Lewis Herbert Metcalf was born on December 28, 1835, in Providence, Rhode Island. He married Anna Hicks in October of 1864, in Milan, New York. They had three children: Joel, Herbert and Ben. Herbert died at age two years.
Herbert, as he signed his letters, enlisted in the New York 11th Infantry Regiment soon after the Civil War began. They were sent south and participated in the taking of Alexandria, VA before marching west to the First Battle of Bull Run. Herbert suffered grievous wounds in both legs and was captured by the Confederates. He survived amputation and imprisonment before he was paroled. The Army discharged him in January of 1862.
In 1864 he was employed as a clerk in the Auditors Department of the Atlantic & Great Western Railway Company office in Meadville, Pennsylvania. At some point he made the acquaintance of the 21-year-old Anna (or Annie) Hicks of Dutchess County, New York and wrote a series of letters in the months before they wed. Some of these letters were preserved and are on this page as a testimonial to the great love Herbert had for her.
In one of his letters to Annie, Herbert remarks that he weighs 114 pounds and wonders if she might weigh more than him. He also mentions being greatly fatigued, and at one time suffering from whooping cough. He died on April 20, 1873, in Meadville, at the age of 37, after a series of what were reported as paralytic strokes that began on February 28th. He was buried in Greendale Cemetery in Meadville, although his name is also on the Metcalf memorial in the Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island.
So Eager Were We All
- an account of Herbert Metcalf's day at the First Battle of Bull Run.