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THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR
ARMY OF THE POTOMAC
Fbom the Hbadquarteks of thb United States Sanitary
DuBiNQ THE Peninsular Campaign in Virginia in 1862
KATHARINE PRESCOTT WORMELEY
TICKNOR AND COMPANY
211 SEttmant Street
Bt Gommandekt of the State of Massachusetts, Militabt
Obdeb of the Lotai, IiEaioN OF the United States.
All rigkta reserved.
JortN Wilson and Son, Cambridge, U. S. A.
TABLE OP CONTENTS.
Pkefatoby Note 3
The Sanitary Commbsion : what it was. Aspect of the War
to women 5
Women's Central Relief Association ; other associations of
Dr. Bellows's mission to Washington . . 7
Powers granted to Sanitary Commission by President Lincoln
and Secretary of War 8
Work of Inspection ; Vital Statistics 9
Mr. Frederick Law Olmsted ; Members of Sanitary Commis-
Money and supplies : how obtained 10
Branches of Sanitary Commission : method of proceeding . . 11
Mr. Alfred J. Bloor 12
Pirst relief work with the armies in the field 12
Peninsular campaign, 1862. Commission applies for steamers 13
Books and documents relating to Sanitary Commission : where
to be found 13
Hospital Transport Service : first work 14
Newport, B,. I. Writer joins Hospital Transport Ser-
Headquarters Sanitary Commission : steamer " Wilson Small" 20
Women in the service of the Commission 22
Yorktown, Va. : the old and the new history 23
Wounded of the Battle of WHliamsburg 25
VI TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Koutine of work 26
Steamer "Elm City" goes North with 450 men 28
Spirit of the men : their pride in the army ; their self-forget-
Steamer " Knickerboeker " fitted up by two young ladies . . 31
Devotion of the young men of the Sanitary Commission . . 33
E«soue of a hundred men at Bigelow's Landing 36
Licalculable amount of suffering saved by Sanitary Commission 44
Steamship " S. R. Spaulding." A coincidence 45
Off Headquarters, Army of the Potomac, White House, Va. . 48
General Franklin. The White House 49
General Fitz-John Porter ; General Morell 53
General Seth Williams, Adjutant-General 54
State of affairs in the Hospital Transport Service .... 55
Rules of the service ; difficulties 60
Mr. Frederick Law Olmsted 62
Mr. Frederick N. Knapp 64
"Where's McDowell?" 68
Kleptomania. How to " prophylac " 69
Unselfishness of the sick and wounded 72
Death-rate of the British forces in the Crimea 73
Lessons taught by that, and by the Sanitary Commission . . 73
A night excursion in search of fifty-sii men 74
Dr. Grymes's lesson of calmness. The black side of war . . 77
A busy night ; with all to do over again 78
" Spaulding " sails. Fever proves to be typhus, or spotted
On board " Knickerbocker ; " Dr. Draper 83
Fitting up the "Elm City." The Shore hospital .... 84
Civilian doctors and surgical cases. Difficulties of the Com-
Kind of supplies most needed 91
" Louisiana " aground with 200 sick on board ; night trip to
TABLE OF CONTENTS. vii
Women's Central Relief Association asks for anecdotes . . 94
Battle of Fair Oaks : Commission ready 95
Conflicting orders ; no Medical officer on the ground . . . 100
GoTenunent boats not ready. Fire thousand men sent down
without preparation 101
The Commission throws itself in and does all 102
Our tent : the comfort of it ; difficulties and horrors . . . 107
None but the unavoidable miseries of war on Commission boats 117
An excursion party from Washington ; false sentiment . . . 118
How the writer came to write so many letters 120
Sanitary Commission supplies : how used ; not wasted . . . 123
Neglect of Medical authorities after Fair Oaks not likely to
occur again 124
Excellence of the army ration : what it is 124
Queer people : quartermasters. Zouaves, women with a mission 125
Mr. Enapp breaks down with typhoid fever 127
How the sick and wounded came down from the front . . . 129
The misery of carpet-bags 130
Battle of Fair Oaks, otherwise called Seven Pines .... 132
A pleasure excursion : out of the breath of hospitals . . . 134
The dear " Small." General McClellan 137
Stuart's raid : attack on train of sick men ; five wounded . . 138
The "Small" turned, into a hospital Practical tenderness . 145
More " Sabbath-breaking picnickers on a battle-field "... 147
Dr. Henry J. Bigelow arrives on a mission from Secretary of
Object of the Sanitary Commission not fully understood . . 150
Mrs. Griffin's health fails. Dr. Grymes, his courage, devotion,
and death 151
Gifts from Newport, R. I., Boston and Walpole, Mass. . . 152
"Feeling of the Southern soldiery as the writer found it . . . 153
Our dear tent. System of the routine work 155
Trip to Yorktown to see " St. Mark." Dr. Draper, wife, and
Mrs. Strong 157
viii TABLE OF CONTENTS.
Medical-Inspector-General, Colonel VoUum, appointed at Mr.
Olmsted's request 160
Written agreement, by which Commission takes all worst oases 160
General Van Vliet has a secret, but will not tell it ... . 162
Dress paramount in the female mind, even at the rear of an
One week's letters missing. The Change of base .... 166
Seven hundred thousand rations and forage already up the
James River 168
Stores and munitions all safely removed from White House . 169
Great credit due to Colonel Ingalls and Captain Sawtelle . . 169
"Wilson Small" the last boat (except Quartermaster's) to
leave White House 171
Going down the winding river 172
Mr. Olmsted's letter. Robert Ware ; in memoriam . . . 173
" What profit lies in barren faith ? " Hampton Roads . . 175
" Wilson Small " the first boat (except Quartermaster's) to go
up James River 176
Meets the army : Harrison's Landing ; Battle of Malvern Hill 177
The spirit of the army; the tenor of what it felt and said . . 178
Dr. Letterman, the new Medical Director of the Army of the
The " Monitor " such a tiny thing. Trip to Washington on
Letter from Mayor of Newport. Special good done by last
Contract for army shirts 185
Medical Department doing well by wounded. The worst
horror of war 187
Meeting of President Lincoln and General McClellan at Har-
rison's Landing 189
Commodore John Rodgers and the " Galena " 191
Things not so gloomy ; tone and temper of the army . . . 193
The Shore hospital : infiuence of new Medical Director . . 193
TABLE OF CONTENTS. ix
Supplies famished to Army of Potomac by Sanitary Commis-
sion during July and August 196
Happy relations between President Lincoln and General
Promotion of General Van Yliet, Colonel Ingalls, and Captain
Captain George Eodgers : visit to the " Tioga," to shell out
a battery 199
Danger from Rebel batteries : Port Powhatan 200
Hospital Transport Service over : Mr. Olmsted and staff return
Dr H. J. Bigelow, and "the horrors on board the 'Wilson
Once more conventional and duly civilized 206
Memories of two sorts left behind on the James River . . . 206
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Law Olmsted Frontispiece
Fkedeeick N. Knapp
De. Eobeet Waee
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR
MiLITAET OeDEK OP THE LoTAL LbGION Or THE UNITED SlATBS.
COMMANDEET OP THE StaTE OP MaSSACHTISETTS.
A yfOST of the writings relating to the War of the
■^^■'- Eebellion have been confined to accounts of
battles, or to adventures so closely connected with
battles as to seem an essential part of the conflict
itself. The book here given to the public as "The
Other Side of War" touches on matters almost en-
tirely outside the noise and *smoke, the glory and
pomp, of military operations. Yet it presents scenes
so intimately related to the army that they seem an
essential part of a soldier's experience.
The general work of the Sanitary Commission has
been fully set forth in histories and in its own invalu-
able papers and reports. This more personal record of
its earlier labors tells a story not elsewhere told, of
how it began, and under what circumstances it first
carried on its heroic work. As such, these remem-
brances of the Hospital Tkanspokt Service are
4 PREFATORY NOTE.
presented by the Commandery of the State of Mas-
sachusetts of the MiHtary Order of the Loyal Legion
of the United States to its Companions as a portion
of its contribution to the history of those eventful
days, and in grateful acknowledgment of the loyalty
and devotion of those men and women whose for-
titude and grace have given to the Sanitary Com-
mission its honored place in the story of the great
ARNOLD A. RAND,
WILLIAM P. SHREVE,
Committee on Library.
The United States Sanitary Commission was an
organization of private gentlemen whose voluntary
and unpaid services were accepted by Government at
the beginning of the War of the Rebellion to supply
the deficiencies of the Medical Department of the
It was the outgrowth of a demand made by the
women of the country ; for in the great uprising
nothing was more marked than that the principle
which actuated the nation was shared alike by men
and women. As the men mustered for the battle-field,
so the women mustered in churches, school-houses,
and parlors, working before they well knew at
what to work, and calling everywhere for instruction.
What were they to make ? Where were they to
send ? The busy hands went on, but where was the
work to go ? Some supplied regiments with articles
that were practically useless ; others sent to various
points on suggestions afterwards shown to be un-
trustworthy. Little circles and associations of women
were multiplying, like rings in the water, over the
face of the whole country ; but they were all in need
of guidance and of information, and they felt it.
Time and the Sanitary Commission were to show
them that by a great united effort their work was to
broaden out into a fundamental good to the whole
army ; that lives were to be saved, the vital force
protected; and that women, guided by the wisdom
of men, were to bear no small part in helping to
maintain the efficiency of the troops, and thus to
share upon the field itself the work of husbands and
At a meeting of women informally called in New
York, April 25, 1861, the providential idea of at-
tempting to organize the whole benevolence of the
women of the country into a general and central
Association ripened into a plan, and took shape in an
appeal addressed to the women of New York and
others " already engaged in preparing against the
time of wounds and sickness in the army." This met
with such an answer as showed the deep-felt need
of it ; and thus began the " Women's Central Relief
Association" in New York.
1 The earliest of these Associations of women were formed in April,
1861, within fifteen days after the President's call for seventy-iire
thousand men. The names of those organised in April that have
remained on puhlio record (there were others) are : Soldiers' Aid So-
cieties of Cleveland, Ohio ; Bridgepoi't, Conn. ; Charlestown and
Lowell, Mass. ; Women's Central Relief Association, New York ;
Women's Aid Society, Newport, K. I.
But still the need of instruction, and the futility
of trying to carry on the Association without better
knowledge of the work to be done, pressed anxiously
on the minds of its members. At this juncture the
Rev. Dr. Bellows came forward with the sound adyice
to make inquiry from the only safe sources, — to ascer-
tain first what the Government was prepared to do,
and would do, and then to aid it by working with it
and doing what it could not ; in short, to act upon
information derived from the Government itself. Ac-
companied by three gentlemen, afterwards members
of the Commission, he went to Washington, where
he discovered, in that moment of national emergency
and inadequacy, the need of a larger machinery and
a far more extensive system than any yet contem-
plated; and thus, under difficulties which need not
be stated here, he laid the foundation of the United
States Sanitary Commission. The far-seeing wisdom
of those men gained on that day for suffering hu-
manity the greatest relief ever, perhaps, effected by
any one organization.
Their success was the result of the forces of pa-
triotism and love which began to bear with strength
upon the Government. For not only did the nation,
in its merciful and patriotic instincts, need the Com-
mission as its guide and means, but the Government
needed the Commission to protect it against the
vast tide of home-feelings and the ardor of a people
pouring down upon it in indiscriminate benevolence,
and clogging the machinery, already too limited,
through which alone a real good to the soldier could
be applied. It needed, even if it did not desire, some-
thing to eke out and supplement the existing system.
That was small enough, to be sure, for it was a sys-
tem made for a few thousand men suddenly called on
to provide for an army of several hundred thousand ;
but at least it was the organized nucleus of some-
thing larger. The Commission came in, with pledges
of obedience, to supplement and aid the Medical De-
partment in the difficult work before it.
The powers granted to this Commission by Presi-
dent Lincoln and the Secretary of War, June 9, 1861,
were substantially as follows. It was styled " A
Commission of Inquiry and Advice in respect to the
Sanitary Interests of the United States Forces ; " it
was to inquire into the matSriel of the volunteer
army, to inspect recruits, and examine the working
of the system by which they were enlisted ; it was
to keep itself informed as to the sanitary condition
of the regiments, their camps, sites, drainage, etc. ;
as to the means of preserving and restoring the
health and promoting the general comfort and effi-
ciencv of the troops ; as to the proper provision of
cooks, nurses, and hospitals ; and as to all other
subjects of a like nature. On the information thus
acquired it was to base such suggestions to the
Medical Bureau and the War Department as should
bring to bear upon the health, comfort, and morale
of the army the fullest teachings of sanitary science.^
It was also to give to the Medical Department, wher-
ever that unavoidably failed, such supplementary aid
in the care of the sick and wounded as the generosity
of the people, and especially the efforts of the women
of the country, might enable it to give.
This brief Introduction does not allow space for
any account of the actual work of the Commission ;
but the outline of its duties just given will show the
reader that such an enterprise, springing up in the
minds of private gentlemen, needed a vast and wise
organization to make it equal to its own design.
Fortunately a man of experience, whose name is
well known for other services to his countrymen,
was at hand. The organizing genius of Mr. Pred-
* During the first two years of the War (to May, 1863), eight hun-
dred and seventy regiments in camp had been inspected, and four-
teen hundred and eighty-two Reports received, together with a vast
array of hygienic and physiological facts, all of which were recorded
and tabulated by Mr. E. B. Elliot and Mr. T. J. O'Connell, actua-
ries of the Commission, and reported upon, in a treatise of lasting
value to military science and vital statistics, by Dr. B. A. Gould, of
Special inspections of all the general hospitals in the country were
made by Dr. Henry G. Clark, of Boston, with a corps of sixty assistants,
and reported upon, in twenty-five hundred folio pages, to the Medical
Committee of the Commission, — Dr. W. H. Van Buren, Dr. C. R.
Agnew, Dr. Wolcott Gibbs. These and all other records of the Sanitary
Commission are preserved in the Astor Library, New York.
erick Law Olmsted made the Sanitary Commission
what it practically became, — a great machine run-
ning side by side with the Medical Bureau wherever
the armies went ; an authorized power fitted to seek
out and relieve suffering wherever and however the
Government failed in doing so ; an organized system
where no inefficiency was tolerated, where the work
was thoroughly and conscientiously done, but which,
nevertheless, was so wisely controlled that it not only
did not give offence to the Military authorities, but
wrung from them a hearty and universal approval.^
An enterprise springing from the hearts of the peo-
ple, and planting itself firmly on their generosity, was
not likely to fail for want of means. During its exist-
ence it received four millions, nine hundred and
twenty-four thousand, four hundred and eighty dollars
in money ($4,924,480.99), and the value of fifteen
millions ($15,000,000) in supplies. But it is estimated
that $2,000,000 more were raised by its Branches,
which they expended themselves, and which, though
' Members of tlie United States Sanitary Commission : Henry W.
Bellows, D.D., president ; Alexander Dallas Bache, LL.D., Tice-presi-
dent ; George T. Strong, treasurer ; Frederick Law Olmsted, general
secretary; Professor John S. Newberry, Western secretary ; Dr. W. H.
Van Buren; Dr. C. E. Agnew; Dr. Woloott Gibba; Dr. Elisha
Harris ; Charles J. Stills ; Dr. S. G. Howe ; Bishop Clark, of Khode
Island ; Horace Binney ; Eev. J. H. Heywood ; Hon. Mark Skinner ;
J. Huntingdon Wolcott; EzraB. M. MoCagg; Fairman Kogers; Robert
C. Wood, Surgeon U. S. A. ; G. W. Cullum, General U. S. A. ;
Alexander £. Shiras, General U. S. A.
equally serviceable for its purposes, never came into
its treasury.! The supplies and the proceeds of the
great " Sanitary Fairs " (amounting to $2,736,868.84)
came chiefly from the women of the country, and
were increased in value by the labor which they gave
in making up materials. Branches of the Sanitary
Commission, under the control of women, were estab-
lished in several of the great cities. Each Branch had
a wide district from which it derived its supplies ;
and throughout these districts were " Centres of Col-
lection " in the lesser cities, where, from every town
and village, the supplies flowed in. The work done by
the gentlewomen of the land in the offices and store-
houses of the Branch Commissions was that of an
immense shipping business. The cases came in from
every part of their district of supply; the goods
were examined, sorted, and stamped " U. S. Sanitary
Commission." Each kind of every article was then
repacked in separate cases, which were closed up,
marked, and held ready on demand from the Central
OSice in Washington. Once a week an account of
the stock in hand and of its distribution was sent
1 Probably the amount was much greater. On a tabulated list of
donations Rhode Island is credited with $11,823.96. But the writer
received from the city of Newport (unsolicited), in money and sup-
plies, rather more than 820,000, — which was used in the service of the
Commission, though it did not appear on its records. It would be
nearer the truth to place the sum given by the people to the people's
army through the Sanitary Commission at twenty-five million of dollars.
from each Branch to the Central Office, and the
relief agents with the armies who had received
these supplies accounted for them weekly to the same
office ; so that a knowledge of all articles in the pos-
session of the Commission and of their distribution
throughout the United States, was available at any
moment to the central head. In like manner, when
pressing needs were telegraphed to Washington from
distant fields of action, the news was passed on
quickly to the Branches, through them to their num-
berless Societies, and in a few hours the women of
the distant towns were at work to supply them. Mr.
A. J. Bloor, the Assistant-Secretary of the Commis-
sion in Washington, bore the heavy responsibility of
Thus organized almost before the War began, the
Sanitary Commission was ready to meet the first
call for the relief of troops in active service. In the
West at Gauley Bridge, Fort Donelson, and Pitts-
burg Landing ; in the South at New Orleans, New-
Berne, and Beaufort ; in the East at Ball's Bluff and
Drainesville, — it began during the first year of the
War its great work in the field. During the winter
of 1861-62, while the Army of the Potomac lay
in cantonments around Washington, the condition
of each regiment was examined by the inspectors
of the Commission, and the standard of health and
sanitary practices raised by their advice and assist-
ance given courteously to the regimental officers, and
almost as courteously received.^
When the Peninsular campaign in Virginia opened,
in 1862, it was found that the Medical Department
was unable to meet the needs of an army actively
employed in a low, swampy, and malarious region.
Seeing this, and acting with the consent of the Medi-
cal Bureau, the Sanitary Commission applied to the
Secretary of War for the use of some large steamers
to be fitted up for the reception and conveyance of
the sick and wounded. The Quartermaster-General
at once ordered as many as could carry a thousand
men to be detailed to the Commission, which, on
its part, entered into an agreement with the Medical
Bureau to take charge and proper care of at least
that number of sick and wounded.
The first vessel, the "Daniel Webster," was as-
signed to the Commission April 25, 1862. Mr.
Olmsted himseK took charge of her. A hospital
company and stores were immediately embarked, and
she reached the York River April 30, being refitted
1 For all information relating to the Sanitary Commission, the
reader is referred to the following sources : History of the United
States Sanitary Commission, C. J. Stille (pp. 553, 8vo, Hurd &
Houghton, 1866); United States Sanitary Commission, Henry W.
Bellows, D.D. (in Johnson's "Universal Encyclopsedia "); United
States Sanitary Commission, K. P. Wormeley (pp. 300, 12mo, Little,
Brown & Co., Boston, 1863) ; Archives of the Sanitary Commission,
deposited in the Astor Library, New York.
as a hospital on the voyage down. The army was
then before Yorktown, from which it advanced a
few days later. The ship was ready for duty on her
arrival ; her stores, of which she brought a large
quantity over and above her own needs, were placed
in a warehouse ashore (additional supplies coming
down in tenders), and the work of relieving the sick
in camp and hospital at once began. Meantime the
« Daniel Webster " shipped two hundred and fifty
sick men and carried them to New York, part of
the hospital company going with her, and part re-
maining behind with Mr. Olmsted. It was on her
second voyage from New York to Yorktown that the
writer of the following letters went down in her,
to join the " Hospital Transport Service."
These Letters may be allowed, after this brief
Introduction, to tell their own story. It is proper
to say that they are published exactly as they were
written. If they have any merit, it is only so far
as they photograph the life of which they tell. To
touch them up and improve them as a picture would
destroy this merit, if it exists. Nothing has been
omitted except a few details having no reference to
the work in hand : about that work nothing was found
that it seemed necessary to alter or suppress.
K. P. W.
Newpobt, E. I., 1888.
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
Newport, R. L, April 27, 1862.
Deak a., — I am thinking of going to York-
town. How should you view it? The Sanitary
Commission has to-day sent off from Washing-
ton a large steamship to be fitted up as a hos-
pital transport. Mrs. Griffin has gone down in
her with Mr. Olmsted, and by his request. I
have great confidence in her. She is a lady,
whose presence is guarantee enough that I, or
any other woman, may go there with propriety.
She is very efficient, and I should be satisfied in
working under her. In short, I have written
to her to send for me if they want me; the
letter went yesterday. I suppose this will
rather startle you. But why should it not be
done ? My work here is closing. Colonel Vin-
ton (Quartermaster-General in New York) sends
me to-day the flannel for the last ten thousand
16 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
shirts which close my present contract ; I have
just drained the community dry as to hospital
supplies, and the churches have, lately sent in
$1,800 (making |5,500 which I have received
since we began in April, 1861). A drawing
together of circumstances seems to point to
this thing, and I enter upon it as if it were
obviously the next thing to be done.
I have said nothing about it to any one, nor
shall I tiU I hear from the Commission. You
must stand by me if the plan meets with dis-
I RECEIVED a telegram from Mrs. Griffin to-
day, telling me that the " Daniel Webster "
steamship had arrived at New York with
the first load of sick and wounded, and that if
I wish to join the Hospital Transport Service,
I must be in New York to-morrow morning.
So I leave to-night. Have telegraphed you to
U. S. Floating Hospital "Daniel Webster,"
OFF Ship Point, May 10.
Dear Friend, — I write with a pencil, because
it is so comfortable. We left New York yes-
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 17
terday at 5 p. m., and came down the bay
through wonderful efEects of evening light and
shade and color. We stayed on deck by
moonlight till eleven o'clock, when I turned in,
to sleep all night, and get up lazily to breakfast
at nine this morning. Since then I have helped
to make our hospital-flag, and have dreamed
away the day, lying on deck in the sweet air,
where I could see the bluest sky and the bluest
water (when the vessel dipped), and nothing
else. Four ladies are attached to the ship, —
Mrs. William Preston GriflBn, Mrs. Trotter,^ Mrs,
Blatchford, and I. As far as I can judge, our
duty is to be very much that of a housekeeper.
We attend to the beds, the linen, the clothing of
the patients ; we have a pantry and store-room,
and are required to do all the cooking for the
sick, and see that it is properly distributed ac-
cording to the surgeons' orders ; we are also to
have a general superintendence over the condi-
tion of the wards and over the nurses, who are
all men. What else, time and experience will
show, I suppose.
I am inclined to like the surgeon-in-charge,
1 Now Mrs. Chaxles Henry Parker, of Boston.
18 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAK.
Dr. Grymes, very much. He commands here ;
the captain, named Bletham, — a truly honest,
kindly, sailor-like man, — being, under present
circumstances, only second. Dr. Grymes is
sufEering from consumption, and to-day he is
hanging about, languid and nerveless ; they tell
me that to-morrow he will be taut, tireless,
hawk-eyed, and the spirit of an emergency.
There are eight medical students on board
(" dressers " they are called), and perhaps
twenty other young men, ward-masters and
nurses, — all volunteers. The Government fur-
nishes the vessel, and the rations of all on board.
My stateroom, which I share with Mrs. GriflQn,
is on deck; it opens directly to the outer air,
and has a large window and ventilator.
Since writing the above, I have done my first
work, — making the beds. How you would
have laughed to see me, without a hoop,
mounted on the ledge of the second tier of
berths, making the beds on the third tier !
Off T0RK.TOWN, May 11.
Up at five o'clock to give the last finishing
touches to the wards. At seven called to break-
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 19
fast, and found Mr. Olmsted and Mr. Knapp
on board ; McClellan nine miles beyond West
Point. We are to get sick men on board this
afternoon, and sail to-morrow, — unless Mr.
Olmsted wants us to go elsewhere ; Mrs. Griffin
and I have volunteered to do so.
Last evening, as we entered the Chesapeake,
we saw the crimson glow of a great fire in the
direction of Fortress Monroe or Norfolk ; and
this morning early we heard the dull, heavy
sound of an explosion or brief cannonading in
the same direction. We are now going ashore
to look at Yorktown, for the wards are all in
perfect order, and the men can't be shipped till
evening. The press of work here is overwhelm-
ing, they say. I am writing with everybody
about me. Surgeons are coming off to us in
tugs and row-boats, clamorous for brandy, beef-
stock, lemons, and all stimulating and support-
Good-bye ! This is life. It is by mere luck
that I am here, for Mrs. Griffin never received
my letter, and only heard by chance that I had
20 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
Hbadqcaetbhs U, S. Sanitart Commission,
Steamer "Wilson Small,"
Off Yorktown, May 12.
Dear A., — Transferred to this boat. Mr. Olm-
sted came on board at twelve o'clock last night
and ordered Mrs. Griffin and me off the "Daniel
Webster." We had just received, stowed, and
fed two hundred and forty-five men, most of
them very ill with typhoid fever. The ship
sailed at eight o'clock this morning, and will be
in New York to-morrow night. Mrs. Trotter
went back in charge of our department, and
Mrs. Bellows (wife of the president of the San-
nitary Commission) accompanied her.
The " Webster " could not get up to the
wharf, so the sick men were brought off to us
in tug-boats. As each man came on board
(raised from one vessel and lowered to the
second deck of ours in cradles), he was regis-
tered and " bunked." In my ward, as each man
was laid in his berth, I gave him brandy and
water, and after all were placed, tea and bread
and butter, if they could take it, or more brandy
or beef-tea if they were sinking. Of course it
was painful ; but there was so much to be done,
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 21
and done quietly and quickly, that there was
no time to be conscious of pain. But fever
patients are, very dreadful, and their moans dis-
tressing. The men were all patient and grate-
ful. Some said, "You don't know what it is
to me to see you." " This is heaven, after what
I 've suffered." " To think of a woman being
here to help me ! " One little drummer-boy
thought he was going to die instantly. I said :
" Pooh ! you '11 walk off the ship at New
York. Take your tea." He was quite hurt
that I could ask it ; but presently I found he
had demolished a huge slice of bread and but-
ter, and was demanding more. Then the doc-
tors made their rounds; and after that, such
as were in a condition to be handled were put
into clean hospital clothing. Some, however,
were allowed to rest until morning.
We did not get them all settled and the
watches set till 1 A. m ; after which Mrs. GriflGln
and I packed up, to leave the ship at daybreak.
Oh ! if I had it to do over again, I 'd have
an organized carpet-bag, with compartments
for everything. As it was, all was poked in
and stamped upon.
22 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
This is a little boat, headquarters of the San-
itary Commission, Mr. Olmsted, the General
Secretary, in charge of the whole transport ser-
vice, and Mr. Knapp, his second in command,
living on board. At present she is filled in
every available corner by severely wounded men
brought from the battle-field of Williamsburg,
— wounded chiefly in the legs and thighs. To-
day Mrs. Griffin and I are supernumeraries, the
ladies on board being sufficient for all purposes.
They are, so far as I have yet ascertained, Mrs.
George Strong, wife of the Treasurer of the San-
itary Commission, Miss Mary Gardiner, of New
York, Mrs. M., whose husband is the colonel of
a regiment in the advance, a tall, symmetrical
Miss Whetten,^ and a pretty little creature, half
nun, half soubrette, whose name I don't know.
They all seem easy and at home in their work,
as if they had been at it all their lives. I use
my eyes and learn, and have taken a hand here
and there as occasion offered. Terrible things
happened yesterday. Many of the wounded of
the Williamsburg battle were found lying in the
woods with their wounds not dressed, and they
' Now Mrs. Qamble, of Intervale, N. H.
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 23
starving. Mrs. Strong saw them, and says it
was like going over a battle-field.
There is a general cry throughout the female
department for " Georgy." " Where is Georgy ?"
" Oh, if Georgy were here ! " " Georgy " is on
board a hospital boat called the "Knicker-
bocker," which appears to be missing. As I have
nothing to do, I speculate a good deal as to who
and what " Georgy " may be.
Yesterday we went all over Yorktown. I
sent a few relics to Ralph by the " Daniel Web-
ster," one of them much envied, — an iron
pulley from the celebrated gun which McClellan
telegraphed had been "impertinent this morn-
ing," and which afterwards burst, to the great
relief of our men. It is amazing that Yorktown
was so soon evacuated. Its strength seems very
great, not only from its defences, but from the
lay of the land, — range after range of hill and
ravine, every hill commanding the plain over
which our army had to creep up, and which was
also covered by the water-batteries at Gloucester,
until the gunboats silenced them. We went
round the fortifications and saw everything, —
the siege-guns, eighty of them; the fine log-
24 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
houses of the men ; the ten thousand abandoned
tents, many of which were still standing.
Guards were placed about the magazines ; and
at various points, in the paths or by the way-
side, we came upon placards marked " Danger-
ous," as a warning of torpedoes. I saw the
fragments of a flour-barrel in which one was
buried, killiag the man who dipped into it ; also
a walnut-tree under which the earth was torn
up, and where six men were yesterday blown to
fragments by somebody stepping on the fuse of
one. We saw what was once Lafayette's head-
quarters, — now supposed to be a prison, where
the prisoners seemed to be very little guarded or
regarded ; then we paid a visit to General Van
Alen, commanding the post, and called upon
Miss Dix at the Hospital, — Lord Cornwallis's
headquarters ; the best house in the place, with
a wide-panelled hall and staircase. The rooms
above were crowded with wounded men, all look-
ing clean and comfortable. It is wonderful how
in the midst of our own excitements these his-
torical places impressed us, and it was hard
enough to believe that the confusion, destruction,
and filth about us were making a new history.
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAK. 25
We did all this in three hours before the sick
men could be brought off to the " Webster." We
shuffle about without hoops; Mrs. Griffin says
it is de rigueur that they shall not be worn in
hospital service. I like it very well on board
ship : it is becoming to Miss Whetten, who is
symmetry itself; but it must be owned that some
of us look rather mediseval. I have no idea
what we are to do, and I ask no questions. Mr.
Olmsted is the law-giver ; he knows the fact
of my existence, and will use me when he wants
ine. It is very cold, and the air has the texture
of your worst Boston weather, — steel-filings
" Wilson Smail," May 13.
Dear Mother, — Yours of the ninth received.
The mails come with sufficient regularity. We
all rush at the letter-bag, and think ourselves
blighted beings if we get nothing. Yesterday I
came on board this boat, where there are thirty
very bad cases, — four or five amputations. One
poor fellow, a lieutenant in the Thirty-second
New York Volunteers, shot through the knee,
and enduring more than mortal agony; a fair-
haired boy of seventeen, shot through the lungs,
26 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
every breath he draws hissing through the
wound ; another man, a poet, with seven holes
Jn him, but irrepressibly poetic and very comi-
cal. He dictated to me last night a foolscap
sheet full of poetry composed for the occasion.
His appearance as he sits up in bed, swathed
in a nondescript garment or poncho, construct-
ed for him by Miss Whetten out of an old
green table-cloth, is irresistibly funny. There
is also a captain of the Sixteenth New York
Volunteers, mortally wounded while leading his
company against a regiment. He is said to
measure six feet seven inches, — and I believe
it, looking at him as he lies there on a cot,
pieced out at the foot with two chairs.''
I took my first actual watch last night ; and
this morning I feel the same ease about the
work which yesterday I was surprised to see in
others. We begin the day by getting them all
washed, and freshened up, and breakfasted.
Then the surgeons and dressers make their
rounds, open the wounds, apply the remedies,
and replace the bandages. This is an awful
hour; I sat with my fingers in my ears this
^ Now General N. M. Curtis, the hero of Fort Fisher.
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 27
morning. When it is over, we go back to the
men and put the ward in order once more ; re-
making several of the beds, and giving clean
handkerchiefs with a little cologne or bay-
water on them, — so prized in the sickening
atmosphere of wounds. We sponge the banda-
ges over the wounds constantly, — which alone
carries us round from cot to cot almost without
stopping, except to talk to some, read to others,
or write letters for them; occasionally giving
medicine or brandy, etc., according to order.
Then comes dinner, which we serve out our-
selves, feeding those who can't feed them-
selves. After that we go off duty, and get first
washed and then fed ourselves; our dinner-table
being the top of an old stove, with slices of
bread for plates, fingers for knives and forks,
and carpet-bags for chairs, — all this because
everything available is being used for our poor
fellows. After dinner other ladies keep the
same sort of watch through the afternoon and
evening, while we sit on the floor of our state-
rooms resting, and perhaps writing letters, as
I am doing now.
Meantime this boat has run up the York River
28 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
as far as West Point (where a battle was fought
on Thursday), in obedience to a telegram from
the Medical Director of the Army, request-
ing the Commission to take ofiE two hundred
wounded men immediately. A transport accom-
panies us. But we pay little heed to the outside
world, and though we have been under-way
and running here and there for hours, I have
only just found it out. Don't fret if you do not
hear from me. I may go to Washington on a
hospital transport, or — to Eichmond with the
army ! and you may not hear of me for a week.
Let no one pity or praise us. I admit painful-
ness ; but no one can tell how sweet it is to be
the drop of comfort to so much agony.
"Wilson Small," May 14.
Dear Friend, — Last evening we parted from
all our poor fellows, except Captain Curtis, the ex-
tensive hero, who is said to-day to have a chance
for life. Our men were put on board the " Elm
City," which has been detailed to the Commission.
She filled up this morning with four hundred
and forty patients, and sailed for Washington.
Mrs. George Strong takes charge of the women's
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 29
department, and Miss Whetten goes with lier.
I was sent oij board this morning to assist them,
and remained there till the boat sailed. The
" Elm City " is a large river-steamboat, with
wide spaces on all her decks, where badly
wounded men can be laid in rows on cots and
mattresses, — they could not be put in bunks
or berths. She cannot make a sea-passage, and
is therefore sent up the Potomac to Washington.
It is an immense piece of work to get the
patients (many of them very low, or in great
agony) on board and into their beds, and stimu-
lated and fed and made comfortable. So much
is needed, — quick eyes and ears, and, above all,
some one to keep severe order in the pantry,
or rather the kitchen for the sick-food. Mrs.
Griffin is magnificent at that. I never saw
her hurried or worried for a moment ; conse-
quently she saves time and temper, and does
the very best that can be done. She spent
this morning on the " Elm City " watching
over three men until they died, receiving their
last wishes, which she is now writing to their
You will get little public information from
30 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
me. I am told we went some way up the
Pamunky River yesterday. Mr. Olmsted landed,
and went over the Williamsburg battle-field with
incredible difficulty and jolting. It is two and
a half miles long, with the fences all broken
down. The enemy are expected to make a des-
perate stand at Bottom Bridge — wherever that
may be. The army is now making its way
along the banks of the Pamunky ; great regret
is felt that General McDowell was not allowed
to co-operate at Gloucester. The spirit of our
men, their confidence in their leaders, their pride
in belonging to McClellan and the Army of the
Potomac, is splendid, so far as I see it; and
everybody says the same. Many fine traits of
character come out, — such as their self -forge tful-
ness and tenderness in caring for sick comrades,
their endurance of suffering, and even contempt
for it. A poor little boy of seventeen, shot
through the lungs, was so unwilling to speak of
himself, never murmuring, but roused into
excitement on the arrival of the New York
papers with accounts of the battles. I began
to read to him about the battle of Williamsburg,
where he was wounded ; but he gurgled out :
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 31
" Not that ! I know all about that. What did
our boys do next ? "
The fire we saw on our way across the Chesa-
peake was the burning of the Navy-yard at
Norfolk, and the dull explosion which we heard
was the blowing up of the " Merrimac."
"Wilson Small," May 14.
Dear Mother, — If I can write amid all the
fun and nonsense that is going on around me,
I will try to give you a general idea of the state
of things here. The " Elm City," filled with
wounded men, sailed this morning. The " S. R.
Spaulding," a large ocean steamship, is to be
fitted up for hospital service ; and that appears
to be our next work. Meantime "Georgy"
has returned with another vessel, the "Knicker-
bocker," in perfect order. It seems that the
Quartermaster's department ran away with the
boat for some purpose of its own, carrying
the ladies in her, — for Georgy is a lady, sister of
Mrs. M . Miss Rosalie Butler accompanied
her. They made the most of their time, and
have brought back the runaway boat in perfect
hospital order. I 've just been over her. They
32 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
have had her cleansed from top to toe, thj
is, from the hold to the hurricane-deck. Tl:
" Knickerbocker," you must know, is a larg
river-steamboat, and is intended for surgici
cases. Then they prepared the cots, mattresse
and bunks, and made the beds ; arranged ever
ward with all necessary appliances; filled tl
linen-closets with the proper quantity of bei
linen, hospital-clothing, socks, bandages, lin
rags, etc. (which were packed in cases an
bales), got ready the hospital-kitchen, stole
stove for it, as far as I can make out, and ha
all the necessary stores unpacked and move
into places where they would be at hand whe
needed. These girls must be splendidly efficien
It is not the doing it, but the knowing how
should be done, and handling the whole affa
with as much ease as if they were arranging
doll's house, that delights me.
We are all now sitting idly on carpet-bags <
on the floor, in a little covered saloon or pas
age on to which our staterooms open. Oi
dinner-table, the stove, is being removed, ar
Dr. Ware is improvising a better, with a plan
across the railing of the stairs. The momei
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 33
the pressure is taken off, we all turn-to to " be as
funny as we can." I am astonished at the cheer-
ful devotion — whole-souled and whole-bodied
devotion — of the surgeon and medical students
attached to this boat.-^ These young men toil
day and night at the severest work, quick, intel-
ligent, and tender. Their business is to ship
the men, move them carefully from one boat to
another, and register their names and all their
belongings ; to attend to the dispensaries, keep-
ing them amply supplied with stores ; to give
medical and surgical attendance, dress the
wounds, and often to sit up all night, after work-
ing hard all day. Then they turn in wherever
a mattress comes handy, take a long sleep, and
come out of it refreshed and full of fun, — in
which we join until the next work comes, and
then we are all fresh to work in cheerful concert
together. This seems the best way to do the
work ; nothing morbid comes of it, — which is
We are now making ready to run up the Pa-
munky Kiver as far as the advance of the army
* Dr. Robert Ware, surgeon ; Messrs. David Haight, Charles
Woolsey, George Wheelock.
34 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
at Cumberland. This boat, the "Wilson Small,"
is disabled. She was twice run into to-day, — the
second time by the huge " Vanderbilt," which
nearly demolished her. We are to be towed by
the " Knickerbocker " (for we can't even get up
steam) as far as West Point, where there is a
ship-yard. You must get a good map and fol-
low us and the army, — or rather the army and
us. General Franklin's corps, with those of
Porter and Sedgwick, are at Cumberland and
New Kent Court-House. This is the right wing.
The left is moving towards the Chickahominy at
Bottom Bridge, where the enemy are supposed
to be rallying for a stand. Meantime McDowell
is coming down from Fredericksburg at last.
Banks from the direction of Gordonsville, and
perhaps Burnside may get up along the line of
the Petersburg Railway. The general opinion
is that a fearful struggle will take place before
Richmond. Alas ! But it is not a battle which
destroys so many lives as it is the terrible deci-
mating diseases brought on by exposure and
hardships and the climate of marshes and water-
courses. The majority of the cases of ill-
ness which I have seen were men who dropped
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 35
exhausted from the army on its march, and had
painfully made their way to the banks of creeks
and rivers, where they were picked up by pass-
ing boats and brought down to us. A number
of men who came to-day (one lad who died al-
most immediately) were in the battle of West
Point, and took the fever from exposure and
A telegram is just brought on board, saying
that a hundred sick men are waiting at Bige-
low's Landing for transportation ; the telegram
says, " They are dying in the rain." This mess-
age is to the United States Medical officer at
Yorktown; but he seems to think the obvious
thing to do is to hand it over at once to the
Sanitary Commission. Mr. Olmsted is not on
board ; when he is found I suppose we shall
start. The " Knickerbocker " is all ready for
three hundred men, and I think it likely we
shall run up in her and be at work all night ;
but nothing is too much with such efficiency as
we have on board, — order, calmness, prompti-
tude. I only wish we might be kept working
Mrs. 's mother writes dismal letters, which
36 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
try her very mucli, — saying, for instance, that a
lady must put away all delicacy and refinement
for this work. Nothing could be more false. It
is not too much to say that delicacy and refine-
ment and the fact of being a gentlewoman could
never tell more than they do here. I read your
letter to Mrs. to make her envious.
"Wilson Small," May 16.
Dear Friend, — I have asked every one
within reach what day of the week it is : in
vain. Reference to Mr. Olmsted, who knows
everything, establishes that it is Friday. Is it
one week, or five, since I left New York?
As I wrote the last words of my last letter,
the " Elizabeth," our supply-boat, came along-
side with Mr. Olmsted and Mr. Knapp, and just
behind them a steamer with one hundred and
eighty sick on board. All hands were at once
alert. The sick men were to be put on board
the "Knickerbocker," whither we all went at
once, armed with our precious spirit-lamps.
Meantime Mr. Olmsted read a telegram we
had received in his absence, saying that a hun-
dred sick were lying at Bigelow's Landing and
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 37
" dying in tlie rain." Mr. Knapp took charge
of the " Elizabeth," saying, " Who volunteers
to go up for them?" Three young men, Miss
Helen Gilson, and I followed him. Not a
moment was lost, — Mr. Knapp would not
even let me go back for a shawl, — and the
tug was ofE.
The " Elizabeth " is our store-tender or sup-
ply-boat. Her main-deck is piled from deck to
deck with boxes. The first thing done is to
pick out six cases of pillows, six of quilts, one
of brandy, and a cask of bread. Then all the
rest are lowered into the hold. Meantime I
make for the kitchen, where I find a remarkable
old black aunty and a fire. I dive into her pots
and pans, I wheedle her out of her green tea
(the black having given out), and soon I have
eight bucketsful of tea and pyramids of bread
and butter. Miss Gilson and the young men
have spread the cleared main-deck with two
layers of quilts and rows of pillows a man's
length apart, and we are ready for the men
some time before we reach them ; for the night
is dark and rainy, and the boat has got aground,
and it is fully ten o'clock before the men are
38 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
brought alongside. The poor fellows are led or
carried on board, and stowed side by side as
close as can be. We feed them with spoonfuls
of brandy and water ; they are utterly broken
down, soaked through, some of them raving
with fever. After all are laid down, Miss Gil-
son and I give them their suppers, and they sink
down again. Any one who looks over such a deck
as that, and sees the suffering, despondent atti-
tudes of the men, and their worn frames and
faces, knows what war is, better than the sight •
of wounds can teach it. "We could only take
ninety ; twenty-five others had to go on the
small tug which accompanied us. Mr. Knapp,
the doctor, and one of the young men went on
board of her. Meantime the " Elizabeth " started
on the homeward trip, so that Miss Gilson and
I and a quartermaster were left to manage our
men alone. Fortunately only about a dozen
were very ill, and none died. Still, I felt anx-
ious : six were out of their minds ; one had
tried to destroy himself three times that day,
and was drenched through and through, having
been dragged out of the creek into which he
had thrown himself just before we reached him.
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 39
We were alongside the "Knickerbocker" by
1 A. M., when Dr. Ware came on board and gave
me some general directions, after which I got
along very well. It was thought best to leave
the poor wearied fellows to rest where they
were until morning, and the night passed off
quietly enough ; my only disaster being that I
gave morphia to a man who actually screamed
with rheumatism and cramp. I supposed mor-
phia could n't hurt him, and it was a mercy to
others to stop the noise. Instead of this, I
made him perfectly crazy. He rose to his feet
in the midst of the prostrate mass of men, and
demanded of them and of me his " clean linen "
and his " Sunday clothes." I picked my way to
him, but could do nothing at first but make
him worse. At last I was inspired to say that
I had all his clothes " there " (pointing to a
dark corner behind a bulkhead) : " would he lie
down and wait till I brought them ? " To my
surprise he subsided. I hid in trepidation for
a few minutes, and at last, to my great joy, I
saw the morphine take effect. One little fel-
low of fifteen, crushed by a tree falling on his
breast, had run away from his mother, and was
40 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
very pathetic. I persuaded him to let me
write to her.
The next morning, after -getting them all
washed, I went o£E guard, and Mrs. Griffin and
Miss Butler came on board with their break-
fast from the "Knickerbocker," where the
hundred and eighty whom we had left arriving
the night before, were stowed and cared for.
Getting them all washed, as I say, is a droll
piece of work. Some are indifferent to the
absurd luxury of soap and water, and some are
so fussy. Some poor faces we must wash our-
selves, and that softly and slowly. I started
along each row with two tin basins and two
bits of soap, my arm being the towel-horse.
Now, you are not to suppose that each man had
a basinful of clean water all to himself. How-
ever, I thought three to a basin was enough, or
four, if they did n't wash too hard. But an old
corporal taught me better. " Stop, marm ! "
said he, as I was turning back with the dirty
water to get fresh j "that water will do for
several of us yet. Bless you ! I make my
coffee of worse than that."
Soon after breakfast my men were trans-
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 41
ferred to the " Knickerbocker." She still lies
alongside, and we take care of her. She is
beautifully in order. The ward-masters are
all excellent, and the orderlies know their duty.
The men look comfortable, and even cheerful.
It is a pleasure to give them their meals. I
gave the men in the long ward (where they lie
on mattresses in two rows, head to head, two
hundred of them) their dinner to-day, and their
supper yesterday. Ah, me ! how they liked it,
— some of them, of course, too worn to do more
than swallow a few spoonfuls and look grateful ;
others loud in their satisfaction. The poor,
crazy man who tried to destroy himself at Big-
elow's Landing has some vague idea about me
now ; and sometimes, when he utterly refuses
his milk-punch, and thrashes and splutters at
every one who comes near him, I am sent for,
when he subsides into obedience with a smile
which is meant to be bland, and is so comical
that people around retire in convulsions.
To-day I am "loafing." Everything is in
perfect order on the " Knickerbocker ; " and as
I scent a transfer this afternoon of the whole
corps to the " Spaulding," to fit her up, I am
42 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAB.
determined to husband my efforts. This boat,
the " Wilson Small," is finally smashed up ; we
call her the "CoUida." The hospital-boats
usually lie alongside of each other, with their
gangways connected ; and sometimes we run
through four or five boats at a time.
Captain Curtis is still on board, doing well.
He goes North on the " Knickerbocker " to-day.
Now that our wounded men are gone, we have
a dinner-table set, and the Captain lies in his
cot on one side of the cabin, laughing at the
fun and nonsense which go on at meals. Mrs.
M. has her French man-servant, Maurice, on
board. He is capital. He struggles to keep us
proper in manners and appearance, and still
dreams of les convenances. At dinner-time he
rushes through the various ships and wards :
" My ladies, j'ai un petit plat ; je ne vous dirai
pas ce que c'est. I beg of you to be ponc-
tuelle ; I gif you half-hour's notis." The half-
hour having expired, he sets out again on a
voyage of entreaty and remonstrance. He
won't let us help ourselves, and if we take a
seat not close to the person above, he says :
" No, no, move up ; we must have order." His
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 43
petit plat proved to be baked potatoes, which
were received with acclamation, while he stood
bowing and smiling with a towel (or it may
have been a rag) for a napkin. But I must
tell you that Maurice is the tenderest of nurses,
and gives every moment he can spare to the
sick. He serves his mistress, but he is at-
tentive to all, and, like a true Frenchman, he
so identifies himself with the moment and its
interests that he is, to all hospital intents and
purposes, " one of us."
You are not to be alarmed by the word "ty-
phoid," which I foresee will occur on every page
of my letters, nearly all our sick cases being
that or running into that. The idea of infec-
tion is simply absurd. The ventilation of these
ships is excellent ; besides, people employed in
such a variety of work and in high health and
spirits are not liable to infection. Nobody ever
thinks of such a thing, and I only mention it
to check your imagination. In a boat organ-
ized like the "Knickerbocker," we women stand
no regular watch, but we are on hand at all
hours of the day, relieving each other at our
own convenience. As for the ladies among
44 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
whom my luck has thrown me, they are just
what they should be, — efficient, wise, active as
cats, merry, light-hearted, thoroughbred, and
without the fearful tone of self-devotion which
sad experience makes one expect in benevolent
women. We all know in our hearts that it is
thorough enjoyment to be here, — it is life, in
short; and we wouldn't be anywhere else for
anything in the world. I hope people will
continue to sustain the Sanitary Commission.
Hundreds of lives are being saved by it. I
have seen with my own eyes in one week fifty
men who must have died without it, and many
more who probably would have done so. I
speak of lives saved only ; the amount of suf-
fering saved is incalculable. The Commission
keeps up the work at great expense. It has
six large steamers running from here. Gov-
ernment furnishes these and the bare rations of
the men ; but the real expenses of supply fall
on the Commission, — in fact, everything that
makes the power and excellence of the work is
supplied by the Commission. If people ask
what they shall send, say : Money, money,
stimulants, and articles of sick-food.
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 45
" S. E. Spaulding," Pamdnkt River,
Dear Mother, — This has been a delightful
day. The " Knickerbocker " got safely off at
five o'clock this morning, after a rather anxious
night. One of the men from the " Elizabeth "
died, and another jumped overboard. He rushed
past me and sprang from the bulwark. I heard
the splash, but all that I, or any one, saw of
him were the rings in the water widening in the
moonlight. Boats were put oE immediately, but
he never rose.
Last night, being off duty, I went round to
a number of Rhode Island men who were on
board, and wrote letters or took messages for
them. A coincidence — a real coincidence — oc-
curred. I had heard Mr. Knapp telling Mr
Olmsted of the death of a Newport man, David
A. Newman, Fourth Rhode Island Volunteers. I
asked for his effects, that I might some day take
them home with me. In searching for them, a
knapsack marked " Simeon A. Newman, Fourth
Rhode Island Volunteers," turned up without its
owner, who had died in Washington in Decem-
ber, 1861. This knapsack had wandered on
46 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAK.
with the regiment; by chance it got on board
our boat; by chance it came under my notice; by
chance I spoke of it to one of the Ehode Island
men, who said : " I know a man who knew
Simeon A. Newman, and he is sick on board
here now." I hunted him up ; he proved to
be the nearest friend of S. A. Newman, who
was color-sergeant of the regiment, and was
with him when he died. He told me that after
his death the widow wrote to beg that his sash
might be sent to her ; but though every effort
was made, the widow writing again and again
for it, it could never be found. I went at once
to the knapsack, and there was the sash. I
have sent them by express to Bristol, R. I.,
where the widow lives.
After the " Knickerbocker " was off we " took
it easy ; " came out to breakfast at ten o'clock,
and transferred ourselves leisurely to this ship,
which is a palace to us. We were rather sub-
dued by our grandeur at dinner. Hotel-fare
and men to wait upon ^us is rather elevating
after eating salt-beef with our fingers. After
dinner we ran up to West Point, where the
York River forks, the northern branch being
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 47
the Mattapony (pronounced Mattaponz") ; the
other the Pamunky, along the line of which
the army has advanced, — through the thirteen
thousand acres granted by Charles II. to Ralph
Wormeley 2d ; strange, is n't it, that I should
be here now ? They have had the pluck to
run this huge vessel up this little river, without
a chart, and not a soul on board who has been
here before. The passage has been enchanting ;
we ran so close to the shore that I could almost
have thrown my glove upon it. The verdure
is in its freshest spring beauty ; the lovely
shores are belted with trees and shrubs of every
brilliant and tender shade of green, broken now
and then by creeks, running up little valleys
till they are lost in the blue distance. I saw
the beginning of the battle-field of Williams-
burg (" long fields of barley and of rye " but
a week ago), and the whole of the battle-field
of West Point, still dotted with the hospital-
tents, from which we have cleared out all the
The sun set as we rounded the last bend in
the Pamunky ; the sky and the water gleamed
golden alike, and the trees suddenly grew black
48 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
as the glow dazzled our eyes. We dropped
anchor off Cumberland at dusk, and have jiist
left the deck (on sanitary principles), where we
were sitting to enjoy the lovely lights and listen
to the whippoorwill. This is yachting on a
magnificent scale ; we feel rather ashamed of
our grandeur, and eager to get back to a tug-
boat again. This vessel, which used to be a fine
passenger steamship, has been employed by the
Government as a transport for major-generals
and their train. This accounts for the style in
which she is equipped and manned. She is now
filled with workmen, putting up three tiers of
hospital-bunks in the hold and on the forward
main-deck ; after that is finished we shall begin
to fit up the wards. To-day we have organized
the pantry and store-rooms.
"S. R. Spacldihg,"
Off Headquaetbrs, Army op the Potomac,
White House, May 18.
Dear A., — My date will excite you. Yes-
terday, after getting off the "Knickerbocker"
with three hundred sick on board, we trans-
ferred our quarters to this vessel, and started to
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 49
run up the Pamunky. It was audacious of us
to run this big ocean-steamer up this little river,
without a chart and without a pilot. In some
places we brushed the trees as we passed, for
the water is said to be fifteen feet deep a yard
from the shore. What a garden land it is !
Such verdure of every brilliant shade lining the
shore, and broken into, here and there, by little
creeks running up through meadow-lands into
the misty blue distance. We anchored for the
night o£E Cumberland, — the limit of my aspi-
rations ; and I went to sleep in the still linger-
ing twilight, listening to the whippoorwill. In
the morning when I came on deck Mr. Olmsted
called me forward into the bows : and what a
sight was there to greet us ! The glow of the
morning mist, the black gunboats, the shining
river, with the gleam of the white sails and
the tents along the shore, made a picture to be
painted only by Turner. We ran up to the
head of the fleet, in sight of the headquarters
of the army, to the burned railroad bridge,
beyond which no one could go.
After breakfast we went ashore, where Gen-
eral Franklin met us and took us through part
50 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
of his command, — through trains of army
ons drawn by four mules ; through a ploi
fifild across which mounted officers and
staffs were galloping at full speed ; thi
sutlers' tents and commissary stores, and
teries and caissons. It was like a vast
ground. We met one man eating six pi
once, and not a man without one pie ! I w
intensely to stop at General Headquarte
we passed it. But to-day General McGlell
overborne by business : the army arrived
on the 16th; twelve scouting-parties are
out, some coming in every hour ; McClellan
self is not able to speak an unnecessary \
a council is to be held this evening, t
range the last details for the move to-mo
— so we felt we ought not even to wish t
General Franklin took us to the \
House, — a house and estate just quitted b
family of a son of General Lee, whose
was a Custis. I copied the following n^
written in a lady's hand on a half she
note-paper, and nailed to the wall of
entrance : —
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 51
Northern soldiers ! who profess to reverence the
memory of Washington, forbear to desecrate the home
of his first married life, the property of his wife, and
now owned by her descendants.
A Granddaughter op Mrs. Washington.
Underneath was written (in the handwriting,
as I was told, of General Williams, Adjutant-
General of the army) : —
Lady, — A Northern soldier has protected this
property within sight of the enemy, and at the re-
quest of your overseer.
And so it was. On reaching the spot, Gen-
eral McClellan would not even make his head-
quarters within the grounds. Guards were
stationed at the gates and fences, on the lawns
and the piazzas. Within, all was beautiful^
untrodden, and fresh, while without was the
tumult and trampling of war. Already the
surrounding country was a barren and dusty
plain. We walked through the grounds, across
the peaceful lawns looking down upon the
river crowded with transports and ammunition-
barges. We went through the house, which is
a small cottage, painted brown, and by no
means a tvhite house. The carpets and a great
52 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
part of the furniture had been removed, but
enough remained to show tliat modern elegance
had adorned the quaint old place. Washington
never lived in the present house, which has
been built on the site of the one in which he
spent his early married life.
General Franklin allowed me to gather some
ivy and some holly. We stayed nearly an
hour, sitting on the piazza and talking to him.
He struck me as an officer of power, — large,
with square face and head, deep-sunk, deter-
mined blue eyes, close-cropped reddish-brown
hair and beard. He told us that the battle of
Williamsburg was full of anxiety from first to
last, and that it took much to decide the final
fortunes of the day ; but at West Point, after
the men were landed, he was not for a moment
uneasy, the game was in our hands from the
beginning. He feels confident that the enemy
will make a great resistance before Richmond ;
if not, it will be a virtual surrender of their
cause, which he thinks they are far from mak-
ing. Everything, he said, depended on the
strength of our army, and he told us that
McDowell was at last coming down on our
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 53
right wing, which, is to be extended to meet
him. He spoke with the deepest confidence in
McClellan, who, he said, was in good spirits,
though fearfully overworked.
As we were leaving White House, General
Fitz-John Porter came to meet us, and walked
with us to our wharf, where we met General
Morell ; and they all came on board and stayed
half an hour. I felt great interest in General
Porter, who commands one corps d'armee,
General Franklin commanding another. Gen-
eral Morell is also an interesting man; looks
like dear father, but wears a long white beard.
He received the command of a division yester-
day. General Porter spoke of McClellan just as
we all feel, — as a patriot as well as a general,
as a man who wisely seeks to heal, as well as to
conquer. There is a fine spirit in General Por-
ter. He probably has less power than General
Franklin, is more excitable and sympathetic;
but there is an expression of devotion about
him which inspires great confidence. They
were all very guarded, of course, in what they
said of the future ; but two hours' talk with
such men in such places teaches much.
54 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
This afternoon General Seth "Williams, Ad-
jiltant-General, came on board to pay his re-
spects to Mrs. Grifl&n. His visit gave us all
great pleasure. I am told that if any man
possesses in an equal degree the respect and
attachment of others, he does; and yet his
quiet, modest manner and plain appearance
would hardly instruct a stranger as to his posi-
tion in the army. .These gentlemen were ac-
companied by many young officers, all spurs
and swords and clanking. They were thankful
for some of our private stores, — needles, buttons,
and linen thread were as much prized as beads
by an Indian; and even hairpins were accept-
able to General Porter, one button of whose
cap was already screwed on by that female
I am happy to say that there is no immediate
chance of my being anywhere but here. We
came up for medicines and general information;
the result is that Mr. Olmsted finds such a
state of disorganization and sixes-and-sevenness
in the medical arrangements that he has deter-
mined to make his headquarters here for the
present. Mr. Knapp has therefore just started
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 55
in the tug for Yorktown to bring up the sup-
ply-boats, and leave orders for our hospital-
fleet to follow us up the river as they arrive
from the North.
The state of affairs is somewhat this : when
the march from Yorktown began, and the men
dropped by thousands, exhausted, sick, and
wounded, the Medical Department, unprepared
and terribly harassed, flung itself upon the San-
itary Commission. When it became known
that our transports were lying in the river, the
brigade-siirgeons made a business of sending
their sick on board of them; and the Medical
Director sanctioned the practice. The hospitals
at Yorktown, Fortress Monroe, and Newport
News are full; the Commission has therefore
been forced to take these men to the North.
Nothing, of course, is more desirable for those
who are seriously ill or badly wounded ; but
every man who falls exhausted from the ranks
is sent to us. This will prove in the end ac-
tually demoralizing to the army if not checked.
The men will come to think that illness, real or
shammed, is the way to get home. Already
suspicious rheumatic cases have appeared. Mr.
66 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
Olmsted remonstrates against the system, but
of course he has to act under the medical au-
thority. What is wanted is a large receiving-
hospital in the rear of the army, which would
keep the cases of exhaustion and slight illness,
take good care of them for a week or two, and
send them back to the front. Mr. Olmsted tele-
graphed to-day, advising the Surgeon-General to
send sufficient hospital accommodation, bedding,
and medicines for six thousand men. This
ought to be done. Meantime we lie here, and
may fill this ship, which is now all in order,
Could you but see the lovely scene around
me ! We have had a little service of prayer
and hymns in the cabin, and now we are all —
the " staff," as we call ourselves — sitting at
sunset on the deck, under an awning. We are
anchored in the middle of the river, which is
about three hundred yards wide at this point,
and are slowly swinging at our anchor. We have
dropped down the stream since morning. Scores
of vessels — transports, mortar-boats, ammuni-
tion-barges — are close around us, and several
gunboats. The regiments of Franklin's corps are
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 57
camped along the banks; the bands playing on
one side, "Hail Columbia! " and, farther down,
" Glory, Hallelujah ! " The trees which fringe
the shore lean towards us, — locust, oak, and the
lovely weeping-elm. One of the latter throws
its shadow across my paper as we have slowly
swung into it. I have told Mr. Olmsted that,
now that I feel at home in the work, I am not
tied to Mrs. Griffin, but consider the protection
of the Commission sufficient, and that if he
wants me, I will stay by the work as long as
there is any. I like him exceedingly, autocrat
and aristocrat that he is ; I feel that he would
protect and guard in the wisest manner those
under his care. The other gentlemen on board
are Mr. Frederick N. Knapp, second to Mr.
Olmsted, in charge of the supplies ; Dr. Robert,
"Ware, chief-surgeon ; Messrs. Charles Woolsey,
George Wheelock, and David Haight, his as-
Direct to me in future to the care of Colonel
Ingalls, Quartermaster's Department, Army of
the Potomac^ — think of that!
58 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
" Spaulding," May 20.
Dear Mother, — It is so iincertain whether
you receive any of my letters (I receive none
of yours) that I write to-day by the "Daniel
Webster," though I have but little to say. The
"Webster" and the "Elm City" came up the
river yesterday. We were invited to tea on
board of the former, and were much pleased to
find how we are missed. Dr. Grymes is still
in charge of her, and Mrs. Trotter reigns over
the women's department with great success.
Mrs. Strong, Miss Whetten, and Miss Gardiner
returned on the " Elm City." The " Webster "
came up in perfect order, ready to ship her
men as soon as her cargo was discharged.
She is now loading, and sails for Boston this
afternoon. We ourselves remain here. Mr.
Olmsted is anxious to keep his " staff " at the
heels of the army. I like this much better
myself. It is more interesting, and the work,
though harder, is more satisfactory in every
'wsij. The weather is delightful. At present
we are idle, — kept so, I am told, in reserve for
the expected battle. The "Elm City" is to
remain here as a receiving-ship ; this vessel
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 59
(the " Spaulding ") and the "Daniel Webster"
are to be used as ocean-transports, and chiefly
for sick men; the " Knickerbocker " and the
"Daniel Webster No. 2" as river-transports for
wounded men, — " surgical cases," as they are
called. The former make the sea-passage to
New York, Boston, or Philadelphia ; the latter
run to Washington or Fortress Monroe. These
five ships can transport about two thousand
men a week. Mr. Olmsted is struggling, with
probable success, to bring the Medical Depart-
ment to establish a large receiving-camp-hos-
pital for the lesser cases that ought not to go
North. Meantime the "Elm City" is to be
used as a receiving-ship for them pro tern.
"Spaulding," May 21.
Dear Friend, — We are just where we were,
— swinging at anchor under the elm-tree, and
doing nothing. This galls us a little ; but, after
all, we women are but a drop in the bucket of
relief, every one on board, except us, being
worked to his very utmost, — Mr. Olmsted in
organizing the work and endeavoring to get the
medical authorities to fall into some kind of
60 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
system; Mr. Knapp in getting up and issuing
supplies ; Dr. Ware and our young men ia put-
ting a receiving-hospital ashore in something
like decent order. It started last night with
one hundred tents, twenty-five men in each;
ambulances coming in every hour, and nothing
for the men but the bare tents, unfloored. Our
gentlemen have been there all day ; and Mr.
Knapp has sent up straw, bed-sacks, bedding,
food, and clothing. Mr. Olmsted declines to
let us women go there ; I don't know why.
A few wounded men came down to-day, and
were taken on board the "Elm City," where
Mrs. Strong, Miss Whetten, and Miss Gardiner
take care of them.
Mr. Olmsted gave me to-day a draft of the
" Rules " which he has drawn up for the regu-
lation of the service on board our ships. I
inclose a copy, as it will give you a fair idea
of our interior system after the men come on
board, and until they are landed at their des-
tination. It reads very well on paper, and you
may be sure that it is carried out, with Mr.
Olmsted at the head of affairs : his are no paper
orders. But there are hidden rocks and snags
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAE. 61
under that smooth surface which make, in fact,
the anxiety of our female lives. For instance :
our boats belong to the Quartermaster's Depart-
ment ; the captains and crews object, as a gen-
eral thing, to being used in hospital service, and
have to be forever coaxed and conciliated. The
kitchen arrangements are a never-ending plague.
The cooks and the galleys are not looked upon
as being for the use of the hospital, and yet
there is no way of getting others ; so they must
be persuaded to do the work which we have no
absolute power to make them do. The twenty
or thirty bucketsful of soup daily for the "house
diet " (the sick food we prepare ourselves) are
an achievement if they are forthcoming at
the right moment. We order, make ready,
prepare ; and then it is hard to find that the
instant our backs were turned everything came
to a standstill, and that dinner for the sick
men can't be ready at the right moment with-
out some superhuman exertion on our parts.
As for hot water (about which you may observe
a delicate reference in the " Kules "), our lives
are made a burden to us on that subject, and
we might as well be in it at once, — if it could
62 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
be got. You will see from my letters that we
women do more than is set down for us in the
programme j for, in fact, we do a little of every-
thing. We of the " staff " are specially subor-
dinate to Mr. Olmsted ; and though we are not
his right hand — Mr. Knapp and Dr. Ware are
that — we are the fingers of it, and help to
carry out his ideas. The duties of the men
and women of the staff are chiefly as fol-
lows : to superintend the shipping of the sick
or wounded on board the boats which return
from the North for fresh loads ; to fit up those
boats, or others coming into the Commission's
hands ; to receive at the landing, to sort and
distribute according to orders, the patients who
are sent down from the front ; to feed, cleanse,
give medical aid and nursing to all these men,
and otherwise take care of them, until the ships
saU again for the North; and, finally, to be
ready for all emergencies.
I think I have not yet described our " Chief "
to you. He is small, and lame (for the time
being only) from a terrible accident which hap-
pened to him a few months ago ; but though the
lameness is decided, it is scarcely observable, for
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR, 63
he gives you a sense that he triumphs over it by
doing as if it did not exist. His face is gener-
ally very placid, with all the expressive delicacy
of a woman's, and would be beautiful were it
not for an expression which I cannot fathom, —
something which is, perhaps, a little too severe
about it. I think his mouth and smile and the
expression of his eyes at times very beautiful.
He has great variety of expression : sometimes
stern, thoughtful, and haggard; at other times
observing and slightly satirical (I believe he
sees out of the back of his head occasionally) ;
and then again, and not seldom, his face wears
an inspired look, full of goodness and power. I
think he is a man of the most resolute self-will,
— generally a very wise wUl, I should think ;
born an autocrat, however, and, as such, very sat-
isfactory to be under. His reticence is one of
his strong points : he directs everything in the
fewest possible words ; there is a deep, calm
thoughtfulness about him which is always at-
tractive and sometimes — provoking. He is
managing the present enterprise (which is full
of responsibility, without having any rights)
with the largest views of what is best for the
64 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
army, and compelling the acquiescence of the
Military authority in his plans, while he scrupu-
lously keeps within the understood position of
the Sanitary Commission as subordinate to it.
You may also see how carefully he attends to
details by the sketch of them which he has
given in the "Rules." He is a great organizer- —
as the past history of the Central Park and the
Sanitary Commission wUl show — and he is a
great administrator, because he comprehends
details, but trusts his subordinates : if they are
good, he relies on them ; if they are weak,
there's an end of them.
As for Mr. Knapp, he is our delight. A thin,
bald-headed man, with a flowing brown beard
and a very fine, sweet, energetic face ; always
overwhelmed with work ; caught at here, there,
and everywhere by some one who has impor-
tant business, yet able to give and take any
saucy drollery that comes up between us. It
is not easy to say positively what he is, for he
is never still, and he has certainly not been for
five consecutive minutes under my observation ;
but there's one thing which my mind is clear
about : it shines out from every point of him, —
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
he is a pMlanthropist without the hateful as-
pects of that calling. He is in charge of the
supply department, — the commissariat of the
Commission, as it may be called. The entire
business of ordering and receiving supplies from
the North, and issuing them, when on hand,
either to our own vessels or upon the requisi-
tion of brigade and regimental surgeons for
camp and field hospitals, is an outline of his
work. He is always in a hurry; he forgets
our names, and calls us everything that we are
not, but says it is " a system ; " he is lain in
wait for at all corners by some one with a tale
of distress and a prayer for stimulants, beef-
stock, straw, sheets, bandages, or what not, all
of which is duly given if the proper requisition
from a United States surgeon is forthcoming.
He is in a chronic state of worry about '•' trans-
portation," — I declare I think I hear that
word oftener than any other, except " brandy "
The railroad is open to-day to within ten
miles of Richmond : so says Colonel Ingalls.
The cars and locomotives came up the river
yesterday. This enables them to send forward
66 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAK.
supplies with great ease. Hitherto, everything
has depended on wagon-trains, half of which
stick in the mud and clay of Virginia roads.
The one question asked by everybody is :
"Spauldinq," May 23.
Dear A., — Your welcome letter came yes-
terday. It is great happiness to know that you
enter into the thing so heartily. You are
right; it is worth five years of other life, set-
ting aside the satisfaction of doing something
directly for the cause. We are stiU on board
this ship, comparatively idle. Yesterday sixty
men were sent down from the front ; but the
surgeon of the Shore hospital refused to take
them, alleging that he had no room. A tre-
mendous thunder-storm came up, in the midst
of which we ran up to the landing-place in our
little tug, the " Wissahickon," and found the
men, who were lying on the ground by the
side of the railway. We gave them brandy
and water, tea and bread, washed them a little,
brought off a dozen of the worst cases, and left
the others comfortable for the night, with blan-
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
kets and quilts, in two covered freight-cars.
This morning we went up with their breakfast,
and had the satisfaction of seeing them off
in ambulances for the Shore hospital, owing to
Mr. Olmsted's strong remonstrances.
This vessel, the " Spaulding," is filling to-
day, and sails for New York on Sunday. We
shall then go on board the " Elm City," and
the hospital company of that boat, including
two ladies. Miss Whetten and Mrs. Strong, will
take charge of this one. Mr. Olmsted has the
greatest difficulty in preventing the authorities
from forcing on our pity by their neglect the
sick men who are now here and coming down
daily. These men ought to be taken care of
in tents ashore. If forced upon us and a battle
occurs, our boats will be ofE with men who
ought not to go, and we shall have no accom-
modation for the wounded. Yesterday and to-
day we have heard cannonading at the bridge
over the Chickahominy ; and these slight skir-
mishes send us down a dozen or two of wound-
ed daily, who are placed at once on board the
General Van Vliet, Quartermaster-General of
68 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
the Army of the Potomac, came to see us to-
day, accompanied by Captain Sawtelle, Assist-
ant-Quartermaster. The General was full of
kindness and gallantry, — quite bubbled over
with it ; and ofEered us a railway-car to take us
into Richmond as soon as it is occupied ! "We
heard last night that McDowell's pickets had
met ours : God grant it may be true ! There is
little doubt that McDowell's not being allowed
to co-operate at Gloucester prevented the over-
throw of the Rebellion at Yorktown ; and yet
this McClellan keeps on with a sunny heart,
and, as General Franklin said, "does his best
alone ! "
On Wednesday we were invited on board the
" Sebago," Captain Murray. A gun-boat is
very interesting. She carries two large guns
and a few howitzers. The large guns (Parrotts,
these were) stand in the middle of the deck,
one aft, and the other forward, and turn on
pivots in every direction. The bulwarks can
be turned down, to allow the guns free range ;
they are turned up for a sea-voyage : but even
then these boats ship a great deal of water.
It was delightful to be on a trig man-of-war.
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 69
The oflB.cers seemed so clean and fresh, after the
dusty, thread-worn look of the army-officers.
It is easy to keep neat on board ship, but
very hard to do it on the march, especially
through the red clay soil of Virginia. The
" Sebago " was the gun-boat which, accompa-
nied by a tiny propeller with one hundred and
fifty infantry on board, ran a few miles farther
up the Pamunky the other day, — at sight of
which the enemy burned two steamers and
Not much has happened to interest us out of
our own world. To us the arrival of our various
steamers, and the consequent visits, inquiries,
and thefts, are matters of great importance. We
go on board some newly arrived ship, and find
up the parties in charge of the invoice: "Six-
teen pails ! we '11 take eight ; " " Essence of
beef! we want all that ; " "What! fifty cans?"
" Fifty ! we must have a hundred," — and so
on through sugar, arrowroot, farina, spices,
lemons, whiskey, brandy, etc. ; while the doc-
tors make a raid of the same kind on the dis-
pensary. Kleptomania is the prevailing disease
among us. We think nothing of watching the
70 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
proprietor of some nicety out of the way, and
then pocketing the article. After such a visit,
Georgy's unfathomable pocket is a mine of
wealth as to nutmeg-graters, corkscrews, forks
and spoons, and such articles. I, being less
nimble at pilfering, content myself by carrying
ofE tin pails with an abstracted air. Perhaps
our visits do not give the keen satisfaction to
others that they do to us. But they are going
back where they can get more; while to us who
remain here, such articles are as precious as if
they were made of gold.
I am perfectly well. To please others, I " pro-
phylac " with the rest. I drink cofEee in excess,
and whiskey (with quinine) occasionally, and
eat alarming dinners. "We shall be thankful to
get off this ship, where we have green velvet
chairs to sit upon, and are unable to get proper
cooking arrangements for the sick. We regret
our dear " Wilson Small," where we lived on a
permanent picnic, which was in keeping with
our business and our spirit.
To-day Mr. Olmsted invited Mrs. Grifi&n and
me to row with him along the shore. You
know I dread little boats ; but it was a prospect
THE OTHER SIDE OP WAR. 71
of enjoyment, and I could not forego it. The
start was lovely. Mr. Olmsted rowed us close
in shore, where the knotted roots of the outer-
most trees made a network, or paling, behind
which drooped or glowed in their spring beauty
the lovely trees of this region, among them the
magnolia, the flowering catalpa, and the beau-
tiful white fringe-tree. Presently some quar-
termaster hailed us, and we turned back to the
" Spaulding," which had swung to her anchor
in the mean time, making the business of getting
on board again so dreadful to me (Mrs. Griffin
did not seem to mind it) that that moment is
laid aside to come into play some day when I
have brain-fever; and then I shall see the huge,
black, bulging sides of the great ship hanging
over me as I pop up and down in a paper boat.
Mrs. Griffin looked to-day so like a mediaeval
Madonna, with her heavenly complexion, her
golden hair, and the extremely angular appear-
ance which we persist in keeping up without
our hoops, that I was forced to suggest the
idea to Mr. Olmsted, who entered thoroughly
72 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
"Spauldikg," May 24.
Dear Mother, — I seize five spare moments
for you, as I have not written for three days.
Last night we half filled this ship with the
worst cases from the shore hospital. She will
probably fill up to-day from the " Elm City,"
and sail to-morrow. The men are mostly very
sick, but no deaths occurred last night. Oh !
what stories I shall have to tell you one of
these days. Instances of such high unselfish-
ness happen daily that, though I forget them
daily, I feel myself strengthened in my trust in
human nature, without making any reflections
about it. Last night a wounded man, comfort-
ably put to bed in a middle berth (there are
three tiers, and the middle one incomparably
the best), seeing me point to the upper berth as
the place to put a man on an approaching
stretcher, cried out: "Stop! put me up there.
Guess I can stand h'isting better 'n him." It
was agony to both.
There is great discussion among the doctors
as to the character of the fever ; some call it ty-
phoid, others say it is losing that type and be-
coming malarial remittent. It matters little to
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 73
me what it is ; the poor fellows all look alike, —
dry, bumed-up, baked, either in a duU stupor or
a low, anxious delirium. They show little or no
excitement, but are dull, weary, and sad. The
percentage of sickness is thought to be small for
an army on the march through such a region.^
1 The death-rate of the British forces during the first year of
the Crimean War was ; July, August, September, 1854, 293 per
1000 men; October, November, December, 511 per 1000 men;
reaching in January, 1855, the fearful rate of 1174 per 1000
men, of which 97 per cent was from disease, — in other words, a
rate at which it would be necessary to replace a dead army by a liv-
ing one in lOj months. Then it was that the British Government
established sanitary operations ; and as soon as their influence
was felt — May, June, July, 1855 — the death-rate fell to 250 per
1000, and from that time rapidly diminished, till in January, 1856
(one year from its culmination), it was 25 per 1000 men. The
mortality of the United States army during the campaign in Vir-
ginia of 1862 was 165 per 1000 men. To what was this differ-
ence owing ? Not to the fact that our troops brought a greater
amount of health into the service, for their mortality during the
preceding period of inaction was much greater than that of the
British army during a like period. It was owing in part, un-
doubtedly, to lessons learned from the Crimean War; but it was
also in a great degree owing to the Sanitary Commission, to its
careful inspection of recruits, camps, regiments, and to the advice
which the military authorities so wisely allowed it to give on all
sanitary and hygienic subjects to the regimental commanders.
Surely the Commission has a right to point to the comparatively
small mortality of our forces (small when we consider the nature
of the climate and the unseasoned condition of volunteers), and
claim a part, at least, of the credit of it.
74 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAE.
We are all well, and cheerful now that our
work begins once more. Idleness depressed us
a little. We now have over one hundred very
sick men on board. Mrs. Griffin and I have
just finished our morning's work below; Mrs.
M. and Georgy have taken our places, and we
have come on deck for a mouthful of fresh
air. This morning, before I was up, I heard a
crash and a cry, and the bowsprit of a large
vessel, which the tide had swung upon us,
glanced into the port-hole at the foot of my bed,
tore through the partition, and, I believe, demol-
ished the berth on the other side of it. The
captain, who takes great pride in his ship, and
has employed these leisure days in getting her
painted, is now leaning over the side, looking
at the defaced and splintered wood-work with a
Good-by. Called off.
" Knickerbockee," May 26.
Dear Mothee, — I believe my last words on
Saturday were that I was "called off," — and
so effectually called that this is my first quiet
moment since then. We were called to go on
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 75
board the " Wissahickon," from thence to the
" Sea-Shore," and run down in the latter to
West Point, to bring ofE twenty-five men said
to be lying there sick and destitute. Two doc-
tors went with us. After hunting an hour
through the fleet for the " Sea-Shore " in vain,
and having got as low as Cumberland, we de-
cided (we being Mrs. Griffin and I ; for the doc-
tors were new to the work, and glad to leave
the responsibility upon us women) to push on in
the tug, rather than leave the men another
night on the ground, for a heavy storm of wind
and rain had been going on all day. The pilot
remonstrated, but the captain approved ; and
if the firemen had not suddenly let out the
fires and detained us two hours, we might have
got our men on board and returned comfort-
ably soon after dark. But the delay cost us
the precious daylight. It was night before the
last man was got on board. There were fifty-
six of them, — ten very sick ones.
The boat had a little shelter-cabin. As we
were laying mattresses on the floor, while the
doctors were finding the men, the captain
stopped us, refusing to let us put typhoid fever
76 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
cases below the deck, — on account of the crew,
he said, — and threatening to push off at once
from the shore. Mrs. Griffin and I looked at
him. I did the terrible, and she the pathetic ;
and he abandoned the contest. The return pas-
sage was rather an anxious one. The river is
much obstructed with sunken ships and trees, and
we had to feel our way, slackening speed every
ten minutes. If we had been alone, it would
not have mattered ; but to have fifty men upon
our hands unable to move was too heavy a re-
sponsibility not to make us anxious. The cap-
tain and pilot said the boat was leaking (we
heard the water gurgling under our feet), and
they remarked casually that the river was
"four fathoms deep about there;" but we saw
their motive, and were not scared. We were
safe alongside the " Spaulding " by midnight ;
but Mr. Olmsted's tone of voice as he said,
" You don't know how glad I am to see you,"
showed how much he had been worried. And
yet it was the best thing we could have done,
for three, perhaps five, of the men would have
been dead before morning. We transferred the
deck-men (who were not very ill) at once to
THE OTHEK SIDE OF WAR. 77
the " Elm City," and kept the others on board
the tug till the next morning (Sunday), when
they were taken on board the " Spaulding," all
living, and likely to' live. Later in the day
the "Spaulding" filled up to three hundred
and fifty very sick men.
No one who has not shared them can form
any idea of the hurry — unless it is kept down
by extreme quiet of manner — and the solid
hard work caused by this sudden influx of bad
cases. Dr. Grymes taught me a valuable lesson
the night I was at Yorktown on the " Web-
ster." A man with a ghastly wound — the
first I ever saw — asked for something ; I
turned hastily to get it, with some sort of
exclamation. Dr. Grymes stopped me and said :
" Never do that again ; never be hurried or ex-
cited, or you are not fit to be here ; " and I 've
thanked him for that lesson ever since. It is a
piteous sight to see these men; no one knows
what war is until they see this black side of
it. "We may all sentimentalize over its possi-
bilities as we see the regiments go off, or when
we hear of a battle ; but it is as far from the
reality as to read of pain is. far from feeling
78 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
it. We who are here, however, dare not let
our minds, much less our imaginations, rest on
suffering; while you must rely on your imag-
ination to project you into the state of things
At eleven o'clock (Sunday night), just as I had
collected the weary ia the pantry for a little
claret-punch or brandy and water, after getting
on what we thought the last man for the night,
Captain Sawtelle came on board looking very
sad. He had received orders to send every
available transport to Acquia Creek. He told
us that General Banks had been defeated, with
the loss of two regiments ; and he presumed the
present order meant that a force was to be
thrown back to guard Washington, and that
McDowell was recalled to support Banks. Sad,
sad news for us !
Of course there was nothing to be done but
to give up the " Elm City " and get the men
and stores out of her and into the "Spaulding "
at once. The transports were to sail for Ac-
quia Creek at 3 A. m., and had to be coaled in
the mean time. So we went to work again.
Poor weary Mr. Knapp was off at once ; the
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAK. 79
weary doctors and the weary yotmg men be-
gan once more the work of hoisting on board,
classing, registering, and bunking the poor fel-
lows, — ninety in all ; while the weary women
brewed more milk-punch and beef-tea, and went
once more upon their rounds. The last things
were got ofE the "Elm City" about 2.30 A. M.,
when a telegram arrived countermanding the
I can give you no idea of the work thus ac-
cumulated into one day. But there were cheer-
ful things in it after all. One thiug I specially
remember. A man very low with tjrphoid
fever had been brought on board early in the
afternoon, and begged me piteously to keep the
bunk next him for his brother, — his twin
brother, — from whom he had never been parted
in his life, not even now ia sickness; for his
brother was sick too, and had come down on the
same train. But, alas ! in shipping the poor help-
less fellows they had got separated. Of course I
kept the next bunk empty, even takiag out of
it a man who had been put in during my ab-
sence ; and all day long the painful look in the
anxious eyes distressed me. Late at night, as
80 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
the last men were coming off the " Elm City,"
and I was standing at the gangway by Dr.
Draper, receiving his orders as he looked at the
men when they came on board, I heard him
read off the name of the brother ! You may
be sure I asked for that man ; and the pleasure
of putting him beside his brother cheered even
that black night. Nor shall I ever forget the
joy of a father who found his son on board, and,
though ill himself, waited on him with infinite
tenderness, — only, alas ! to lose him soon.
"What a day it was, — and a Sunday too ! So
unlike Sunday that I had forgotten it until we
were asked to go ashore and be present at the
funeral of five men who had died on board.
Mrs. Grifiin went; but one lady was all that
could be spared. What days our Sundays have
been ! I think of you all at rest, with the
sound of church-bells in your ears, with a
strange, distant feeling.
We got to bed about 3 o'clock, and at 4.30
the ladies from the "Elm City," Mrs. George
T. Strong and Miss Whetten, who take the
" Spaulding " to New York, came on board
and shared our staterooms. We left the ship
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 81
just before she started, with three hundred and
fifty men on board, at 12 M. this (Monday)
morning, and came on board the " Knicker-
bocker." We let her go with cheers from this
vessel. She looked beautiful with her black hull
and much brass about her ; but she is not well
adapted for our work. I had a strange feeling
as I looked at the outside of what I knew but
too well within.
At present we shall remain quietly on this
vessel. There are fifty sick men on board,
brought from the " Elm City " last night ; but
there are ladies enough belonging to the ship,
and we need rest for the battle which they say
is just at hand.
There was some excitement and a great gath-
ering of doctors to-day for a post-mortem on
board the " Elm City," and they found what
they call "mulberry spots," — which establish, I
am told, the typhoid character of the disease.^
A good many wounded are now coming on
board and filling the cots on the main-deck. I
1 The disease proved, in the hospitals at Fortress Monroe, to
be an epidemic typhus or spotted fever, now called cerebro-spinal
meningitis, — a modern edition of the ancient plague.
82 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAE.
am writing in the upper saloon, listening to the
typhoid moans of a poor fellow at my elbow.
But T am too inexpressibly weary to keep my
eyes open a moment longer. I need not tell
you that I am well as ever, only so sleepy, oh,
so sleepy ! Yesterday, Captain Murray, of the
" Sebago," and General Van Vliet came to see
us ; but of course we could not see them.
Oh, these Sanitary Commission men, how they
work, — early and late, sleepless, unflagging !
Even as I write, come Dr. Ware and David
Haight, — dragging a bed-sack which they have
filled with fresh straw for me, because they
found out that the one I have was last used by
a patient with typhoid fever. Kind friends!
Oh, how well I shall sleep to-night !
" Knickerbocker," May 27.
Dear A., — I wish I could have you by me this
delightful afternoon to. look at the lovely scene,
where " every prospect pleases, and only man is
vile " and wretched. The " Spaulding " got off
yesterday with three hundred and fifty sick on
board, and we then transferred ourselves to this
vessel, where we are living a life which Mr.
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 83
Olmsted feels to be one of such utter discomfort
that we all try to make the best of it for his
sake. Still, I will admit to you that it is wear-
ing to have no proper place to eat, sit, or sleep.
No matter ! our dear " Wilson Small " will be
back soon, and we shall go back to our happy
home life on the top of the old stove.
This boat is in disorder. Her last voyage
was made in incompetent hands, — not in-
competent as to care of the patients, but as to
general organization. These parties are about
to be detailed elsewhere, which will leave us
free to go to work and reorganize the vessel.
Meantime we are busy arranging the " Elm
City," which lies alongside, and was not taken
by the Government after all.
We were invited to dine to-day on board the
" Webster," which arrived this morning, prompt
as usual, and in perfect order. The rest have
gone ; but I, like a fool, am hors de combat with
an aggravating pain down my leg. We all "pro-
phylac" with exemplary regularity; the last
words of our delightful Dr. Draper, as we
parted from him on the gang-plank of the
" Spaulding," were : " Don't forget your qui-
84 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAK.
nine!" How intimate this life makes us with
those we recognize as true grit; how heartfelt
our greetings and our partings with them are !
Dr. Grymes and Captain Bletham brought me all
my precious cases filled with supplies from dear
Newport friends. The Captain says his first
thought on arriving is : " Now for the ladies'
cases ; " and he always brings them off in the
first boat. This vessel ("Knickerbocker") is
full of Zouaves, detailed to the Commission for
nurses. I can't endure them. It might be aU
very well, and in keeping, to get up a regiment
of negroes en Turcos ; but for an American citi-
zen to rig himself as an Arab is demoralizing.
Wednesday Night, May 28.
Have nearly finished the "Elm City," with
five hundred beds. Our linen-closets, store-clos-
ets, and pantries in perfect order. The hardest
piece of work I have done yet was to keep two
colored ladies (from the Lee estate) steady to
the work of scrubbing the lower deck. They
escaped so many times on pretence of getting
fresh water that, weary af running after them,
I came to think it was easier to run after the
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 85
water ; so, pressing David Haight into the ser-
vice, he and I kept up a solemn procession to
and from the ship's boilers, bearing the steaming
Mrs. Beading, an excellent surgical nurse
trained in the Crimea under Miss Nightingale,
who has been attached to the " staff " from
the beginning, went up to the Shore hospital
to-day. Mr. Olmsted has promised, with great
reluctance which I do not comprehend, to let
me go to-morrow; so we are to start early,
with as much beef-stock, stimulants, and other
supplies as we can carry. Mrs. Reading has
taught me a great many things. I pump her
extensively in our leisure moments. She was
at Kulali throughout the Russian War.
" Knickerbockek," May 30.
Dear Mother, — Yesterday I took Mrs.
Reading and two Zouaves to carry the sup-
plies, and spent the day at the camp hospital.
There are one hundred tents, each cense to hold
twenty-seven persons; but they were not more
than half full, many of the first set of men hav-
ing recovered after a week's rest and returned
86 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
to the front, while nearly two hundred of the
■worst cases went North on the " Spaulding." I
found the condition of things far better than
I expected, and infinitely better than it was a
week ago. We visited nearly all the tents, and
gave supplies of beef-tea, milk-punch, arrowroot,
and eggs for the worst cases, of which there
were comparatively few, for such cases are put
on the Commission boats. I found four or five
men for whom nothing could be done but to
help them to die in peace, and perhaps twenty
other bad cases. The remainder needed little
more than a week or two of rest. The tents
were both floored and trenched, the day was
cool and bright, everything smelt clean and
wholesome. A tent had been pitched for me
in the middle of the hollow square of the camp,
where I cooked painfully by one small spirit-
lamp. We used up everything we took with
us, and saw the surgeons, who were very cordial,
particularly Dr. Green, of Massachusetts, and a
lesser light, Dr. A. A. Stocker, of Cambridge,
Mass., who gave me his card, whereby I know
Nearly all the camp needs is some respon-
TPIE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 87
sible person who could prepare the sick food
systematically under the surgeons' orders.
The ordinary diet seemed good and plentiful,
and quite suited to the majority of the cases.
We started for home at 4 p. m., and found four
hundred prisoners just arriving by the railway
from General Porter's command. They were
nearly all North Carolinians, — fine-looking men,
well fed, and in good spirits. One man wanted
to buy one of our tin cups; I laughed, and gave
it to him. Another asked Dr. Ware to change
a ten-dollar Confederate note, and expected ten
of our dollars for it. Dr. Ware said : " If we
beat you, what good will those notes be to
you?" "Oh!" said he, "the United States
Government will take them." General Van
Vliet told me that a great many of these men
had asked to take the oath of allegiance.
This has been a busy day. We all — " all " this
, time means Mr. Olmsted, Mr. Knapp, we four
ladies, and Mrs. Reading — started with breakfast
for eighty men ; a young surgeon having rowed
down to us to report that they had arrived in
the night and were lying in the cars without
^ food. We found the birds flown, however, — I
88 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
suppose to the camp hospital. But General
Van Vliet and some telegrams from the front
met us at the landing; and the result is that
we are to clear o£E, as fast as we can, all the
sick and wounded now on our hands. The
'• "Webster," fills up to-morrow ; the " Daniel
Webster No. 2 " left immediately for Yorktown
with four hundred sick on board; the "Elm
City" will fill to-night, and sail at daybreak.
We ourselves came back at once to the " Knick-
erbocker," from which the sick men have been
removed, and we have been all day unpacking
and arranging stores, and getting pantries and
closets in order. I am writing on the floor,
interrupted constantly to join in a laugh.
Georgy is sorting socks and pulling out the
funny little balls of yarn and the big darning-
needles stuck in the toes, with which she is
making a fringe across my back. Do spare us
the darning-needles ! Eeflect upon us rushing
in haste to the linen-closet and plunging our
hands into the bale of stockings ! I certainly
shall make a collection of sanitary clothing. I
solemnly aver that yesterday I found a pair of
drawers made for a case of amputation at the
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 89
thigh. And the slippers, — only fit for pontoon-
bridges ! We are at last in perfect order, and
are told that the wounded will arrive about
4 A. M., — such a nice, comfortable hour ! There
are two hundred and fifty to come down,—
mostly from Hanover Court-House, where Gen-
eral Porter had a brilliant success on Friday.
The Sanitary Commission is not treated in
the handsomest manner; its benevolence is
imposed upon. Squads of civilian doctors are
here, waiting about for "surgical cases." There
must be dozens of them doing nothing, and
their boats doing nothing, — waiting for a bat-
tle. They would not look at a sick man ; bless
you, he's not their game! It is "cases" they
want ; and their whole influence goes to getting
off the sick upon the Commission, instead of
taking their proper share of the work, so that
they may, when a battle occurs, get a harvest
of wounded. Now the reason why we complain
of this is that Mr. Olmsted is anxious to keep
his ships (which are perfectly organized and
well-managed) running in a regular manner,
so that if a battle occurs, he may be prepared
for it. If he is overwhelmed with the sick
90 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
(who could be easily and regularly transported
if all did their share), he is liable to be un-
prepared for an emergency; and if the Com-
mission is unprepared, I am afraid it will go
hard with the poor fellows when the evil day
Since I began this page a furious gust or
storm of wind, rain, thunder, and lightning
has come up. We are plunging up and down
at our anchor on the sweet river as if it were
mid-ocean; and in the midst of it the dear
" Wilson Small " tumbles up alongside, true to
her colliding principles. Alas for the wounded
who are on their way to us !
Our evenings are the pleasantest hours of the
day. The Chief and Mr. Knapp and the staff
collect on a broken chair, a bed-sack, and sun-
dry carpet-bags, and have their modicum of
fun and quinine. The person who possesses
a dainty — chocolate or gingerbread, for in-
stance — is the hero for the time being.
Good-by ! The storm is just going over. Oh,
how good it will be to sleep in a bed once
more ! I found to-day one of the bed-sacks we
made in such a hurry last autumn; and in
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 91
unpacking stores I have several times come
across packages labelled in my handwriting.
Tell this to the Women's Aid Society. Tell
them also that flannel shirts are never in suf-
ficient quantity ; the flannel can be heavier
and coarser than what we have hitherto used.
Socks are always wanted. Gray and red flan-
nel shirts are precious; we keep them for
special cases. If anybody proposes to send me
anything, say: Good brandy; gray, white, or
red shirts, army pattern; canton flannel drawers,
not too large ; pocket-handkerchiefs (boxes of
spotted ones can be bought cheap in New
York), towels, nutmegs, bay-water, coarse flan-
nel in the piece, Muringer's beef -extract, — this
is precious as gold to us; Soyer's and other
soup preparations are comparatively worthless
for our purpose. We have plenty of fresh
beef for the "house diet," and we make a good
deal of our beef -tea out of it with muriatic acid ;
but even that takes time. What we want is
something available at a moment's notice ; there-
fore send Muringer's beef-extract. It comes in
small cakes looking like a dark glue. Send also
condensed milk, lemons, and sherry.
92 THE OTHER SIDE OF "WAR.
If gentlemen ask what they shall send, say
MONET to the treasury of the Sanitary Com-
" Knickerbocker," May 31.
Dear Mother, — The long letter now en-
closed I was too utterly tired out to carry even
the length of the ward to post last night. As
I finished it, two steamers came alongside, each
with a hundred sick on board, bringing word
that the " Louisiana " (a side-wheel vessel, not
a Commission-boat) was aground at a little dis-
tance, with two hundred more, having no one
in charge of them and nothing to eat. Of
course they had to be attended to. So, amid
the wildest and most beautiful storm of thunder
and lightning, Georgy, Dr. Ware, Mrs. Reading,
and I pulled off to her in a little boat with tea,
bread, brandy, and beef-essence. (No one can
tell how it tries my nerves to go toppling round
at night in little boats, and clambering up ships'
sides on little ladders ! ) "We fed them, — the
usual process, — poor fellows, they were so
crazy. Dr. Ware says I have particular luck
with delirium, and he made me try my hand
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 93
on a man with whom he could do nothing,
and I succeeded.
Soon after, the " Wissahickon " came along-
side to transfer the men to the "Elm City."
Only part could go in the first load. Dr. Ware
made me go in her to avoid returning in the little
boat. Just as we pushed off, the steam gave
out, and we drifted stem-on to the shore. Then
a boat had to put off from the "Elm City"
with a line to tow us up. All this time the
thunder was incessant, the rain falling in tor-
rents, while every second the beautiful crimson
lightning flashed the whole scene open to us.
Add to this that there were three men alarm-
ingly HI, and (thinking to be but a minute in
reaching the other ship) I had not even a drop
of brandy for them. Do you wonder, therefore,
that I forgot to mail your letter ?
To-day (Saturday) has been a hard-working
day. It is something to feed two hundred and
fifty men, and prepare all the food for the very
sick. I wish you could hear the men after they
are put into bed. Those who can speak, speak
with a will ; others grunt or murmur their satis-
faction : " "Well ! this bed is 'most too soft.
94 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
I don' know as I shall sleep for thinking of
it!" "What have you got there?" "This
is hread ; wait till I butter it ! " " Butter — on
soft bread ! " he slowly ejaculates, as if not sure
that he isn't Aladdin with a genie at work
The Women's Central Relief Association are
constantly begging us for anecdotes relating
to the gratitude, and so forth, of the men.
These have great effect, they say, upon the
public mind, and bring the money down. So
one day Georgy set out upon a pilgrimage, re-
solved that she would have something touching
to report. She found a little drummer-boy
who seemed a promising subject, so she began :
" That 's a nice shirt you have on ; I know the
ladies who made it : have n't you some message
to send them ? " " Wal ! " said he, with that
peculiar nasal twang which belongs only to a
sick soldier on the Pamunky, " you tell 'em it 's
'most big enough for two."
Mrs. Griffin is well, and very efficient. It
requires great thought and care and sweetness
of temper to get along with this work, and she
has all of them. I met with the serious misfor-
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 95
tune of breaking the crystal of my watch yes-
terday. My watch is a part of myself: what
shall I do without it ? — and there 's so little to
mark time, or even to distinguish day from
night, in these vast ships. They are strange
places, and I often feel like a cockroach, running
familiarly as I do into all their dark comers.
" Wilson Small," Sunday, June 1.
Deak a., — I write amid the distant booming
of cannon and the hourly arrival of telegrams
from the scene of action. The battle^ began
yesterday afternoon. Up to 11 p.m. the ac-
counts received were not wholly favorable. The
attack was made on oiu' weakest point. General
Casey's division, which is the advanced body
on the Chickahominy. It was attacked on front
and flank, and retreated; but being reinforced
by General Heintzelmann, the ground and a lost
battery were recovered. The second telegram to
Colonel Ingalls was written off by the operator
on the envelope of your letter of the 26th ; I
shall keep it as a souvenir. It says : " General
Kearny has driven the enemy a mile at the
1 Fair Oaks, otherwise called Seven Pines.
96 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAK.
point of the bayonet. General Heintzelmann
is driving back the enemy. Prisoners, General
Pettigru and several field and staff officers."
A little later, and we heard : " We are driving
them before us at every point ; " and now the
last word is, " Our victory is complete."
The wounded are pouring in. All our ships,
except the " Spaulding," are here. Even the
" Elm City," which started with five hundred
sick for Yorktown at four o'clock this morning,
has just returned, beds made and all, — a tri-
umph for her hospital company ! The " Commo-
dore," a Pennsylvanian boat, the " Vanderbilt "
and "Whilldin," Government boats, are fuU.
The " Knickerbocker " filled up, before we left
her, with three hundred men from Casey's di-
vision, — a sad sight. We left her this after-
noon, after the men were comfortably settled,
in the hands of those who are to take her to
Newport News, and came home here, " Wilson
Small," with all our belongings. Mrs. M. and
Georgy went off soon after to fit up the "Daniel
Webster No. 2."
I am writing on our little after-deck by the
light of the moon. The shore resounds with
THE OTHER SIDE OP WAR. 97
cheering; even the wounded are elate. All
around me lie hundreds, well-nigh thousands,
of the poor fellows. Noble boys!
"Wilson Small," June 2.
Dear A.,— The " Daniel Webster " is filling,
to sail to-night. This letter shall go in her.
What a day and night we have had ! What a
whirlwind of work, sad work, we have been in!
Immediately after closing my letter of yester-
day, Mrs. Griffin and I were whisked away
in a little boat, at the peril of our lives, and
hustled, tumbled, hoisted, first into the " State
of Maine," where we lost our way amid fright-
ful scenes, until we finally reached the "Elm
City," where we were going as night-watch to
relieve the ladies belonging to her, who had
been up all the night before. She had four
hundred and seventy wounded men on board.
We passed the night up to our elbows in beef-
tea, milk-punch, lemonade, panada, etc. The
men were comfortable. The surgeons let them,
for the most part, have a night's rest before
their wounds were opened. Not so, however, on
the "State of Maine," where operations were
98 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
going on all night ; the hideous sounds filling our
ears even in the midst of our own press of work.
Our men were so touchingly grateful. There
was a poor fellow lying close to the door of the
pantry where we were making and dispensing
the food and drinks : his leg was amputated.
I noticed, after a time, that he was stretching
and straining to get at a bundle or something
in his berth. I went to him as soon as I could.
He turned his face to me, covered with tears,
and put a little crumpled roll of pink paper
into my hand, saying : " I heard you tell that
man you gave him the last pin out of your
dress : don't give us everything ; please take
these," — precious little roll ! will I ever part
with it ! Such things are better for us than all
the quinine in the country. We stayed chiefly
in our pantry, giving out to the dressers and
nurses all that was wanted; also to a detail
who came from time to time from the "State
Oh, when shall I forget the sunrise that morn-
ing as it looked in through the little window
beside me ! When can I cease to remember the
feelings with which I saw it !
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 99
Mr. Olmsted sent peremptory orders at nine
o'clock that we should return home ; and we left
the " Elm City," sure that the men had every-
thing needful, and were safe in the faithful hands
of Mrs. Balestier and Miss Charlotte Bradford.
We were no sooner washed and dressed than
the " Small " scudded up to the landing to take
on forty wounded just arriving by the railroad.
The forty proved, as usual, to be eighty, —
ghastly objects: this was like being on a bat-
tle-field. The men were just as they fell, in
their muddy clothing, saturated with blood and
filth. From then until now, when we have just
put them on the " Webster," Mrs. GriflSn and I
have been with them. One died in her care,
and one in mine ; there were some too far gone'
to know anything more in this world, but there
were others, almost as badly hurt, who were
cheerful, bright, and even talkative, — so differ-
ent from the dreary sadness and listlessness ' of
sick men. They seldom groan, except when
their wounds are being dressed, and then their
cries are agonizing : " Oh, doctor, doctor ! " in
such heartrending tones.
General Devens, wounded in the knee, Colonel
100 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
Briggs, Tenth Massachusetts, wounded in the
thigh, and several other wounded officers, were
among the eighty ; but they had their staff-offi-
cers or orderlies, and though we saw that they
had what was necessary, we stayed ourselves
with the men. We have just put part of them
on the " Webster," which sails for Boston this
evening, and the rest on the " Elm City," which
sails for Annapolis at the same time. The
" Spaulding " has just come up the river, and
the quartermaster hails me that there are cases
on board for me. Thank you all ! Dr. Grymes
has invited us to dinner on the "Webster," that
we may swallow necessary food, which we could
not do on the polluted decks of the " Small."
The trouble the medical authorities give Mr.
Olmsted is terrible. They send the most con-
flicting orders, and there is no United States
medical officer here, at this most important
point, to refer to. Captain Sawtelle, Assistant-
Quartermaster, is so good to us. He and Colonel
Ingalls and General Van Vliet are constantly
shielding the Commission from annoyance. How
nobly the Commission has done its work, how
thoroughly, how wisely ; with what lavish dis-
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 101
regard of labor and care and fatigue, so long
as the best possible is done for the service! Day
and night, without sleep, sometimes without
food, Mr. Olmsted and Mr. Knapp are working
their brains and their physical strength to the
utmost. Good-by ! we are just going on board
the " Webster." No, we have only run along-
side to give her the order to sail. So good-by
to our dinner! I hoped to have sent this letter
by her. The victory is a victory; but oh, the
lives and the suffering it has cost !
"Wilson Small," June 4.
Dear Mother, — I write a line — only a
line — that you may not be anxious : you
can't conceive under what circumstances. I am
perfectly well. I have no time to write, no
power to withdraw myself from my surround-
ings enough to write.
Conceive of the Medical Director sending
down over four thousand five hundred wounded
men without — yes, almost literally without —
anything for them: without surgeons; no one
authorized to take charge of them ; nothing but
empty boatg to receive them.
102 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
Of course the Commissiofi 'throws itself in
and does all. Mr. Olmsted is everything, — wise,
authoritative, untiring; but he must break down.
You carCt ionceive what it is to stem the torrent
of this disorder and utter want of organization.
We are all well, and can only thank God that
we are here, with health, strength, and head.
To think or speak of the things we see would
be fatal. No one must come here who cannot
put away all feeling. Do all you can, and be
a machine, — that's the way to act; the only
Good-by ! No head to write more : Mr.
Olmsted, Mr. Knapp, and I are sitting on the
floor, resting, with a pitcher of lemonade be-
tween us. My cases have arrived — oh, so
thankful ! Thank that good Newport for me.
"Wilson Small," June 5.
Dear Mother, — I finished my last letter
(to A., I believe) on the afternoon of the day
when we took eighty men on the " Small," and
transferred them to the " Webster."
We had just washed and dressed, and were
writing letters, when Captain Sawtelle came on
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 103
board to say that several hundred wounded men
were lying at the landing ; that the " Daniel
"Webster No. 2 " had been taken* possession of
by the medical of&cers, and was already half full
of men, and that the surplus was being carried
across her to the " Vanderbilt ; " that the con-
fusion was terrible ; that there were no stores
on board the " Daniel Webster No. 2 " (she
having been seized the moment she reached the
landing on her return from Yorktown, without
communicating with the Commission), nor were
there any stores or preparations, not even mat-
tresses, on board the " Vanderbilt."
Of course the best in our power had to be
done. Mrs. Griffin and I begged Mr. Olmsted
not to refrain from sending us, merely because
we had been up all night. He said he would n't
send us, but if we chose to offer our services to
the United States surgeon, he thought it would
be merciful. Our offer was seized. We went
on board ; and such a scene as we entered and
lived in for two days I trust never to see again.
Men in every condition of horror, shattered and
shrieking, were being brought in on stretchers
borne by " contrabands," who dumped them any-
104 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
wliere, banged the stretchers against pillars and
posts, and walked over the men without com-
passion. There was no one to direct what ward
or what bed they were to go into. Men shat-
tered in the thigh, and even cases of amputar
tion, were shovelled into top berths without
thought or mercy. The men had mostly been
without food for three days, but there was
nothing on board either boat for them ; and if
there had been, the cooks were only engaged
to cook for the ship, and not for the hospital.
"We began to do what we could. The first
thing wanted by wounded men is something to
drink (with the sick, stimulants are the first
thing). Fortunately we had plenty of lemons,
ice, and sherry on board the " Small," and
these were available at once. Dr. "Ware dis-
covered a barrel of molasses, which, with vin-
egar, ice, and water, made a most refreshing
drink. After that we gave them crackers and
milk, or tea and bread. It was hopeless to try
to get them into bed ; indeed, there were no
mattresses on the " Vanderbilt." All we could
do at first was to try to calm the confusion, to
stop some agony, to revive the fainting lives, to
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. , 105
snatch, if possible, from immediate death with
food and stimulants. Imagine a great river or
Sound steamer filled on every deck, — every berth
and every square inch of room covered with
wounded men ; even the stairs and gangways
and guards filled with those who are less badly
wounded ; and then imagine fifty well men,
on every kind of errand, rushing to and fro
over them, every touch bringing agony to the
poor fellows, while stretcher after stretcher
came along, hoping to find an empty place ; and
then imagine what it was to keep calm our-
selves, and make sure that every man on both
those boats was properly refreshed and fed. We
got through about 1 A. m., Mrs. M. and Georgy
having come ofE other duty and reinforced us.
We were sitting for a few moments, resting
and talking it over, and bitterly asking why a
Government so lavish and perfect in its other
arrangements should leave its wounded almost
literally to take care of themselves, when a
message came that one hundred and fifty men
were just arriving by the cars. It was raining
in torrents, and both boats were full. We went
on shore again : the same scene repeated. The
106 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
-wretched " Vanderbilt " was slipped out, the
" Kennebec " brought up, and the hundred and
fifty men carried across the "Daniel Webster
No. 2 " to her, with the exception of some
fearfully wounded ones, who could not be
touched in the darkness and rain, and were
therefore made as comfortable as they could be
in the cars. We gave refreshment and food to
all; Miss Whetten and a detail of young men
from the " Spaulding " coming up in time to
assist, and the officers of the " Sebago," who
had seen how hard pressed we were in the after-
noon, volunteering for the night-watch. Add
to this sundry Members of Congress, who, if
they talked much, at least worked well. One
of them, the Hon. Moses F. Odell, proposed to
Mr. Olmsted that on his return to Washington
he should move that the thanks of Congress be
returned to us ! Mr. Olmsted, mindful of our
feelings, promptly declined.
• We went to bed at daylight with breakfast
on our minds, and at six o'clock we were all on
board the "Daniel Webster No. 2," and the
breakfast of six hundred men was got through
with in good time. Captain Sawtelle kindly
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 107
sent us a large wall-tent, twelve caldrons and
camp-kettles, two cooks, and a detail of six men.
The tent was put up at once ; Dr. Ware giving
to its preparation the only hour when he might
have rested during that long nightmare. We
began to use it that (Tuesday) morning. It
is filled with our stores ; there we have cooked
not only the sick-food, but all the food needed
on the Government boats. It was hard to get
it in sufficient quantity ; but when everything
else gave out, we broke up " hard-tack " into
buckets full of hot milk and water a little
sweetened, — " bread and milk " the men called
it. Oh, that precious condensed milk, more pre-
cious to us at that moment than beef essence !
Tuesday was very much a repetition of Mon-
day night. The men were cleared from the
main-deck and gangways of the " Daniel Web-
ster No. 2" on to the "Kennebec." The feed-
ing business was almost as hard to manage as
before. But still it was done, and we got to
bed at 1 A. m. Mrs. M. and I were to attend
to the breakfast at six next morning. By some
accident Mrs. M., who was ready quite as soon
as I was, was carried o£E by the " Small," which
108 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
started suddenly to run down to the '^ Spauld-
ing." I had, therefore, to get the breakfast
alone. T accomplished it, and then went ashore
and fed some men who were just arriving in
the cars, and others who were in tents near
the landing. The hon'ors of that morning are
too great to speak of. The men in the cars
were brought on board the "Daniel Webster
No. 2 " and laid about the vacant main-deck
and guards and on the deck of a scow that lay
alongside. I must not, I ought not to tell
you of the horrors of that morning. One of
the least was that I saw a " contraband " step on
the amputated stump of a wretched man, I
took him by the arm and walked him into the
tent, where I ordered them to give him other
work, and forbade that he should come upon
the ships again. I felt white with anger, and
dared not trust myself to speak to him. While
those awful sights pass before me I have com-
paratively no feeling, except the anxiety to
alleviate as much as possible. I do not suffer
under the sights ; but oh ! the sounds, the
screams of men. It is when I think of it
afterwards that it is so dreadful.
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 109
All yesterday (Wednesday), after the early
morning, things went better. Our tent-kitchen
worked to a charm. Dinner was well through
by 2 p. M., and we had time to look after the
men individually, and to make preparations for
two hundred more, who were expected by the
railway at 4 p. m. They did not come, how-
ever, till 1 A. M. While my letter has been
in progress (with countless interruptions) Mrs.
Griffin and Mr. Woolsey have come in to report
that the two Government boats, the " Louisi-
ana" and " State of Maine " (which have taken
the place at the landing of the " Vanderbilt "
and *the "Daniel Webster No. 2 "), are in good
order, have excellent hospital stewards; that
the Commission has supplied them with ample
stores; and that the two hundred men who
came down this morning have gone quietly on
board the " State of Maine " and are comfort-
able. I hope, I pray, the worst is over.
About nine hundred wounded remain to be
brought down. Mr. Olmsted says (mr boats
have transported one thousand seven hundred
and fifty-six since Sunday ; the Government and
Pennsylvanian boats together about three thou-
110 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
sand. Mr. Clement Barclay was with us on
Monday night on the " Vanderbilt." I believe
he went with her to Fortress Monroe. He was
working hard, with the deepest interest and
skill. I went with him to attend to a little
" Secesh " boy, wounded in the thigh ; also to a
Southern colonel, a splendid-looking man, who
died, saying to Mr. Barclay, with raised hand :
"Write to my wife and tell her I die peni-
tent for the part I have taken in this war."
I try to be just and kind to the Southern men.
One of our men stopped me, saying: "He's
a rebel ; give that to me." I said, " But a
wounded man is our brother ! " (rather an ob-
vious sentiment, if there is anything in Chris-
tianity) ; and they both touched their caps. The
Southerners are constantly expressing surprise
at one thing or another, and they are shy, but
not surly, at receiving kindness. Our men are
a noble set of fellows, so cheerful, uncomplain-
ing, and generous.
Remember that in all that I have written, I
have told you only about ourselves, — the
women. "What the gentlemen have been, those
of our party, those of the " Spaulding " and of
THE OTHER SIDE OP WAR. Ill
the other vessels, is beyond my power to relate.
Some of them fainted from time to time.
Several regiments have come np yesterday and
to-day as reinforcements. Their bands are gay,
and the trim look of the men almost amusing.
The Southerners wear no uniforms, and are the
shabbiest set of fellows. Short gray spencers, and
trousers of any color or no color, are the nearest
approach to regimentals that I have seen.
Last night, shining over blood and agony, I
saw a lunar rainbow ; and in the afternoon a
peculiarly beautiful effect of rainbow and stormy
sunset, — it flashed upon my eyes as I passed
an operating-table, and raised them to avoid
seeing anything as I passed.
"Wilson Small," June 8.
Dear Friend, — This is the first quiet Sun-
day since we have been here. How long it will
stay quiet, no one can tell for an hour together.
The past week is wholly indescribable. Our
own boats filled up calmly and comfortably on
Sunday and Monday with the wounded of Sat-
urday. Then the Government boats began to
fill ; and such fearful scenes as we have passed
112 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
through since then until noon of yesterday, I
would not tell you if I could. From five to
eight hundred wounded men have been sent
down daily : no authorized officials to receive
them ; no arrangements made of ■ any kind.
The boats which have been lying here idle for
weeks, waiting for " surgical cases," wholly un-
prepared, and their surgeons off to the battle-
field. No stores, no beds, no hospital stewards,
no food, no stimulants. Then it is that the
medical authorities fling themselves on the San-
itary Commission, and the Commission gives
everything with a generous hand. It has done
all that has been done on three fourths of the
Government boats, and that at the last moment,
without notice, and when its supplies were
heavily taxed in fitting out its own boats, —
which, happily, were all, except the "Spaulding,"
here, and ready to ship the first wounded that
came down. Never did men work as ours have
worked. It would be hard to say who did best
where all did so well. No description can give
you a full idea of the pressure upon them, of
the necessities they strove to meet ; and all to
be done out of their regular system, hurried and
THE OTHEK SIDE OF WAR. 113
confused by the hurry and excitement of the
one medical officer who appeared to have any
authority upon the ground.
As for us women, all we could do was to give
drink, stimulants, and food to the poor fellows,
and what other little ease we could. We take
great comfort in a tent-kitchen provided for
us by Captain Sawtelle, from whom we receive
much thoughtful, kind attention. From it we
have fed four thousand men this week ; on Thurs-
day we served twelve hundred meals. We also
receive kindness from other officers. Far from
meeting with any of the usual army opposition,
our help is claimed and warmly acknowledged.
To-day things look brighter. The " Elm City "
and " Knickerbocker " are back and in perfect
order. A new medical officer has been placed
in charge of the transportation from this point.
He began his duties yesterday after the depar-
ture of the " Louisiana." She was fifty per
cent better than any of the other Government
boats, and yet this officer said to me to-day,
when I took him through the wards of the
" Knickerbocker " (she filled up at midnight) :
" Oh, what happiness to look at this boat after
114 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
that accursed thing of yesterday! " I find I can
bear anything with calmness and, in one sense,
indifference so long as I am beside it and en-
gaged with it. To feel acutely at such times
is merely selfish. But no tongue can tell what
I suffered yesterday afternoon when I was
obliged to stay on board here for a little rest,
and listen to the groans of men undergoing
operations on the gangway of the " Louisiana,"
to which we were moored. No trial of nerves
ever equalled that. But why speak of such
things ? I beg you to offer the Prayer for the
Sick, and that for the Afflicted, every Sunday in
the Chapel. Can you not change and add some-
thing to them, to fill out and express all that
we feel ? It would be a great satisfaction to
me to think that this were done.
I trust the worst is over. How little you all
realize the magnitude of our necessities at your
distance from them ! Think of a handful of us
here to keep order for the wounded of this
great army, — I might almost say to keep life in
them. I cannot adequately tell you of the work
these Commission men have done. The lives
saved are theirs. "Day" and "night" are words
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 115
of no meaning to Mr. Olmsted and Mr. Knapp.
I think they must break down under the pres-
sure of care and physical effort. The young
men of the Commission are most praiseworthy.
Nothing is too hard, or too humble, or too con-
stant for them to do, and do gladly, as if they
rejoiced to do it. Dr. Robert Ware has more
upon him than any one but Mr. Olmsted and
Mr. Knapp ; he is all that is sensible, energetic,
I have seen many men die, but never one to
whom such a word as one might wish to say
could be spoken. Our work is not like regular
hospital work. It is succoring men just off
the battle-field, and making them easy, clean,
and comfortable before we turn them over into
other hands. Those who die are too low when
they come to us to know much ; and when you
think that four thousand men have passed
through our hands this week, you will under-
stand that we can do little beyond the mere
snatching from physical death.
Good-by ! I hope you may be happy this
summer, — it would be something to be able
to think of happiness as existing somewhere.
116 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
I send you a little poem addressed to Mrs. ,
by a private soldier who had been in her care
on one of our boats. If you knew her you
would see that there is a poet's insight in
what he says of her : —
From old Saint Paul till now,
Of honorable women not a few
Have left their golden ease, in love to do
The saintly work which Christlike hearts pursue.
And such an one art thou, — God's fair apostle,
Bearing his Love in war's horrific train ;
Thy blessed feet follow its ghastly pain
And misery and death, without disdain.
To one borne from the sullen battle's roar.
Dearer the greeting of thy gentle eyes
When he aweary, torn, and bleeding Ues,
Than all the glory that the victors prize.
When peace shall come, and homes shall smile again,
A thousand soldier-hearts in Northern climes
Shall tell their little children in their rhymes
Of the sweet saint who blessed the old war-times.
" Wilson Small," June 8.
Dear A., — I have written to mother and to
Mr. M of the battles of the 1st and 2d
of June. I refer you to those letters for the
sad story of those days. The Commission boats
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 117
were all here when the wounded began to come
down in freight-cars from the front. They
filled and left with their accustomed order
and promptitude. After that, other boats, de-
tailed by Government for hospital-service, were
brought up. These boats were not under con-
trol of the Sanitary Commission. There was
no one appointed to take charge of them ;
no one authorized to receive the wounded at
the railroad ; no one to ship them properly ;
no one to see that the boats were supplied with
proper stores. Of course the Commission came
forward to do what it could at a moment's
notice ; but it had no power, only the right of
charity. It could neither control nor check the
fearful confusion which ensued as train after
train came in and the wounded were brought
and thrust upon the various boats. But it did
nobly what it could. Night and day its mem-
bers worked, — not, you must remember, in its
own well-organized service, but in the hard duty
of making the best of a bad case.
On board the Commission boats we see the
unavoidable miseries of war, and none else.
As soon as the men come on board, all suffering,
118 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
except that of illness, ceases (this is a fact to be
thought of and dwelt upon) ; we know and see
that every necessary comfort and every chance
for life is freely supplied. I often think of the
money and supplies which by the kindness of
the people of Newport passed through my
hands before I left home. How little I then
knew their value ! How little I imagined that
each article was to be a life-giving comfort to
some one sufferer! Believe me, you may all
give and work in the earnest hope that you
alleviate suffering ; but none of you realize what
you do, — perhaps you can't conceive it, unless
you could see your gifts in use. I often wish,
as I give a comfort to some poor fellow and see
the sense of rest it gives him, and hear the
favorite speech, " Oh, that 's good ; it 's just
as if mother was here ! " that the man or woman
who supplied that comfort were by to see how
blessed it is.
I refer you to my other letters for the details
of that week, — I cannot write of them again.
And to-day, at the close of such a week, comes
an " excursion party " from Washington, —
Congressmen and ladies in silks and perfumes
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 119
and lilac kid gloves ! " Sabbath-breaking pic-
nickers on a battle-field ! " as Georgy called
them in a rage. I took one lady, with a little
honest pride, through the wards of the " Knick-
erbocker," where everything was sweet and
fresh, the men all quiet in their white beds and
clean hospital clothing, — nothing, compara-
tively, to shock any one. She wished to call
her sister ; but a gentleman who was with her
said : " Oh, don't ; don't let her see such an
awful sight ! " Now there was nothing painful
to be seen ; at that moment the awfulness of
war was but an idea, — then why did n't that
idea keep them away from here altogether ?
The " Elm City " is back to-day ; the ladies
have put her in order as she came up the river.
There have been no arrivals of wounded; those
who came down last night were the wounded of
last Sunday. Their wounds were in a frightful
state, — alive with maggots.
Your letter (" not dated," as gentlemen say)
telling me that you have sent another spirit-
lamp is received to-day. You can't tell what
your letters are to me ; I actually put them
under my pillow to read when I wake in the
120 THE OTHEE SIDE OF WAR.
morning, — like Ralph. I am well ; but ex-
citement, fatigue, and quinine have made me
deaf, which bothers me a good deal. Mr.
Knapp has broken down, as I knew he would.
Oh, what a sad loss he will be to us! Dr. J.
Foster Jenkins has arrived to take his place.
Mr. Olmsted's health begins to give the doctors
serious uneasiness, — so they tell me ; but he
says he is well.
" WiLBON Small," June 9.
Deak Mother, — I can't retain the least
recollection of when I write, or what I write,
or to whom it is written. I only know that I
do write to somebody nearly every day. You
owe the multitude of my letters partly to the
fact that they are written here and there at
odd moments, and partly to the other fact that
when we go off duty we go utterly off, and come
up to our little haven of rest, the "Small."
When we get here we can't sit and do nothing,
we can't think, we can't read ; what can we do
but write ? Sometimes the intense excitement
of our lives finds vent and ease in writing ;
but at other times, when we have nothing
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAK. 121
pressing to do, we feel so inert that the effort
to collect our thoughts to write even a line is
too great. We have so many letters to scrib-
ble for the poor fellows that materials must
always be handy. I go about with my note-
paper rolled up in a magazine and stuck, with
pens and ink, into an apron-pocket ; and so it
sometimes happens that a letter to you is be-
gun, continued, or ended while on duty. Be-
side the letters we write and send o£E for the
men, we have many from friends inquiring
after husbands, sons, and brothers who are re-
ported wounded. Such letter-s will never cease
to be a sad and tender memory to us. One
came last week from a wife inquiring after her
husband, but none of us could attend to it
until to-day. "Give him back to me dead,"
she says, "if he is dead, for I must see him."
Mrs. Griffin remembered the name ; he was one
of the men whose funeral she attended ashore
one Sunday evening. So to-day I went up and
found him under the feathery elm-tree. I made
a little sketch of the place and sent it to her, —
all I could send, poor soul !
I am sitting now on a barrel iu the tent.
122 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
waiting for a train of sick men who were tele-
graphed to arrive an hour ago. A million of
flies are buzzing and whirling and settling
about me. If you doubt the number, " Count
them, sir, count them," as the waiter at
Vauxhall said to the man who asked if there
were really five millions of lamps, as advertised.
Flies are much harder to count than lamps, so
I let you ofE four millions.
I hear that inquiries are being made as to
how the Sanitary Commission uses its supplies.
If they are made of you, say that so far as I
have seen (and it is not too much to say that
more than half of what is used on our boats
passes under the women's knowledge), there is
no waste, but the most careful use. The Com-
mission is not only doing in the best manner
its own work, but it has supplied stores of hos-
pital food, stimulants, and every thread of
clothing, lint, bandages, sheets, articles and
utensils of hospital use, and much else of a mis-
cellaneous character, to the Government boats,
besides the daily, I might almost say hourly,
requisitions from the regimental hospitals. If
people ask whether more can be wanted, let
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 123
them consider this. Let them reflect that four
times a week our own boats have to be fitted
out. To be sure, the same things are to some
extent used again ; but, without waste, much
must be lost. For instance, washing cannot be
done here or on the boats ; oij the latter it
would be dangerous. Much that is used has
to be thrown overboard ; it would be a risk
to life to do otherwise. Large cases of soiled
clothing, sheets, etc., are nailed up and sent
North on the ships. Perhaps each of them
carries two or three thousand of such articles.
Of course the supplies diminish; though from
time to time the washed articles come back.
Oh ! if those at home could see all that I
see, no trouble, no expense, no sacrifice would
be thought too great to strengthen the hands
of this Commission so that its work may not
fail. I know of my own knowledge how the
articles supplied by the women of the country
go ; and I know there is no waste. When
hour by hour some direful necessity is brought
to sight, much has to be given which never
comes back into our hands ; all given to the
Government boats is, of course, never returned,
124 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
— nor could that be expected. On our own boats,
however, economy is practised just so far as
not to interfere with the success of the work.
Oh, how pressed we are for some things !
Tin pails, lanterns, and things of that kind we
are always begging for, and "annexing" where
I ought to say that I believe the confusion
and neglect on the part of the Medical Depart-
ment which occurred last week was exceptional,
and not likely to occur again. At least the
authorities have now been warned, and I be-
lieve they will profit by the warning. Probably
no army in the world ever advanced with so
much to alleviate its hardships. Notwithstand-
ing the suffering I see, I feel this ; and when I
reflect that I see all, or nearly all, there is of
miseiy, I am ready to say that this war is not
as dreadful as war once was. The men are
well clothed and shod and fed ; the ration (on
which we live also) is excellent ; the beef, rice,
flour, and coffee as good as need be.^
* I found this to be the case when I became, later, superinten-
dent of a large United States Army General Hospital, where the
articles composing the ration came directly under my observa-
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 125
"Wilson Small," June 10.
Dear Mother, — Being the happy possessor
of a pen-holder (pilfered from the " Elm City"),
and having nothing to do, I shall write you a
long letter. We are all collected, shivering
and idle, under piles of blanket-shawls. All
the wounded have come down and gone, and
we have nothing to do, at least for to-day. If
the weather were but mild, we could be com-
fortable and enjoy our rest ; but never in the
depth of winter did I feel the cold as I do to-
day. I am chilled to the heart.
Keep my letters ; they will remind me to tell
you many things now forgotten. I wish it had
been possible to keep a journal, so much that
is interesting and droll in men and things
occurs every minute ; such armies of queer
tion. I never saw one of inferior quality. The ration of the
United States soldier is : f lb. of pork or bacon, or 1|- lbs. of
fresh or salt beef ; 22 ounces of bread or flour, or 1^ lbs. of
com-meal ; to every hundred rations, 10 lbs. coffee, 1^ lbs. tea,
15 lbs. sugar, 1 lb. sperm candles, or \\ lbs. tallow ditto, 4 lbs.
. soap, 2 quarts salt, 8 quarts beans or peas, 10 lbs. rice or hominy,
4 quarts vinegar, 1 gallon molasses (twice a week), 100 lbs. of
fresh potatoes or 100 ounces dessicated vegetables (three times
a week). Bacon means ham or middlings.
126 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
people turn up ! Quartermasters are among the
queerest. We have our own chief dragon on
the " Elizabeth," with whom I am supposed to
get along better than the others, therefore I
conduct all difficult negotiations. I rush to
him for something important a dozen times a
day. He is resolute not to give it to me till I
write and sign a requisition. Of course I am
wanting it for something pressing, so after a
slight blandishment I get it under promise of
sending the requisition, — which is never sent.
Then we have squads of comical " contrabands "
(who like us very much until it becomes a ques-
tion of work), and a detail of kind, nimble,
tender Zouaves. I have become a convert to
them after a long struggle, — their efficiency,
tlieir good sense, their gentleness are so marked.
Even their dress, which I once hated, seems to
take them in some sort out of the usual man-
ners and ways of men. They have none of the
dull, obstinate ways of that sex, — they are
unexceptionable human beings of no sex, with
the virtues of both.
Then we have every style of arrogant army
surgfeon and presuming volunteer surgeon, no
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 127
end of army officers, and some few naval
officers: all of whom come trooping on board
the " Small " after Mr. Olmsted, — chiefly, I ob-
serve, about dinne]>time. The Commission is
sadly imposed on in this way ; it is used as a
hotel. Last night four ladies arrived on the
mail-boat, and instantly transferred themselves
to the " Small." They have no business here,
and nowhere to go. If such women are given
a duty to do, they leave it, after a while, on the
general principle that they are " wanted at the
front." When they get there, the surgeons
will have nothing to do with them; and, fin-
ally, this morning two, who are thought to be
of doubtful character, have been returned
whence they came. The wonder is how they
get the passes to come at all. No lady should
attempt to come here unless accepted or ap-
pointed by the Government or the Commission.
Ardent women with a mission should not come
in any other way, if they value their own
Our dear Mr. Knapp has broken down, as I
knew he would, and is gone home with typhoid
fever. I think I told you that a new surgeon-
128 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
in-charge had been appointed to the Shore
hospital, with superintendence of the ship-
transportation. He seems a kind man, and
desirous to keep on good terms with the Com-
mission and work with it. He is very cor-
dial to us women, and begs us to come and
do what we can at the hospital. Mr. Olmsted,
however, frowns upon the idea, — frowns ? No ;
but he remains impenetrably silent, — which is
worse, for we can't rebel at it.
I often feel the pleasantness of our footing
among all these persons, — official, military,
naval, and medical. They clearly respect our
work, and rightly appreciate it ; they make no
foolish speeches, but are direct and sensible in
their words and acts ; and when work is over,
they do not feel towards us as " women with a
mission," but as ladies, to be with whom is a
Dr. McClellan, on the General's staff, came
in from the front, and stayed with us last night,
on his way to Fortress Monroe. He thinks
there will be a gigantic battle before Richmond,
and speaks of twenty thousand wounded. It is
overwhelming to think of it. The nation must
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 129
send us more sheets, shirts, drawers, and money
The " Elm City " is lying alongside, between
the " Small " and the shore. There is little for
her to do at present. A dozen or so of wounded
come down occasionally and go on board of her.
A standing order now exists that none but
wounded shall be put on the boats ; all the sick
are to go to the Shore hospital. Our tent is at
the head of the wharf, just where the railway
ends abruptly at the burned bridge. Dr. Ware
selects the cases from the freight-cars, on the
bare floor of which they are jolted down from
Savage's Station, — the terminus of the road at
the front. The worst cases are put inside the
covered cars, — close, windowless boxes, — some-
times with a little straw or a blanket to lie on,
oftener without. They arrive a festering mass
of dead and living together, — or did, during the
battle-week. Now they are sent down more com-
fortably; the bad cases have plenty of straw
and plenty of room within, and the slight cases
are perched upon the roof, or come down on
long trains of trucks. Meantime we have
ready in the tent proper food and stimulants,
130 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
and administer them to all after their hard
journey, and before they go either on board the
boats, or are taken in ambulances to the Shore
I shall send this letter by Monsieur de Tro-
briand, who goes home to-night, having had a
severe attack of typhoid fever, from which he
is not recovered ; ill as he is, he is delightfully
amusing, though I suspect him of being slightly
out of his head. I think sometimes, when I
am idle, of the happiness of getting home again.
Oh ! I never, never will grumble at anything
again. But also I will never eat beef when
once I escape from -army rations ; and I will
never again own a carpet-bag. The misery
those carpet-bags have cost me ! I rush up for
something that is wanted in a hurry; it is at
the bottom of the bag, — things that are wanted
always are. I tip it over into the berth, seize
what I want, and am gone again. But then
comes midnight ! I creep up tired and sleepy,
and find a mound of books, boots, cologne-bot-
tles, and other brittle and angular things which
must be cleared away before I can fling myself
down. Amelia, our black servant, says : " Laws
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 131
me ! I do wonder if you sleep on all dat
muss ! "
Eeinforcements are arriving daily. I suppose
from eight to ten thousand of McCall's division
(a small portion of McDowell's corps) have
arrived within a week. At first I scarcely
noticed their coming. I heard their gay bands,
and the loud cheering of the men as the trans-
ports rounded the last bend of the river and came
in sight of the landing ; but such sounds of the
dreadful other side of war filled my ears that
if I heard I heeded not. For the last night or
two the arrivals by moonlight, the cheers and
the gay music have been really enlivening. We
see the dark side of all. You must not, how-
ever, gather only gloomy ideas from me. I see
the worst, short of the actual battle-field, that
there is to see. You must not allow yourself
to think there is no brightness because I do
not speak of it.
"Wilson Small," June 12.
Dear A., — Yours of the 4th received, telling
me you have sent some cases. How eagerly
I shall look out for the " Webster ! " I wish
132 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
I could instruct you fully as to the late battle ;
but our work so fills both time and mind that
I feel as if I lived out of the war now that I
live in it. You have much fuller accounts in
the New York papers than I can give you.
The little that I know is, however, true, and
that is more than can be said of all the papers
tell you. The late battle was not a general
engagement. The enemy attacked us on the
left. Our left is composed of two corps d'ar-
m^e, — General Keyes's and General Heintzel-
mann's. Each corps has two divisions, each
division four or five brigades, each brigade four
regiments. Our left has been for some time
across the Chickahominy, although not so near
Richmond as our right, which is now bridg-
ing the river and the swamps to cross higher
up, and is composed of two corps, — General
Franklin's and General Fitz-John Porter's j the
latter stretching away to the right to form the
desired junction with McDowell. The bed of
the Chickahominy is narrow ; but in wet
weather it becomes nearly treble its width,
making the bridges and causeways which we
have built nearly impassable. The enemy, tak-
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 133
ing advantage of the great storm which flooded
these bottom lands (destroying, so they hoped,
our communications), attacked General Casey's
division on three sides. This division is part
of General Keyes's corps. It was clearly a sur-
prise, some of the officers being killed at dinner
in their tents. We were forced back, losing
guns and ground, — which were recovered, how-
ever, when General Couch's division (also of
Keyes's corps) came up. It is said that when
General Kearny's division (of Heintzelmann's
corps) reached the ground, the day was already
redeemed. Our right was from four to seven
miles distant from the scene of action, which
was at a place called Seven Pines, on the line
of the railroad. General McClellan, whose
headquarters are on the railroad this side of
the Chickahominy, and about the centre of our
lines, crossed the river Saturday afternoon
with General Sumner and his corps, and the
next day (Sunday) defeated the enemy at all
This is all I know ; and you won't imderstand
it without a map. I am sorry to say General
McClellan is very unwell, if not seriously ill.
134 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
I am told he has had the fever, which has left
him with camp dysentery. I inclose a printed
letter of Mr. Olmsted's about the work of the
Commission which we all like very much. I
have made some notes to it, for I comprehend
the family egotism about me enough to feel
that you will read the letter with double inter-
est if you know where I fit into it.
Last evening we made our first pleasure excur-
sion. Mr. Olmsted begged us ("us" always means
himself and staff) to take a run in the " Wheel-
barrow," " Wissahickon," or " Wicked Chicken,"
as we indiscriminately call our tug-boat, up
the river beyond the burned bridge. We gen-
erally have one or two pleasant outsiders not far
off. Last night it was Colonel M., who had
ridden in from the front to spend a day with
his wife. Oh, how we enjoyed our little holi-
day ! It was sweet to run suddenly out of the
noisy bustle of the wharves and the camp, out
of the breath of hospitals, into the still river,
shining with amber lights of sunset, where
nothing broke the silence but the cranes — and
we. We came home by moonlight, refreshed
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 135
To-day (very suddenly, and just at dinner-
time) the Chief discovered that an ice-boat was
missing; so we have dropped down to Cum-
berland in search of her. In other words, we
have had a peaceful family dinner, safe from
loafers and spongers; and now we are sitting
on the after-deck, dreaming, reading, writing,
and some of us, of course, smoking. I can't tell
you what a pleasure it is to be with these
people who go right in to a thing thoroughly.
Nobody is head here (except the Chief). We
all do a little of everything, and pretty much
what we please. I am, if anything, at the foot.
This is not humility, but truth ; the others are
so prompt and efficient that they often take
out of my hands that which I might do.
We are just passing the charred bones of a
burned rebel gunboat. Oh, this pretty river !
How I wish you could be beside me now ! If
you were, you should occupy our best chair,
which once was cane-bottomed, but now has
only the frame-work of the seat, on which we
I am well, and shall last, I think, till we get
to Richmond. Don't be uneasy about me ; if
136 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
I should be ill, I shall take the mail-boat, and
be at home before you can hear of it. To-mor-
row I take a ride in an ambulance, which equi-
page the surgeon-in-charge of the Shore hospital
is to send down for us, that we may go up and
organize a special diet kitchen for him, where
proper sick-food can be prepared under the
surgeons' orders. All good hospitals ought to
be self-supporting. Government furnishes an
ample ration, which can be drawn in money
(" commuted " they call it) and spent in proper
food for the sick, instead of the ordinary mess
diet. I should like to have charge of a hospital
now. I could make it march, if only I had
hold of some of the administrative power.
We have little to do at the present moment.
From twenty-five to seventy-five sick men come
down daily. We give them a meal as they
arrive, and then they are taken to the Shore
hospital. When a wounded man comes down
he is put on the " Elm City," now lying along-
side the wharf. We have done nothing on
board of her since we last fitted her up before
the battle. She has her full complement of
service, and the women's department is in the
THE OTHER SIDE OF "WAK. 137
competent hands of Mrs. Balestier and Miss
Bradford. At present our time is divided be-
tween the tent and the " Small," — the dear
" Small ! " I wonder whether we should like her
as well under any other name. We have given
quite a home-look to our little cabin, which is
never without its bouquet of magnolia, jessamine,
and honeysuckle. Our orderlies gather the flow-
ers as an attention to "the ladies," and every
now and then Captain Sawtelle sends a bunch.
Heavy orders for intrenching-tools were
filled and sent forward last night. This looks
as if a battle were not in prospect. It is all
very well for political idiots and men at ease
to talk about " cutting our way into Richmond."
If they want it done, why don't they give
McClellan strength enough to do it ? Colonel M.
says that we must trust him ; that whatever he
does, be it act or wait, will be well done. When
will the nation learn that it is in the hands of
its greatest man, and wait calmly for his re-
sults, only taking care in the mean time to
strengthen his hands ? ^ I hope you keep my
* It is peihaps as well to say here that my present opinion
of General McClellan is somewhat different from what it was.
138 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAK.
letters (for my own benefit). I have no recol-
lection of where I have been or what I have
done. You can form no idea of the bewilder-
ment and doubt in which we live as to "times
and seasons, hours of the day and days of the
week. It is really absurd. I am told to-day
is Thursday ; but I certainly thought it was
" Wilson Small," June 14.
Dear Mothee, — If I can give you a clear ac-
count of what occurred last night, I shall do a
clever thing ; for everybody is asking everybody
else if he has any positive idea as to what the
fuss was all about.
We were waiting in our tent for a train of
sick men which had been due more than an
hour. It was nearly seven o'clock, and every-
I still think that he was an able general, and a noble and patri-
otic man, who sought to heal as well as to conc^uer. But he was,
it seems, too slow for the work he had to do. He was an accom-
plished and careful soldier, even a great one ; but he had not
the genius of War, nor the dash that sometimes takes its place.
On the other hand, we must remember that no great commander
was ever so trammelled and thwarted by civilian ignorance and
scheming. Had the powers ultimately given to General Grant
been intrusted to General McClellan, he might, perhaps, have
ended the war in this campaign.
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 139
thing was ready ; presently the train came in,
and five men, bleeding from fresh wounds, were
brought out. The train had been fired into,
a quartermaster had been killed, and five of
the sick men wounded.^ All this had happened
about three miles from White House. We did
not pay much attention to the story, for we
were busy giving and sending food to the rest
of the men. But presently Mr. Olmsted came
up with an order from Colonel Ingalls : " The
ladies will return at once to their boat." Of
course we obeyed, but as slowly as we could,
asking questions as we went along. A second
order came : " Report the ladies on board at
once." We obeyed. Presently Mr. Olmsted fol-
lowed with a third order : " The wounded will
be moved from the 'Elm City' to the ' Small '
instantly ; the latter will run down to the
' Spaulding.' This arrangement is made, as
the shipping may have to be burned. Put the
ladies behind the iron walls of the 'Spaulding.' "
Then came another hurrying order : " Let the
' Ehn City' go down with her wounded on
* Stuarf s raid. See Colonel von Borcke's account of this
"gallant" deed in "Blackwood's Magazine " for September, 1865.
140 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
board, and rendezvous witli the ' Small ' along-
side the ' Spaulding.' " So away we went.
But Mr. Olmsted was not satisfied. I believe
he felt that our right place was where we might
be of service ; and after seeing the order obeyed,
he took a boat and rowed himself back to
the landing. The result was that an order was
sent down soon after to bring the " Small "
back to the wharf and take on the sick men
who had arrived on the train. So we took a
detail and thirty mattresses from the " Spauld-
ing," and went back as fast as we could. Cap-
tain Sawtelle came on board at once. Nothing
very definite was known. A gap had occurred
in our lines somewhere near Hanover Court-
House. A regiment of cavalry was supposed
to have got through. A good deal of harm
had been done. Our hearts beat for the rail-
road-bridges (two distinct fires could be seen),
and for a moment we felt gloomy. It would
have been a serious business to cut off even one
day's supply to the army ; it would have played
into the enemy's hands, — perhaps by forcing
on a general engagement. Captain Sawtelle
was arming every man capable of bearing arms,
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAK. 141
— teamsters, etc., — and was prepariug to burn
everything, shipping and all, if necessary. Two
of our party, Mr, Woolsey and Mr. Mitchell, vo-
lunteered their services, and were under arms all
night. A battery of artillery was hastily got
together of guns that had arrived the night
before ; and this morning we learn that the
Bucktail Rifles, Colonel Biddle's regiment,
which had gone up two days earlier, has re-
turned to guard the railroad-bridges. These
and the track are perfectly safe. The telegraph-
wires have been cut. The two fires we saw were
only some shipping — two or three schooners —
five miles up the river. It is said that a body
of guerillas from the country between the
Pamunky and the Rappahannock, hearing of
the dash of their cavalry, came across the Pa-
munky on five scows, and did some damage.
I wonder if they were looking at us the other
night from behind the cranes !
This is the resume of what we have heard
from Captain Sawtelle, who pays his morning
and evening momentary visit or look at us.
Now you know all about the affair historically,
— at least, as much as anybody knows; but
142 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
there 's a dark, private aspect of it to me, and
though I dare say I can tell it as a joke, it is like
playing with something that has not yet lost its
sting. Georgy and I were highly indignant at
being sent away ; we thought it shirking our
duty, and very inglorious. At last our tongues
got loose ; we said all we thought, — at least I
did. I said more than I thought, because I was
in a passion ; and all I got for it was the sense
of having hurt and wounded Mr. Olmsted. Of
course he was right ; I can see now that he had
to take care of us, even though it seemed ab-
surd. This happened as we were going down
to the " Spaulding." Presently Mr. Olmsted
was missing. He had taken a small boat,
and was rowing himself back to the landing.
I saw him shoot into the darkness, and I felt
like a brute ; I was so sorry for what I had
said ; I felt I had somehow goaded him, — and
I thought of him, so delicate, and now really
ill, making his way into danger in a horrid
Just then Dr. Jenkins told us that if we had
valuables on board, we had better secure them,
as the " Small " might have to be burned.
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 143
While I was getting my bags ready, I remem-
bered that Dr. Ware and David Haight were
ashore, in charge of the sick who were left in
the tents, and that all their things would be
burned unless somebody saved them. So, with-
out further thought, I went into the stateroom
which they shared together, and spreading a
huge shawl of Eobert Ware's on the floor, I
proceeded to fill it with the entire contents of
the room. I had just finished, and was knot-
ting the ends of the shawl together, when
Georgy came by. She stood like a mocking
fiend, gazing at that wretched blue bundle ; she
drew such a picture of the possible morrow, and
of my shame and confusion when I should have
to explain what I had been about, that I was
completely beaten down and humbled ; and
when Mr. Olmsted's order came, recalling us,
and I perceived that the " Small " was not
likely to be burned, I fell into a perfectly abject
state of mind. This mollified her. "Come,"
said she, relenting, " there 's time enough ;
let's go to work and put the things back."
How grateful I felt to her while I quickly
untied the "pack," as she persisted in calling
144 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAK.
it. I had a general idea where the coats and
trousers ought to go; but where the minor
articles belonged, who could tell ? But I
wouldn't show perplexity under Georgy's eye,
and I popped them here and there with a sem-
blance of order that stateroom did not wear
when I went into it. Alas! This morning,
through the ventilator, came the fatal cry :
" Haight, take your things out of my bed ! "
"Where 's my hair-brush?" " Where 's mme ?"
" Upon my soul, I believe you 've even got my
tooth-brush ! " Oh ! if any one ever repented
himself of philanthropy, I did then ; and who
shall guarantee me that Georgy will not come
out and tell the whole story, and put me to
open shame ?
It took a very short time to turn our little
home into a hospital. By 2 A. m. the men were
all on board, and by four o'clock they were com-
fortable for the night. They are very sick, —
perhaps the worst set together that I ever saw ;
scarcely any are in their right mind, some are
raving, one is screaming now for "something
hot," " lucifer-matches." They have been much
shaken by the attack on the train, which has, I
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 145
think, greatly aggravated their condition. One
of them died this morning, unconscious, as usual,
and so quietly that it was some minutes before
I believed it, though Dr. Ware said it was so.
He was speechless when he came into our
hands, — sent down with no indication of name
or regiment ; and so he dies. There is another
dying man lying next to where he lay; and
though his eyes are bright and intelligent, he
can give no sign, and I cannot discover any-
thing about him. So many nameless men come
down to us, speechless and dying, that now we
write the names and regiments of the bad cases
and fasten them to their clothing, so that if
they are speechless when they reach other
hands, they may not die like dogs, and be
buried in nameless graves, and remain forever
" missing " to their friends. This was Georgy'a
thought, — so like her ! How I love her practi-
cal tenderness !
Mr. Olmsted is puzzled what to do with these
men. There is a standing order against any
but wounded going upon the boats ; but they
can hardly be sent to the Shore hospital until
the question as to what this raid really is, set-
146 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
ties itself. I have no time to write more. We
are short-handed, and can spare but little time
from the men, and they, poor souls, are so
noisy and crazy that they give us unusual care
and anxiety. I am now going below to the
main-deck saloon, where they are, for the night-
The " Daniel Webster " reported herself at
4 p. M. Dr. Grymes and Captain Bletham came
on board at once. The latter was much grati-
fied by D. and A.'s visit to the ship at Boston.
My precious cases are on board ; but in the
present condition of the " Small " they must
remain on the " Webster."
In oue Tent, June 18.
Dear A., — All my delightful cases and let-
ters are received. You have just no idea of
the pleasure they give. I wrote last on the
14th. Sunday was a very distressing day.
Our sick men were still with us, for Mr. Olm-
sted could neither get permission to put them
on the " Elm City," nor induce the surgeon of
the Shore hospital to send his ambulances for
them. Expecting every hour to move them.
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAE. 147
we were unable to put tliem into hospital
clothing ; and as they were very restless and
crazy, this made our work less satisfactory than
usual. In all other respects they were well
The painfulness of the day was greatly in-
creased by a visit from a Sunday picnic of
Congressmen and ladies. One of the former
went to Mr. Olmsted and complained to him
of what he saw on our boat. He said the men
were in " an awful state. I saw — I saw with
my own eyes — flies settling on them and biting
them ! " This gentleman came into the ward
with a rose held to his nose ; and when told
they were all typhoid-fever cases (" That one by
you is the worst case I ever saw," Georgy said
maliciously), he went abruptly away. Had he
stopped to examine the condition of things, he
would have seen that every man who could not
brush the flies away had a mosquito-netting
over him, and all the others had fans. The
thermometer is at 90°, and the flies are an Egyp-
tian plague; but all was done that could be
done to alleviate it. I could see that this affair
pained Mr. Olmsted exceedingly. It was essen-
148 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
tially unjust; but the outward circumstances
of the case, as I have stated them, did not per-
mit that ample refutation which a mere glance
into one of the wards would usually afford. I
think he felt it the more as it was our very own
castle thus invaded by reproach. But a few
hours later a thing occurred which must have
wiped from his mind the sting of reproach from
such a quarter. Colonel , who was on the
"Elm City," very ill with typhoid fever, was
madly anxious to get home. He knew he must
die, and he craved to see his wife. The gentle-
men of the excursion-party were asked to take
him back on their boat. They refused ; alleg-
ing that they were " a select party," and " not
prepared to incur infection : " they made the
ladies the ground of their excuse. So Mrs.
Griffin went at midnight to the ladies and
begged them to consent to take him ; and of
course they did so. I could enlarge upon this,
but the subject is hateful.
Sunday evening we moved our men to the
"Elm City," where I found them all comfort-
ably placed on Monday, when I went through
the wards with a member of the New England
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR; 149
Women's Association, who had come down on
the " Webster " to make up her mind as to
whether we were doing our duty. She went
back with them on the " Elm City " yesterday.
Dr. Henry J. Bigelow arrived early in the
week. He came on a private mission from
the Secretary of War to see and report upon
the state of the Medical Department, and find
out where the hitch really is. I wish he had
come from the Surgeon-General instead. The
Secretary of War is apt to send missions of
private inquiry by which he forgets to profit ;
so that the best man for the work of inspection
is likely to go back from here and have his
observations disregarded. Mr. Olmsted has paid
him all the attention in his power. Matters of
importance are, however, pending at this mo-
ment between Mr. Olmsted and the Surgeon-
General, and this throws some g^ne into his
intercourse with Dr. Bigelow. I gather that
he cannot open himself freely to him. I do
not know, of course, how matters are between
Mr. Olmsted and the Medical Department, and
if I did know I should not speak of them ; but
I may certainly say this : that the Department
150 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
feels tlie greatest gratitude to Mr. Olmsted for
what he has done, and would gladly give him
much wider power, if that were what he is
seeking. That is not his object, however; in-
deed, the object of the Commission itself is not
sufficiently understood. Those who admire its
wise and noble work naturally feel the wish
that larger power should be given to it. But
the object of the Commission itself is not this.
It seeks to bring the Government to do what
the Government should do for its sick and
wounded. Until that object is accomplished,
the Commission stands ready to throw itself
into the breach, as it did during that dreadful
battle-week, as it does more or less all the time.
The thing it asks for is not the gift of power,
but that the Government should take the work
away from it by doing it thoroughly itself. A
Medical Inspector is to be sent here immediately,
at Mr. Olmsted's earn'est request, and we shall
see what that will bring forth. But, after all,
I fear the principle of active war is, and per-
haps must be, — every marching man is pre-
cious ; when he drops, he 's a dog. Ah ! what
would have become of him so far without the
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 151
Sanitary Commission ? I am not afraid to say
that no enterprise ever deserved better of the
people. Alive to the true state of things, ever
aiming at the best thing to be done, and striving
to bring everything to bear towards that, it has
already fulfilled a great work, — let those who
have reaped its benefits say how great and how
I am sitting with Georgy in the tent, waiting
for the arrival of a train of sick men, due
notice of which is always telegraphed to us
from Savage's Station. The " Wilson Small "
has dropped down the river to coal, Mrs. Grif-
fin is, I grieve to say, knocked up, with curious
symptoms of fainting and wandering. Dr,
Ware says she must go home, and she leaves
on the mail-boat to-morrow, — a most serious
loss to us at any time, but especially if an
Yesterday we did nothing special but dress
in clean clothes (I mean the cleanest we had)
and go down to the " Webster," where we
were received with all honors, and had a good
dinner, — Georgy and I eating an incredible
number of raspberry tartlets. Dr. Grymes drank
152 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
to US in his happiest manner : " Ladies, I
give you a welcome where you have a right ! "
The ship was dressed with magnolia, honey-
suckle, and the lovely white fringe blossoms, in
our honor. The " Webster" is a constant satis-
faction to the Chief, bemg thoroughly all right,
— thanks to Dr. Grymes and Mrs. Trotter and
her good captain.^
In onR Tent, June 20.
Dear Mother, — For the first time I have
neglected you, — and not from hard work either,
but from a scattering sort of work, which has
left us no time of absolutely needed rest in
which to write. All your Newport cases have
arrived ; also four cases of brandy and one of
beef stock, marked " F. Gordon Dexter; " four
of sherry, from Mrs. J. Howland Shaw ; one of
lemons, marked "Mrs. Kuhn;" also a case of
' Dr. Giymes's health was steadily giving way. As we looked
at him, so full of energy and ardor in his work, we used to think
he knew he was a dying man, and chose to alleviate death and
suffering in others as long as life was in him. After the campaign
was over, he became surgeon of the Sanitary Commission " Home "
in Washington. His residence was a few paces off, and he reso-
lutely came to his work until it took him half an hour, supported
on each side, to get over that short distance ; then he died.
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAE. 153
assorted liquors, and a box of lemon-squeezers,
from the Honorable Ezra (can't make out the
name), of Walpole, Mass., who says he had seen
a letter of mine somewhere, in which I told
that I had squeezed eight hundred lemons on
one occasion. The cases sent by the "St. Mark "
are also in my possession ; but for the last three
days I have had no time to open them, and I
won't sacrifice my present hour of writing to
do it now.
The Fourth Connecticut came down to-day for
its siege-guns. We, who have seen the black-
ness of battles, rejoice, and trust it is a sign
that there may be no more. God grant it may
be so ! How deluded the body of the Southern
troops and people have been by their leaders !
I go as much as I can among the prisoners, that
I may judge for myself how they feel. I find
surprise their chief emotion. " I never thought
of this." "I could change the feelings of half
my county if I told them what I know now."
One man told me he had never fired his gun.
They look shy, and are unwilling to meet your
eye ; but if you make any way with them, you
are almost sure to see tears in theirs. I have
154 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAK.
written letters for several of them, which Gen-
eral Wool and General Dix have been very kind
in forwarding from Fortress Monroe on the flag-
of-truce boat. The men are eager to write,
" because their friends are thinking them so
badly treated, and they want to tell them how
it is." Of course there may be exceptions to
this spirit ; but I have, so far, met with none.
Just now I asked a handsome young fellow,
with a clear eye which at first he rather veiled,
if he had all he wanted, — " All," he said ;
" more than I deserve to have."
Wednesday, the " Small " went down to coal,
and Georgy and Dr. Ware and I spent the day
in the tent, and dined with our old black aunty
on the "Elizabeth," — or the "Fiend," as she
is commonly called, from her habit of rushing
up at all hours of the day and night, making
unearthly noises with her steam-pipe. The
usual number of men, about a hundred, came
down. The process is this : I will describe it,
and you can imagine it, once for all.
We have thirty-three Sibley tents along the
line of the railroad on the other side of the track.
On this side, and just at the head of the wharf,
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 155
— an old scow and a few planks which we dig-
nify by that name, — stands the tent, filled with
stores, and the kitchen behind it. The "kitchen"
is al fresco, and consists solely of two long
trenches about a foot deep, with forked upright
stakes at each end and a pole across, on which
the camp-kettles are hooked over the fire built
in the trench below. Alongside the tent we
have two large wall-tents, where we put the
worst cases, so as to have them close at hand ;
the others, which are mostly waiting for the hos-
pital ambulances, are put in the Sibley tents.
We take great pride and satisfaction in these
arrangements. It is true that the tent is smoky
and hot, not pleasantly odoriferous, and filled
with flies ; but when the smoke is very bad we
make believe it kills the flies. In short, we
admit nothing evil of our tent ; and when Dr.
Agnew, peeping round in the smoke, said in the
kindness of his heart : " Oh, how uncomfortable
for you ! " we were seriously angry with him.^
A train arrives, and the principle on which
we proceed is as follows : The wounded men
1 " It was not the vale of Cashmere," as Dr. Ware wrote
me in his last letter, jnst before his death, " but many dear asso-
ciations cluster round it."
156 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
are sent at once on board whicliever transport
lies at the wharf (the "Small," the "Elizabeth,"
and the " Wicked Chicken " always lie outside
of the large vessel). As they pass our tent, we
give them something refreshing or stimulating,
as the case may need. The sick men are put
into the tents, and we give them a meal. They
ought to be moved promptly to the Shore hos-
pital; but the surgeon-in-charge is not prompt,
so they are often a day or a night in our
hands. This gives us an average of a hundred
men to feed and attend to daily ; but they are
constantly changing. Dr. Ware has the entire
charge and responsibility of them and of the
shipments upon our boats. As soon as a train
comes in he selects the cases. Meantime we
despatch, by our four orderlies, buckets of soup,
or tea, or milk-porridge, and other food ; then
we follow Dr. Ware into the train with the
inevitable brandy and beef-tea. The cars are
large, double freight-cars. The worst cases lie
upon the floor inside ; the slight cases sit upon
the roof. Dr. Ware is everything to us, — so
sensible, so self-sacrificing, so prompt, so care-
ful. We owe all the comfort of this tent to
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 157
him, for he takes pains to keep it well supplied,
and thus ef&cient. His fault is that he thinks
too little of himself ; and I fear it wUl always
keep him back in life.
On Thursday we went down in the " Small "
to Yorktown. Mr. Olmsted wished to inspect
the "St. Mark" (it ought to be "St. Luke"),—
a large clipper-ship sent down by the Sanitary
Commission. The surgeons and ladies were
ashore when we arrived, so we could go over
the ship with an eye to her real merits. She is
magnificent ; but so wholly out of the pale of the
necessities of our work that, though we heartily
admired, we could not feel the intense pleasure
and sympathy with which we hail some lesser
good on the other vessels. She is not fit for trans-
port service, drawing too much water to get up
the rivers, and having no steam. She should be
kept as a floating-hospital off Fortress Monroe ;
for that she is perfect, — giving noble accommo-
dation for a few, say two hundred, men. Our
work, on the other hand, requires us to give
life and some comfort to the many.
The Quartermaster, an old friend, gave us
many valuable things. Case after case rattled
158 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
on to the "Small," and tin pails almost in
abundance. "We dined on board. Dr. Draper
is in charge, — his wife and Mrs. George T.
Strong among the ladies. Soon after dinner
a telegram arrived, recalling Mr. Olmsted to
White House ; and we had the sweetest run up
the river by every light imaginable, — sunlight,
simset, twilight, moonlight.
Orders had come to send the " Webster " and
the " Spaulding " to Fortress Monroe immedi-
ately, and empty the hospitals there as fast as
possible. Mrs. Griffin went in the " Webster,"
which sailed at eleven o'clock last night ; so
one of our four fingers is missing.
To-day the Chief and the " Small " have gone
to Yorktown on "special business." Mrs. M.,
Georgy, Dr. Ware, and I are waiting in the tent
for one hundred and fifty men now due. To-
morrow, I fear, we shall have many wounded ;
heavy firing on our right has been going on all
the afternoon, and a good deal of musketry.
This is a very rambling letter ; but it is hard
to keep any ideas in one's head, being inter-
rupted every tenth word by cooks. Zouaves,
and obnoxious persons of many kinds, who per-
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 159
sist in looking into the tent and asking ques-
tions. This afternoon, as I was attending to
some men in the Sibley tents, I came upon one
of the exhortative kind, who often afford us
much amusement. He made a rapid survey
of the history of the world, to prove that no
women had ever done as we were doing, no
men had ever been succored as they were
succored. Whether he was out of his mind,
or simply one of the irrepressible, I could not
tell ; but he looked so funny, declaiming in his
hospital rig, that I slipped out of the tent, con-
vulsed with laughter, — for which I felt sorry,
and rather ashamed, a moment later, when I
saw the tears in the eyes of a gentleman, new
to the work, who was with me. But we must
either laugh or cry ; and this work teaches us
that we had better laugh, if we mean to be
good for anything. I hope I have not seemed
to you heartless in the tone which I have
taken ; it is that which we all adopt, and,
though perfectly genuine, it answers as a men-
Good-by ! I mean to go to sleep. The train
is not in, and may not be till morning. I have
160 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
learned to sleep on my arm, and it is very
" comfy." As for Georgy, she curls herself up
anywhere, like a little gray kitten, and is asleep
in a minute.
"WiLBON Small," June 22.
Deak Mother, — Yesterday was a hard day,
and not a very useful one. The result is that I
am a little befogged this morning, — deaf, drowsy,
and dull. Five hundred men came down last
night, — the clearings-out of the regimental hos-
pitals on the right. Our gentlemen were up
all night. I was safe in my berth ; but Georgy
was in the tent till 3 A. M., though she had
been up all the night before.
The Great Mogul, the Medical Inspector,
Colonel VoUum, for whom Mr. Olmsted has
been begging, has arrived. He is staying on
board the " Small." He ranks every other med-
ical officer ; therefore on him our hopes depend.
The run to Yorktown on " special business "
was made to give the Chief and the Inspector a
chance of quietly discussing the whole matter.
Mr. Olmsted has just been, full of brightness,
to tell me that everything is arranged satis-
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 161
factorily, and to read me the signed agree-
ment. The Commission is to take : 1. All badly-
wounded men, all amputations and compound
fractures of the lower extremities, and all other
cases which ought not to travel at first (say
five hundred, — a large estimate), and keep them,
on board the "Knickerbocker" and the "St.
Mark," in the river until they can be moved.
It engages to spend a sum not exceeding ten
thousand dollars on the means of carrying out
this first item. 2. It agrees to receive at Fortress
Monroe three thousand other bad cases able to
bear transportation, whenever a battle occurs ;
and four thousand five hundred more within
twelve days of it, and transport them to New
York, Washington, or elsewhere.
Thus, you see, the Commission gains the
certainty that the worst cases and the greatest
suffering shall be under its own eye and care.
The rest — the slightly wounded, or those so
wounded as to be able to help themselves — are
the ones that are left to the Government. The
country may feel assured that when the great
battle occurs, provision is made for those who
shall suffer most ; and the Commission feels that
162 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAK.
the country will provide that it shall not fall
short in its engagement. This enables us to
contemplate a great battle with less of a night-
mare feeling than we have had while there was
nothing to expect but a repetition of past scenes.
We feel that something is impending ; the clear-
ing out of the hospitals, the arrangements thus
decisively made for the wounded, all seem to
point to a coming emergency. Oh ! can we
help dreading it?
General Van Vliet has just been here, — a jolly
old gentleman, with his shock of yellow-white
hair, and his nice, old-fashioned politesse for
" the ladies." We fire a volley of questions
at him. First, and before all else, " How is
the General ? " (meaning, of course, General
McClellan.) "Ho ! he's well; quite got over that
fever of yours, — what do you call it, typhoid ? "
Then we try to get out of him some information
about the state of affairs. He said he dined at
General Porter's headquarters with several of
the corps commanders yesterday, and it was
universally agreed that General Porter's position
was not tenable any longer ; that our line was
far too long (I told you that our right was
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 163
stretched out to touch McDowell). "Well,"
says the General, " Porter is in what you may
call a deadlock, — emit get across the river ;
there 's a battery " (making a lunge at our best
chair). " What they '11 do will be to try and
turn our flank. Perhaps they '11 do it ; per-
haps not." " And we ? " we cried. "Oh, you!"
he said, with his jolly laugh, " you 'U have to
cut and run as best you can, and we 'U go into
Richmond." "Shall we go up the James River?"
"How are you going into Richmond?" "Has
Burnside got Fort Darling ? " Here the General
became impenetrable, but looked so profoundly
wise that if he did not tell his secret, he at
least told that he had one.
Captain Sawtelle sent me a present of mint
to-day (his orderly could not restrain a smile
as he gave it to me), and the Captain came
just now with an eye, I fear, to that improper
thing called a " mint-julep." You may think it
very vulgar, but let me tell you it is very good ;
and you would think so too if you had been
up all night, with the thermometer at 90°.
Georgy is flitting about, putting things to rights
(or wrongs) with as much energy as if she had
164 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
not been up two nights. She has hunted me
into the smallest corner of the cabin, while she
dusts and decorates the rest. Her activity is
a never-ending marvel to me. I saw her to-
day spring from the ground to the floor of a
freight-car, with a can of beef-tea in one hand,
her flask in the other, and a row of tin cups
tied round her waist. Our precious flasks !
They do us good service at every turn. We
wear them slung over our shoulders by a bit
of ribbon or an end of rope. If, in the " long
hereafter of song," some poet should undertake
to immortalize us, he'll do it thus, if he's an
honest man and sticks to truth : —
A lady with a flask shall stand,
Beef-tea and punch in either hand, —
Heroic mass of mud
And dirt and stains and blood !
This matter of dirt and stains is becoming
very serious. My dresses are in such a state that
I loathe them, and myself in them. From chin
to belt they are yellow with lemon-juice, sticky
with sugar, greasy with beef-tea, and pasted
with milk-porridge. Farther down, I dare not
inquire into them. Somebody said, the other
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 165
day (a propos of what, I forget), that he wished
to kiss the hem of my garment. I thought
of the condition of that article, and shuddered.
This state of " things " has reached its climax.
" Georgy," I said the other day, " what am I
to do? I can't put on that dress again, and
the other is a great deal worse." " I know
what I shall do," says Georgy, who is never
at a loss, and suggests the wildest things in
the calmest way : " Dr. Agnew has some flannel
shirts ; he is going back to New York, and can't
want them. I shall get him to give me one."
Accordingly, Santa Georgeanna has appeared in
an easy and graceful costume, looking espe-
cially feminine. I took the hint, and have
followed suit in a flannel shirt from the hos-
pital supplies ; and now, having tasted the
sweets of that easy garment, we shall dread civ-
ilization if we have to part with what we call
our " Agnews."
Just as I was writing the last words. Dr.
Coolidge came on board. I was delighted to
see him. He has a sad story from his place of
action, — as sad as ours ; as sad as all that come
from honest hearts and capable heads wherever
166 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
they are. But let us hope for better things to
come, — especially to-day.
Good-by ! I have so many letters to write
that sometimes I feel as if I could not write
another word. I have twelve lying by me now,
ready to go o£E, — soldiers' letters, and answers
to the friends of the dead. We receive such
pathetic, noble letters from the parents and
friends of those who have died in our care,
and to whom it is a part of our duty to write.
They will never cease to be a sad and tender
memory to us. The mothers' are the most
noble and unselfish; the wives' the most pa-
thetic, — so painfully full of personal feeling.
[The letters of the following week are missing.
The mails were stopped on account of the prepara-
tions for the " change of base," and probably the
letters were lost in them. The above is the last letter
mailed from White House which came to hand ; the
next was brought down on the " Small," and mailed
from Fortress Monroe.]
"Wilson Small," off White House,
Friday Afternoon, June 27.
Dear Mother, — Yesterday we went down
the river, at Captain Sawtelle's request, to clear
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 167
the way, order the transports and barges quietly
down, and prevent confusion. All the steamers
towed all the sailing-vessels. Imagine a fleet
of several hundred vessels streaming down the
shining river. The Pamunky twists and turns
so much that one day, after passing the " Web-
ster " on her voyage down, we met her again,
half an hour later, with only a narrow belt of
land and a few trees between us.
We returned last evening and found the
whole place transformed. All the trees along
the shore for half a mile had been cut down
and toppled over into the river. The gunboats
were drawn up ready for action, with their
gims pointed to sweep the plain laid bare by
the felling of the trees. Every hospital tent,
two hundred and fifty of them, was down. All
articles of value, commissary stores, ordnance
stores, medical stores, etc., were on transports
and barges, and on their way down the river.
Nothing was left but the Quartermaster's De-
partment tents, our tent, the camp of the Ninety-
third New York Regiment, and a few stores
and sutlers' quarters. Soon after, we saw the
dear tent dismantled before our eyes, all her
168 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
contents going on board the " Elizabeth," — Dr.
"Ware rescuing for me, at the last moment, my
invaluable Lund's patent corkscrew.
The truth is, the whole thing has been pre-
paring for days. Captain Sawtelle told us this
morning that seven hundred thousand rations
and a large amount of forage were sent up the
James River a week ago. This is doubtless a
masterly strategic movement of McClellan's,
compelled by the want of reinforcements. As
for what is going on with the army to-day, it
would be simple folly to attempt to give you
any account of it. The wildest and most con-
tradictory rumors are afloat. We lie at the
wharf, and all around us are people eager to
tell absurd and exaggerated stories. I make
it a rule to believe nothing that I do not pick
up from Captain Sawtelle. Yesterday there
was an impression that Stonewall Jackson was
coming down upon us to destroy this depot ;
and that has hastened the removal which was
Stripped of all exaggeration, I suppose the
truth is this : General Porter, being flanked in
immense force, has wheeled round and back.
THE OTHER SIDE OP WAR. 169
He crossed the Chickahominy at four o'clock
this morning. The whole army is now across
that river ; the enemy are in part on this side of
it. We may now go into Richmond on the left,
— Burnside co-operating. In that case this
base of supplies will be more available up the
James River. Meantime Colonel Ingalls and
Captain Sawtelle are sending forward supplies
in trains and army-wagons as fast as possible.
The troops have six days' rations in their knap-
sacks. The enemy evidently hope to ruin us by
seizing this station, — hitherto the sole source
of supply to our army. Instead of which, every-
thing has been sent away; the few things that
remain are lying on the wharves, ready to go on
board a few vessels at the last moment. The
" Elm City" is waiting for the Ninety-third New
York Regiment, which is stationed here on guard-
duty. We have had our steam up all day, ready
to be off at a moment's notice ; and even as I
write comes the order to start, the enemy hav-
ing got the railroad. And so rapidly have we
gone, that between writing the words " Elm
City " and " railroad " we are off !
Such a jolly panic! Men rushing and tearing
170 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
down to the wharves, — these precious civilians
and sutlers and " scalawags " ! The enemy are
in force three miles from us ; they have seized
the railroad, and cut the telegraph. We pri-
vately hope to get a glimpse of them as we go
down the river ; it would be something to say that
we had seen the Confederate army of Kichmond !
"We have just enjoyed the fun of seeing
the last of the shore-people rushing on board
schooners and steamers, — the former all yelling
for " a tow." I never laughed more than to
see the " contrabands " race down from the quar-
ters and shovel into barges, — the men into one,
the women into another. The " Canonicus "
stayed behind to carry off Colonel Ingalls and
Captain Sawtelle, who are highly pleased with
the way the whole thing has been done, — as
well they may be, for it reflects the greatest
credit upon them.
All our army is now across the Chicka-
hominy : General Porter crossed at four this
morning; only General Stoneman and the cav-
alry are this side of the river. The order which
finally moved us was in consequence of a mes-
sage from General Stoneman to General Casey,
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 171
which came by mounted messenger while Mr.
Olmsted was with the latter. It said : " I hold
the enemy in check at Tunstall's [three miles
from White House, on the railway], and shall
for a short time. I shall then retreat by White
House." Then the great gun of the " Sebago "
boomed out, and we all slipped our moorings.
The gunboats were in line of battle ; we passed
between them and the shore ; the men were
beat to quarters, and standing at. their guns, —
the great ferocious guns !
We had scarcely turned the first bend of the
river before we heard explosions, and saw the
smoke and fire of the last things burning, — such
as locomotives, cars, a few tents, whiskey, etc.
Before leaving, we saw clouds of dust, and Gen-
eral Stoneman's baggage-train came trotting in ;
and at the same moment a corral of invalid
horses and mules, kept here by the Quartermas-
ter's Department, seven hundred of them, were
let loose and driven towards Cumberland*. The
last I saw of the White House, General Casey
was sitting on the piazza, and the signal-men
on the roof were waving the pretty signals,
which were being answered by the gunboats.
172 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
And now we are streaming down the winding
river; the "Elm City" ahead, with two or
three schooners ; the little " Wissahickon " rac-
ing along as fast as she can go, like a crab, and
blessing herself that she is too little to be de-
tained for " a tow." By and by we come, haul-
ing slowly two big schooners ; then comes the
" Daniel Webster," towing ammunition-barges ;
after her the " Vanderbilt," towing something
of which I can see only the masts above the
trees as the river winds. At each bend there
is an excitement. Somebody is sure to be with-
in an ace of getting foul of somebody else.
The smoke at White House is growing denser
and denser, and we hear cannon, — which we
take to mean that the gunboats are getting a
chance at the enemy.
The " Spaulding " here comes quietly up the
river, and asks, bewildered, for orders. Mr.
Olmsted replies : " Go up for the first heavy
tow you can find, and report at Yorktown."
So the Commission, having no sanitary business
on hand, does its best for the service in another
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 173
[To this letter I venture to add the following
extract from one written some months later by the
Chief of the party who left White House that Friday
evening, June 27, 1862 : —
" All night we sat on the deck of the ' Small,'
slowly moving away, watching the constantly in-
creasing cloud and the fire-flashes above the trees
toward White House ; watching the fading out of
what had been to us, through those strange weeks, a
sort of home where we had worked together and been
happy, — a place which is sacred to some of us now
for its intense living remembrances, and for the
hallowing of them all by the memory of one who,
through months of death and darkness, lived and
worked in self-abnegation ; lived in and for the suf-
ferings of others, and finally gave himself a sacrifice
"Wilson Small," off Fortbess Moneob,
Saturday, June 28.
Dear A., — You will see my letter to mother,
which gives an account of the removal of the
depot at White House. We left last evening at
the last moment, and rendezvoused for the
night off West Point. Captain Sawtelle sent us
* Dr. Robert Ware, who died at his post, aa surgeon of the
Forty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, during the siege of Wash-
ington, N. C, March 12, 1863, aged twenty-seven.
174 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
off early from there with despatches for Fort-
ress Monroe. This gave us the special fun of
being the first to come leisurely into the panic
then raging at Yorktown. The " Small " was
instantly surrounded by terror-stricken boats ;
the people of the big " St. Mark " leaned over
their bulwarks to question us. Nothing could
be more delightfiil than to be as calm and
monosyllabic as we were, — partly from choice,
and partly imder orders from Colonel Ingalls.
They knew nothing, except the fact that the
enemy had possession of White House. It seems
that General Van Alen, commanding at York-
town, had telegraphed to Colonel Ingalls after
we left White House, and received from our
successors a polite request to " go to — "
We find no news here at the Fortress. We
hoped to meet some from the James River ; but,
on the contrary, it is we who have brought all
the news as yet. Our eyes are strained towards
the James, and every time a black hull shows
in that direction we are feverish with anxiety
and hope. The universal feeling here is that
this movement of McClellan's is a grand stroke
to wring a triumph out of adverse circum-
THE OTHER SIDE OP WAR. 175
stances. I feel it is so. " What profit lies in
barren faith ? " was the thought I fell asleep
with and dreamed of all night.
Meantime we are here in Hampton Eoads,
breathing life in the salt air. May I never see
the pretty poisonous Pamunky again! Keep
my room ready for me ; I may be home any
day. Oh, to sleep in a bed once more ! It
seems too great a rest ever to be reached. I
am writing on the upper deck at 3 A. m.,
looking out upon the dawn, which slowly shows
me, one by one, the places we have read of, —
the Rip-Raps, Sewall's Point, Craney Island, and
the ruins of the old church at Hampton.^
Off Norfolk, Sunday Evening, June 29.
We are coaling here to-night, and leave at
daybreak for Harrison's Bar, James River,
where our gunboats are said to be. We hope
* How well I remember the night when this letter was written,
and the feelings which were not expressed in it ! Our minds had
been strained to the utmost, and the disappointment and uncer-
tainty striking sharply upon them were more than we could bear.
I remember well what a dreadful day we passed off Fortress
Monroe. At night I could not sleep, but went out and sat on the
deck and wrote by the light of my lantern, and wondered if my
mind were leaving me, and whether it would right itself again.
176 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
to get farther up, but General Dix warns us
that it is not safe. What are we about to
learn? No one here can tell.
Off Bebklbt, Harrison's Bar, James River,
Tuesday, July 1, 1862.
Dear Mother, — We arrived here yesterday
to hear the thunder of the battle * and to find
the army just approaching this landing. Last
night it was a verdant shore; to-day it is a
dusty plain. The feelings with which we
came up the James River I can't describe, our
anxiety, excitement, and breathless desire to
know something were so great. Not a vessel
was in sight after we left Newport News, except
the " Canonicus," Quartermaster's Department
boat, which was just ahead of us. No one
could guess what knowledge any moment might
bring to us.
We were just admiring a fine old colonial
house, when some one standing in the bows
cried out : " I see something white among
the trees to the right ! " and in a few minutes
more we made them out to be army-wagons.
> Of Malvern Hill.
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 177
We had met our army ! What next were we
to learn ? Never shall I forget the look of the
first oflB.cers who came on board, — one a major,
the other a chaplain. They were gaunt and
haggard, their hair stood o\it from their heads
stiffened with dust and dirt, their faces were
nearly black, and to their waists they were
literally moulded in Virginia clay. " Oh ! what
is this ? " we cried. " Is it a defeat ? " " De-
feat ! No ; we have retreated, but we never
turned our backs on them. We have faced and
fought and beaten them for five days ! "
Just as we arrived. General McClellan came
down on the " Galena " to see Colonel Ingalls.
Think what a relief it must have been to his
anxious mind to learn the perfect success of our
removal from White House, and to know that
supplies were already here, and following us up
the river, for his exhausted army ! I saw the
gunboat he was on, but I did not see him ; and
he was gone almost immediately.
The " Spaulding " has just come up the river
and gone ahead of us (Miss Whetten and Mrs.
Balestier on board) ; her iron sides can carry her
safely past the rifle-pits which line the shore, and
178 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
Mr. Olmsted thinks her stores may be service-
able higher up. Dr. Jenkins has gone with
her to judge for himself. No one can tell what
work there is for us ; the wounded have not
"Wilson Smail,'' Harrison's Landing,
Dear A., — As I write I glance from time to
time at the Army of the Potomac, massed on the
plain before me, — an army driven from its po-
sition because it could not get reinforcements
to render that position tenable ; forced every
day of its retreat to turn and give battle ; an
army just one third less than it was : and
yet it comes in from seven days' fighting,
marching, fasting, in gallant spirits, and making
the proud boast for itself and its commander
that it has not only marched with its face back-
ward to the enemy, but has inflicted three times
the loss it has borne, and that the little spot of
its refuge rings with its cheers.
And yet the sad truth cannot be concealed :
our position is very hazardous. "What I hear
said is such as this: "Unless we have rein-
forcements, what can we do ? Must McClellan
THE OTHER SIDE OP WAR. 179
fight another bloody battle in a struggle for life,
or surrender? Give us reinforcements, and
all is well. We have got the right base now.
We could not have it at first ; we made an-
other ; that other the Government made it im-
possible for us to maiatain. Day by day we
saw it growing imtenable. We now have the
true base of operations against Richmond. The
sacrifice ? Yes ! but who compelled it ? The na-
tion must see to that. The army and McClellan
have done their part, and nobly have they done
it. Let them now be strengthened, and all is
well, or better than before." This is the one
tone. No wonder that they feel in spirits,
they have done their duty ; and I look in their
poor worn faces and feel that their deepest
honor in life will be that they belonged to the
beaten Army of the Potomac — and yet, not
beaten ; everything that that is, except precisely
the thing it is.
I am sitting on deck. Poor Miss Lowell,
whose gallant brother was killed yesterday, is
beside me. She belongs to the "Daniel Web-
ster," which is to load up this afternoon. We
are lying a stone's throw from a long wharf, and
180 THE OTHER SIDE 6f WAR.
a little in-shore of it. My eye can follow the
lines within which our army lies. The immedi-
ate prospect is a sandy shore, with a sandy slope
behind it, up and down which the cavalry are
ceaselessly passing to water and swim their
horses in the river. At the head of the wharf
are General Keyes's headquarters ; to the right
are General Franklin's ; and a little farther
back. General Porter's ; while the eighth of a
mile back upon the left, General Headquarters
are said to be. The long wharf is a moving
mass of human beings : on one side, a stream
of men unloading the commissariat and other
stores ; on the other, a sad procession of wound-
ed, feebly crawling down from the Harrison
House and along the beach and wharf to go on
board the transports. The medical authorities
are doing well by them. The Harrison House is
made into a hospital, and the men are comfort-
able (so say our gentlemen, who have been
among them) ; the slight cases are lying on the
lawn and under the trees. To-day — thank God
for the great mercy ! — is cloudy, without rain,
I know nothing of them personally. We women
are not yet permitted to go ashore, and I try to
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 181
believe, as I am told, that it is impossible we
A new Medical Director of the army has been
appointed, for which we are deeply thankful.
He is now on board the " Small," and has just
stood near me for a few moments, talking to
some one, so that I could observe him, — one
looks into faces so much here ! His gave me a
sad calmness. Such a worn face, — worn in the
cause of suffering; full, it seemed to me, of a
strong earnestness in his work. How much at
this moment is freshly laid upon him ! ^ I can't
tell you anything of my own knowledge about
the wounded ; but I judge from what I am told
that there is not much suffering, and no privation
among those who are here. They are chiefly
slightly wounded and exhausted men. But
where are the others ? Alas ! where ? This is
war, and there 's no more to be said about it.
1 Dr. Letteiman. Soon after his appointment he reorganized
his department, remodelled the medical corps, established a plan
for division field-hospitals after a battle, and got an efficient
ambulance system into good working order. Thus when the bat-
tles of Antietam, Fredericksburg, ChanceUorsyille, etc., occurred,
the Medical Department, its surgeons and supplies, were well
prepared, and nothing at all like the suffering after Fair Oaks
182 THE OTHER SIDE OP WAR.
But I was telling you what I see from the
deck as I sit writiug, — of course with countless
interruptions and nmnings below to give this
poor surgeon or that poor chaplain as many
comforts for their sick men as they can carry off
in their saddle-bags, or tied up in pillow-cases.
Now, suppose I tell you that I am seeing and
hearing war at this moment in the shape of
shells bursting within our lines directly in front
of me ! And there 's the wonderful little " Moni-
tor " firing her great eleven-inch gun — there it
goes, boom ! and then the screwing, screaming,
rushing sound of the great rifle-shell! Talk of
wonders ! there never was anything in that line
like the " Monitor." You don't imagine what a
little tray of a thing she is, — I did n't. Why,
the sides of her captain's gig, which is towing
aft, are higher than hers ! She lay close by us
for an hour this morning, and at first I could
not believe she was the real thing.
Chesapeake Bat, Friday, July 4.
While I was writing the above letter Mr.
Olmsted came out from a long interview with
THE OTHER SIDB OF WAR. 183
Dr. Letterman, the new Medical Director, in
which the latter had urged him to go to Wash-
ington and see and advise the Surgeon-General
about the state of things here. So Colonel and
Mrs. M. were put on board the "Daniel Web-
ster " (then loading to sail that night), we took
Mrs. Trotter in exchange, Doctors Ware, Cool-
idge, and Jenkins were left on the " Elizabeth "
to misery and business, and we came off at once.
We passed the "Monitor," roaring and whist-
ling away, at one of the doubtful points of
our position. I looked down upon her as we
passed : she is literally nothing but a flat tray,
a foot and a half out of water, with what looks
like a small gasometer in the middle of her.
As we passed Fortress Monroe this morning
we heard of the President's call for three hun-
dred thousand men. Very good ; but we wish
he would send fifty thousand here at once.
"Wilson Small," Haekison's Landing,
Monday, July 7.
Dear Mother, — We reached Washington
Saturday morning. Mr. Olmsted transacted his
184 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAK.
business, and we started on our return Saturday
afternoon, bringing with us a cargo of tents for
the army. This destroyed our blissful visions
of a bath and bed at "Willard's.
I can't tell you how Washington oppressed
me. Its bitter tone towards McClellan fell
strangely on our ears, which yet rang with the
cheers of the army. We met Commodore
Wilkes, who told us he had that moment re-
ceived his appointment to the naval command
on the James River.
On my return here to-day I find your letters,
Nos. 16 and 17 ; also one from the Mayor of
Newport, telling me of the munificent gift of
the churches, and asking how I should like to
have it spent. I have replied, asking him to
send half in supplies to us here, and half in
money to the treasurer of the Sanitary Com-
mission. How well Newport has done her part
in the work ! I am often reminded by different
branches of the Commission that she was among
the very first to send supplies. In Washington
I heard it again. Even the particular character
of the things she has sent has been praised to
me. I wish you would let the community
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 185
know that my last cases by the " Webster " ar-
rived the night before we left White House.
The Medical Director telegraphed Mr. Olmsted
to send supplies for the wounded to Savage's Sta-
tion. The " Elizabeth " had been seized to tow
something; but our other boats had plenty of
everything except brandy, so I was delighted
to have the cases to send. They went on the
last train that got through, together with the
cases marked " Miscellaneous." Please let my
generous friends know that coming when they
did, their gifts were doubly blessed. Oh ! if
they could but form an idea of what those
things were to those poor wounded, cut off from
getting down to our care, and lying parched
and agonized and necessarily abandoned by the
army. The same day (the day before we left
White House) I received a most kind letter from
Colonel Vinton, calling my attention to his ad-
vertisement for bids, and offering me another
contract. I answered gratefully, making pro-
posals for one if I could begin it in September.
The letter came, as usual, to Colonel Ingalls'
care ; and its official appearance, on business
of the Quartermaster's Department, must have
186 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
created some curiosity, for it was sent up in
hot haste by special messenger.^
I had the dearest letter from A. to-day. She
says, " Can such things interest you ? " Why,
nothing interests me so much. I shall come
back sick of great events and armies. I want
never to see a blue-coat or a gun or an ambu-
lance again. I am glad my letter from Fortress
Monroe reached you. To have you say that
you get clear ideas from my letters, astonishes
me. I write them as one in a dream.
We have come back to find that the army,
which we left massed just here, has got into
position, and is intrenched or intrenching.
General headquarters is moved about a mile
and a half inland. General McClellan says
1 This, with the allusion on page 1, refers to a contract for
the making of flannel army-shirts, given me by Deputy Quar-
termaster-General D. H. Vinton, U. S.»A., for the purpose of
giving employment to the families of volunteers and other poor
women. During the winter of 1861-62 we made over seventy
thousand. The Department paid me fourteen cents a shirt, and
furnished the flannel and the buttons. I paid the women eleven
cents a shirt (they could easily make four a day, without a ma-
chine), and the remaining three cents just coverea the cost of
linen-thread, transportation to and from New York, office and
workroom expenses. The ladies of Newport helped me to cut the
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 187
positively that he can hold the position. The
wounded are all in, and either shipped or cared
for on shore. When I say " all," I mean those
within our lines ; the most severely wounded we
shall never see. Forty of our surgeons are with
them, scattered along the line of march; they
are prisoners by this time. This is the worst
horror of war, and one I cannot trust myself
to think of. The Medical Department is doing
well by the sick and wounded who have reached
this Landing. Four thousand have be^n already
transported on their boats and ours, which come
and go with their usual regularity. The gentle-
men of the Commission are busily at work issu-
ing stores, and fitting out and sending off the
vessels ; but it is evident that our work (I
mean that of the women at these Commission
headquarters) is over. I feel this so much that
I begged Mr. Olmsted to let me take the mail-
boat as we passed Fortress Monroe last night.
But he was unwilling ; and i);i little things as
well as in great things no one opposes his will.
We look and hope and pray for reinforce-
ments. Immediate levies should be made, the
recruits used in garrisons, and the older troops
188 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
sent here. The whole question is, Are we in
earnest ? Is the nation in earnest ? or is it the
victim of a political game ? For God's sake,
for the sake of humanity, let us strike one
mighty blow now, and end this rebellion !
Surely it cannot he that the nation can't do
this ! Then let it be done ; and oh ! do not
sacrifice this noble army. Let every man take
arms that can take them, and fill the places of
tried men who could come here. At this mo-
ment " a strong pull and a pull altogether "
would end this rebellion, and send its wretched
leaders to their just destruction. This is not
my opinion only, it is the sum of all I hear.
The weather is intensely hot. My hand
wets and sticks to the paper as I write. The
thermometer at the door of my stateroom is
98.° We cannot put our faces out upon deck
without blistering them in the fierce glare of
sky and water. How I wish Ralph could see
the great balloon which is just going up from
THE OTHER SHJE OF WAR. 189
"Wilson Small," July 8.
Dear Mother, — For the last two hours I
have been watching President Lincoln and Gen-
eral McClellan as they sat together, in earnest
conversation, on the deck of a steamer close to
us. I am thankful,' I am happy, that the
President has come, — has sprung across that
dreadful intervening Washington, and come to
see and hear and judge for his own wise and
While we were at dinner some one said,
chancing to look through a window : " Why,
there 's the President ! " and he proved to be
just arriving on the " Ariel," at the end of the
wharf close to which we are anchored. I sta-
tioned myself at once to watch for the coming
of McClellan. The President stood on deck
with a glass, with which, after a time, he in-
spected our boat, waving his handkerchief to us.
My eyes and soul were in the direction of gen-
eral headquarters, over where the great balloon
was slowly descending. Presently a line of
horsemen came over the brow of the hill
through the trees, and first emerged a firm-set
figure on a brown horse, and after him the
190 THE OTHER SIDE OP WAR.
stafE and body-guard. As soon as the General
reached the head of the wharf he sprang from
his horse, and in an instant every man was a-
foot and motionless. McClellan walked quickly
along the thousand-foot pier, a major-general
beside him, and six oflficers following. He was
the shortest man, of course, by which I distin-
guished him as the little group stepped on to
the pier. When he reached the " Ariel '" he
ran quickly up to the after-deck, where the
President met him and grasped his hand. I
could not distinguish the play of his features,
though my eyes still ache with the effort to do
so. He is stouter than I expected, but quicker,
and more leste. He wore the ordinary blue
coat and shoulder-straps ; the coat, fastened
only at the throat, and blowing back as he
walked, gave to sight a gray flannel shirt and
a — suspender !
They sat down together, apparently with
a map between them, to which McClellan
pointed from time to time with the end of his
cigar. We watched the earnest conversation
which went on, and which lasted till 6 p. m. ;
then they rose and walked side by side ashore, —
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 191
the President, in a shiny black coat and stove-
pipe hat, a whole head and shoulders taller, as
it seemed to me, than the General. Mr. Lin-
coln mounted a led horse of the General's, and
together they rode off, the stafiE following, the
dragoons presenting arms and then wheeling
round to follow, their sabres gleaming in the
sunlight. And so they have passed over the
brow of the hill, and I have come to tell you
about it. The cannon are firing salutes, — a
sound of strange peacefulness to us, after the
angry, irregular boomings and the sharp scream
of the shells to which we are accustomed.
All day we have had the little " Monitor "
and the ugly " Galena " (flag-ship) and the
'•' Maritanza " beside us, a stone's throw off.
Last evening Commodore John Rodgers, at
present commanding on the James, came to see
us, and rowed us up the river and round the
" Monitor " and his own vessel, the " Galena."
Ugly as she is, I must .confess the latter has the
most fighting look of anything that I have seen
connected with war ; she reminds me of Rab
in a dog-fight. But they say she is a failure,
and a downright fraud upon the Government.
192 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
She looks something like a Chinese junk, broad
at the water-line, and running in from that.
She has two large lumps on one side, caused by-
shots that have passed through her and lodged
in the iron casing on the other side.
There is a funny little Rebel gunboat close
beside us, captured on Friday by the " Mari-
tanza." A shell exploded in her boiler, tearing
out her intestines, as it were, and doubling her
up into the drollest little object. The " Teaser "
they call her. The prettiest sight I see is the
signalling, — flags by day, and lamps by night;
the most incomprehensible, graceful thing that
can be seen. The " Galena," the " Monitor,"
and the " Maritanza," which went off this
morning to prevent General Longstreet with
twenty thousand men from attempting to cross
the river, are just coming in to their evening
anchorage, and beginning the pretty signals,
which are being answered from the roof of the
Things are not as gloomy here as you fear.
The tone and temper of the army are magnifi-
cent. If reinforcements are sent, all will be
weU. Everything depends on the Administra-
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 193
tion at this moment, — not on the army ; that
is now made up of veterans, and knows and
rejoices in its strength.
Commodore Kodgers has just been to invite
us on hoard his ship. We have accepted for
nine o'clock to-morrow morning, though it is
a chance if she is not on duty at that and every
other hour. He offered also to take us over
the " Monitor." After that — having seen the
" Monitor " and McClellan — I wish to go home.
There is no more work for a woman here. The
Government is doing well by the sick and
wounded. The Sanitary Commission may justly
claim that it has led the Government to this ;
and it can now return to its legitimate sup-
plemental work, — inspecting the condition of
the camps and regiments, and continuing on a
large scale its supply business. But as for us,
we ought to go ; to stay here doing nothing,
is a sarcasm on the work we have already
" Wilson Small," July 10.
Dear A., — This morning I went ashore with
Mrs. Barlow (Arabella, wife of the General)
without orders and, indeed, without permission.
194 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
But Mrs. Barlow offered to take me, Mr. Olm-
sted was not on board, and I was so anxious to
see for myself the state of things that I could
not forego the chance. The hospital occupies the
Harrison House, called Berkley (how familiar all
those names are to you and me !), and a barn,
out-buildings, and several tents at the rear, con-
taining, or I should say able to contain, in all,
about twelve hundred men, — perhaps more, at
a pinch. About a third of those now in hospital
will be fit for duty after a week or two of rest.
The influence of the new Medical Director is
already manifest. It would be too much to say
that all the wants of the sick and wounded are
met as they would be on our own boats, where
the men are as well cared for as in a city hos-
pital, — it would be absurd to expect as much as
that in a temporary hospital hastily arranged,
and especially after such an exhausting march
as the army has just made; but I am quite
satisfied that the men have every essential
care ; the situation is the healthiest to be found
about here, there are surgeons enough, and
an excellent hospital-steward, with properly
appointed ward-masters and nurses. I told
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 195
the hospital-steward how much we depended on
beef-stock and milk-punch, because they are so
quickly and easily prepared ; and I promised to
send him (I felt as if I were making a will)
my spirit-lamp and kettles, and to get our com-
missary to give him an ample supply of Murin-
ger's beef-extract, and condensed milk. I have
just filled two pillow-cases for him with all the
odds and ends that remain to me, — fans, pads,
handkerchiefs, towels, bay-rum, cologne, band-
ages, flannel, pins, needles, tapes, buttons, paper
and pens, etc., and my precious lamp, with all
"We stayed about three hours with the men,
writing letters for them. Such letters are often
very funny. Some few told the horrors of the
march; but as a rule they were all about the
families at home. Did you ever notice how
people of limited education seem unable to re-
late anything that is happening about them ?
They go over a string of family details quite
as well known to their correspondent as to
I am glad I went ashore, for now I am quite
content to go home. Our work — I mean the
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
women's work — is over, except on the " Web-
ster " and the " Spaulding," which must still
make two or three trips in the service of the
Commission. All that now remains to be done
for the army on the James is the regular work
of inspecting camps and issuing from the store-
boats such supplies as may be needed.^
I did not go on board the " Monitor " on
Wednesday, after all. The others went, but I
* Supplies furnished by (he Sanita/ry Commission to the Army of the
Potomac, from July 1st to August 31st, 1862.
Quilts .... 30,197
Shirts .... 87,994
Condens'd milk, cans 2,624
Blankets . . 13,500
Drawers . . 48,303
Jelly, jars 6,959
SheBts .... 42,945
Socks .... 80,322
Tea, lbs 541
Pillows . . . 35,877
Slippers. . . 14,984
Spirits, bottles . . . 1,026
Wine, dom. gals. . . 570
Towels . . . 65,164
Wines, foreign, gals. 450
Bed-ticks . . 11,716
Wrappers. . 10,235
Vinegar, bottles . . 692
Flannel bands 3,684
Syrups, bottles . . . 1,435
Beef-stock, liquid, lbs. 634
Beef-stock, solid, lbs. 1,052
Farinaceous food, " 12,268
On. Mr. Olmsted's return from Harrison's Landing he sent
down, as the most pressing need of the army (the shadow of
scurvy was hanging over it) a vessel freighted with vegetables.
A cargo of ice had preceded it. These vegetables proved of in-
valuable service, and were distributed to all the regiments at
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 197
had fallen into a weary and disconsolate con-
dition, in which, the effort seemed too great.
Commodore Rodgers had tried to keep the
President, who paid him an early visit, long
enough to meet us ; but Mr. Lincoln said: "No,
he had promised to be with Georgy at nine
o'clock, and Georgy must not be kept waiting."
I liked the story; it seemed to picture such
happy relations between the President and the
« Wilson Small," July 12.
Dear Mother, — I wrote this morning by
Dr. Ware, who left us on the mail-boat, that
I should start for home to-morrow morning.
Meantime our plans are changed. A flag-of-
truce came down to-day to the " Maritanza,"
requesting us to go up and get our wounded
who were left along the line of march, — four
thousand of them, it is said. So the whole hos-
pital fleet is to run five miles up the river,
under convoy of the gunboats, to Haxall's or
Carter's Landing. We are all ready, and wait-
ing the order to start.^
1 The enemy sent down only four hundred men, keeping
the rest as prisoners. The former were shipped on board the
" Spaulding " and another vessel.
198 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
Captain Sawtelle paid us a visit to-day, — the
first for a week. He is promoted to Colonel
Ingalls's position ; Colonel Ingalls to that of
General Van Vliet ; while the General is on
his way to Washington for unknown honors, —
all this in just acknowledgment, I suppose,
of their admirable management at White House.
Captain Sawtelle thinks our losses have been
greatly over-estimated, as a very large number
of stragglers have come in this week. He
places the number of killed, wounded, and miss-
ing at twelve thousand. The artillery corps of
one hundred and fifty-six guns lost one hun-
dred and forty-three men, — not a man to each
gun. He told us that almost the last thing he
did at White House was to order the engines
upon the railroad to be run, with all the cars,
to the end of the track and precipitated into
the river. Just as the order was being executed,
the train almost in motion, he recollected that
a gunboat had gone up beyond the bridge,
and that the train would block the river. He
then ordered the cars and the engines to be
piled up and fired, which, together with the
White House, made the great blaze which we
THE OTHER SIDE OP WAR. 199
saw ; the White House was fired by a drunken
I never felt the slightest desire to witness a
battle until I listened to the accounts they all
give of the battle of Malvern Hill, where our
whole artillery was massed on the hill-side and
hurled back a column of thirty thousand men
as it debouched with three heads. I listened
to the guns ; and even where we were it was a
I have had one pleasant day, or part of a
day. I was sitting alone, the rest were out
rowing on the river, when I heard the regular
beat of man-of-war's oars, and presently a trig
captain's gig came alongside, and Captain George
Eodgers, of the " Tioga," ran upstairs.^ I was
delighted ; it is really so much to see an old
friend here. He urged me to go on board the
" Tioga," and promised to take me first to the
* Captain Rodgers was killed in the turret of the moni-
tor " CatsMll," which he commanded before Charleston, S.C.,
in 1863. He was passing a U. S. A. General Hospital where I
was stationed, the day after he received his appointment to her.
He landed, and ran up to my quarters to tell me of it. I con-
gratulated him. " Yes," he said, " I am appointed to my coflan,"
— alluding to the build of the vessel.
200 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
"Monitor," and then down the river to shell
out a battery which was troublesome. I forgot
I was tired and ill; I felt a momentary pang
at my dirty dress : but I put on a clean white
apron, and went off with alacrity. Things did
not turn out quite favorably. When we reached
the " Monitor " the men were bathing, and we
had to give up our visit. And we had scarcely
reached the lovely " Tioga," when a clumsy
brig got foul of her, tearing away part of her
paddle-box ; and we did not get free till half-
past ten at night, when there was nothing for
me to do but go back at once to the " Small."
The " Tioga " is a picture, — just out of dock,
lovely in model, and brilliant in paint and
brass. She carries eight guns, — one a ten-inch
Dahlgren, the other a ten-inch rifled Parrott.
Captain Rodgers gave me a piece of the only
Confederate balloon (captured on the " Teaser "),
made of ladies' silk dresses of every pattern and
color. The piece I have is partly a brown
stripe, and partly a green chin^.
The other day as we came up the river, re-
turning from Washington, we were ordered by
the gunboat on guard to go single file past some
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 201
wooded bluffs. The. " Juniata " was ahead of
us, when a shot went through her pilot-house
and hit the bell-wire, making the signal to stop.
The engineer obeyed it and stopped the boat,
when a second shot fell between us, — otherwise
the " Small " might have caught it. Captain
Rodgers told me he was convoying us, and had
just left us, as he thought, beyond all danger
from Fort Powhatan, when the shots were fired.
He ran up immediately; but before he could
get a gun sighted, the fellows had limbered up,
and were off. It was a light four-gun battery.
These batteries give a great deal of trouble, but,
so far, have done very little damage. The men
make breast-works of felled trees behind other
trees which conceal them. Our gunboats keep
up a constant straggling fire into the woods to
prevent the enemy from settling in one spot.
It was to dislodge one of these batteries, which
seemed to have taken up a position near Fort
Powhatan, that the " Tioga " was ordered down
the river, when, imfortunately, she collided with
202 THE OTHER SIDE OP WAR.
Newport, R. I., July 25.
Dear Friend, — I have slept in my own
bed ! or, rather, I did not sleep, — I lay awake
thinking of a poor Southern fellow who said to
me one morning : " I could n't sleep, ma'am,
for thinking how comfortable I was ! "
We left Harrison's Landing on Thursday in
the '■' Daniel "Webster," with two hundred and
thirty sick on board. At Fortress Monroe Mrs.
Griffin came off from the "Euterpe " ^ to ask
me to take her cousin, a captain in the regular
army, to his friends in Newport. We had some
difficulty in getting him on board, for the sea
was running very high at midnight, when Mr.
Olmsted put the "Webster" as close to the "Eu-
terpe " as he dared. The captain had typhoid
fever, with a good deal of low delirium ; but he
did very well during the voyage, having a com-
fortable berth on deck under cover. When we
reached New York I took him over to the New-
port boat in an ambulance, hunted up Captain
Brown, and made him establish my patient on
' Sister-ship to the " St. Mark." She was used as a receiving-
hospital in Hampton Roads. Mrs. Griffin took charge of the
women's department on her for several weeks.
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 203
his stretcher in the airiest part of the boat. It
was rich to see the state of fuss into which that
worthy man was thrown, and to hear him ex-
hort me to " keep calm " ! As soon as I could, I
went below, and made the stewardess give me
oceans of warm water, out of which I emerged
a new creature. When I went back to my
captain I found a lady sitting by him, — his
mother, who happened to be going to Newport
on that boat ! So I gave up my last patient
into better hands, — though at night, when I
found him moved out of the fresh air, so essen-
tial to him, into the close cabin, I wished I had
held command over him till we landed, and
sighed over the follies of private nursing.
I met several friends on board. Mr. Tweedy
gave me his stateroom," and Mr. Edward King
took me down to supper, — an excursion I never
made in my civilized existence ; but now (think
of it !) the lights, the flowers, the feast, seemed
to me delicious and magnificent, — an Arabian
Nights' entertainment ! No one will accuse us
of having " eaten up the gifts of the people "
on board the " Small." If they do, I shall make
Dr. Bigelow give us a testimonial about it. He
204 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR.
owes it to us in return for all the grumbling
which he did over our bad food. The last I
saw of him was at the best restaurant in Wash-
ington, where we left him on the 5th of July ;
but he tells me in a subsequent letter that he
went to see Dr. Bellows, President of the Sani-
tary Commission, and that, owing to his strong
representations of the horrors on board the " Wil-
son Small," " a cook, a cooking-stove, and some-
thing to eat " were to be sent down at once. "I
told him," he adds, "that in all probability no
one on board that boat would live to get home ;
but that a few puddings, if administered immedi-
ately, might save one or two : and I gave him six
excellent recipes." Can't you imagine them ?
The Hospital Transport Service is ended.
We left the " Elizabeth " well supplied, and
moored to the long wharf at Harrison's Landing,
where the surgeons and chaplains and quarter-
masters can get at her with ease. Dr. Jenkins
and Dr. Douglas remain to superintend the
issue of stores and inspect the condition of
camps and regiments ; but the transports are
given back to the Quartermaster's Department :
our reign is over. I wonder who '11 succeed to
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 205
my cabin on the " Small," and hang his clothes
on my gimlets (used for pegs), and inherit my
other little inventions of that nature ?
Georgy and Mr. Olmsted and I sat up the
greater part of our last night on the "Web-
ster," talking as people will who know that on
the morrow they are to separate widely. Did I
say somewhere that Mr. Olmsted was severe, or
something of that kind? Well, I am glad I
said it, that I may now unsay it. Nothing
could be more untrue ; every day I have under-
stood and valued and trusted him more and
more. This expedition, if it has done no other
good, has made a body of life-long friends. We
have a period to look back upon when we
worked together imder the deepest feelings,
and to the extent of our powers, shoulder to
shoulder, helping each other to the best of our
ability, no one failing or hindering another.
From first to last there has been perfect accord
among us ; and I can never look back to these
months without feeling that God has been very
good to let me share in them and see human
nature under such aspects. It is sad to feel
that it is all over.
206 THE OTHER SIDE OF WAK.
The first thing Mr. Olmsted did on arriving
in New York was to send down a cargo of vege-
tables to check the scurvy, that enemy having
appeared in force. Mother was greatly amused
by my reply to her inquiry : " What shall be
done with that last hundred dollars ? " " Oh,
spend it in onions ! " I cried, enthusiastically.
The last I saw of Mr. Olmsted he was disappear-
ing down the side of the " Webster," clad in the
garb of a fashionable gentleman. I rubbed my
eyes, and felt then that it was indeed all over.
I myself had risen to the occasion by putting
on a black-lace tablespoon [such were the bon-
nets of the period], in which I became at once
conventional and duly civilized.
We are not yet forgotten on the James ; at
least I am assured of it in two letters, — one
from the Great Mogul, the Medical Inspector-
General ; the other from that United States offi-
cer who did more than any other to make our
work successful. They are characteristic. One
writes : " How I miss the dear ladies of the
' Wilson Small ' and their freshening drinks, —
animal that I am! but how can I forget that
which comforted me ? " The other says : " The
THE OTHER SIDE OF WAR. 207
departure of the ' Wilson Small ' has left a sad
blank in these waters. It always had a hu-
manizing effect upon me to go on board, if only
for a moment. I trust that when this weary
war is over I may meet the friends I have" made
here under happier skies."
There ! my story is done. A short three
months ago I wrote to tell you it was begin-
ning ; but what a lifetime lies between now and
Agnew, Dr. C. R., 10, 159, 165.
Army of the Potomac, 12, 13,
48, 57, 178, 179, 186, 187, 204.
Balestier, Mrs., 58, 99, 137, 177.
Barclay, Clement, 110.
Barlow, Arabella, wife of General,
Bellows, Rev. Henry W., D.D.,
Bellows, Mrs., 20.
Bigelow, Dr. Henry J., 149, 203,
Blatchford, Mrs., 17.
Bletham, Captain, 18, 84, 146,
Bloor, Alfred J., 12.
Bradford, Miss Charlotte, 99, 137.
Branches of Sanitary Commission,
6, 11, 12.
Butler, Miss, 31, 40.
Change of Base, 166-172, 176,
Clark, Dr. Henry G., 9.
Curtis, Gen. N. M., 26, 28, 42.
Death-rate, British Army, Cri-
Devens, General, 99.
Dexter, F. Gordon, 152.
Douglas, Dr., 204.
Draper, Dr., and Mrs., 80, 83.
Elliott, E. B., 9.
Fair Oaks, battle of, 95-118, 132.
Franklin, General, 49, 50, 52.
Gamble, Mrs. (see Whetten).
Gardiner, Miss Mary, 22.
Gilson, Miss Helen, 37, 38.
Green, Dr., 86.
Griffin, Mrs. Wra. Preston, 15, 16,
29, 40, 70, 71, 75, 94, 97, 105,
151, 158, 202.
Grymes,Dr., 17, 77, 146, 151, 152.
Haight, David, 33, 57, 82, 142.
Harrison's Landing, James River,
176, 176, 194, 196, 204.
Ingalls, Colonel, 57, 100, 139, 169,
Jenkins, Dr. J. Foster, 120, 142,
Knapp, Frederick N., 19, 22, 36,
37, 57, 62, 64, 79, 101, 115, 120,
Knhn, Mrs. Charles, 152.
Letterman, Dr., Medical Director,
181, 183, 194.
Lincoln, President, 8., 183, 189,
Malvem Hill, battle of, 176, 199.
McClellan, General, 50, 62, 133,
137, 177, 179, 186, 189, 190, 191.
McDoweU, General, 80, 66, 68, 78.
Members of U. S. Sanitary Com-
Mitchell, Edward, 141.
Monitor, The, 182, 183, 200.
Morell, General, 63.
M., Mrs., and sister, 31, 74, 96, 105,
Newport, Rhode Island, 15, 16, 91,
184, 186, 202.
O'Connell, T. J., 9.
Olmsted, Frederick Law, 9, 10,
13, 20, 22, 59, 60, 62, 63, 64,
67, 101, 102, 115, 120, 128, 134,
135, 142, 145, 147, 149, 150, 160,
173, 205, 206.
Pamunky River, Virginia, 30, 34,
46, 47, 172, 173, 175.
Parker, Mrs. Charles Henry (see
Porter, General Fitz-John, 34, 53,
Ration of TJ. S. Soldier, 124, 136.
Reading, Mrs., 85.
Rodgers, Commodore John, 191,
Rodgers, Captain George, and
" Tioga," 199, 200, 201.
Sanitary Commission, 6, 8, 13,
89, 100, 109, 117, 122, 160, 161,
Sawtelle, Captain (now General),
68, 78, 100, 102, 106, 141, 163,
168, 169, 170, 198, 206, 207.
Sebago, Capt. Murray, 68, 69,
Shaw, Mrs. J. Rowland, 152.
Stocker, Dr. A. A., 86.
Strong, George T., 10.
Strong, Mrs. George T., 22, 28,
Stuart's Raid, 138-141.
Supplies ; money, etc., 10, 91, 122,
Trobriand, M. de, 130.
Trotter, Mrs., 17, 162, 188.
Van Alen, General, 174.
Van Vliet, General, 68, 82, 88,
162, 163, 198.
Vinton, Gen. D. H., 185, 186.
VoUum, Colonel, Medical Inspec-
tor-General, 160, 206.
Ware, Robert, 32, 33, 62, 82, 107.
Whcelock, George, 33, 57.
Whetten, Miss Harriet Douglas,
22, 29, 58, 67, 80, 106, 177.
White House, Pamunky River,
50, 51, 62, 171.
WilUams, Gen. Seth, 60, 51, 54.
Women's Central Relief Associa-
tion, 6, 7, 94.
Women's part in the War, 6, 7
Woolsey, Charles, S3, 59.
Torktown, Va., 14, 23, 24, 157.