. Another letter, signed by Col. Halbert E. Paine, who commanded the brigade to which the Eighth belonged, asked Maj. Gen. Banks to grant an interview to Huse. An endorsement on the back of this letter indicates that the meeting happened. Henry H. Huse military service record, NARS.
 Stanyan, A History of the Eighth Regiment of New Hampshire Volunteers, pp. 256–257; Robinson, History of Pittsfield, N.H., in the Great Rebellion, pp. 200–204.
 Bell, The Bench and Bar of New Hampshire, p. 453.
 Colbath, The Barnstead Reunion, pp. 50–51.
 New York Times, September 8, 1890.
 Bell, The Bench and Bar of New Hampshire, p. 453.