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Full text of "Letters of a family during the war for the Union. 1861-1865"



);)i^^;i 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



DURING THE 



WAR FOR THE UNION 

1861-1865 
VOL. II 



PRINTED FOR PRIVATE DISTRIBUTION 
1899 



ir 4-4.4- 



Copyright, iSgq 

BY 

G. W. B. and E. W. H, 



iO. 






» /^^' 






j^QJVr ^' 



y- vi 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER VIII. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR— Continued 

The Hospital Transport Spaulcling, 
White House on the Pamunkcy, . 
Baby Georgie Born, ..... 

Hospital Chaplains Bill a Law, 

Shore Kitchen Established 

H. L. H. Appointed to a Philadelphia Hospital for 
Wounded, ...... 

Victories Elsewhere, ..... 

Ex-slaves at White House, .... 

C. W. W.'s Letter to N. Y. Post, . 



Page 

359 
360 

374 
380 

381 

389 
391 
393 
396 



CHAPTER IX. 



The Chickahominy Swamp, .... 

Edward Mitchell, 

Ordered Off from White House, 
Sarah Woolsey at New Haven Hospital, 
Poem by Lieutenant of i6th, dedicated to E. W. H 
Battle of Gaines Mill ; J. H. Wounded, 
Story of Old Scott, J. H.'s War Horse, . 
Sanitary Commission Falls Back, White House 
Abandoned, ...... 

McClellan Retreats to the James, . 

J. H. and E. go Home, ..... 

F. B. in the Corps of Surgeons of Volunteers, 



407 
408 
411 
417 
424 
429 
430 

432 
433 
444 
452 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER X. 

Army and Hospital Fleet at Harrison's Point, 

Medical Department Improved, 

Flag of the Rebel Gunboat "Teaser," . 

Edward Mitchell and the Sanitary Commission, 

Floating Hospital Service Ended, , 

J. H. Returns to His Regiment, but Breaks Down 

Again, ....... 

J. H. Resigns from the Service, 

Our Poor Army Retreats from the Peninsula, 

Second Battle of Bull Run — Letter of Chaplain 

Hopkins, ....... 

" Mortally Wounded," ..... 

Call for 300,000 Answered, .... 

Portsmouth Grove Hospital Proposed to G. M. W 

Plan of Work for Portsmouth Grove, 

C. W. W. Promised a Lieutenancy, 

Abolition of Slaver)^ Promised, 

C. W. W. Joins the Army, .... 

McClellan Relieved of Command, 



Page 
455 
458 
459 
459 
462 

467 
470 
471 

472 
476 
477 
479 
480 
482 
483 
487 
489 



CHAPTER XL 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR. 

Emancipation Proclaimed, 493 

C. W. W. at the Front, 494 

Patients Arrive at Portsmouth Grove Hospital, . 495 

C. W. W. on Staff Duty at Battle of Fredericksburg, 504 

The i6th New York's Last Battle, .... 508 

Sword and Bible, . . . . . . . 511 

Washington in 1863, J. S. W., .... 512 

C. W. W's Letter After Chancellorsville, . . 516 

New Orleans in 1863, F. B., 519 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER XII. 

Battle of Gettysburg, .... 
Mother at the Front, .... 
Mother at Home Again, .... 

The Draft Riots, 

St. Luke's Hospital and Dr. Muhlenberg, 
"* Point Lookout Hospital, 
Fairfax Seminary Hospital, 
C. W. W. on Sick Leave, 
C. W. W. Back in Camp Again, 



Pack 
525 
525 
534 
536 
540 
544 
551 
560 
562 



CHAPTER XIII. 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR. 



General Grant in Command, .... 

The Sanitary Commission Fair, 

A Characteristic Scene at Home, and its Sequel, 

Battle of the Wilderness ; C. W. W. with Grant, 

G. M. W. at Fredericksburg, . 

G. M. W. Reports from the Front, 

Roses at Fredericksburg, 

Mary, 

" Taps," ^ 



567 
567 
572 

573 
5S2 

585 
595 
605 
606 



CHAPTER XIV. 

The Army of the Potomac before Petersburg, . 608 

C. W. W's Account of Burnside's Mine, . . 609 

Beverly Hospital, . . . . . . . 615 

The Family Take a Rest at Cornwall, . . . 616 

McClellan Nominated by Democrats for President, 624 

Returned Prisoners, ...... 629 

Union Refugees Cared For, ..... 635 

C. W. W. Brevetted Captain, 639 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER XV. 



THE WAR ENDED. 



The End Approaching, . 

The Fortunes of War. " By the Left Flank," 

C. W. W. on Inspecting Tour with Gen. Williams 

Capture of Richmond, 

Lee's Surrender at Appomattox, . 

At Last, 

Wall Street on the Surrender, 
Assassination of President Lincoln, 
Abby Takes a Rest, 
Charley Resigns, .... 
Reminiscences of C. W. W., . 




Page 
643 
645 
648 
650 
652 
654 
655 
659 
663 
667 
668 



CHAPTER XVL 



The Family Enter Richmond, 

The Great Review. The Army Disbanded, 



689 
712 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 

(CONTINUED) 



CHAPTER VIII. 

E's Journal. 

May 17, Spaulding. 

Steaming up York River. 

We have just been transferred to this big The 
boat, while the Wilson Small goes for repairs. \°llt^ 
This boat will accommodate four or five hundred p"-^' 

, . ,1 Spauld- 

men in bunks, now being put up by the carpen- i„g. 
ter and filled with mattresses stuffed by the 
" Lost Children " who are garrisoning York- 
town. . . . 

May 18. My entry was broken short by the 
arrival of 160 men for the Knickerbocker, and 
we were once more very busy. They were 
all fed, — numbered, and recorded by name, 
(Charley's work), and put to bed. Next morn- 
ing arrived 115 more, for whom the Elizabeth 
with Miss Wormeley, Miss Gilson, and two men 
of the staff had been sent up Queen's Creek — 
tired, miserable fellows, who had been lying in 
the wet and jolted over horrible roads. There 
was another tugboat full, too, and Mrs. Griffin 
and I took charge of both till the men were 
moved into the Knickerbocker. 



360 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

We are now steaming up towards White 
House, all on deck enjoying the sail except Mr. 
Knapp and Charley, who are unpacking quilts 
for the bunks now ready. 

G. to Mother, 

May 19. 

We are lying in the Spaulding just below 
the burnt railroad bridge on the Pamunkey. It 
is startling to find so far from the sea a river 
whose name we hardly knew two weeks ago, 
where our anchor drops in three fathoms of 
water, and our ship turns freely either way with 
the tide. Our smoke stacks are almost swept 
by the hanging branches as we move, and great 
schooners are drawn up under the banks, tied to 
the trees. The Spaulding herself lies in the 
shade of an elm tree, which is a landmark for 
miles up and down. The army is encamped 
close at hand, resting this Sunday, and eating 
its six pies to a man, so getting ready for a 
move, which is planning in McClellan's tent. 

E. ivrites. 
White Half a mile above us is the White House 

fn°the ii^^iiig the place, a modern cottage if ever 
Pamun- "white" now drabbed over, standing where the 
early home of Mrs. Washington stood. We 
went ashore this morning, and with General 
Franklin and his aides strolled about the grounds 



key. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 361 

— an unpretending little place, with old trees 
shading the cottage, a green lawn sloping to the 
river, and an old-time garden full of roses. The 
house has been emptied, but there are some 
pieces of quaint furniture, brass fire-dogs, etc.; 
and just inside the door this notice is posted : 
" Northern soldiers, who profess to reverence 
the name of Washington, forbear to desecrate 
the home of his early married life, the property 
of his wife, and now the home of his descend- 
ants. (Signed) 

A GRANDDAUGHTER OF MrS. WASHINGTON. 

Some one has written underneath in pencil, 
" Lady, a northern officer has protected this 
property within sight of the enemy and at the 
request of your overseer." It is Government 
property now, and the flag waves from the top, 
and sentinels pace the piazza. 

After wandering about the grounds General 
Franklin sent for General Fitzjohn Porter, 
who, with General Morell and their staffs and 
Will Winthrop, whom we met by chance, came 
back to the Spaulding with us and were treated 
to clean handkerchiefs, cologne, tacks, pins, etc., 
from our private stores. General Seth Williams 
also made a long, friendly call on deck, during 
which we dropped half a mile down the river 
and anchored. 



362 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Mr. Knapp has gone down to bring up the 
rest of the Commission fleet, and White House 
will be our headquarters for the present. 

The army of the Potomac was all this time 
advancing, and McClellan was at New 
Bridge, within eight miles of Richmond, his 
base of supplies being White House on the 
Pamunkey, a feeder of the York River; and 
there the hospital fleet assembled and the 
Sanitary Commission established its head- 
quarters on the line of the railroad running 
to Richmond. 

Our forces held the road, and trains of 
wounded, and men dying of fever from the 
swamps of the Chickahominy, arrived at any 
and all hours. 

A. H. W. 

New York, May 19, 1862. 

My Dear Children : I am writing in a book- 
store down town. . . . We had a famous letter 
on Saturday from you, Georgy, and another, half 
Eliza's half Charley's. I did not discover at first 
at what word one broke off and the other began. 
Your adventures are like those of the fox and 
the goose and the bag of corn. I hope you will 
all come together after awhile, perhaps have 
done so already, as both these letters were 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 363 

directed in Charley's handwriting. Charley 
himself ordered your Tribune transferred to our 
house, and it is coming regularly. I have all 
the numbers from May i, and I understood 
Mother that she had in one of the trunks all the 
numbers up to that date. . . . Baskets of flow- 
ers, vegetables, mushrooms, butter, etc., came 
down on Saturday from Fishkill. . . . 

I have bought all the shirts I could find at 
the employment societies. . . . Do you need 
grey or red flannel shirts. You may as well say 
out and out what your observation decides is 
needed, and don't be mealy-mouthed as to ask- 
ing, or in mentioning quantities. We can as 
well send hundreds as dozens, except that it 
takes a little more time to collect them. Money 
is no barrier, of course. If all we can do is to 
send things for you to make useful, do let us 
send enough ! and do you use up fast enough. 
. , . Thomas Denny & Co., Mr. Aspinwall, 
Robert, and others have just made their money 
over to Jane, " for you and your sisters to spend 
in any way for the soldiers," and they all 
refuse to say what we shall buy or precisely how 
much shall be used here or sent there. 

You remember I said Carry had gone down in 
search of Captain Parker, of the i6th. She 
picked out the handsomest man in the barracks, 
with pale complexion and long blonde beard, 
but he was in bed, undressed and fast asleep. 



364 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

The lists had not been made out, and no one 
knew if that were he. She had no flowers — 
nothing but a soft old cambric handkerchief 
which she cologned and laid on his pillow, but 
she had to come away without finding out who 
he was. . . . You must send any wounded officer 
to our house, using your discretion of course 
about it — those officers who have been used to 
refinement, and who need care. We should be 
very glad to entertain them and take care of 
them as they pass through the city, above all 
any officer of Joe's regiment. Captain Curtis 
must certainly come to us when he is well 
enough to move. . . . 

Jane has gone to the City Hospital this morn- 
ing with her usual illustrated papers and pots of 
jelly. The mortality in the North house, where 
the fever patients are, is very saddening. They 
hardly seem sick at all, but they die. She takes 
down things one day to a man, and next day he 
is dead. Five or six is the daily number. 
. . . Good-bye, dear girls and boy. 

From H. L. H. 

On Board Hospital Ship " Whilldin," 

Chesapeake Bay, May 21, 1862. 

Dear Georgy : We are again on the Bay on 
our way to join the army. I was very sorry 
that we moved up to Queen's Creek for the 
wounded of Williamsburgh before Eliza and 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 365 

yourself examined the Commodore. For a few 
days we were very busy. Some 1,500 wounded 
men passed under our charge. 

I was home for a day or two and saw Hatty. 
Mother enjoyed her visit very much, I send 
this to you, though I do not know where you 
are, simply to announce that I hope soon to see 
you. As we both have the same object in view, 
may we arrive at the same spot again^ no matter 
where that may be. 

E. to J. H. 

Floating Hospital, Spaulding, 

Off White House, May 22. 

We are to go on shore presently to see what 
we can do for the large field hospital there. 
Two of our doctors, Ware and Draper of New 
York, spent the day yesterday trying to organize 
it and make the men tolerably comfortable. 
They furnished from the Commission nearly a 
thousand mattresses, secured them fresh water 
in hogsheads (which they were entirely with- 
out) and saw that all who needed medicine got 
it. System and food seem to be the great wants, 
and to-day we ladies will attend to the latter, 
take them supplies and show the hospital cooks 
how to prepare them. There are 1,200 or more 
sick men there, and until the Commission took 
hold they were in a most wretched plight, lying 
on the damp ground without beds, without food 



366 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



or water, and with little or no care. ... I 
YiOf^e. you take all necessary precautions in this 
wretched climate. Don t give up your quinine. . . . 
Later. — Directly after I wrote you this morn- 
ing Georgy and I went to the shore to breakfast 
the men we had dinnered and teaed yesterday, 
and there we had a little house nearby, which 
Dr. Ware had found, nicely cleaned out for a 
hospital or resting-place for the sick when the 
other overflows. The floor of one of the rooms 
up stairs is six inches deep in beans. That 
makes a good bed for them. . . . Meantime 
Mrs. Griffin and the others got this boat in 
order for sick, and this afternoon fifty odd have 
been brought on board. To-morrow it will fill 
up and leave for New York. 

G. to Mother. 

Steamer Spaulding. 

The Spaulding is bunked in every hole and 
corner. The last hundred patients were put on 
board to relieve the over-crowded shore hos- 
pital late last night ; stopped at the gang plank, 
each one, while Charley numbered all their little 
treasures and wrote the man's name. Though 
these night scenes on the hospital ships are part 
of our daily living, a fresh eye would find them 
dramatic. We are awaked in the dead of night 
by a sharp steam whistle, and soon after feel 
ourselves clawed by the little tugs on either side 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 367 

of our big ship, and at once the process of tak- 
ing on hundreds of men, many of them crazy 
with fever, begins. There's the bringing of the 
stretchers up the side ladder between the two 
boats, the stopping at the head of it, where the 
names and home addresses of all who can speak 
are written down, and their knapsacks and little 
treasures numbered and stacked. Then the 
placing of the stretchers on the deck, the row of 
anxious faces above and below decks, the lan- 
tern held over the hold, the word given to 
" lower," the slow-moving ropes and pulleys, 
the arrival at the bottom, the lifting out of the 
sick -^,an, and the lifting into his bed ; and then 
the sudden change from cold, hunger, and 
friendles'-.iess to comfort and satisfaction, wind- 
ing up vith his invariable verdict, if he can 
Lipeak, "This is just like home." 

The Spaulding being all ready was now 
started northward, and the "staff moved 
back to the Small once more, from which 
they were busy day and night receiving the 
sick and wounded, fitting up hospital ships, 
and starting them to northern ports. 

A. H. W. to G. and E. 

May. 

My Dear CJiildren : . . . Doesn't Charley 
want something ? Mother is racking her brain 



36S 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



to think what it can be, as he no doubt does want 
something, going ofif in the hurry he did. She 
is afraid, too, that he is exposed to illness — 
running risks from the climate, from contact 
with soldiers' clothing, from the atmosphere of 
the hospital ship, etc., etc. 

Yesterday, Jane, Carry, Mrs. Buck, and Col. 
Bliss and a few others, started from Park 
Barracks for Bedloe's Island on a committee of 
investigation. They chartered a little steam 
tug at ten dollars an hour, and went from the 
Battery, not staying very long, and quite enjoy- 
ing the trip. They found the hospitals extremely 
comfortable. Some sick in the brick barracks, 
and some in three large hospital tents — close on 
the shore, with the sea breeze driving through 
them, and the waves rippling up close by. The 
men they saw were as pleased with their accom- 
modations as could be, and everything looked 
ten times better ventilated and more hopeful 
than at the City Hospital, for instance. They 
have about a hundred men on Bedloe's Island — 
mostly from the Ocean Queen — and not many 
now are alarmingly ill. The ladies took down 
four large baskets of oranges, jelly, towels, etc. 
— some of the abundant supplies that have been 
pouring in at the Park Barracks — and we are 
to get together next week some books for a 
library. Jane says she has seen what does her 
heart good at the City Hospital — some tidy, 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 369 

sensible, once-upon-a-time-fashionable ladies, 
nursing men every day in the fever wards — 
Mrs. Charles Strong, Miss Irving, and four or 
five others ; they went down and offered their 
services, which were accepted — such was the 
great number of sick, and the necessity of an 
immediate increase of nurses ; and they go down 
every morning at seven and go away at seven, 
taking their meals down there. Hired nurses, 
men, watch at night. Here was an excellent 
chance to put some of the port wine uncle E. 
sent us, into use. Jane came right up for a jug 
and put it in Mrs. Strong's charge, and it has 
been of inestimable use already to some of the 
patients. These ladies must have served a week 
or ten days now, and will continue daily. They 
do everything for the men, under the direction of 
the doctors, administering food and medicine. 
It is really most praiseworthy and delightful, 
and, as in the case of your young doctors whom 
you like so much, gives you a better idea of 
human nature — their human nature, at all 
events. I cannot say so much for the young 
doctors of the New York Hospital as you do 
for yours. They made a strike the other day 
for increase of salary, writing the Trustees 
quite an impudent letter, reminding them what 
advantages the State now offered to volunteer 
surgeons at Yorktown, etc., and requesting an 
immediate answer. They did have a very imme- 



37° 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



diate one. The gentlemen assembled next 
morning and sent the young doctors word that 
they could have just so many hours to pack up 
and quit, — an answer that astonished and morti- 
fied them. You see it was very mean, for it was 
just when the largest number of sick that the 
house could contain were being brought in. 
The Trustees intended to increase the corps of 
surgeons, but that these residents would not 
listen to, "they were fully competent to do all." 
. . . Jane went down this morning with Mrs. 
Professor Hitchcock, Mrs. Smith, and Mrs. 
Buck, to take their turn at 194, but found 
that the last week's committee and their friends 
to the number of twenty, were so firmly estab- 
lished still, that they refused all hints about 
"relinquishing the keys," being "tired of the 
service," etc., etc. ; " Oh, no ; we are as fresh 
and interested as possible : " and indeed they 
were, though they were at the rooms until one 
last night, when Colonel Howe chartered an 
omnibus and sent them home. They had re- 
ceived all those who came yesterday afternoon 
by cars from Baltimore, and had worked faith- 
fully, and hated to give up to the new set. 

A. H. W. to E. 

Dear E. : The returning Spaulding takes to 
you 12 Boston rockers, 6 boxes of brandy (if it 
gets there), i package of mosquito bar (getting 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



371 



very scarce), a bundle and a basket, and chew- 
ing tobacco, for Charley to distribute ! . . . 
Tell him the 22d marched in splendid order; 
their own uniforms and long yellow leather 
leggings. The cheers and fireworks and inter- 
est all along the line were as great as the 7th ever 
elicited. Carry and Charles Johnson sat on a 
stoop on Broadway, till ten o'clock night before 
last, to see them pass. We hear that they are 
ordered to Harpers Ferry. 

J. S. IV. to a friend in Europe 

May 23, 1862. 

We all talk politics now. I asked a wide- 
awake covisin to-day, " What do you think about 
England now?" "England? England?" was 
the answer, " I had entirely forgotten that there 
was such a country !" . . . Our English friends 
sent us Mr. Gladstone's speech. Mr. Gladstone 
is a fair representative Englishman, and a man 
whom everyone must respect ; but hear him ! 
the same mysterious incapacity to understand us. 
Hear his excuse for England's lack of sympathy. 
He says an expression of sympathy with us would 
have alienated six or ten millions who might have 
become an independent nation ! But why alienate, 
for their sakes, eighteen or nineteen millions, 
already an independent people ? Because the 
friendship of the rebel section (granted in- 
dependence), was better for trade. How the 



2>r- 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



shop shines through ! Then he uses the false 
analogy of the rebels of '76, etc., etc., and that 
is the best they can do. But at the same time I 
honor the fortitude, and pity the sorrows of 
Lancashire, and don't despair of even "sympa- 
thy " when Bright and Stuart Mill live and lift 
up their voices ; though it seems sometimes as if 
Great Britain had wantonly thrown away the 
friendship of this country, between the South, 
which hates her because she has not yet broken 
the blockade, and the North, which distrusts her 
intentions. Probably there is no other question 
on which both sections are so completely 
agreed. ... I think I must have done my little 
duty by the affairs of the nation, and descend 
from these topics to the comparatively ridicu- 
lous items of personal narrative. We are 
connected with one or two organizations for 
receiving the disabled volunteers on their way 
home, . . . helpless, wasted, gaunt, fever-smitten, 
worn-out men. It is the old story ; camp sick- 
ness immensely in excess of wounds. A great 
many have died at the city hospitals, and a great 
many are still here, slowly going, or slowly 
recovering. We do what we can. There is 
nothing they need or fancy, they cannot instantly 
have, but it is heart-breaking work ; I feel as if 
I had been wrung out and dried : and how nobly 
the men behave ! I >fiust testify to their patience 
and sweet humor through everything, dying in 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 373 

torment with a smile in their eyes and grateful 
thanks on their tongues ; praying for their 
country and their nurses in their last delirium. I 
could tell you twenty stories, but I'll only tell 
one. Private Jones, hurt mortally in the charge 
on the rebel rifle-pits at Lee's Mills, and forced 
to have the bad regimental surgeon's work done 
over again here, showed great fortitude, the 
tender-hearted surgeon told us, during the dress- 
ing of his wounds. We repeated the surgeon's 
praises to him and asked him if he really found 
it easier than he feared. " O, no !" the dear boy 
said, " it was very bad, but I saw the tears in the 
doctor's eyes, and do you think I was going to 
let him see how much he hurt me ?" My head 
and heart have been so full of these things that 
they 7i:'/// come out through the inkstand. The 
" boys " have a great deal to say about the " mean 
whites," and several of them have told me em- 
phatically that they consider them much less 
worthy of freedom than the negroes. Sergeant 
Eaton tells me "their faces are dirty, their 
clothes are dirty, and their conversation exactly 
matches their dress." . . . Mrs. Howland and 
Georgy, who are in the transport service on 
York river, say no praise can do justice to the 
untiring and tender carefulness of the volun- 
teer doctors. They speak very highly of Mr. 
Olmsted, who directs it all, finding, as they say, 
continual comfort in his administrative grenius. 



374 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



They explored tlie forsaken works at Yorktown, 
and saw the wreck and the indiscriminate, wan- 
ton destruction of the flight. They saw many tin 
plates left with bits of pork upon them, and 
nasty tin cups with dregs of coffee, but almost 
every plate and cup they saw, was slashed with 
an axe. Here and there all through the camps 
were stakes driven with the warning, "danger- 
ous," graves of torpedoes and other infernal 
apparatus. Charley saw one in a water-jug. 
He is volunteer purser, and he and the ladies go 
from one transport to another, as they are 
wanted. . . . The siege-approaches, or what- 
ever they call them, are killing work for the 
men. I asked a wan, crippled creature at the 
Park Barracks last week if he had been in bat- 
tle. " Oh, yes," he answered, " in many battles, 
but I fought them all with a shovel." 

George- Mary's fifth little girl was born at Astoria, 
May 24th, '62. Various names were pro- 
posed for the " bright little thing with dark 
steel colored eyes'' — Bella (" horrida bella " 
Jane said) among them, but she was gener- 
ally known as " Pamunke}'," Abby writes, — 
that being a household word at the time. 
When she was old enough however, she was, 
in honor of her Aunt G., who was doing 
hospital work, taken in from Astoria to the 



anna 
How 
land 
born. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 375 

chapel of old St. Luke's Hospital on Fifth 
Avenue and 54th-55th Sts., and baptized by 
her father's old friend Rev. Dr. Muhlenberg, 
" Georgeanna," — Sarah VVoolsey being god- 
mother. The record is in the books of the 
hospital chapel, no doubt. 

One of the favorite relics to send home 
from the front used to be shot and shell 
picked up on battle fields. Carry seemed to 
feel less grateful than we expected for those 
forwarded to 8 Brevoort Place, from the 
immediate front of the Sanitary Commission. 

C. C. W. to C. W. W. 

Friday Morning. 

Dear Charley : We live in mortal fear of the 
projectiles going off, the grape shot exploding, 
and the cannon balls doing something else 
equally unpleasant. There is no reason why 
we should not set up an armory, we have such 
a variety of arms. But really the grape has 
never been used and I see nothing to prevent 
its suddenly igniting ; at all events, I don't 
mean to hammer on the nail at the top, which I 
firmly believe to be a fuse. The day it came 
Mr. W. was calling and, though I was deeply 
interested of course in what he was saying, I 
could not help hearing the conversation that 
went on in the entry between mother and the 



3/6 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

city expressman, whom mother took to be a 
soldier from the Daniel Webster and treated 
accordingly, gave him half a dollar (12^ cents 
being the price) and, not exactly invited him 
in to dinner, but offered him some there ! . . . 
We have a quantity of things to send to the 
girls on the return hospital transport. Uncle 
Edward sent here yesterday 100 shirts, some to 
go to Eliza, and 1,000 pocket handkerchiefs. 
. . . Mother and I went to the Park Barracks 
yesterday in Jane's place. There is a system of 
passes now, and no lady can get in without one, 
except myself, who go and come freely and no 
questions asked, — I don't know why, unless there 
is a natural dignity and committee expression in 
my face that no one is discerning enough, ex- 
cept the admitting policeman, to see. . . . Write 
when you can and tell us all you do. We still 
direct Cheeseman's Creek. 

From Mother. 

8 Brevoort Place, Friday Morning. 
My dear Girls and Charley : All your notes 
and letters are of thrilling interest to us now, 
and though we think it very kind of you to take 
a minute even for us, in the midst of all that is 
going on around you, we are craving enough to 
cry for more, more. I was a little disappointed 
not to see you, Charley, by the Daniel Webster, 
but I am not surprised at your staying behind. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



377 



... I meant to have given more time to my pen 
for you, but spent all day yesterday at the Park 
Barracks, nailing blue cambric over wooden 
clothes-horses for screens around the men's 
beds, a very tiresome job, and I came home used 
up, and went to bed at once. This morning I 
feel all right again. My quiet three months in 
Washington and a drive out, instead of a drag- 
ging walk every day, has spoiled me for the 
distracting noise and cares of New York, or else 
I have grown old and feeble ! I want very 
much to slip into Jane's place at the hospitals if 
she will let me, for she is breaking herself down. 
It is not half so pleasant here in these places as 
it was in Washington or Alexandria, as you 
could go in there amongst the soldiers and talk 
with them, and give them, yourselves, the clean 
handkerchiefs, all cologned ! and the books and 
papers, etc., but here you are not allowed to 
do this; can only be admitted to the committee 
room by ticket. . . . This system is carried to 
a hateful excess. . . . The greatest quantity of 
goods and food and drink and every thing you 
can imagine is constantly being sent in — people 
send them here (to No. 8), too. Our front entry 
is literally filled up now with immense bundles 
and packages of shirts, drawers, stockings, shoes, 
everything. One item is one dozen boxes of 
cologne from your Uncle E. . . . Abby has bought 
out several industrial societies in shirts and 



378 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

drawers. Charley, I saw one poor soldier walk- 
ing off yesterday with what I instantly recog- 
nized as one of your old shirts I had given to 
Mrs. Buck. She said he was so proud of his 
plaited bosom ! They prefer old fine ones to 
new cotton without bosoms or stiff wristbands. 
And they all ask for neckties to wear home, so 
I am going out this morning to buy a great lot of 
them. . . . Carry is writing to you, dear Charley, 
and Abby is scratching away to some of you. 
Pico and Mac are yelping and ravenous for 
breakfast. . . . Do come up for a run one of these 
days, but not to take turns in night-watches on 
board with the sick, in a crowded cabin. I want 
you to have a little rest and some fresh air. . . . 
Did Charley find the gimlets and corkscrew ? 
I stuffed such little things in where I could find 
room, for his stateroom. I should judge he had 
not much room to hang a coat from the looks of 
his den on the transport when I saw it. With 
ever so much love to you all, and the earnest 
wish that you would setid for me, — I want to go 
down exceedingly — 

Your Loving Mother. 

E. W. H. to J. H. 

Floating Hospital, 

Off White House, May 27. 

Still not a word from you for a fortnight 
now. I am beginning to be very hungry, — not 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



379 



anxious, only hungry^ for letters. I only hear 
in indirect ways that our division was near the 
Chickahominy a day or two ago and was 
ordered to march into Richmond the next morn- 
ing ; and again yesterday that the whole army 
was to move in light marching order, leaving 
wagons and tents behind the Chickahominy. 
I dream about it all, and wonder, but know noth- 
ing. . . . We moved to the Knickerbocker from 
the Small and found a great state of confusion 
consequent upon having the Elm City emptied 
into it. . . . The event of this evening is the 
return of the old Daniel Webster, which we all 
look upon as a sort of home. . . . Dr. Grymes 
always invites us over "home" when he arrives 
in it, and we had a very nice dinner with him 
to-day. He rose as we came in and said, " I 
give you welcome where you have a right." 
Mrs. Trotter returned in the Webster and Mrs. 
Baylies, Mrs. Bradford and Miss Mary Hamil- 
ton came down from New York this time. The 
two latter are to stay, and be replaced on the 
return trip by some of our force who want to 
go home. The Webster brought us more bun- 
dles and stores from home and lots of letters 
and papers. 

Captain Curtis of the i6th, who had been 
a patient on board our Headquarters boat 
the "Small," since his wound at West Point, 



380 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

went up in one of the transports to an Alex- 
andria hospital. He found there our friend 
Chaplain Hopkins, still hard at work among 
the sick and wounded. The following letter 
from the chaplain is inserted to show the 
success of our effort to have hospital chap- 
lains appointed by the government. Mr. 
Hopkins received his commission and was 
under military orders from this time. 

Alexandria, June 3d, 1862. 
Hospital My dear Mrs. Howland : As you may have 

ki^nrbiu i^oticed, the bill for hospital chaplains has be- 
aiaw. come a law. . . . 

After several ineffectual attempts to see the 
President, I at last gained access to him yester- 
day, to ask the appointment of a hospital chap- 
lain in my place, and found his excellency in a 
most genial frame of mind. He was fairly ex- 
uberant ; told funny stories ! volunteered the 
remark that he " was afraid that fellow Jackson 
had got away after all," etc., etc. He told me 
that he had that very day appointed a man to 
help me — Bowman, he believed. "A very good 
man, isn't he.?" Mr. B. had been condoling 
with him on the loss of his son Willy. My ap- 
plication he seemed to be most favorably im- 
pressed with, endorsed what I had to say on the 
back of it with his own hand, rang for Mr. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 381 

Nicolay, and — I say it with pain, but not with- 
out hope — had it filed away. 

The moment Richmond is taken I shall apply 
to be removed thei'e, and shall hope to join you 
and Miss Woolsey in many an excursion into 
the to-be historic environs. How you ladies 
can preserve calmness and elasticity of spirit I 
do not understand, but I know that you do. 

On May 30 and June i, '62, the terrible 
battle of Fair Oaks was fouo^ht. 

The Commission had had a new Hospital shore 

1 1 ixn • TT Kitchen 

tent pitched on shore at White House, near estab- 
the railroad landing, for a kitchen and store- '"'""'■ 
house, and we women took charge of it, 
feeding nearl}^ all of the three or four thou- 
sand men who were brought down from the 
battle-field. The Commission established a 
bakery, and 100 fresh loaves were stacked on 
our tent table daily. 

G. to Mother. 

June 3. 

The trains of wounded and sick arrive at all 
hours of the night, the last one just before day- 
light. As soon as the whistle is heard Dr. Ware 
is on hand and we are ready in the tent, blazing 
trench-fires and kettles all of a row, bright lights 
and piles of fresh bread and pots of coffee ; tent 



382 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



door opened wide, the road leading to it from 
the cars dotted all along the side with little fires 
or lighted candles. Then comes the first pro- 
cession of slightly wounded, who stop at the 
tent door on their way to the Hospital boat, and 
get cups of hot coffee and as much condensed 
milk as they want — these followed by the slow- 
moving line of bearers and stretchers, halted by 
our man, Wagner, detached from the Duryea 
Zouaves, and the poor fellows on the stretchers 
have brandy, or wine, or iced lemonade given 
them. It makes but a minute's delay to pour 
something down their throats and put oranges 
in their hands, and saves them from exhaustion 
before food can be served them, in the confusion 
that reigns in the regular Government boats ! 
When the worst cases have been put on board, 
the rest are sent to the twenty Sibley tents 
pitched for the Commission along the railroad, 
and our detail of five men start, each with his 
own pail of hot coffee or hot milk, crackers, 
soft bread, lemonade, and ice water, and feed 
them from tent to tent. For these men no pro- 
vision has been made by the Government, and 
they are left on our hands, sometimes three days 
at a time. They would fare badly but for the 
sleepless devotion of Dr. Ware, who works 
among them night after night, often until two 
or three o'clock in the morning. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 383 

Without exception, the Government boats so 
far have been inadequately provisioned, wretcli- 
edly officered, and in a general state of con- 
fusion, — Dr. Agnew calls it "damnable." 

One Government boat, which had been lying 
here waiting for wounded for a fortnight, would 
have left this morning, crowded with suffering 
men, without food (except hard-tack), but for 
the Commission ; without a cup, or a basin, or a 
lemon, or a particle of lint, or bandages, or old 
linen, without clear water for bathing, and 
without an ounce of beef, — though their official 
report had been to the Commission that they 
were " all ready." One man had been without 
nourishment all day until an hour before his 
shoulder was taken off. Then the surgeon hur- 
ried over and asked us to take him beef tea and 
egg-nogg, and I crossed the coal barges and fed 
him myself, and two others ; this after the doctor 
had himself told me that they needed no help. 
This is just where the Commission comes in — 
kettles of soup and tea with soft bread and 
stimulants are sent from the tent kitchen, and 
with them go cups and spoons and attendants 
to distribute the food. It is just the same with 
lint and bandages, and splints, all of which the 
Commission supplies freely. 

We fed from our kitchen 600 men for two 
days on two of these Government " all ready " 
boats. 



384 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Some of the hurried notes in the small 
bhmk books we carried about with us (G's 
tied to her belt) are characteristic, and some- 
what mixed at the distance of 36 years. 

" 78 pillow-cases, and 4 mattresses. Whiskey 
for 10, brandy for 4. W. T., 49th Ga., Co. D, 
C.G., both legs ; handkerchiefs, arrowroot, bay- 
rum. V. W., shoulder off, 17 Cedar St. E. D., 
lowest berth ; Waters, top berth." 

And in the midst of it this note : 
"To Mrs. I., 3 Milligan Place. 

My dear Mother : You must not be anxious 
about me as I am not wounded, only sick. I 
was not in the battle because I was not strong 
enough to hold my gun. The battle began 
Sunday while I was in bed. We had to jump 
up and take our arms. I asked the lieutenant 
to let me fall out ; he said I might, and stay 
there. The rebels came right up to the pits. 
Our men began to retreat very fast, and one 
came and told me to get up or I would be taken 
prisoner. So the doctor sent me down in the 
woods. Three nights I had nothing to cover 
me, slept just under the dew. The doctor put 
me on the cars and I was brought to White 
House. I am lying now in better condition and 
being better taken care of." — Beef essence, tea, 
oranges" ! Etc., etc. etc. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 385 

We used to say : 

" In the great history of the land 
A lady with a Jiask shall stand." 



A. H. W. to G. and E. 

New York, Monday. 

Georgy's letter of the 23d, written on the 
Spaulding from White House, came in this 
morning at breakfast, which is more prompt 
than usual. It tells of the proposed opening of 
hospital tents ashore, and two thousand sick ready 
to put into them at once. Why the Commission 
should have had to work long and perseveringly 
to accomplish this, I don't know. . . . The 
accumulating number of sick is frightful, 
especially when we remember that hundreds 
probably die unknown on the roads, literally 
from starvation and exhaustion. . . . God's 
curse, and not his blessing, is evidently on the 
whole country now, and will be while such pro- 
slavery policy as we have had is persisted in, 
and such burning sins as the Fugitive Slave 
Law gives rise to are perpetrated on the very 
Capitol steps at Washington. 

Here is Banks, the embodiment of " success," 
which is his motto, his command pursued and 
scattering ; the Baltimore & Ohio road and the 
termini of those other important communica- 
tions, all abandoned. Mobs in Baltimore, panic 
everywhere, and we just where we were more 



386 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

than a year ago ; the yth Regiment ordered off this 
afternoon for the defense of Washington. . , . 
Why, the war proper hasn't so much as begun 
yet. . . . 

Later : 

Carry took Jane's turn at Park Barracks yes- 
terday afternoon. They have gone lately on 
alternate days, and as Carry is very chatty with 
the men and very communicative when she 
comes home, we hear a great deal of funny talk 
and pleasant incident. She helped get tea for 
them last night at 194. Smoked beef and 
boiled eggs, tea and toast and butter, all on 
little white plates, and each man served on a 
separate little tray at his bedside, if he was 
weak and in bed. 

A. H. W. 

New York, June 2d, 1862. 

My dear Girls : Charley's letter of Thursday 
came in this morning. He explained to us his 
system of numbering and sorting the men's 
luggage, etc., which interested us very much, 
and shows us what his duties are in some of 
their details. We are glad the nutmegs and 
lemon-squeezers happened to fit in a gap. What 
else can we send ? I hope Moritz, with the 
rockers and brandy, will all arrive safely. Do 
you want more air-beds ? . . . Dorus Woolsey 
has been in for a final goodbye this morning. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



387 



He will get a furlough as soon as possible, for 
his business affairs hardly allow of his being 
absent so soon. The 7th, 2 2d and 37th are 
doing police duty at Baltimore. I mean they 
are the military guard of the city. . . . Rev. J. 
Cotton Smith went too as chaplain. The night 
before, he tried to make a speech to them in the 
regimental armory, but was cheered so that he 
had to stop. "Go on, go on !" they all cried, 
and he managed to make himself neard, and 
said "On the whole 1 won't go on now; all I 
want to add is that I am going on to-mo7-row !" at 
which there was tremendous cheering again. 

Night was made hideous with Herald extras, 
screamed through the streets between eleven 
and twelve. We waited till this morning, and 
got the news in the morning papers of that hor- 
rible battle, and what is worse — that ///decisive 
battle. It has shattered the strength of Mc- 
Clellan's army — what poor creatures were left 
in it, after all the sickness and fatigue of the 
march — and has accomplished nothing. . . . Char- 
ley says that 3,900 men of Casey's division were 
lost on the march. God help them and their 
families, who can only know that they died like 
dogs on a roadside with fatigue and hunger. 
This makes four full regiments out of a divis- 
ion which only had ten to start with. No won- 
der it was overborne and broke line and scat- 
tered ! Never accuse such men of cowardice. 



38S 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



. . . We are much worked up this morning with 
this news of our disaster, and with the informa- 
tion that North Carolina slave-laws are re-en- 
forced and Colyer's black schools disbanded by 
government direction. What Government that 
commits such an act, can expect anything ^uf 
reverses to its arms ! 

Worst of all, as far as our petty little hopes and 
interests are concerned, here is the order pro- 
mulgated this morning, by which General H. B. 
takes supreme military command of all sick and 
wounded arriving here on transports. They are 
to be unloaded at Fort Hamilton and Bedloe's 
Island, and the ladies' game at Park Barracks 
and at 194 is blocked. B. is a regular of the 
regulars as to primness and military order, and 
personally has no more heart than a mustard 
seed. . . . Jane has gone down this morning 
full of wrath, to kidnap Abbott, of the i6th, if 
possible, and send him to his friends in Maine. 
She wants to get a ticket transferring him to 194 
Broadway, when, if necessary, he can be " lost 
on the way," and whipped into a carriage and 
down to the Fall River boat ! . . . All these 
volunteer efforts at comforting and clothing the 
men must come to an end. Fort Hamilton is 
too far out of the reach of ladies with oranges 
and clean pocket handkerchiefs, unless they hire 
a tug at ten dollars an hour, and go through all 
the formalities of military passes. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 389 

A little later E. writes to J. H. : — 

I enclose some comments about Casey's 
division, and we all agree here that justice was 
not done to the men. It is surely hard enough 
to lose as terribly as they did without being 
reproached for cowardice. Abby says in a late 
letter — "Anna Jeffries came on from Boston 
yesterday in the train which brought many of 
the Daniel Webster load, scattering them all 
along at or near their homes. One gentleman 
was asking another whether Casey was of Rhode 
Island or Connecticut, when a wounded soldier 
cried out from some seat nearby, overhearing 
Casey's name — a cry of anguish and anger — 
'They didn't run ! they didn't run ! ' He tried 
to stagger to his feet, being wounded in both 
ankles, and then added — 'I can't stand, but I 
tell you they only broke, they didn't run.' " 

H. L. H. to G. 

Philadelphia, June, 1862. 

Dear Georgy : Once more our paths have h. l. h. 
separated. . . . Upon my return with the appo'"'- 

"■ -^ _ ed to a 

wounded from the battle of Fair Oaks, I received phiudei- 
an appointment to a large hospital (1,500 beds) ^0^'' ioi 
now building in West Philadelphia, I will live fo^ 

1 1 -1117 c 1 1 Wound- 

at home, but will be there a part of each day. ed. 

The Pennsylvania delegation to which, as you 
know, I was attached when at the White House 
and elsewhere, has been dissolved. 



39° 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



H. R. W. to G. and E. 

New York, June. 

Dear Girls : I write more for the sake of 
sending a letter by Dr. Draper, than because 
there is anything to tell you about. ... I think 
Abby looks miserable and needs rest. I don't 
believe even you, "the working sisters," as Dr. 
Ferris calls you, do as much as Abby does, for 
there is certainly something that pays in giving 
nice little things to soldiers and having them 
so grateful to you and seeing them get well 
under your care, — there is an excitement in it 
all which cannot be got out of homely un- 
bleached cotton, yards and yards and hundreds 
of square yards of shirts. . . . 

Think of my having a chance of becoming a 
nurse up at the Mott Hospital in Fifty-first 
street. Mrs. Ferris offered me a place of that 
kind, out of consideration for m}'^ merits and 
the one hundred dollars Uncle E. had given 
them the week before, but I foolishly gave in to 
the family row\ They had me laid out and 
buried twenty times over of malignant typhoid, 
diphtheria, and other ills which flesh is heir to. 

. . . Carry is engaged in finding a summer 
retreat for the family. . . . The combinations 
absolutely necessary are : sea and mountain air, 
a place near the city with speedy communica- 
tion, and no New Yorkers. 

I send Charley's wine, Dr. Draper having 
offered to take anything for us. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 391 

We must give you a little breathing place, vic- 
Your Aunt Abby's dark views for the coun- eise- 
try, with her eyes persistently kept on the "'''"^' 
Army of the Potomac, were not justified to 
anyone willing to take a wide sweep of the 
horizon, McClellan was not our only gen- 
eral, happily. All round the edges of the 
map of the rebel states, inroads were being 
made, and the army and navy at large were 
giving us hope and courage. Admiral Foote 
had reconnoitered the Mississippi for a long 
distance. Garfield (later President) had suc- 
cesses in Kentucky. Hatteras, N. C. was 
occupied, and a provisional loyal governor 
congratulated that state " on its salvation." 
General Grant had taken Fort Henry, on the 
Tennessee River, and Fort Donelson with 
15,000 prisoners. Roanoke Island was cap- 
tured off North Carolina by the army and 
navy. Springfield, Mo. was taken. Mitchell 
(professor of Astronomy in Dudley Observa- 
tory) was in charge of the troops who took and 
occupied Bowling Green, Ky. Pope in Mis- 
souri had captured three Generals, 6,000 pris- 
oners, and 100 siege-guns. Nashville, Tenn. 
was evacuated and held by the U. S. troops. 
Columbus, Ky. saw another sight, — the 
national flag raised where the rebel colors 



392 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



had been hauled down. And on April nth 
Fort Pulaski, off Georgia, had surrendered 
to the National guns fired from Tybee Island, 
and the 7th Connecticut (F. B. included) had 
taken possession of it. 

On April 26, Farragut had captured New 
Orleans, and the Mobile Register about this 
time announced to its readers, *' The enemy 
is raging along our lines on coast and fron- 
tier." Better than all these was the action 
of both houses of Congress, abolishing slav- 
ery in the District of Columbia. 

These were some of the victories since 
'62 began. So that although there was sor- 
row enough, and discouragement, we were 
on the whole, running our race with a bright 
look ahead. 

E. W. H. to J. H. 

Our Shore Tent, June 5th. 

... I am very glad of the cliance of sending 
you a note by Quartermaster Davies, who has 
just looked in at our tent door and been fed 
with coffee and bread and oranges, and seated 
on a box-end and generally well treated. ... I 
have captured a darkey from the country who 
brought fresh butter for sale this morning, and 
promised peas and strawberries for to-morrow ! 
We have had pine-apples and bananas from 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 393 

New York and fresh eggs from Fishkill ! which 
Moritz brought down, and which I wish you 
could share with vis. He reports everything 
looking lovely at home and descants largely on 
the sunshine and sweet air and the pleasure of 
sitting on the piazza. . . . 

I write with chattering all about me, for Mrs. 
Griffin and G. and Drs. Ware and Haight are 
sitting on boxes and barrels talking and laugh- 
ing and enjoying the respite we are having. 
We are both well : also Charley, who is doing 
good service, is very cheerful, and thrives on it. 

The quartermaster waits. The only thing I 
think of to send you is some fresh bread, — I also 
put in a package of concentrated beef tea for 
two or three i6th men who I hear are very sick, 
and some farina, arrowroot and handkerchiefs 
for the same. . . . 

Only 100 wounded came down this morning, 
and have gone on the State of Maine, which is 
in beautiful order for them. We fed about 600 
yesterday, three meals each. 

G. to Mother. 

June 6, Wilson Small. 

We have on our boats nine "contraband" e 
women from the Lee estate, real Virginia dar 
keys but excellent workers, who all "wish on Jiouse 
their souls and bodies that the rebels could be 
put in a house together and burned up." " Mary 



slaves at 
White 



394 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



Susan," the blackest of them, yielded at once to 
the allurements of freedom and fashion, and 
begged Mr. Knapp to take a little commission 
for her when he went to Washington. "I wants 
you for to get me, sah, if you please, a lawn 
dress, and a hoop skirt, sah." The slave women 
do the hospital washing in their cabins on the 
Lee estate, and I have been up to-day to hurry 
them with the Knickerbocker's eleven hundred 
pieces. The negro quarters are decent little 
houses with a wide road between them and the 
bank, which slopes to the river. Any number 
of little darkey babies are rushing about and 
tipping into the wash-tubs. In one cabin we 
found two absurdly small ones, taken care of by 
an antique bronze calling itself grandmother. 
Babies had the measles which would not " come 
out " on one of them, so she had laid him ten- 
derly in the open clay oven, and with hot sage 
tea and an unusually large brick put to his 
morsels of feet, was proceeding to develop the 
disease. Two of the colored women and their 
husbands work for us at the tent kitchen. The 
other night they collected all their friends 
behind the tent and commenced in a monoto- 
nous recitative, a condensed story of the creation 
of the world, one giving out a line and the 
others joining in, from Genesis to the Revela- 
tion, followed with a confession of sin, and 
exhortation to do better ; till — suddenly — their 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



395 



deep humility seemed to strike them as uncalled 
for, and they rose at once to the assurance of 
the saints, and each one instructed her neighbor 
at the top of her voice to 

" Go tell all de holy angels 
I done, done all I kin." 

Just as they came to a pause, the train from the 
front with wounded arrived — midnight, and the 
work of feeding and caring for the sick began 
again. Dr. Ware was busy seeing that the men 
were properly lifted from the platform cars and 
put into our Sibley tents. Haight was " process- 
ing " his detail with blankets, and our Zouave 
and five men were going the rounds with hot 
tea and fresh bread, while we were getting beef 
tea and punch ready for the sickest through the 
night. By two o'clock we could cross the 
plank to our own staterooms on the Wilson 
Small. 

E. to J. H. 

Floating Hospital, White House, 

Sunday, June. 

We are having a delightful quiet Sunday — 
such a contrast to the last few days. A hun- 
dred and fifty men, to be sure, came down last 
night, but unless we have two or three hundred 
we think nothing of it nowadays. We are going 
for a walk, and Dr. Jenkins of the Commission 



Post. 



396 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

is to have service for us under the trees. We 
have almost lost sight of Sunday lately in the 
press of work. 

There are large bunches of laurel and magno- 
lia in our parlor-cabin and dining room, and the 
air is full of their fragrance.. 

Miss Dix spent last night with us, but is off 
now. 

c.w. w.'s Carry writes Charley June 6: We were 

letter to • i i i tj i • 

theN.Y. Surprised and pleased to see 3'our letter in 
the Post last night, and sent out and bought 
up all the copies in the neighborhood, and 
have mailed them to James Gibson (Ireland) 
and elsewhere. 

C. W. W. to New York Evetiing Post. 

Sanitary Commtssion, Floating Hospital, \ 

Pamunkey River, |- 

Off White House, Va., May 31, 1862. ) 

The work of the Sanitary Commission, as 
connected with the army of the Potomac, is just 
at this time, as you doubtless knovv, a most im- 
portant and indispensable one. More than two 
thousand sick and wounded men have been 
shipped by the Commission to New York, Wash- 
ington and Boston during the past month, and 
it is safe to say that the lives of hundreds have 
been saved who would otherwise have died in 
camp and on the march. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



397 



The vessels used by the Commission are char- 
tered by the government, and are first-class 
ocean steamers and Sound boats. They are sup- 
plied with all the necessary hospital apparatus 
at the expense of the Commission, and are fur- 
nished, so far as possible under the circumstances, 
with every convenience for the transportation of 
the sick, who are too often victims of neglect in 
regimental sanitary regulations. If your readers 
care to know something about the detail of man- 
agement on board a hospital ship, let me give 
them briefly the program of a single day's 
routine — a routine in the case of the majority 
on board, let them remember, of inevitable and 
monotonous suffering or sleepless pain. 

Four bells, — but the day does not begin then, 
it is only a continuation of yesterday and the 
day before. On a hospital ship night and day 
are alike to all hands, and " on duty " for a nurse 
means only his "watch," whether it comes at 
noon or midnight. Dr. Some-one is medical and 
military chief, and every well man on board, ex- 
cept the ship's officers and crew, is subject to his 
authority. His command consists of four or 
five surgeons and physicians, a commissario- 
quartermaster, a purser perhaps, a varying num- 
ber of volunteer nurses, eight or ten contra- 
bands, and from one hundred to four hundred or 
five hundred sick men, according to the capacity 
of his vessel. On the ocean steamers the greater 



398 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

number of bunks are between decks, and roughly- 
built of secession lumber, in tiers of three ranged 
on either side the length of the ship, and a double 
row down the centre. On this deck also are a 
dispensary, with an apothecary to preside, and a 
room or space reserved for the exclusive use of 
the lady nurses. 

The sick are divided into several wards, each 
with a ward-master, generally a medical student, 
and the watch is arranged by the medical chief — 
the twenty-four hours being divided into three 
watches, of six hours each, and two dog-watches, 
of three each. Let us divide all the doctors and 
nurses on board into two squads, or reliefs, 
called A and B. Squad A relieves squad B at 
seven in the evening ; B goes to bed and quickly 
to sleep until one o'clock, when it relieves A ; 
A turning in until 7 a. m., when it relieves 
B again, and so on. The dog-watches in the 
afternoon reverse the order, so that neither 
squad may have the same hours of watch two 
successive nights. The satisfactory arrange- 
ment of these watches to all parties concerned is 
no small matter. 

The bulletin at the main stairway displays a 
record of the ward arrangements for the day, 
the hours of the house diet, the most explicit 
directions in case of fire, and more than the 
usual number of warnings with respect to the 
use of liirhts in the cabins. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



399 



By far the most formidable part of the work 
is getting tlie sick men on board and then land- 
ing them. The steamer lies out in the stream, 
and the sick men are in their camp hospitals on 
shore, it may be several miles inland, or perhaps 
left exhausted on the roadside, in the advance. 
A day or two ago thirty-six men arrived on the 
shores of the Pamunkey who had fallen off from 
the army, in this way, unable to proceed from 
fatigue and exhaustion. They said they had 
walked fourteen miles since midnight, and had 
had no food for three days. When they applied 
at the Government tent hospital at White House 
for food and shelter they were told that there was 
no room for them, and that they had better look 
along the shore for a hospital ship. In this con- 
dition they fell into the hands of the Sanitary 
Commission, were transferred to the Spaulding, 
and were speedily fed, clothed, washed and con- 
valescent. Up to the 29th instant General 
Casey's division had lost in this way three thou- 
sand nine hundred men since leaving Yorktown. 

The difficulty is to get the sick men from the 
land to the floating hospital — from the hands of 
the government to the Sanitary Commission. 
Convalescents can walk and in some measure 
help themselves. The sick must be lifted, (and 
not always with the tenderest care,) first into an 
ambulance, then jolted to the shore (even am- 
bulances jolt in Virginia, those vehicles that offer 



400 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



every facility for accidental death), then put on 
a tug to be taken out to the steamer. 

On the Sound boats the process of embarka- 
tion is comparatively easy, as the decks are low. 
In the case of an ocean steamer a tackle is rigged 
from above, fastened to a fixed frame into which 
the stretcher and all are placed while on the deck 
of the tug. The tackle is tlien hoisted, with the 
sick man and his effects, to the upper deck. Be- 
fore being lowered to the receiving doctor below, 
who assigns him to a berth, all his baggage, in- 
cluding his gun and blankets — new blankets 
being furnished him — is taken from him and 
firmly tied together. His rank, name, regiment, 
company and postoffice address are noted down, 
and a number assigned to him and a correspond- 
ing number pasted on his baggage. In this way 
his baggage is cared for, and much confusion, 
which without some such system would prevail, 
is avoided.* 

Necessarily, now and then, a blanket or pair 
of shoes loosely packed, or a likeness carelessly 
put in the haversack, is lost or unclaimed. Oc- 
casionally a soldier, much to his chagrin, may 
be obliged to carry home some one else's gun, 
new, perhaps, from the factory, instead of his 
own trusty rifle that has shot, to his certain 
knowledge, at least half a dozen rebels. Jones, 

* This was Charley's work. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



401 



of the Third Maine Cavalry, who is stout, may- 
be obliged to put up with a coat belonging to 
Jenkins, of the Tenth Indiana Infantry, who is 
slim, etc.; but, in the main, the men have their 
baggage returned to them intact at the end of 
the journey. 

A detail of men sometimes accompanies the 
sick, who are employed as nurses. When every 
bed is filled and order begins to come out of the 
seeming chaos, a meal is served to those who 
need it, the gangway is lowered, the whistle 
blows, and the ship, with its strange cargo, is in 
motion for New York or Washington. The 
doctor makes his rounds, giving particular 
directions about the sickest, and the watch be- 
gins. Down the York river, round the cape, 
and so, with the flag of the Sanitary Commission 
waving at the mast-head, out to sea. Convales- 
cents, who are well enough, smoke their pipes 
on deck, and in picturesque groups talk over the 
wonderful scenes they are leaving, or discuss 
the superior merits of their several regiments. 

Up stairs, we are a lot of soldiers off duty, on 
a pleasure trip down a peaceful little Virginia 
river. Down stairs, how different ! Occasion- 
ally a death occurs on the passage (though the 
proportion is very small), and a vacant bed in 
the long line marks the soldier's last resting 
place while living. His knapsack and gun are 
taken by some friendly hand to be returned to 



402 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



his family, and thus the soldier ends his fight — 
sadly, yet in a noble cause ; his heroic aspira- 
tion crowned so soon with their utmost result. 

A dark side there must necessarily be, but a 
bright side is by no means lacking. Chloride 
of lime and the lady nurses contribute largely 
to the brighter half. Whitewash and women on 
a hospital ship are both excellent disinfectants. 
Men are nurses of tlie sick only by study and 
experience, women by intuition. A man can 
dress an ugly gun-shot wound or prescribe for a 
typhoid case better, perhaps, than a woman, but 
a woman's hand must knead and smooth the 
bed that supports the wounded limb, or much 
medical science may go for nought. Masculine 
gruel, too, nine cases out of ten, is a briny 
failure ; but gruel, salt-tempered by feminine 
fingers, is nectar to parched lips. 

Creature comforts abound in the presence of 
lady nurses, and from their culinary retreat 
between decks come forth at all hours of the 
day a sizzling sound as of cooking arrow-root ; 
armsful of clean white clothing for the newly 
washed, and delicacies for the sick without num- 
ber, sometimes in the shape of milk punch, or 
lemonade squeezed from real lemons, some- 
times a pile of snowy handkerchiefs that leave an 
odorous wake through the wards. Again, a 
cooling decoction of currants for the fever case 
nearest the hatchway, or a late Harper's Weekly 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



403 



for the wounded man next him, (who to his sur- 
prise and delight recognises his last skirmish, 
though feebly reduced to the consistency of 
printer's ink, with his identical self in the fore- 
ground), or oranges, cups of chocolate and many 
a novelty, but never a crumb of hard tack, (unless 
in the pnlpy disguise of panada,) or ever so faint 
a suggestion of too familiar salt pork. . . . 

Suffice it to say that the services of the ladies 
who are here as nvirses of the sick are invalua- 
ble to the Commission and duly appreciated by 
the battle-tried and camp-worn soldiers. A sim- 
ple word of sympathy or encouragement from 
a genuine woman is sometimes more potent to 
cure, than brandy or quinine from the hands of 
the most skilful physician. The kind looks and 
deeds of our nurses, and their kindlier words 
go straight to the hearts of the sick men and 
bring them nearer home by many a weary mile. 
We have other bright features, too. 

Of articles contraband of war there are several 
specimens on board. They are always jolly and 
grinning, and ready for the hardest kind of 
labor, and breathing a "mudsill" atmosphere has 
not made " sour niggers " of them. Strange as 
it may seem, too, at uncertain intervals, they 
even make use of an ejaculation peculiar to that 
genus of article in a sportive and jocular yelp : 
"Yah! yah!" says Aaron to Jim (not Moses) 
" dis yer's a heap better than Massa Coleman's "; 



404 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



whereupon James performs an affirmative com- 
edy of " Yah, yahs," and looks all teeth. More- 
over, these men seem to take kindly to the 
wages (!) that are paid them from time to time, 
and especially on these festive occasions are they 
exceeding lavish in their display of ivory, and 
blithesome to a degree passing strange. 

A little while ago I witnessed the novel spec- 
tacle of an "article" earning his living. Six 
weeks ago he was an " indefinite " article — a 
chattel — a non-entity ; now sole proprietor of 
his own muscle and able to convert the sweat 
of his brow into legitimately-gotten shining 
metal. He was rolling a barrel of northern 
pork aft, and I saw him halt three several times 
on his march to the kitchen, in order to execute 
a/aj- seul from his favorite plantation jig. It was 
a march of triumph to him, for he knew that 
every revolution of his barrel rolled out for him at 
least the fraction of an expected dollar, the just 
recompense of his free labor, and his ungainly 
"juba" was only the natural overflow of his 
exuberant glee upon attaining at length his 
long-denied manhood. There is a " down East " 
smack and flavor in this their first taste of free- 
dom that seems to be peculiarly grateful to the 
contrabands, and which I doubt if prolonged 
years of tasting will expunge. c. w. w. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



405 



/. 6". W. to G. 

Charley's letter to the Post was quite a suc- 
cess and I advise him to continue his communi- 
cations. The Vanderbilt, Government Hospital 
Ship, got in last night at six or seven, and will 
be emptied to-day, I suppose. There has been a 
great and general muss on the whole subject (of 

course) between General B and Satterlee 

and their underlings, parties of the first part, — 
and all the State agents and volunteer doctors, 
parties of the second part, the old fight between 
regulars and volunteers — conflict of authority 
and efforts to sustain small personal dignities at 
the expense of everything else. In the mean- 
time however, the patients, contrary to the usual 
course, have not suffered very much, as the pub- 
lic have had pretty free access to them and their 
wants have been supplied. Now, all transports 
are obliged to anchor in the stream and report 
to the regular qviartermaster. . . . The Vander- 
bilt is the first arrival under the new regime 
and we shall see how it works. As much flour- 
ish of authority as they like, if it only shows 
fruit in the comfort of the patients, a subject 
on which I have misgivings. Fort Hamilton is 
the new depot ; that and Bedloe's Island. We 
went to the Island on Friday and found things 
improving. A few weeks ago Dr. Agnew (I 
think) or one other of the Commission went 
down and found the doctor drunk, the stewards 
on leave given by themselves, and the fever 



4o6 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

patients dying of neglect. He, whoever he was, 
cruised about the Island, found ten pounds of 
beef, cut it up and made broth himself, and 
spent the night feeding the sick men. They 
have got a new surgeon now, but I think the 
steward steals. One reform at a time. We are 
determined, we "females," to make the place 
much too hot for him if we can/>/-ove anything. 
But how many weak-minded sisters there are ! 
I never realized before how few people in the 
world are really clever and how very few are capa- 
ble of "taking the responsibility." I have also 
discovered that there is nothing like philan- 
thropy to bring out the quarreling propensities. 
Two young gentlemen called yesterday and 
asked for Charley, expressing great surprise 
that he hadn't got back, as they saw him driving 
his horse a day or two ago. They might have 
mistaken the man, but they appeared confident 
on the subject of the horse. So, Charley, Mr. 
Coles may be guilty of some black-hearted 
treachery. My mind always misgave me that 
Wilson's men went out o'nights with Nelly Bly. 
What'xs the news from Joe and the i6th? We 
search the papers in vain to find his where- 
abouts. Yesterday in the Herald, in a chance 
letter, was this, " General Franklin, in crossing 
a brook to-day, got mired in the soft earth banks 
and was thrown, but instantly emerged unhurt, 
dripping, puffing and laugliing." That is the 
only public news I have seen of the Division 
for ten days. Where are they ? 



CHAPTER IX. 

E. W. H. to J. H. 

Wilson Small, June 7th. 

The Commission has sent out to establish a The 
camp hospital at Savage's Station on the rail- ho,',^i„y 
road about twelve miles from here, a depot for swamp. 
supplies, and a little encampment of twenty- 
tents or more as a resting-place for sick and 
wounded stragglers, and a kitchen to feed the 
sick from as they pass by. Mr. Rogers and Mr. 
Holman are the agents of the Commission there, 
and Mrs. Fogg. It is a nice thing, and will 
greatly decrease the sufferings of the poor fel- 
lows. . . . 

We have no news from you to-day. 250 more 
wounded came down last night, mostly rebels, 
and are being cared for on the " Louisiana." 
Georgy has just been giving them clean hand- 
kerchiefs, and our dear Mrs. Griffin has come 
in, blooming, from her rounds, saying she has 
had "a delightful morning." The rebels are 
very badly wounded, and so have better care 
than our own men ; for the worst cases, whether 
Union or rebel, have the best treatment. They 



4o8 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

ought to be impressed by the kindness they 
receive, and many of them are. I offered wine 
and water to one fine, manly-loolcing fellow 
who was carried on a stretcher past our tent, 
and he answered gently, " No, sister ; thank 
you ; I don't want any." Another little Geor- 
gian was " so sorry to give Georgy so much 
trouble " when she took him a pillow. ... If 
only I could see you now and then ! Tell me 
when you write what you mean by the swamp. 

The "swamp," by which, and in which, 
the army of the Potomac was operating, was 
the deadly Chickahominy to which so many 
thousands were sacrificed. 

Edward While we were lying at White House in 
'" ^ ■ the Wilson Small, one day, Mr. Olmsted 
came to G. with the statement that " young 
Mr. Mitchell of New York, who had come 
down to help in the Commission's Quarter- 
master's department, was ill on the supply 
boat Elizabeth." G. went across the plank 
to him at once, and found a most attractive 
six or seven feet of future brother-in-law 
cramped into an uncomfortable little hole of 
a cabin. This was E. M.'s first introduction 
to the famil}'^ ; he was looked after a little, 
and sent home in a returning hospital ship 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



409 



to recruit. Mr. Olmsted had his father's 
private instructions to keep him out of the 
army. 

A. H. W. a little later, writes : 

Mr. Mitchell called yesterday afternoon to 
say good-bye and to offer to take anything to 
Georgy. Dr. Agnew had sent for him in a great 
hurry to go back as quartermaster on the Elm 
City. He had promised to go back on three or 
four days' notice, and had hoped to spend those 
at the seaside, where his physician had told him 
he ought to go. We had nothing for Georgy, — 
the Elm City lying at Jersey City, it would not 
have been convenient anyhow — but Carry took 
to his house in 9th street a letter to Georgy, 
and a large bundle of candy for himself. — (C's 
first present to her future husband). 

/. 6'. W. to G. and E. 

Sunday, June Sth. 

Dear Girls : Being at home from church on 

account of the rain, I may as well do the next 

wickedest thing, write a letter. I have given up 

trying to get ahead of Abby, but am able to cut 

in now and then when she is out of town. With 

great exertion we got her off with Mother for a 

few days in Norwich. . . . We sent up after 

them Georgy's pencil note telling of your being 

at the railway terminus feeding the wounded in 



4IO 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



transit. I envy you from the bottom of my 
heart, but it is also my opinion, kept pretty 
much in that sacred receptacle, that you are 
killing or will kill yourselves. It is not only 
the positive fatigue, but the awful drain on your 
sympathies, and the excitement, etc. — you will 
be wrung out and dried — yellow and gray, if 
you ever get home at all. I have no doubt 
Abby will be horrified to hear that you are at 
the White House Station ; and all your softening 
of your labors for family use does not take us in 
in the least. However, as I said, I envy you, 
and I respond to the little song you are no doubt 
singing out of Maud, 

" What matter if I go mad, 
I shall have had my day." 

. . . Dr Agnew says that he is "not using too 
strong terms when he says the government's 
neglect of its wounded is damnable." . . . The 
St. Mark is to go down, probably, on Wednes- 
day. We will send the few things you mention 
by her, and hope to hear in the meantime of 
something more that you want. Dr. Bellows 
goes in her. It seems to me that some people 
with money are not half waked up to the need 
of giving it in this cause. I alone, could name 
a dozen who don't seem to know or care any- 
thing about hospital matters. Poor people give 
a great deal — dozens of plain men and women 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 411 

come with clothes, provisions, etc., to the differ- 
ent barracks, but many of the better able ones 
neither come nor send. By and by their day of 
opportunities and grace will be over. 

Hatty writes : 

June 10. 

We shall send you the things you ask for by 
the steamer St. Mark to-morrow, and hope you 
may get them, though I have my doubts as to 
Charley's wines making a sea journey safely with 
government employees on board ready to drink 
them up. William Hodge has just walked up 
the street with me, says Lenox has come back for 
an appointment in one of the government Hos- 
pitals in Philadelphia. 



Es Journal. 

Wilson Small, June 13. 

Little to do. As we were sitting in our ordered 
parlor-cabin Wednesday, trying to keep cool, white'" 
Joe ran up the stairs into the midst of us. no^se- 
Everything was quiet at the front and in the 
regiment, and General Franklin told him "he 
would rather have him come than not." He 
and Captain Woolsey Hopkins rode the twenty- 
five miles down together, over roads more 
frightful than they ever were near Washington. 
We took them into the Commission for the 



412 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

night in spite of the new rules excluding out- 
siders. As there was little to do, we ran up the 
river in the evening, in the " Wissahickon," 
past the broken bridge and Colonel Ingalls' 
encampment and the lily pads, far up into the 
moonlight. . . . 

Later. ... It was Friday night our stampede 
happened. We were all quietly at work in our 
tent on shore (having fed a hundred or more 
sick men), preparing for the night, when a 
wounded soldier came by with the news that 
the train which was just in had been fired into 
by rebel cavalry near Tunstall's Station, about 
three and a half miles from White House. One 
man was killed, and six or eight wounded, but 
the train pushed on and gave the alarm. We 
felt no fear whatever for ourselves, but I was 
very anxious to hear of J.'s safe arrival in camp 
the day before. A peremptory order from 
Quartermaster-General Ingalls came to Mr. 
Olmsted : " Put your women behind the iron 
walls of the Spaulding, and drop down below 
the gunboats." 

Edward Mitchell went up to headquarters to 
see if there was no mistake, and came back with 
the message : " Drop down below the gunboats 
at once, and look out to keep clear of vessels 
floating down, on fire." So we reluctantly hur- 
ried on board the Small with all the staff, 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



413 



(except Drs. Ware and Haight, who stayed with 
the sick on shore) and skedaddled ignominiously. 
Once moored alongside the Spaulding, Mr. 
Olmsted came back in a rowboat for news, and 
found all the camp followers, teamsters, sutlers, 
railroad and barge men organizing in compa- 
nies, and arms and ammunition serving to them. 
Edward Mitchell, who had volunteered for this 
duty, had a company. 

The sickest men from the tents were all taken 
on board the Small, a detail of twenty-five 
doctors and men from the Spaulding acting as 
bearers. 

It was now after midnight, but we made up 
about forty beds, got beef tea and punch ready, 
and about thirty, including the wounded from 
the train, were made comfortable. They were 
to have been transferred to the Spaidding, but a 
new order prevented this, and Saturday morning 
we once more took our old place at the White 
House wharf. Simultaneous with the attack on 
the train was one on the forage landing, a little 
above here on the Pamunkey, where two hun- 
dred government wagons were burnt, forage 
destroyed, and several of the teamsters killed. 
A schooner was also burnt, and we supposed 
the light of it to be that of a burning bridge. 
The scare has blown over. 



414 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



A. H. W. 

S Brevoort Place, June 17th. 

My dear Charley : We had just been read- 
ing in the Times about the scare at White House 
when Georgy's letter arrived. We have read it 
aloud over the breakfast table, and are now 
going to enclose it to Mary and Carry at Astoria, 
that they, too, may have the private version of 
the affair. It was a bold and very clever dash 
of the rebels; just what might have been 
expected, however. They are up to all sorts of 
thievish, daring things. ... It would not have 
been out of place for you all to have been much 
more frightened than you profess to have been. 
Georgy's letter, in fact, we presume, was pre- 
pared for home consiwiption. She always tries to 
" draw it mild " for our benefit ; is always having 
a lazy, lovely good time, perfectly well, and in 
the best of spirits, and as to the scenes of suffer- 
ing about her, not caring a bit ; has to pinch 
herself, I dare say, to see that she isn't stone — 
thinks she "hasn't any heart," etc., etc. Tell 
her, of course she hasn't, or won't have soon — 
it's ossifying, that, or something kindred, is what 
all surgeons die of — suppressed emotion. Tell 
her we insist on her coming home for a few 
weeks ; now that you are with Eliza, she has not 
that excuse for staying. — Eliza, of course, we 
cannot induce to leave, it would be useless to 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



415 



try. Tell Georgy her known imprudence in 
overdoing herself, her known obstinacy about 
precautionary and remedial measures, impel me 
to insist on her taking a northern trip and a little 
rest just now. . . . Mrs. Gibbons goes back to 
her Winchester hospital next Monday. I am 
going up to see her, hear some of her tales and 
offer what supplies we have on hand. She and 
her party were obliged to fly for their lives when 
the rebels drove Banks out, lost on the way 
their three trunks, containing all their clothing, 
and Mrs. G. was without a bonnet. Tliey have 
been very busy sewing up a new outfit, and I 
hope won't be interfered with again, though 
Jackson threatens another raid up the valley 
with 70,000 men as soon as the harvests are ripe. 
... I have saved our only piece of news till the 
last — the engagement of Pussy Wheeler ; make 
Georgy guess who to. . . . It is Dr. Ceccarini, 
the Italian oculist, an accomplished man and 
skillful surgeon. . . . Mother says, " Tell Charley 
how glad I am always to get his letters, and tell 
him that when he cautions Georgy on the sub- 
ject of health, to be sure to be prudent himself." 
You are in a most useful and important place, 
and we would all rather have you there than in 
any part of our army. 



4i6 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Mother to C. IV. JV. 

New York, June, '62. 

Afy dear Charley : Here are lots of scraps 
for you. Our basket is just going off to the 
steamer. I hope you will enjoy the ginger- 
bread. We are all anxiety for further accounts 
since the battles of the last few days. The 
paper this morning states two deaths on the 
Knickerbocker of poor wounded men. What 
trying scenes again for you ! I agree with you 
in all you say of Georgy's health, but know 
that persuasion is useless. You ask about com- 
ing home. We do not need your aid in getting 
out of town, however pleasant it would be to 
have you. There is no prospect of our going 
at present ; we have no place in view at all. . . . 
Have the rebels cut the telegraph lines, that we 
get no news from the army ? Where are you 
all to rendezvous now that the White House is 
given up.'' Some of the movements seem so 
mysterious to us — such as this, and the falling 
back of McClellan's army to Savage's Station, 
and some other strange doings. I hope it will 
all come out right. Do take care of yourself 
and the girls. I am so much better satisfied to 
have you where you are, than with the 22nd. 
Your Cousins William and Anna have been on 
to Baltimore to see Lloyd ; they are greatly dis- 
tressed at the idea of his being sworn in, even 
for three months ! . . . 



SECOND YEAR OE THE WAR 



417 



\ Farewell dear boy. Mother's love and bless- 
ing to you. 



Northern hospitals in many places were 
all this time filling up with wounded from 
the front, and women were volunteering as 
nurses in them also. The following letters 
show what was being done at the New 
Haven General Hospital, years before its 
Training School for Nurses was organized. 

S. C. W. to G. M. W. 

New Haven Hospital, June. 
I have been so very busy that my conscience 
does not reproach me at all for not writing. . . . 
A fortnight ago our wounded came — 240 of 
them, all dreadfidly neglected and needing 
attention of every kind. I cannot just this mo- 
ment recollect the name of the ship which 
brought them, but there was only one surgeon 
on board to care for them, no nurses and hardly 
any provisions ; the wounds of many had not 
been dressed for nearly a week when they got 
here, and seven or eight died on the passage. 
For the first few days most of them were placed 
in tents on the hospital grounds, but since then 
the new Barrack Hospital has been finished, and 
all except about twenty very bad cases are quar- 
tered there and doing very well. They would 






41 8 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

not let any young ladies enter for the first three 
or four days, the sights and sounds were too 
bad for them. Such was the enlightened de- 
cision of the excellent incapable in charge, but 
Friday I worked my w^ay in, and since then have 
been there nearly every day, taking charge of 
the linen room and giving out clothes, etc. to 
the men. At first everything was in dreadful 
confusion, but gradually our department is get- 
ting into order, and in the course of three or 
four days will be thoroughly systematized. A 
good old lady and myself are to take turns in 
presiding over the clothing supplies, and as she 
is rather inefiicient and feeble, I hope to take a 
very big half of the time. The small corner 
they give us as a store-room was yesterday all 
shelved and cupboarded under my direction, 
and will be capable of holding three times the 
supply it did before. ... I go up at nine and 
stay till seven, and all day long the nurses 
are coming after sheets, and shirts, and band- 
ages, and rags, and towels, and soap, and the 
men stopping at the door to ask for trousers or 
coats, and in time I hope to get the true tailor's 
measure in my eyes. Such fine, manly, patient 
fellows as they are. Many of them, almost all, 
from Michigan and Pennsylvania and New 
York ; not one Connecticut man among them. 
From the linen room one can organize little 
rushes into the wards to see special cases, etc., i 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



419 



SO it is not to be despised even though not as 
satisfactory as the actual nursing would be. 
Just outside of our long wooden barrack is a 
small wooden kitchen, and there Harriet Terry 
and Rebecca Bacon preside over the diet for the 
special cases who cannot eat the hospital rations, 
and if one looks in there about twelve, such a 
smell of good things greets the nose as it does 
one good to experience ; and arranged on the 
table are such nice little messes all labelled and 
numbered — such brown crisp toast and savory 
chops, and smoking beef-tea, and little messes 
of this and that ; and later the great trays come 
in and carry them off down the long entry, and 
so, many poor fellows are made comfortable. 
One building, which holds eight wards, and 
comprises four tents full of sick, is all well 
managed, orderly and thriving, with good paid 
and excellent unpaid nursing ; but in the main 
hospital where the housekeeper has control, it 
is all mismanagement, confusion and waste ; 
really sickening to see. The men are doing 
pretty well though, and all of them are so happy 
and grateful for the care taken of them. A 
very nice man from the 105th Pennsylvania, for 
whom I was writing a letter yesterday, told me 
to tell his mother not to feel anxious about him, 
for he was cared for just as if he was at home, 
and had everything he desired.. 



420 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



S. C. IV. to G. M. IV. 

Linen Room, New Haven Hospital, -^ 

June 26th, '62. 

Mj deafest G. : A lull in business gives me 
a chance to write a few lines to you and tell you 
how glad I was last night to find your letter 
waiting for me when I got home from my day 
here. . . . What wonder that you have not writ- 
ten when / have never found time to write until 
after ten o'clock at night. . . . One of my pets 
here among the men is sure that you and Eliza 
are the ladies who were in a large tent on shore 
at White House, and brought him some bowls 
of bread and milk and swigs of strong drink of 
some kind. He was so interested to make sure 
of the point that I promised to bring up your 
picture for him to see and compare with his 
recollections. . . . The Surgeon-General has 
written to Dr. Jewett to say that he hears such 
favorable accounts of the state of affairs here 
that he is going to send 300 of his worst cases 
for us to care for. Inspector-General Hammond 
is coming on Saturday to see with his own eves, 
and we are to be swept and garnished for his 
benefit. Mrs. Hunt (" H. H.") helps me here 
often ; mends clothes by the hour and comes 
for three days during the week to write letters 
for the men. . . . My fortnight's experience 
here convinces me that I could soon acquire the 
art of keeping, not an "Hotel," but a small 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



421 



( country variety store. There is the same run of 
customers, the taking of stock, the arranging of 
the goods, the sweeping-up and closing of the 
shutters at night. My stock comprises almost 
everything — shirts and collars, cravats and sus- 
penders, coats and trousers, vests and shoes, 
handkerchiefs, sheets, pillows and pillow-cases, 
rags, bandages, soap, thread, needles, tape, but- 
tons, combs, brushes, hats, fans, cotton wadding, 
water beds (2), stockings, oranges, lemons, bay 
rum, camphor, stationery, towels, dust-pans, 
brushes and mosquito netting, and this morning 
a woman bolted in, saying, " Is it in this room 
that the corpse is ? — they tell me that it is in this 
end of the passage, and I thought I should like 
to see him ! " I didn't happen to have one, how- 
ever, and she seemed quite aggrieved. . . . 
Jenny is somewhat better, and the baby lovely 
as can be. . . . She is a dear little puss, and one 
of the great obstacles to my entire devotion to 
my country. 

From Edward Mitchell. 

White House, June 20, 1862. 
My dear Father : Heavy firing in the ad- 
vance this A. M. Since writing to Fred. I have 
had no time to write another word. Sitting 
up late that night, I was waked up, with Drs. 
Jenkins and Haight, to go ashore for 24 hours at 
3 A. M. In consequence of being routed out at 



422 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



this unusual hour, yesterday was spent, so far 
as leisure hours were concerned, in deep sleep. 
, , . I now write to thank you for your kind 
expressions of regard for my health, and of love 
for me ; and for your desire to see me with you 
once more. . . . 

My health — it is excellent. . . . And so far it 
has been possible to find an assistant, who though 
stupid to an extent and lazy, is willing to go 
twice a day to wait an hour or more for com- 
missary stores; — it would be perfectly disgusting 
to me. ... I doubt much if Mr. Olmsted will 
be willing to let me go home for some months 
at least. The staff is now well organized, and 
the departure of one would throw very much 
labor on another who would not understand it 
at all. This is especially so in my case. The 
drawing of rations requires much care, and to 
know what stores the Commission has, and where 
they are, one must be continually among them. 
. . . You were right about the rebel cavalry, not 
I. It was very bold. Gen. Stuart commanded. 
In case we had been called out, I had intended 
to use only the bayonet and to creep round if 
possible on the flank of the enemy and charge 
at my own time — have lain in ambush, in other 
words. I think Sawtelle would have been will- 
ing to allow me my own way, for as he was a 
regular, he of course placed not much reliance, 
if any, on such a Falstaff army. . . . 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



423 



Olmsted has a deal of tact ; as much as a 
woman. Also much shrewdness and a very 
qviiet manner. In some characteristics he re- 
minds me a little of you, or rather what you 
would have been if you had been called more 
actively into public life. . . . 

A battle \s> predicted to take place in three days, 
by Capt. Sawtelle ; time will show. 

The Webster and Spaulding go to New York. 

Dr. goes in charge of the latter. In my 

capacity of aide I delivered his sailing orders 
to him. He may be a very nice man and an 
excellent physician, but he has an unquench- 
able and unalterable desire to spread himself 
and his authority. I received instructions to 
bully him into staying on board in case he should 
attempt to come back to the White House ! 
Some funny things occur here ! 

I regret immensely that I will be unable to be 
present at Neil's commencement. I would rather 
loose $50 than not to be there. . . , 

E. to J. H. 

Wilson Small, June — . 

This morning I have your Sunday note with 
the charming little poem. Who wrote it ? Be 
sure and tell me. It is a poem, and though 
entirely undeserved, I value it very much indeed. 



424 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



[Poem by a Lieutenant of the i6th N. Y., dedicated to 
E. W. H.] 

To Mrs. Joseph Howland. 



From old Saint Paul till now, 
Of honorable women not a few 
Have quit their golden ease, in love to do 
The saintly works that Christ-like hearts pursue. 

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 miser}' 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 lies. 
Than all the glory that the victors prize. 

When peace shall come, and homes shall smile again, 
Ten thousand soldier hearts, in Northern climes, 
Shall tell their little children, with their rhymes, 
Of the sweet saint who blessed the old war times. 

E. to J. H. 

June 20. 

I am much entertained by the regiment's 
vote of thanks to 7ne for the hats with which I 
had nothing whatever to do. [J. H. had himself 
ordered straw hats for the i6th, to help guard 
against the intense heat of the Chickahominy 
swamp, and gave them in E's name.] . . . Quar- 
termaster Davies has gone off with an order for 
the delivery of the musical instruments, and you 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



425 



will probably receive them to-morrow. Let me 
know if they are good ones. I have a " Psalm 
of the Union " for you, which I will send by the 
Quartermaster — a composition of old Mrs. Hill's, 
Mother's opposite neighbor. It is sent to you 
with her compliments. " She always expresses 
her emotions in harmony." 

We ran down at daybreak yesterday to York- 
town to see the floating hospital, the " St. Mark," 
just arrived from New York with Drs. Agnew, 
Draper, Carmalt, and others on board. . . . 

Later — The Small came back during the even- 
ing, and brought Dr. Agnew and Dr. Carmalt 
(Annie Woolsey's brother-in-law), and a number 
of the St. Mark's force, to go out to the front 
to-day. We all spent most of the evening in 
the tent, with the front curtains down and the 
back ones open to let in the blaze of the camp 
fire, over which on the pot-hooks hung the kettles 
of tea and coffee and soup which were preparing 
for 200 or 300 sick who were expected down on 
the trains. Nearly 500 came before morning 
and were provided for. The Commodore is fit- 
ting up and will leave for New York to-morrow. 
. . . Another party, the third of Congressional 
picnickers, came down to-day, but were refused 
transportation to the front by General McClel- 
lan's orders. I rejoice in it. . . . Won't you tell 
Dr. C. to pin the name and address of all his sick 
men somewhere about their clothing, if he has 



426 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

to leave them, and however little sick they may 
be. So many men come down and die here 
without name or token, and then — so many 
families are left in sorrow and suspense. 

G. to Mother. 

June 22. 

The Commodore, government boat, lies at 
the dock nearly full. Sixty Sisters of Charity 
had arrived yesterday and to-day, and were to 
be established at the White House and work at the 
General Hospital — on shore. They came down 
unexpectedly by some one's orders and tvould 
have done good work, but now they sat on their 
large trunks on the Knickerbocker's deck, for- 
bidden to stay by the Padre, who was in a high 
state of ecclesiastical disgust at not finding full 
provision for them on shore, including a chapel ! 
I labored with the old gentleman upon the 
unreasonableness of expecting to find confes- 
sionals, etc., on a battlefield, but to no purpose. 
There sat the Sisters clean and peaceful, with 
their sixty umbrellas and sixty baskets, fastened 
to their places by the Padre's eye, and not one 
of them has been allowed to come over and help 
us to put the Commodore in order. So our 
staff went to work among the 500 patients. We 
asked for basins ; there were none on board this 
government vessel. We secured all we needed 
from the Commission's stores, however, and be- 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



427 



fore the boat started that night, the sickest men 
were fed and washed, and beef tea and punch 
enough made to last the worst cases till they 
reached Fortress Monroe. We wrote all the 
names and liome addresses of all the sickest who 
might be speechless on arrival and pinned the 
papers inside their pockets. The Sisters now 
gladly took hold of the work and returned to 
their convents, as nurses on this hospital steamer. 

Es Jounml. 

Wilson Small, June 23. 

A very anxious day. An orderly from 
Brigade Headquarters brought word from Cap- 
tain Hopkins that Joe was ill and unable to 
write. I at once put up a basket of stores for 
him — bedsack, pillows, sheets, arrowroot, etc., 
etc., to go by the orderly, and Charley tele- 
graphed Generals Slocum and Franklin to 
know the truth, while Mr. Olmsted arranged 
with Captain Sawtelle for a pass to take me 
to the front to-morrow morning. My mind was 
relieved, however, by the telegraphic answers 
and better accounts, and I have given up the 
idea of going out. 

. . . June 25th. General Van Vliet says that 
if I want to go to the front at any time and will 
send him word, he will have his wagon meet me 
and take me over to J's camp. This morning 
Dr. Bigelow came back to our boat from the 
front. 



428 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

. . . June 26th. Running away down the 
Pamunkey again as fast as we can go, escap- 
ing from Stonewall Jackson ! 

All night the wood choppers were at work 
cutting down the woods at the White House to 
give the gunboats a chance to command the 
land beyond, and just now as we passed, the 
banks were shorn and the pretty little place laid 
bare. The pickets had been driven in, and 
Jackson was supposed to be close at hand. 
Eighty wounded were brought down last night 
and put on board the Knickerbocker. Twelve 
more and a few sick came down this morning. 
The Whilldin follows us, nearly full of sick and 
wounded. 

The rumor to-day is that all communication 
with the front is stopped, to conceal an advance 
of our army. 

June 28th. We went as far as West Point, 
followed by a train of schooners and barges 
running away like ourselves. There we lay 
through the evening and night, watching for the 
flames of burning stores at White House which 
did not burn, and for booming of guns which 
did not boom — without news or orders, until 
after dinner, when we turned and ran up the 
river again in search of both. Near Cumber- 
land we met the Arrowsmith with Surgeon 
Vollum on board, who hailed us and told us all 
we yet know of yesterday's action at the front. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



429 



Colonel Vollum then pushed on to Washington 
for medical supplies and we kept on up here to 
White House again. 

We little knew at the time that " yester- Batueof 
day's action at the front," to which E. mhT^' 
alludes so quietly, was the desperate battle J h. 
of Gaines' Mill, June 27, 1862, the first of the ed. 
terrible seven days' battle before Richmond. 
It was in this action that J. H. was wounded 
at the head of his regiment. His command- 
ing officer (General J. J. Bartlett) said, in his 
official report of the battle : " The enemy 
were slowly but surely forcing back the 
right of the entire line of" battle. At this 
juncture I ordered forward the i6th New 
York Volunteers, Colonel Howland com- 
manding. From the position of the regi- 
ment it was necessary to change front for- 
ward on first compan}^ under the most terrific 
fire of musketry, with the shells and round 
shot of two batteries raking over the level 
plain, making it seemingly impossible for a 
line to withstand the fire a single instant. 
But with the calmness and precision of 
veteran soldiers the movement was executed. 
. . . To Colonel Joseph Howland I am 
indebted for maintaining the extreme right 
of my line, for nobly leading his regiment to 



43 o LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

the charge and retaking two guns from the 
enem3^ Whatever of noble moral, physical 
and manly courage has ever been given by 
God to man, has fallen to his lot. Cheering 
his men to victory, he early received a pain- 
ful wound, but with a heroism worth}' of the 
cause he has sacrified so much to maintain, 
he kept his saddle until the close of the 
battle." 

Lieutenant-Colonel Marsh of the i6th was 
mortally wounded in this engagement at 
Gaines' Mill, and apart from the Colonel and 
Lieutenant-Colonel, the loss of the regiment 
in killed and wounded was 260 men, rank 
and file, fully one-quarter of its effective 
force on that da}-. 

It was " for gallantry at the battle of 
Gaines' Mill, Virginia," that the rank of 
Brigadier-General b}^ brevet was later con- 
ferred on J. H. by the President of the 
United States. 



When the battle at Gaines' Mill was all 
over and Joe began to realize his own 



Story of 

old 

Scott, 

Joe's fatigue and wounded condition, he dis 



war 



horse mounted and lay down under a tree not far 
from the field, and presently fell asleep. He 
did not know how long he had slept, but it 
was dusk when he was waked by something 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



431 



soft touching his cheek, and rousing hiuiself 
he found it was his war horse, old " Scott," 
rubbing his nose against his face. He had 
got loose from where he was tied and had 
looked for his master until he found him. 
Joe was not ashamed to say that he cried 
like a child as he put his arm round the dear 
old fellow's neck. 

He brought him home and rode him after 
the war until he grew to be old and no 
longer sure-footed. Then his shoes were 
taken off and he was turned out to grass to 
have an easy time and nothing to do the rest 
of his life. After a little, however, he moped 
and refused to eat and was evidently dissatis- 
fied with life. So Thomson came to Joe and 
said, " Do you know, Mr. Howland, I believe 
old Scott would be happier if he had some- 
thing to do P And accordingly, although he 
had never been in harness in his life, he was 
put before the lawn-mower, and to do active 
light farm-work. The effect was excellent; 
he grew happy and contented again, and 
proved to be one of the best working-horses 
on the farm for several years. 

It was Scott's last shoes as a saddle-horse, 
when he was turned out to grass, that we 
mounted and hung in the office at our Fish- 
kill home. 



432 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



The news of J.'s being wounded reached 
us at White House through a telegram 
kindl}^ sent the morning after the battle by 
Dr. McClellan, Staff Surgeon at Army Head- 
quarters, as follows: "The Colonel has a 
slight flesh wound. He is in my tent, and 
will be taken good care of until he can be 
sent down." 

At almost the same moment communica- 
tion with the front was cut. We telegraphed 
for more details, in vain. The rebels were 
upon us. Stoneman sent in word that they 
were in sight. We stayed as long as they 
would let us and then went off into the dark, 
taking what comfort we could in the one 
word, " slight." 

G. M. W. to Mother. 

Wilson Small, June 28. 

Sanitary Thc telegraph wires had been cut just as 

commis- ^^g received the news of Joe's wound, and a 

sion falls 

back. mounted messenger announced the enemy at 
Ho'llsl Tunstall's. Stoneman's cavalry were worrying 
aban- them till we were all safely off, when he would 

doned. 

fall back, and the rebels would walk into our 
deserted places. So we steamed away, watching 
the moving of the last transports, and the Ca- 
nonicus (Headquarters' boat for the army offi- 
cers at White House), with Colonel Ingalls, Cap- 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



433 



tain Sawtelle, and General Casey and staff. The 
most interesting thing was the spontaneous 
movement of the slaves, who, when it was 
known that the Yankees were running away, 
came flocking from all the country about, bring- 
ing their little movables, frying pans, old hats, 
and bundles, to the river side. There was no 
appearance of anxiety or excitement among 
them. Fortunately there was plenty of deck 
room for them on the forage boats, one of 
which, as we passed, seemed filled with women 
only, in their gayest dresses and brightest tur- 
bans, like a whole load of tulips for a horticul- 
tural show. The black smoke began to rise 
from the burning stores on shore (fired to keep 
them from the enemy), and now and then tlie 
roar of the battle came to us, but the slave 
women were quietly nursing their children, and 
singing hymns. The day of their deliverance 
had come, and they accepted this most wonder- 
ful change with absolute placidity. All night 
we sat on the deck of the Small, watching the 
constantly increasing cloud of smoke and the 
fire-flashes over the trees towards the White 
House, as we moved slowly down the river. 

The Wilson Small, with the whole fleet of Mcciei- 
hospital ships, made lis way to Fort Monroe, ^^J^^ 
and lay waiting- for news from the Iront, cut '°"'"' 

-' ^ . James. 

off trom all communication with the army 
and our own special part of it, Joe. 



434 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



During this time the seven days' fighting 
before Richmond took place. The line by 
the York River was abandoned, and the 
army made its fearful and humiliating retreat 
across the Peninsula, through the deadly 
Chickahominy swamps, fighting and re- 
treating upon the James, as a change of 
base. On July 2nd the gunboats headed by 
the Galena pushed cautiously up the James 
from Fortress Monroe, followed by our 
headquarters boat, the Wilson Small, to 
Harrison's Landing, Our retreating army 
had reached that point almost at the same 
moment, and to our joy we saw the flags fly- 
ing as we neared the shore. 

Arrived at Harrison's Landing, the Sani- 
tary Commission at once began establishing 
its depot of supplies and made ready to re- 
ceive the wounded. Almost immediately 
Joe was helped on board the Small. He 
had been brought across the Peninsula, 
wounded, and ill with Chickahominy fever, 
in a headquarters' ambulance — a very pain- 
ful experience in itself — but he was safe now, 
and witJi us. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 435 

Mother to C. IV. IV. 

June 29 or 30. 

Your last letter this moment come ! We 
know not what to think. Dear E., what a heroine 
she shows herself. This slight wound may be the 
means of saving Joe from greater danger, as he 
pmst now lie by. Dear boy, how sad we feel 
about him. Our best love to him when you can. 
How very anxious we are to hear more. Thank 
you and G. for letters. We feel thankful it is 
no worse with Joe. Let this feeling keep up all 
your hearts. Our dear love to Eliza ; I am re- 
joiced she is so brave. I wish I were there to 
help take care of Joe. Let us hear at once all 
you know. 

Mother to E. W. H. 

July 3, '62. 

My dear Eliza : What times you are living 
through ! in the very midst, too, of everything 
as you are ! — and how dark, very dark, it all 
looks to us this morning as we read the last 
" reliable " accounts from the army before Rich- 
mond ! Think of six days' continuous fighting. 
When I looked over the list of horrors, my first 
thought and exclamation was, "just think what 
Joe has been spared ! " I really look upon his 
"slight wound" as the greatest blessing which 
could have happened to us all, and I am thank- 
ful for it. It may have been the means of sav- 



436 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



ing his life. Abby is writing you, but I put in 
my own words of tender love and sympathy. . . . 
I rejoice that Charley is at hand with you. 

A. H. IV. to E. 

July 3. 

Georgy's letter sent ashore at West Point 
came this morning ; Charley's came yesterday. 
Both are postmarked Old Point. We learn of 
Joe's wound, and trust it may be no more than 
you describe it, and that his previous illness 
will not be against his recovery from this fresh 
drawback. We shall be extremely anxious to 
learn all particulars. No doubt if any one is 
well taken care of, he will be, as he is so near 
his General and other army friends. But what 
are the thousands and thousands of our poor 
wounded to do, cut off from railroad transporta- 
tion, left in a swamp, without supplies ? We 
see by the morning papers that hundreds from 
the fight on the left were carried to the banks 
of the James River, where were neither supplies 
or surgeons or transports. Some were huddled 
on a government tug, but who can tell the dis- 
tress and disorganization that attends such a 
reverse as ours. Not a word of intelligence 
have we had since the last date, Saturday even- 
ing, on our right, and nothing from the left for 
days and days. The city has been full of wild 
and gloomy rumors, which may well fill us with 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



437 



doubts and anxiety. ... I hope you have all 
had enough of McClellan at last. 

Captain Curtis stopped here a few moments 
yesterday, on his way back to the i6th. He 
went by the 5 p. m. train. " Not well enough to 
go, as a man, but well enough as an officer," he 
said. Joe will be glad to feel that he is at his 
post once more, in his own absence. I hope you 
won't let Joe worry about his regiment, though 
I do pity the poor men now. . . . 

We are thankful, as you are, Eliza, that Joe is 
safe from the desperate fighting we have had for 
six days and the worse that is to come. Every- 
thing looks like a terrible reverse. It leaks out 
that our loss in two days was ten thousand, in- 
cluding, I suppose. Porter's fight on the right. 
The call for three hundred thousand volunteers 
shows, as I have seen all along, that so far from 
ending the war on the 4th of July, we should 
only have to begin it all over again. Well ! we 
must be thankful that as a family we have been 
so mercifully spared so far. The papers are not 
allowed to publish a word, and as good news is 
never held back, we are left to the wildest and 
gloomiest rumors. How many families must be 
in painful suspense. There were twenty calls 
here yesterday : Rockwells, Aspinwalls, John- 
sons, etc., all happening in, all much concerned, 
and all sending much love. General Porter lost 
eighteen pieces of artillery we see, in that hor- 



I 



X 



438 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

rid fight and retreat at Mechanicsville and 
Gaines' Mill. Thank God that Joe came out of 
it so well. Jane has seen at the New England 
Relief several of the 7th Connecticut, wounded 
at James Island lately ; Corporal Hooks and 
Private Cook and others, who all spoke in the 
warmest terms of the bravery and kindness of 
Surgeon Bacon, who was in the very front, tak- 
ing care of the men, lifting them out of danger, 
etc. Corporal H. had had his arm amputated, 
but so well was it done, that he says he never 
has had a sensation of pain in it from the first 
moment. The surgeons say that all the surgery 
on these 7th Connecticut men was splendidly 
done. 

Corporal H. sent home eleven dollars to his 
mother out of thirteen. He laughed a loud 
laugh when Jane said to him, " Your arm was 
too much to give to those rebels, wasn't it?" 
" Law ! they might have the other and welcome, 
if they'd only let me go back ! " He had prom- 
ised to write to Dr. Bacon, but asked Jane if she 
wouldn't do it for him ; "he hadn't got used to 
having only one hand, and couldn't hold the 
paper steady." 

We shall not keep a very merry Fovirth any- 
where in the North to-morrow. 

One of the hospital duties of all the nurses 
at the front was writing letters home for the 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 439 

sick and wounded men, and sometimes the 
sad work of telling the story of their last 
few hours of life. That such letters helped 
to comfort sorrowful hearts, the following 
answer to one shows. The soldier was mor- 
tally wounded in the seven days' fight, and 
in E's care on the hospital ship. 

To Mrs. Joseph Howland. 

July 2nd, 1862. 

Madam : Your letter of the 26th ultimo, 
conveying the mournful intelligence of the 
death of R. P., was received on Monday, the 
30th ult. . . . 

Until I received your letter, I had indulged 
the hope lie would survive the injury ; and had 
— not ten minutes before it was delivered to me — 
been informed by a lady, whose son is in the 
same division, that he was wounded, and that 
the other members of the company were prepar- 
ing to send him home. This information, with 
a knowledge that he was of a robust constitu- 
tion, and perfectly healthy, induced the belief 
he would recover. . . . 

Madam, that letter of yours, although it was 
a messenger of death, when it was received by 
those who were being tortured by alternating 
thoughts of hope and fear, was like the visit of 
an angel ; for it relieved their minds of a tor- 
turing anxiety. 



440 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



<' I am requested by R's father to let you know 
that he is utterly unable to express his grati- 
tude ; that the only way he feels able to com- 
pensate you is by offering his heartfelt thanks. 
Madam, the occupation which it appears you 
have chosen, that of alleviating the condition of 
those who are in affliction, is for its labor paid 
in a still secret way, which is not fully appre- 
ciated by any, except they be like you ; for I 
doubt not, that on receipt of this, (when you 
will have known that you have been instru- 
mental in conferring a lasting favor,) a lady of 
your nature will feel she is somewhat repaid. / 

A. H. W. to E. 

8 Brevoort Place, Saturday, July 5th, '62. 
My dear Eliza: Georgy's and Charley's 
letters from Harrison's have just arrived, the 
last date being a postscript Thursday, July 3, 
which brings us into close correspondence again 
you see. These letters have relieved the painful 
anxiety that began to possess us, about Joe's 
condition and whereabouts. We thought per- 
haps that if his wound were really slight, he 
had been tempted to rejoin the regiment, and 
had shared in that horrible battle of White Oak 
Swamp. . . . Mother says that if it is Charley's 
desire to stay a little while longer, she consents ; 
he is evidently so useful, that she should not 
have the heart to insist on his coming back. As 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



441 



for Georgy, if you leave her behind, we shall 
never forgive you. She must come. Mother 
cannot stand the anxiety much longer, nor can 
Georgy bear the constant strain. By-and-by, 
perhaps, if necessary, she could go back ; 7ww 
she must come home with you. We should 
be better pleased to have Charley and all once 
more together, at the end of this battle-year, and 
before we all begin on other years of separa- 
tion and distress. Have C. come too. Poor, 
poor Colonel Marsh ! mortally wounded at 
Gaines' Mill. What a mercy it would have been 
had he been killed on the spot. . . . We shall 
never know all that this week of desperate fight- 
ing has cost us ; our dead and wounded being 
left behind, or crawling painfully along in the 
trail of the retreating army. Here and there an 
officer picked up in a passing ambulance, as Joe 
rescued the four you speak of. Our great, 
beautiful "Army of the Potomac," dwindled 
down to an exhausted handful. . . . Fifty thou- 
sand in all destroyed by fever and wounds, in 
McClellan's brief campaign ! No wonder if the 
President has hesitated to send more troops to 
be used up in swamps, when so little was being 
done to show for it. . . . Any fool might have 
known that Beauregard and the bulk of his 
army had come to Richmond ; but then our 
generals are not even fools, but something less 
if possible. ... It may be God's will to destroy 



442 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



this nation by inches. It is certainly the devil's 
will to put dissension into the hearts of our 
leaders, and blundering darkness into their 
minds. God overrules all evil, even this, I sup- 
pose, to his own glory. I have no question that 
this and all other defeats are intended to drive 
us, as a nation, to a higher moral ground in the 
conduct and purpose of this war. As things 
stand, the South is fighting to maintain slavery, 
and the North is trying to fight so as not to 
put it down. When this policy ceases, perhaps 
we shall begin to have victory, if we haven't 
already sinned away our day of grace. 

I don't know who kept Fourth of July yes- 
terday ; there was not much for public rejoicing 
though many families had private mercies and 
deliverances, like ours, to be thankful for. 
Hatty and Carry went with the Bucks to Bed- 
loe's Island, with a tug load of ice cream and 
cake, and flowers, and flags, and a chest of tea, 
forty quarts of milk, and butter, and handker- 
chiefs, papers and books, to set out a long table 
and give a treat to two hundred in hospital 

there. To their distress they found that H 

B (malisons on him) had ordered away 

the day before, back to their regiments (via 
Fort Monroe I suppose), all who were strong 
enough to move about. They cannot possibly 
carry their knapsacks or guns, and must go into 
hospital again from relapse. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



443 



The forty convalescents left on the Island had 
a glorious feast, the doctor giving his fall con- 
sent that even the twelve sick ones, in bed, 
should have as much ice cream as they wanted. 
Mr. Lasar, the singer, and one or two others, 
went about twice in the course of the day, from 
tent to tent, singing patriotic songs and hymns, 
winding up with " Lord, dismiss us," by par- 
ticular request of the men ; and then the men 
escorted the whole party, after tea, back to the 
tug, with three cheers and overwhelming thanks. 
Each man had at least a quart of ice cream, 
Carry thinks, and each a glass of Catawba wine, 
and a good slice of cake, and no doubt there 
will be many made sick, and the ladies will be 
blamed as the cause. 

If you have a hold on Hammond, do get him 
to look into the hospital rations in the hospitals 
here : Bedloe's and David's Islands. There 
seems to be no "special diet" provided — noth- 
ing but coffee (no tea), dry bread and stew, rank 
with onions and white with grease. I have writ- 
ten to the ladies at New Rochelle, begging them 
to take David's Island in hand, and open a 
"ladies' kitchen," a "gruel kitchen," as Sarah 
says theirs in New Haven is called. But they 
say the surgeon looks with disfavor on the 
visits of ladies, and they feel " satisfied that the 
men are ivell taken care of." . . . They will find 
out by-and-by that surgeons and hospital stew- 
ards are not all ang^els in uniform. . . . 



444 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



People kept coming yesterday, having seen 
Joe's name in the newspaper lists, and to-day 
we have notes of inquiry from all directions. . . . 

Edward Walker's account of the fight at 
Gaines' Mill agrees with the Tribune reporter's 
— black masses of men coming upon our guns 
with orderly joy determined to take them, and 
falling under our fire in solid blocks, others 
pressing forward to fill the gaps, 

J-H. The Daniel Webster was now filling up 

Bohome. Egaln wJth wounded and sick taken on at 
Harrison's Landing, — J. H. among them, — 
and, with Eliza as hospital nurse-in-charge, it 
sailed July 5th for New York. Charley and 
G. stayed on a little longer, till the army fell 
back towards Washington. 

A. H. W. to G. at Harrison s Landing. 

8 Brevoort Place, July 7, 1862. 
ATy dear Georgy : Eliza and Joe came safely 
through yesterday (Sunday) morning. Jane 
and I were just going to the front door on our 
way to church when their hotel coach drove up. 
They had a pleasant voyage, only Joe says (in 
joke) he was neglected — Eliza and Miss Lowell 
directing their attention to other men ! , . . Joe 
hobbled up on his broom-stick for a crutch, and 
we swarmed round, having so many questions to 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 445 

ask that we didn't know where to begin, and so 
were silent. Some broth and sangaree were 
quickly served and relished. I should say that 
Charley's telegram from Washington came Sat- 
urday afternoon, and gave us notice enough to 
send out and get what extra supplies we needed. 
. . . Mother and Uncle E. drove right in from 
Astoria, and Joe has had the story to go over a 
great many times. 

A. H. W. to G. 

8 Brevoort Place, New York, July loth, 1862. 
Eliza, Joe and Jane have gone off this morn- 
ing to Fishkill. . . . Joe's place here was in the 
long lounging-chair by the front parlor win- 
dow, while we received ordinary folks whom he 
wouldn't see, in the dining-room. He has worn 
a full white suit of Charley's, which Hatty hap- 
pened to lay her hands on, and went off in it 
this morning, home, via Newburgh. . . . He did 
not mean to go till this afternoon, but got a 
letter yesterday from Mr. Masters (who has 
been one of the callers here) written in great 
haste, and full of excitement. It was to Eliza, 
saying that the people of Fishkill were so full 
of enthusiasm for her husband, that they were 
bent on having a demonstration on his arrival, 
which he knew would be contrary to Eliza's 
taste, and injurious to Joe's health. He there- 
fore advised that they should change the hour 



446 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

and way of their proposed coming, and if they 
would telegraph him to Newburgh — under an 
assumed name (isn't it funny ?) — he would be 
there to receive the message and would let 
Thomson and Moritz know! . . . We think it 
a shame to disappoint the people so much, but 
Joe would ^el up at five this morning and leave 
the house at six, with his sword, etc. done up in 
a brown paper parcel. He thinks if there is 
such enthusiasm, he ought to be able to turn it 
to account for recruiting. It is really pleasant to 
know that the country people have such a spirit 
— for the cause. It is a good sign. . . . 

The farmer, Mr. Thomson, wrote me a letter 
of thanks for mine to him, describing Joe's 
wound, etc. He said there had been " such re- 
ports in Fishkill as never was. Some had it his 
nose had been shot off, and some, his jaw, and 
the story was ' Mrs. Hovvland was pris'ner,' " 
etc. Great discussions took place in the church 
porch on Sunday, whether his moustache would 
grow over such a very bad scar, and Mr. Mas- 
ters was so besieged for details that he ended 
by reading from the pulpit part of a letter of 
Carry's to Mrs. Charles Wolcott. 

The neighbors have all been in, or sent in to 
offer their services to us and our wounded hero, 
having watched him get out of the coach that 
Sunday morning. Carry was so intent on 
watching the Hills from her window, and so 



SECOND YEAR OF THE. WAR 



447 



desirous that they should all be ranged at their 
front windows, looking, as they 7vere^ that I be- 
lieve she missed seeing Joe get out herself ! . . . 
Did anyone tell you of your friend Mr. 
Mitchell's call the other night? He brought 
your note and was very pleasant. We had no 
candy for him, but he drank iced lemonade. 
His father won't let him enlist, so you may see 
him back again. Jane recognized him as some 
one she had seen at Philharmonic rehearsals fifty 
times or more. 

Mrs. Trotter writes G. about this time: 
"John met Edward Wright (of the army) to- 
day. He spoke in the highest terms of Mr. 
Howland. He says he is the idol of the 
regiment, and there is not a man who would 
not do anything for him. I trust his reward 
will be as great as the sacrifice." 

E. W. H. to G. 

New York, July 7th, '62. 

Dear G. : I am just going out to get the 
things you need, and so cannot report in ad- 
vance as to their loveliness. Will make a pen- 
cil list at the end if I can. I shall send two 
"Agnews " — one for Miss Wormeley. It is very 
nice to be here, but I am overwhelmed with the 
luxury of everything, and lie in bed measuring 



448 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

the height of the ceiling "in a maze like." . . . 
Strange to say they (Mother particularly) seem 
quite contented to have you stay, that is they 
think you did right, though they are very much 
disappointed at not seeing you. . . . We had a 
very good voyage, perfectly smooth and fine, and 
delicious nights. The men were mostly very 
slightly sick or wounded, and the principal occu- 
pation was dressing them up in clean clothes, 
including gorgeous linen bosomed shirts, of 
which there were lots. There were only half 
a dozen very sick — one of whom died; — one 
consumptive of the 5th Maine sent to me for 
"just a little piece of meat to suck," and was 
profoundly grateful to " Lady Howland," who, 
he told one of the nurses, had been in his regi- 
ment "thousands of times." Lieutenant Hill 
was dressed up in Joe's second suit and has 
them on now at the Brevoort House, where 
Mrs. VanBuren was hovering over him yester- 
day when I sallied round with some grapes and 
some old linen for his arm. I have some lovely 
flowers for him to-day, which I wish you of the 
Wilson Small could share. I think of you all, 
all the time, and pine for you. Give my love 
to the staff, particularly Miss Wormeley, Mrs. 
Trotter, and dear Mrs. Griffin, who has probably 
joined you by this time. Write me all the 
details, and all you want. I hate to be clean 
while you go dirty. The pile of filthy things I 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



449 



am sending to the wash would, however, con- 
sole you. To-day is hotter than any we had on 
the Pamunkey. Love to Charley. 

E. promises on the first page of this letter 
to send on "two Agnews": an explana- 
tion is in order. The red flannel shirts ot 
the Garibaldian troops used to be called 
Garibaldis when adopted as part of a lady's 
outfit, after the Italian battles. When Dr. C. 
R. Agnevv came down to the front in a de- 
lightful black and white flannel shirt, the eye 
of the shabby-looking G. was fastened upon 
it, and she made bold, cut off from all sup- 
plies as she was, to say to the departing 
Doctor, '■'■Please give me your shirt for my 
own wear." He did, and from that time we 
wore " Agnews." 

E. to G. M. W. 

FisHKiLL, July 13. 
Except for seeing how much good the rest 
and the home scenes are doing Joe, I would 
much rather be at Harrison's Point. He is 
improving nicely. His wound is not healed 
yet, but the inflammation has all gone and it 
looks better every day, . . . and but for a good 
deal of debility and shakiness of leg and hand, 
he would be quite himself. . . . Did they tell 
you of the demonstration the village people had 



45° 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



prepared, and how we had to change our time 
of coming and telegraph secretly to Mr. Masters 
at Newburgh in order to escape it? They had 
actually arranged to take the horses out of the 
carriage and drag Joe home themselves. Fancy 
the struggle we should have had, to maintain an 
expression of mingled gratification and humility 
all through the three miles ! 

Joe received the other day the company reports 
of the i6th's part in Friday's battle, and their 
simple story is exceedingly touching — all of 
them speaking particularly of the coolness and 
cheerfulness of the men. Lieutenant Corbin, 
who wrote the little poem, makes out the report 
of Company C, which in its quaintness and 
simplicity reminds one of the old days of knight 
errantry. "Four of my men," he says, "fell 
dead fighting bravely and pleasantly." Company 
C, you know, is the color company, and of them 
he says, " The colors, which my company had 
the honor to guard, ^cere safely kept, though they 
bear many an evidence of the hot fire in which 
they stood." The reports are nearly all equally 
simple, and one captain says, speaking of the 
order to cross and reinforce Porter, " This 
seemed highly pleasing to the boys, and with 
elastic step we took up our march for Gaines' 
Mill." Joe says they came out of the fight, too, 
with equal bravery and cheerfulness, and he got 
a smile from every man he looked at that day. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



451 



They all seem to want him back again, and his 
great anxiety is to be with them. 

C. W. W. to J. H. 

Wilson Small, Harrison's Landing, 

Saturday, July 12th. 

Dear Joe : I saw, to-day, your adjutant, sur- 
geon, and quartermaster ; the former is much 
better, he says, and is going home in a day or 
two. He reports the 16th in good condition 
and in excellent spirits. This is unmistakably 
the case with the whole army. Exhausted and 
disappointed they naturally are (or were), but 
they have never lost heart, and the morale of 
our army is as good as ever. Having but little 
to do on the boat I have been on shore about 
the camps for a day or two, and have got a good 
idea of the strength of our position. It seems 
to me impregnable even without the earthworks 
we have thrown up at the weakest points. With 
these, we are very strong and can surely hold 
our own. Taking Richmond, however, is quite 
a different thing. 

Send us the " Fishkill Standard " containing 
the account of the " ovation," and do not stand 
too long poised on one leg when you harangue 
the assembled multitude from the Tioronda bal- 
cony. 

Georgy is going home soon, and perhaps my- 
self. Love to E. 

Yours affectionately, C. W. W. 



452 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



Sarah Woolsey to E. W. H. 

New Haven, Tuesday night. 
I am just home from a very hot day at the 
New Haven Hospital, and so glad to find Jane's 
note with the news of your arrival that I must 
write a line before going to bed to tell you of it. 
And thus our week of suspense ends, and while 
so many thousands are straining eyes and hearts 
towards the bloody Peninsula, we may draw a 
long breath and refresh our thoughts with a 
picture of our dear Joe safe and resting his 
"honorable scars" amid friends and comfort 
and home and peace. . . . Do you know that 
one of our hospital cases here, on seeing your 
carte de visite the other day, recognized you as 
the " lady who gave him some very nice wine 
as he lay on a stretcher at White House, and 
bowls full of bread and milk afterward" — upon 
which he quite took on over it. He is one of 
the 

"Ten thousand soldier hearts in Northern climes." 

. . . Dr. Frank Bacon is here, having come 
up on a twenty-day furlough to recruit himself. 
I have not seen him but hear that he looks 
wretchedly — utterly broken down by overwork. 

The James Island fight occurred early in 
Corps June, '62, and in the official report of the gen- 
geons of era! commanding, F. B.'s regiment is singled 
t^ers" out for mention: " The 7th Connecticut moved 



F. B. 
on the 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



45: 



up in a beautiful and sustained line." " The 
7th Connecticut had been on very severe 
fatigue duty for three days and three nights." 
"The 7th Connecticut advanced in the open 
field under continued shower of grape and 
canister." "The medical officers were un- 
wearied on the battlefield and in the hos- 
pital." 

After this service F. B. went home on sick 
leave. Later he resigned from the 7th Con- 
necticut, passed the examination for the 
Corps of Surgeons of Volunteers, and was 
assigned to duty in charge of the Harper's 
Ferry Hospital. 

Here he found a large accumulation of 
army supplies and a hospital in what he 
considered an exposed position. On report- 
ing this to Washington and recommending 
its breaking up, he received prompt orders 
to carry out his own views, and had the sat- 
isfaction of getting the patients and supplies 
safely off on the last train, before a rebel dash 
captured the place. He writes to J. S. W. 
that if he had continued the hospital at Har- 
per's Ferry he should have wanted a select 
party of ministering angels, and asks whether 
we write M.A. after our names now, "after 
the manner of a mature female in the Har- 



454 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



per's Ferry laundry, who sent up a requisi- 
tion with ' D. R.' after her signature, and on 
a demand for explanation said ' daughter ot 
the regiment, sir, which I have been adopted 
by the 109th.' " 

F. B. was then assigned to duty in Wash- 
ington on General Casey's staff, to examine 
outlying camp hospitals and break them up 
when expedient, and to overhaul new regi- 
ments and their doctors as they came in. 
Here, a little later, having got permission to 
join the troops at the front, he had the miser- 
able experience of marching in from the sec- 
ond battle of Bull Run with the Army of the 
Potomac, defeated again on their old first 
field. 



Fleet at 
Harri- 



Point. 



CHAPTER X. 

While waiting for the army to make some Army 
move, G. ran up to Washington with Mr. p-^^i °^ 
Olmsted and Charle}', on the Small, to se 
cure more hospital supplies, and took news son-s 
to Mrs. Franklin of her husband the General, 
at Harrison's Point. 

A. H. W. to E. 

8 Brevoort Place, 

July, '62, Friday Morning. 

Dear E. : Enclosed are a lot of letters for 
you, Georgy's own among them. . . . She de- 
scribes their doings at Washington, voyage, etc., 
and says the best thing Mr. Olmsted did was to 
get Meigs to give him fifty hospital tents, each 
holding twelve patients. Also to get him to 
promise to send the old tents stored since last 
winter, enough to shelter fifty thousand men. 
Our poor, wretched army, she says, " lies tent- 
less and blanketless at Harrison's Point, smit- 
ten by sun by day, and moon by night, and it 
only makes her cry to hear them cheer." . . . 



456 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



Gejieral Franklm to G., sent on board the Small at 

Harrison s. 

Camp near Harrison's Bar, 
Jul)' lo, 1862. 

My dear Miss Woolsey : I am exceedingly 
obliged to you for the trouble you took in 
bringing me the two bundles, and for your 
kindness in presenting me the tea and the 
sherry. The round bundle I am happy to say 
contained straw hats and white sugar, and the 
other, musquito bars. My wife knows my tastes 
too well to send me cakes. The tea and sherry 
were particularly acceptable, and General Smith 
and myself have tested the qualities of both 
articles with very high approbation. 

I am glad that you saw my wife and that you 
thought she was braver than her sister army 
ladies. I see from her letters that she is cheer- 
ful and looks on the bright side of things. If I 
have time or opportunity I shall be very glad to 
call to see you. 

I hope that you hear good accounts of Colonel 
Rowland. Please give him and his wife my 
kind regards when you w^rite. 

Truly your friend, 

W. B. Franklin. 

A. H. W. to G. 

July nth. 

Dear Georgy : Your letter arrived this morn- 
ing — letters I may say, enclosing multitudes for 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



457 



Eliza. We have forwarded them to her at Fish- 
kill. . . . 

Dr. Carmalt was here last night. Does not 
go back on St. Mark. Mrs. Dr. Jenkins was 
here this morning to see Eliza, who had seen 
her husband. She is pretty and pleasant. . . . 

General McClellan's "caution," Georgy, has 
ruined the country. It is too expensive a policy. 
We are bankrupt already. — Stewart, and Lord & 
Taylor began yesterday to give change to their 
customers in postage stamps ; — handed Carry 
a tiny envelope stamped U. S. 50 cts., in change 
for something, which she in turn handed out in 
payment for a piece of ribbon at Aitkin & Mil- 
ler's ; all right, no words exchanged. So we go ! 
Aspinwalls and Uncle E. blue as indigo. Don't 
know what to do about our property and their 
own too. I would give every dollar of i7iine if it 
would end this accursed war and slavery to boot. 

In July, 1862, Cousin William Aspinwall 
sent to the War Department his check for 
$25,296.60, his share of the profit on a con- 
tract for arms purchased by Howland & 
Aspinwall and sold to the Government. 

The Secretary of War ordered that " the 
thanks of the Department be rendered to 
Mr. Aspinwall for the proof which he has 
furnished of the spirit which animates the 



458 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

people of the United States and the assur- 
ance given that its citizens prefer public 
welfare to private gains." 

This was true of a large proportion of the 
people, if there were contract swindlers and 
speculators, to our grief. 

G's Journal. 

July 12. 
Medical Lying off HarHson's Point in sight of the 

raentim- hospital OH shorc to which we went the other 
proved, evening. The fifty tents we brought from 
Washington are going up and are partly filled — 
men on cots, and not very ill. The place is to 
be used as a rest for a few days for men who 
can then join their regiments. The Medical 
Department is greatly improved, and the Sani- 
tary Commission, who were chiefly instrumental 
in putting in the new Surgeon-General (Ham- 
mond), who in his turn has put in all the good 
new men, finds its work here at an end, and 
might as well retire gracefidly. Four thousand 
sick have been sent north from Harrison's. 
Soup, and food generally, are being cooked all 
the time, without the aid of the Sanitary Com- 
mission, and they would leave now but for the 
flag of truce sent in by Lee to arrange for the 
bringing away of our wounded left behind in 
the retreat. The transports are under orders. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 459 

Commodore Wilkes is here in charge of the Fiag 
gun-boat fleet, and Captain Rodgers sent his Rebel 
small boat for us the other day, and took us all f;"" 

' ' _ Boat 

over his vessel and then over the Monitor and 
the Maratanza. The Galena was full of cannon 
ball holes. The Maratanza gave me a piece 
of the balloon found on the rebel gun-boat 
Teaser. It was made of the old silk dresses 
of the ladies of Richmond, forty or more differ- 
ent patterns. They gave me, too, the signal 
fiag of the little imp. We went over her to see 
the damage the shell did her, bursting into the 
boiler and disemboweling her. 

The army is quiet and resting, and the sur- 
geons of the regiments have been coming in 
constantly to the Sanitary Commission supply 
boat with requisitions for the hospitals. We 
are giving out barrels of vegetables. The Small 
will run up the river and be ready to fill a gap 
in bringing off our wounded prisoners, and it 
will be a comfort to do something before going 
home ignominiously. The last two weeks of 
waiting has been wearing to us all, and Miss 
Wormeley is a fascinating wreck. 

Your father — Elsie — having been asked for Kdward 
some account of his later connection with al'd^/hl" 
the Sanitary Commission, sends us this ^'^""^^y 
modest r6sume of what was a laborious and sion. 
important service for two years and a half. 



460 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

"You remember that Mr. Olmsted assigned 
me to duty rather as a personal aid on his 
staff of assistants, and, when I parted from you 
on the James River, he took me with him 
to Washington some time in July, 1862. Soon 
after I was sent to the front with a wagon-train 
of Sanitary Commission supplies, for one of the 
Corps of Pope's Army, then engaged in the 
"Second Bull's Run." Returning to Washing- 
ton, I was sent with a train of fresh supplies for 
the Army of the Potomac, as far as Antietam, in 
September. In November or December, 1862, 
I was ordered to sail with the Banks Expedi- 
tion, destination unknown. On reaching New 
Orleans and reporting to Dr. Blake, who was in 
charge of the Sanitary Commission there, I was 
put in charge of the store-house, receiving and 
issuing supplies until the Spring. In March or 
April, 1863, I was started out with a wagon- 
train to accompany an expedition through the 
Teehe country and to Baton Rouge. At Baton 
Rouge I established a depot, supplying the hos- 
pitals there and the hospital boats coming down 
the Mississippi, until after Port Hudson was 
taken. In the winter of 1863 I was dispatched 
to Matagorda Island to receive and distribute 
potatoes and barrels of pickles and sauer kraut 
to the troops under command of General Napo- 
leon Jackson Tecumseh Dana, who, when some 
one complained to him of his Commissary in 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 461 

general terms, asked, " What charge do you 
make against him ?" and being answered some- 
what vaguely that he was "generally unpopu- 
lar," replied, " I would not give a d — m for a 
popular Commissary." 

In the Spring of 1864 I was ordered to pro- 
ceed to Alexandria with two assistants, and a 
large assortment of various stores, and establish 
a depot there for the use of the " Red River 
Expedition," which was composed of General 
A. J. Smith's troops, who came down the Mis- 
sissippi and united with General Banks' army. 

After returning to New Orleans I resigned 
from the United States Sanitary Commission, 
but went with General Smith up the Mississippi, 
and, either at Cincinnati or Nashville, meeting 
Dr. Newberry of the Western Branch of the 
United States Sanitary Commission, I, at his 
request, spent some time at Murfreesboro, Chat- 
tanooga and Knoxville in the service of the 
Commission. In the autumn of 1864 I returned 
to New York and the Columbia College Law 
School, but for many years after, I was con- 
stantly stopped on the streets by men, quite 
unknown to me, who begged me to "take a 
drink," insisting that something distributed by 
me had saved their lives. 



462 LETTERS OF A FAMILY „^- 

Floating Somewhere about July 14, '62, Charley and 
G. must have arone home from Harrison's 



Hospital 

service 

finished 



Landing, probably in a returninghospitalship. 
The record is lacking — Sarah Woolsey's let- . 
ter of July 22 being the first mention of it. 
She had been serving all this time at the New 
Haven Hospital. AJl^ 

S. C. W. to G. 

New Haven. 
At the Barrack Hospital, July 22. 

. . . When the family leave you a little gap 
of time, write me one line to make me feel that 
you are really so near again. 1 cannot help 
hoping that if you go back, there may be a 
vacancy near you which I can fill. The work 
here is very satisfactory in its way, but is likely 
to come to an end before long if the decision 
about "Hospitals within military limits" is car- 
ried out. . . . 

This is Sunday, and I have been here since 
half past nine — it being about 5 p. M. now . . . 
It has not been very Sunday-like, as I've mended 
clothes, and given out sheets, and made a pud- 
ding, but somehow it seems proper. Mary 
would laugh if she knew one thing that I've 
been doing — distributing copies of " A Rainy 
Day in Camp " to sick soldiers, who liked it 
vastly. I had it printed in one of our papers 
for the purpose. To-morrow I am going to 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 463 

<-J' change employments — take Miss Young's place 
in the kitchen, and let her have a day's rest, 
while Mrs. Hunt supplies mine here. Meantime 
as a beginning I must go and heat some beef tea 
for a poor fellow who hates to eat, and has to 
be coaxed into his solids by an after promise of 
pudding and jelly. . . . 

P. S — Have come back from service and ad- 
ministered the beef tea, though it was an awful 
job. The man gave continual howls, first be- 
cause the tea was warm, then because I tried to 
help him hold a tumbler, then because I fanned 
him too hard, and I thought each time I had 
hurt him and grew so nervous that I could have 
cried. Beside, there is a boy in that tent — an 
awful boy with no arms, who swears so fright- 
fully (all the time he isn't screeching for currant 
pie, or fried meat, or some other indigestible), 
that he turns you blue as you listen. , 

jThe whole staff of the Wilson Small seems 
now to have scattered and " fallen back " on 
Washington. The letter of July 21 is from 
Miss Katherine P. Wormeley. She and Mrs. 
William P. Griffin had been delightful 
friends to us. We were the four " staff " 
women on the Wilson Small through the 
whole Peninsular campaign. Miss W. came 
home on our old hospital ship the Daniel 



/ 



404 LETTEF.S OF A FAMILY 

Webster, in charge of her last load of 
wounded from the Peninsula, Mrs. Griffin 
remaining at Hampton Roads in a receiving 
hospital for some weeks longer. 

J/m Wormel^y to G. 

Newport. R. I., July 21st, '62. 

Dear Geor^v : How did vou take to civili- 
/ 
/ zation ? I got along perfectly till I was caught 

going off the boat without paving my fare. 
Captain T's mother was on board, which was a 
capital thing, and induced him to behave him- 
self. I found intimate friends on board who 
were dear to me because they escorted me to 
supper. Georg)- 1 if you ever take passage on 
the Metropolis, go down to supper for my sake 
and imagine how it affected me. My friends 
rather apologized for their desire to go down ; 
for my part all I could do was to conceal my 
disappointment at not being able to eat every- 
thing. It seemed to me there was everything 
good that I had ever heard of, ending with 
p>eaches and ice cream. 

e wounded captain into an express 
-_. e nearest thing to an ambulance) and 

got home myself at 4 o'clock, to be finely cackled 
over by Mother. The next day the town called 
on me. beginning, like a Fourth of July proces- 
sion, with the mayor and clerg\-. The next day 
I staved in bed:.!! :.::er visiting: hours. Bv-the- 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 465 

by, isn't a bed delicious? I can't believe it is 
the same mattress, the same blanket and sheets 
that I had before I went away. Of course you 
know that Dr. Wheaton with 1,700 men are 
here (six miles from here). Excursion boats 
run from here and from Providence to the 
camp. It is the fashionable drive, and the dear 
creatures are all female sutlers with baskets of 
pies and cakes and pickles and sweetmeats. 
Colonel Vollum is here. I have sent him 
word that if I can do anything sensible with 
authority I will, meanwhile I do not intend 
going near the camp. ... I am truly sorry that 
Colonel Howland's furlough is shortened. 
Fanny Russell told me about it, and we spent 
all the time we were together in adoring " Mrs. 
H." I have said one hundred times " I will tell 
that to Georgy," but behold I have forgotten 
everything. Yesterday was a happy day to me, 
the dear little chapel was so peaceful and full of 

love and praise. I thought of Mr. as I sat 

there. . . . No large mind doubts God or the 
excellence of life with Him merely through 
looking at the mean lives of others. 

Good-bye, love to Mrs. Howland and C. W. W. 
I am yours faithfully, 

K. P. WORMELEY. 

J. H. kept up constant communication 
Mrith the i6th and his commanding generals. 



466 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

always in the hope of going back, in spite of 
all discouragements. 

Gen. Henry W. Slocum writes to him : 

Harrison's Landing, July 19, '62. 
My dear Colonel : Yours of the 16th has 
just come to hand. I am sincerely glad that 
you are doing so well and I shall be rejoiced 
to see you back. I think the major is doing 
well, but there is nothing like having the head 
present. Still I hope you will not think of 
returning till you are fully recovered. If you 
come back feeling weak, you will be obliged to 
leave again. This climate is very debilitating, 
and nearly all the officers, even the strongest, 
are affected by it. . . . My advice to you is to 
remain at home until some move is made here. 

... As to your conduct and that of your 
regiment on the 27th, I hear but one opinion — 
all speak in terms of praise, the strongest terms. 

. . . General Franklin told me to say to you 
that you must not come back till you are well. 
He (Franklin) is about half sick. I am in the 
same condition — too sick to be worth much 
and too well to go home. . . . Remember me to 
Mrs. Howland and tell Miss Georgy that her 
favor has been received and that I will " follow 
them with a sharp stick " as requested. 
Yours truly, 

H. W. Slocum. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 467 

By July 22 Joe could not be kept away j. h. re- 
from the army, and only half well, he Mr/egi"- 
started back, probably in a hospital return |||^^^"'- 
boat, to the regiment at Harrison's Landing, i^^eaks 

T 1 1111 • down 

It was, however, only to break down again, again. 
The Historical Sketch of the i6th, prepared 
for their reunion at Potsdam in 1886, says: 
" Colonel Howland visited the regiment for 
the first time since the battle of Gaines' Mill, 
His suffering was plainly seen, and the men 
showed their love for him by going to his 
tent and relieved each other's guard, so that 
everyone might take him by the hand.'' 
E. writes him from Astoria, July 23 : — 

Dear Joe : It is the dull twilight of a dull 
November-like day and I am afraid you have 
had a cold, dreary passage. Once at Harrison's 
Landing, however, cold weather will be better 
and healthier for you than hot. I suppose you 
must have arrived to-day. . . . Georgy and I 
drove out yesterday with Robert, found Mary 
well and the children asleep. To-day we have 
had the full benefit of them within doors and 
have fought with the little rebel Bertha and 
played with the strange child Una, and studied 
the fascinations of the little new baby, most of 
the time. Georgy is an unusually sweet, bright 
little baby, and Una is a real beauty. Bertha's 



468 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

affectionate greeting was : " I throw you in the 
bushes, and pull your head off for me dinner." 

. . . The Elizabeth at Harrison's Landing is 
the Sanitary Commission store boat and has 
plenty of hospital clothing and supplies, and the 
Medical Director's boat has plenty of farinaceous 
food, farina, arrowroot, etc. . . . 

E. and G. meantime were planning to join 
the hospital service again, and keep near Joe, 
under the Sanitary Commission auspices. 

Frederick Law Olmsted to E. W. H. 

U. S. Sanitary Commission, 
New York Agency, 498 Broadway. 

New York, 25th July, 1862. 
Dear Mrs. Howland : I have just received 
your note of the 22d. 

It is expected that the "Euterpe" will leave 
here on Saturday for Old Point, there to "await 
orders." Dr. Jenkins writes me that Dr. Cuyler 
changed his mind and his orders about the use 
of the hospital vessels two or three times a day, 
and he could form no plans. . . . 

I hope some decided and tangible line of work 
may be determined on. At present everything 
remains as when we left James River. . . . 

The Commission would, of course, be glad to 
have you and your sister take passage upon the 
returning hospital ship if you wish ; and you can 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 469 

do SO without placing yourself under any obli- 
gation to remain upon her. You could, upon 
arrival at Fortress Monroe, determine, by con- 
sultation with Dr. Jenkins, whether you could 
find duty at Berkely. Most respectfully yours. 

Early in August J. H. broke down once 
more with malarial fev^er and was sent home 
by the army surgeons, this time not to return 
to the regiment, and our going to the front 
was given up. 

E. W. H. to Mother. 

FlSHKILL, Aug. 15. 

Dear Mother : In answer to my letter Dr. 
Draper came up yesterday noon and stayed till 
this afternoon. . . . The visit was part profes- 
sional and part for pleasure and was satisfactory 
in both ways. He finds Joe improving, though 
more slowly than he had hoped, but he says he 
must not think of returning to camp. That if 
fever got hold of him again he would stand 
very little chance of recovery. It would per- 
manently break down his constitution, if it was 
not immediately fatal. ... It is very disap- 
pointing. He hoped to gain fast enough to go 
back the end of this month, and is greatly de- 
pressed about it, for he has made up his mind 
that vmder the circumstances it is great injustice 
to the regiment and to Major Seaver to continue 



470 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



to hold his commission, getting the credit as it 
were, while the Major has all the care and 
responsibility. He wishes to do only what is 
most for the interests of the service. 



J. H. J. H. resigned from the service by the ad- 

frolfthe vice of Dr. W. H. Draper of New York, 
service, 'whose mcdical certificate stated that he was 
suffering from extreme nervous exhaustion 
and debility, and was unfit for duty. The 
resignation was received by his superior 
officers with expressions of great regret, and 
letters full of affection poured in upon him. 

General Bartlett, commanding the brigade, 
writes : 

Headquarters 2d Brigade. 
Sept. 4th, 1862, " Camp Franklin," Va. 

Dear Hoivland : I received your papers just 
as we were embarking at Newport News, and you 
cannot imagine how badly I felt at the thought 
that perhaps we should never be associated 
together in the field again, and perhaps never 
again see each other. We all agreed that you 
ought not to come back, all seemed actuated by 
the same feeling of love for you and all ex- 
pressed their sorrow that you would no longer 
be with us. . . . 

The old i6th are still "A. No. i." 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 471 

General Bartlett writes again : 

Headquarters 2D Brigade, 

Near Bakersville, Md. 

Oct. ist, 1802. 

My dear Howland : I enclose to you the 
acceptance of your resignation and honorable 
discharge from the service. 

I had much rather it had been your appoint- 
ment as brigadier, for I don't believe the service 
can afford to lose many such officers, and yet I 
would rather see you recover your health and 
strength than to be made a major-general, my- 
self. ' 

On the 14th of August — McClellan's at- ompoor 
tempt to reach Richmond via the Chicka- reuTats 
hominy swamps having proved a disastrous p™™,,"'*^ 
failure — the transfer of the army to Wash- ^uia. 
ington began. 

Lieutenant Robert Wilson of J. H.'s regi- 
ment wrote home at the time a letter which 
might easily have come from any regiment 
in the Army of the Potomac. " Six days' 
march," he says, " to Newport News, chok- 
ing with dust, parched with thirst, melting 
by day and freezing by night, poorly fed and 
with nothing but the sky to cover us. You 
can judge of our exhausted condition when 
I tell you that six miles before we reached 



472 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



the camp at Newport News the i6th Regi- 
ment, N. Y. Vols., numbered only 184 men in 
the ranks, though men straggled in, so that 
there were 400 in the morning, and the 16th 
is no straggling regiment. Next day embarked 
on transports and arrived at Alexandria, sor- 
rowful and humiliated when looking back 
over a 3^ear and finding ourselves on the 
same ground as then. The debris of the 
Grand Army had come back to its starting 
place with its ranks decimated, its men dis- 
spirited, its morale failing, while the thou- 
sands who sleep their last sleep on the Penin- 
sula demand the cause of their sacrifice." 
Second The retreat from the Peninsula was almost 
Battle"" immediatel3% (August 29, '62,) followed by 
the "Second Bull Run" disaster, which 
again filled the Washington and Alexandria 
hospitals to overflowing and taxed the hos- 
pital workers to the utmost. Chaplain Hop- 
kins, still on hard service in Alexandria, 
writes: 

Office of General Hospital, 

12 O'clock Sunday Night. 
Alexandria, August 31st, 1862. 

My dear Mrs. Howland : These days are more 
terrible than any thing the nation has yet seen, 
and their horrors are at our very doors. Yes- 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



473 



terday we sent 375 men to the north, and 433 
to-day, and yet to-night we have opened a hall 
where, strewn on the floor, without even blank- 
ets, lie scores of wounded men unattended, with 
rebel lead festering in their bodies, but thankful 
for even that accommodation. Many of them 
came all the way from the battlefield in horrid 
army-wagons after lying in the rain and mud 
upon the field through the night ; — patient, 
unmurmuring men. The best of New York 
and Boston blood oozes from their undressed 
wounds. I have just come from doing all that 
I could for them and am resting for the next 
train, which we momentarily expect at the foot 
of Cameron Street. . . . You have seen all this 
at Harrison's Landing, but in my wildest dreams, 
when I first reported to you in Washington, I 
never thought of such scenes. Through all the 
wards confused heaps of torn and dirty clothes 
and piles of bloody bandages, tired attendants 
doing their best to make comfortable the poor 
fellows torn and mangled with shot and shell 
in every imaginable way. Things now, from 
what I hear in the hall, are coming into order, 
several surgeons having just reported themselves 
to Doctor Summers, besides large numbers of 
citizen attendants from the departments in Wash- 
ington and from this city, too. 

By the time this reaches you the papers will 
have informed you that last night the main part 



474 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



of our army on the left wing was compelled to 
fall back on Centreville. This morning the 
whole army was concentrated there, utterly dis- 
organized, with the exception of Sumner's Corps 
and some other fresh troops just arrived. They 
formed in front with their splendid artillery, and 
the rest of the army began to gather itself up 
for fresh encounters. The fight began again at 
three o'clock this afternoon, and men who left 
there at four o'clock say that it was going 
against us. God grant that the tide may have 
since turned. 

Don't apprehend our capture here, for the forts 
have been fully manned and supplied with am- 
munition ; besides, we are going to whip them 
on the present battlefield to-morrow. I hear the 
whistle of the expected train with wounded and 
must stop this hasty letter. 

The tide did turn. Chaplain Hopkins' 
prayer was answered. The "fight which 
began at 3 " the afternoon he wrote, ended 
with the repulse of the rebels by McDowell, 
and our troops rested that night at Centre- 
ville. There was a drop of comfort for H. 
H.'s poor men in the knowledge, later, that 
their courage and suffering had not been all 
in vain, though the poor army was again, 
after all its frightful losses, just where it 
stood in March, six months before. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



475 



Chaplai7i H. H. to G. 

Alexandria Hospital, Sept., 1S62. 

My dear Miss Woolsey : In great haste I 
write to say that to dispense anything which 
will do the bodies of these poor sufferers good 
will be a most welcome task. . . . Outside of 
the house, at the Mansion Hospital, we fed 
1,100, 1,900, 2,100, and 1,600 patients passing 
North on successive days, so that those inside 
suffer some lack of care and of good food. Last 
night 75 came in from beyond the lines by flag 
of truce. I thought I had seen weary and worn- 
out human beings before, but these bloody, 
dirty, mangled men, who had lain on the battle- 
field, some of them two and three days, with 
wounds untouched since the first rude dressing, 
and had ridden from near Centreville in ambu- 
lances, were a new revelation. We cut their 
clothes from them, torn and stiff with their own 
blood and Virginia clay, and moved them inch 
by inch onto the rough straw beds ; the poor hag- 
gard men seemed the personification of utmost 
misery. But some of them were happy. One 
nobleman who attracted me by the manliness of 
his very look in the midst of his sufferings, when 
I spoke to him of the strong consolations of a 
trust in the Saviour, threw his arms about my 
neck and told me, weeping, that for him they 
were more than sufficient. Some of these fel- 
lows I love like brothers and stand beside their 



476 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

graves for other reasons than that it is an 
official duty. . . . 



■Mor- It was for such heroic sufferers as the 

ally 
Wound- 



'^"^ " nobleman " described by Chaplain Hopkins 



^''*" that Mary wrote these verses: 

" Mortally Wounded." 

I lay me down to sleep. 
With little thought or care 

Whether my waking find 
Me here — or there ! 

A bowing, burdened head, 
Only too g'ad to rest, 

Unquestioning, upon 
A Loving breast. 

My good right hand forgets 
Her cunning now ; 

To march the weary march 
I know not how. 

I am not eager, bold. 

Nor strong, — all that is past ! 

I am willing not to do. 
At last, at last ! 

My half-day's work is done, 
And this is all my part : 

I give a patient God 
My patient heart ; 

And grasp His banner still, 
Though all its blue be dim ; 

These stripes, no less than stars, 
Lead after Him. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 477 

Weak, weary and uncrowned, 

I 3'et to bear am strong ; 
Content not even to cry, 
"How long! How long!" 



Mr. Lincoln's call for 300,000 more troops caiifor 

300,000 
was being answered. All over the country answer- 
camps were being formed and boys drilled 
in all the pleasant villages of the land. 
Mother and all of us went to rest awhile, 
after Charley and G. came home, in Litch- 
field, and watched the drilling and recruiting. 

A. H. W. to H. G. 

Litchfield, Sept. 3, 1862. 

My dear Hatty (Gilman): I should like you 
to see the beautiful camp of the 19th C. V. here 
before it is all broken up. We are to have a \ 
flag presentation from Mr. Wm. Curtis Noyes, 
and a religious farewell service was appointed 
to be held to-day in the Congregational Church. 
Good Dr. Vail will pray, I dare say, as he did 
on Sunday : " God bless our 19th Regiment, 
the colonel and his staff, the captains, and all the 
rank and file." . . . 

The calm air, the physical comfort and peace 
we have here, make mental peace easier I sup- 
pose. We cannot be too thankful, we say to 
each other, that we are not in New York, heated 



478 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

and tired and despondent. It is infinitely sad, 
all this desperate fighting and struggling ; this 
piecemeal destruction of our precious troops, 
only to keep the wolves at bay. But how well 
the country is going to bear it ! I suppose 
these poor, innocent, confident new lives will be 
in the thickest of the fight at once. They will 
have their wish ! be put to the immediate use 
for which they enlisted. . . . I grow stony and 
tearless over such a inass of human grief. I am 
lost in wonder, too, at the generalship, the dar- 
ing and endurance of the Southern army. We 
are to fight it out now, even if it becomes exter- 
mination for us and them. . . . 

A camp for sick and wounded had been 
established at Portsmouth Grove, near New- 
port, R. 1., and as a matter of course it 
appealed to Miss Wormeley, its near neigh- 
bor. She was allowed only a short rest 
before earnest request came to her to take 
charge of the nursing there. We were all 
hankering for our active life in the thick of 
the fight. Mr. Olmsted used to say : 

"My heart's in the Pamunkey." 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 479 

G. to E. W. H. 

Litchfield, Conn., Aug. 26, '62. 

Miss Wormeley had a nice note from Mr. p°''"'- 

Olmsted which she sent me to read and which I Grove 

returned to her — all about "the staff" on the "°^p''^' 

pro- 
Wilson Small — complimentary, but saying that posed to 

he wonders at himself for having been at the '"•'^'^^• 
head, and never could attempt to say how he 
felt towards all those who were associated with 
him. She wrote to ask his opinion about ac- 
cepting the directorship at Portsmouth Grove 
Hospital. ... I can't find her note. It told me 
that the Surgeon-General, Hammond, had been 
to see her and had asked her to take the lady 
directorship. She hesitated and he sent the 
surgeon-in-charge to see her, who wouldn't take 
" no " for an answer ; said he liked women, and 
agreed at once to write for Dr. Robert Ware. 
He did write, but the Dr. could not be found.* . . . 
She asks what I think about it. I advised her 
to take it, and if she could not live in the hos- 
pital, to go out several times a week, and keep 
her paw on it, and insist upon order and sys- 
tem in the housekeeping department and kitchen 
arrangements. I hope she will, it is too good a 
chance to miss, and it is certainly a great com- 
pliment from the Surgeon-General. 

*Dr. Ware volunteered for service further South, and 
died there of fever contracted on duty. 



48o LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

The interchange of letters between Miss 
Wormeley and G. ended in an agreement 
that they should join hands again for hos- 
pital work at Portsmouth Grove, and as G. 
made bold to propose your Aunt Jane and 
Sarah Woolsey as co-laborers, all three of 
them were given the chance they coveted. 
Miss Wormeley's plan for organizing will 
give you an idea of your aunts' duties thirty- 
six years ago. 

Miss Wormeley to G. 

Newport, Sept. 5th, '62. 
Plan of My dear Georgy : I found the new surgeon 

Ports- ""^ inclined to one woman for each ward (tvventy- 
moiith eight wards or barracks, of sixty men in each). 

Grove 

Hospital I hunted him out of that idea however. Every- 
thing in the domestic management of the hos- 
pital being left to me, I shall gently avail myself 
of the courtesy. Now then for your advice. 
My ideas are these. Please give your decided 
opinion on them. To give five wards, sixty 
beds to each ward, to the superintendence of five 
friends — you, your sister, cousin, H. Whetten, 
and a lady here whom I esteem and consider 
efficient. Under these I should put one, two, or 
three women nurses, as occasion may require. 
These five ladies would be responsible for every- 
thing connected with their wards, in general. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 481 

You know what general supervision means, — 
cleanliness, beds, linen, due washing thereof, 
etc., etc., in all of which the women under you 
should do the actual work whilst you see that 
they do it. . . . I want to have the men in- 
telligently looked after, as only a lady can. I 
should therefore wish that the ladies should go 
round with the surgeons invariably — to make 
short notes of each patient's treatment, medicine, 
and diet. Medicines I should want her to make 
sure were properly and timely given. The spe- 
cial diet lists ordered by the surgeon I should 
wish to be handed in to me as soon as practica- 
ble. I shall put a special diet kitchen at each 
end of the Barrack St. with a female cook in 
each, whom I shall attend to myself. . . . 

This is in general a sketch of my ideas. What 
do you say? Will you come? ... I want to 
point out to you that no ladies have ever been 
allowed to come into a U. S. General Hospital in 
this way — much less warmly requested, and 
thanked, and confided in, as we are, — for of 
course it has nothing personal to myself in it ; 
it is General Hammond's first cordial reception 
and experiment of ladies in hospital, and is in 
consequence, as he told me, of the grateful 
sense he had of what we did at White House. . . . 

Now as to our own living there. A house is 
building for us, to be finished by the 12th of 
this month. It has bedrooms for all the female 



482 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

nurses, a dining-room for ditto, an office for me. 
We shall have to carpet our own rooms, and 
adorn them as we see fit ; the Government sup- 
plies the common necessities of a bed, etc., for 
the nurses in general. . . . 

I should want to have you with me at the 
start. Can you arrange to come ? . . . 

Write me at once, please. What a vile place 
you are in ; the mails take a week to go. 

A. H. W. to H. Gilman. 

Litchfield, Sept. 22. 
Charley Charley is trying for a Lieutenancy in one 

iseda of the new regiments, and Governor Morgan 
has promised, as all governors do, to "see about 
it." This is going to be a great drain on 
Mother's spirits and strength, if the application 
succeeds, and will bring us all continued per- 
sonal interest and anxiety. 

Georgy was telegraphed ten days ago to come 
immediately to Newport to a great military 
barrack hospital. 

On September 17th the fierce battle of 
Antietam was fought by the Army of the 
Potomac,— a drawn battle, little better than 
a defeat for us ; and though the rebels retired 
there was no following up on our part, and 
no result worth the enormous loss of life. 



Lieuten- 
ancy. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 483 

And now the moment had come for the 
war-measure Mr. Lincoln had held in re- 
serve. The Government had been fighting 
to uphold the Government, and announcing 
all along that if the abolition of slavery- 
proved needful to that end, then slavery 
should cease. 

On September 22, 1862, Mr. Lincoln issued Abon- 
a preliminary proclamation declaring that in slavery 
all States found in rebellion on January i, fj^°™" 
1863, slaves should "thenceforth and forever 
be free." Congress, however, delayed to 
take the action urged upon them by the 
President, until the time limit expired. 

J. S. W. to a friend abroad. 

8 Brevoort Place, N. Y. 

October, 1862. 

The fighting at Cedar Mountain and Gaines- 
ville and on futile fields of Manassas, the mys- 
terious ups and downs of commanders, the great 
invasion scare, the mean dissensions and the sad 
delays, have kept us constantly agitated, the 
more so that we were in the tauntingly still and 
sweet country, where the newspaper train was 
sure to fail in great emergencies. There was a 
time, — I confess it because it is past, when your 
correspondent turned rather cold and sick and 
said " It is enough ! " . . . and when my sister 



484 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

' Abby, (who acknowledged the Southern Con- 

,, federacy when the rebel rabble got back unpur- 

ijL- ' ^:' sued across the river from Winchester), went 

i\^.*^* _ about declaiming out of Isaiah, " To what pur- 

.'^^ pose is the multitude of your sacrifices; your 

country is desolate, strangers devour it in your 
presence." . . . We came out of that phase, how- 
ever, at any rate I did, and concluded that 
despondency was but a weak sort of treason ; 
and then with the first cool weather came the 
Proclamation, like a 

" Loud wind, strong wind, blowing from the mountain," 

and we felt a little invigorated and thanked God 
and took courage. ... In Litchfield we fol- 
lowed with great interest the growth of the 19th 
Connecticut recruited in that county, all the 
little white crumbs of towns dropped in the 
wrinkles of the hills sending in their twenty, 
thirty, fifty fighting men ; Winsted, Barkhamsted, 
Plymouth companies, and companies clubbed 
by the very little villages, marching under our 
windows every day to the camp ground. Almost 
all the young men in Litchfield village have 
gone ; the farmers, the clerks in the shops, the 
singers in the choir. Who is to reap next year's 
crops ? Who is to sow them ? Everyone spoke 
well of the new recruits. There was not a parti- 
cle of illusion for them. They understood very 
well to what they were going ; disease, death, a 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 485 

common soldier's nameless grave. They made 
themselves a new verse to the marching song : 

"A little group stands weeping in every cottage door, 
But we're coming, Father Abraham, three hundred 
thousand more." 

General Tyler went over to Danielsonville 
to look at a company just raised in that town, 
and was waited on to know if another company 
would be accepted. " If it is here this time 
to-morrow," he answered in jest. // was there. 
It is not altogether a question of bounty. A 
fine young fellow came into our hotel a day or 
two after the bounty-giving ended, to inquire 
the way to camp. Charley asked him, "Why 
didn't you come before the pay stopped.''" 
"That's just what I was waiting for," he an- 
swered ; and a dozen men went from the village 
to whom the bounty could offer not the slightest 
inducement. The Congregational clergyman 
told us he looked over the growing list of names 
with tears, knowing what good names they were 
and how ill they could be spared. But the 19th 
Connecticut is no better than a hundred other 
regiments. There are very few men in the i8th 
Connecticut who are not persons of weight and 
value in their community, cousin Mary Greene 
says. And see how they fight ! Look at the 
Michigan Seventh at Sovith Mountain. The 
Michigan Seventh was two weeks old. And 



486 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

yet it is coming to us from over the sea that we 
can't get men, and if we do they will run ! . . . 

The generalship and fighting of the rebels 
is also certainly very fine — corn-cobs and no 
shoes are pathetic when one forgets the infa- 
mous cause. . . . Their "obsolete fowling-pieces" 
go off with considerable accuracy, says a mal- 
content at my elbow. 

When we came to town last week the streets 
seemed full of anxious and haggard faces of 
women, and when I caught sight of my own 
face in a shop glass I thought it looked like all 
the rest. The times are not exactly sad, but a 
little oppressive. . . . G. and I cannot stand it 
any longer and we are off to-morrow. We are 
in the government service now and entitled to 
thirteen dollars a month !* We are going into 
exile — a blessed exile. 

vS". C. W. to G. at Portsmouth Grove. 

New Haven, October, '62. 

And now for Miss Wormeley's delightful let- 
ter ; my dear, it sounds too good to come true, 
all of it, and yet I can't help thinking that Provi- 
dence smiles on the scheme and will bring about 
papa's consent. . . . We shall have it working 
beautifully in a short time, I see — and oh, G., 

* At the Portsmouth Grove Hospital, as assistants to 
Miss Wormeley. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 487 

what a happy winter we shall have ! . . . Abby 
remarks in her last to Mary — " Sarah 's going 
and Jane's (! !) I regard in the light of an 
agreeable fiction, but it will do for them to play 
at for a little while." . . . 

I shall be ready any day after Monday. 

A. H. W. to G. 

New York, October 6th. 

Jane wishes me to tell you that she leaves 
here by the same route that you took for Ports- 
mouth Grove, on Wednesday, 8 a. m. She has 
sent word to Sarah to meet her on the train at 
New Haven. . . . 

Charley proposes that you shall call your 
house the (H)'Omestead, in compliment to 
F. L. Olmsted. 



Charley's determination to join the army chariey 

joins t' 
Army. 



in the field at last had its way, and Mother's '°'"^""' 



letter gives us the first news of his com- 
mission. Mothers in those two years had 
learned that sons were first of all defenders 
of the flag, and joining the army had come 
to be a matter of course in families where 
any sober view of life was taken. 



488 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Mother to G. 

Library, No. 8. 
Thursday, October 2d. 

My dear Georgy : I was charmed to get your 
pencil note this morning. . . . An hour after 
you left for Portsmouth Grove, Charley arrived 
at the door in his wagon, Pico and all, very 
sorry to have missed you. . . . Oh, Georgy, I 
do miss you greatly : in the parlor, up stairs, 
in my bed, morning, noon, and night, and my 
heart craves you all the while. 

Charley has had a letter from Governor Mor- 
gan telling him he can have a lieutenancy in an 
Irish brigade, Colonel Burke. He has gone off 
this morning full of business, and says he shall 
accept it at once. There are so many other 
positions in which he might serve his country 
that / should have preferred for him ! . . . Do 
let us hear as often as possible, dear G. Tell us 
just how you found things, and what you have 
forgotten — your flask for one thing. Make my 
regards acceptable to Miss Wormeley, and always 
love your loving Mother. 

E. W. H. to Chaplain H. H. 

December, '62. 

Charley, you may have heard, has gone into 
the service as lieutenant in the 164th, but he was 
detached at once for staff duty and is aide to 
General Burnside and a member of good old 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 489 

General Seth Williams' mess — just where we 
would most like to have him. We have heard from 
him up to Saturday morning, the day of the bat- 
tle, and are not yet very anxious about him. . . . 
Georgy and Jane are hard at work at Ports- 
mouth Grove, terrors to evil-doers as well as 
good friends to those who need it. They and 
the other ladies have effected many reforms and 
won the respect and confidence of all concerned 
except the mutinous convalescents and the lying 
stewards, whom they pursue like avenging fates. 
We were very glad to hear of your work after 
those dreadful days of the " Second Bull Run." 
... I write principally to ask what I can do to 
help you take care of the wounded. . . . You 
know I want to do all I can now that I am 
unable to be there myself. You must call upon 
me freely. 

On November 8th McClellan had been re- 
lieved of command and Burnside had super- 
seded him. On December 13 was fought the 
first battle of Fredericksburg, with the rebel 
Lee victorious. Few or no letters mark 
these anxious months. 

And so the second year of the war came 
to an end without any sound of public cheer 
or private rejoicing. There is no mention in 
the letters of Christmas fun, even for the 



McClel- 
lan re- 
lieved of 
com- 
mand. 



49° 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



children, while our poor defeated Army of 
the Potomac was huddled into Fredericks- 
burg with the loss of 13,000 men. As a fam- 
ily we were again scattered, some of us in 
hospital work and Charley in the field. One 
window, though, was opened Heavenwards, 
since for three million slaves, across the 
blackness of a civil war 

"God made himself an awful rose of dawn." 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 
1863 



CHAPTER XI. 

On the 22nd of September, 1862, a gleam Emand- 
of light had shone, the President had issued l^,l[°" 
his preliminary proclamation of emancipa- <:'a''"«<i- 
tion ; and now on January ist, 1863 came the 
announcement of full liberty to the captives. 

Extract from the Proclamation. 

"I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the 
United States, by virtue of the power vested in 
me as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and 
Navy of the United States, . . . and as a neces- 
sary war-measure, ... do order and declare that 
all persons held as slaves (within the states in 
rebellion) are, and henceforward shall be free." 

The passage by Congress of the 13th 
Amendment to the Constitution followed, 
extending emancipation to all parts of the 
United States and its territories. 

A. H. W. writes, Jan., '6j : 

I improved yesterday to my satisfaction in 
reading the President's proclamation. "The 
Lord reigneth, let the earth rejoice! " 



494 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



And so Abbfs war had ended in victory: 
ours was carried on for more than two years 
longer. 

c.w.w. The second year of the war closed with 
front. Charley's commission for active duty in the 
field. He must have left at once ; two muti- 
lated scraps from a note of Hatty's are the 
only record. All else is lost. 

"Charley appeared just now in full Lieuten- 
ant's uniform and looks so tall and brave that I 
should scarcely know him." 

And— 

" Charley did not get off this morning ; a 
young scamp of an aide was walking about 
here in town, with papers directed to Charley in 
his pocket, and C. spent the day in trying to 
find him." 

The only letter at this time in Charley's 
handwriting is from the front, to Eliza, Jan- 
uary 14, 1863, reporting the i6th New York. 

— "The camp is in a pleasant place near White 
Oak Church. The General and I have estab- 
lished a friendship ; he is not too much of a 
Brigadier for a young cuss of my size. The 
chaplain took me to see the hospital — new tents, 
nice large open fire-place, and but five sick men." 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



495 



Jane, Sarah Woolsey and G. were mean- 
time nicely established at the hospital six 
miles from Newport, R. I., with a jolly little 
thin board house built for the nursing staff; 
their rooms lo x lo, furnished from home 
with every comfort, and work fairly begun. 

/. S. W. to A. H. W. 

Portsmouth Grove, January, '63. 
Dear Abby : This morning in the grey (I Patients 
don't know how she managed to be up and p"ru^. ''' 
seeinar) Sarah looked in at the ventilator and "'°""' 

°' Grove 

announced, "Girls, there's a big black steamer Tiospitai 
off the hospital dock. — The soldiers have come !" 
She proved to be the Daniel Webster with 290 
men from Fredericksburgh, many of them ! There 
she lies at this writing, two o'clock, no tug hav- 
ing been got up from Newport, and the tide 
being so excessively low that she can't move in. 
They have boarded her in boats however, and 
report the men very comfortable — short, de- 
lightful trip from Fortress Monroe, plenty to 
eat and no very bad cases on board. . . . Every- 
thing is ready for 450. Clean wards, clean beds, 
clean clothes and the best of welcomes. Georgy 
and I, who have the medical division, will not 
profit much. We shall get the sulky old 
"chronics" and "convalescents," and Sarah and 
H. Whetten will have all the surgical cases ; 



496 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

but we shall go to see them all the same, and 
they shall have all our stores, soft towels, jelly 
and oranges. 

Shingling the barracks goes on bravely. I 
think things will be all so much finished to the 
satisfaction of Mr. Jefferso7i Davis, by spring, 
that he will perhaps retain us in oflfice ! .. . . 

7 p. M. The men are all safely landed, housed 
and suppered, and all the surgeons are busy 
dressing wounds. They must work all night. 
The men are bright as buttons and jolly. Tell 
Harriet Gilman that her shirts are blessing 
Fredericksburgh tnen to-night. 

Dr. Edwards, surgeon-in-charge, in the hand- 
somest way offers to turn out anybody we wish 
and put in anybody we wish, so if you know of 
any first-rate candidates amenable to female in- 
fluence, forward us their names. 

The boxes of home supplies now had 
Portsmouth Grove Hospital as their princi- 
pal destination. The following is one of the 
letters in return for supplies : 

The games, as well as the slates, which 
came in the boxes and barrels, are a great de- 
light. I have just been over to see Fitch and 
set him up at a solitaire board. He was all over 
smiles, and pegging away with his game in bed.) 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



497 



With another gift of tools, the boys in Ward 
20 knocked up a nice little bagatelle board with 
glass balls and a cambric cover. Ward 6 went 
over to inspect and imitate. They came back 
disgusted; "would scorn to play on such a 
thing ; would have a board on which a lady could 
dance a hornpipe, if she pleased." Highly im- 
probable that any one would please to do that, 
but I promised them that if they would make a 
first-rate board, they should have all that was 
necessary. So they went to work, and the result 
was a beauty. The table is seven or eight feet 
long, covered with scarlet flannel, and with 
turned balls and walnut cups, and the men of 
the ward have enjoyed every minute of its ex- 
istence for the past month. I have never gone 
in when there hasn't been a crowd round the 
table pushing balls or keeping count, and I 
really think that the health of the ward has im- 
proved under the treatment. 

Money spent in lemons for bronchitis, oranges 
for fever patients, mittens and socks for "con- 
valescents" (who have to go on guard in pud- 
dles of snow-water) and in games and tools for 
wretched, bored, half-sick, half-well, wholly de- 
moralized men, may not seem a great investment 
to the givers ; would not seem so to me, if I did 
not live in a general hospital, and know where 
Government munificence stops and where pri- 
vate beneficence may to advantage begin. 



498 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

The meals in our hospital mess-hall are nicely 
served and well cooked. At the beating of the 
drum the "convalescents" form in line, and 
march, by wards, into the long hall, where three 
lines of tables, each 250 feet long, are set. Last 
night, when we inspected the supper, there were 
shining tins up and down the tables with a very 
large portion of rice and molasses, hot coffee, 
and plenty of bread for each man, and many 
little pots of butter and jam came in under the 
Braves' arms, out of their home boxes, to help 
garnish the tea. 

This morning I was invited by a soldier to 
join him in a banquet over a box from home ; 
"and all I want beside," observed he, "is a lit- 
tle gin." " It is very lucky for you that there 
was none," was my answer, " or the whole box 
would have been confiscated." "Confiscated, 
indeed ! " returned the Brave ; " I should like 
to see that thing done. I'm none of your cream 
and chocolate men. I'd carry the case up to 
Abraham himself ! " 

The other day Miss was washing a boy's 

face very gently. "Oh!" said he, "that re- 
minds me of home — " (Miss highly grati- 
fied) ; "that's like my sister ; she often did that 
for me. My eyes ! wasnt she a rough one ! She'd 
take ofif dirt, and skin too, but she'd get the 
dirt off." 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 499 

G. to J. H. 

P. G. Hospital. 

Thank you, my Colonel, for the doughnuts 
and comic papers. They are just what the men 
prize most, and under every pillow I shall estab- 
lish a little nest of both ! . . . I always accom- 
pany a " Life of Headley Vicars " with a piece of 
chewing tobacco. . . . We are going to have a 
chapel in two weeks. At present it consists of 
eight holes in the ground and a tolerable fishing 
pond, but in one fortnight this will be a church 
and will stand next door to our house, leaving 
us no excuse for staying at home in the even- 
ing. We have embraced the puddles all along 
as argument against "protracted meetings." . . . 
Jane and Sarah and H. Whetten have just been 
relating their refreshing experiences for the day, 
in the next room. Miss Wormeley is down stairs 
getting up her official correspondence with the 
Surgeon and Q.-M. General. The diet tables 
are all made out and consolidated for to- 
morrow, and several reproving notes to ward- 
masters sent in to meet them at breakfast; and 
now, nothing comes except the usual burglar 
and as much sleep as this howling, driving 
storm will let us have. . . . 

From J. S. W. 

Portsmouth Grove. 

My dear Cousin Margaret : Now that I have 
been long enough in this place to have learned 



500 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



tolerably well my topography, the names and 
titles of my coadjutors, how to make out my diet 
books, etc., ... I can take breath (and " my pen " 
as the soldiers always say in their letters) to say 
that we are well and more than contented with 
our present position. . . . Georgy already has 
her "department" almost completely organized 
and supplied, and develops daily an amount of 
orderly foresight and comprehensive careful- 
ness which would astonish one who has watched 
her somewhat erratic career from childhood. I, 
who have always rather held myself up to her 
as a model of the non-spasmodic style, find my- 
self in secret and in reluctance borrowing ideas 
of her. She has found her work certainly, at 
least at present. . . . We are nine miles away, 
as Sarah pathetically observes, from a spool of 
cotton, and of course this has its effect. There 
was a time when Newport made it a sort of 
fashion, and curious crowds infested the wards 
with plum jam and cucumbers, but now " the 
season " at Newport is over and the supplies in 
a measure fall off. . . . We are fortunate in 
having a good and active young man for a 
chaplain. He has a large and very attentive 
audience on Sunday and at daily evening 
prayers, and it is quite refreshing to hear the 
full soldiers' chorus in all the good old hymns. 
Last Sunday two soldiers were received into the 
church and baptized. Mr. Proudfit is a Pres- 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



501 



byterian. ... As to our house, it would not 
be fair to call it a shanty, as the doctors have 
taken so much pains or pleasure in fitting it up. 
. . . The outer walls are double and filled in 
with paper shavings (I believe), and this, with 
large stoves, will keep us warm ; perhaps too 
warm some fine windy midnight. " Wooden 
walls" keep out all enemies according to the 
old song, but they don't keep out voices, for 
there is Georgy saying (I can hear it as if she 
were at my elbow), " I shall never be able to 
settle down into the conventionalities of society 
after the wandering life I have led these five 
years. Once a vagabond always a vagabond ; I 
shall marry an army surgeon and go out to the 
frontier ! " ... Miss Wormeley, our chief, is 
clever, spirited and energetic in the highest 
degree — a cultivated woman, with friends and 
correspondents among the best literary men 
here and in England, John Kenyon and the 
Browning family for instance, — a great capacity 
for business and not a single grain of mock- 
sentiment about her. . . . One good thing has 
happened to-day. Miss Wormeley is made 
agent of the Sanitary Commission here, with 
sole authority to draw and issue supplies, and 
we are to have an office full of comforts for the 
men at once. . . . 

P. S. — All the barracks are to be plastered, 
large bath-rooms and steam wash-house to be 



502 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



built immediately, bad men turned out and 
good ones put in. "The kid begins to go" and 
I can see by candle-light it's halfpast midnight 
and time I was dreaming an hour ago. 

A little item of interest for those of us who 
find "washing-day" a nuisance now, turns 
up in G's ward note-book — the washing-list 
for her barracks : 

" 1 20 sheets. 
60 shirts. 
70 towels. 
60 pillow-cases. 
Ditto drawers and socks. 
6 washing-machines, 300 pieces to each." 

1,800 pieces for her wards weekly. We 
were pretty clean, you see. 

What the children played in those days is 
shown b}' the following little letter: 

Little May Hoivlaiui to G. 

New York, January, 1863. 
Dear Aunty : Did you get my letter I wrote 
you from Moremamma's? You must come home 
now and nurse me, I have the chicken pox. . . . 
The children play that one is you, and the other 
Aunt Jane, and they play that the logs of wood 
are the soldiers. They get bits of ribbons for 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



503 



cravats. I am going to crochet a pair of slippers 
for the soldiers. I may as well scratch out that 
I have the chicken pox, for the doctor has just 
been here and said that I can go out. . . . 

A. H. IV. to G. 

New York, Feb. gth, 1863. 

Charley sends his " regrets " from Head- 
quarters for the Bond wedding. We get his 
letters with wonderful despatch. A letter writ- 
ten Saturday night delivered here by twelve 
on Monday ! General Williams had reached 
Falmouth again and will be very busy. The 
four grand divisions being abolished, the eight 
corps commanders report directly to Hooker, 
which doubles the work of his A. A. G. Char- 
ley is to have an office tent and one branch of 
the business to be assigned specially to him. 
General Williams will employ several such aides 
or clerks. . . . 

I have ordered for you ten copies of the Inde- 
pendent for three months, ten of the Methodist 
and ten of the Advocate. . . . 

Our service at Portsmouth Grove lasted 
only about five months. Sarah was the first 
to be called home, the family greatly alarmed 
over an outbreak of smallpox of the worst 
variety, with a number of deaths among our 
men. S. had to obey the call, leaving me 



504 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



(G.) in charge of her wards and this scrap of 
a note: "Number 41 ought to have soda- 
water and Q^^ beaten in wine every day — 
Eastman, near the door ; be good to him and 
to D, and C. and M., and read the Pickwick 
Papers to the poor fellow who blew himself 
up with gunpowder." 

S. came back for a little while, later, but 
our "staff" was broken up; Jane and I 
yielded to the home demand, went back to 
New York and did not return. 

S. C. W. expressed our common senti- 
ment: "Civilization is even more revolting 
than I supposed, and I pine all the time for 
our beloved Bohemia." 

G. writes to mother from Fishkill : " If 
you have any difficulty in deciding what we 
shall have for dinner, the Surgeon-General's 
diet-table for each day will be found among 
my papers; what is good enough for our 
soldiers will be even too good for us." 

Portsmouth Grove was before long turned 
into a convalescent camp. 

c.w.w. Charley was all this time at the headquar- 
dutyaf ^^'"^ °^ ^^^ army, assigned to duty on the 
Battle of Adiutant-General's staff. He has kept some 

Freder- ... 

icksburg of his original dispatches, sent to General 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



505 



Burnside from the fighting front at the first 
battle of Fredericksburg, because, as he says, 
he " was so green and young at that time." 
He writes: "The first time I went under 
fire I had a tremendous responsibility put 
upon me, to send back half-hourly reports to 
the commanding general, Burnside, of the 
way the battle was going. Later I had a 
thousand other quite as important duties, 
but this first plunge into the uproar of a 
great battle I can never forget." And zvc 
had been quieting our anxieties with the 
idea that "aides at headquarters were never 
much exposed ! " 

We have two or three of these hasty dis- 
patches in Charley's handwriting: 

" Headquarters Army of Potomac, 

April 30. 

Major General Howard : I have the honor to 
enclose to you the accompanying statement con- 
cerning the position and forces of the enemy. 
Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

Chas. W. Woolsey, 

Lt. and A. D. C" 
Copy of telegram : 

"The Major General commanding directs that 
General Sedgwick cross the river as soon as 



5o6 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



indications will permit, capture Fredericksburg, 
with everything in it, and vigorously pursue the 
enemy. 

(Signed) Brig. Genl. VanAlen. 
Per Charles W. Woolsey, A. D. C." 

Then a list of countersigns for the month, 
under Hooker, and best of all, a copy of this 
original paper written by Charley June 4th : 

" Major General Meade, co7nmanding ^th Corps. 

General : I have the honor of transmitting 
to you herewith a copy of a telegram just 
received from the President respecting sen- 
tences of Daily, Magraflfe and Harrington. 

(Signed) C. W. W., A. D. C" 

— and Charley had the pleasure of hurrying 
to Meade's headquarters with the reprieve 
of these men from sentence to be shot. 
These are among the very few papers con- 
nected with Charley's position at headquar- 
ters which are now in our possession, man)^ 
others having been lost in the Morrell fire. 

Mefnorandutn by C. IV. W. 

While in camp before Fredericksburg, 
"Snowden," the Seddons' house, was in full 
view on the other side of the river, inside the 
rebel lines. When the town was taken by us a 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 507 

guard was stationed at the house for its protec- 
tion, but the people in it were suspected of 
signaling, by lamps at night, to confederates in 
our (then) rear — the side of the river we had left. 
I was sent to Mrs. Seddons with a letter con- 
taining a word of advice to her in this connec- 
tion — it was probably a threat of very severe 
punishment if anything further occurred to 
excite suspicion. I do not remember seeing 
the letter, but I took lier reply, which she wrote 
while I waited. It is very plucky and to the 
point, unswerving in her loyalty to the rebel 
cause, and has quite the story-book smack to it. 

Here it is : 

" I, Mrs. Seddon, utterly deny and challenge 
the proof that any signals of any kind have been 
made from this house ' to parties on the other 
side of the river.' 

While Federal guards protect my property 
my hands are bound to refrain from serving a 
cause to which I would willingly sacrifice my 
life, but not my honor. 

Respectfully, Mary A. Seddon." 

Snowden, 
March 13, 1S63. 

The term of service for which thousands 
of men had enlisted was now ending; the 
old army organization w^as expiring by its 



5o8 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

own limitations. There were in this army, 
as in all others, mercenaries and shirkers, 
but the bulk of the volunteer forces was ot 
splendid and steadfast purpose. Early in 
the war this was seen with many of the three 
months' men; for example, the 2nd Connecti- 
cut, F. B.'s regiment. They kept their faces 
to the foe, and though their time was more 
than up, and they might have gone home 
with honor before the First Bull Run fight, 
they marched as a matter of course into 
that disaster, many of them never seeing 
again the wives and mothers who had be- 
lieved the days of danger and separation 
ended. The spirit of the veterans of two 
years is shown in the history of the last few 
days oi our i6th New York. Its time of ser- 
Thei6th vice expired May lo, 1863. The terrible 
YoHc's Chancellorsville campaign was its last and 
severest test, a few days only before the 
regiment was mustered out. 

Lieutenant Robert P. Wilson of the i6th, 
at this time Captain and A. A. G. on the 
brigade staff, wrote : 

I did not think we were to be attacked. It 
was so late, we were all so tired, the day had 
been one of such constant fighting, that I could 
not believe another engagement imminent ; but 



last 
battle 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



509 



as I was returning towards the General I saw 
him take off his hat in rear of a New Jersey 
regiment and cheer them on. The whole thing 
flashed upon me at once. I drew my sword, 
and felt that the test had come. ... I never felt 
prouder than when I saw the brave men of 
the i6th — each one of whom I knew — steadily 
advancing through the woods to what we knew 
was all but certain death. Their term of ser- 
vice nearly expired, their lives dearer than ever 
now, their hopes of home strong ; yet, flinging 
all these aside, thinking of nothing but duty 
and honor, they coolly dressed their line and as 
willingly entered the woods as if friends instead 
of foes lay behind. . . . For a moment we were 
irresistible and the rebels ran, but now from be- 
hind the rifle-pits in our front, which we had 
thought unoccupied, there rose up like magic 
a fresh line and into their very hearts at point- 
blank range poured the deadliest volley I ever 
saw. Our whole line melted before it. . . . The 
brigade when rallied was a sad sight : 687 men 
were gone, and but a remnant of each regiment 
was left to tell the fearful tale. . . . 

E. ]V. H. to A. H. W. 

May 9, 1863. 

Dear Abby : The loss of the i6th alone is 
placed at 20 killed, 83 wounded, and 64 missing 
— probably badly wounded and left behind. A 



5IO 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



frightful proportion : nearly half I should think. 
What a little handful are left to come home next 
week ! 

Colonel Woolsey Hopkins, Assistant Quar- 
termaster-General of Division, writes at this 
time to E. W. H., on the disbanding of the 
division. 

Stafford Court House, Virginia, 
May gth, 1863. 

My dear Mrs. Hoivland : This has been a 
sad day to me. We were ordered to a review 
of the ist division at 2 p. m. We rode silently 
and slowly to the field, and then down the front, 
stopping at regiments of 200 and 300 men. 
General Slocum would make some remark to 
the Colonel, and move slowly on. Thus we 
passed the infantry and artillery. The General 
then ordered all the commanding officers to the 
front, where he very feelingly addressed them ; 
thanking them for their services, and urging 
them to encourage their men. . . . 

There was a sad, proud look, in men and offi- 
cers, as of those who had just looked death in 
the face, as he seized companions on the right 
and left of them. The tattered flags riddled by 
bullets brought tears to my eyes, and that chok- 
ing sigh that came when I saw the i6th without 
our dear Colonel. 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 511 

One of the last acts of the i6th N. Y., be- sword 

. . , , . , and 

lore being mustered out ol service, was the Bibie. 
presentation of a superb sword, with sword- 
belt and sash, to their old Colonel, J. H., 
"as a mark of their regard for him as a man, 
a Christian, and a soldier." 

At the same time the enlisted men of the 
regiment, of their own motion, sent to 
E. W. H. a beautiful folio copy of the Bible, 
very valuable in itself and made still more 
so by the addition in binding of a full list 
of the donors' names. 

The following letter, written while the 
regiment was still at the front, accompanied 
the gifts ; — 

Headquarters i6th N. Y. Vols. 
Camp near White Oak Church, Va., 
April 25, 1863. 
Col. Joseph Howland. 

Dear Sir: The officers of the Sixteenth 
New York Volunteers desire to present you 
with the accompanying sword as a testimonial 
of their appreciation of the gallantry and abil- 
ity displayed by you while in command of the 
regiment during the Peninsular Campaign. 

The enlisted men of the regiment, feeling that 
Mrs. Howland has laid them under a deep debt 
of gratitude by her many contributions to their 



512 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



^comfort and by philanthropic labors in the hos- 
pitals, send the Bible for her acceptance. 
Very respectfully, 

W. B. Crandall, ] 

Pliny Moore, j- Committee. 

R. W. Wilson, ) 

y. S. IV. to a friend in Europe. 

Washington, May 25. 

Wash- We have just been spending a month in 

in^ise" Washington, my first visit since the war, and 
the city certainly looks like war-time, the white 
tents showing out of the green of all the hills, 
headquarters' flags flying above all the remain- 
ing bits of wood, and everywhere on the highish 
places, the long, low, dun banks of earthworks 
you get to detect so soon, looking like a western 
river levee. Then it is strange not to be able 
to go in the ferry-boat to Alexandria, or take an 
afternoon drive across the bridges into the 
country, without producing a document which 
sets forth over your names in full, — men and 
women, — that your purpose is pleasure visiting, 
and that you solemnly affirm that you will sup- 
port, protect and defend the Government, etc., 
against all enemies, domestic or foreign, etc., 
any law of any State to the contrary notwith- 
standing, so help you God, It was odd, too, at 
the opera one night, to see an officer of the 
Provost Guard come into the theatre between 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



SI, 



the acts and accost the gentlemen in front of 
us: "Sorry to trouble you, Major ; your pass if 
you please " ; and so, to every pair of shoulder- 
straps in the house. Then there are the great 
Barrack hospitals and the dwelling-houses 
turned into hospitals, the incessant drum-beat 
in the streets and the going and coming of 
squads of foot and horse, the huge packs of 
army-wagons in vacant lots, the armed sentinels 
at the public buildings, and all the rest of it. 
Washington certainly shows the grim presence. 
It is a calumniated city in some respects. It is 
as bright and fresh this springtime as any 
town could be. The sweet, early, half-southern 
spring is nowhere sweeter than in the suburbs 
of Washington ; on the Georgetown Heights, 
as \ve drove with Dr. Bacon up the river-edges 
to the Maryland forts or the great new arch 
" Union " of the new aqueduct, or down the 
river-edges by the horrible road, or went on a 
little breezy rushing voyage in a quartermas- 
ter's tug to Mount Vernon to see Miss Tracy, 
the lady who lives all alone with the Great 
Ghost, — all these little excursions are most 
charming. . . . But some days of our visit 
were dark ones,— the three or four inevitable 
days of doubt and lying despatches at the time 
of the Chancellorsville battles ; then the days 
when the truth came partially out (Mr. Sumner 
told one of our party last week that it has never 



514 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



yet come out) ; then the days when the wrecks 
drifted in, hospitals filled up and our hotel, 
being a quiet one, became almost a hospital for 
wounded officers. In the evening we used to 
hear the tugs screaming at the wharf ; soon 
after, carriages would drive up, a servant get 
out with one or two pairs of crutches, then a 
couple of young fellows, painfully hoisted upon 
them, would hobble in. Some were brought on 
stretchers. Then one day came our friends, 
Frank Stevens, ist New York, shot through the 
knee, and Captain Van Tuyl, shot through both 
legs ; then Lieutenants Asch and Kirby, one, 
arm gone, one, leg gone ; then Palmer and Best 
of the 1 6th, etc, Stevens was left on the field at 
Chancellorsville, taken prisoner, sadly neg- 
lected. But it is astonishing to see the cheerful 
courage of these young men. I went to see 
Captain Bailey, 5th Maine, with superfluous 
condolences. " In six weeks I shall be in the 
service again ; if they can't make me a marching 
leg I'll go into a mounted corps; you don't 
suppose I call that a ' disability ' ! " pointing to 
where his right leg used to be ; lying, pale and 
plucky, encouraging three other more or less 
mutilated men in the same room with him ; and 
much more in the same strain, like the music of 
Carryl, "pleasant and mournful to the soul." 
We saw a long train of rebel prisoners come in, 
not by any means, I am bound to say, ragged 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



515 



or gaunt or hungry-looking ; dirty, of course, 
with queer patchwork quilts in many cases for 
blankets ; some without shoes, some without 
hats, but fighting men, not starvelings, every 
one of them. Our friend Major Porter came up 
on the tug with one detachment. They opened 
their haversacks and ate their rations, which 
consisted in every case of crackers and sugar. 
One young fellow brought his blanket and 
spread it by Major Porter, to take a nap, say- 
ing, "Would you please wake me up, sir, when 
we pass Mount Vernon ? I'd like to take off my 
hat when we come to the place where Gentleman 
George Washington lived." . . . None of us 
know much about the retreat and the " reason 
why." The President was anxious and restless 
in those days, and went down to the tugs two or 
three times to see and talk with wounded offi- 
cers. Georgy met him by chance one morning 
in the White House garden, and found him 
greatly changed since last summer. He was 
walking slowly, eating an apple, dragging 
" Tad " along by the hand and gazing straight 
before him, afar off, — older, grayer, yellower, 
more stooping and harassed-looking. . . . 

Jane's letter, given above, happily con- 
tains also extracts from one of Charley's, 
after the Battle of Chancellorsville. 



5i6 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

c. w. \vs He writes May 8th : " We have forced the 
Chancel- ^"^ enemy out of their works and made them fight 
lorsviue. yg in the open, but instead of their 'ignomini- 
ously flying,' tve have retired in good order to 
the other side of the Rappahannock, and are 
in our old camp again, bitterly regretting that we 
pulled down our chimneys when we went for- 
ward. And why did we come back ? Nobody 
knows. It was not the storm, for when the 
order was given it was fine weather. Our posi- 
tion was strong. Everybody thought we could 
hold it for any length of time. I have been on 
the go of course, day and night ; no rest for the 
A.D.C. On Thursda)' night (April 30) I was 
sent to Potomac Creek to look for a missing 
battery ; then to the bridges to report progress ; 
was on duty tlie rest of the night opening des- 
patches, and back and forth all next day with 
orders to Gibbon. At 11.45 Saturday night I 
delivered to Sedgwick General Hooker's orders 
to cross the river at once, march on Fredericks- 
burg, capture everything in it and march by the 
flank road to Chancellorsville. The night march 
began immediately. At 10.30 next morning I 
found Sedgwick in one of the houses in the town 
and gave him the General's order to attack. 
He charged on the heights splendidly. Later 
in the day I took the order to General Gibbon 
to hold the town, and then went to Sedgwick, 
three miles beyond the town, to report progress. 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



517 



He was resting on the hills we have been look- 
ing at all winter. I reported to General Hooker 
up the river. The General said to me, " Mr. 
Woolsey, you will remain with me and take in 
all despatches that come." So I saw only 
Meade's fight, and was favored with communi- 
tions from " Father Abraham," (who knew very 
little of what was going on) ; from Peck, who 
ought to have walked into Richmond, and from 
corps commanders. On Tuesday night the 
army re-crossed about dark, the General started 
ofif suddenly and the staff scattered. He was 
just in time, the Rappahannock was rising, the 
pontoons shifting. I had to jump my horse 
from the last boat and wade him 20-30 feet, 
quite deep. The crossing of the artillery and 
infantry was tediously delayed. After some 
search I found General Hooker on the back 
porch of a little house high up on the river's 
bank ; the front rooms were filled with wounded. 
There were only three or four men with him; he 
looked very dejected and sad. The wet troops 
outside were toiling by in the mud and dark, in 
full retreat. The General and Butterfield nodded 
in their chairs before the fire. It was a melan- 
choly sight. The General sent me repeatedly to 
report from the bridges. ' Tell them,' he sent 
word, with great solemnity, 'tell them that the 
lives of thousands depend upon their efforts.' 
All night and all the early morning the troops 



5i8 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

came slowly in. It was with great difficulty 
that I could stem the crowd on the bridges to 
get back with messages to Meade, who was 
covering the rear. He expected to be harassed, 
but I do not know of a shot being fired. We 
are all very mucli disappointed, but do not 
believe that we are demoralized. I have heard 
hard things said of Hooker. Some of the head- 
quarters men use his name in a way that ought 
to be punished as rank insubordination. The 
congratulatory order is the subject of many 
sarcastic remarks. On authority I may state 
that this army will be filled up with conscript 
men, and I am disposed to think that Providence 
never intended the A. P. for anything but an 
army of observation. Let Hitchcock succeed 
Halleck and Dan Sickles Hooker, and I think 
we may all go abroad to live, with a clear con- 
science." 

About this time President Lincoln left 
Washington to visit the commanding Gen- 
eral at Headquarters, going by steamer to 
Aquia Creek. Charley, who must by this 
time have received his first promotion as 
Captain, was detailed to escort the President 
to the front, and arrived at the banks of the 
Potomac with a headquarters' ambulance and 
a fine led horse in charge of a lieutenant and 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 519 

guard. He met Mr. Lincoln, presented his 
credentials, offered the ambulance or horse, 
and asked for orders. " Well, Captain," the 
President said, "-You be boss,'' and seated 
himself in the ambulance, where by his side 
Charley had the honor and pleasure of a 
friendly talk during the long drive back to 
the army headquarters. 

F. B. having been on duty as Chief Medi- n 
cal Officer of Provisional Brigades for months 
in Washington, was now, in the early part of 
June, '^i, relieved from this duty, with orders 
to report to General Banks, commanding the 
Department of the Gulf. General Casey, on 
whose staff he was while in Washington, 
thanked him for his services in a highly com- 
plimentary general order, and he left for 
New Orleans, where he organized and took 
charge for nearly a year of the great St. 
Louis Hotel Hospital. After this he was 
made medical inspector, and then medical 
director of the department. He resigned 
late in the summer of '64, after nearly four 
years' service, to accept the Professorship 
of Surgery in Yale College. The following 
letter was written in '63 while he was still in 
charge of the New Orleans Hospital: 



Orleans 



520 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

F. B. to G. M. W. 

July 6th, 1863. 

My present experiment is trying whether I 
am equal to that American standard of ability 
"to keep a hotel," — the St. Louis Hotel, to wit. 
It is a fine building over in the French quarter 
of the city. Chocolate-colored old gentlemen 
with white moustaches, much given to wearing 
of nankeen and seersucker and twirling of bam- 
boo sticks, (whom tortures could not compel to 
speak three words of English, nor a general 
conflagration drive across Canal street into the 
American region,) prowl thereabout, and scowl 
French detestation at the interloping Yankee as 
he passes in and out of their national hotel. 
The rattle of dominoes, upon marble tables in 
cafes all about, is incessant, and on Sundays 
rises almost to the sublime. 

The St. Louis was a good hotel, but makes a 
bad hospital. I remonstrated as stoutly as I 
could against its being taken for the purpose, 
but, with a fixity of will which I would have 
preferred to see exercised in some other direc- 
tion, the order came for the St. Louis to be a 
hospital, and for me to be Surgeon in charge. 
So now, making the best of it, though my rooms 
are mostly small and my passages narrow, I 
have a superb marble entrance with two big 
lions, one dormant, one couchant, " to comfort me 
on my entablature." . . . 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



521 



The labor of starting the Hospital has been 
immense, . . . for nothing about the house that 
could be disordered, from the steam-engine in 
the cellar to the water-tanks upon the roof, was 
in working order. . . . On the i6th I had to 
receive a steamboat load of patients, all of the 
poor fellows wounded, from Banks' second 
assault of Port Hudson ; hourly, for the past 
week, we have been painfully expecting another 
such arrival from his third. . . . 

Thank Heaven, the patients have done well ! 
I am going to send as many North on furloughs 
as possible, convalescence is so slow and uncer- 
tain in this climate. 

How wonderfully cheerful these wounded 
men always are ! You should see one of our 
pets, a young fellow about twenty-one years old, 
from a New York regiment, Kretzler by name. 
Right thigh amputated, right fore-arm the same, 
shell wound as big as my two hands in the left 
thigh, ugly wound under the jaw, scratches 
about left hand and arm. He never complains 
of anything, takes all the beefsteak and porter 
we can give him, insisting on helping himself to 
the latter and drinking it from the bottle. He 
sits up in his bed a large part of the time, smok- 
ing his pipe with an expression of perfect 
serenity. When I ask him how he does, it is 
always " bully," with a triumphant air. Pass- 
ing near his room the other day, I heard him 



522 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



singing " The Star-Spangled Banner " in a 
robust style, with the remark in conclusion, 
" There, guess them Rebs won't like that much," 
alluding thereby to a lot of hulking scoundrels 
of Texans, prisoners, wounded at Donaldson- 
ville, and lying in a room within ear-shot of 
him, as well as to some female visitors of theirs, 
who, having no longer the salutary fear of Ben. 
Butler before their eyes, were making their 
sympathies a little too apparent. This kind of 
cats I pretty uniformly exclude now, and as a 
consequence, when they find themselves baffled, 
1 have some highly dramatic interviews with 
them, almost at the risk of my eyes, I sometimes 
feel. 

I reluctantly confess that I am subjugated 
and crushed by a woman who sings The Star- 
Spangled Banner copiously through all the 
wards of my hospital. . . . She weighs three 
hundred pounds. She comes every morning, 
early. She wears the Flag of our Country 
pinned across her heart. She comes into i7iy 
room, my own office, unabashed by the fact that 
I am the Surgeon in charge, and that an orderly 
in white gloves stands at the door. She looks 
me in the eye with perfect calmness and intre- 
pidity. She takes off her sunbonnet and man- 
tilla and lays them upon my table, over my 
papers, as if they were rare and lovely flowers 
of the tropics. She knocks off three of my pens 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



523 



with her brown parasol, worn out in the joint, 
and begins to exude small parcels from every 
pocket. . . . She nurses tenderly, and feeds and 
cries over the bad cases. Poor Martin Rose- 
bush, a handsome, smooth-faced, good boy from 
New Hampshire, desperately wounded and 
delirious, would start up with a cry of joy when 
she came, and died with his arms around her 
neck, calling her his mammy. 

Jerry Cammett, a peaceful giant, grown as 
they grow them in Maine, with pink cheeks, 
bright-yellow beard, and handsome blue eyes 
as free from guile as a baby's, lies with his right 
thigh amputated. After each visit she makes 
him, I hear the effect it has upon Jerry in about 
three hours of steady quiet whistling to himself 
of funny, twiddling Methodist hymns. 

Of course I do not encourage the visits of 
this creature with the Flag of our Country and 
the National Anthem. On the contrary, they 
encourage me. 

So do those of " Olympe, sare, natif to ze 
citie." She is a stately, sybilline old black, or 
rather brown woman, everything in her appear- 
ance indicating great age, except her intensely 
black and glittering eyes, which still show the 
fire of youth. She wears a most elaborate tur- 
ban of Madras handkerchiefs, a dress of fine 
and exquisitely white muslin, handsome pearl 
drops in her ears, and around her wrinkled neck 



524 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



a string of large beads of that deep yellow, 
almost tawny gold, which comes with ivory and 
palm-oil from the African coast. She brings 
little parcels of extremely nice lint, small pots 
of jelly, and bottles of orange-flower syrup, all 
made, she would have me know, with her own 
hands in her own house ; this she says with great 
dignity, and shows me how carefully she wraps 
them up so that the Confederate ladies, her 
neighbors, shall not know that she brings them 
to Union soldiers. I fancy that if one should 
sit down with this old lady, and, in French, talk 
oneself into her confidence, she would prove 
immensely entertaining and instructive. 

Captain Charles Rockwell's appearance was 
a very pleasant surprise to me. I hoped that he 
would be assigned to duty in the city here, but, 
the day after his arrival, he was ordered up to 
Port Hudson. . . . 

July loth. 

P. S. Let us have a season of felicitation 
over Vicksburg aad Port Hudson, from both of 
which we have got the good news since I 
stopped writing. 

The rage and incredulity of the Secesh are 
really comical, and fill my soul with an infinite 
peace. 

Now send us good news of what cometh to 
Lee of the wicked raid, and all may be well. 



CHAPTER XII. I / 

>'' 
The Army of the Potomac, after the satueof 

wretched retreat at Chancellorsville, had lain burg!^ 
along the Rappahannock, scouting here and ^l^^^" 
there, burning rebel sloops and bringing in F^on'- 
" contrabands," till Lee, who had not fol- 
lowed up his victory at once, put his forces 
in rapid march up the valley for the invasion 
of Pennsylvania, part of his army reaching 
and occupying Gettysburg June 26. 

The Army of the Potomac made quick 
marches to overtake the enemy, but by the 
27th of June were only a little to the north- 
west of Baltimore. At this point Hooker 
was relieved from command, on June 28, and 
Meade put at the head of the Army, which 
he at once put in motion. 

Charley continued always with General 
Seth Williams, but was in every action 
assigned to duty on the commanding Gen- 
eral's staff. He was transferred in this way 
to duty as " aide " to General Meade on the 
field, for the frightful battle which was] 



526 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



approaching. On the night of June 30th the 
two armies faced each other in the immedi- 
ate vicinity of Gettysburg, and on July ist 
the fight began, — one of the decisive battles 
of the war. 

It had been raging for three days. We 
at home knew that Charley was in the 
thick of it, and were most anxious and 
ready to believe the worst, when a tele- 
gram to me (G.) came from our old com- 
mander, Mr. F. L. Olmsted, saying, " If you 
are going to Gettysburg let me know." We 
jumped at the conclusion that he knew of 
bad news for us from Charley, and Mother 
and I started at once to go to him, — Uncle 
Edward taking us as far as Baltimore. There 
the news reached us that Charley was safe, 
and the rebels, repulsed at every point, were, 
at that date, July 4, in rapid retreat towards 
the Potomac which they reached and re- 
crossed July 13th, with the loss only of 
their rear guard of 1,500 men captured. 
They left all their dead and dying in our 
hands at Gettysburg. 7,000 of the dead of 
both armies were buried on the field at once ; 
and all buildings on the hillsides and in the 
little town, both private houses and shops, 
were full of wounded men. That July 4th 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



527 



saw also Pembroke's entire army of 31,000 
surrender to Grant at Vicksburg; and Char- 
ley was safe ! So it was a day always to 
remember with wonder and solemn thank- 
fulness, though with horror at the suffering 
and distress all about us. 

A month later I wrote a little account of 
our three weeks stay at Gettysburg to F, B. 
in answer to his New Orleans letter of July 
6th, already given. 

G. M. W. to F. B. 

FiSHKILL, Aug. 6, '63. 

Mother and I were in Gettysburg when 
your letter came, having hurried on immediately 
after the battle, under the impression, due to a 
mistake in telegraphing, that Charley was hurt; 
and, being on hand, were fastened upon by Mr. 
Olmsted, to take charge of a feeding station and 
lodge for the wounded men. So there we were, 
looking after other people's boys, since our own 
was safe, for three weeks, coming as near the 
actual battle field as I should ever wish to. You 
know all about that fighting, how desperate it 
was on both sides; what loss, and what misery; 
the communications cvit, no supplies on hand, 
no surgeons, or so few that they were driven to 
despair from the sight of wretchedness they 
could not help, — 20,000 badly wounded soldiers 



528 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



and only one miserable, unsafe line of railroad 
to bring supplies and carry men away. We 
were twenty-four hours in getting from Balti- 
more to Gettysburg, when in ordinary times we 
should have been four. This was the only ex- 
cuse I could think of to give the wretched rebels 
who, two weeks after the battle, lay in the mud 
under shelter tents, and had their food handed 
them in newspapers : " I am sorry, my man ; 
we are all distressed at it; but you have cut our 
communications and nothing arrives." 

Never say anything against the Army of the 
Potomac again, when so few of our men, after 
their marching and fasting, overtook and over- 
came Lee's fatted twice-their-number. I saw 
but very few who were slightly hurt among the 
wounded, and we fed all the 16,000 who went 
away from Gettysburg. So brave as they were 
too, and so pleased with all that was done for 
them — even the rebels. We had our station 
with tents for a hundred, with kitchen, surgeon 
and " delegation," right on the railroad line be- 
tween Gettysburg and Baltimore, and twice a 
day the trains left with soldiers, — long trains of 
ambulances always arriving just too late for the 
cars, and no provision being made to shelter 
and feed them except by the Sanitary Commis- 
sion. We had the full storehouse of the Com- 
mission to draw upon, and took real satisfaction 
in dressing and comforting all our men. No 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



529 



man of the 16,000 went away without a good hot 
meal, and none from our tents without the fresh 
clothes they needed. Mother put great spirit 
into it all, listened to all their stories, petted 
them, fed them, and distributed clothes, includ- 
ing handkerchiefs with cologne, and got herself 
called "Mother," — "This way, Mother," "Here's 
the bucket, Mother," and " Isn't she a glorious 
old woman? " — while the most that /ever heard 
was, " She knows how; why, it would have taken 
our steward two hours to get round; but then 
she's used to it, you see; " which, when you con- 
sider that I was distributing hot grog, and must 
have been taken for a barmaid, was not so com- 
plimentary ! Then those rebels too, miserable 
fellows; we hated them so much when they were 
away from us, and couldn't help being so good to 
them when they were in our hands. I am, or 
should be, angry with myself in that I felt worse 
when Lieutenant Rhout of the 14th South Caro- 
lina died on my hands, singing the Lutheran 
chants he had sung in his father's church before 
they made a soldier of him, than when E. C. 
writes me that "Amos" was their oldest son, 
and that she and his father were over sixty. . . . 
I am glad we helped those rebels. They had 
just as much good hot soup, when our proces- 
sion of cans and cups and soft bread and gen- 
eral refreshment went round from car to car, as 
they wanted; and I even filled the silver pap- 



530 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



cup that a pretty boy from North Carolina had 
round his neck, though he was an officer and 
showed no intention to become a Unionist. 
"Yes, it was his baby-cup," and "his mother 
gave it to him ; " and he lay on the floor of the 
baggage car, wounded, with this most domestic 
and peaceful of all little relics tied round his 
neck. We had lovely things for the men to eat 
— as many potatoes and turnips as they wanted, 
and almost '"'' too much cabbages"; and custard 
pudding, and codfish hash, and jelly an inch 
high on their bread, and their bread buttered — 
"buttered on both sides," as the men discovered, 
greatly to their amusement one night, consider- 
ing that the final touch had been given when 
this followed the clean clothes and cologne, — 
"cologne worth a penny a sniff." "t smell it 
up here," a soldier called to me, poking his head 
out of the second story window, while I and my 
bottle stood at the door of his hospital. 

If at any time you would like to swear, call 
your enemy a Dutch farmer — nothing can be 
worse, or, if he is a man of decency, make him 

feel more indignant. The D farmers of 

Gettysburg have made themselves a name and a 
fame to the latest day, by charging our poor 
men, who crawled out of the barns and woods 
where they hid themselves after they were 
wounded, three and four dollars each for bring- 
ing all that was left of their poor bodies, after 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



531 



defending the contemptible D firesides, 

down to the railroad. We found this out, and 
had a detail from the Provost Marshal to arrest 
the next farmer who did it, and oblige him to 
refund or go to prison. The day before we 
came away a sleepy-looking, utterly stupid 
Dutchman walked into camp, having heard we 
had "some rebels." He lived five miles from 
the city and had "never seen one," and came 
mooning in to stare at them, and stood with his 
mouth open, while the rebels and ourselves were 
shouting with laughter, he "pledging his word" 
that " he never saw a rebel afore." "And why 
didn't you take your gun and help drive them 
out of your town ?" Mother said. " Why, a fel- 
ler might a got hit; " at which the rebels, lying 
in double rows in the tent, shook themselves 
almost to pieces. 

It was a satisfaction to be in Gettysburg, 
though I confess to a longing to shut out the 
sight of it all, sometimes. The dear fellows 
were so badly hurt, and it was so hard to bear 
their perfect patience ; men with a right arm 
gone, and children at home, and no word or 
look of discontent. 

The authorities want us to go back again, and 
look after the special diet in the new and fine 
General Hospital for 3000 men, too sick to be 
moved. We can't do so, though, as Jane and I 
have promised to spend the winter at Point 



532 



LETTERS OE A EAMILY 



Lookout in the Hammond Hospital. Look with 
respect upon your correspondent; she is at the 
head of the Protestant half of the women's de- 
partment of that hospital. The Sisters run half 
the wards, and I expect to have fun with their 
Lady Superior and to wheedle her out of all her 
secrets, and get myself invited out to tea. Why 
shouldn't she and I compare notes on the proper 
way to make soup? I will call her "Sister," 
and agree to eat oysters on Friday, — (they are 
particularly fine on the Maryland shore). 

It will be rather jolly down there, particularly 
as the surgeon in charge is delighted to have us 
come, and we shall ride over him just as much 
as your dear old women, black and white, do 
over their particular conquest. As for gardens 
of oranges, and flowers — well, we shall have 
beds of oysters, and, as it is a military station, 
there will be a band there to keep up our spirits; 
which reminds me to give the Baltimore fire- 
man his due, who, being one of our friends at 
Gettysburg, secured two bands before we came 
away and marched them down to camp to sere- 
nade us, which they did standing at the mouth 
of the long tent and refreshing themselves after- 
wards with gingerbread and punch, unmindful 
of the fact that the jolly Canandaigua "delega- 
tion," finding its fingers inconvenienced by the 
sugar on them, just dipped their hands in the 
claret and water without saying anything ! It 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 533 

will be a long time before Gettysburg will for- 
get the Army of the Potomac. Their houses 
are battered, some of them with great holes 
through and through them. Their streets are 
filled with old caps, pieces of muskets, haver- 
sacks, scraps of war everywhere, and even the 
children fling stones across the streets, and call 
to each other, " Here, you rebel, don't you hear 
that shell ? " and one babe of four years I found 
sitting on the pavement with a hammer peace- 
fully cracking percussion caps from the little 
cupful he had. . . . 

What a good thing the public burying of the 
colored Captain has been, down where you are 
in New Orleans. Send me some more accounts 
of your hospital. 

I have your great-grandmother's little note 
book, Una, — kept while at Gettysburg, with 
such entries as these : 

''Myers: Wrote a letter to his father for 
him ; only son — leg badly wounded." 

" Chester Gillctt : Wrote to his brother ; 
right leg wounded on the ist of July, ampu- 
tated on the 8th." 

" Henry RaucJi : Lieutenant, Rebel Army — 
Came into the tent July i6th, died 17th ; his 
father is old and blind." 



534 



LETTERS OE A EAMILY 



" Young Sloat : Died of lockjaw ; wrote 
to his mother." — You can imagine what a 
tender letter that was, from a mother to a 
mother. 

23,000 rebels were wounded in those four 
July days, and 13,713 loyal men. 

1 (your Aunt G.) being urged, wrote later 
a little pamphlet giving Mother's and my 
experience at the front, and called " Three 
Weeks at Gettysburg." It was meant to 
"fire the hearts" of the sewing circles, 
which, all over the country, were keeping 
up the Sanitary Commission supplies. The 
Commission ordered 10,000 copies for dis- 
tribution, and I went off to Point Lookout 
Hospital, leaving Abby all the work of get- 
ting it printed. 

A. H. JV. io Harriet Giltnan. 

FiSHKiLL, July, 1863. 
Mother It took SO loHg for letters to come from 

Gettysburg, and Mother and Georgy had so 
little time to write, that we didn't hear often. 
They have come themselves at last ; arrived Tues- 
day, midnight. . . . Georgy came up here this 
noon, and we have been sitting together talking 
over all the strange scenes in those tents by the 
railroad, where 16,000 men have been fed and 



at home 
again. 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 535 

comforted in the last three weeks. Just imagine 
Mother in a straw flat and heavy Gettysburg boots, 
standing cooking soup for 200 men at a time, 
and distributing it in tin cups ; or giving clean 
shirts to ragged rebels ; or sitting on a pile of 
grocer's boxes, under the shadow of a string of 
codfish, scribbling her notes to us. 

She has many a memento of that strange bat- 
tle — one, of a rebel lieutenant who died in her 
care ; and a score of palmetto buttons from rebel 
coats — dirty but grateful, poor wretches ; etc. . . . 
They say that the itwrnen of Gettysburg have 
done all they can, given the wounded all that 
the rebels had not taken, and have boarded the 
Sanitary and Christian Commission for nothing. 
At one house, where Mother and G. got their 
dinner one day, the woman could not be induced 
to take money. " No, ma'am," she said, " I would 
not wish to have that sin on my soul when this 
war is over." 

We may go to Brattleboro for a month. But 
if Charley holds out the hope of his coming 
home, it won't be worth while to go away. , . . 
We have not heard anything recently from " the 
army," — I mean our modest portion of it in the 
form of Charley. He and all of them I am 
sure must be mortified at this escape of Lee at 
Gettysburg, scot free. He lost many men, but 
so did we. Pennsylvania is safe from " the 
invader"; but, dear me, our army has begun the 



536 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

hateful scramble all over Virginia again. . . . 
Charley wrote that " Halleck urged forced 
marches after the retreating rebels and an imme- 
diate attack, as he had positive information that 
Lee was rapidly crossing the Potomac." Char- 
ley adds, " but we have had nothing but forced 
marches since we left the Rappahannock, and 
we knoiv that Lee isnt crossing and cannot cross 
rapidly." [He did, though.] 

\^ 
The The enormous losses of the war now made 

Riots, a draft necessary to fill up the depleted 
regiments. Many thousands of the dis- 
charged two-years' men re-enlisted for the 
war; but idlers, and the evil-minded, re- 
sisted. There were serious outbreaks in 
Boston and other cities, but in New York 
the disorders were outrageous. Mother and 
G. were still at Gettysburg at that time; 
Abby and Jane away from home, and Hatty 
and Carry alone in the house. C's letter 
seems written in haste with a poker: — 

C. C. W.to A. at Fishkill. 

lOTH St., New York, Monday, July 13, 1863. 

Dear Abby: It has come — resistance to the 

draft ! The city is in a tumult and Uncle 

Edward wishes us to go out to Astoria in the 6 

o'clock boat. The resfulars are all out and the 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



537 



Streets are full of rioters. The gas house on 
23rd Street is blown up and loth Street full of 
black ashes, — our door-steps covered. They say 
they will blow up the powder-mill in 28th 
Street, where the Gilmans live, and we have 
told them (if they will) to come all here. 
Hatty G. was in a minute ago, and Mr. Pren- 
tiss. There has been a great noise in town all 
day. The carriage is waiting, but I was afraid 
you would feel anxious. We would like very 
much to stay, but Uncle E. insists. 

C. C. W. to A. 

Astoria, July 15th, 1863. 

We left in such a hurry we had no time to 
leave directions for the servants, except to close 
the house early, and be very particular about 
fastening the doors and windows. . . . While 
driving out here we heard distinctly the cannon 
at Harlem. We have had no real trouble here 
from the mob, but were threatened last night and 
the night before. About two hundred men and 
boys, principally from Harlem and the upper 
parts of the city, were careering round the vil- 
lage. They went to Mr. M — 's, and made him 
come out and speak against the draft, and an- 
nounced their intention of visiting Messrs. 
Wolcott, Woolsey and Howland among others. 
Groups of them were gathering in the afternoon 
as we drove through the village. Uncle Edward 



538 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

was a good deal excited as night came on, and 
had a man placed in the stable with directions 
to cut the horses loose should any alarm be 
made. Robert had his carriage, or rather his 
horses, harnessed and ready to pack the children 
in. Uncle Edward had a pile of fire-arms loaded 
and placed conveniently near the window. 
Aunt Emily put her rings on and her valuables 
in a safe place, and we pocketed our purses and 
laid Mother's camel's-hair shawls, which we 
brought with us, where we could easily seize 
them in case of sudden chill, caused by the 
draft ! . . . But nothing turned up, and things 
have quieted down. The militia regiments are 
(five of them) coming home ; the 7th has already 
arrived. 

Hatty adds : — 

One of the Ball & Black firm came the next 
morning to ask Uncle E. if he could hide some 
treasure on his place. He lives in 86th Street 
and his house had been threatened. Uncle E. 
said he might take his three or four trunks 
through the woods to the "black lodge," but of 
course it was at his own risk, as no one was to 
be trusted on the place. They were all kept 
safe in Margaret's hands, and he came back and 
got them in a few days. Isn't it shameful that 
the fiends should have sacked Mrs. Gibbons' 
house ? — everything destroyed and all her little 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



539 



things carried off. Uncle E. is perfectly indig- 
nant and in a state of suppressed rage at the 
Irish, but he agrees with Aunt E. in not allow- 
ing a word said against them at table, or within 
reach of any of the servants' ears- 
Mrs. Gibbons was a victim to the low 
pro-slavery roughs, the dregs of the demo- 
cratic party in New York, round whom all j / 
the worst elements of the city rallied. She v' 
was too well known as a pronounced aboli- 
tionist to escape. She had been, as she 
wrote Abby a few days before the riot, six 
months at Point Lookout Hospital, "a long 
time for a person of my age''; adding that 
she must come back where she "could en- 
joy home, and work too.'' Her "home" 
was gutted by the mob ! 

Joe at once went down from Fishkill to 
New York, to offer his assistance to the 
authorities, at the time of the riot. His 
train was surrounded at Manhattanville by a 
crowd with clubs, searching for soldiers. 
Being in citizen's dress, with his uniform in 
a portmanteau, he escaped, crossed a field 
and found a place at the nearest stage-line 
on top of an omnibus crowded with roughs, 
one of whom clapped him on the back and / 



540 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



said, " You're a fancy looking sort of a 
chap ; what would yon pay for a substitute ? " 

Joe turned and looked at the man, saying, 
" I don't need to pay for a substitute, I went 
myself;" and then, by a happy inspiration 
recognizing the unmistakable look that old 
soldiers, even bad ones, brought home from 
the army, added, " Do you know I believe I 
have seen you before ! weren't you encamped 
on Cameron Run in the winter of '6i ? '' 
Sure enough, he had been, wnth the Irish 
69th, and they fell into old-time army talk 
till, presently, the rough threw his arms 
round Joe with a half-tipsy hug, and said to 
his fellows, " Take good care o* this gen'lman, 
he's a partic'lar frien' o' mine." 

As they got near the city some row down 
a side street attracted the attention of the 
gang, and they all climbed down from the 
omnibus and disappeared. Then the driver 
turned and said to Joe, " Well, you had a 
mighty 7iarrow escape,''' adding that they were 
one of the roughest gangs in the city and 
capable of any crime. 

Little Georgy Rowland's peaceful christen- 
Hospkai jj^g. \^ (-{^g Chapel of St. Luke's was a pleas- 

and Dr. » ^ i- 

Muhien- ant picture connected with the old buildmg 
in 1862. In 1863 the hospital saw a different 



berg, 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



541 



sight. The riots reached even that sacred 
spot. One hundred beds were at the time 
filled with wounded soldiers. The first 
alarm was the burning, that morning, of the 
Colored Orphan Asylum, corner of 5th Ave- 
nue and 44th Street, by the mob. At noon a 
stentorian voice called from the basement of 
St. Luke's, "Turn out; turn out by six 
o'clock, or we'll burn you in your beds ! " " as 
a huge, hatless laborer, with his sleeves 
rolled up to the armpits, bare-breasted, red 
with liquor and rage, strode up and down 
the hall." 

But a wounded rioter (shot, with a brick- 
bat in his hand), was about this time brought 
by a crowd to the hospital door, promptly 
admitted, and kindly cared for. Dr. Muhlen- 
berg, leaving the man's bedside, went down 
alone to face the crowd, going right in 
among them, "in simple dignity," and tell- 
ing them that to every wounded man need- 
ing help those doors were freely open; — 
"would they threaten this house with fire 
and storm?" Cries of "No, no; long live 
St. Luke's," came at once, and the crowd 
formed themselves into a vigilance commit- 
tee, and protected the hospital from all 
harm. 



542 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



The Rev. Dr. Muhlenberg-, at the head of 
this great charity founded b}^ himself, was 
an elderly man then, with a noble face, white 
hair and wonderful dark eyes. As he braved 
alone that howling mob of men and women, 
and b}" his personal magnetism quieted their 
rage, it was like the picture of the working 
of a miracle by a mediaeval saint. 

Mother and G. came home after the riots 
from Gett3'sburg and longed for their hospi- 
tal life again. Georgy did not long keep 
out of it. 

G. M. IV. to Mother. 

FiSHKILL, August 5. 

Dear Mother : Thank you for your nice 
note which came last night. . . . No wonder 
you regret Gettysburg. You will be gladder 
all the time that you went there and did Avhat 
you did ; and you will be ready to give me 
great praise, I hope, when I tell you that I have 
given up all idea of going back there, and have 
accepted in place of it Mrs. Gibbons' ofifer of 
the position she is giving up at Point Lookout 
Hospital ; securing, before I go, the month you 
want me to have in the countr}-, as we need not 
go to the Point before September. After the 
intense satisfaction you have experienced at 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



543 



Gettysburg, you cannot, my dear and patriotic 
Mamma, be otherwise than delighted at the pros- 
pect before us, while you must regret that I 
cannot also pull the special diet of Gettysburg 
through. Mrs. Gibbons will, I suppose, have 
got all things about straight at the Point, so that 
with little effort we can keep them going. It will 
be an easy and pleasant position ; better, " till this 
cruel war is over," than sitting at home think- 
ing what we might be doing. The surgeon in 
charge is "delighted" to think that we will 
come. ... I shall hanker for our old life at 
Gettysburg and wish you and I were going 
back to run the new concern. However, there 
will be the satisfaction of taking the wind out 
of the " sisters' " sails. I dare say they will 
have made headway during this interval, and 
when I arrive with three feathers stuck in my 
head, " O won't I make those ladies stare." . . . 
We shall collect at home once more, Charley 
and all, before the winter, as you will not of 
course go to Brattleboro now till he arrives. . . . 

Charley came North at this time on short 
furlough, and the family were reunited for 
twenty days before scattering again, Jane 
and G. to Point Lookout Hospital, Charley 
to the front, and Mother and the other home 
ones to rest, in Brattleboro, Vt. 



544 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



The Army of the Potomac had followed 
the retreating- rebels from Gettysburg south 
again into Virginia, and by July 31st both 
armies were again on the Rappahannock, 
where cavalry raids and skirmishing all 
along the lines went on. 

E. IV. H. to Mother. . 

FiSHKILL, August 24. 

We ought soon to hear from Charley, and 
if Mr. Hopkins' rumor is true we may feel at 
ease about him for the present, for Meade won't 
attempt a movement without the conscripts. 
Do you see that Charley himself is one, although 
in the service already ? Let us know how he got 
down to camp after his furlough with all his 
traps, and send us all his letters. . . . 

Point Mrs. Gibbons remained after all at Point 

Hospkai Lookout, and we were quickly established in 
our half of the Hammond General Hospital 
and " supplies '' were laid in. One list is be- 
fore me of the twenty boxes and barrels 
received from home and the twent3'-four 
Boston rocking chairs. These we found 
mines of comfort wherever we went. 

The Point was a delightful place, the 
Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean 
meeting and rolling in opposing breakers at 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



545 



our feet. Every morning we watched our 
little darkey tuck up her skirt and take her 
bucket and her chance of catching a wave 
or two for our bath tubs, and all day the salt 
wind was a spur to work. Ten women 
nurses reported for duty to Mrs. Gibbons. 

The Brattleboro Hospital was also full of 
returned soldiers, and Mother, who was long- 
ing for Gettysburg, took a little consolation 
in visits there. 

A. H. W. to H. Gilmati. 

Brattleboro, September 17. 
I hope soon to hear of the girls' arrival at 
Point Lookout. Georgy wrote us of her night 
at your house and how good you all were to her 
and to her soldiers too. 

Mother is much interested in the hospital 
here and has been up several times ; is inter- 
ested in the worst way, that is, without the 
opportunity of doing anything. The wards are 
thrown open every afternoon from two to five, 
but visitors are few, and even the kind words 
she can take, and those of other ladies from this 
house, seem valued. The men said, " You are so 
different, ladies, from some that come here, who 
only walk through and stare at us as if we were 
wild beasts." One man was almost convulsed 
at seeing Mother, and, with tears, would hardly 



546 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



let her hand go. " I knew you, ma'am, the 
minute you came in. You were at Gettysburg, 
and were the first one that dressed my arm." 
And there the poor arm still lay, useless and 
swollen, and constant streams of cold water 
necessary to keep down inflammation. 

The same wretched want marks this hospital 
as all others : the little attention paid to the 
food of the sick men. Typhoid patients are 
starving on pork slop, or eat smuggled sutler's 
pies of the toughest sort, from a craving for 
food of some kind. Some of those alphabets 
for " spelling games " which Mother took up 
were a great amusement to them, and to-day in 
the book-store Mother saw one of the soldiers 
trying to buy some more. None were for sale, 
but Mother promised him some, and at the 
printing office ordered, for a very little trifle, a 
hundred alphabets, which she will give them. . . . 
We hear that Joe was drafted in Fishkill, and 
as colored ! the " colonel " before his name which 
the enrolling officer inserted, being so under- 
stood. He feels himself a thorough black Repub- 
lican now. The villagers met him at the depot 
one day as he came up from New York and 
informed him he was drawn, and he had to 
make them a speech, telling them what an honor 
he should consider it, if he were well enough, to 
go, but he should find a substitute (which he 
has done, a " veteran "), etc., etc. They called 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



547 



out now and then, " That's so ! that's right, we 
knew you would take a proper view of it ! " . . . 

When the substitute was ready to leave 
for the front, he came to say goodbye, " a 
little the worse for wear,'' and assured Joe 
with a beaming smile, " Kurnel, you're a 
noble man, and I'll exhonorate your name ! " 

A. H. W. to H. G. 

Brattleboro, September. 

We have had our first letters from the girls 
at Point Lookout, and everything promises 
pleasantly. The only grievance is the chaplain, 
whose face is "as hard as a wooden chair," and 
who looks as if he had fought through life, inch 
by inch. He is fanatically Episcopal, though 
his sermons were practical and good, and he 
has the melodeon (paid for by general subscrip- 
tion) picked up and carried off and locked in 
his own room after every Sunday service, that it 
may not be used at the Methodist prayer meet- 
ings which the men choose to have ! Georgy 
says they have grand good singing, whether or 
no, without it. . . . There is a little of almost 
every phase of the war there, except the actual 
fighting. They have the prisoner's camp, the 
New Hampshire brigade to guard it, with their 
splendid drill, dress parades, officers' wives, 
hops, etc. There are the hospitals for each, the 



548 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

/- 

General Hospital, and lastly the large Contra- 
band camp. Jane's first letter was long and 
interesting, as she was much at leisure, but we 
do not expect to hear at great length hereafter. 
. . . Charley, always at Headquarters Army of 
the Potomac, writes us to-night that they have 
sent off two corps to West Tennessee, and that 
he thinks the ultimate use of the balance will be 
within the defences of Washington. Is not 
Rosecrans' crushing defeat a sad blow? . . . 

/. S. W. to J. H. 

Point Lookout Hospital, 

September. 

Eliza's help and all her little nice things 
were, and are, invaluable to us. . . . Things 
promise pretty fair here in every respect. The 
surgeon in charge is civil and ready to support 
us in everything necessary. > The post is a queer 
one, hospital, military encampment. Contraband 
camp, rebel camp, Roman Catholic element and 
divided jurisdiction of Mrs. Gibbons and Miss 
Dix. Quite a mixture. We shall be involved 
in no gossip or small quarrels, but do our work 
as we find occasion, without partiality and with- 
out hypocrisy. . . . John, our man servant, is a 
nuisance. He interferes right and left, upsets 
everybody in a mistaken idea to serve us, and 
volunteers his views on all subjects. He would 
be in the guard-house in a week if he didn't go 
home to-night. . . . 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 549 

Women were only recognized, in connec- 
tion with the regular army service, as wash- 
erwomen, and were so entered on the pay- 
rolls, and detailed to the nursing department 
when needed. As Point Lookout was a 
regular army hospital, we were obliged by 
army regulations to be mustered in, and paid 
$12.00 a month. But we were hardly well 
established and in good working condition, 
when the following general orders were re- 
ceived and issued by the Surgeon-in-charge. 
The Point became a camp for rebel prison- 
ers, and our connection with it ceased. 



Surgeon-General's Oficice, 

Washington, Sept. 26th. 

Surgeon Jleger, U. S. A. Sir : The Secretary 
of War has directed the transfer of seven hun- 
dred wounded prisoners from Chester, Pa., to 
Point Lookout General Hospital. . . . 

Upon their arrival you will discharge the 
female nurses (both of Miss Dix's and Mrs. 
Gibbons' selection) reserving only one suitable 
person in low-diet kitchen and one in linen 
room. By order, 

C. H. Crane, Surg. U. S. A. 



55° 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



Point Lookout, Md., Oct. 7th, 1863. 
Special Order No. I2j : 

The female nurses will be relieved from 
wards 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 14, and they are strictly 
enjoined to abstain from any intercourse with 
the Prisoners of War. 

A. Heger, U. S. a. 

Circular, No. ly. 

Point Lookout, Oct. 7, '63. 

Miss G. Woolsey : In accordance with in- 
structions received from the Surgeon-General's 
Office, dated October 7th, 1863, the discharge of 
the female nurses on the 5th inst. refers only to 
their discharge from the Hospital, not from the 
service at large. . . . Enclosed please find cer- 
tificates of pay. 

By order of the Surgeon-in-Charge. 

W. H. G., Assist. Surgeon. 

A. Heger, Surgeon-in-Charge Hammotid Gefieral 
Hospital : Sir : 
I have the honor to enclose four duplicate 
certificates of pay, for myself and my sister. Miss 
Jane S. Woolsey. Will you be kind enough to 
make use of them for the benefit of the hospital 
fund? 

G. M. WOOLSEV. 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 551 

Point Lookout, Md., Oct. 7, 1863. 
Madam : The transfer of the certificates of 
pay of yourself and sister to this Hospital is 
received, and in the name of those poor soldiers 
who shall enjoy the benefits of your gift, I ten- 
der you many thanks for it. 
Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

A. Heger. 

On our retreat from Point Lookout, via Fairfax 
Washington, it was suggested to Mrs. Gib- ^^l 
bons, who was with Jane and me at the "°"p"^' 
Ebbitt House, that there was work to be 
done at the large barrack hospital estab- 
lished on the Fairfax Theological Seminary 
grounds near Alexandria; and through Mrs. 
Gibbons an introduction was secured for us 
to the surgeon. Dr. David P. Smith, who 
called to talk matters over with us. We 
followed up the conversation with an inspec- 
tion of the hospital, and were put through 
a catechism by Dr. Smith as to what we 
thought we could do, if we came and took 
charge. The result was that he told us he 
should like us to try it, and we moved over 
the river and were installed as Superintend- 
ents of nursing, and quartered in the house 
of the Chaplain and his wife. Here Jane 



552 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



and I found ourselves in absolute control of 
our own department, and most cordially sus- 
tained by the surgeon-in-charge. An office 
was assigned to us in the Seminary building, 
where there was room enough for barrels 
and boxes of stores, a long table for office 
work, and a huge open fire-place where we 
kept a blazing wood fire, tempering it with a 
wide open window towards the hills and 
the distant view of the dome of the Capitol. 
The hospital filled up rapidly and supplies 
from home began to arrive. 

/. 6". W. to A. H. W. 

Fairfax Seminary, Virginia, 

Monday Night. 

Please present my grateful acknowledg- 
ments to the Society for the barrel of shirts, etc., 
received Saturday p. m. They are always very 
valuable. Cases come up every day for such 
charities. Last night, for instance, a modest 
note was handed in at my door, signed Craw- 
ford, saying, "I am discharged for disability 
and am going a day's journey home in the morn- 
ing. I have no means of procuring clothes 
and must leave the hospital clothes behind me ; 
could you let me have a shirt ?" Another man 
brought the note while "Crawford" waited at 
the foot of the stairs. I asked if he could come 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



553 



up. "Yes," the friend answered; "he ain't 
lame." So he came up to the door. It appears 
he was very modest ; a tall, gaunt, bright-eyed 
man, not old, but with greyish hair. His left 
arm hung at his side, — elbow shattered and 
three-fourths of his hand cut out, — frightful 
looking ; health broken, means of support all 
gone, but as cheery as possible. He got his 
shirt and a pair of socks besides, for which he 
was modestly thankful. Another man with one 
leg, got one, and a broken-down rheumatic at 
the High School another. ... I shall give the 
woolen shirts to discharged-for-disability men, 
and poor men with large families. There was 
one such case I had almost forgotten — a drafted 
man, of the draft before the last — who has not 
been assigned to any regiment and can draw no 
pay or clothes. He got no bounty and came 
out, leaving seven children behind him. The 
chaplain knows his story and says he has done 
his duty bravely and cheerfully. ... So he got 
a shirt. . . . 

We are slowly working up new diet-tables, 

/. S. W. to J. H. 

Fairfax HospitAl. 

We are trying to get the regimental hospitals 
in the neighborhood — poor places at best — 
emptied into this or some other General Hos- 
pital. There is a great deal of bad sickness 



554 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



among the new recruits. Six men have died of 
typhoid malaria this last week in the 2d Con- 
necticut Artillery, near here — new men all but 
one, but good healthy, decent, Litchfield County 
men. Some of the hospitals in Alexandria are 
to be broken up and the sick will probably be 
sent in to us. We hear more of the army via 
New York than in any other way. We had 
pressing invitations ! to the Great Ball, to join 
a party in a special car and all that, which we 
think we see ourselves ! 

The country, the air and the weather are as 
sweet as sweet can be, with a sort of barren 
sweetness. You know what the country is. 
From our uncurtained windows' height we see 
the shining river and the bluish-purplish fields 
and shores and the trees still left standing, with 
the sort of look of spring, 'not now but pres- 
ently,' in them. 

I hope your lame leg has forgotten its bruises 
by this time, and you won't have to apply to 
Palmer. Three Palmer legs go up and down 
stairs daily under our ears, and do wonderfully 
well. The legs are heroic ; the men are not — 
being addicted to poor whiskey and indifferent 
witticisms. . . . 

Your cheese is lovely and has already glad- 
dened the stomachs of fifty braves. Eliza's 
rugs are very uncommonly nice and useful. 
They are the only vestige of carpet we have. 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 555 

/ 
E's jelly is famous. It rejoices the heart of 
poor Clymer, a man with half his face torn 
away by a shell, one eye gone. He can only 
eat soft things, and thought " if he had some 
acid jelly it would taste first-rate." . . . Noth- 
ing we have to distribute can possibly go astray 
or be stolen. 

I'll remember that G. owes $11.00 for a chair, 
which came safely. The man it was meant for, 
first, died last night, after a wonderful fight for 
his life. 

Our Surgeon in charge at Fairfax, Dr. 
David P. Smith, had a lurking distrust of his 
"contract surgeons" and implicit confidence 
in his two women Superintendents, and the 
most friendly relations with them. I remem- 
ber a " general order " which came to me one 
morning from his office : " The Surgeon in 
charge requests that his aide. Miss G. Wool- 
sey, will report to him any case of smallpox 
she may find in the wards in her rounds;" 
and daily bulletins, such as the following, 
came to our office door : 

My dear Aliss Woolsey : 

3 p. M. 

I don't just see the force of your requisition 
for hatchets, unless it be to endeavor to let a 



556 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

little common and uncommon sense into the 
brains of "them officers?" . . . 

I send up my General Orders for your edifica- 
tion. 

Mayn't I take my coffee with you this evening ? 
Very respectfully. 

G. to A. H. W. 

Fairfax Hospital. 

To-day (Monday) the Pierson box has ar- 
rived. ... I gave Nurse one of the two little 

brooms in it, with an exhortation to have a man 
detailed to attend to the little tables by each 
bed, and to brush them off with the nice new 
brush, every day. So that if the frantic little 
tables in Ward G improve, and banish their bits 
of bread-crumbs, dirty newspapers and stale 
tobacco scraps, it will be entirely owing to Mr. 
Pierson's broom. 

Mr. Prentiss' note (with the extract from 
the North American about the Gettysburg tract) 
is amusing. However, I don't equal the celeb- 
rity of " A Rainy Day in Camp." Miss Dix has 
a standing w/Vunderstanding with the Surgeon in 
charge ; in short, she hates him. He is a genius, 
a remarkable man in his profession. Miss Dix 
writes him a highly dignified note assuming 
command of him and his, and then, either to 
show her willingness to labor for him as a 
human being, or else to intimate that she consid- 
ers him a fit subject for "tracts," she encloses 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 



557 



"A Rainy Day in Camp." He told us of it ! 
We told hij7i nothing ! We never let on ! 

Tell Mary that when / am used to box the 
ears of refractory surgeons, she may look upon 
me as an equal. 

Chaplain Hopkins, whom E. and G. left 
two years before at his work in the Alex- 
andria Hospitals, still toiled on with the 
utmost faithfulness, and now and then when 
a half hour of leisure came, galloped his 
pony out to the Seminary, and by our bright 
fireside made a link for us to home and civ- 
ilization. He brought us good cheer, and 
we shared our supplies with him. 

He was our most willing agent, shopping 
for us in Alexandria and Washington when- 
ever we needed extras for our hospital, and 
we needed them in considerable variety and 
quantity. From a large package of hastily 
scribbled notes sent in to the Chaplain's hos- 
pital from our's, and full of commissions, 
these few will show what demands we made 
on our comrade in the service. 

Dear Harry. 

Don't forget to get me the boards for filing 
away all the hospital accounts, double, with 
elastic straps. The Surgeon in charge has, in 



558 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

the handsomest way, laid the hospital at our feet, 
and implored us to buy every thing, including 
the kerosene oil, and to keep all the accounts 
strictly, and save him all trouble. So send out 
some boards to keep the nasty accounts straight 
with. Also send me some note paper. G. 

To the Sa7ne. 
Will you be kind enough to ask at some 
beer shop, if you don't mind going to such 
places, what the price of porter is by the cask .-' 
I don't mean bottled stuff, but a cask full of the 
unpleasant thing, and whether they can get me 
some in a day or two. I don't want to ask the 
Sanitary Commission for any more, as they 
have sent me five casks already ; and besides 
they are having a "convocation of women." 
Fifty delegates from the sewing circles. East 
and West, have assembled to talk it all over, and 
shake hands, saying " Courage my sister," or 
(which is quite as likely) to make faces across 
the table from East to West. Send me word 
about the something to drink as soon as you 
can. G. 

To the Same. 
If you have time, will you send me by the 
ambulance a box of brandy ? We are ordered to 
receive 275 patients to-night from the A. P, 

G. 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 559 

Chaplain Hopkins to G. M. W. 

Alexandria, Friday Morning. 
Dear Georgy : — I take you at your word and 
send for the chairs and crutches. Nothing ever 
sent to the hospital did half the good that those 
two dozen chairs have done, which you and your 
Mother gave us more than a year ago. These 
go to Fairfax Street and Wolfe Street. . . . With 
a good morning to Jane. In haste, Yours, 

Harry. 

Rev. Henry Hopkins writes to me now, 
36 years later, from his post, at the head of 
important religious operations in Kansas 
City: 

No picture from any scene of my life is 
more vivid in my recollection than that of Jane, 
of beloved memory, as I saw her sometimes at 
Fairfax — her illuminated face with the wonder- 
ful eyes, and the wonderful smile, her fragile 
form wrapped in the ermine-lined cloak she 
used to wear. Do you remember the night 
when a sudden snow storm in the evening pre- 
vented my return to the city, and I slept on the 
floor in your office with your two ermine cloaks 
[they were rabbit, but never mind] for a cov- 
ering — after the sentinel and I, making a chair 
of our hands, had carried you two through the 
deep snow to your house.'' And the afternoon. 



560 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



just before I left Alexandria for the field, when 
we three sat on the grassy slope south of the 
buildings, and you two gave me your blessing 
as I went to try the new scenes ? 

The further history of life at Fairfax, is 
beautifully given by your Aunt Jane in her 
pamphlet, printed for her own family, and 
called " Hospital Days." You have it. She 
remained in charge at this hospital till the 
close of the war. 

Charley was in camp near enough to the 
hospital for us to get an occasional note on a 
mutilated scrap of paper, and to allow of 
mutual aid in emergencies, should they 
occur. 

One morning in November, 1863, the poor 
boy hobbled into our office crippled, and 
suffering severely with inflammatory rheu- 
matism. We tucked him up for the night 
by our bright fire, and next day I took him 
home to New York, where he was nursed 
by Mother back into what Jie considered 
good condition, and left for the field again, 
only half fit for it, as ive knew. 

That rheumatism has never left him. 

Gentlemen's sons in those days left the 
soft beds and luxurious surroundings of 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 561 

their own homes, and went cheerfully out to 
lie down in mud puddles, to crawl at night 
under gun-carriages, or to spread their 
blankets under the sky in pouring rains, for 
such sleep as they could catch. 

H. R. IV. to Jane and G. 

New York, Dec. 2, '63. 

Dear Girls : — Charley's rheumatism is bet- 
ter and yesterday he walked without his cane. 
When he gets on the doe-skins (the triumphs of 
art that Mother is now at work upon) and his 
india-rubber knee-cap, I think he will be all 
right. At any rate, well or not, I suppose it 
is better for him to go to Washington, for he 
worries, now that the army is moving and he 
not with it, and his leave expired. . . . He is 
pounding away at a new camp-bed he is mak- 
ing. ... I consider him a fit subject for the 
hospital, and to be doctored accordingly. . . . 
Our Church Sewing Society for the army had 
its first regular meeting yesterday. Abby is 
treasurer, and Mother, having been put into the 
president's chair, got out again, not liking the 
conspicuousness, and was immediately pounced 
upon for the purchasing committee. 

E. IV. H. 7vrites: — Charley is doing up all 
his errands (very fatiguingly) and announces 



562 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

his intention of going back, leg or no leg. . . . 
We are waiting very anxiously now for every 
mail and the news from Grant and Burnside — 
and if Meade is also fighting, as last night's 
Post thinks, it would seem that the great crisis 
has really come. 

I go to cut out army shirts. 

There had been some heavy cavalry fight- 
ing along the Rappahannock about Nov. 7th, 
and again on the 26th, and the rebels had 
been driven and 2,000 prisoners taken, but 
there was no following up of the victory. 
Charley, happily for us, was at home then 
and out of the horror of war ; but at the front 
again, soon. 

C. W. W. to J. S. IV. at Fairfax Hospital. 

General Meade's Camp, 

Near Brandy Sta., Dec. 7th, '63. 

c.w.w. Dear Jane : — The train which left at 11 yes- 

terday morning brought me through all right 
last night, by dark. A telegram from General 
Williams, sent to the conductor and meeting me 
on the train, said, in reply to one from me, that 
the ambulance would meet me at Brandy Station. 
The conductor had had some difficulty in find- 
ing me on the long train, but at the railroad 
bridge I heard " Woolsey " yelled at the door 



back in 
Camp 



THIRD YEAR OF THE WAR 563 

instead of " Rappahannock Station," — which 
proved successful. I find that no movement of 
importance is on foot, and winter quarters some- 
where (not here) confidently looked for this 
time. I hear a great deal said in justification of 
General Meade's retrograde movement. The 
War Department is entirely responsible for the 
failure of the last campaign, — having ordered it, 
but not allowing General Meade to attack in his 
own way. We might have had a great battle 
and carried the rebel position with very great 
loss, but nothing but the position would have 
been gained. The rebels behind their strong 
works could have been very little damaged and 
would have had only to fall back, if we had 
assaulted. 

We are camped in the woods near John M. 
Botts' house, and are in this way shielded from 
the winds. There is no news. 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 
1864 



Grant 
in com- 
mand. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

By 1864, operations against Richmond hav- oenerai 
ing been practical failures, a general feeling 
of distrust as to the officers in command 
prevailed, and the necessity for a reorgan- 
ization was apparent. General Grant's splen- 
did victories at the West had given the death- 
blow to the rebellion along the Mississippi, 
and public opinion selected him for supreme 
control of the National Army. He was 
called to that position, and established his 
headquarters with the Army of the Potomac, 
in the field, issuing his first General Order 
March 16, 1864. 



Work for the soldiers was still going on The 



all over the land, and in the spring of this 
year all New York was given over, body 
and soul, to the raising of money for the 
Sanitary Commission through a monster 
Fair. 

Home letters sent to Jane and G. at the 
Fairfax Hospital were full of it, and it helped 



Sanitary 
Commis- 
sion 
Fair. 



568 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

as a distraction for thoughts which otherwise 
would have been gloomy and anxious. 

Mother to Jane and G. 

8 Brevoort Place, March 9, 1864. 
My dear Girls : We are all sitting together 
at the round table, Abby looking over the old 
letters from Point Lookout, and reading an inci- 
dent occasionally aloud ; Carry composing an 
address on her Bloomingdale orphans for their 
May anniversary. (Jt is too amusing to have 
Caroline Murray and all those old lady-man- 
agers deferring to our Carry on all subjects 
connected with the asylum. .. . . Mary is very 
much engaged in her arrangements for the 
floral department at the Fair, and very much 
interested in it. All the ladies are agog for 
novelties. They will be charmed with an occa- 
sional communication from the Hospital at Fair- 
fax ! We are to have a daily paper too, which 
is to beat the " Drum Beat" — " The Fair Cham- 
pion." Do send in poetry and prose and as 
many incidents as you can; get your doctor and 
the soldiers to send me an article for it, or letters 
for the Post Office. Send whatever you have to 
7ne, that I may have the pleasure of handing it 
to the committee on literature! Abby says, 
" Georgy, may I write out the German soldier- 
boy's dream, or any other extract from your old 
letters that is not too stale ? " I am sure you 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 569 

will say yes. Abby is gelling quile warmed up 
aboul the Fair; it is difficult not to feel so when 
everybody else is full of excitement aboul it. 
She is making a beautiful silk flag, a dozen or 
two of the new style of tidy-covers of muslin 
or embroidery edged with lace, beside lots of 
other little matters. Mary's idea of having 
garden hats of white straw, with broad ribbons, 
and their ends painted in ilowers, is a pretty one, 
to be hung in her arbor of flowers. She is also 
painting a lot of little wooden articles. Every 
thing of hers is to be of the garden style. We 
find a use now for all our old flower baskets, 
rustic stands, etc., and a huge pile of them now 
stands ready to be carried to the flower depart- 
ment. My chair, the cover for which I was 
obliged to give up working, is under way, also 
three silk comfortables, all spandy new, none 
of your old gowns, lined with silk and beauti- 
fully quilted in scrolls and medallions by a Fish- 
kill woman, and trimmed wnth ribbon quillings; 
also one dozen ladies' dressing-sacks of various 
styles; also, one India satin sofa cushion, one 
embroidered worsted do., four elegant toilette 
cushions, one doll's complete street dress, (even 
to an embroidered pocket-handkerchief), one 
doll's stuffed chair, and other articles "too tedi- 
ous to mention," are all under way. I dare say 
we shall all do our full part, both in making and 
purchasing. 



570 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Mrs. Chauncey has already sold her baby- 
house, Sarah Coit tells me, for five hundred 
dollars ! Kate Hunt has received her Parisian 
purchases for the Fair, for which she expects to 
realize a very large amount; says she is furnish- 
ing things to the amount of a thousand dollars ! 
Eliza is coming down to-morrow. . . . 



( H. R. W. to J. and G. 

FiSHKiLL, Sunday. 

My Dears : We came up here last Thurs- 
day, and you may imagine it was somewhat of 
a relief to get Mother away from the everlasting 
Fair business that, for the last few weeks, has 
completely run her off her feet. . . . 

New York is really in a disgusting state of 
fashionable excitement; nothing is talked of, or 
thought of, or dreamed of, but the big Metro- 
politan Fair ! Mrs. Parker has her thousand 
dollar tea-sets to dispose of ; Kate Hunt, her 
two hundred dollar curtains; Mrs. Schermer- 
horn, her elegant watches ; and Mrs. Sombody- 
else, the beautiful jewelry sent from Rome for 
the Sanitary Commission. . . . 

Mary, and Edward Potter have been very busy 
with their floral department, and Mary has made 
some " sweet " things, one very pretty garden 
hat, a pure white straw with wide white ribbon 
streamers and a bunch of large pansies painted 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 571 

on the end of each, exquisitely painted, and to 
bring in thirty dollars or more. . . . 

All the committees are at swords' points, of 
course; the Restaurant ladies wish flowers in 
their department, to which Mrs. George Betts, 
chairwoman of the Floral Committee, says "as 
sure as they do, I will have oysters on the shell 
in mine, and call them seaweeds." . . . 

A. H. W. to Jane and G. 

Wednesday, March 30th. 
I came from Fishkill yesterday afternoon 
with a trunk full of finished elegancies for the 
Fair. . . 

They have put up a tremendous and expen- 
sive building in 17th Street, reaching from 
Broadway to Fourth Avenue, which we saw 
yesterday for the first time. It is a long bar- 
rack, with the end buildings one story higher, 
truss roof, huge oriel windows, and fine planed 
plank throughout. This is supplementary to 
the other structures on 14th Street. . . . 

"Taps," Mary's army poem, is really coming 
to something. Robert sends word that he has 
an appointment this afternoon to go to see 
about the illustrations for it with Mr. Potter. 
If it isn't ready for the first day of the Fair, it 
will still be in time. A discharged one-armed 
soldier, James Nichols, 5th N. H., has offered 
himself very promptly, as salesman. . . . 



572 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

E. W. H. to G. M. W. 

FiSHKiLL, April 26. 

I am thankful the Fair is over, particularly 
on Mother's account, for she used herself up 
completely day by day, and would have given 
out entirely if it had lasted another week. 
Abbyand Mary and in fact everyone who has had 
anything to do with it^ is tired out, and there 
are still the auctions to arrange for and attend, 
and I have no doubt our whole family will help 
in them. 

I wish we could have brought Mother again 
to the country, for it is delicious here and the 
spring is opening beautifully. Is there nothing 
you want in the way of wines and brandies, etc., 
in view of the coming campaign ? There must 
be, and ive wish to send it. 

A. H. IV. to Jane. 

8 Brevoort Place. Sunday. 
A Char- We three girls had a glorious time on Thurs- 

^ksc/ne ^^y afternoon, at a banquet given to William 
at Home Wlieeler's Battery. We came away enthusias- 
sequei. tic \xi our admiration for him. Imagine this 
handsome, manly, gallant officer, loved by the 
men, cheered uproariously by them at inter- 
vals of five minutes all the afternoon, and apro- 
pos of nothing, — " Three cheers for Cap'n Will 
Wheeler." He is as free with them in the Ger- 
man language as in English. There was also a 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 



573 



distribution of beautiful bouquets which the 
Wheelers had been busy tying up all the morn- 
ing, 60 or 70 — one for each man. 

The Battery has re-enlisted for the war ; their 
30 days' furlough is up, and they go back to 
Tennessee. . . . 

Old Mr. Boorman, the Wheelers' uncle, made 
a speech that afternoon — feeble and pale and 
broken as he is. He told the men he " remem- 
bered the Captain as a baby, he remembered the 
Captain's Mother as a baby, and he remembered 
the Captain's Grand7iiother as the prettiest little 
girl they ever saw. She is not on earth now, I 
shall go to her soon, and — boys, if any of you ever 
desert that flag, I'll send Grandmother to haunt 
you all the days of your life ! " 

The Captain never came home. So many 
captains never came home. By August he 
had been killed, while his brother John, 
hungry and bare-foot, was a prisoner at 
Macon. Abby says, "how characteristic the 
history of these two young men is of the 
spirit of the times, and the conduct of the 
war." 

At midnight, May 3d, '64, the Army of the Battles of 
Potomac crossed the Rapidan, and Grant's demels' 
campaign against Richmond began. Char- chariey 
ley as usual served as aide on the personal Grant. 



574 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



Staff of the commanding General, through 
the frightful battles of the Wilderness, 
Spottsylvania, Cold Harbor, and all that 
they involved. Fortunately, a few of his hur- 
ried notes to Mother, written on the field to 
quiet her fears, had been copied to send to 
friends, the originals (afterwards burned) 
being too valuable to risk in the mails. The 
first day's fight, of the twelve continuous 
ones in the Wilderness, was over, and at mid- 
night, tired enough, no doubt, he writes : 

C. C. W. to Mother. 

Five Miles South of Germannia Ford, 

May 5th, 11.30 p. m., 1864. 

Dear Mother : To-day we have had proba- 
bly the hardest fight of this campaign. The 
battle was principally fought after 4 p. m., (our 
troops attacking,) and raged until dark. Our 
losses have been great, for the fighting on both 
sides was desperate, but all goes well and Gen- 
erals Grant and Meade are in good spirits and 
confident of completely finishing up the thing 
this time. The ground is the very worst kind 
for fighting, a perfect wilderness of dense for- 
ests and underbrush, where you would suppose 
it impossible for anything to get through. 
Hence there has been no opportunity for the 
use of artillery, the infantry has done it all. 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 



575 



The cavalry also has been successful on the left 
flank, driving the enemy splendidly. 

A despatch I took to General Meade from 
Sheridan about 4.30 this p. m. pleased him greatly, 
** The cavalry bricks are driving them ; three 
cheers for the cavalry," he said. The lay of 
the land and the underbrush render it entirely 
unnecessary that the army headquarters A. 
D. C.'s should be up with the troops on the 
actual line of battle, and on this account 
scarcely any of us have been under fire. We 
communicate chiefly, you know, with the Corps 
headquarters, which are always in the rear. 
We have been going about all day, but shall 
have a good rest to-night, grateful to many a 
tired fellow. Of all the movements, of course, 
I can tell you nothing now. With Burnside 
and part of the Sixth Corps we shall have from 
35,000 to 40,000 fresh troops to-morrow. Every- 
thing is working well, but it is a matter of great 
regret to Meade's "company," his A. D. C.'s, 
that we have seen, and can see, so little of the 
front. Carry's note reached me this morning, 
when the musketry was very loud. Hooray for 
the American Eagle ! With much love to all. 
Aff'ly, dear Mother, 

C. W. W. 



576 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



Five Miles South of the Ford, 

Frida}', May 6, 1864, 5 A. m. 

No mails go out, but I shall write each day. I 
wrote yesterday, but it could not go. The in- 
fantry has begun again with light. Burnside 
will go in to-day. We are sure of the best 
result with all these fresh men. Everything is 
going well. 

May 7th, 3 p. M. 

This goes by a special messenger, and I can- 
not tell you more than that everything is 
going well, and that I am all right. The enemy 
has fallen back and the prospect is very cheer- 
ing. The roads and thick underbrush are such 
that the corps headquarters with which we aides 
communicate must be farther to the rear from 
the line of battle than under ordinary circum- 
stances, and on this account we can see but 
little of the fighting in the front. 

May 7th, Saturday, p. M. 
All right along the lines, and with 

Yours aff'ly. 

Spottsylvania C. H., May 8th, p. m. 
The infantry fighting is over, for some time 
probably. We are apparently pushing hard for 
Richmond, and all goes well. Don't have any 
fears for my safety, for I have not yet been to 
the extreme front. No Headquarters' aides are 
sent, and no mishaps as yet. Thisgoes via train 
of wounded to Fredericksburg. 

Aff'ly, C. W. W. 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 



577 



A. H. W. to Rev. Dr. Prentiss. 

8 Brevoort Place, Thursday, May 12. 
My dear Mr. FretJiiss : The mail that has 
come through from the army has brought us, 
just now, a note from Charley, dated Tuesday, 
loth, written, of course, before that horrible 
conflict began again Tviesday evening. How 
thankful we are — to hear so promptly — when so 
many are in suspense or grief. Here it is : 

Near Spottsylvania C. H., May loth. 
To-day for the first time we are going to 
send a mail through if possible, via Fredericks- 
burg. You have no doubt received some, if 
not all, the notes I have sent you, and the papers 
have given you an account of our successful 
advance. It is by no means probable that we 
could have got to Richmond without hard fight- 
ing. This we have had, but we have beaten the 
enemy back in each instance, and his army is 
ver}' much cut up. Our own is rested and in 
good spirits and admirably disposed. There is 
no enemy on our right, and the cavalry are 
probably doing great damage to their railroad 
communication. The rebel cavalry have been 
plucky, but have invariably been driven with 
loss. You may expect to hear of the destruc- 
tion of the rebel army very soon. Our scouts 
do good service and information has come in 
from the rebs which is very cheering. The 



578 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

weather has been delightful, except at times too 
hot for the infantry. With love to all, 

c. w. w. 

Another fiote says — on Monday : 

" Our losses have been large, in all the bat- 
tles, but not extraordinarily so. The fighting has 
usually been only part of a day, and still through 
the thickest underbrush. We lose a great deal 
in General Sedgwick's death, but Wright is an 
able soldier." 

C. W. W. (Copy.) 

In Front of Spottsylvania. 
Wednesday, May nth, 

Dear Mother : — I have written you up to yes- 
terday A. M. Last night at 5 there was to have 
been a general attack along our lines, but the 
report came in that the enemy was massing on 
our right and trying to turn it, and the attack 
was suspended. A sharp fight however took 
place before dark, when Upton distinguished 
himself, taking 1,200 prisoners and driving the 
enemy from a breastwork five feet high. There 
is now better opportunity for the use of our 
artillery and the batteries were firing sharply up 
to dark. As we cannot see the enemy's line, all 
this counts for but little, and is successful only 
as demonstration. 

Burnside was engaged yesterday, during the 
day, but we could not hear his musketry — his 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 



579 



guns we heard distinctly toward dark, coming 
from the enemy's rear, almost, Burnside having 
got well round on their right flank. General 
Meade, I think, does not consider it at all proba- 
ble that the rebels would try to turn our right. 
To me, it seems the absurdest thing possible. 
The enemy to do it must withdraw troops from 
his right or centre, weakening his line too 
much, when ours is so long and so strong on 
our left. 

Yesterday p. m. I took to General Meade the 
rumor that we had possession of Petersburgh, 
&c., &c. This was at once published to the 
troops, but cheering was strictly prohibited, as 
this would discover to the enemy our position. 
Since yesterday a. m. our right and left have 
advanced. 

Our headquarters' staff are all right. General 
Grant camps near us and is on the field with us. 
He says very little and smokes a great deal. 

Everything is quiet this (Wednesday) morn- 
ing, except the skirmishers, and it is rumored 
that the enemy is falling back. All is going 
well. 

Don't say " why don't they push into Rich- 
mond." 

Wait and see ! 

I do not think I have said anything contra- 
band. Very aff'ly yours, 

C. W. WOOLSEY. 



58o 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



Mother to J. and G. at Fairfax. 

New York, Thursday, May 12th. 

What awful carnage is going on from day 
to day, and what an immense amount of suffer- 
ing, in the heaps of wretched wounded men. I 
am glad so many of our surgeons have gone on, 
but what are a dozen of them among thousands 
of sufferers ? I do not believe they have any- 
thing like half enough for the demand. I wish 
/ were a man ! I would be there to do my little 
all, and I think I could beat some of those old 
fogies in dressing wounds, if not in sawing off 
limbs ! Dr. Buck went on Monday to Freder- 
icksburg [which on May 9th part of our army 
under Burnside occupied as an hospital]. 

We have more pencil notes from Charley — up 
to Tuesday loth ; after this the great battles of 
that day came off. All was well up to that 
time. I enclose copies of his notes. What ter- 
rific fighting there has been ! and oh ! the dead, 
the dead, the maimed, and worse than dead ! and 
the desolate homes throughout the land. Peace 
and freedom dearly bought — if indeed we get 
them in the end, — which is not yet. . . . Mary 
is making her arrangements for the country, 
and a little previous visit to Eliza for a few 
days ; was to have gone to day to Fishkill, but 
one of her headaches has put a stop to it. She 
came over yesterday and drove us to the park. 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 581 

It is perfectly beautiful there, and so filled 
with gay vehicles of every description, and 
happy faces, you would not dream of war and 
bloodshed in the land. So goes the world, and 
we a part of it. A telegram from Charley just 
arrived dated 8th — older than his notes ; could 
not be sent I suppose. We are very fortunate 
in hearing from him so often in such a state of 
things ; he is very attentive about writing to us 
under all circumstances. . . . The big box 
stands ready for your duds ; if there is anything 
else you need, say so at once, "or forever after," 
etc., etc. 



C. W. W. to Mother (Copy). 

Headquarters, A. P. 

Friday, May 13, '64. 

Dear Mother : — The enemy has been badly 
whipped and has fallen back again. We still 
have communication with Washington through 
Fredericksburg, but this is not intended to be 
our base, we only make a convenience of it for 
the wounded and for some supplies. Hancock 
and Wright and Burnside report the enemy as 
having withdrawn, maintaining though, a thin 
line in front of Burnside. Hancock's attack 
was by far the most brilliant thing so far, in 
this campaign. We have certainly 35 guns and 
a great many prisoners. 



582 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

General Ned Johnson* was at our camp all 
this morning. It was he who nearly turned our 
right at Germania Ford. 

General Stuart [Johnson's associate] refused 
to shake hands with General Hancock and was 
made to walk to the rear with his men. 

We shall probably be cut off from any com- 
munication with Washington in a day or two, 
but I will scratch a few lines whenever I can. 

G.M.w. It was an understood thing with the Sani- 
erickl-'^ tary Commission and myself (G.) that I was 
burg. ^Q i^g called on at any time for hospital ser- 
vice at the front ; and immediately after these 
late battles (May 12th) the summons came — 
a courier arriving at the Fairfax Seminary 
Hospital to summon me. I left at once via 
boat down the Potomac for Fredericksburg. 

A. H. W. to H. Gil man. 

New York, May 16. 

Mrs. Gibbons called here Saturday after- 
noon to let us know that she was going to the 
front. But we couldn't tell what to send by her 
to Georgy, and the trunk with G.'s boots, gloves 
and thin clothing had already started by express. 
Mother gave Mrs. G. some money to do army 

* The rebel general, taken prisoner with his entire force 
by bayonet charge under Hancock, in the fog. May 12. 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 583 

shopping with on her way up town — some good- 
tea for G. and herself for one thing — and then 
we collected a quantity of old linen, towels, 
mosquito-bar, etc., whatever we had in the 
house, and took them up to Mrs. Gibbons. 

Some of us went to General Rice's funeral at 
Dr. Adams' church yesterday afternoon. Mr. 
Prentiss was to assist Dr. Adams. The church 
was jammed to suffocation. 

General Rice was a very devout as well as a 
gallant man. Just as the army marched, he had 
written to Dr. A. and enclosed him a manuscript 
tract of his, a little story of his own soldiers — 
the " Dying Sergeant," which will be published 
by the Tract Society. 

The General's aide — Lieutenant Bush, a young 
fellow of 17 — brought the body on, packed in 
ice, for he said they found many Virginia man- 
sions with ice-houses well stocked, near the field, 
and everything was seized of course for the 
hospitals. There was an abundance of it. Dr. 
Adams asked Lieutenant B. how they all felt — 
in the fight. " Feel," he said, " why we are worn 
out, we couldn't feel — we couldn't eat — we did 
what we were told to do, mechanically." 

A. H. W. to H. G. 

Brevoort Place, May 17th. 

We all had a very solemn week, last week; 
people felt that it was no time for shouting or flag 



584 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

waving, it was all too tremendous, too serious for 
that. They count up now our loss and our ad- 
vance — more than a thousand men to every mile, 
probably, and feel that it is going to cost us very 
dear yet to conquer Lee or reach Richmond. 
Our personal anxieties were soon relieved by 
daily letters, or rather pencilled scraps, from 
Charley, which were always confident and hope- 
ful about our movements, reflecting the tone of 
Army Headquarters. . . . 

Charley, in his last note, says that Fredericks- 
burg is not their real base — was only used as 
convenient for shipping the wounded, and that 
they will soon cut loose again from communica- 
tion with Washington. Where they are going 
to swing to we do not know. . . . 

You will have seen from the Times or Tribune 
that Georgy is at Belle Plain. She went off 
very suddenly last Thursday, through the "open 
door," she always sees, — the Sanitary Commis- 
sion sending a courier out to the Hospital for 
her ; and to-day we had a letter from her. On 
board the boat going down was " C. A. P.," Mr. 
Page, the Tribune reporter, a gentlemanly nice 
young fellow, the one who told the pretty little 
story of the wounded boy crawling about on 
the battlefield with his hands full of violets. So 
Georgy made friends with him, sent a note 
to Charley by him, and got him to promise he 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 585 

r ^ 

f would sometimes say in liis letters to the Tribune 
that the staff were all well. 

He grants her request this morning, or some 
letter-writer does, by a publicity which neither 
she nor Charley will relish. . . . 

Mother is well and weak by turns. She drives 
about the house faster than ever, to forget 
thought now. . . . 

Mrs. Gibbons and Sally have gone from here, 
and Georgy will be with them when they reach 
Belle Plain; also with Mrs. John Barlow, who 
is active and first-rate, I believe. Her husband, 
General B., was carried about all summer at 
Brattleboro on a stretcher, after Gettysburg, but 
is now in the thick of the fight again. . ; . 

G. M. W. to J. S. W. 

Belle Plain on the Potomac, 

May 13, '64. 

Dear Jane: On the Sanitary Commission g. m.w. 
boat, pulling up to the shore the Government ^''P""'' 

^ ^ & r from t 

flat-boat of horses and cavalry recruits. There Front. 
are no docks and the supplies are landed by 
pontoons — a constant stream of contrabands 
passing with bags of grain and barrels of pork 
on their shoulders. Drs. Agnew and Douglas 
and Cuyler are here. We have a feeding station 
on shore, and another two miles away, where 
ambulance-trains halt sometimes for hours. 
The mud is frightful and the rain coming on. 



the 



586 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

We are to take the returning ambulance-train 
for Fredericksburg. . . . 

Just as I finished, the train of ambulances 
arrived from Fredericksburg. Nothing I have 
ever seen equals the condition of these men; 
they have been two or three days in the train, 
and no food. We have been at work with them 
from morning till night without ceasing, filling 
one boat, feeding the men, filling another and 
feeding them. There's no sort of use in trying 
to tell you the story. I can scarcely bear to 
think of it. 

All the " Invalid Corps " from our Hospital, 
who marched off that day, are down here guard- 
ing prisoners, Generals Stuart and Bradley 
Johnson among them. The wounded arrive in 
ambulances, one train a day, but the trains are 
miles long, plunged in quagmires, jolted over 
corduroys, without food, fainting, filthy, fright- 
fully wounded ; arms gone to the shoulder, 
horrible wounds in face and head. I would 
rather a thousand times have a friend killed on 
the field than suffer in this way; it is worse than 
White House, Harrison's, or Gettysburg. We 
found thirty-five dead in the ambulances yester- 
day, and five more died on the stretchers while 
being put on the boat. Mules, stretchers, army- 
wagons, prisoners, dead men and officials all 
tumbled and jumbled on the wretched dock, 
which falls in every little while and keeps the 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 5 87 

ambulances waiting for hours. We fed all the 
five boats that got off yesterday. There is no 
Govermnent provision for this beyond bread : no 
coffee, soup, cups, pails or vessels of any kind 
for holding food. The men eat as if they were 
starving. We are ordered to Fredericksburg, 
where there is more misery than here. . . . 

Mr. Andrew Cheesbro, of the Canandaigua 
" delegation," who was with Mother and G. 
at Gettysburg, and was now again at Belle 
Plain, working hard, writes: 

Washington, May 20, 1S64. 
Dear Miss Woolsey : Thinking you may have 
received my spasm of a note, written in a mo- 
ment of desperation and an exaggerated condi- 
tion of mules, mule drivers, nigs and other 
animals on that horrid pier on the Potomac — it 
should be spelt with a b — and that you may 
have answered the same, I take the liberty of 
saying that I am in Washington and not there, 
thank God ! I didn't leave until the last minute 
(who ever did?), but I grew seasick and land- 
sick till I would have thanked and absolved any 
rebel who would have shot me. Then I came 
away. The ladies didn't come. . . . 

After you were gone on to Fredericksburg, 
imagination suggested that a face lying far off 
in the crowd was " Charley's; " I hurried to him 



^ 



588 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

through mule heels and the " innumerable cara- 
van," but found, when I reached the utmost 
stretcher, the resemblance was gone — though the 
Captain's name did begin with a W. I treated 
him to punch for the suggestion. . , . 

I hope that in no wounded man you will 
find a nearer resemblance than I did. . . . 

I hear of you as cooking in the rear of some 
hospital. Let me serve you, if I can. . . . 

There's no news here. General Wadsworth's 
body went off yesterday a. m., under General 
Auger's escort to the cars, and five Congressmen 
to New York with it. . . . 

Mr. Cheesbro's letter directed to Frede- 
ricksburg, was long in coming, but finally got 
round to G., endorsed in pencil in Charley's 
handwriting from the field : '* Sent to the 
front by mistake, unless, indeed. Miss VVool- 
sey has established a feeding station at Bowl- 
ing Green, Va." 

G. M. W. to Mother. 

Frederickburg, Sunday, May 15. 
Dear Mother : Charley all safe by to-day's 
report as enclosed. Mrs. Barlow and I at Fred- 
ericksburg — town full of badly wounded, Com- 
mission feeding all the houses, for men are put 
in anywhere, the regular hospitals being full, 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 589 

and hundreds of poor fellows report to any one, 
or no one, as the case may be. The stores on 
both sides of the streets are full — filthy shops, 
old shoe stores, old blacksmiths' rooms, men 
lying on the floor without even straw under 
them, and with their heads on old bits of cast 
iron. I saw a boy sound asleep on a pile of old 
iron last night, as we made the rounds late after 
arriving. This a. m. we started a diet-kitchen, 
and have fed several hundred in the little rooms 
and houses about here. The Commission has a 
large corps of volunteer nurses, men, who go 
right in and work under the surgeons, and get 
all the supplies they want from the Commission. 
Lenox is here ; I saw him in the street while we 
were at the purveyors this morning, wriggling a 
great camp stove out of the depot. You will 
have more good news before this reaches you, of 
our successes. The wounded men are as happy 
as possible over it, some of them. The road 
from Belle Plain over here is more abominable 
than anything you can imagine ; corduroy, and 
filled with holes and bogs, and the wounded are 
sent in army wagons over them. We have our 
hands full here, and I am glad I came. The 
hospitals are delighted to have ladies come 
right in and feed the sick ; we can go in any 
where. From the extreme difficulty in getting 
supplies, there has been very little food in town. 
To-day ten great wagons full of stores came for 



59° 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



the Sanitary Commission, and really I don't 
know what the sick would do but for this so- 
ciety. Their nurses and supplies are every- 
where. Ammunition was needed for the army 
two days ago, and was of course sent before all 
other things, which stopped all other transpor- 
tation. I have sent a note to Charley to-night 
by the Tribune reporter, who comes and goes, 
and brings us all the news. Good night. 

G. to Mother. 

Fredericksburg, Monday, i6th. 

Dear Mother : Charley's note was brought 
to me to-day by Charley Coit. How good it is 
to get a line the same day on which it is writ- 
ten ! Mr. Clark and all the gentlemen were 
interested in reading it. I have almost daily 
communication with Charley, and have sent a 
note and two messages to-day. 

Just as I was going to write, a message came 
from one of the hospitals to say that m}' little 
boy on the floor in the corner wanted me. Such 
a dear handsome young fellow — going, like all the 
rest. " Where is my lady ?" he demanded, 
" Will she come soon ?" And when I got to him 
he took hold of my hand tight, saying, " Is this 
my lady — that's all right then." No straw yet 
to put the men on. The transportation is dread- 
ful ; all the ammunition, food, and forage for 
the army, and all the food, clothing and medi- 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 



591 



cines depending upon a line of army-wagons, 
over a frightful road, after reaching a distant 
and most inconvenient point on the Potomac. 
There has been no bread or hard-tack even, for 
twelve hours in town. We have beef only, and 
make soup all day long, and farina gruel. The 
supplies are expected to-night ; also Sanitary 
Commission wagons, but none have come, and 
it is now II, and we shall have to turn our wits 
inside out for breakfast. Some hospitals have 
been provident and have drawn for several days 
in advance. I think, now that I do think of it, 
that some one said they saw hard-tack going up 
to the Sixth Corps hospital this evening, so that 
it may be here in time for to-morrow. The 
frightful wounds of these men need everything ; 
everything is provided, and nothing, compar- 
atively, cati be got here. The Sanitary Commis- 
sion have fifteen wagons going and coming 
daily, but that is a drop. The Post Quarter- 
master told me to-day that the supplies had been 
delayed by the absolute necessity for sending 
army stores to the front, and if the enemy could 
only succeed in cutting our wretched line, we 
should be lost, from starvation. I must go to 
bed. Please send this note to Jane, I shan't 
have time, perhaps, to write to-morrow to her. 
One from her just now, for which thanks. We 
are required to show reason for being here, or 
go to the guard house. I have a pass from the 



592 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



Surgeon-General as "volunteer nurse." . . . 
Lenox over at tent to-day ; he has a Baptist 
Church for hospital, and the baptistry in the 
floor of the pulpit gives him a constant supply 
of fresh water. 

Two stained and worn little leaves from 
Charley's war note-book give the follow- 
ing: 

" Headquarters Army of the Potomac, near 
Bowling Green, Va." 

May 19, '64. 

At 2.05 took dispatch to Tyler to attack enemy 
if advancing as reported on our left. 

Hancock to move his command at 2 a. m. to- 
morrow to Bowling Green. — About 5.30 p. m. 
enemy came round on our right, attacking 
Tyler with intent to capture our trains. I was 
sent to put Tyler's whole division in line of bat- 
tle under fire. We drove them back, capturing 
250." 

[Charley adds : We used to say that the left 
boot heels of the whole army were worn down, 
there was such constant moving by "the left 
flank," fighting by day, marching past Richmond 
" by the left flank " at night.] 

G.'s pencil notes from Fredericksburg were 
scratched off when a spare moment came, 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 



593 



which was but seldom, and show by their 
disconnected sentences that they were writ- 
ten under great pressure. 

G. M. W. to J. S. W. 

Fredericksburg, May 19. 

All right. Hard work, dirt and death every- 
where. Mrs. Gibbons arrived last night and 
she and her daughter are assigned to a fearful 
place and are working hard. 

Men are brought in and stowed away in filthy 
places called distributing stations I have good 
men as assistants, and can have more. We go 
about and feed them ; I have a room of special 
cases, besides the station ; three of these died 
last night. They had been several days on the 
field after being shot, in and out of the rebels' 
hands, taken and retaken. The townspeople 
refuse to sell or give, and we steal everything 
we can lay our hands on, for the patients ; more 
straw-stealing, plank-stealing, corn-shuck-steal- 
ing ; more grateful, suffering, patient men. 

May 22. 
No confusion was ever greater. Tent hospi- 
tals have been put up, and the surgeons ordered 
not to fill them. Orders came from Washington 
that the railroad should be repaired, then orders 
came withdrawing the guard from the road. 
Medical officers refuse to send wounded over an 



594 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



unguarded road. Telegram from Washington 
that wounded should go by boat. Telegram 
back that wounded were already over the pon- 
toons, ready to go by rail if protected. Telegram 
again that they should go by boat. Trains came 
back to boat, river falling. One boat got pain- 
fully off ; second boat off; ambulance trains at 
many hospital doors ; got on train and fed some 
poor fellows with o.^^ nogg ; moved on with the 
slow moving procession ; at every moment a 
jolt and a " God have mercy on me," through 
the darkness over the pontoons to the railroad, 
again ! I cooked and served to-day 926 rations 
of farina, tea, coffee, and good rich soup, chicken, 
turkey, and beef, out of those blessed cans. 

The government rations are drawn this way : 
The contract surgeon in charge of a little shop 
or room full of wounded, reports to the surgeon 
in charge of 2i group of such ; this officer reports 
to the surgeon of division, the surgeon of divis- 
ion to the corps surgeon ; the corps surgeon 
draws on the commissary for the number of 
rations he needs for the day. It has often been 
10 o'clock at night before dinner was ready. 
( You may easily see^how important the irregu- 
lar supplies of the Sanitary Commission and 
other organizations have been. 

We are lodged with a fine old lady, mild and 
good, in a garden full of roses. We board our- 
selves. We have crackers, sometimes soft bread, 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 595 

sometimes beef. Last night we had a slice of 
ham all round. The town will be deserted in a 
few days. We are sweeping and cleaning Mrs. 

's rooms to leave the old lady as well off as 

we can, for all her slaves have packed their 
feather-beds and frying-pans, and declare they 
will go with us. 

One bright spot there was in the midst of 
all this horror. 

G. to Mother. 

Fredericksburg. 

"Augur's reinforcements have passed Roses 
through ; as the troops went forward they were 
met by the ambulances from the front full of burg 
wounded men, who thrust out their poor hands 
and waved, and weakly cheered them. 

Mrs. — 's house has a large old-time garden 

full of roses ; indeed, the whole town is brim- 
ming with early flowers. We begged and 
received permission to take all we could gather, 
and filled the baskets and trays and skirts of 
our gowns with snowballs, lemon-blossoms, and 
roses, yellow, white and red. The 8th New York 
Heavy Artillery was in the advancing column. 
In the headstall of Colonel Porter's horse I 
fastened a knot of roses, and tossed roses and 
snowballs over the men. They were delighted, 
"In Fredericksburg !^' they said; "O! give me 



at Fred- 
ericks- 



596 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

one," " Pray give me one," " I will carry it into 
the fight for you," and another cheerily, "and I 
will bring it back again." 

Three days afterwards the ambulances came, 
and in them came some of the same men, shat- 
tered, dying, and dead. We went out, but this 
time it was with pails of soup and milk punch ; 
one and another recognized us — all were cheery 
enough. "A different coming back, ma'am," 
" no roses to-day " ; and one said, pointing over 
his shoulder, " The Lieutenant is there on the 
stretcher, and he's brought the flowers back, as 
he promised." I went to his side, hoping to 
help a wounded man. The Lieutenant lay dead, 
with a bunch of roses in the breast of his coat. 

Our friend and fellow-worker at Beverly 
Hospital later. Miss Sever, sent me, a year 
after, this little allusion to Fredericksburg : 

" Levi Thaxter (Celia Thaxter's husband) 
sat with me a long while the other day, and we 
talked of you, dear Miss Georgy. He says the 
most beautiful moment he has ever seen in life 
was at Fredericksburg, last summer, when you 
were giving roses to the regiment who were 
marching to almost certain death, and a sol- 
dier stepped from the ranks and seized your 
hands." , . . 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 597 

C. C. IF. to G. M. W. 

New York, Monday. 

Dear G. ■ If you were not frightened away 
by the teamsters' reports on Friday, I suppose 
you are still pursuing your " labors of love " in 
Fredericksburg. Your old tow-headed friend 
of the Peninsula is a co-worker; perhaps not 
equally efficient with yourself, but willing to be 
obnoxious in any way. . . . 

Door-bell — Miss E. M. wants to know if I 
wrote those everlasting Three Weeks at Gettys- 
burg. Having read them, she cannot stay at 
home, and would like a little information as to 
what was needed for a nurse. We have just 
finished breakfast, and she is the second anxious 
inquirer this morning. We think of opening a 
branch office of information and drawing a sal- 
ary from the Sanitary Commission. This elderly 
spinster wants to know if she can have a bath 
daily, and if lier night's rest will be interrupted, 
as her health depends upon those two things. 
I haven't heard of any bath-tubs, and I believe 
day and night are all one in Fredericksburg. 
What it is to be the sister of an authoress ! 
especially one who "has a brother on General 
Williams' staff ! " I wish we could send both 
of you something to eat and to wear. . . . 

Yesterday (Sunday) we got into our new 
chapel for the first time — a long, narrow room, 
lighted from one end, aired in the same way. 



598 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Mr. Prentiss could scarcely conceal his delight 
at being there, and tried to convince us all that 
it was "built by God, stone on stone," though 
we saw evident signs of James Renwick, and 
thought the ventilation was not altogether provi- 
dential. . . . 

Later ^ A. H. W. iv rites : 

Miss P. has called to get Mother to go on a 
Literature Committee and collect matter for a 
book she wants to publish — advertising first the 
names and residences of the committee, and ap- 
pealing to mothers and families to forward the 
dying speeches, messages, battlefield-incidents, 
etc., of their sons and brothers ! Mother sent 
her down word that she had a son in the army 
herself, and that all such matters as " dying 
words " were too sacred for intrusion. She 
declined going upon any committee, or appeal- 
ing to any mother for such a purpose. Where- 
upon Miss P. said she would scratch out those 
words and modify her purpose, which didn't 
modify Mother, however. 

Now that we are receivers for the North 
Carolina refugees, every time the door-bell 
rings Carry says, " Cooking stoves! " or Hatty 
cries " Bed-ticks ! " but nothing has come, ex- 
cept five dollars through the city post from 
some gentleman signing himself " Pity." . . . 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 599 

Mother to Mary and Eliza. 

Before "Taps," 

Monday p. m., May 23d. 

I have made several attempts to write a line 
to you to-day, my dear girls, for I hope Mary is 
still at Fishkill, but this has been a day of un- 
usual interruptions, and I have now only a few 
minutes and half a sheet, but shall make the 
most of it. . . . 

Home is our best place, " until these calamities 
be overpast," which are now keeping us in a 
state of anxiety and uncertainty as to what is 
best for us to do. 

We have thought perhaps G. may like to 
run on for a little rest and refreshment after 
Fredericksburg. I wish it may be so that she 
and Jane will both come. I send you their let- 
ters received to-day. Jane writes "chirkly," 
and seems to require no sympathy or aid; in 
fact, she scorns them both. Amongst a host of 
others, Lizzie Thompson called to-day. Her 
husband is at Dalton as Christian Commission 
delegate, aiding the poor men there in every 
way; was in the front of the battle there and 
saw the whole thing; is very busy and deeply 
interested in his work. His letters are charm- 
ing. Mrs. McKeever was here too, and asked 
for you all; asked me to "let her know some 
day when I go to see Mary, that she might join 
me." . . . 



6oo LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

We think of adding " Army Gen'l Directory " 
to our door-plate, so many people of all sorts 
come to us for information, and for aid in vari- 
ous enterprises. . . . 

From C. W. W. at the Front. 

May 24th, 1864, 7 A. M. 
Dear Mother : All day yesterday we were 
marching South by many roads, to the North 
Anna ; and towards night Warren, who had 
reached an excellent position, was attacked by 
the enemy, and for an hour before dark and half 
an hour after, there was a heavy artillery fire 
and some musketry, which resulted in his favor. 
It was a fair stand-up fight, neither side having 
any other defence than the lay of the land. 
Wright was in Warren's rear, on the same roads, 
and is up this a. m., and Hancock farther to the 
south and left. Burnside is on the right in het 
rear of marching column. The Ninth Corps 
marches badly and there has been difficulty 
about their trains each day. Headquarters saw 
nothing of the fight yesterday, but we are to go 
nearer the front to-day. We are over the North 
Anna, and shall probably come up with the 
enemy in force to-day or to-morrow. The fight 
yesterday was by advanced guards of either 
army — the enemy hoping to find us in column, 
before line of battle could be formed. We are 
more than half way to Richmond — last night 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 60 1 

camping just half way — 30 miles, at the house 
of a proud old F. F. V., whose sheep and chick- 
ens, I regret to say, were paid for. 

We have heard from Sheridan to-day : the 
staff officer who came through brought word 
that he was 35 miles from here, and he will join 
us to-night or to-morrow. His command is all 
right except for fatigue and hunger, and he will 
return from his raid in better condition than 
ever before after so long a march. The North 
Anna divides our army, but it is an easy stream 
to cross, and the rest of the troops can easily be 
thrown over, if that is the intention. 

The wounded from Warren's fight last night 
will be sent to Port Royal, I svippose. 

Getting Sheridan back will be a great gain to 
us ; two days' rest and recuperation will fit them 
for duty and they will be invaluable on our 
flanks. They can easily avoid the rebel infantry, 
— the confederate cavalry, the prisoners ac- 
knowledge, " is about gone up." 

12 M. 

We have our Headquarters in a roadside 
church, Mt. Carmel Church, and General Grant 
is in a pew near me, whittling and talking to 
General Meade. We are making up a mail, and 
I am just in from Burnside in time to put my 
letter in. 

The weather is very pleasant and the country 
beautiful, so different from our winter camps. 



6o2 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

I have found the negroes very friendly and use- 
ful as guides. Their masters and missuses have, 
as a general thing, "done gone clar out." 

Aff'ly, C. W. W. 

A. H. W. to E. 

Thursday, May 26th. 

Dear Eliza : It is raining so hard that there 
is little chance of sending to the Post Office, and 
you will lose the pleasure of getting Charley's 
letter, in tivo days, from beyond the North Anna. 
You see it was written at noon on Tuesday, and 
we had it at 8 this Thursday morning. Carry 
and Hatty came home late last night from New- 
ark, N. J. A young officer was in the Fourth 
Avenue car with them who said that he was 
" just up from the Army of the Potomac by way 
of Port Royal. Grant was swinging round 
onto the Peninsula, and White House was again 
to be the base !" 

We have nothing more from Georgy at Fred- 
ericksburg. Dr. Buck has got home ; said he 
couldn't stand the work any longer, he had 
to come away. He was here night before last — 
it was he who brought G's letter that was left at 
our door. When he left Fredericksburg things 
were more comfortable ; straw was beginning to 
arrive, or hay. He left from 7,000 to 8,000 
wounded there, so I don't believe the Times 
despatch, that "all the wounded had been re- 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 603 

moved to Washington." If they have been, the 
Medical Department has murdered a good many 
in doing it. 

By May the 28th, Charley found himself 
on the old ground again. Gaines Mill, where 
Joe was wounded two years before, was 
close by, and each army occupied the posi- 
tion its opponent held during the fight of 
those seven days in 1862 ; — Lee's men taking 
their turn in the Chickahominy Swamps 
now. 

Mother to G. 

Monday Evening. 

My dear Georgy : You don't know how we 
grab at your letters and how eagerly we read 
them ; nor do you know how much I long to be 
down there with you. I would give anything to 
start off to-morrow morning, and take the "new 
Tent Hospital Kitchen !" or even an "umbler" 
station. What scenes you are surrounded with, 
and what an experience you are having ! . . . 
It is a great pleasure and comfort to me to have 
you and Charley so near as to keep up almost 
daily communication. Yours of day before 
yesterday ! enclosing his little note of same 
date, reached us this afternoon — only think how 
quickly they came. I am glad, too, good old 
Dr. Buck has been with you ; it seems to bring 



6o4 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

you nearer home. Oh ! Georgy, what heart-sick- 
ening sufferings our men are subjected too. . . . 
It is, I suppose, miserable management some- 
where. . . . 

It was a great day for the Church of the 
Covenant — the day we assembled in our new 
room. . . . Mr. Prentiss seemed inspired, and 
good old Dr. Skinner looked as if he could 
scarcely refrain from an outburst of applause 
while Mr. Prentiss was preaching. . . . When 
you all come home we will have our nice seats 
there all ready for you. Oh, the happy day 
when we shall all as a family assemble there to- 
gether once more ! . . . 

Impress it upon Charley not to expose him- 
self unfiecessarily to the enemy. Of course he 
must do as he is ordered, but I know he is anx- 
ious to be in the very front. I wonder if he 
realizes what it would be to be maimed for life 
with the loss of a leg or an arm, perhaps both ! 
I do not think young men think soberly enough 
about it. Surely, Charley has seen suffering 
that might put him on his guard. I tremble for 
him, and a dread comes over me when I take up 
a newspaper. We are all well, and shall not go 
out of town till the army is at rest. A loving 
kiss to you, my dear child. Take care of yourself 
for the sake of your loving 

Mother. 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 605 

Mother's longing for our meeting as a Mary. 
family once more, was never satisfied. Our 
dear, beautiful Mary died, May the 31st, in 
her Astoria home. Rose Terry, who had 
been with her there a year before, wrote : 
" I used to sit and look at your sister like a 
person in a dream. I did not think any 
mortal woman could be so exquisite, so like 
?i flower with a soul in it. She was not less 
human, but more spiritual, than any other 
mortal I ever saw ; and now she is im- 
mortal." 

These are, we think, the last verses Mary "Taps 
wrote, " Taps," — the army bugle-call to sleep, 
to put out the light. " The notes rising and 
falling, say as plainly as music can say any- 
thing : " Put it out ; put it — out ; put — it 

out !" 

" It is a clear, golden call, almost a human 
voice, falling softer and slower to the end, 
and, when well played, lingering a little at 
the last, like some one very cautiously hush- 
ing a baby to sleep '' : — 



6o6 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



"TAPS." 

Put it out ! Put it out ! Put it out ! 

The clear notes rising, climb 

A ladder of sweet sound, 

And from each golden round 
The ascending angels, nearing heaven, do chime, 
" God's watch begins, put your dim lanterns out !" 

Put out each earthly light ; 

It is God's shadow falls 

Along the darkening walls. 
Closing us round, when men say " it is night ;" 
He draws so near it shuts the daylight out. 

Put it out ! Put it out ! Put it out ! 

Forbear each scheme of ill ; 

Good angels walk the ward. 

And heaven is all abroad 
When twilight falls, and earth lies hushed and still ; 
Room for the angels ! Put the dark deeds out. 

Put out all thoughts of care : 

Rest gently, aching head ; 

He stands beside the bed 
Who brings in peace and healing, unaware. 
And sends soft-footed sleep to shut pain out. 

Put it out ! Put it out ! Put it out ! 

Put out — quite out — the light. 

Hark ! as the notes grow faint. 

Was that a new-voiced saint 
Who climbed with them, and scaled the starry height ? 
Has from among us any soul gone out ? 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 607 

God's love falls as a screen. 

Where lights burn dim and pale 

No flickering flame shall fail, 
For with His hand held steadfastly between, 
No wind can blow to put these life-lamps out. 

Through earth's long night He waits, 

Till, to the soul's glad eyes 

Filled with divine surprise. 
Heaven opens wide her golden morning gates : 
Then, day being come, He breathes the candle out. 



We had hurried home, too late — from hos- 
pital work. Jane went back to her duties at 
Fairfax. Two of us were not needed there 
longer, and I (G.) felt that I had wounded in 
our own home to care for, a while. Charley 
was still at the front. 

C. W. W. to E. J. IV. 

Headquarters A. of P. 
July 13th, 1864. 

This is but a line to acknowledge the receipt 
of the package and to say how much I should 
like to take a breath of Lenox air with you. 
Things don't look to me over-promising just 
nozu, but I shall not give way to any feeling of 
discouragement. 

I wish I could be at home for a while with 
Mother, but this is impossible. 

Always aff'ly yours. 



bur; 



CHAPTER XIV. 

The The effort to out-flank Lee and push on to 

^7po°^ Richmond by the old line was unsuccessful. 
tomac Great battles with enormous losses had 

before 

Peters- occurrcd — though, as Grant reported to the 
Secretary of War, with general results "in 
our favor"; adding, "I propose to fight it 
out on this line if it takes all summer." 
There was no retreating under Grant, but a 
concerted plan to close in on the enemy, 
which included a settling down before 
Petersburg, on the line of railroad by which 
the rebels received their principal supplies. 
Here occurred the explosion of the mine 
and its utter failure through the blunder of 
some commanding officer, to which Charley's 
letter, copied and sent to a friend abroad, 
refers. Grant had established his headquar- 
ters at City Point on the James. 

C. W. W. to Mother. 

Headquarters Army of the Potomac. 
July 27, 1864. 

The movement of troops yesterday, which 
we have tried to keep very quiet, is part of a 



Mine 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 609 

programme which, if successfully carried out, 
will change the look of things in our front. A 
very important move is to be made to-morrow. 
I try, on principle, to expect success, but the 
chances for it to-morrow seem small to me. 
Complete defeat is, I think, impossible, for no 
matter how severely we may be repulsed in the 
offensive, our line of defence is a very strong one. 
I shall feel more at liberty to write to-morrow. 

July 31st. 
Got back to camp at 2 p. m. yesterday, but c. w. w.-s 
went off to sleep after much hard riding. We p.urns'^de's 
had been expecting the explosion of Burnside's 
mine for weeks, and though / have not felt at 
liberty to speak of it, I dare say it has been 
kept so little secret, that you, and no doubt 
the enemy, have been expecting it too. Here, 
scarcely any one expected complete success, and 
it had been so delayed from day to day that we 
expected a counter-mine to blow us up. The 
movement of Foster and Hancock to the north 
of the James was a successful diversion. The 
secret service proved that the enemy detached 
large bodies of troops and maintained but 
a thin line in our front. But for the invari- 
able delay of the 9th Corps we might have had 
Petersburg at noon yesterday. The i8th Corps 
held the trenches on the right of our line and 
had orders to form, with the 9th, the assaulting 



6io LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

column. The 5th Corps, holding our left, had 
orders to reduce its front line to a minimum 
and mass in the rear of its trenches to follow 
up the 9th. The cavalry had orders to demon- 
strate on the extreme left and threaten from the 
south. The mine was to explode at 3.30 a. m., 
when our artillery on either flank of the crater 
was to open, leaving the space of the breach 
through which the assaulting column was to 
pass. The mine did not explode until 4.45, but 
even then the attack would have succeeded if the 
troops had been promptly advanced. An hour 
passed, and no advance. Daylight came, the 
enemy recovered from their scare and concen- 
trated what troops they had at the breach, and 
got an enfilading fire on our column as it was 
forming, a thing which couldn't have happened 
in the dark. The column was heavily shelled 
and somewhat broken, and the men were ad- 
vanced down the covered way, artificial ap- 
proach, two abreast (instead of regimental front, 
as might have been in the dark), and over the 
open. The wounded began to come back, block- 
ing the way and halting the column. Our men 
were hit before they got out of the approach. 
Finally the column advanced to the crater, with 
its tail end still in the narrow approach, found 
that the enemy had had time to make the best 
dispositions, and received a tremendous fire, 
front and both flanks, lost very heavily, and 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 6ii 

were withdrawn. Many lay the blame on a 
regiment of negroes that broke. This may be 
part cause of the failure, but I will not make 
them responsible for it because they are " nig- 
gers," as do many of the officers here. I think, 
if the assault had been made immediately after 
the explosion, that any troops, even the green- 
est and blackest, would have gone through. 
The Brigade that led our column was chosen by 
lot. It fell upon Bartlett, but he has a wooden 
leg, and they drew again. It fell upon a bri- 
gade of dismounted cavalry, some artillery-men, 
and a mixed-up lot not fit to lead a forlorn hope. 
When it was found they wouldn't and couldn't 
advance, General Grant, who, with General 
Meade, was at Burnside's headquarters (General 
B. being at the front), said : " Well, we've made 
the attempt and it has failed ; that's the amount 
of it. The troops had better be withdrawn." 
General Burnside's failure and a more personal 
matter will, I am afraid, bring him to grief, I 
am sorry. I'm afraid he'll go under. It is but 
a hundred yards between the lines, called fifty, — 
and the wounded are lying in the sun. The 
rebels have refused General Meade's flag of 
truce ; why on earth I see no reason. We took 
one gun and left three in the ruins. The mines 
are occupied by the rebel sharpshooters, who 
fire incessantly at us over the wounded on the 
field. We shall have a quiet spell I suppose 



6i2 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

before trying again. It was a golden chance 
and a disgraceful failure. 

August 2nd. 
The failure of the assault has given us a 
bluish tinge here. General Grant and General 
Meade are a good deal cut up by it. Our loss 
is heavy. I went with the flag of tx\xc& yesterday. 
At the point of the explosion the rebels and 
our officers and men mingled freely. The rebels 
and the nationals, in their shirtsleeves, are not 
to be told apart, for very many of the rebels 
had on United States regulation blue trousers. 
The hot sun had done dreadful work. Nine- 
tenths of the men I saw were negroes. They 
had apparently been killed in running to the 
rear, but beyond the crater they (the blacks) had 
held their ground well, some of them to the 
last. The officers and men were friendly with us. 
To-day there is a court holding in our mess- 
tent. Burnside's telegraph men are accused of 
intercepting messages between Generals Meade 
and Grant. Their defence is that they did it 
under General B.'s orders. All this will " lead 
to complications." The explosion, I fear, has 
made a wider breach than the one in the enemy's 
lines. Some changes in command and move- 
ments of troops are taking place. I will tell 
you when the right time comes. Private letters 
from this army are opened by the secret service 
men. I congratulate H. J. on his 30-day bullet. 
No chance for me. 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 613 

We have no more of Charley's army let- 
ters this summer, but Rev. H. Hopkins, who 
had at last accomplished his desire and was 
a chaplain in the field, tells of some of the 
experiences of the A. P. 

Camp 120TH N. Y. Vols., A. P., 

August nth, 1864. 

Dear Georgy : Since our expedition to Deep 
Bottom, and short sojourn in the trenches at the 
time of the explosion of the mine and assault 
on the enemy's lines, we have been enjoying 
regular camp life. . . . 

The industry of the men has provided deep 
wells abounding in cool, clear water ; so that for 
all, the heat is endurable. 

Here at Headquarters we luxuriate. We no 
longer creep on hands and knees into our sleep- 
ing places, but live in ample wall-tents. . . . 

All the routine of the camp, even to the school 
in tactics, has been re-established and the calls 
from reveille to tattoo are regularly sounded. 
Our regimental band, an unusually fine one, 
plays for us after dress parade, while we take 
our tea, and all goes pleasantly on. 

In a Bomg-proof, 

August 20th, '64. 
My experience since the above was written is 
a good commentary on the uncertainty of human 
affairs, and a good illustration of a soldier's life. 



6 14 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

I was going on to tell you of the rural chapel 
Ave had built, and the services we were daily 
holding, etc., when I was interrupted. I went 
over and dined with your brother and returned 
to finish my letter, when lo ! my home, the 
camp, my flock, my property, had vanished like 
the baseless fabric of a dream. The whole 
Corps had gone towards City Point. It was a 
week of excitement and danger. Several lay 
dead by the roadside before we reached City 
Point, though the troops were marched more 
reasonably than usual . . . 

A profound mystery shrouded the whole 
movement and was a delightful feature of it. 
Division generals were as much in the dark as 
any of us ; and as the fleet dropped down the 
river, every place from Mobile to Atlanta was 
looked forward to as our destination, by the 
sagacious prophets on board. It was generally 
supposed that we were going to Washington. 

It was a beautiful sight at sunset on the James, 
that night, as our thirty-two transports turned 
their heads up stream and cast anchor just above 
Harrison' s bar. . . . 

The army was back again at the same spot 
from which it and the Sanitary Commission 
— ourselves part of it — had retreated two 
years before ; but the Chaplain's regiment, 
far from falling back on Washington, as we 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 615 

did, was to engage later in heavy fighting 
for the capture of Petersburg. 

G. to Mother at Fishkill. 

New York, August 6, '64. 
I have been in to see Mrs. Gibbons, who has Beverly 
written to know whether Carry and I would go "°sp"^' 
with her to Beverly, fifteen miles from Phila- 
delphia, and help put in running order Dr. 
Wagner's new hospital, to open on Tuesday, for 
2,000 men. He implores Mrs. Gibbons to come 
and help him. She is to appoint all his nurses, 
and do as she pleases. She is to go at once, so 
as to be there for the first arrival of sick, which 
will be early in the week, and is to let us know 
all about the place — diet-kitchens, accommoda- 
tions, etc., etc. — after she gets there, and then 
we are to decide and join her if we like the look 
of it. If she won't go, Dr. Wagner says he will 
not have any women nurses, and that is such a 
loss to a hospital, that she feels obliged on that 
account, if on no other, to help him. . . . 

Scrap in Mother s handivriting : 

About Mrs. G.'s plan you must let me 
know. It seems much more desirable to me than 
going to the front, but you must judge for your- 
selves, of course. Pennsylvania is a more 
healthy region by far, than the South at pres- 
ent. My love to you all. . . . 



6i6 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

A. H. W. io H. Gilman. 

August, '64. 

The girls' new summons to hospital work 
came a few days ago, and yesterday Georgy and 
Carry started for Beverly, N. J., where Mrs. 
Gibbons and others have been hard at work for 
a month organizing a new military hospital to 
accommodate 3500. She says they are very short 
of help, and there is a village full of malignant 
people who are ready to make trouble if they 
are not allowed to sail through the wards with 
their help. It will be new life for Carry, but she 
is quick-witted and "handy," and was very anx- 
ious to go, and we couldn't refuse when there 
were hundreds of badly wounded, and few nurses 
to be had. ... I don't believe you will be long 
without finding what you wanted — " something 
to do" — in Norwich. Trust you for not being 
" lazy " long ! or blue either. 

Abby herself was still hard at work cut- 
ting out shirts, and packing boxes, wherever 
she happened to be. 

A. H. IV. to H. G. 

Cornwall, N. Y., Sept. 23, 1864. 
The The bale of " California flannel" came, and 

Family ^^ doubt the Ladies' Army Sewing Circle will 

take a y o 

rest at nccd it all, and justify my purchase. A few of 
w°i" them who had heard of it have sent me money 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 617 

enough already to pay for one-third the ex- 
pense, so we shall begin swimmingly. We came 
to this place last Saturday, and at first felt for- 
lorn enough, but we secured an extra little 
room which Mother has taken pleasure in fitting 
up as our so-called private parlor. . . . 

I cannot help wishing that we could have 
maintained a longer seclusion, just among our 
own family. This coming among outsiders 
seems to bury our sorrow deep from sight, to 
put it far back in the past. . . . 

We can see Eliza's house plainly across the 
bay, and with a spyglass make out some signal, 
which, hung from an attic window, means, " We 
shall drive over this morning to see you," or, a 
story lower down, " Expect us this afternoon." 
It takes three days for a letter to come or go, all 
mail communication between this township and 
the universe being by stage to Newburgh, so we 
drive over when we want to say anything to 
Eliza ! , . . 

We have nothing very recently from Georgy 
and Carry. Their experience has been new and 
very trying — more wearing, Georgy says, than 
anything she has gone through before, because 
of the mental anxiety to provide for so many 
wounded men without means to do it with, and 
without authority to compel the means from the 
hands of dishonest stewards and indifferent 
doctors. She and Carry have been buying all 



6i8 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

the food that all their worst patients needed — 
forty in number, at the Beverly grocery. The 
cooks and stewards make a clean steal of at least 
one meal a day from these two surgical wards — 
and the meals, when they are served from the 
hospital, are just the usual pork fat, and greasy 
slops. The men cry like babies, and Carry cries 
with them, and then laughs with them, and then 
does better than that, by taking the eggs she has 
sent to the grocer's for, and scrambling them on 
a spirit-lamp — to feed and keep life in some 
dying man. They are common ward nurses — 
Mrs. Gibbons having the position at the head of 
the women. . . . 

The girls say they ask each other, every day, 
" How can we stay ? and yet how can we go 
home ? " They will wait and see this set of men 
on the road to recovery, if possible. 

John Packard goes up from Philadelphia 
every day as a sort of Inspector — to show the 
contract men what to do — with the wounds, 
etc. ! Of course the girls' own accommodations 
are miserable, but that is nothing. Georgy 
says she has really "at last an opportunity of 
exercising some of that self-sacrifice which her 
misguided friends have sometimes given her 
credit for." They say, however, we must not 
think it is all gloom and forlornness. They have 
rare fun between themselves about what goes 
on, and the airs and ignorance of the young 
doctors, etc., etc. 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 619 

As a sample of this G. writes from Beverly 
to Mother:— 

September, '64. 
This set of regulations was promulgated 
this morning regarding "female nurses : " 

"All deliberations, discussions and remarks 
having the object of expressing comparative 
praise, or censure, of the medical officers of this 
hospital, or their individual course or conduct, 
are positively prohibited ! " The provision 
against our '■'•praise" is truly judicious. C. and 
I have 100 men in our wards, all in bed. It is 
grimly amusing to hear the ward-surgeon say 
day after day, "Milk and eggs for 38." For 
two days there have been no eggs at all, and 
the milk rations are always short. The ladies 
are not allowed in the kitchen, or to have any- 
thing to do with the food for the patients. No 
steak or potatoes or milk punch come into 
this ward. We have opened a private account 
for bread, and milk, and butter and eggs, enough 
for this ward, with the village store. Our ward- 
surgeon has gone to a horse race, which seems 
a pretty long one ! The surgeon-in-charge is 
kind in manner, and draws rations strictly ac- 
cording to army regulations ; and seems to 
think that the stewards are the best persons to 
manage the food business. The object of the 
minor officers seems to be to subsist the men on 



620 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

nothing, and avoid making a row. We cannot 
keep our men alive ; eleven of them have died 
in three days. 

Rocking-chairs were still our craze. The 
Government furnished absolutely nothing 
for a sick man to sit on. These were for our 
Beverly ward : 

H. L. H. to G. 

Philadelphia, Sept., '64. 

Dear Georgy : — I hope that Pomegranate 
rind has already reached you in packages as 
desired. As you suggested, I have ordered 10 
Boston Rockers. ... I have on hand twenty- 
six dollars and forty-five cents, . . . subject to 
your order. Do let me know whenever I can 
be of service in any way. ... I am glad to hear 
that Dr. Packard is on duty at Beverly, as he 
may be of service to you and your patients, if 
you will only give him a hint. 

We had a good-natured laugh over a visit 
from Miss Dix, who, poor old lady, kept up 
the fiction of appointing all the army nurses. 
She descended upon Beverly for this purpose, 
when, finding us already established without 
consultation with her, she served this 
printed assignment to duty — not on me only, 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 621 

but on Carry, whom she had never spoken to 
and knew nothing about ! 

" Office of Superintendent of Women Nurses, v 
Washington, D. C, August 30, 1864. \ 

Miss Woolsey having furnished satisfactory- 
evidence of her qualifications for the position of 
a "Nurse" in the employment of the Medical 
Department U. S. A., is approved. 

D. L. Dix, Superintendent. 
Assigned to duty at U. S. General Hospital, 
Beverly, New Jersey, 1864, upon application of 
Surgeon in charge." 

(a. H. W. to H. G. 

Carry writes us about the visit of a Christian 
commission delegate to their hospital and the 
gloomy sermons on death he preaches to the 
convalescents, till her hair stands on end. He 
also haunts the wards early and late when no 
one is on the lookout for visitors, loaded with 
pocket-handkerchiefs ?ix\d.pickied quinces, demand- 
ing all round who has the diarrhoea, and quite 
pleased to find that no one has and all glad to 
get the sour fruit, though in truth eleven of the 
men had died in three days of that chronic com- 
plaint. 

Carry writes : "If / owned a hospital no 
philanthropist should ever enter. I could have 
pounded two benevolent old ladies yesterday on 



62 2 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

a tour of " inspection " through my ward. One 
of my poor little boys, feverish and restless, 
tired of lying in bed for days and days, had 
crawled to the stove and been tucked up in one 
of our rocking-chairs in his blanket. I had 
given him a hot drink and he had fallen into a 
doze, when these elderly philanthropists arrived, 
shook him by the arm, yelling, " Poor fellow, 
what's the matter, fever ? O ! my ! you're too 
near the stove ; get right back to bed. There 
now, that's it, you're too weak to sit up ; " and 
so having saved one life as they thought, they 
passed on to the next." 

You see Carry has her trials like all hospital 
nurses. 

Jane writes at this date from her hospital : 

I should think Beverly must be one of the 
worst conducted places in the service except 
Willett's Point Government Hospital, Long 
Island, where in August I saw them handing 
about pieces of fat pork on newspapers, to 
wounded men, for their dinners. 

The Beverly Hospital was perhaps the 
worst one claiming to be a Regular Army 
establishment that I (G.) ever went into, 
and the conditions exasperating, because it 
was in the midst of a land of plenty. But 



/ 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 623 

it was dominated by the same Regular ._^ / 

Army spirit which we had encountered all 
along, from the very first day of our army 
experience. 

As in our late Spanish war, the system 
adapted to the case of a frontier regiment in 
time of peace was expected to cover all the 
emergencies of a large army in time of war. 
At Beverly the surgeon in charge was kind, 
but strangled in red tape. Mrs. Gibbons 
made the effort to keep us comfortable, and 
her daughter herself prepared in one corner 
of the kitchen articles for our table, to miti- 
gate the army ration. Our own discomforts 
on the top floor of the board shanty are not 
worth speaking of, but one incident will 
illustrate the general conduct of affairs. I 
was pursued up-stairs one day by the man 
detailed to wait on the nurses' table, (a huge 
private in shirt-sleeves and bare feet), and 
violently berated for taking a piece of dry 
bread from the table to eat in peace in my 
own room, " contrary to regulations," I sup- 
pose. 

Cousin Margaret Hodge and home friends 
helped us constantly to feed our poor men, 
and Robert sent weekly boxes of fruit and 
flowers. At last a tent hospital took the 



624 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

place of this wretched old tooth-brush fac- 
tory building (where, through the wide cracks 
in the single plank floor of my ward, we 
looked down into the dead-house), and, mat- 
ters having improved, we came away. 

The poor fellows' Christmas day was 
happy. Miss Sever, our co-laborer, who re- 
mained, in acknowledging Christmas boxes 
from us, writes: "The dinner was a great 
success, and Mrs. Grant, the General's wife, 
spent the day going about among the men, 
which delighted them." 

In the course of this summer of 1864, 
Admiral Farragut's splendid taking of Mobile 
came as a comfort, after the failure of the 
mine explosion before Petersburg ; and 
Sherman and Sheridan were working out, 
through victories elsewhere, their part of 
Grant's plan for closing in round the rebel 
Lee. 

McClellan, the " lost leader," while his old 
command still faced the enemy in the field, 
was occupied in offering himself as a rival to 
Mr. Lincoln's second presidency, and as the 
regular nominee of the Democratic party 
with its "peace at any price'' morals. Chap- 
lain Hopkins' letter fills a gap in the record. 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 



625 



Chaplain Hopkms to E. W. H. 

In the Field. 
Camp of 120TH New York, Sept. 29th, 1864. 

My dear Mrs. Hoivland : I have just returned 
to camp from City Point, wlience I have just 
dispatched over eighteen thousand dollars out 
of their pay to the homes of our men. I find 
tents down, baggage sent to the rear, and every- 
thing ready for a move at a moment's notice. . . . 
Thank you for your kind, good letter. ... It is 
pleasant to know that one has the hearty ap- 
proval of his friends in a step like that which I 
took in leaving the hospital. To be congratu- 
lated therefore by you, through whom I was 
first introduced to hospital life, on my escape 
from it, is peculiarly gratifying. ... It was 
three years ago last Saturday, I think, tliat I 
waited in the parlor of the Ebbitt House, filled 
with misgivings at the thought of my temerity, 
to see the two elderly ladies to whom Prof. 
Smith had bidden me to report ! I trembled 
lest, like a gentleman in New York whose son I 
offered to teach, they should look at me through 
their spectacles and think me too young for 
such a work. . . . 

While I write Fort Morton, a hundred yards 
from me, is thundering with its heavy guns and 
mortars, to try the enemy, but they scarcely 
deign to reply. . . . 



626 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

These soldiers, so apparently remorseless at 
times, were yesterday stealing out between the 
lines to talk and trade together, exchanging 
papers, and comparing news or politics. They 
wrote each other notes as " My dear Johnny 
Reb," " My dear Yank." They had a little dog 
for a mail carrier, and enclosed the orders of 
opposing generals, inviting desertions. The 
Johnnies were coming over to us a dozen or 
more a day. This afternoon in the hottest fir- 
ing a rebel jumped up, swung a towel and called 
out, "Stop firing, and we will!" and in a mo- 
ment it was as quiet as a New England Sunday. 
Their officers did not agree to this, and ordered 
firing to begin ; so they shouted, " Get down, 
Yanks, we are going to open." I long for vic- 
tory not less that the enemy may be defeated, 
than that the peace party of the North may 
be utterly confounded. Not an officer in our 
regiment will support McClellan. . . . To-day I 

hear that Col. and Lieut. -Col. , both 

New York city democrats of the baser sort, who 
were never known to swerve from any nomina- 
tion of the party, have declared themselves 
against little Mac. They can't, they say, as sol- 
diers vote for him. Poor man ! the loyal thou- 
sands of the army used to greet the mention of 
his name with a perfect enthusiasm. Now he is 
cheered for by traitors and their friends, and 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 627 

builds his fortunes on the disgrace of his gov- 
ernment. . . . 

Your letter, which said in every line from be- 
ginning to end, " Let the war go on !" came to 
me just as I had come in from gazing on the 
noble, manly face of one of our Lieutenants, 
who half an hour before had been killed by a 
rebel bullet. There was not a more promising 
young officer in the regiment. We all expected 
much of him, and at home he was the idol of 
his mother and sisters. I was pondering on 
how best to tell them the heart-rending news 
when your letter came ; and I confess, that even 
then, with those pale features before my eyes 
and that desolate home in my thoughts, I could 
say too, " Let the war go on !" 

A. H. W. to H. G. 

Cornwall, Oct. 13th. 

Charley writes us with great pleasure of 
the gradual change that seems to be coming in 
the opinions of army officers. Those who have 
always had personal friendship for McClellan 
begin to see that they cannot vote for anybody 
on the Chicago platform, and are coming over 
to the right side. Colonel McMahon of Dix's 
staff had been down to Headquarters on a visit, 
and carried them the assurance that " McClellan 
was sure to be the next President ; bets in 
New York ran four to one in his favor." He 



628 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

came away from camp rather cast down at the 
growing confidence of the army in the adminis- 
tration.* 

Charley has not been at home since March, 
and is not likely to come until the election is 
over ; when, if Lincoln is successful, there may 
be a " let up " in military movements. That is 
viy idea you know, at least. . . . 

This afternoon we shall take an early start 
after dinner and drive up to Newburg and over 
the river to Eliza's at Fishkill, where Robert 
Howland and our four dear little girls are stay- 
ing on a little visit. This is to fill up the time 
for them, till we go back to New York, when 
they are all coming to live with us for the win- 
ter, a long, long visit. Mother is going to give 
them the third story, and we shall find them the 
life of the house ; I think, though, it will bring 
some responsibility. That we should feel, how- 
ever, wherever they lived. May tells us, she 
" saw that there was a bill on their house in 
23rd street, and asked papa what it meant, and 
where she and little sisters were going to live ;" 
and then he told her Moremamma's and his 
secret. 

* It is satisfactory to record even at this late date Mc- 
Clellan's overwhelming defeat ; he received 21 votes of 
the Electoral College, in a total of 212. 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 629 

The wretched men who had lived through Re- 

, , 1- • f 1 • • • turned. 

the brutalities attending their imprisonment prison- 
in Southern pens, were now being exchanged "^' 
for the hearty, healthy rebels we had so fre- 
quently seen during our service, Govern- 
ment established a large receiving hospital 
at Annapolis; good women were put in 
charge, and steamers brought their appalling 
loads to that port. Our old commanding 
officer. Dr. Smith, was called to superintend 
the transportation, and sent Jane, just then 
at home from the Hospital on leave, an ac- 
count of this service. 

J. S. W. to a friend abroad. 

New York, Nov. 29th, 1864. 
We are painfully interested just now in the 
coming home of our long-captive soldiers from 
the South. Our friend, Surgeon Smith, went 
down with the truce fleet. Perhaps you will let 
me quote a sentence or two from his letter dated 
at Savannah, Nov. 20th. "I have just received 
560 poor, wretched, miserable sufiferers. All 
their being, all mind, seems to be absorbed in 
the one idea of living. They are too low, too 
utterly wrecked to have hope. They can't even 
conceive the idea that they are going home. 
Hope and remembrance are lost. They are sunk 
almost to the level of beasts God help and 



630 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

pity them and take home the wretches that will 
die to-night. These living skeletons and puling 
idiots are worse to see than any sight on battle- 
fields. In helping them on board it is frightful. 
You see a head, then a double handful of some- 
thing in a bit of blanket or heap of rags ! It 
weighs what the bones would weigh. Whiskey 
and hot strong broth are being served out rap- 
idly." 

Same day, later : " The whiskey and broth, 
sweet soft bread and onions are working won- 
ders. One poor skeleton said to me just now, 
'Why, Major, I could but just crawl on board, and 
now I'm bully.' ' How is that.'*' said I. ' Oh, its 
the grub; I was starving to death.' Another 
skeleton head nearby, speaks; ' This is Heaven; 
I have often envied my father's pigs their food 
and shelter.' O my God ! it is dreadful to see 
these things." This surgeon is no weakling. 
He is called a hard man. He tells me later that 
our men are ill only with hunger and abuse, 
and the ijicident diseases. He says they have 
been subjected to every cruelty, every infamy 
of cruelty, we can conceive of. I have seen the 
prison camp and hospitals at Point Lookout, 
have lived in them for a month, and I knoiu what 
the contrast is. How can I help bitter indigna- 
tion when I read the over-seas talk of how the 
war is degenerating on the part of the North 
into a system of violence and cruelty, etc., etc. ! 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 631 

From the Army of the Potomac we get no im- 
portant news. The " Turkey fleet " for Thanks- 
giving day arrived on time, and there was great 
merry-making in the camps. It looks like win- 
ter quarters, and then again it doesn't look like 
winter quarters, and they are holding their 
breaths for Sherman, and wondering when Gen- 
eral Butler is going to give another " on to Rich- 
mond." That is the substance of our advices. 
Headquarters A. P. have a standing feud with 
Headquarters A. J. Butler is a thorn in the 
flesh of Meade. Charley is copying and punctu- 
ating Meade's report of the unsuccesses of the 
A. P. since May ist, with the reasons therefor; 
he feels the responsibility of his semi-colons, 
and thinks that if the American people would 
only mind their stops, all might yet be well. 
He sighs for promotion (there is no promotion 
in the General Staff) and wants to be a Captain 
in a colored regiment- but when I think of the 
dreadful anxiety it would cause Mother, I hope, 
unless it is a very clear case of duty, he will not 
join the black brigade. He was a prisoner for 
an hour or two in the late advance of the left, 
but after some hard and unequal fighting got 
away with his orderly and his dispatches, safe 
to our lines again. It would have been a ter- 
rible thing for us to have known him a prisoner 
in Richmond or Andersonville. 



632 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Colonel and Mrs. Howland are well. Georgy 
is with them, recruiting after her rather hard 
campaign at Beverly. . . . 

We are all lighter-hearted since the election, 
although we never allowed ourselves to doubt 
seriously of the result. As far as I know there 
are no McClellan men left anywhere. They are 
gone, no one knows where, and the " era of 
good feeling " appears to have set in. . . . 

The newest sensation is the incendiary fires 
and the registration of secessionists. It is aston- 
ishing how many of these people are here " eat- 
ing of our bread and lifting the heel against 
us." I hear stories every day of the imperti- 
nence of Southern women who are in sanctuary, 
so to speak, here, while their husbands are fight- 
ing against us. But we can afford magnanimity, 
even though our magnanimity be called weak- 
ness by the over-seas people, whom we cannot 
please. 

All that could be done for the saving of 
the wretched exchanged prisoners was at 
last done. Supplies were sent from the San- 
itary Commission and many homes — from 
Eliza's and ours among them, to the lady in 
charge, an old friend of ours since the first 
days of the war, who writes : 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 633 

Annapolis, Dec. 15th, '64. 
Dear Mrs. Howland : — The boxes of lemons, 
wine and brandy came in perfect order, and in 
good season. Many thanks for the kind and 
generous response to my suggestions for the 
benefit of our boys. The condition of them is 
very sad. I am afraid to say how many have 
died in the hospital. . . . 

A most touching letter was written a little 
while ago, dictated by a man to his wife. If I 
can get a copy of it I will send it to you — ex- 
pressing simply the feeling of contentment to 
die, since he had once more come under the 
"starry folds of the dear old flag"; and, com- 
mending her and their one child to God, he 
bade her good-bye in the full consciousness of 
the nearness of death. 

The flannel shirts will be most acceptable to 
us. The Sanitary Commission have so far fur- 
nished us large quantities of them, but as fast as 
the boys get their furloughs they go off, wear- 
ing in many instances the shirts that we have 
given them. The Government shirts are so 
rough and harsh that, if they can get others, the 
boys do not feel willing to wear them, and for 
my own part I have hardly the mind to put the 
poor skeletons into nutmeg graters, to lose what 
little flesh they have clinging to their bones. . . . 

Another boat is being unloaded. 



634 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Frotn the Satne. 

Annapolis, Dec. 27th, 1864. 

Dear Mrs. Howland : — The barrel contain- 
ing the shirts from your Ladies' society was de- 
livered promptly at my store-room on Satur- 
day. . . . 

I was very negligent not to tell you particu- 
larly of the condition of your pickles. They 
were in most excellent order. Nothing could 
have been more apropos than that very barrel. 
In some of the wards I sent them every day, and 
actually believe that nothing else but pickles 
saved the life of one man who would eat noth- 
ing till he tasted them. After the first one, 
he could not live without a jar of them in his 
room, and said they seemed to " rouse up the 
vitals pretty sharp," and gave him an appetite 
that nothing else could do. 

You may indeed consider Jthe experiment a 
perfect success.* 

Our Christmas passed off very well. I hesitate 
for a word to express how it went. " Happily " 
could hardly express the manner of it if I men- 
tion at the same time that teti deaths were re- 
ported to me the same day. But we had a very 
nice dinner of proper Christmas eatables, such 
as turkey, cranberry, celery, pies, plum pudding, 

* E. had them made by the barrel — sometimes by the 
hogshead — for this very purpose, as anti-scorbutics. 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 635 

with vegetables, for all full diets, and all sorts 
of goodies for the sick ones. Our decorations 
were not extensive, and confined mostly to the 
chapel, for all the ladies were too busy to trim 
the wards. The general condition of the patients 
is improving, I think, but the mortality has been 
fearful. Large numbers of the returned men 
were able to get off for home before Christmas 
and others are still going. 

Very truly yours, 

Maria M. C. Hall. 

Work for the Union Refugees was mean- 
time going on all over the North. As an 
indication of the general interest in them, 
the " Highland Serenaders,'' a village band 
of Matteawan, N. Y., sent E. W. H. a check 
for $100, asking her to " accept this small 
sum, the profits of their first concert," and 
to use it for the benefit of the Union Refu- 
gees. They add, " We hold ourselves in 
readiness to do our part in anything for our 
Free Country." 

Mrs. Joseph P. Thompson to E. W. H. 

32 West 36TH St., N. Y., December. 
My dear Eliza : — Abby tells me that your 
Fishkill ladies are busily at work for the refu- 
gees, and she says you want to know what 



636 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



organization there is at the Southwest, for re- 
ceiving and distributing the supplies. . . . The 
Union Commission are exploring through all 
those states, and reporting constantly. The 
most urgent calls at present are from Memphis, 
Nashville, from Helena, and from Cedar Keys, 
Florida, all reconquered from the rebels, where 
the destitution has been most appalling. Twenty 
barrels of clothing, potatoes, &c., have been 
shipped to Cedar Keys, to the care of Captain 
Pease, of the 2nd U. S. Infantry. There will be 
shipped for Memphis to-morrow seven barrels 
and boxes of the largest kind, of second-hand 
clothing, and there are probably at the rooms 
40 barrels and boxes that will be forwarded as 
soon as possible. 

A. H. W. to H. G. 

New York, Dec. 21, '64. 

Our household moves on with the usual ups 
and downs. We see and hear nothing from the 
outside world except what the newspapers 
bring, but that is stirring enough. Sherman's 
march proves, at last, our numerical superior- 
ity. We have one army free to move where it 
likes and have an " agreeable time " in the 
enemy's country. We may soon have two sur- 
plus armies, for Thomas' victory over Hood 
seems to have been a crushing one. Hood had 
forty thousand men engaged in that fight, but, a 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 



637 



very large number of them Tennesseans, who 
are evidently " demoralized " — if that slang 
word has not lost all its force, and he has three 
swollen rivers to cross in his retreat. . . . 

I must see Lizzie Thompson soon, and hear 
how the refugees fare. Carry went round one 
morning to the office, but her zeal only held 
out for that one day over the rags and vermin 
which some people find it convenient to dump 
on benevolent societies. We have packed one 
barrel, and hope to get off another before the 
close of the year, while Fishkill seems all agog 
on the subject. Poor creatures, homeless and 
hungry; these winter days must go hard with 
them in those border towns where the tide of 
war has stranded them. Our Thanksgiving box 
to Charley, which you were witness to, was so 
long delayed that the game in it must have been 
very gamy, so it has had to be followed by a 
Christmas box, which we sent off yesterday, and 
as another must go to the little Jerome children, 
(the Chaplain's family), at Fairfax Hospital, and 
another to the soldiers at Beverly, etc., we have, 
in that particular line, a rather busy time. . . . 
Carry is filling the month with weekly visits at 
Bloomingdale Orphan Asylum. She always 
comes back full of experience and pleasure, and 
has much to tell of her pow-wows with Mrs. 
Anthon and Mrs. Satterlee and the other elderly 
and revered ladies of the board. . . . They have 



638 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



been engaging two teachers, for the boys and 
girls' departments, the two young people who 
have had charge so far having romantically 
fallen in love. . . . 

The girls' teacher, it seems, was herself 
raised in the asylum, and great interest has 
been felt in her approaching marriage. . . . 
A sad and romantic turn has been given to 
the affair, however, by the appearance on the 
scene of a first-love whom she had secretly 
jilted for the sake of the new teacher. 
This first-love, a gallant, noble young Cap- 
tain in the army, obtained a short leave and 
came dashing into Mrs. Pell's room the other 
night, to know what it all meant ; why his en- 
gagement ring had been returned ? So then, it 
all had to come out. The young Captain was, 
himself, an asylum boy once, and a match with 
him would have been the wisest thing. . . . 
Poor young soldier, he is heartbroken, and has 
gone into the regular army, now, as a career. . . . 

Surgeon Smith has been ordered back to Fair- 
fax Hospital, the transfer of prisoners from 
Savannah and Charleston being nearly at an 
end. ... I don't wonder that the girls are en- 
thusiastic in their praise of him ; he looks so 
carefully and personally into the condition of 
his patients, instead of being satisfied with giv- 
ing orders to subordinates and sitting at his 
ease, as the surgeon who took his place for a 



FOURTH YEAR OF THE WAR 639 

time did. He has sent the girls his first two 
general orders issued on his return, and they 
are an indication of what sort of a man he is 
and of how shamefully his predecessor has 
acted, shutting up the chapel and snubbing the 
Chaplain. By "No. i, Dec. 14, Surgeon David 
P. Smith hereby assumes command of this hos- 
pital." In No. 2, dated next day, he orders the 
chapel opened, divine service held on Christmas 
Day and every Sunday thereafter at 10.15 o'clock. 
Also afternoon and evening weekly services at 
such hours as the Chaplain may appoint ; and 
officers and soldiers are referred to certain arti- 
cles of war and advised to be reverent and dili- 
gent in their attendance upon divine things. . . . 
Charley has been brevetted Captain, for "gal-c.c.w. 
lantry on the field," and all the rest of the "clap- t/^^^*' 
trap " (as he says) that his complimentary letter captain. 
was filled with. 



"The complimentary letter" unfortunate- 
ly is destroyed, and as we were all at home 
and no family letters were exchanged, there 
is nothing further to add to the simple fact 
that for " gallantry on the field " Charley 
could always be relied on. He came home 
for a while apparently, as this extract from a 
note from our co-worker at Beverly shows. 



640 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Miss Annie Sever to ^^ Dear little Miss Carry." 

Beverly Hospital. 
I was very glad to have the little note from 
you to-night and to think of your enjoyment in 
having your brother at home with you. You 
must let me give you my congratulations on 
his promotion. 

And SO the fourth year of the war closed 
with a united family — save one. 



THE WAR ENDED 
iS6S 



CHAPTER XV. 

January, 1865, found Sherman master of The End 
Savannah. The victory at Fort Fisher un- p^^acu- 
der General Terry followed. Columbia and '"»• 
Charleston within a month were occupied 
by Sherman, and he was marching north. 
Sheridan was making harassing raids, cut- 
ting off supplies, and breaking up railroads, 
and the rebels under Lee, held to their posi- 
tion at Petersburg by Grant, were gradually 
being surrounded and shut in on every side. 

In the absence of Charley's letters Chap- 
lain Hopkins again helps to make the story 
continuous : — 

Camp i2oth N. Y. Vols., A. P. 

Before Petersburg, Jan. 8th, 1865. 

Dear Georgy : That prince of Christmas 
boxes ! . . . Fresh from the perusal of one 
of Dr. Bushnell's masterly sermons, with the 
linen pockets hanging "from the ridge-pole," 



644 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

paper-cutter, etc. enriching the pigeon holes 
before me, new books adorning my table, and a 
fabulous array of goodies close at hand, while 
the match-box lies lovingly beside a little copy 
of the Psalms in a safe pocket, and a sugar-plum 
is rolled even now as a sweet morsel under my 
tongue — what wonder that my heart is too full 
for utterance. . . . 

I had been hard at work for many days with 
the axe, helping the men build the log chapel 
another Chaplain and myself are building for 
three regiments. We had had such trials and 
disappointments. ... I had found coldness 
where I had expected sympathy, and even self- 
ishness and meanness where I thought to be met 
with generovis co-operation. My heart was as 
sombre as the winter sky when I came to my 
tent. There was the box ! . . . 

Since then all has gone well; the afternoon 
was a happy one. The next day, teams, tools 
and willing men came with a pleasant day for 
the chapel, and to-day I have found in the huts 
of the men some such bright good souls that I 
feel strengthened and blessed by seeing them. 
See how much a box of sugar-plums can do ! 
I beg you to distribute my thanks where they 
belong, not forgetting Bertha and Una. . . . 

I have thought that part of your Mother's 
money could not be expended more satisfacto- 
rily than in supplying this brigade regularly 



THE WAR ENDED 645 

with a number of copies of the Messenger and 
Sunday School Times. It would be a pleasant 
thing for your Mother to know that she was 
putting a copy of each one of these good sound 
preachers into every hut in a whole brigade, reg- 
ularly, through the winter months. We mean 
to make a reading-room of the chapel, and I 
have already made arrangements for the secular 
papers. . . . 

I should like to give every soldier in the regi- 
ment a copy of "The Rainy Day in Camp." I 
never knew of a copy of it being destroyed; it 
is usually sent home in the first letter. Four 
hundred and fifty would be enough. Has Jane 
gone back to Fairfax Hospital ? . . . 

Both of my brothers are near me, one, Archy, 
in 37th Mass., 6th Corps, and the other, Law- 
rence, in the ist Mass. Cavalry. I expect them 
to spend Thursday evening. I am about mov- 
ing into a new and elegant shanty, and shall 
have a house-warming. I am saving cake, figs, 
prunes, nuts, etc. from the box, to garnish the 
feast. . . . 

Camp i2oth N. Y. Vols., 

Near Hatcher's Run, 

Feb. i2th, 1865. 
Dear Georgy : For the first time in a week I TheFor- 
have a tent and table. Outside, the winds howl war. 
and shake the canvas like mad, but my little "^y*''« 
fury of a stove makes it summer within. . . . flank." 



646 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

I am unable to understand what we have 
accomplished by this week of fighting and ex- 
posure, unless it be a diversion in favor of Sher- 
man. . . . 

When we came away from our old camp, there 
was a manifest improvement going on in the 
brigade, in the health, discipline and morals of 
the men. Our two chapels were none too large, 
and the attendance was increasing from night 
to night. The Dinwiddle Literary Association, 
carried on by officers of the brigade, was a capi- 
tal institution. . . . Then we had, every Thurs- 
day evening, a general singing exercise under a 
first-rate leader. Besides I had an interested 
and interesting Bible class. . . . 

To-day the chapel and the camp are desolate, 
and not one man in ten of the brigade knows 
that it is the Sabbath. By the end of the week 
we hope to have a new chapel up, though by the 
end of the week we may have made another 
move "by the left flank." . . . 

J. S. W. had gone back to the Fairfax 
Seminary Hospital, which was filling up 
with sick men from the camps abandoned as 
the army had advanced. Her hands were 
full of work asrain. 



THE WAR ENDED 647 

/. S. W. to J. H. 

Fairfax Hospital, February 16, 1865. 
Dear Colonel : Many thanks for your neat 
and appropriate gift. The thin disguise of writ- 
ing backwards — not to mention the postmark — 
shall not prevent me from claiming "thee as 
my valentine." . . . The last camelia G. sent me 
remained "quite fresh yet," till yesterday, when 
I turned it upside down, and it lasted some 
hours longer. . . . 

See how it is : you sit at home at ease, wax- 
ing fat on petroleum stock and pur^e aux qua- 
tre satsons, while we, whose bosoms are the bul- 
wark (you may have heard something like this 
before) between you and your country's foes, are 
obliged to turn our camelias wrong side out to 
economise them. But you also have been in 
"Arcadia." , . . 

Here there is nothing but shop to tell, and 
nothing of shop, but that we are continually 
expecting to be reinforced with every species of 
the genus Bummer from the breaking up of 
Alexandria hospitals. Some among the men 
will be bad cases ; they shall have the shirts of 
" the benevolent." 

The individual who has ten small children to 
feed on four months' arrears of pay — il y en a — 
he shall have a shirt too ; while " Mr." B., an 
inmate of ours, who boasts of having " jumped " 
a thousand dollars or two, has been six months 



648 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

in the service, in hospitals, and has just pro- 
cured his discharge on the ground of epileptic 
fits of fifteen years standing, will be requested 
to clothe himself out of his last bounty. The 
doctor sends me up now, the names of all dis- 
charged men with a mark against those he con- 
siders "unworthy of my charity"; so I have 
only to refer to my list, on the application. 

Ask Eliza how she gets the wine out of the 
" kag." Do you take off the hoops ? or gimlet- 
hole it in the side ? I was rather afraid of a 
jet de vin if I meddled with the little square 
piece of tin on the side of it. 

My love to the orchid-house and incidentally 
to the members of the family. 

A. H. W. to H. G. 

New York, March 9th, 1865. 
c. w.w. We plod along here, one day very much 

on In- Y\\iQ the rest, and a large proportion of them 

specting ' o r- r- 

tour rainy ones, when we stay indoors, and sort over 
General closets, or get a good pile of mending, and some 
Y'"' lively story for one to read aloud. 

Jane writes rarely, and always hurriedly ; so 
many hospitals have been broken up in Alex- 
andria that she has had a large accession of 
"lame backs" and despondent "chronics." It 
seems to be felt that the Department of Wash- 
ington will not be the depot for the wounded 



THE WAR ENDED 649 

from our next battle ; but that they will either 
be kept in North Carolina or sent up North, 
here. We hear nothing from Headquarters, now 
that Charley has left temporarily, but are look- 
ing with interest for a letter from him from 
Charleston, where he was going with all speed 
when he last wrote, General Williams and 
himself went to Hilton Head a month ago on 
" inspecting " duty, and Charley has written us 
about his Savannah and Florida trips, which 
were all novel and charming to him. General 
Gilmore had given them the use of a little 
steamboat, the Delaware, and on that they live, 
and shoot in and out along the coast. He tells 
us of the excellent order, appearance, and 
"snap " of the colored troops — the Third United 
States particularly — and mentions one company 
of artillery garrisoning a battery, where the Ser- 
geant was a field hand five months ago, but now 
" keeps the company books, and in excellent 
order" — no small mark of intelligence, in an 
officer of any standing, I am told. . . . 

We have gone into a new business, Georgy 
and I, collecting fancy articles for a colored fair 
in Alexandria. We have made a few gay silk 
neckties, some fancy aprons for colored babies, 
highly-colored pincushions, &c. It seems that 
articles for a fair will fill a place that mere 
money won't. Mrs. Jacobs (perhaps you have 
heard of her), a mulatto, formerly a slave, long 



650 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

living in Nat Willis' family, and a "big, noble, 
Christian lady " as described to me, has gone 
back to Alexandria to help educate her race. 
She found so much coldness and reserve among 
the well to do — those who were free before the 
war, and live comfortably — so much fear on their 
part that this great influx of degraded contra- 
bands would drag them all down to the same 
level in social estimation, that she has done her 
best to bring out their sympathies and break up 
this selfish, aristocratic notion. A fancy fair last 
spring, where the young colored " ladies " held 
tables, was most successful in more than mere 
money, and now Mrs. Jacobs wants to repeat it. 
The proceeds are to supply delicacies, &c., for 
the colored soldiers in the great dreary hospital 
at Alexandria appropriated to them. 

Charley and General Williams completed 
their inspection of the troops at Southern 
stations, and were back again at Headquar- 
ters of the Army of the Potomac in time for 
the final act of the campaign. 
Capture O" April 2d, Graut's whole line advanced 
against the rebel works at Petersburg, cut- 
ting Lee's army in two. The rebel General 
telegraphed to Jeff Davis that, his line being 
broken, he was compelled to abandon his 
position. 



of Rich- 
mond. 



THE WAR ENDED 651 

He evacuated Richmond and Petersburg, 
closely pursued by Grant, while loyal forces 
occupied both cities ; Weitzel's black troops 
being first to march into Richmond. The 
rebel president fled before them towards 
North Carolina. 

C. C. W. to E. W. H. 

New York, Monday Night, April 3d, 1865. 
Dear Eliza : Isn't it Glorious ? New York 
has stood on its head, and the bulls and bears of 
Wall street for once left their wrangling, and 
sang Old Hundred. 

" Bless the Lord, oh, my soul," and don't you 
hope Lee will not escape? We have felt very 
sorry you were not here to see it all ; can't you 
come down ? . . . Suppose you and Joe go to 
Charleston and take Hatty and me to see the 
flag-raising at Sumter ? Com. Draper can give 
passes to anyone ; and the opportunity will never 
occur again. Go ! do go ! It is hard to sit still 
with the excitement and commotion which you 
know can never be repeated, and you not there. 
" Plenty of good times, only I ain't in 'em." 

The lion has not yet lain down with the lamb, 
but one evidence of peace we just had. G. was 
sitting by the little table with her cup of tea on 
it, when, looking up suddenly, we saw a small 
mouse quietly drinking the tea, his nose in the 
cup and his tail in the air ! Glory, Hallelujah ! 

Good-bye. 






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Prct Sxnnrsr, zr Cr - : - - - ^ — - - - ;;2i? sE:n?e 

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"inr oD? iimrr^ gxr-,; frrcr Fncr: SrTnrgr. .EXfi rj 

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THE WAR ENDED 653 

to keep life in themselves, that pleasant 
spring day. 

Grant's first act after the formal surren- 
der, was to issue rations to the famished 
rebels. " If thine enemy hunger, feed him." 
Riding to his camp after a three hours' 
interview with Lee at Appomattox Court 
House, Grant heard the firing of salutes, and 
sent at once to stop them, saying: "The war 
is over, the rebels are again our country- 
men ; the best sign of rejoicing after this 
victory will be to abstain from all demon- 
stration in the field.'' 

Charley's letters at this time, it is remem- 
bered, gave us striking accounts of these last 
days. He wrote out one of the five copies 
of the terms of surrender from Grant's notes, 
which for a time he had in his hands ; and 
he saw what has not been mentioned in any 
account of the closing scene. 

The very small room in which Grant and 
Lee met was crowded with officers, and it 
was an easy thing to miss seeing an action 
which passed in an instant. At a certain 
moment, Charley is positive that he saw Lee 
make a motion as if to offer his side arms, 
and saw Grant also silently, and immedi- 



654 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

ately, with a gesture, refuse to accept the 
humiliation. 

Atiasti And so the great Rebellion came to an 
end. The armies immediately under Grant 
had captured in Virginia 75,000 men and 689 
cannon ; and the forces under his general 
command had, in addition, taken 147,000 
prisoners and 997 cannon in the final cam- 
paign of April and May. So that it was not 
altogether the giving in of a remnant of dis- 
spirited men to superior numbers, but the 
out-generaling by Grant of the traitor Lee, 
false to the Government which had educated 
him, and to the flag which, as an officer of 
that Government, he had solemnly sworn to 
protect. 

It was just and comforting that what was 
virtually the final surrender of the rebel 
cause, should have been made to the General 
in personal command of the Army of the 
Potomac, — that courageous, long-suffering 
army, whose fortunes we have followed, and 
with which it seemed to the members of this 
special family they themselves had been 
marching, for four weary years. 



Surren- 
der. 



THE WAR ENDED 655 

On the day that the news of the surrender waii 

. Street 

of Lee's Army came to New York, it was on the 
impossible for this family to accept it as a 
matter of course. The silence and lack of 
enthusiasm up town, and the sight of the 
women going in and out of the dry goods 
shops as usual, was unbearable. Mother and 
I (G.) said to each other, " Come, let us see 
what Wall Street is doing.'' We took a 
Fulton Street omnibus, which was entirely 
empty but for ourselves, and drove down to 
the neighborhood of the Custom House. 
As we came near, the streets were more and 
more blocked, thousands and thousands of 
men standing, crowding upon each other, 
not a woman's face among them, — all the 
narrow streets which converge to that point 
black with men, thousands more, solidly 
packed. As the omnibus came to a stand, 
not able to move a step further, they were 
singing as if their hearts would burst : 

" Praise God from whom all blessings flow, 
Praise Him all creatures here below ; 
Praise Him above ye heavenly host, 
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost." 

A young man, half fainting with fatigue, 
threw himself into the omnibus, saying, 
" They have been at it for hours." 



6i;6, LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

At Joe's and Eliza's home at Fishkill 
peace was celebrated by the building, in the 
spring and summer of 1865, of the Tioronda 
School House. Two little framed photo- 
graphs — one of the tattered battle-flags of 
the 1 6th N. Y. as War, and the other of the 
School House as Peace, — always hung side by 
side in J. H.'s dressing room, and travelled 
with him whenever he and E. went abroad. 

Mother to E. 

New York, April 13th. 

My dear Eliza : — Your very jolly, hallelujah 
letter came yesterday, while Mrs. Joseph Thomp- 
son was sitting with us, and I could not keep it 
to myself, but read it aloud, and we all enjoyed 
it together. Your patriotism is grand, and I 
have no doubt you have done your part in fir- 
ing the hearts of the Fishkill people, and work- 
ing them up to their unusual and commendable 
ardor in the cause, especially the women and 
"their sewing-machines." I really think your 
neighborhood has accomplished wonders, and 
the people of Fishkill deserve great praise for 
, i their energy and industry. I want you to come 
down for the grand illumination on the 20th 
to celebrate the surrender, which will be next 
Thursday, that you may see the city in its glory 
of thanksgiving display. 



/ 



THE WAR ENDED 



657 



We have Abby's pretty silk flag in one of our 
windows pinned across the curtains, and Willy 
G.'s little one in the other, with our larger one 
over the front door outside, which has hung 
through the rains and sun, day and night, since 
Richmond was tal<en, and begins to lose its bright 
color. You can bring your little silk one with 
you. The girls have been getting some colored 
lanterns to decorate the balcony and street door ; 
and this, with the gas all lighted and the win- 
dows open, will be the extent of our illumina- 
tion, but we can drive round and see the city. I 
hope you will come certainly. 

Calvin Goddard and his wife made us a long 
call last night, and this evening Calvin came in 
again . . . 

I enclose our last from Charley ; he is un- 
doubtedly in Richmond before this — probably 
one of Lee's escort into the city, as the papers 
mention General Grant and his stafif accom- 
panying him. Isn't it grand to have all these 
victories coming so fast, and the rebels giving 
up, in a forlorn hope, their boasted Confed- 
racy. . . . 

Robert told me last night he meant to spend 
August at Sharon Springs — taking the children 

with him, to be with Mary G . Poor little 

darlings, they are very precious to me. My 
love to Joe and your dear self. Mother. 



658 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

P. S. — Charley is in Washington with Gen- 
eral Williams. . . . Drafting stopped ! ! — all 
over the country ! ! ! 

From a letter of E. W. H.'s. 

April, '65. 

" Charley is still in Washington. He had 
just had an interview with an old friend, Captain 
Carpenter, who is now a miserable cripple, all 
doubled up with wounds from the blood-hounds 
which chased and seized him when he tried to 
escape from the rebel prison at Columbia." 

The great President's second term of office 
began with such lofty words as these: 

" The judgments of the Lord are true and 
righteous altogether. With malice towards 
none ; with charity for all ; with firmness in 
the right, as God gives us to see the right, 
let us strive to finish the work we are in ; 
to bind up the Nation's wounds ; to do all 
which may achieve and cherish a just and 
lasting peace." 

Mr. Lincoln was personally with the army 
for the last few days of the campaign, enter- 
ing Richmond immediately after its sur- 
render, riding through the city in a common 
U. S. ambulance, greeted with the benedic- 
tions of the negroes whom he had set free. 



THE WAR ENDED 659 

r 

On April 14th the civilized world was Assassi- 
startled with the news of his assassination, of presi- 
He was shot in his box at Ford's Theatre in ^';"' , 

Lincoln. 

Washington by a rebel bullet, and died in a 
small house on the opposite side of the street, 
without regaining consciousness, at about 7 
A. M. on April 15. (The joy over the return 
of peace was eclipsed by the grief of the 
whole nation. , 

All that I can remember about the first 
moments of that awful morning at home, is 
that I rushed to Hatty's and Carry's bed- 
room door, pounding it, and crying, " Let me 
in, let me in ! Mr. Lincoln is murdered." 

\J'C. C. W. to E. W. H. 

Saturday Morning, April 15th, 1865. 
Dear Eliza : What can one do ? We are all 
dumb with grief. The extra has just been cried 
giving the awful moment of his death. What a 
moment for America ! When you think of his 
unvarying kindness toward those very men who 
now rejoice, — how his whole career has been 
one of goodness and mercy, and now at the very 
first beginning of reward, it is too hard to bear. 
The papers were brought up while we were in 
bed this morning. You have hardly heard it 
now. I suppose you will not come down to- 
day, but you must on Monday. Charley is in 



66o LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Washington, in rooms with General Williams, 
on 15th Street. New York seems dead, the 
streets are quiet and the flags all covered with 
black crape — even the 'extra' boys subdue their 
voices. Work is suspended, and Wall Street is 
thronged with silent men. 

Do come down; we ought to be together in 
these awful times. 

Men, women and children went about the 
streets of New York, crying, and hardly a 
single poor tenement in the most impover- 
ished quarters of the city was without its 
little black streamer. Clocks were stopped 
at the hour of his death ; and on the anni- 
versary of it, for years, on some of the prin- 
cipal buildings of New York. 



General Orders, No. 66. 

War Department, 

Adjutant General's Office. 

Washington, April 16, 1865. 

The following order of the Secretary of War 
announces to the Armies of the United States 
the untimely and lamentable death of the illus- 
trious Abraham Lincoln, late President of the 
United States : 



THE WAR ENDED 66 1 

War Department, 
Washington City, April i6, 1865. 

The distressing duty has devolved upon the 
Secretary of War to announce to the Armies of 
the United States, that at twenty-two minutes 
after seven o'clock, on the morning of Saturday, 
the fifteenth day of April, 1865, Abraham Lin- 
coln, President of the United States, died of a 
mortal wound inflicted upon him by an assassin. 

The Armies of the United States will share 
with their fellow-citizens the feelings of grief 
and horror inspired by this most atrocious mur- 
der of their great and beloved President and 
Commander-in-Chief, and with profound sorrow 
will mourn his death as a national calamity. 

The Headquarters of every Department, Post, 
Station, Fort, and Arsenal will be draped in 
mourning for thirty days, and appropriate fune- 
ral honors will be paid by every Army, and in 
every Department, and at every Military Post, 
and at the Military Academy at West Point, to 
the memory of the late illustrious Chief Magis- 
trate of the Nation, and Commander-in-Chief of 
its Armies. 

Lieutenant General Grant will give the neces- 
sary instructions for carrying this order into 
effect. Edwin M. Stanton, 

Secretary of War. 

On the day after the receipt of this order at 
the Headquarters of each Military Division, 



662 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Department, Army, Post, Station, Fort, and 
Arsenal, and at the Military Academy at West 
Point, the troops and cadets will be paraded at 
lo o'clock A. M., and the order read to them ; 
after which all labors and operations for the day 
will cease and be suspended, as far as practicable 
in a state of war. 

The national flag will be displayed at half- 
stafE. 

At dawn of day thirteen guns will be fired, 
and afterwards, at intervals of thirty minutes, 
between the rising and setting sun, a single gvm, 
and at the close of the day a national salute of 
thirty-six guns. 

The officers of the Armies of the United States 
will wear the badge of mourning on the left arm 
and on their swords, and the colors of their 
commands and regiments will be put in mourn- 
ing for the period of six months. 

By command of 

Lieutenant General Grant. 

W. A. Nichols, 
Assistant Adjutant General. ) 



Motherto E. IV. H. 

New York, April 25, '65. 

My dear Eliza: I was very glad to get your 
letter this morning, which was handed in with 
the enclosed from Charley. . . .~"\ 



THE WAR ENDED 663 

I am sorry you postpone your visit, as you 
would have seen something of the funeral pa- 
geant. It will be weeks before the country 
recovers from the first great shock of this terri- 
ble event, and as long, before the people of New 
York are quieted down again to their every-day 
occupations. We all feel unsettled, and can 
really do little else than read the newspapers. 
Robert left home on Thursday p. m. for Wash- 
ington. . . . 

Georgy means to deluge Lee with Northern 
newspapers. Commenced this morning by 
sending him the Post of last evening, with an 
editorial marked very strikingly, headed " Gen- 
eral Lee." 

' It must have been about this time that 
Charley was brevetted Major, and then 
Lieutenant Colonel ; we have no date, the 
record is destroyed. 

The following letter contains the first inti- Abby 
mation that earth was pleasant to Abby, 
since the war began nearly five years before : 

A. H. W. to H. Gil man. 

FiSHKiLL, May, '65. 

When I came up here last Tuesday, I did 

not think that I should let a week of this easy, 

idle life pass without writing a letter or two 

that were due. But it is so easy to do nothing 



takes a 



664 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

but read the newspapers and stroll in the gar- 
den, if you only tried ! . . 

This is the fifth season that I have failed to 
watch the gradual development of nature, as it 
used to be such an occupation and pleasure to 
do, even in city back yards and corner grass 
plats. For five years there has been something 
else, so overwhelming, so pre-occupying that 
Spring has burst upon us unknown, or rather, 
come quietly, unnoticed, till some day when we 
have looked up into the trees or out of the win- 
dow, and found that it was Summer ! 

And peace has come, like the Spring this year, 
unheralded, unobserved, like the changes of the 
season. And, strangely enough, there is a dash 
of sadness in the thought of peace, — the scatter- 
ing of the troops and the breaking up of broth- 
erhoods and sisterhoods of patriotic efforts and 
hopes. 

Jane thinks her duties will hold out, however, 
for awhile, and says she " shall stand by Mr. 
Micawber" — Fairfax Hospital. They have the 
great armies camped all about them now, the 
glimmer of the white tents by day and the fires 
by night being pretty to see, and the sick, who 
have borne up bravely through the march, or 
have been wearily dragged hither or thither 
after their regiments, are all brought into Fair- 
fax, — it is so handy, and dumped, as if it were a 
matter of course. So she has plenty to do. 



THE WAR ENDED 



665 



The following list found among Abby's 
papers gives an inadequate idea of the labors 
she needed to rest from. She cut out and 
had made a very large number of the gar- 
ments mentioned, knitted an untold number 
of the socks, and saw that all the articles in 
this list, and many more not mentioned, were 
safely forwarded to us at the front. 



Partial List of Supplies sent from No. 8 Brevoort 
Place to the Army Hospitals ; most of them 

THROUGH G. and E. AND JANE: 

667 flannel and cotton shirts. 
134 pairs of drawers. 
165 men's wrappers. 
628 pairs of socks. 
107 pairs of slippers. 
104 woolen mufflers. 
1 144 pocket handkerchiefs. 
1036 towels and napkins. 
203 pillow-cases. 

121 pillow-sacks and twenty-five pounds of 
curled hair towards filling them. 
26 sheets and several pieces of unmade sheet- 
ing and ticking. 
36 woolen caps and 24 pairs wristlets. 
58 pieces of mosquito netting. 
Several dozen rocking^ chairs. 



666 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Blankets, air-pillows, india-rubber cloth, 
no end of lint, bandages, old linen, oil- 
silk, &c. 
i8 or 20 cases of brandy, wine, &c., of which 
ten cases were old port wine from Uncle 
Edward. 

Cologne by the dozen boxes at a time. 

Tobacco in large quantity. 

Tobacco boxes ; jack knives. 

300 boxes of games, checkers, dominoes, 
&c., &c. 

Lead pencils by the gross. 

Tooth brushes, pocket-combs and pocket 
mirrors by the hundred. 

Quantities of prepared beef and chicken. 

Beef-tea, cocoa. 

Canned tomatoes, &c. 

Arrow-root, barley, farina. 

Condensed milk. 

Lemons, tea, crackers. 

Pickles, oatmeal. 

Currant jelly, &c., &c., &c. 

Large quantities of clothing and other sup- 
plies were also sent South for the Freedmen 
and the poor white refugees. 



THE WAR ENDED 667 

A. H. W. to H. G. 

FiSHKiLL, May, 1865. 

Charley, frightened partly into resignation chariey 
by the hint of the War Department that " resig- i^«igns. 
nations would be accepted until the 15th," and 
considering himself wholly superfluous now 
that General Williams is camped in E street, 
Washington, is out of the service. 

Charley's own sketch of his army experi- 
ences, written out very reluctantly, and 
only after repeated entreaties on the part of 
his sisters, helps to fill the gap caused by the 
destruction of his letters from the front. 

He writes : 

WooLSEY (near Asheville, Buncombe Co.) N. C. 
Dear E. W. H. : I have a terrible letter from 
Georgy about my army "career," — scarcely 
one of her terrific questions can I answer ! It 
seems like a sort of impertinence to do it, 
but, by mail to-day, Jan. 13, 1897 (jj years 
after the event), a too long and stupid mass of 
scribbling is sent, but only " by command of " — 
G. W. Bacon ! 



REMINISCENCES OF C. W. W. 

Lieut. ; Brevet Captain ; Major ; Lieut. -Colonel — 
A. D. C. AT HEADQUARTERS 

ARMY OF THE POTOMAC 

Fro7n Oct., 1862 to Lee's Surrender, April g, i86§ 



WOOLSEY, NEAR ASHEVILLE, N. C, 

January 13, 1897. 

Dear G. W. B. : It so happens that other than 
a battered and of course "blood-stained" en- 
gine of war, a rusted regulation cavalry sword, 
that now for a matter of thirty years has hung 
over C. W. W.'s shaving table, peacefully point- 
ing to the radiator, there is — extant — little or 
no evidence of the existence of Lieutenant Wool- 
sey, or that a lad of that name ever had any 
hand in the suppression of the rebellion. . . . 

If, by chance, he did " fit into " the war, it 
was so long ago that no one now remembers 
him or his exploits. Nearly all the fighting 
Generals with whom, by a concatenation of 
happy accidents, this young person was per- 
mitted to come so intimately in contact during 
the field operations, have been brevetted to 



THE WAR ENDED 669 

higher rank than any conferred on earth. They 
have surrendered to the All-Conqueror. . . . 

It is a pity that there were not quite enough 
graduates (outside of rebeldom) from West 
Point to go round ! Such were the exigencies 
of the hour, incidental to a volunteer army, that 
everybody in the service, so to speak, had at the 
outset to do a little of everything. It grew out 
of this strange state of affairs, that the willing 
but inexperienced lad who thirty years later is 
the writer of these lines, really did have thrust 
upon him and at the very outset, duties some- 
times involving enormous responsibility. Not 
once, but many a time did this youth of twenty- 
two, absolutely without other military training 
than a brief practice at the manual of arms in 
a New York city militia regiment, have given 
to him, verbally as a rule, but sometimes writ- 
ten, and rarely sealed, orders for the movement 
of troops — '' orders of march," or quickly-given 
orders of manoeuvres under fire, orders for the 
quick placing of batteries of artillery, for the 
filling up of gaps in line of battle, for the sud- 
den changes of position of tens of thousands of 
men at a time, for the reversal of orders previ- 
ously delivered, for night advances, for day- 
break assaults, for retreats, for reinforcements ; 
for the manifold operations of large bodies of 
troops ; in fact, orders such as in the days of the 
Napoleonic wars would have been confided alone 



670 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

to the discretest, most skilled and grey-bearded 
veterans of Napoleonic campaigns. All young 
officers on the staff had just such duties as these 
to perform a hundred times over, until at last, 
as a matter of course, they learned their busi- 
ness pretty thoroughly. It happened that young 
C. W. W. being staff-officer (A. D. C.) to the 
Adj't.-General of the Army of the Potomac 
(and thus technically in one of the administra- 
tive departments of the service), was with his 
chief passed on to the military family of each 
of the three great commanders who succeeded 
McClellan, and was probably on duty at these 
Headquarters longer than any other young 
American officer not a graduate of West Point. 
His rank and assignment to duty were as fol- 
lows : In the second year of the war he was com- 
missioned as First Lieutenant in Company A of 
the 164th Regiment of New York State Volun- 
teers, a regiment belonging to the Irish Brigade, 
which was promptly placed in the field, and which 
did good service for the whole term of its exist- 
ence in the Virginia campaigns. Desiring staff 
duty, he was, by meansof thekind lettersof friends 
(among them some from his cousin William H. 
Aspinwall to his warm personal friend General 
McClellan, to Generals Fitz John Porter and 
Burnside and others), presently given leave of 
absence from his regiment for the purpose of 
presenting his letters. The army was then in 



THE WAR ENDED 671 

motion southward after the battle of Antietam. 
With one horse and no servant or proper equip- 
ment, he left Washington, and in a snowstorm 
followed up the army via Harper's Ferry and 
down through the valley, and finally, on the 
third day, overhauled the Army Headquarters' 
camp, tired and hungry and dirty ; completely 
ignorant of the simplest and plainest rules 
which regulate the duties of even enlisted 
men, much less those which govern the actions 
of officers of a general staff! He had the idea 
of trying for a staff position in connection with 
the signal service, a service which was to him 
more abstruse than Chaldee ! General Seth 
Williams, in charge of the Adjutant-General's 
department, introduced him to Major-General 
Burnside, who that very day succeeded McClel- 
lan in command of the Army. " Too busy now. 
Send Mr. Woolsey back to Washington to wait 
orders. Will see, later," was the upshot of his 
tremendous forced march in search of a job. 
Williams fed him, and his horse which had 
gone very lame, told him what he ought to have 
by way of a small camp equipment in case he 
should be directed to return, cheered him with 
hope that " something might be done " for him 
a little later, and had an order, with proper 
passes, written directing him to return at once 
to Washington and wait for orders. This he 
did through another snowstorm. It was a week 



672 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

or ten days before the summons came : " You 
will proceed at once with two horses, a servant 
and proper equipment to report to the Adj't.- 
General of the Army of the Potomac in the 
field." On his second arrival, he was invited to 
become A. D. C, to General Seth Williams, and 
the order thus fixing him at Headquarters was 
issued at once. His only fear was that he was 
destined to slave at a desk for the rest of the 
war — a clerk in the Adjutant-General's office. 
But the upshot was far different ; his actual 
position, in his judgment, was preferable to that 
of any aide-de-catnp he ever knezv. He preferred it, 
and he prefers it in retrospect to any other staff 
position in the whole army ! to that of Colonel 
Lord Abinger of the Scotch Fusileer Guards, 
of the French princes, of le Comte de Paris, of 
the Swedish cavalry officer, Rozencranz ; of 
the Russian nobleman who volunteered for 
duty with McClellan ; of Dahlgren, and Mitchell, 
and Russell, and Ludlow, and Dickerson, and 
all the personal aides. Not one of them had the 
freedom of action, the opportunities that came in 
C. W. W.'s way ; not one of them, more re- 
sponsible, active field duty than the tired and 
dirty young officer who, a few weeks before his 
assignment as A. D. C, was taken out of a 
snowstorm and fed and warmed by Seth Wil- 
liams, and then sent back to Washington to get 
a tin basin, a small field desk, an extra horse, a 



THE WAR ENDED 



673 



servant, some blankets, and a proper equipment 
generally. 

C. W. W. remained, technically, as A. D. C. 
(once for a brief time as Acting Assistant 
Adjutant-General) for the whole period of his 
military experience. When General Grant was 
given command of all the armies, Captain C. 
W. W. accompanied his beloved chief and warm 
friend, Seth Williams, to General Grant's head- 
quarters. Williams was made Inspector-Gen- 
eral of all the armies, and just previous to the 
last campaign of the war, he, with his own staff- 
officers, visited all the military posts on the 
Atlantic coast, south of Yorktown. An ocean 
steamer, the old " Daniel Webster," was placed 
at his disposal, and every post, including St. 
Augustine, Florida, was visited. Every able- 
bodied U. S. soldier at all these posts was 
ordered to inspection at dress-parade, and on 
each and every occasion C. W. W. did the actual 
work of counting, and, in writing, filed his share 
of the trenchant criticism necessary, as to the 
general condition of the troops. Thus, he be- 
lieves it no exaggeration to state that he tapped 
on the stomach — in the process of counting — 
every single private and subaltern then " present 
for duty," on the whole South Atlantic stretch 
of military posts, many thousands in all — :— 
" loi ! 2 ! 3 ! 4 ! . . . 199 ! 200 ; 201 ! 2 ! 3 ! 4 ! 
5 ! 6 ! {sotto voce, two hundred and six ! hold 



674 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



your piece straight ! where's your shoe ?) 7 ! 8 ! 
9 ! 209 ! (Hold your tongue or you're reported!) 
(212, your cap's filthy ! shame on you !) 215 ! 
(your canteen is upside down !) 216 ! (this is no 
time to spit tobacco juice !) 220! (excellent!) 
222! (silence ! not a word!) 224! (no excuse 
for such filth!) 226! {sotio voce: '*good for 
you " !) 235 ! Ugh ! " 

At this point C. W. W. stops a moment in this 
dry recounting to jot down a memorandum of 
a purely personal kind — to record something 
of the not-forgetable and most loveable traits 
of personal character belonging to his late 
chief and warm personal friend, General Seth 
Williams. To him, next to General George B. 
McClellan, was distinctly due the credit of the 
astonishing work accomplished in the actual 
field organization of the Army of the Potomac, but 
aside from these high public and historic func- 
tions, back of any public expression of adminis- 
trative talent, Adjutant-General Williams, the 
organizer, was as nothing to Seth Williams, the 
personal friend. He had the modesty and gen- 
tleness of a woman, coupled with the firmness 
and courage of the trained veteran of a Mexican 
campaign under General Winfield Scott. 

He had under his pen at all times a power of 
tremendous scope ; his work was far too great, 
too exacting, for any one man. His corps of 
skilled adjutants and clerks, the complete print- 



THE WAR ENDED 



675 



ing press which was part of his bureau, and the 
admirable telegraphic department, which all 
through the war did such efficient work, saved 
him something of the great burden of business. 
Even these aids, though, were powerless to avert 
the complete collapse which came suddenly 
to his once tireless brain. Just after the strain 
of the war was over he died of brain fever at 
Boston. No man of all the forces, whose names 
he kept upon his voluminous records, was more 
respected and beloved than himself throughout 
the whole vast area occupied by the Army of the 
Potomac. His gentle strength, his self-effacing 
courage in the presence of disaster, ^'-^ Indomit- 
able power for ceaseless work, were an incen- 
tive and an example that is seldom set. To 
one especially, who knew him intimately and 
loved him well, his fragrant memory has been 
for many a year, and must be to the end of life, 
a perpetual stimulation and source of strength. 
On the application of General Williams, 
C. W. W., while still in the field, was brevetted 
to the rank of Captain, and at the close of the 
war, two additional brevets — those of Major and 
Lieutenant-Colonel, were bestowed upon him. 
Under each of the three military administrations 
of this army — that of Burnside, of Hooker, and 
of Meade, General Seth Williams, knowing 
Woolsey's strong desire for active field service, 
had issued a special order, or conveyed to 



676 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

C. W. W. the verbal command from the Com- 
manding-General, directing the young officer 
to, report for temporary duty as A. D. C. to the 
Commandant of the Army. On the occasion of 
all the great battles or movements of troops 
he always served with the personal aides with 
exactly their duties, including even the duty 
periodically of "officer of the day," a post of 
high importance at the Headquarters of the 
Army. It meant the receiving and passing upon 
all despatches or messengers arriving at night, 
the reception of all visitors and the general care 
of the camp by day. When Williams, accom- 
panied by his aide, C. W. W., was promoted to 
the office of Inspector-General and the two took 
up their abode in the military family of General 
Grant, Woolsey was again permitted to report 
directly to General Giant, from whom he re- 
ceived frequent orders for very important work 
involving movements of troops or material, 
sometimes of great magnitude. When Burnside 
and Hooker were relieved of their commands, 
their personal staffs were retired with them, but 
in these changes of army commanders, the great 
administrative departments, with the Adjutant 
General's at their head, remained as a rule in- 
tact. The heads of the Commandants might be 
cut off, but the machinery of the army must con- 
tinue. Thus it was that C. W. W. was passed 
on from one administration to another, . . . and 



THE WAR ENDED 677 

for years through a stroke of good fortune was 
retained at Headquarters through three success- 
ive administrations. 

After awhile, having of necessity thoroughly- 
learned the duties, he was more or less intimately 
associated with all of the important operations 
after M'Clellan's removal, and, incidentally, 
came to have an acquaintance with all the Gen- 
erals of higher rank and with a great many 
officers of all arms throughout the army. An 
undue number of lines in this account have 
been given to this unimportant particular, but 
they are to define, by request, C. W. W.'s peculiar- 
ly lucky situation. Among the pleasant details 
of his duty were more than one private inter- 
view — long ones — with the President of the 
United States, on the occasion of Mr. Lincoln's 
visits to the Army. He thus met the Secretary 
of State, all the great Generals of the Atlantic 
coast above Fortress Monroe, many Senators 
and other high functionaries and distinguished 
guests. His position took him on duty to every 
Corps and Division Commander in the field — 
many times over. It gave him active military 
duty that was often most exciting, often very 
hazardous, frequently entirely confidential and 
private in nature; it opened to him much of the 
romance of the Secret Service, the unwritten 
story of the Spy and Detective Bureaux; it 
sometimes put him in actual command of small 



678 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

bodies of men; it often sent him to bring up re- 
inforcements, and placed him in positions of 
large responsibility, especially on those occa- 
sions when, as at Gettysburg, it became part of 
his duty to use every effort to re-form lines of 
infantry falling back in disorder from the front. 
" To form on the colors," even when out of 
reach of the musketry fire, was always a difficult 
matter with a mass of demoralized, discouraged 
men. C. W. W. had this to do several times. 
His lucky star brought to him, at the close of 
the war, the good fortune of being one of the 
twenty officers only, present at the surrender in 
the little house at Appomattox. Incidentally 
it gave him the especial satisfaction of being 
directed to make a " fair copy " from the orig- 
inal terms of the surrender as dictated by Gen- 
eral Grant, for the information of the Army of 
the Potomac. This document, in C. W. W.'s 
handwriting, 7}iust be on file somewhere in the 
War Department. It gave him sole charge, 
with one clerk, of what was known as the 
"Daily Memoranda" — a consolidated daily 
statement of every occurrence of importance or 
of great interest, made up from the reports of 
all the Brigade, Division and Corps commanders 
in the Army — sent in to Headquarters every 
twenty-four hours. These volumes — there must 
have been ten or twelve thick ones — are also on 
file in the War Bureau. The practice was found 



THE WAR ENDED 679 

impracticable on the march, and after awhile 
was abandoned. It gave him a privilege that 
he recalls with keenest satisfaction, the chance 
to go half way to the opposite lines under two 
different flags of truce. In one case the flag 
was a towel, which he now rather regrets not 
having preserved. The use of these flags was, 
on one occasion, to meet General Lee's mes- 
senger and arrange for the subsequent meet- 
ing at which the surrender occurred, on that 
happy day when that great Southern soldier, 
out-generaled and exhausted, was forced to seek 
our lines and sue for terms. That white rag! 
— it was so refreshing to change from " red " 
or "yellow" to white! — served as the signal 
for the close of the war. 

It was then, with this towel, that we washed 
our hands of the whole business, and presently 
went home to stay ; stopping only in Washing- 
ton long enough for the "march past" on the 
occasion of the final review. The other flag of 
truce was used the year before, after the worst 
fiasco before Petersburg — the explosion of the 
mine in front of Burnside's command — and in 
connection with the rescue of the few wretched 
soldiers who, although exposed for more than 
thirty hours to an enfilading fire from rebel 
infantry massed behind breastworks, and from 
rebel batteries on either flank, were found still 
breathing on that shot-riddled, maggot-infested. 



68o LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

midsummer battlefield. This flag had also to 
do with the belated burial of the red-wet hil- 
locks of humanity, mostly the trunks of human 
forms, with which the wide space was covered. 
C. W. W., at this distance, wonders how it could 
have happened that in an insane desire to " see 
service," he actually got permission to go out 
into those trenches with the storming party, in 
the advance, under fire, when the fight was hot- 
test and deadliest ; and why it was that unslain, 
not a hair of his head touched, without a spatter 
of blood, he was able to creep and crawl back 
again to our breastworks over the heaped bodies 
of the colored noblemen^ who obeyed their orders 
all that day, even if " someone had blundered," 
and who by hundreds were shot down like dogs 
in the trenches. The stupidities in the " order 
of march " on that day are matters of history, for 
they led to an abortive court-martial. It was 
one of the most abominable bluSHers of the 
whole war. 

A now exacting, but attractive woman (whose 
''ambrotype" — to use an ante-bellum word to- 
day obsolete — was carried in the left vest pocket 
of the writer during nearly the whole period of 
the war, and which, in its blue-velvet case, no 
doubt served as a life-preserver), at this partic- 
ular writing stands with her equally exacting 
and delightful daughter of nineteen, at the 
writer's elbow. They unreasonably insist that 



THE WAR ENDED 68 1 

he shall tell the story of how he was taken 
prisoner in one of the operations before 
Petersburg, late in the war. It was the occasion 
of the reconnoissance-in-force known as the 
advance on " Hatcher's Run." The Array of the 
Potomac moved out in a manAer represented by 
two diverging- spokes from the hub of a wheel. 
From the head of one of the advancing columns, 
(one of the " spokes "), General Meade directed 
C. W. W. to take a sealed despatch to the officer 
in command at the head of the other column. 
Aides generally chose their own routes and had 
much latitude in the matter of escort. They 
soon learned that the fewer in the escort, the 
better for all concerned. Instead of stemming 
the advancing tide of infantry back to the hub, 
so to speak, this aide, with a single orderly, at- 
tempted to cross the unknown enemy's country, 
or the space lying between the heads of the two 
*• spokes." After four or five miles of uninter- 
rupted travel he came to signs of what he hoped 
were the federal troops of the other " spoke." 
Their blue coats convinced the orderly and his 
superior officer that the posse of cavalry ahead 
of them, ignorant of anyone coming behind 
them, were our own people, and the order was 
given to pass them as quickly as possible. 
They were the rebel Fitz-Hugh Lee's cavalry 
patrolling the roads in the vanguard of Wade 
Hampton's command, and who, without Meade's 



682 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

knowledge, had come in between the two col- 
umns, in heavy force. They were the mounted 
outposts of the enemy who, earlier in the day, 
had captured a lot of regulation Yankee blue 
overcoats and were masquerading as Union 
troops. " One was taken and the other left." 
Woolsey, a rod or two in advance, was "gob- 
bled"; completely surrounded with quite too 
many carbines levelled at him to withdraw at 
the moment. He w^as more or less gently led 
in the direction of Richmond, and much cheer- 
ful, if profane, conversation followed. The 
damned Yankee was fairly bagged. The orderly, 
as he screamed: "No! they're not our men!" 
wheeled about and escaped, reporting at home 
that the Lieutenant would never come back. 
But he did ! Our young friend watched his 
chance, and in a moment of convivial glee over 
his taking, by his captors, when one of them at 
his left leaned over from his horse and embraced 
him, in an affectionate, if profane, Jv^rd of wel- 
come to Dixey, he got out his revolver from an 
inside pocket with his sealed despatch, tried to 
discharge it into the breast of his companion, 
and then (all in much less time than it takes to 
write these two lines) striking the man a fear- 
ful blow in the face with his wet-capped pistol 
which refused to go off, and which he is sorry 
to have lost in the rumpus, turned his fortu- 
nately excellent horse, and galloped at top-speed 



THE WAR ENDED 



683 



in the direction of Boston, the place of his birth. 
In the meantime he had been robbed of all his 
belongings except, strangely enough, one of his 
pistols, and the despatches which were never 
delivered. The talismanic "ambrotype" no 
doubt saved his life, for in his rapid falling to 
the rear, the ten or twelve gentlemen from Geor- 
gia shot at him again and again, following up 
as fast and as far as they dared. They should 
have made him walk ! His capture had one 
good outcome, for he was, on his return in the 
course of the night, after having lost his way in 
the woods for hours, able to inform the Com- 
manding General of the presence in the gap of 
Wade Hampton's command with infantry as well 
as cavalry. This information changed the whole 
course of the movement. A good pair of quar- 
termaster's blankets replaced his stolen plunder, 
and a good tin cup filled the aching gap made 
by the theft of his silver one in the rifled saddle- 
bags. 

Among a multitude of highly important orders 
and messages carried by C. W. W., he took to 
the front the order for the storming of the 
heights back of Fredericksburg, and the order 
to Meade from Hooker for the retreat from 
Chancellorsville. Meade was intensely indig- 
nant — even insubordinate in his comment. 

C. W. W. was given more varied duties, on 
verbal orders, from General Meade, at and after 



684 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

the battle of Gettysburg, than from any other 
commander. . . . 

But on the whole, one of the most pleasing 
orders he ever had given him was the one to 
place in line of battle, under fire, Tyler's whole 
command of heavy artillery at Bowling Green, 
Va., May 19th, 1864, to fill up a gap which, for a 
time, threatened fearful disaster to the whole 
army. The men, by hundreds, when word 
of what was to be done reached the company 
commanders, abandoned hats, knapsacks, coats, 
everything but their pieces with full comple- 
ment of cartridges (and never saw their belong- 
ings again), and the whole immense line rushed 
in most forgiveable bad alignment, singing, 
screaming, bellowing, cheering, sweating, the 
line surging and bending like a snake, but the 
roar of their multitudinous voices never letting 
up for an instant until it was drowned in the 
rattle of musketry. There woul^r come brief 
gaps in the rattle of the guns, when the men's 
voices would be heard again, only to be over- 
borne by a louder roar from the stronger lungs 
of the rifled field batteries. All this time C.W.W. 
was with the troops, under fire, and by night- 
time the losses among these same men were 
found to be very great. But the joyful thunder 
of that great cheer that went up, as a whole 
Division of fresh troops made good the danger- 
ous gaps in the line of battle, was in itself a re- 



THE WAR ENDED 685 

inforcement, and we held our own that night 
and went at it again in the morning. To the 
young chap who took this order, there was the 
keenest possible satisfaction. He had often, on 
the march, set whole Corps, or even a Right or 
Left Grand Division, in motion, but he never 
" put in " so many troops in line, under fire, as 
on this occasion. To touch the spring that set 
them going and made them sing that song was 
delightful I 

C. W. W. could, he supposes, dear G., spend a 
useless hour — far better devoted to the cultiva- 
tion of " Symphoricarpus Racemosus " — in un- 
folding before you a musty and forbidding pile 
of photographic field-maps, yellowed to illegi- 
bility, such as were distributed for the private 
information of certain confidential staff officers 
at the Army Headquarters. Maps! Maps! Maps! 
They were a great part of an aide's existence in 
those far-away days now so vaguely mapped 
behind us all. 

From a dusty upper shelf in the long-ago 
abandoned Witchwood " workshop," he thinks 
he could unearth a thick volume or two of 
faded files of "General" and "Special Orders," 
such as were //7';;/^^/ daily, (but not by typewriters 
in those days), in the camps of Burnside, Hooker 
and Meade, and which formed part of the daily 
administration of the manifold affairs of their 
now historic commands; . . . but at these dry 



686 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Statistics C. W. W. stops. He has no "incidents 
of the war to relate," beyond the very unimpor- 
tant personal details already given. The best 
he could do would be to show you a camp-stool 
from the officers' mess-room at Fort Sumter, 
— for General Williams, as Inspector- General 
of all the Armies, with his devoted subordinate, 
went into Charleston with the troops — just in 
time to sack Fort Sumter. He could exhibit a 
grapeshot from Yorktown, a bit of a rebel flag 
which floated and for a time gloated over Rich- 
mond. He could offer for your inspection a 
sabre which he took from a battlefield, and that 
has on it this engraved inscription : " Captured 
by Daniel Driscoll from Stuart's cavalry at Tun- 
stall's station." He could show a pathetic trifle 
or two from this or from that battlefield. He 
could frighten you with some barbaric knives 
made by Southern village blacksmiths to cut 
the Nation's throat with. These^e picked up 
on a smoking field from which the " Louisiana 
Tigers" had just been driven, but the soil of 
which these whelps of hell had left reeking with 
the blood of Massachusetts. He could, if you 
particularly wanted to give him a sleepless 
night, tell you all about the ghastly horrors of 
the first few hours (before the sound of human 
voices stopped entirely) just after Chancellors- 
ville, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, The Wilder- 
ness, Cold Harbor, Petersburg, and many an- 



THE WAR ENDED 



687 



other. He might (by word of mouth, but cannot 
commit these sickening things to paper) tell you 
of the fearful anguish of the semi-slain left on 
fields without water or food or even saws to 
make their own amputations — and this some- 
times for days. He could tell you of men's lives 
that were sucked out by maggots, and of burials 
that consisted of spade-heaped mounds of human 
shreds and tatters of human forms, — of putrid 
heads alone, of mangled arms and legs and 
stomachs; of men who at Gettysburg cried to 
him as he passed (powerless to help), "Water! 
Water ! for God's sake ! " of disabled men who 
were dying of thirst with perhaps curable flesh- 
wounds, who actually refused to drink water 
brought to them from the stream near by, be- 
cause it was too red. C. W. W. saw these things 
himself, and is too old and steady not to be a 
credible witness. 

Beyond these tellings and these few relics of 
little value (and that will have no associations 
to those who may come after him), C. W. W. 
again regrets that he cannot aid and abet you 
in your dire proposal to encumber his tomb- 
stone. If you write anything about him, say 
only that he volunteered with the others to help 
the Cause., and worked faithfully according to 
his light. 

To your unwilling but affectionate corre- 
spondent, those years of fearful yet splendid 



688 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

happenings, — those hateful yet beloved memo- 
ries sometimes seem, in these closing years of a 
dying century, but a filmy cloud of vapor, 
scarcely visible on the vague horizon of a fast- 
fading sunset sky. A melting memory of long 
ago, a half-forgotten dream. 



-\ 



CHAPTER XVI. j^^^Ui^f 



.1 i-^'' 



-■ hi 
When Peace had finally come we were all 

eager that Mother, who had seen so much of 
the dark side of the War and had known its 
anxieties so keenly, should see something- 
also of the victorious army and of Washing- 
ton with the smile of Peace upon it. 

A. H. IV. to H. G. 

FiSHKiLL, May, 1865. 

Charley has expressed a hope that Mother The 
would go on to Washington before he leaves eruTr'*^ 
and let him show her about a little and take a R'<=h- 

. mond. 

peep at Jane, etc., etc. So quite suddenly at 
the last, after a good deal of that good-natured, 
kindly-intentioned goading with which people 
often press their attentions upon unwilling rela- 
tives, Mother was got off to Baltimore, with 
Georgy, Hatty and Carry. There Charley met 
them, — Robert Rowland was also of the party — 
and to-day we hear for the first time of their 
further progress down the Bay and up the 
James to Richmond ! the goal of so many of 
Georgy' s desires. They reached there on Thurs- 



690 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

day night, and to our great pleasure were still 
in time for the passage of a portion of Sher- 
man's army through Richmond next day. . . . 
I don't enjoy traveling at any time, least of all 
rebelward, and so came up here to be with Eliza 
and our little children, who are making their 
usual spring visit and revelling in the wealth of 
"daisy-lions" and blue violets on the lawn and 
in the ravine. There is soldier work here for 
Eliza to do too, — a returned prisoner, who is 
getting well on her good tea and brandy and 
fresh eggs, in a cottage up at Glenham, and 
another elsewhere who must die, and the family 
of a third who did die after twt) months of sick- 
ness, five miles from here, in a " copperhead " 
neighborhood, where folks said "rebel prisons 
served him just right, he oughtn't to have been 
such a fool as to go to the war." . . . 

Mother to A. H. W. 

Baltimore, Tuesday Evening, May 10, 1865. 
My dear Abby : So far " on to Richmond " 
safe and well, without let or hindrance ; no mis- 
hap except the opening, in some miraculous 
way, of my inkstand in my handbag and spoil- 
ing a few articles — my paper, as you see, for one. 
We were scarcely in this city's precincts when 
Charley appeared in the car, taking us by sur- 
prise ; said he had walked out to meet us, and 
it was the third train he had met, not knowing 



THE WAR ENDED 691 

by which we would come. He is looking very- 
well, and seems greatly pleased to be a citizen 
again; and as Carry says is " extremely civil." 
He had rooms all ready for us ; nice ones on the 
first floor ; we have had a hearty supper, waited 
upon by Gettysburg John, who was our cook 
there, and is head waiter here. We had a shak- 
ing of hands all round, and he got us up a very 
nice supper. . . . We are agitating the question 
of boats, whether to try the new line, which 
makes it first trip to-morrow from here, or to go 
to Washington, where, as Charley says, Mr. 
Dana, the Assistant Secretary of War, will be 
happy to give us passes in the Government 
boat. We think it will be pleasant to go on 
from here and return by the other way, and 
Charley says he can write to Mr. Dana to re- 
serve our passes till then. . . . Robert is well, 
and glad to meet Charley. I hope you are safely 
housed with Eliza. Kiss the dear children for 
me and remember me to Ann. 

Public conveyances had their discomforts 
just after the war ! as Hatty's letter shows : — I 

H. R. W. to A. H. IV. 

Richmond, May 14, 1865. 

IDear Abby : Robert, I believe, gave you an The 
account of our night on the boat with its ac- ^^'"''*' 

'-^ enter 

companiment of drunken women and "b flats." ^'='1- 
. . . But in spite of it all we are in Richmond! 



692 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



and glad we are, — (knock at the door, and two 
bouquets with the "compliments of Major Scott, 
Fourth Massachusetts Cavalry," handed in, for 
Mrs. Woolsey and Mrs. Woolsey's daughter 
Carry, with whom he rode on horseback yes- 
terday). We arrived too late for the grand dis- 
play, but on Wednesday, all day long, Sherman's 
troops were passing through the city as quietly 
as possible ; no display of any kind, no review 
by Halleck ; grim, fierce-looking men some of 
them, marching along splendidly, but giving no 
sign. . . . (G. M. W. takes up the letter.) Sher- 
man and Halleck are deadly enemies, since the 
latter's order to disregard any orders received 
from Sherman, and a hot interchange of letters, 
before the troops came up, ended in an an- 
nouncement by note to Halleck from Sherman 
that " he had better not show himself in the 
streets, as Sherman could not answer for the 
reception he might receive from the soldiers." 
So they marched sullenly through, leaving the 
Fourteenth and Seventeenth Corps to follow 
next day. We were all ready to review them, 
when, to our horror, at 9.30, as we were finish- 
ing breakfast, the announcement came that all 
the troops had gone through. No one was told 
of it ; General Curtis, — our wounded Captain 
of the old Sixteenth, now Brigadier-General of 
Volunteers, who is here — knew nothing of it, 
and they began at 5.30 a. m., and went as 



THE WAR ENDED 693 

quietly as possible. Saturday there was still 
left one corps to pass, and we went up to the 
State House and watched them, but they broke 
up, passed through different streets, and took 
no more notice of our handkerchiefs and the 
flag, than if we were posts — sullen fellows, 
espousing Sherman's cause, and determined not 
to show the slightest interest in the place where 
Halleck was. So this personal fight deprived 
us and the army of what might have been a 
splendid sight. General Curtis is doing every- 
thing for us. We have our order for as many 
ambulances as we want as long as we stay ; we 
never drive with less than four horses and eight 
outriders ; have been all over the city and to 
Cold Harbor, going there 3^esterday with four 
officers and General Curtis and wife, and seeing 
the field and line of works. To my great pleas- 
ure we broke down on this side, and were not 
obliged to eat our dinner on any battle field, 
though we did stop where the rebel army must 
have camped, and somewhere in the neighbor- 
hood of Gaines Mill, where Joe was wounded. . . . 
We came back safely to receive Generals Ord, 
Turner and someone else, and Captains and 
Lieutenants thrown in — Mrs. Ord with them. 
This morning Mother and I have been at home, 
the girls at a colored church, where, to their 
great delight, the announcement was made of 
Jeff. Davis' capture. The whole church was over- 



694 Z£m:jcs OF a family 

come with delig:ht, blessing the Lord, crring^ 
and kissing Hatty's and Carry's hands. They 
\rere charmed to see the northern ladies, and 
gave them chief places among them, and a bunch 
of roses each. Numbers of notices were read; 
people asking information about lost relations, 
and where to find their own families. To-mor- 
row (Monday), we have been induced by three 
Major-Generals to go with them to Fon Harri- 
son, and they promise to see that we get off to 
Petersburg on Tuesday a. m.. by General Ord's 
private boat or special train. What tan we do 
against the Union Army ? We Ajtv to stay of 
course, and shall not get to Washington before 
Thursday, probably. General Curtis wants me 
to urge Joe and Eliza to come on soon ; he may 
be sent off from here, and wants them while he 
is here. They must be sure to, it is all full of 
interest. Carry is in her glory ; goes on horse- 
back with the officers when we are in ambu- 
lances, and is delighted with all ; Hatty, too. 
Mother keeps up her intere?: she sees. I 

shall leave the scraps at Lee r _ :o-day ; we 

marched by it with Ger.era'. Curtis the other 
day. 

G. had collected for some time past all the 
striking editorials from the Tribune and 
Post, on the abuses of the Belle Isle and 
Libby prisons by the keepers of those shame-" 



THE WAR ENDED 695 

ful pens, which were in daily sight of Lee's 
own house, and which he could by one con- 
demnatory order have closed. She left the 
package so collected at his door in Rich- 
mond, first ascertaining that he was in the 
house, and knowing that in the dearth of 
southern news they would certainly be read. 
Jane was at Fairfax Seminary Hospital all 
this time, and in forwarding the following 
letter of Mother's she writes to E. at Fish- 
kill, " You will be glad to get this nice letter 
from Mother. I am so glad she went. All 
well here. Six hundred and twenty-five 
men received since this night week, fever, 
diarrhoea, &c., and many broken down by the 
'quick march home' that sounds so pretty 
in the papers. Come to the ' Great Re- 
view.' " ,, 

Mother to J. S. W. 

Richmond ! Sunday, May 14th, 1865. 
My dear Jane : I do not realize the heading 
of my letter, in spite of the filthy rebel room we 
are in at the " Spottiswoocl," and the strange 
sights and sounds all about us, — and despair of 
giving you any clear idea of the fact that we are 
actually in this Rebel capital. . . . 

On Wednesday, at 4 p. m., we took the " Ade- 
laide," from which I would warn all who come 



696 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

after us ! Of all filthy, disgusting conveyances 
that is the most so. Crowded with men, women, 
children and b. b's. The lowest set of females, 
too, that could possibly be congregated together. 
We had smooth, pleasant weather, however, 
which in some measure compensated, and after 
our night of discomfort had a glorious sun- 
rising, and at Fortress Monroe we took a joyful 
leave of the nasty Adelaide for a nice new boat, 
and had a charming sail (or steam) on to Rich- 
mond, — stopping awhile at City Point, which, 
with the whole of the James River from that on, 
was very interesting, with the fortifications, 
broken bridges, soldiers at different points 
guarding the shores still, and Dutch Gap, etc. 
Our own troops now garrison all the rebel 
works on the approach to the city. We glided 
along to it most peacefully, arriving about 7 p. m., 
an immense crowd waiting the boat's arrival — 
civil and military, black and white, Union and 
rebel, men, women and children, all mixed in, 
and forming a dense mass. It was a sight to 
behold ! We got through with difficulty, a mil- 
itary guard taking down all our names as we 
passed out of the boat, and we were packed into 
the Spottiswood stage and soon found ourselves 
in this hotbed of rebels, which name may still 
belong with truth to it. We are disgusted to 
find as many rebels as Union people here, and 
although officers have been forbidden to appear 



THE WAR ENDED 



697 



here in uniform, they swarm in their gray coats, 
with their families and friends. We had the 
pleasure of dining with a party of them opposite 
us at dinner to-day. I have been expecting to 
be assailed at every turn by some of my old 
Southern friends, but no one I know has yet 
crossed my path. . . . 

We found rooms kept for us; Robert being 
along, he took Charley's, but C. has a cock-loft 
by himself now. As we drove up the evening 
we arrived, we saw General Curtis to our great 
pleasure, who stopped his ambulance in front 
till we came up alongside, and told us he would 
come immediately to call on us, which he did, 
and has been doing ever since. We saw Chap- 
lain Gray too, Charley's friend, and he with all 
the staff of the Massachusetts 4th Cavalry have 
been at our service all the while. . . . 

We have seen the rebel house of Representa- 
tives and the Senate; in one of these we waited 
for some time, seeing and hearing a number of 
rebels taking the oath of allegiance, a poor, for- 
lorn, weather-beaten, hollow-cheeked-looking 
set, with sad,disspirited countenances, that made 
one feel very sorry for them. We have been to 
the cemetery, from which we had a very good 
view of Belle Isle, — a wretched, barren point of 
land, the very worst spot in the whole country 
they could have selected for our poor prisoners. 
In the cemetery we saw J. E. B. Stuart's grave, 



698 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

which has only a headstone, no monument, but 
is kept consttmtly covered with fresh flowers; 
so were many rebel graves. We had an ambu- 
lance with four horses and four orderlies put at 
our service, and wherever we go it is in this 
style ! We drove to the cavalry camp of the 4th 
Mass., by invitation of Mr. Gray, Major Scott 
and Dr. Garvin, who have been our escort all 
the while, and their splendid band was called 
out on Friday afternoon and gave us charming 
music. We make quite a sensation, I assure 
you, when we move anywhere with our four 
grays and outriders. Yesterday we started off 
in this same style, with the addition to our party 
of General Curtis and wife, and spent the day 
on the battlefields of Gaines' Mill, thrice fought 
over, you remember. 

It was a most interesting day, the weather 
was superb, the trees all in full leaf, and 
flowers, seemed in contrast to the lines of 
graves, with their wooden stakes marking the 
spots, and whole lines, as far as you could see, 
of earthworks and rifle pits, with fragments of 
garments hanging about them, and still, in many 
places, miserable human fragments unburied, 
A burial detachment is sent out every few days 
to do its sad work. We took a grand lunch of 
meats, ice-cream, strawberries and cake, all of 
which we collected from confectioneries and 
markets, and borrowed a supply of saucers, 



THE WAR ENDED 699 

spoons, etc. When we had selected a rural spot, 
not on the battlefield, and spread our cloth, 
which was the India rubber blanket of one of our 
aides, we found the officers had also brought 
from camp a lunch of their own getting up, 
which, all together, made a large and attractive 
display of viands. We were sixteen in com- 
pany and did ample justice to the feast. Gen- 
eral Curtis and wife were our guests. Major 
Scott, Chaplain Gray, Major Garvin, Robert, 
Charley and ourselves, with our orderlies. 
Carry rode on horseback with her military 
escort, feeling grand as possible, and had a real 
jolly time. Her dress and cap were very hand- 
some, and she rode Major Scott's fine war horse. 
Altogether the day was a success, and was 
crowned in the evening by a line of distin- 
guished callers. Major General Ord and his 
wife heading the column, (which we consider a 
great attention.) General Turner, Captain Gibbs, 
Captain Baker, Chaplain Trumbull, Captain 
Franklin, brother of the old General, General 
Curtis and wife, Major Scott and Chaplain Gray 
were all our guests here that evening. 

I am so glad Hatty and Carry are having such 
a grand time. We have had every attention 
these officers could show us, and they are all 
very busy and pushed hard for time, too. They 
think it a great treat for themselves to have 
Northern Union ladies to call on — so they say. 



700 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



Baker is an English officer of the regular army, 
and has been in some of our late battles, joining 
himself with good will to the Union army. 

Monday noon. — I wrote this far yesterday and 
laid it aside to visit the Libby prison and walk 
round the burnt district, while Robert, H. andC. 
were at church. I was too tired to finish it last 
evening, and to-day we have been ofif on another 
excursion since 9 o'clock this morning. Gen- 
eral Turner sent his own carriage, a very nice 
low barouche, for my use, in whicla Georgy, 
Robert and I went, and in the Headquarters 
ambulance — which is a very handsome one, 
cushioned, and seats running across to accom- 
modate eight persons, and which we have had the 
use of all the time — General Curtis and wife 
General Turner and Captain Gibbs accompanied 
Hatty and Carry. We were very sorry to leave 
Charley behind with a slight indisposition. We 
left him a bowl of arrowroot, with a small phial 
of brandy, and made him promise to keep quiet, 
which he did, and we found him fast asleep on 
our return, feeling better, but still out of sorts. 
This determines us to wait here till to-morrow 
morning, instead of leaving this afternoon for 
Petersburg. We drove this morning to Fort 
Harrison, and all over the battlefields there, 
getting out and walking all over the forts, and 
poking our heads into bomb-proofs and rifle 
pits, and walking into the log tents so recently 



THE WAR ENDED 



701 



deserted, first by the rebels, and then by our own 
soldiers, where their cooking utensils are all 
left, and their blankets still hanging over poles, 
and canteens strung on the doors, and old cloth- 
ing of all sorts strewn about, and everything 
having the appearance of being left but yester- 
day. 

It is a city of log tents, inside of Fort Harri- 
son, a very extensive one, where the Army of 
the James were encamped, excellently built and 
wide avenues between the rows of huts, — their 
tables, benches, stoves, tin cups and plates all 
there. We were saying it would be a capital 
plan to send the poor of Richmond there, either 
white or black; they covild live quite comfort- 
ably. To-day has been a more interesting one 
than Saturday. We saw at the Libby yesterday 
the quarters of our men and the pit where our 
officers were buried, without air or light. I 
wonder any one of them ever lived to tell the 
story of their sufi'erings. There are a few rebels 
there in the upper room still, and we saw them 
from the street, sitting on the window sills with 
their legs hanging through the bars outside. 
Their rebel friends are down there constantly, 
talking with them, and, until very lately, have 
been allowed to send them up baskets of pro- 
visions, which they managed to draw up by 
strings furnished them in soine way or other. 
The windows are near enous^h to the street 



702 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

for their friends to throw up a ball of string, 
oranges, apples, letters, etc. 

This is very different from the rebel treatment 
of our poor prisoners, who were shot if they 
showed themselves at a window. We saw the 
place where the notorious jailer Turner escaped 
since we have been here, and also the subter- 
ranean passage made by Colonel Streight and 
others, and had some idea of the horrid work it 
must have been; also, the mine that was pre- 
pared by Lee's order in the prison, to blow it 
up with its inmates in case the city was taken ! 
This same Lee is living here now peacefully in 
his own residence, and being fed by our military 
authorities on all the luxuries of the season. 
We have passed his house repeatedly, but have 
not yet seen his Satanship. Georgy has plied 
him well with reading matter from our papers, 
making any little darky who happens to pass at 
the moment ring the door-bell and hand them 
in, having directed them beforehand to Robert 
Lee, Franklin Street. She sent him a lot of 
Sunday reading yesterday. I would like much 
to know the effect it has. Some say he is very 
much subdued of late, never goes out except 
early in the morning or late at night, avoids 
every one, and is intending to take the oath of 
allegiance ! I hope he will not be allowed to 
do so, as it will only be to get to Europe, where 
his friends will join him. Only think of Jeff, in 



THE WAR ENDED 



703 



his wife's clothes ! It is good to secure him in 
any garb, though I am sorry to have womanly 
garments so desecrated. I have no doubt he 
will manage to slip through the fingers of his 
captors, and get off yet out of reacli of our 
Government. It is to be hoped not, and that 
they will make quick work with him. 

Judge Campbell is here in this hotel — in the 
parlor, sitting near us every evening. General 
Curtis pointed him out to us, with the remark, 
"There is a man under arrest and who will prob- 
ably be hung." The house is full of rebel 
women, who are here from all parts looking up 
their brothers and husbands and sons. It is 
annoying to have them swarm into the dining 
room at meals, and then to the parlors, occupy- 
ing all the sofas and chairs. We sometimes 
cannot tell whether the new arrivals are rebels 
or Union, till we see their gray-coated males 
coming in to greet them. 

Carry went with Robert yesterday to see Miss 
VanLew, the celebrated Union lady here, and 
took her a handsome flag, and some new books 
brought from New York for her. She was very 
much delighted, and you shall see a letter which 
came from her to-day. She sent Carry an ele- 
gant bunch of flowers this morning, and wanted 
her to promise that by and by, when things are 
more settled here, she would come and make her 
a visit. She invited Carry and Robert, and any 



p 

704 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

{ of US who would accompany them, to tea with 
her this evening. We are not going to tea, but 
some of us mean to drive and see her. She lives 
in a fine old " mansion," with beautiful grounds. 
We mean also to call on Mrs. Ord and Mrs. 
Curtis to pay our farewell compliments; and to- 
morrow morning at 10.40 we take our leave of 
Richmond, feeling that our visit here has been 
a brilliant success. 

This evening the girls are expecting a bevy 
of new officers to call on them, and are going 
in the meantime to General Turner's Headquar- 
ters, across the river, — Captain Gibbs coming 
for them in the General's private carriage. . . . 

I don't know how we shall get along at home 
again without two or more orderlies in full 
trappings behind us. Wherever we go here on 
excursions, officers and orderlies are armed, 
there are so many stragglers and marauders . 
about. . 

The air is filled with the burning brick and 
mortar smell through the whole city. The en- 
tire block through to the next street in front of 
us is in ruins, and all the way down the long 
street not a house is standing; banks, churches, 
private dwellings and stores without number, 
all lie in ruins. By moonlight the sight is 
beautiful. They are putting up slightly-built 
shanties here and there for the sale of dififerent 
articles, mostly ** beer and cakes," which spoil 
the picturesqueness. 



THE WAR ENDED 



1<^S 



The city is a beautiful one, with its fine old 
trees and large gardens, now filled with every 
variety of roses. We average about four large 
bouquets a day in our room, from military 
friends, and our mantelpiece is filled all in a 
row with roses, syringas, honeysuckles and mag- 
nolias. I wish every day you had come with 
us. I am sure you would enjoy it. Do join 
Eliza and Joe when they come on. . . . 

We shall be in Washington by Wednesday or 
Thursday sometime. Do not give yourself any 
trouble about meeting us; we will go and see 
you as soon as we can, and G. can stay as long 
as pleases her and you. . . . 

Best love to you. Yours, 

Mother. 

Your Grandmother's next letter is given 
because its anxiety over a slight illness of 
G's, shows how unusual such a thing was. 
This was the first " sick leave " in four years. 
G's campaign had made a hardened veteran 
of her, though at last the Sanitary Commis- 
sion came even to Jier rescue. 

Mother to A. H. W. 

Petersburg, Va., May i8th. 

My dear Abby : The only drawback to our 
enjoyment of the trip has been Georgy's illness, 
but I am very happy to speak of this now as 



7o6 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

past away. We left Richmond Tuesday morn- 
ing. She was not very well, I could see plainly, 
though she would not allow it, and on reaching 
this place, she was in a high fever, and obliged 
to give up to the care of a physician. We called 
in Dr. Prince, the medical director and surgeon 
of the post, who was highly spoken of as a good 
man and excellent doctor. The fever raged for 
a day and night, so that we were extremely 
anxious lest it might run into typhoid, or some 
other rapid and fearful disease, but God was 
pleased to order otherwise, and she is now so 
much relieved that we think of pursuing the jour- 
ney to-morrow, as it is desirable to get on by 
" easy stages " to Washington. We could not 
have been better off in every way. . . . An atten- 
tive, skilful and gentlemanly physician, and the 
Sanitary Commission close at hand to supply us the 
wine which we could not get anywhere else; also 
excellent black tea. . . . G's bed is literally cov- 
ered with roses, we have them in such profusion; 
our little silk flag (your make) is hung by her 
bedside for effect; and on a table near her every 
variety of flower the country produces, and this 
is a great one, with superb roses of every kind. 
Ice, lemonade, ice-cream when wanted, and very 
good, too, with whatever else she needs or fan- 
cies — looking like an interesting princess. . . . 
The ist Division of the 6th Corps passed through 
from Danville to-day. It was splendid ; the 



THE WAR ENDED 



707 



band was drawn up in front of the hotel, play- 
ing while they passed, and a crowd of Union 
people in the piazzas and windows of the house 
looking on. The girls and Charley displayed 
our flag, and there was a large collection of 
officers in front below us to see them pass along. 
Dreadfully burnt and weather-beaten they 
looked, too, poor fellows, under their weight of 
knapsacks, etc. — they seemed too wearied for 
even the thought of going home to cheer them. 
There was no cheering or waving at all as they 
passed. I do not understand why this is the 
case. The feelings of the rebels present every- 
where seem to be too much regarded, I think, in 
this ; I hope in northern cities it will be different. 
These brave fellows should be met with the 
applause they deserve, and be made to feel their 
welcome from all hearts. . . . We will not stay 
long in Washington, just to rest and see Jane, 
unless there is something very attractive and 
interesting going on. I must say I would wait 
there a week to see Jeff, in his wife's petticoats ! 
This is talked of with great glee amongst 
the blacks here ; one or two have asked me, 
grinning from ear to ear, if "dey was gwine to 
bring Jeff, dis way." Wasn't it a joke ? it finishes 
up his reputation amongst his own people. . . . 
I add a P. S. to ask if you will write a line to 
Mrs. Turner at Cornwall, or perhaps you and E. 
will drive over and see her about a room for 



y 



708 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Charley — he seems to want a quiet rest some- 
where for a while — an airy, nice room, as he will 
sit in it a good deal. . . . We hope to meet Dr. 
Bacon at City Point, who will be on hand if 
needed. 

G. M. W. to A. H. W. 

Ebbitt House, Washington, 

Saturday, May 21, '65. 

We have just arrived ; the boat from City 
Point touching at Alexandria long enough to 
let Mother and Robert off. They were to take 
a carriage and drive out two-and-a-half miles to 
see Jane, and bring her in to spend Sunday (if 
she will come). We came on with Charley to 
this House and find it packed. We are all four 
put in one room until to-morrow night, when 
possibly we may have something better. The 
city is full, to see the Review. I hope Joe has 
telegraphed for rooms. . . . 

I am delighted that they are coming, and very 
much disappointed that you are not. We really 
thought that you might be induced just to look 
at the brave fellows on Tuesday and Wednesday 
before everything marched off into the past, for- 
ever and ever. ... I am seeing doctors and tak- 
ing doses without number in a perfectly docile 
way, and you have nothing to say about me. . . . 
We had Vance of North Carolina a prisoner on 
board the boat up, (under guard of officers and 



THE WAR ENDED 



709 



four privates) strutting about, — great fat, ciiew- 
ing fellow. He called for potatoes at breakfast, 
and Mother, sitting next, said, " Here is a very- 
small, and cold one." " Thank you," he said, 
quite fiercely, "I wish a large and a hot one." 
" Small potatoes " might answ^er his purposes 
under the circumstances. . . . 

Mother to A. at Fishkill. 

Washington, May 21, 1865. 
My dear Abby : Robert will probably have 
seen you before this reaches you and told you 
all about us. . . . He had telegraphed Joe and 
Eliza that he would be at home on Monday, so 
that they could come on to the Review. . . . 
Georgy is much better, gains every day, but will 
gain faster going north, out of this oppressive 
air, which seems to have no vitality whatever in 
it. Dr. Smith says it is all malaria everywhere 
in this region. As Robert will tell you, he and 
I left the boat on the journey up and drove from 
Alexandria to the Fairfax Seminary Hospital. 
We found Jane well, and very glad to see us. 
It was a very busy time with her, just making 
out her orders for special diet, and giving out 
the stores. We only staid an hour, and did not 
go into the wards, or to see Mrs. Jerome, only into 
Jane's department. I looked into her poorly 
furnished little bedroom, which seemed to me 
very bare, and very unsuited to Jane's ideas and 



yio LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

tastes, but which she seems perfectly contented 
and happy with. 

It is a fine building, ain* and beautifully sit- 
uated, very clean, and everything about in per- 
fect order, and Jane the supreme directress. It 
was strange indeed to see her there, all alone, 
and hundreds of men waiting their portion at 
her hands. Things are so arranged that she can 
sit quietly in her office, (which is a pleasant room, 
with its seven wardrobes, sure enough, all in a 
row I) and move the whole machinery of the 
kitchen and wards, with apparently little labor. 
This had just been scoured, and a large wood 
fire was burning, to dr\' the board floor. The 
wardrobes ! are fitted up with shelves, and form 
a row of very nice closets, filling one side of the 
room ; there is one very large window with a 
beautiful view, and on the sill a flower box with 
growing plants ; in the middle of the floor is 
her business table covered with papers relating 
to the work of the hospital, her writing imple- 
ments and piles of diet-lists, etc. Between this 
table and the huge fire-place is spread her rug, 
the only piece of floor covering she has any- 
where ; across the window, with space from it to 
admit a chair, stands another table, filled with 
books and flowers — two vases of beautiful roses, 
— and I added a splendid magnolia, which I 
brought her from Petersburg, and managed to 
keep perfectly fresh in water on the boat. 



THE WAR ENDED 711 

Jane seemed very well, though she looks no 
stronger than when at home. . . . We left her 
with the promise from her that she and Dr. 
Smith would drive up in the afternoon to see 
G. They did so in spite of the rain, made us a 
short call, and took Hatty back with them to 
stay till to-morrow, when Charley is to drive 
down for her. Jane promises to come up and 
see the Review on Tuesday, so that we will all 
but you, dear Abby, be here together. . . . Dr. 
Bacon is staying here in the house, so that we 
can have his medical advice if needed. . . . 
General Williams came in last night in his little, 
modest, quiet way to call, and offered his ser- 
vices in any way to aid us in our getting about ; 
invited us to a seat in his pew. Will Winthrop 
was here too, last night. Mrs. John Rockwell, 
her two sons, and Miss Foote are in the house, 
and a great crowd of queer-looking people 
coming to see their husbands and brothers the 
" Jyggyfleers " of the army. Miss Prime and 
some of her family are here, too ; we have had 
several little talks with her; she is very pleasant, 
as usual. Robert will tell you all about our 
trip on the horrid boat, only a very little better 
than the Adelaide, and our seeing the vessel 
with Jeff. Davis and his party on board. 



^ 



712 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

C. C. IV. to A. H. IV. 

Washington, May 23, 1865. 
The Dear Abby : Joe and Eliza arrived safely last 

Keviev.: night at 12 o'clock, and E. was taken into our 
The room, we having fortunately an extra bed, an 

Army ... 

Dis- extraordinary thing in these times. The city is 
banded, crammed, and no accommodations to be had at 
any price ; hundreds of people have left, finding 
no sleeping place, and great numbers stay at 
Baltimore and come up for the day ; among the 
latter is Charles Rockwell, who with the Tracys 
came in the train yesterday with Eliza. Charley 
gave up his third of a room to Joe and took his 
old quarters with General Williams. The old 
General has been daily to see us and secured us 
a window in the avenue for to-day; but as noth- 
ing was to be seen from it, we wisely accepted 
six tickets on a platform which our usual luck 
threw in our way, in fact forced upon us. Miss 
Prime's uncle procured in some way twenty seats 
on the Connecticut State platform, opposite the 
President's, and insisted on our taking six, 
which we gladly did. General Sherman's box 
or covered platform was immediately next, and 
Admiral Wilkes, who was in it, made several of 
us come in there. Georgy would not lose the 
Review and came slowly up, escorted by Joe and 
Charley, and followed by the family, chiefly 
Mother, who brought a feather pillow and an 
air cushion for her to sit on and put at her back, 



THE WAR ENDED 713 

a box for her feet, and a bag of sandwiches, and 
port wine. She stood it remarkably well, and 
with three glasses of wine, etc., declared it did 
her great good to go. She takes frequent sherry- 
cobblers and strong drinks generally, and the 
" bar " must think the " sick lady eats and drinks 
awful." The Review was sublime ! As each 
general officer rode up to the President's stage, 
which was gorgeously dressed with flags and 
hot-house plants, he dismounted and took his 
seat in the great circle of great men, till we had 
directly opposite us and under our inspection, 
President Johnson, Secretary Welles, Mr. Stan- 
ton, Generals Grant, Meade, Hancock, Sher- 
man, Butterfield, Merritt, etc., etc. Whenever a 
pause occurred the mass rushed to the front of 
the staging to get a nearer view of the great 
men. Three superb bands relieved each other 
and kept up a constant clang of splendid music 
just alongside of us. There were no draw- 
backs, no accidents. Little General Custer 
came near being run away with ; his horse took 
fright and got beyond his control, tore down 
the lines, his hat blew off, and there was a good 
deal of excitement, but he finally stopped him 
without any damage. One splendid Colonel 
there would not have fared as well — a fine look- 
ing fellow, sitting like an arrow on his horse, his 
sword drawn and a beautiful bouquet in his 
hand ; we noticed he made a fine salute, as they 



V 



714 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



all did, to the President, but with his left hand ; 
then we saw his right arm was gone to the 
shoulder ! What could he have done if his 
horse had started, with his sword, his flowers, 
and the reins all in one hand ? Have we not 
been just in the nick of time everywhere ! To- 
morrow we have our same seats for Sherman's 
Army ; we could not have had a better time for 
Richmond, and our first night here was Sheri- 
dan's last. He spent some time in the parlor, so 
we had a good look at him ; short and stubby, 
but jolly. That night his troops gave him the 
most superb serenade you can imagine, right 
under our windows ; there must have been three 
or four bands united, and all the people of the 
city must have turned out, from the cheering. 
Early next morning his troops passed, to give a 
farewell cheer, and at noon he left for Texas, 
the men to follow, I believe. 

We have had a number of callers as usual, the 
Wilkes, the Knapps, Mr. Huntington Wolcott, 
Dr. Smith, Mr. "Conversation Clark," Harry 
Hopkins, etc., and Dr. Bacon in the house. We 
are glad to have him near in case of need, though 
G. really is better. I think the last four years is 
the matter with her. It would not be human that 
she could endure, without some ill effects, the 
constant exposure and trials of that time. We 
have only seen Jane for a few moments ; she is 
very busy and did not care to come to the pro- 
cession. 



THE WAR ENDED 



715 



E. and G. were at the Ebbitt House again 
for the first time since they sailed away with 
the Sanitary Commission in '62. E. writes: 

E. IV. If. to A. H. W. 

Ebbitt House, Washington, May 24, '65. 
Dear Abby : I wish you could have been here 
at least for this second day, and have seen Sher- 
man's splendid army. Far from flagging, the 
interest greatly increased, and there was much 
more enthusiasm and life to-day than yesterday, 
both among the men themselves and the lookers- 
on. Nothing ever was more false than the report 
that Sherman's braves were all " bummers," and 
beyond his control, or if so, it would be well for 
all armies to have " 'alf their complaint." They 
beat the A. P. all to pieces in their marching, 
which is an easy swinging gait but in perfect 
time and uniformity ; and in physique they 
seemed half a head taller and broad and straight 
in proportion, — great big, brave, brawny men 
with faces brown as Indians and a pleased smile 
on every one. The Army of the Tennessee 
came first with Logan at its head, though Sher- 
man, of course, preceded him, and both were 
greeted with roars of delight, as indeed was 
the case with every general officer, every par- 
ticularly torn flag, and all the men ! Flowers — 
many more than yesterday — were showered 
among them, great wreaths of laurel hung 



7i6 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

around many of the horses' necks or over the 
flagstafifs, and one of the prettiest parts of all 
was to watch Mrs. Sherman, who, with her little 
boy, sat next the general all day, cheer and 
wave and toss flowers to one after another of 
the color-bearers. When she couldn't toss far 
enough herself the general himself would throw 
them, and they were always caught with great 
cheers and tossing of caps by the men. Indeed 
Sherman won back our hearts to-day by his per- 
fect delight in watching the ovation to his soldiers 
and his zeal in helping it on. Most of the day 
he and Stanton sat at the two extremes of the 
platform, by design we supposed but it could 
not have been so, for when it was all over the 
last thing we noticed before the grandees sepa- 
rated were the two standing with their arms 
around each other ! Perhaps a grand review in 
Richmond would have had an equally happy 
effect in Halleck's case. 

After Logan's army came old Slocum, for 
whom we all rose and gave a special cheer — and 
who was cheered by everyone, — and the splendid 
army of Georgia. The 20th Corps more than 
any other impressed us with its immense size. 
Each division seemed an army in itself, and after 
each came the drollest mule-train loaded with 
blankets and camp-kettles and poultry! and 
darkies of all sizes, just as they came through 
Georgia and South Carolina, — " Slocum's bag- 



THE WAR ENDED 



717 



gage," the people shouted, as they laughed and 
cheered. By this time the crowd of spectators 
had increased and encroached on the street so 
much, that the infantry guards were unable to 
keep them back, and a file of cavalry were 
detailed to ride in advance of each division or 
brigade to clear the way, and Joe means to laugh 
at Slocum for his dodge in making a little force 
appear like a great one, for the company filed 
around behind the White House, as in a theater, 
and reappeared on the scene every few minutes 
like new troops. 

I can't begin to tell you all about it — the news- 
papers will do that better than I could, but it 
was a sublime spectacle and one I am very, very 
sorry you have missed. . . . 

I am writing in the parlor with talking all 
about me, and therefore incoherently. Capt. Joe 
Rockwell is just telling the girls about his ten 
months in Libby Prison. . . , Here come Gen- 
eral Williams and Mr. Knapp, so I must say 
good night. 

We are very glad you stayed at our home, 
always 7<?z^r.y, too, dear, instead of going down to 
town. Best love to you and the little darlings. ) 

( Mother to A. H. IV. 

Washington, May 27th, Saturday. 
My dear Abby : Here we are yet, detained by 
a cheerless, hopeless, steady pour of rain. . . .'"'^ 



yiS LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Georgy is at the Fairfax Seminary with Jane, 
and cannot get back to us until the weather 
changes decidedly for the better ; but such 
roads ! as this rain made. Their condition re- 
minds me of our McClellan winter here, though 
the deep yellow mud is now tramped through 
by the "homeward bound," those who have 
escaped and survived the hardships and horrors 
of the " cruel war " now over. . . . On Thurs- 
day we made up a little party to visit Jane, as 
she could not come to us — a good-bye call. 
Miss Prime and Eliza, with Charley and Joe, 
went on horseback, Miss P. riding Charley's 
new horse, which is a beauty. Mrs. Clarkson, 
with Georgy, Carry and me, in an open carriage, 
with Harry Hopkins on the box, all started 
together from the door. On reaching the Long 
Bridge, we found to our dismay an interminable 
line of troops coming this way, the Fourteenth 
Army Corps, with all their wagons, etc., and no 
chance whatever of getting on in that direction, 
— no vehicles are allowed to pass these trains 
on the bridge. The equestrians found they 
could do so, and rode on. We had the choice of 
driving to the boat, with the chance of finding 
that too crowded for our carriage, or driving 
out over the Aqueduct Bridge, and passing 
through Arlington grounds and Freedman's 
Village, finally reaching the Seminary road. 
All this was very attractive, and we made the 



THE WAR ENDED 



719 



drive, losing very little time and seeing a great 
deal that was extremely interesting. On arriv- 
ing at the Seminary we met the rest of our 
party just emerging from one of the wards with 
Jane and Dr. Smith, who had been showing 
Miss Prime through them, to her great delight. 
You know she doats on soldiers and hospitals. 
Jane seemed quite well, and did the honors with 
a grace that delighted her stranger guests. I 
was introduced to the chaplain and wife, Mr. 
and Mrs. Jerome, in their own room, and we all 
then assembled in Jane's office, where she gave us 
some claret and crackers, of her private stores. 
We lost our way in coming back ; our driver, a 
darkey, unacquainted with the country ; our 
horseback party far ahead of us, and cross roads 
innumerable everywhere. We drove about over 
hill and dale for two hours, and eventually 
found ourselves on the Leesburg turnpike! 
Where we should have spent the night I know 
not, but for an old house on the roadside which 
at length showed itself, whose occupant in- 
formed us where we were ; and on further in- 
quiry we found we were much nearer to the Sem- 
inary ! than to the Long Bridge which had been 
the object of our search. Of course we had 
only to drive back there and beg a gviide. You 
can imagine the surprise and regret of Dr. S. 
and Harry Hopkins when we drove up at that 
late hour, and told them our experience. , . . 



720 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



We did not let Jane and G. know anything 
about it, and Dr. Smith and Harry both ordered 
horses and saw us safely back. We reached 
the hotel at a little before lo, . . . Charley is 
well, but tired out with hanging about here, and 
I shall be glad to leave. . . . Kisses to the dear 
children. I dare not look back to this time last 
year ! or speak of those days of sorrow, but my 
heart is heavy within me, these antiiversary daySy 
with unspoken sorrow. 

Mother to J. S. W. 

Washington May 28, 1865. 
Sunday Evening. 

My dear Jatie : As we propose leaving 
Washington to-morrow morning on the 10.30 
train, I write you a line of "good bye" to- 
night, and shall leave it at the desk in case the 
orderly should call here — and with it some 
lovely roses which Charley brought in to us this 
afternoon. I wish you had them now. It is 
very hard for me to go off and leave you all 
alone behind us, though you do seem happier 
where you are than at home. I hope, however, 
when all military hospitals and every vestige 
of war are done away with, you will be con- 
tented to make us happy at home by sharing 
home with us, and being happy there yourself. 
. . . Joe and Eliza went off to Richmond on 
Friday in spite of the rain. . . . The city has 



THE WAR ENDED 



721 



been very quiet the last two or three days — no 
serenades, no excitements of any sort. To-day 
Charley and I went to Dr. Gurley's church, 
while H. and C, attended by General Williams, 
went to Dr. Hall's. ... It is very tiresome here 
now, and disagreeable ; the house is wretchedly 
kept. If it were not for our colored waiter, 
young "George Washington Jerome Buonaparte 
me lord," we should have no attention at all ; 
he remembered us at Gettysburg, and has de- 
voted himself to us. . . . We shall go through 
to-morrow, reaching home on Tuesday. , . . 
A loving good night to you, my dear child. 

Mother. 

The splendid sweep of the great army 
passing away for ever, seemed to carry with 
it out of sight all the stormy four years of 
our family life. The mad, sad, noble war 
was over. Those dear to us, who had been 
in peril, were safe at home once more. All 
we had longed for, and fought for, was ours. 
Slavery was dead, and one flag covered the 
land '■'Across a Kindling ContijientP 

" We with uncovered head " 

" Salute the sacred dead," 
****** 
" Through whose desert a rescued Nation sets " 
" Her heel on treason." 



722 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



The home circle of which your Grand- 
mother was the center and the charm, was 
broken and scattered long- ago, but it has 
not been forgotten by those who knew it 
in the days of war: "Chaplain Hopkins," 
writing of it after all these years, says : — 

" I stopped once on my way to the army at 
the New York home, and it seemed to me that I 
got for a little time into a climate and country 
entirely different from this poor cold world. 
The house was all aglow with light and warmth; 
there was an atmosphere of earnest faith, cour- 
age, and good cheer, that filled me with a new 
sense of the sacredness of the cause of our 
country. Some of the faces in the groups there 
are dim in my memory, but not your Mother's. 
She seemed to me very noble and very beautiful 
the first time I saw her, and later she was good 
to me after such a fashion, that I put an aureole 
about her head, and counted her among the 
saints long before she went to be where the 
saints are." 



A paragraph in a letter from this dear 
Mother, written six years after the war, ex- 
presses her constant love for us, and allows 
us to close these chapters of our family 
story with her benediction. 



THE WAR ENDED 



723 



. . . This 9th day of November, 187 1, com- 
pletes my "three score years and ten ! " and how 
has God blessed me all the way along, and in 
nothing so richly as in my beloved children ! 
What aid, and comfort, and strength, and life 
have they given me always ! and how my heart 
yearns over each one as my dearest treasure on 
earth ! They have been my staff and support in 
God's hands, when He was leading me through 
deep waters, and have kept my head up so that 
I did not sink. I bless God to-day for my chil- 
dren. May He continue to be their God ! 



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