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

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LETTERS OF A F^W^LY 

DURING THE 

WAR FOR THE UNION 

1861-1865 
VOL. I 



1899 






Copyright, 1899 

BY 

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



^OCOPSfcc, f?SD.-jV^.Q^ 



FEB 28 1899 1 






TO THE DEAR MEMORY OF THE 

LOVING MOTHER 

WHOSE LOFTY FAITH, UNFAILING CHARITY 

AND GREAT COURAGE 

WERE THE INSPIRATION OF ALL THAT WAS BEST 

IN HER CHILDREN 

THIS FRAGMENT OF THE WAR-STORY 

IS DEDICATED 



JUST BEFORE THE WAR 



A 



INTRODUCTORY NOTE 



For you, all who are left of our dear nieces and 
nephews, — 

Mary Rowland Soley, 
Abby Roberta Howland, 
Georgeanna Rowland, 
Eliza Mitchell, 
RuGH Lenox Rodge, 
Alice Bradford Woolsey, 
Una Rowland Soley, 
Mary Woolsey Soley, — 

we have put together selections from all that are left, of 
the letters written and received in your Grandmother's 
family, during the four years of the War of the Rebellion, 
1861-65. These few happen to have been saved from a 
much larger number, which, coming almost daily at times 
from the brother (Charles), at the Headquarters of the 
Army of the Potomac, and the sisters in Rospital service, 
were carefully filed by the eldest sister, Abby, in orderly 
succession, and, when the home was broken up, were 
stored in the Morrell warehouse in New York. There, 
later, with all our Mother's household possessions, they 
were destroyed by fire, to the deep and lasting regret of 
all who knew the writers and the times they had passed 
through. 

Dr. Prentiss, our long-time friend and pastor, writes : 
*'The destruction of Charley's letters from the front in 
the Morrell fire was an irreparable loss, and gave me, I 
remember, a real shock, for I knew how precious they 
would have been, sooner or later, not in your family his- 
tory only, but in the inner personal history of the war." 



viii INTRODUCTORY NOTE 

Out of the few not stored in the warehouse, and by- 
quotations which were made from the army letters, in cor- 
respondence with family friends at the time, a sort of con- 
nected account has been made, which may help to tell 
you the story of the family during the Civil War. 

As you read, you will see that this was a family of 
earnest Americans, having no other thought at that time, 
than to give themselves and their possessions freely — as 
thousands of other families did — to the service of the 
men in the field. Some of you were little children then, 
most of you were not born. You know nothing of the 
history of the great national sin, slavery, which led to the 
war, and can never understand the spirit with which a 
great multitude, ourselves among them, entered into this 
struggle, unless you can detect it in the first chapter of 
this story. Of the war itself you know scarcely more, 
but you will always remember that the willing service of 
the soldiers of the National Army gave you a country 
worth caring for. To you your own land is made sacred 
by the death of half a million steadfast men, and by the 
thought of the thousands and thousands of broken- 
hearted women at home, who quietly acquiesced in this 
great sacrifice out of love and loyalty to their country's 
flag. 

Georgeanna Woolsey Bacon. 

Eliza Woolsey Rowland. 



ABBREVIATIONS 



Mother, 



HER 



A. H. W., 
J. S. W., . 
M. W. H., 
G. M. W., 
E. W. H., 
H. R. W. . 
C. C. W., . 
C. W. W., 
R. S. H., 



J.H., 
F. B., 



H. L. H. 
E. M., . 
Zenie, . . 



Your Grandmother, Mrs. Charles 
William Woolsey, who was Jane 
Eliza Newton, of Virginia. 



children and children-in-law 

(YOUR AUNTS AND UNCLES) : 

Abby Howland Woolsey. 
Jane Stuart Woolsey. 
Mary Woolsey Rowland. 
' .* ] Georgeanna Muirson Woolsey. 
' * [ Eliza Woolsey Rowland. 

Harriet Roosevelt Woolsey. 
Caroline Carson Woolsey. 
Charles William Woolsey. 
Robert Shaw Rowland ; Mary's 

husband. 
Joseph Rowland; Eliza's husband. 
Francis Bacon ; after the war mar- 

ried to Georgeanna. 

RuGH Lenox Rodge 

married to Rarriet. 

Edward Mitchell; 

married to Caroline. 

Arixene Southgate 



the war married to Charles. 



; after the war 

after the war 

Smith ; after 



grandchildren : 
. Mary Woolsey Rowland. 
Bertha' '''.'.. Abby Roberta Rowland. 
Una ' ... Una Felice Rowland. 

Baby Georgi'e, . . Georgeanna Rowland. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I. 
JUST BEFORE THE WAR. 



The Fremont Campaign, 

Mother and Abby at the South, 

A Slave Auction, . . . . 

John Brown, 

Some of the Family go to Europe, 
Election of President Lincoln, 
The Secession Ordinance, 
Inauguration of President Lincoln, 



Page 

I 
2 

6 

15 
18 

19 
26 

34 



CHAPTER n. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR. 



The Firing on Fort Sumter, . 

First Call to Arms, 

Marching of the 7th New York, 

Flag Presentation to the 2d Conn. 

The Sanitary Commission, 

J. H. Joins the Army, 

G. M. W. Studies Nursing, . 

The Sisters Abroad Come Home, 



37 
38 
44 
52 
62 
71 
78 
96 



xii CONTENTS 

Page 

J. H's Regiment Passes Through New York, . 103 

G., E. and C. go to Washington, .... 109 

Camp at Cameron, 116 

Mother's Reminiscences, 116 

Battle of Bull Run, 121 



CHAPTER III. 

Three Months' Troops Disbanded, . . . 135 

Pioneer Women Nurses, ..... 142 

Hospital Work in Washington and at Home, . 150 

Hospital Chaplains, 161 

The Family at Lenox and Astoria, . . . . 172 

G. and E. dine with General Scott, . . . 183 



CHAPTER IV. 

Patent Office Hospital, 189 

F. B. with the Port Royal Expedition, . . . 197 

J. H. has Leave of Absence, ..... 200 

H. and C. meet Major Anderson, .... 208 

Thanksgiving Day, . . . . . . . 215 

Tybee Island, F. B., 222 

The Trent Affair, 227 

Christmas, 231 



CHAPTER V. 

SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR. 

A New Year's Call on G. and E., . . . . 237 

Washington Jail, 249 

Mrs. Abby Hopper Gibbons, 250 

Mother goes to Washington, 254 



CONTENTS 



General Seth Williams, . 

C. C. W. goes to Roanoke Island, 

" Arbutus from Camp," . 



Page 
255 
260 
263 



CHAPTER VI. 

J. H. becomes Colonel of the i6th N. 
Manassas Evacuated by the Rebels, 
The Peninsular Campaign Begun, . 
" A Rainy Day in Camp," 
G. and E. Plan to Follow the Army, 
J. S. W. at Work in New York, 
H. L. H, goes to the Front, . 
J. H. leaves for the Peninsula, 



268 

270 
272 
280 
285 
292 
302 
304 



CHAPTER VII. 

The Floating Hospital Service, .... 312 

G. and E. Nurses at Large, 312 

Mother and Hatty wind up affairs in Washington, 314 

Mrs. William Preston Griffin, .... 316 

First Field Patients for E., 321 

Yorktown Abandoned by the Rebels, . . . 326 

F. B. with the Wounded Rebels at Fort Pulaski, . 333 

C. W. W. Joins the Sanitary Commission, . . 337 

The Ocean Queen, Hospital Transport, . . 338 

Battle of West Point, Va., i6th N. Y. engaged, . 348 

On the Knickerbocker, Hospital Transport, . . 35^ 



A 






'^Ni^" i 



CHAPTER I. 

When the members of the Woolsey fam.- 
ily gave up toys they took up politics .\ 
Brought up by a mother who hated slavery, 
although her ancestors for generations had 
^:" been Virginia slave-holders, they walked 
^ with her in the straight path of aboli- 
tionism and would none of the Democratic 
party, 
p^^^^ ^^^ As long ago as 1856, v/hen the Fremont 
Cam- campaigners, with misguided zeal and loud 
enthusiasm, proposed to sing the ' ' Path- 
finder" into the White House, night after 
night this family, with the many young 
men who flocked to their standard, sang, 
doors and windows being all open, hour 
after hour, the patriotic doggerel of the 
campaign song book ; and many a song 
went hot from No. 8 Brevoort Place, the 
New York home, to the campaign printing 



^ 



2 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

office, and was shouted at political meetings 
for the furtherance of a result which a 
merciful Providence averted. 
' ^ We all cut our political teeth on the 
New York Tribune, and were in the right 
frame of mind to keep step with the steady 
march to the inevitable through the Kansas 
perplexities, the John Brown raid and the 
election of Mr. Lincoln, to the firing of the 
first gun by the rebels upon the national 
flag at Fort Sumter/ 



Mother jj^ ^i^g spring of 1859, Abby not having 



and 



in the 
South. 



Abby been very well during the winter, Mother 
planned a little trip to the South for her 
benefit, making up a party with Robert, 
Mary, and little Mary. 

They spent several days in Charleston, 

and vexed their righteous souls with the 

siofhts and sounds of an auction of slaves., 

Abby writes to her cousin, Harriet Oilman : 

^ Charleston, S. C, Feb. 6, 1859. 

/ Slave auctions are of daily occurrence, 
and one of these we attended, seeing what 
perhaps no lady-resident of Charleston has 
seen. But for that sad insight we might 
have thought things had a pretty fair aspect, 
generally. Certainly nothing forced itself 



JUST BEFORE THE WAR 3 

unpleasantly on our attention, only every 
black face in the street reminded us of the 
system. I enclose you the list of some we 
saw sold. It is the list of only ''one lot" 
put in by one trader. I could not get a 
full catalogue of sale ; it seemed very long, 
and the men who held them were marking 
off the names and the prices which they 
brought. One man, a great stout thorough 
African, ran up to $780, but that was 
" cheap." The sale was in Chalmers street 
— a red flag indicating the spot — hardly a 
stone's throw from the hotel. The slave 
yard was probably the largest in Charles- 
ton — a great empty square, with high walls 
on three sides and a platform where the 
auctioneer stood and around which the 
bidders were grouped. On the fourth side 
was a five or six-story brick building, dirty, 
ragged-looking, like our rear tenements, 
where the poor crowd were lodged. The 
gentlemen of our party, Mr. Robert How- 
land, and Mr. Charles Wolcott of Fishkill 
(who is here with his wife on a hasty tour), 
went in among the bidders. We ladies 
stood at the gate and looked in. Whole 
families of all ages were standing back 
against the walls, being questioned by pur- 
chasers and waiting their turn. A poor 
old woman, her head bowed, was sold with 
her son. They told us families are never 
separated except on account of bad be- 



4 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

havior when they wish to get rid of some 
bad fellow — that this is so much the cus- 
tom that the opposite course would not be 
tolerated. But mortgages, sheriffs' sales, 
sudden death of the owner, etc., must often, 
as we can imagine, infringe on this cus- 
tom. Among the saddened lookers on, all 
colored women except ourselves, was a mid- 
dle-aged black woman, with a child in her 
arms. Mother had much talk with her. 
**Ah! Misses," she said, "they leave me 
some of the little ones. They sell my boys 
away, but I expect that, and all I wish is 
that they may get a good Master and 
Misses. There ! Misses, that's one of my 
boys on the stand now ! I don't mind that, 
but its hard to have the old man ( her hus- 
band) drifted azvay. But what can I do? 
My heart's broke, and that's all." He had 
been sold some time ago, and was gone 
she didn't know where. We turned home 
sickened and indignant. The bidders were 
gentlemanly-looking people, just such as 
we met every day at the hotel table. The 
trader had come down with this very gang 
in the cars with the Wolcotts the day be- 
fore, and was so drunk then he could hardly 
stand. Isn't Dr. Cheever justified? 

. . . March, 1859. 
Though this is March, the Japonicas are 
just passing out of blossom and the roses 



JUSl^ BEFORE THE WAR 5 

are in their first fresh glory — yellow and 
white Banksia, the Lamarque, and all those 
choice fresh varieties. I'll just run down 
in the garden here and pick you a rose- 
bud. There it is — my voucher for the 
floral stories. 

While we were at the Pulaski in Savan- 
nah, the great sale of Pierce Butler's slaves 
took place, and there all the gentlemen 
interested were congregated. You would 
never suppose the young meek pale lit- 
tle man, Pierce Butler, to be either a slave- 
owner or Mrs. Kemble's husband. He is 
the indignant vestryman, I am told, who 
walked ont of Rev. Dudley Tyng's Church 
when that sermon was preached. I am 
glad to hear that Mrs. Kemble has never 
drawn a dollar of her alimony, $3,000 a 
year, but allows it to accumulate for the 
children. She has the honest pride of main- 
taining herself, under the circumstances. 
Of course, you have read the Tribune's 
account; the girls sent it to us, and we 
have kept it well concealed, I assure you, 
for there are fire-eaters in the house, who 
would not hesitate to insult us. But now 
it is copied into the New York Herald — 
the only northern daily sold here — and 
has gone all through the city. There is a 
shrewd Philadelphian here, with his wife, 
Mr. Ashmead. He knew the agent at that 
sale. He attended the sale ; took notes of 



A 

Slave 
Auc- 
tion. 



6 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

course, as every northerner had to do, and 
now and then made a modest bid — to ap- 
pear interested as a buyer. He says : ' ' All 
I can say of Doe-stick's account is it does 
not go one bit beyond the reality — hardly 
comes up to it, indeed." He heard all the 
remarks quoted about Daphney's baby; 
says the story of Dorcas' and Jeffrey's love 
is true; and it was to himself and one 
other that the negro driver's remarks about 
the efficacy of pistols were made. He 
thought Mr. Ashmead was one of the same 
sort! The latter was a Buchanan man; 
he goes home an Abolitionist, and says: 
' ' Now I can believe that everything in 
Uncle Tom's Cabin might really happen." 

As properly part of the histor}^ of the 
war, the following New York Tribune's 
account of this sale is valuable. It v/as 
found among Abby's papers, dated March 
9th, 1859: 

A GREAT SLAVE AUCTION. 
400 MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN SOLD. 

' ' The largest sale of human chattels that 
has been made in Star-Spangled America 
for several years took place on Wednesday 
and Thursday of last week at the Race 
Course, near the City of Savannah, Georgia. 
The lot consisted of four hundred and 
thirty-six men, women, children and in- 



JUST BEFORE THE WAR 7 

fants, being that half of the negro stock 
remaining on the old Major Butler planta- 
tions which fell to one of the two heirs 
to that estate — Mr. Pierce M. Butler, still 
living and resident in the city of Philadel- 
phia, in the free state of Pennsylvania. 
They were, in fact, sold to pay Mr. Pierce 
M. Butler's debts. 

* ' The sale had been advertised largely for 
many weeks, and as the negroes were 
known to be a choice lot and very desira- 
ble property, the attendance of buyers was 
large. Little parties were made up from 
the various hotels every day to visit the 
Race Course, distant some three miles from 
the city, to look over the chattels, discuss 
their points, and make memoranda for 
guidance on the day of sale. The buyers 
were generally of a rough breed, slangy, 
profane and bearish, being, for the most 
part, from the back river and swamp planta- 
tions where the elegancies of polite life 
are not, perhaps, developed to their fullest 
extent. 

'*The neg^roes were brouofht to Savannah 
in small lots, as many at a time as could 
be conveniently taken care of, the last of 
them reaching the city the Friday before 
the sale. They were consigned to the care 
of Mr. J. Bryan, auctioneer and negro 
broker, who was to feed and keep them in 
condition until disposed of. Immediately 



8 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

on their arrival they were taken to the 
Race Course and there quartered in the 
sheds erected for the accommodation of the 
horses and carriages of gentlemen attend- 
ing the races. Into these sheds they were 
huddled pell-mell, without any more atten- 
tion to their comfort than was necessary 
to prevent their becoming ill and unsala- 
ble. 

' ' The chattels were huddled together on 
the floor, there being no sign of bench or 
table. They eat and slept on the bare 
boards, their food being rice and beans, 
with occasionally a bit of bacon and corn 
bread. Their huge bundles were scattered 
over the floor, and thereon the slaves sat 
or reclined, when not restlessly moving 
about or gathered into sorrowful groups 
discussing the chances of their future fate. 
On the faces of all was an expression of 
heavy grief. 

* * The negroes were examined with as lit- 
tle consideration as if they had been brutes ; 
the buyers pulling their mouths open to see 
their teeth, pinching their limbs to find 
how muscular they were, walking them up 
and down to detect any signs of lameness, 
making them stoop and bend in different 
ways that they might be certain there was 
no concealed rupture or wound. 

' ' The following curiously sad scene is the 
type of a score of others that were there 
enacted : 



JUST BEFORE THE WAR 9 

"■ 'Elisha,' chattel No. 5 in the catalogue, 
had taken a fancy to a benevolent-looking 
middle-aged gentleman who was inspect- 
ing the stock, and thus used his powers of 
persuasion to induce the benevolent man 
to purchase him, with his wife, boy, and 
girl. <Look at me, Mas'r; am prime rice 
planter ; sho' you won't find a better man 
den me ; no better on de whole plantation ; 
not a bit old yet ; do mo' work den ever ; 
do carpenter work, too, little ; better buy 
me, Mas'r; I'se be good sarvant, Mas'r. 
Molly, too, my wife, Sa, fus rate rice hand ; 
mos as good as me. Stan' out yer, Molly, 
and let the gen'lem'n see.' 

<* Molly advances, with her hands crossed 
on her bosom, and makes a quick, short 
curtsy and stands mute, looking appeal- 
ingly in the benevolent man's face. But 
Elisha talks all the faster. 'Show Mas'r 
yer arm, Molly — good arm dat, Mas'r — 
she do a heap of work mo' with dat arm 
yet. Let good Mas'r see yer teeth, Molly — 
see dat, Mas'r, teeth all reg'lar, all good 
— she'm young gal yet. Come out yer 
Israel ; walk aroun' an' let the gen'lm'n see 
hov/ spry you be' — 

*' Then, pointing to the three-year-old girl 
who stood with her chubby hand to her 
mouth, holding on to her Mother's dress 
and uncertain what to make of the strange 
scene, — 'Little Vardy's on'y a chile yet; 



lo LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

make prime gal by and by. Better buy 
us, Mas'r; we'm fus' rate bargain' — and so 
on. But the benevolent gentleman found 
where he could drive a closer bargain, and 
so bought somebody else. 

' ' In the intervals of more active labor 
the discussion of the re-opening of the 
slave-trade was commenced, and the opin- 
ion seemed to generally prevail that the 
reestablishment of the said trade is a con- 
summation devoutly to be wished, and one 
red-faced Major, or General, or Corporal, 
clenched his remarks with the emphatic 
assertion that '■ We'll have all the niggers 
in Africa over here in three years — we 
won't leave enough for seed.' 

♦' One huge brute of a man, who had not 
taken an active part in the discussion save 
to assent with approving nod to any un- 
usually barbarous proposition, at last broke 
his silence by saying in an oracular way 
* You may say what you like about man- 
aging niggers; I'm a driver myself, and 
I've had some experience, and I ought to 
know. You can manage ordinary niggers 
by lickin' 'em and given' 'em a taste of 
the hot iron once in a while when they're 
extra ugly; but if a nigger really sets 
himself up against me I can't never have 
any patience with him. I just get my 
pistol and shoot him right down ; and that's 
the best way.' 



JUST BEFORE THE WAR n 

''The family of Primus, plantation car- 
penter, consisting- of Daphney his wife, 
with her young babe, and Dido a girl of 
three years old, were reached in due course 
of time. Daphney had a large shawl, 
which she kept carefully wrapped around 
her infant and herself. This unusual pro- 
ceeding attracted much attention, and pro- 
voked many remarks, such as these : 

' * ' What do you keep your nigger covered 
up fer? Pull off her blanket!' 

" ' What's the fault of the gal? Ain't she 
sound? Pull off her rags and let us see 
her!' 

*' 'Who's going to bid on that nigger, if 
you keep her covered up? Let's see her 
face ! ' 

"At last the auctioneer obtained a hear- 
ing long enough to explain that there was 
no attempt to practice any deception in the 
case — the parties were not to be wronged 
in any way ; he had no desire to palm off 
on them an inferior article, but the truth 
of the matter was that Daphney had been 
confined only fifteen days ago, and he 
thought that on that account she was en- 
titled to the slight indulgence of a blanket, 
to keep from herself and child the chill air 
and the driving rain. 

"Since her confinement, Daphney had 
travelled from the plantations to Savannah, 
where she had been kept in a shed for six 



12 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

days. On the sixth or seventh day after 
her sickness she had left her bed, taken 
a railroad jotirney across the country to 
the shambles, was there exposed for six 
days to the questionings and insults of the 
negro speculators, and then on the fifteenth 
day after her confinement was put up on 
the block with her husband and her other 
child, and, with her new-born baby in her 
arms, was sold to the highest bidder. 

* ' It was very considerate in Daphney to 
be sick before the sale, for her wailing 
babe was worth to Mr. Butler all of a hun- 
dred dollars. The family sold for $625 
apiece, or ^2,500 for the four. 

''There were some thirty babies in the 
lot; they are esteemed worth to the mas- 
ter a hundred dollars the day they are 
born and to increase in value at the rate 
of a hundred dollars a year till they are 
sixteen or seventeen years old, at which 
age they bring the best prices. 

"Jeffrey, chattel No. 319, being human 
in his affections, had dared to cherish a 
love for Dorcas, chattel No. 278 ; and Dorcas, 
not having the fear of her master before 
her eyes, had given her heart to Jeffrey. 

" Jeffrey was sold. He finds out his new 
master; and, hat in hand, the big tears 
standing in his eyes and his voice trembling 
with emotion, he stands before that master 
and tells his simple story : 



JUST BEFORE THE WAR 13 

*'*I loves Dorcas, young Mas'r; I loves 
her well an' true ; she says she loves me, 
and I know she does ; de good Lord knows 
I love her better than I loves any one in 
de wide world — never can love another 
woman half so well. Please buy Dorcas, 
Mas'r. We'll be good sarvants to you long 
as we live. We're be married right soon, 
young Mas'r, and de chillun v/ill be healthy 
and strong, Mas'r, and dey'll be good sar- 
vants, too. Please buy Dorcas, young 
Mas'r. V/e loves each other a heap — do, 
really, true, Mas'r.' 

*' At last comes the trying moment, and 
Dorcas steps up on the stand. 

' ' But now a most unexpected feature in 
the drama is for the first time unmasked ; 
Dorcas is not to be sold alone, but with a 
family of four others. Full of dismay Jef- 
frey looks to his master who shakes his 
head, for, although he might be induced to 
buy Dorcas alone, he has no use for the 
rest of the family. Jeffrey reads his doom 
in his master's look, and turns away, the 
tears streaming down his honest face. 

' ' And tomorrow Jeffrey and Dorcas are to 
say their tearful farewell, and go their sep- 
arate ways in life to meet no more as mor- 
tal beings. 

''That night, not a steamer left that 
southern port, not a train of cars sped 
away from that cruel city, that did not bear 



14 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

each its own sad burden of those unhappy- 
ones." 

Abby's account from Charleston goes on : 
On Sunday Mother and I went to the 
African Baptist Church, and had a rnost 
interesting service, remaining to their com- 
munion. The new members, nine of them, 
were seated in the front pews ; the young 
women, in white dresses, shawls, and white 
ribbons on their straw bonnets. We had 
a seat of honor just behind them. The 
pastor, a slender, meek man in spectacles — 
a black man you know — ''Dr. Cox," gave 
them the right hand of fellowship, with 
many touching words of counsel and pas- 
sages of scripture. He and we, too, were 
equally moved, as to one (free) woman 
he said, ''If the vSon shall make you free, 
ye shall be free indeed," and to another, 
♦' Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty where- 
with God shall make you free." He is free 
himself, I hear, but the Methodist minister 
is a slave. He is well taken care of — 
given his whole time, and is considered in 
an enviable position. The church was 
crowded — bandannas of every shade, and 
style of tie — and no small sprinkling of 
the gayest bonnets. The minister was a 
quiet, excellent speaker; ''two broders" 
who assisted were roaring ones, and the 
"broder officers" who officiated were such 



JUST BEFORE THE WAR 15 

real darkies, and the singing was so like 
stories I have read, that altogether I had 
more a sense of sight-seeing than of wor- 
shipping, I am afraid. The service was 
very solemn, however, and we were deeply 
interested. There must have been three 
or four hundred communicants, for it was 
not close communion. The bread and wine 
were carried to every one, and up in the 
galleries too, and the eight baskets were 
emptied and the eight goblets were all 
emptied and filled three times. We shook 
hands with <'Dr. Cox," who seemed grat- 
ified that we had remained, and as for us, 
we would not have missed it for a great 
deal. 

John Abby's heart was full of the thoupfht of 

Brown. ■' ^ 

the slave market when, six months later, 
John Brown put his belief into action and 
attempted to bring about the forcible lib- 
eration of the slaves, acting as he thought 
and said *<by the authority of God Al- 
mighty." Death by hanging was his re- 
ward. He left the jail at Charlestown and 
met his fate ' ' with a radiant countenance 
and the step of a conqueror." 

At the hour appointed for the execution, 
December 2d, 1859, thousands of Northern 
hearts were with him, and in Dr. Cheever's 
church. New York, prayers were offered. 



1 6 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



A, H. W. to E. W. H. 

8 Brevoort Place, Dec. 5, 1859. 

My dear Eliza: I went round to Dr. 
Cheever's lecture room for half an hour. 
I found it crowded with men and women 
— as many of one as the other — hard- 
featured men, rugged faces, thoughtful 
faces, some few Chadband faces; plain, 
quiet women ; none that looked like gay, 
idle, 'trifling people. I entered just as 
some one suggested five minutes of silent 
prayer, which I have no doubt every soul 
of us made the most of, and then Dr. 
Cheever, who had the chair, gave out that 
hymn, "Oh, glorious hour! Oh, blest 
abode! I shall be near and like my God," 
etc. Mr. Brace made a fervent prayer for 
John Brown. Then a Methodist brother 
made a few remarks — said ' * it did him good 
to cry Amen. It proved you to be on 
the right side and that you were not afraid 
to make it known, and it didn't need a pol- 
ished education to help you do that much 
for truth." Then they sang, ''Am I a Sol- 
dier of the Cross?" everybody singing with 
a will, and, indeed, throughout the meet- 
ing there was much feeling — some sobs 
and many hearty Amens. 

The public feverish excitement constantly 
increased and carried our family along in 
its stream. 



JUST BEFORE THE WAR 17 

Abby writes: 

S Brevoort Place, Dec. 17, 1859. 

Dear Eliza: Georgy has gone to Pro- 
fessor Smith's class on church history and 
Jane has been out for a little air and exer- 
cise, to see if her head would feel better. 
She is in a highly nervous state, and says 
she feels as if she had brain fever, the 
over-excitement being the result of last 
night's meeting at the Cooper Institute, 
with speeches from Dr. Cheever and Wen- 
dell Phillips. She and Georgy went with 
Charley, and they say that the moment 
Dr. Cheever opened his mouth. Pandemo- 
nium broke loose. There seemed to be a 
thousand mad devils charging up and 
down the aisles with awful noises, and one 
of the rowdies near them plucked Charley 
and tried to draw him into a quarrel. 
This frightened Jane, but though Charley 
grew very white with rage he stood firm, 
and then Mr. Rowse joined them, and, as 
they couldn't get out, by degrees they 
worked their way to the platform, over the 
backs of the seats, and were high and dry 
and safe, and heard Phillips through. He 
was not so ornate in style as they expected, 
but a charming speaker. 

All this had such an exciting effect on 
Jane that in her sleep last night she 
walked about; went into the little room 



1 8 LETTERS OE A EAMILY 

next to ours and locked herself in ; barri- 
caded the door with baskets and chairs, 
throwing one of the latter over and break- 
ing it. She had previously closed the 
doors between our room and Mother's, so 
that Mother only heard the sounds indis- 
tinctly. Jane lay down on the little bed, 
without covering, and toward morning the 
cold waked her, to her great bewilderment. 

Some In the summer of 1 860 Robert and Mary, 
FamHy with Httlc Mary and Bertha, went to 
go to Europe, taking with them Hatty and Carry, 
and on November 20th, i860, Mary's fourth 
little girl, baby Una, was born in Rome 
at the Casa Zuccara, via Quattro Fontane. 
She was christened Una Felice, in water 
brought from the Aqua Felice fountain. 
Mother's note refers to it all, and several 
of the following letters give peaceful little 
touches of home life before the storm 
broke : 

Saturday Morning, Dec, i860. 
My dear Eliza : Your very modest 
little, ''may I Mother?" leads me to an 
immediate reply. Yes, my dear child, come 
and welcome, just as often as you possibly 
can and never feel it necessary to ask if 
you may come Jioine, for this you know is 



JUST BEFORE THE WAR 19 

only another home. I am happy to enclose 
you a foreign letter bring-ing- still further 
pleasant news. How much we have all to 
be thankful for that the travellers have so 
much enjoyment and so little interruption 
to it. Dear Mary finds, I dare say, com- 
fort enough in the little new baby to com- 
pensate in a great measure for all the 
suffering consequent upon its arrival. 

What do you think of Felice added to 
Una? Our opinions will be useless now, 
however, as before the last letters reach, 
the baptism vv^ill have been done. Did you 
see the paragraph stating that the continual 
assassinations in the streets of Rome ren- 
der it unsafe to strangers and to resi- 
dents after dark ! This is very comforting 
to anxious families who have friends there ! 
Hatty and Carry are certainly having a 
gay time at Naples. Just think of Vesu- 
vius, a hurried dinner, rush to the Crocelli 
to meet a party of naval officers, a fourteen- 
oared boat excursion, dancing, and other fes- 
tivities on board the Admiral's ship-of-war, 
supper, etc., etc., all on one day! And 
after that the return civility of an ^'g^ nogg 
party! I am very glad they are under 
the care of a clergyman and his wife ! 

Election y_ 5^ lY^ f(j ^ Friejid in Paris. 

of Presi- 
dent New York, Dec. 5, i860. 

Lincoln. Wc camc down to Centre Harbor on the 
6th of November ( the great day ) and there 



20 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

the Republican majorities came rolling in 
for Abraham Lincoln. Our host in that 
place was of a practical turn, and, having 
no artillery and having some rocks to blast 
in the garden, laid his trains and waited 
for the news; and when the stage coach 
came in from Meredith village he ' ' stood 
by to fire," and all the rocks went off at 
once and made a pretty good noise. Georgy 
and I stopped in New Haven for a visit 
and had some delicious breezy, rushing, 
sparkling little sails in the bay and in the 
sound. We took to the salt water with a 
keen relish after nearly five months of 
mountains. Miss Rose Terry was in New 
Haven. She has just published a little 
volume of poems, and is writing New Eng- 
land stories for the magazines. Think of 
our national bird being in danger of split- 
ting at last, like that odious fowl, the Aus- 
trian Eagle — a step toward realizing the 
vision of a " Bell-everett " orator in the late 
campaign, whose speech I read, and who 
saw the illustrious biped with ' ' one foot 
upon the Atlantic shore, one on the golden 
strand, and one upon the islands of the 
main!" Not that I care for secession ; let 
them go ! We are told we ' ' mustn't buy 
too many new dresses this winter," but 
still I say no matter — no compromises. 
Millions for defence, not one cent for trib- 
ute. I can live on a straw a day. ' ' So can 
/," Georgy puts in here, ''if one end of it 



JUST BEFORE THE WAR 21 

is in a sherry cobbler." But what a sight 
we must be to other peoples. Just as morn- 
ing breaks over Italy with sunshine and 
singing, this evil cloud comes up in our 
heaven. Must there be a sort of systole 
and diastole in civilization, and must one 
nation eo down in the balance as another 
goes up, till the great day that makes all 
things true? You read all this stuff in the 
papers : how the North ' ' hurls back with 
scorn the giant strides of that Upas Tree, 
the slave power!" and how the South will 
no longer be ' ' dragged at the chariot 
wheels of that mUvShroom, the Northwest!" 
The money men look blue and the dry- 
goodsy men look black. Charles Rockwell 
has just gone to Georgia, rather against 
the advice of some of his friends, for the 
R's are stout Republicans and given to 
being on their own side. Now and then an 
incident *' comes home" that doesn't get 
into the papers. Here is one that came 
under my own knowledge. A young lady, 
being rather delicate, decided three or four 
weeks ago to go to her friends in Georgia 
for the winter. For some reason they could 
not send for her, or even meet her at 
Savannah, so she set out alone. During 
the little voyage there was some talk in 
the cabin about John Brown. "But we 
must allow he was a brave man," she said ; — 
nothing more. The steamer arrived in the 



2 2 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

night, and she with some others waited on 
board till morning. Soon after daybreak, 
while she was making ready to go ashore, 
three gentlemen presented themselves to 
her ; * * understood she had expressed abo- 
lition sentiments, regretted the necessity," 
etc. — the usual stuff — ''if she would con- 
sult her safety she would leave immediately 
by the Northern train; her luggage had 
already been transferred ; they would see her 
safely to the station." She denied the 
charges, told who her relatives were 
(staunch Democrats), etc., in vain. They, 
with great politeness, put her into a car- 
riage, escorted her to the station, presented 
her with a through ticket and sent her 
home, where she arrived safely, a blazing 
Abolitionist. 

Thanksgiving day is lately past, and the 
burden of the sermons was peace, peace 
and concession. Mr. Beecher preached a 
tremendous Rights-of-Man and Laws-of-God 
sermon, and I was told that once when a 
fine apostrophe to freedom came in, and 
there were movements to hush signs of en- 
thusiasm, he paused a moment, and said 
in his peculiar manner: "Oh, it isn't 
Sunday!" and all the great audience broke 
into long applause. And why not? In the 
Church's early days they used to applaud 
and shout ' ' Pious Chrysostom ! " " Worthy 
the Priesthood!" And in the meantime: 



JUST BEFORE THE WAR 23 

Garibaldi! The word is a monument and 
a triumphal song. I should like to have 
one of the turnips from that island farm of 
Caprera. Now, when the '^ deeds are so 
few and the men so many" it is surely a 
great thing to find a noble deed to do, and 
to do it! What a scene that was, the 
meeting and the crowning at vSperanzano; 
for that was the real crowning, when Gari- 
baldi said to Victor, '' King of Italy !" We 
fairly cried — don't laugh — over that scene. 
And now he is like Coleridge's Knight: — 

" In kingly court, 
Who having won all guerdons in the sport 
Glides out of view, and whither none can find." 

While I am writing they are scream- 
ing '' President Buchanan's message" in the 
streets. I capture an extra and try to 
make ''head and tail" of it for you, with- 
out success. Our family friends are snugly 
settled in Rome, and " as quiet as in North 
Conway." Baby Bertha begins to speak, 
and her first articulate word is "Viva!" 

G. M. IV. to the Sisters in Europe. 

Philadelphia, Dec, i860. 
Dear Girls: Mother and Abby have 
just come down from Fishkill, Mother de- 
claring that she feels like a different per- 
son in consequence of her visit. We are 
none of us making a time over Christmas 
presents this year. Abby has had a little 



24 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

bureau just to fit shirts made for Mr. 
Prentiss, who was in high delight while 
they lived abroad because he had ^ drawer 
to keep his things in. No calls will be 
received at No. 8 this New Year and indeed 
I don't think there will be many made, 
people are so depressed about the times. 

The papers today report from Washington 
that <' alarming news has been received 
from Charleston. Apprehensions of im- 
mediate collision with the Federal govern- 
ment are entertained. Influential Northern 
men are doing their utmost to avert the 
calamity. The intention of the people of 
North Carolina is to seize the forts and 
arsenals and to prevent the government 
from collecting the revenues. Despatches 
have been received stating that the forts 
would be taken in less than tvventy-four 
hours. The Cabinet is in council. It has 
not transpired what course the government 
will pursue. A naval fleet will probably 
be despatched to Charleston. The amend- 
ment of the Constitution to settle the con- 
troversy between North and South forever, 
by a division of the country from ocean to 
ocean on the parallel of the Missouri line, 
is the great subject of discussion." Not- 
withstanding all this trouble, and the se- 
cession ordinance which was published on 
Saturday, ' ' the stocks of the North have 
gone up steadily for some days both before 



JUST BEFORE THE WAR 25 

and after the fulmination of the ordinance. 
Never was the strength of the business 
condition of the northern and central states 
more decisively proved than now." I hope 
you are interested in all this ; politics are 
the only things talked of among all classes 
of men and women here in this country, 
now, and foreign affairs relating to the 
"state of Europe" are comparatively of no 
importance. In fact, all interest given to 
Italy centres in the ''Casa Zuccara" and 
especially on our 'Donna and child. We 
only wish the Southerners could see how 
prosperous and happy we look, on the out- 
side at least ! * • O, yes, Doctor, " one of them 
said the other day to Dr. Hodge, "it's a 
beautiful city this of yours, but in a little 
while the grass will be growing in the 
streets." Lenox's reports from down town 
are that it is suggested that the governors 
of the states should have the troops of 
the different states in readiness for any 
emergency, since the South is busy mak- 
ing its preparations, and thus far we 
have been doing nothing. I took the news 
word for word from the paper this morn- 
ing, from the Washington correspondent, 
and you must take it for what it is worth. 
People think it worse than anything thus 
far, though Mr. Seward predicts that in 
sixty days the troubles will have past away. 
Only think how jolly ! There's an ordi- 



2 6 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

nance in Charleston forbidding the sale of 
Boston crackers and including farina. 

Several pleasant surprises came to lessen 
the depression of this Christmas. Mr. 
Martin, a young gentleman returning from 
Rome, brought to Mother a promised ring 
— *'a Mosaic of a carrier pigeon, which 
lifted up and displayed a shining curl of 
the new little baby's hair," and Abby 
writes : '' Uncle Edward - gave me some of 
Father's early water-colors, interesting to us 
— the work of a boy of fourteen, — and when 
Mother and I drove in after spending the 
day with him what do you think we found 
besides? — a box with a scarlet camel's 
hair shawl for Mother with Cousin William 
Aspinwall's best wishes." (This shawl is 
now Alice's.) 

The On December 20th, i860, South Carolina 

^oTor-^'iii convention assembled" had declared 
dinance. -j-j^g uuiou subslstlug bctwcen that state 
and other states to be "hereby repealed." 
Other southern states were rapidly follow- 
ing the insane example. 

All sorts of efforts, private and public, 
were made to compromise and patch up, 

*Our dear Uncle and guardian, Edward John Wool- 
sey, of Astoria, L. I. 



JUST BEFORE THE WAR 27 

\/ and family friends and relatives on both 
sides made last attempts to join hands. 
Abby writes Eliza, **What do yon think? 
I wrote Minthorn Woolsey a long letter 
the other day asking for information as to 
the position he holds on secession." 

\ y [When we' were all children and spend- 

''\y ing, as usual, our summer with Grand- 

father Woolsey at Casina ihere arrived one 
day a new and charmjng cousin, Benjamin • -^ 
Minthorn Woolsey, ^,from Alabama/ ; He 
belonged to the Melancthan Taylor branch 
of the family, and none of us had ever 
seen him before. A warm friendship be- 
gan and was continued until the mutterings 
of secession were heard. Abby, unwilling 
to give him up, argued and entreated in 
vain. The letter from which the follow- 
ing extracts are taken was probably her 
last to him and will give an idea of her 
clear and forcible thinking and writing. 
Many families decided at this point to meet , . 

again only as enemies.] ii C,^^^^^^jJJ^^%a. Amm /^ ^ 

\l My dear Cousin: I hasten to answer ^7 L 

your letter, for, as events march, mail facil- 
ities may sooa be interrupted between North 
and South. (When the great separation is 



28 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

a recognized fact postal treaties, along- with 
others, may be arranged. Meantime, it is 
one of the curious features of your anoma- 
lous position that you are making use of a 
"foreign government" to carry your mails 
for you, on the score of economy. Con- 
gress may cut off the Southern service and 
occasion some inconvenience and delay, 
but I am told it will save the government 
about $26,000 weekly, that being the weekly 
excess of postal expenditure over revenue 
in the six seceding states./ 

I thank you very sincerely for your letter. 
It was very kind in you to write so promptly 
and fully and in so sedate a tone. But 
what a sober, disheartening letter it was! 
We have been slow to believe that the 
conservative men of the cotton states have 
been swept into this revolution. I could 
not believe it now but for your assurance 
as regards yourself and your state. "Not 
a hundred Union men" as we understand 
it, in Alabama! We had supposed there 
were many hundreds who would stand by 
the Union, unconditionally if need be, and 
uphold the Constitution, not according to 
any party construction, but as our fathers 
framed it, as the Supreme Court expounds 
it, and as it will be Mr. Lincoln's wisest 
policy to administer it. Not a hundred 
Union men in your state ! Truly not, if 
Mr. Yancey speaks for you and Alabama 



JUST BEFORE THE WAR 29 

when he avows himself as '' utterly, unal- 
terably opposed to any and all plans of 
reconstructing a Union with the Black Re- 
publican states of the North. No new 
guarantees, no amendments of the Consti- 
tution, no repeal of obnoxious laws can 
offer any the least inducement to recon- 
struct our relations." Then compromisers 
in Congress, in convention, everyAvhere, 
may as well cease their useless efforts. 
Not a hundred Union men in Alabama! 
Who then burned Mr. Yancey himself in 
effigy? Have those delegates who refused 
to sign the secession ordinance yet done 
so? and what constituencies do they repre- 
sent? Why was it refused to refer the 
action of convention to the people ? 

Whatever the Border states may have 
suffered, and, as in the case of the John 
Brown raid, have swiftly and terribly 
avenged, you of the Gulf states can hardly 
think that your wrongs have been so in- 
tolerable as to make revolution necessary. 
True, you describe us as standing with a 
loaded pistol at your breast, but the heaviest 
charge we have ever put in is non-exten- 
sion of slavery in the territories. If slavery 
cannot stand that; if, surrounded by a 
cordon of free states, like a girdled tree it 
dies, then it cannot have that inherent force 
of truth and justice — that divine vitality 
which has been claimed for it. This is as 



30 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

favorable a time as we could have to meet 
the issue and settle it peacefully, I trust, 
forever. And here comes up the subject 
of compromises, the Crittenden measures 
particularly. How does it happen that the 
Southern demands have increased so enor- 
mously since last year? Then the Senate 
declared by a vote of 43 to 5 that it was 
not necessary to pass a law to protect 
slavery in the territories. Noiv, you ''se- 
cede" because you cannot get what Fitz- 
patrick, Clay, Benjamin, Iverson, and others 
declared you did not need. Then you asked 
the Democratic convention at Charleston to 
put a slavery code into the party platform, 
and you split your party about it. Now 
you come to the opponents who fairly out- 
voted you and your platform and ask them 
to put the same protective clause, — where? 
— into the Constitution ! We can never eat 
our principles in that way, though all fifteen 
of the states secede. The right of eminent 
domain, by which South Carolina claims 
Fort Sumter, inapplicable as it is, is a re- 
spectable demand compared with what has 
been practiced further south — the right of 
seizure. If you attack Sumter you may 
precipitate a collision. Meantime, never 
was a people calmer than ours here, in the 
face of great events. We have scarcely 
lifted a finger, while the South has been 
arming in such hot haste and hurrying out 



JUST BEFORE THE WAR 31 

of the Union, in the hope of accomplish- 
ing it all under Floyd's guilty protectorate. 
We all hope much from the new admin- 
istration. We think well of a man who 
for so long has managed to hold his 
tongue. We shall try to help him and 
hold up his hands, not as our partisan 
candidate but as the President of the 
Nation. , (If we become two confederacies 
we shall not shrink from this race with 
your Republic, which in the heart of chris- 
tian America and in the middle of the 
Nineteenth Century lays down slavery as its 
corner stone, and finds its allies in vSpain, 
Dahomey, and Mohammedan Turkey.^ 

A. H. W. to E. 

8 Brevoort Place, Feb. i, 1861. 
My dear Eliza: As Charley was away 
at Astoria Georgy sent round for young 
Herdman, and she and I went with him 
to hear Wendell Phillips' lecture. I never 
saw him before, and found it a perfect 
treat. A more finished and eloquent sketch 
I never heard, enlivened by telling anec- 
dotes, and that quiet, shrewd wit which 
distinguishes the speaker. He made the 
lecture an indirect argument of course for 
the negro race ; twice in the course of it 
mentioned John Brown's name, which was 
received with a storm of applause, and 



32 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

once, in speaking of the courage of the 
blacks, he said : ' ' Ask the fifty-two thou- 
sand of LeClerc's soldiers who died in bat- 
tle. Go stoop with your ear on their graves ! 
Go question the dust of Rochambeau and of 
the eight thousand who escaped with him 
under the English Jack ! and if the answer 
is not loud enough, come home !" and ( drop- 
ping his voice ) ' ' come by the way of quaking 
Virginia! " There was a great crowd, but 
we went early and had excellent seats, and 
were perfectly charmed. 

On Friday Rose Terry (who is at the 
Danas) and Dr. Bacon are to dine here. 
Rose wrote the ' 'Samson Agonistes" it seems, 
— the fragment about John Brown in the 
Tribune which we all liked. 



y. 5. W. to Cousin Margaret Hodge. 

Feb. 7, i86i. 

Night before last a Virginia gentleman 
said to us : '' Don't be too sanguine. Union 
does not mean in Virginia what it means 
in New York. There it means only delay — 
it means Crittenden's compromise ; it means 
secession, not today but tomorrow." The 
same gentleman said : ' ' Floyd was no 
gentleman. No Virginia gentleman would 
ask him to dinner" (the climax of earthly 
honors I suppose ) and that * * he was intox- 
icated at the Richmond dinner and not 



JUST BEFORE THE WAR t^Z 

responsible for his speech." This Virginian 
said he would ''stake his existence/' or 
something of the sort, on the honor of the 
South in paying, to the last cent, every- 
thing it owes the North. As an offset 
to this, Mr. Lockwood last night repeated 
to us the contents of three letters he had 
read yesterday, sent to acquaintances of 
his in answer to requests for payment. 
One said : ' ' I shall pay, of course, every 
farthing I owe you, in cash, but not till 
I pay it in the currency of the Souther?! 
Confederacy y Another sent a note to the 
effect : ' ' I promise to pay, etc. , five minutes 
after demand, to any Northern Abolitionist 
the same coin in which we paid John 
Brown, endorsed by thousands of true 
Southern hearts." The third said: '*I 
cannot return the goods, as you demand, 
for they are already sold, and the money 
invested in muskets to shoot you — Yan- 
kees!" Georgy was at a party last night 
at Amy Talbot's, where nothing but politics 
was talked. Uncle Edward has just popped 
in, for a minute, and says: ''All / am 
afraid of now is that Virginia and the other 
Border states ivill stay in\ and we shall 
have the curse of their slavery on our 
shoulders without the blessings of a com- 
plete union." 

Dr. Roosevelt dined with us on Satur- 
day, and I said : ' ' What do you go for, 



34 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Doctor?" *'I go for gun-powder!" he 
answered. Mrs. Eliza Reed hears from 
her brother-in-law, a clergyman in Beau- 
fort, S. C, that she *' ought to be very 
thankful that her property is safely invested 
at the South" (partly in his own hands) 
and that he is '^sorry he is not able to for- 
ward her the interest now dne,'' the fact 
being that she has not had a cent of her 
income this winter. 

One more anecdote and then my gossip 
is over. Mrs. Dulany overheard two ne- 
gresses talking on a corner in Baltimore. 
''Wait till the fourth of March," said one 
of them, "and then won't I slap my mis- 
sus' face!" 



liiaugii 
ration 



Abraham Lincoln was inaugurated Pres- 
fM,". ident of the United States on the fourth 
Lincoln. q£ March, 1 86 1. In closing his inaugural 
address he said to the Southern seceders : 
' ' In your hands my dissatisfied fellow- 
countrymen, and not in mine, is the moment- 
ous issue of Civil War. You can have no 
conflict without being yourselves the ag- 
gressors. You have no oath registered in 
Heaven to destroy the government, while 
I shall have the most solemn one to pre- 
serve, protect, and defend it." 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 
1861 



CHAPTER II. 



>>^-^ 



The The rebel batteries in the neighborhood 

^'""^ , of Charleston had been built and armed in 

on Fort ^ 

Sumter, the last three months of the imbecile admin- 

NC istration of Mr. Buchanan and his traitor- 

|-i^ous Cabinet, and on April 12th, 1861, they 

*'^x/*' opened fire upon Major Anderson, Fort 

^ Sumter, and the national flag, and easily 

forced a capitulation from troops left by 

the government without food or ammunition. 



;. A. H. W. to E. W. H, ^ ., 

--^ April 14, 1 861. 

What awful times we have fallen upon ! 
Y The "sound last night of the newsboys cry- 
ing till after midnight with hoarse voice, 
'< Bombardment of Fort Sumter," was ap- 
palling. Cousin William Aspinwall was 
seen at a late hour going into the Brevoort 
House — no doubt to give what little com- 
fort he could to Mrs. Anderson. This 
storm, which has been raging a day or two 
at the South, and has just reached us, has 



Call to 
Anns. 



38 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

scattered the fleet sent to reinforce and 
provision Fort Sumter, and the vessels can 
neither rendezvous nor co-operate with 
Major Anderson who is there without food, 
without help, and without instructions. Is 
Providence against us too? 

First April 15th, 1 86 1, President Lincoln issued 

the first call to arms, summoning the 
militia of the several states to the aggre- 
gate number of 75,000 men to serve for 
three months, and ordering the oath of 
fidelity to the United States to be admin- 
istered to every officer and man. 

At once the Governors of all the North- 
ern states called out their militia, and prep- 
arations for war began in earnest, with a 
great burst of patriotic self-devotion on the 
part of men, women, and children. Regi- 
ments almost immediately began to arrive 
in New York en route for Washington. 
Mother and all her family enlisted promptly 
for the war, and the home, 8 Brevoort 
Place, New York, became a sort of head- 
quarters for all the family friends. The 
little strong mahogany table which our uncle 
Commodore Newton had had made for 
Charley, on his flagship, the "Pensacola," 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 39 

and which Charley and the younger sisters 
had used at their play in the old Rutgers 
Place nursery, was brought down and estab- 
lished in the parlor. A bandage-roller was 
screwed to it, and for months bandage-roll- 
ing was the family fancy-work, and other 
festivities really ceased. >^ 

A, EL IV. to E. 

April 19, 1 861. 
My Dear Eliza : (Your's and Joe's note 
and the box of birthday flowers for Charley 
came yesterday morning, and the latter we 
have all had the benefit of. Charley did 
not want to give any away, so we used 
them for the dinner-table and parlor, and 
looked and smelled '^lovely" last night 
when we entertained eight young men 
callers. Charley did not have any of his 
friends to dinner or supper. On Wednes- 
day he said he should keep his birthday 
on Thursday, and on Thursday he said he 
had kept it the day before. I think he pre- 
ferred not having an}^ special celebration 
this year. Meantime, the candy pyramid 
stands untouched, consolidating gradually 
into a huge sugary drop.). The city is like 
a foreign one now; the flag floats from 
every public building and nearly every 
shop displays some patriotic emblem. Jane 



40 



LETTERS OE A FAMILY 



amused herself in shopping" yesterday, by 
saying to everyone : ' * You have no flag 
out yet! Are you getting one ready?" etc. 
Shopkeepers said in every instance : * ' No 
— well — we mean to have one ; we are 
having one prepared," etc. She met Mr. 
Charles Johnson, of Norwich, who had been 
down to see the Massachusetts contingent 
off — a splendid set of men — hardy farmers, 
sailors from Marblehead, some in mili- 
tary hats, some in fatigue caps, some few 
in slouched felts — all with the army over- 
coat. C. J. had a talk with some of them 
in their New England vernacular, which 
he described as very funny, "thought 
there might be some fightin', but by golly! 
there's one thing we want to do — a lot of 
us — just pitch into an equal number of 
South Carolinas." C. J. says a few gentle- 
men in Norwich came in to the * ' Norwich 
Bank" to his father and authorized him 
to offer Governor Buckingham $137,000 as 
a private subscription. This is beside the 
$100,000 offered by the other bank the 
" Thames." 

Yesterday Mother and I went round to 
see Mary Carey, who was out, but seeing 
policemen about the door of the Brevoort 
House, colors flying, and a general look 
of expectancy on the faces of people in 
opposite windows, we hung round and 
finally asked what was going on ? " Why 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 41 

nothing ma'am, only Major Anderson lias 
just arriv'." Sure enough, he had driven 
up rapidly, reported himself at General 
Scott's headquarters, and then driven round 
to the hotel. In five minutes the crowd 
on foot had got wind of it and came surg- 
ing up Eighth street with the Jefferson 
Guard, or something of that sort — a 
mounted regiment — who wished to give 
the Major a marching salute. Band play- 
ing, Qolors flying, men's voices cheering 
lustily, and everywdiere hats tossed up and 
handkerchiefs waving — it was an enthusi- 
astic and delightful tribute ! We clung to 
an iron railing inside an adjoining court- 
yard and, safe from the crush of the crowd, 
waved our welcome with the rest and saw 
Major Anderson come out, bow with mili- 
tary precision several times and then retire. 
He looked small, slender, old, wrinkled, 
and grey, and was subdued and solemn in 
manner. Charley Johnson was on hand, of 
course — he is up to everything — and later 
in the day pressed his way in with some 
ladies, shook hands impressively and prayed, 
*'God bless you, Sir!" ''I trust He will!" 
said Major Anderson, and expressed him- 
self honored by the interest felt in him. 
Our Charley went round in the evening, 
found Mr. Aspinwall in close conversation 
with the Major in the parlor, but not lik- 
ing to intrude, looked his fill at him 
throuo:h the crack of the door. 



42 LETTERS OE A EAMILY 

Yesterday was ''one of the days" in loth 
street — a steady stream of people all day. 
While Mother and I went out for a few calls 
and had our little adventure, as above de- 
scribed, Jane took a short constitutional. 
C. Johnson, whom she met, gave her a flag, 
and as she walked up Broadway a large om- 
nibus, with six horses, passed, gaily decked 
with flags and filled with gentlemen — some 
delegation — going to wait on Major Ander- 
son as they supposed. Jane said she could 
not help giving her flag a little twirl — not 
daring to look to the right or left — and 
instantly the whole load of men broke out 
into vociferous cheers. They tell us that 
quantities of Union cockades were worn in 
the streets yesterday, and I should not be 
surprised if they should become universally 
popular. Just at dusk Will Winthrop came 
in to say good bye. To our immense sur- 
prise, he said he and Theodore joined the 
Seventh Regiment a week ago — he as a 
private in the ranks and Theodore in the 
artillery in charge of a howitzer — and they 
were all to leave this afternoon for Wash- 
ington. It seemed to bring, war nearer 
home to us. Mother was quite concerned, 
but I cannot but feel that the Seventh 
Regiment is only wanted there for the 
moral influence. It will act as guard of 
honor to the Capitol and come home in a 
fortnight. However, the demand for troops 
in Washington is very urgent. They are 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 43 

telegraphing here for all the regular officers. 
Even Colonel Ripley, the Dennys' cousin, 
who arrived on government business yester- 
day on his way to Springfield, was over- 
taken by a telegram as he took his seat in 
the New Haven train and ordered back by 
night train to Washington. Other men 
received similar despatches, and the idea is 
that Washington may be attacked at once 
now that Virginia has gone out, and the 
fear is that if done this week it may be 
taken. Troops are hurrying on. The Rhode 
Island contingent passed down at nine this 
morning, the Seventh goes at three — that 
will be a grand scene ! We shall be some- 
where on Broadway to see them pass. 
Georgy has been busy all the morning cut- 
ting up beef sandwiches and tying them 
up in white papers as rations. Each man 
tonight must take his supply with him for 
twenty-four hours, and Theodore Winthrop, 
who was in last night, suggested that we 
should put up * * something for him and 
Billy in a newspaper." The vSeventh is 
likely to have more than it needs in that 
way ; it is being greatly pampered ; but it 
all helps to swell the ardor of those who 
stay behind I suppose. The more troops 
who can be sent off to Washington the less 
chance for fighting. The immensity of our 
preparations may over- awe the South. Last 
night we had rather jolly times, joking and 



44 



LETTERS OE A EASILY 



York. 



telling war anecdotes, and worked ourselves 
up into a very merry cheerful spirit. It is 
well that we can sometimes seize on the 
comic points of the affair or we should be 
overwhelmed by the dreadful probabilities. 

March- y. S, IV. to Couslji Margaret Hodge. 

in? of K --i r-,^ 

the 7th . AP"^' lS6l. 

New My dear Cousin Margaret: I fancy that 

you may like to know how we have gone 
through the dreadful tumoil and excitement 
of the last few days, and so I send you an 
incoherent line tonight, though my wits are 
scarcely under command of my fingers^ 

The three o^reat local incidents this week 
have been the arrival of Major Anderson, 
the leaving of the Seventh Regiment, and 
the great mass-meeting today in Union 
Square, or rather whose centre was Union 
Square, for the huge sea of men over- 
flowed the quadrangle of streets where the 
speakers' stands were, and surged down 
Broadway, up Broadway, through Four- 
teenth street and along Fourth avenue far 
beyond the Everett House. We were in a 
balcony at the corner of Union Square and 
Broadway and saw the concourse, though 
we could not distinguish the words of any 
speaker. We could only tell when the 
''points" were made by the thousands of 
hats lifted and swung in the air and by the 
roar of the cheering. Every house fronting 



FIJ^ST YEAR OF THE WAR 



45 



the square, and up and down the side 
streets, was decorated with flags and fes- 
toons, and the Sumter flag, on its splintered 
staff, hung over the stand where the gentle- 
men of the Sumter command were. The 
Puritan Church had a great banner afloat 
on its tower. Trinity set the example to 
the churches yesterday, when a magnificent 
flag was raised on its tall spire with a 
salvo of artillery. The sight was a grand 
one today, and in some of its features 
peculiar. As the tide rolled up under our 
balcony we could see scarcel}^ a man who 
was not earnest-looking, grave, and re- 
solved, and all seemed of the best classes, 
from well-dressed gentlemen down to hard- 
working, hard-fisted draymen and hod- 
carriers, but no lower. There was not a 
single intoxicated man as far as we could 
see, or a single one trying to make any 
disturbance or dissent. You will see by 
the reports of the meeting who were the 
officers, speakers, etc., and judge how all 
colors of opinion were represented and were 
unanimous. New York, at any rate, is all 
on one side now — all ready to forget lesser 
differences, like the household into which 
grief has entered. Almost every individual, 
man, woman and child, carried the sacred 
colors in some shape or other, and the 
ladies at the windows had knots of ribbon, 
tri-colored bouquets, and flags without num- 



46 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

ber. There was not a policemen to be seen 
from our outlook, though no doubt there 
were some about the square, but the crowd 
kept itself in order and perfect good nature, 
and whenever the flag appeared at the head 
of any procession or deputation it fell back 
instantly and respectfully to let it pass 
through. The resolutions, Committee for 
Patriotic Fund, etc., you will see in the 
papers. 

I have given the first place to the meet- 
ing because it was the most recent, but 
yesterday was a more exciting and saddening 
day than this. Beside Meredith Rowland, 
Captain Schuyler Hamilton, Rowland Rob- 
bins and other friends and acquaintances in 
the ''Seventh," our two cousins Theodore 
and William Winthrop went. All these 
are privates except Merry, who is on the 
staff — Paymaster. The Winthrops came 
in their accoutrements at one o'clock to get 
their twenty-four hours' rations ( sandwiches 
which Georgy had been making all the morn- 
ing), and we filled their cases and liquor 
flasks, with great satisfaction that we were 
able to do even such a little thiuQ^ for 
them. We gave them a hearty **feed," 
helped them stow their things with some 
economy of space, buckled their knapsack 
straps for them, and sent them off with as 
cheerful faces as we could command. They 
were in excellent spirits, on the surface at 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 47 

any rate, and promised to come back again 
in glory in a little while. We in our turn 
promised to go down to them if they needed 
us. Poor fellows! It was heart-sickening 
to think of any such necessity. Then we 
went down to a balcony near Prince street, 
in Broadway, and saw them off. The whole 
street was densely croAvded, as today, and 
the shops and houses decorated — only there 
were three miles of flags and people. After 
long waiting we began to see in the dis- 
tance the glimmer of the bayonets. Then 
the immense throng divided and pressed 
back upon the sidewalks, and the regiment 
came, — first the Captain of Police with 
one aid, then the Artillery corps, then 
company after company, in solid march, 
with fixed faces, many of them so familiar, 
so pleasant, and now almost sacred. The 
greeting of the people was a thing to see ! 
The cheers were almost like a cannonade. 
People were leaning forward, shouting, wav- 
ing handkerchiefs, crying, praying aloud, 
and one block took up the voice from the 
other and continued the long, long cry of 
sympathy and blessing through the entire 
route. Some friends of the soldiers who 
marched all the way with them to the 
Jersey cars, said the voice never ceased, 
never diminished, till they reached the end 
of that first triumphal stage of their jour- 
ney. It was a triumph though a farewell. 



48 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

At Ball and Black's Major Anderson was 
in the balcony with Cousin John's and 
Cousin William Aspinwall's families, and 
each company halted and cheered him as 
it passed. Except for this, they looked 
neither right nor left, but marched as if at 
that moment they were marching into the 
thick of battle. They were not long in 
passing, and the crowd closed in upon them 
like a parted sea. We watched the bayo- 
nets as far and long as we could see them, 
and the last we saw was a late warm beam 
of sunshine touching the colors as they 
disappeared. 

Great anxiety is felt tonight about their 
arrival in Washington and what they may 
meet there. Many gentlemen here think 
the forces in the District quite inadequate 
and blame anybody and everybody for not 
hurrying on more troops. A gentleman 
was here late this afternoon looking for 
Cousin William Aspinwall. They Vv^ere 
hunting him up everywhere where there 
was any chance of his being found, to 
make instant arrangements for steam ves- 
sels to take reinforcements tomorrow. vSev- 
eral regiments are ready, only waiting 
orders and means of transit. Uncle Edward 
came to the meeting today — very grave 
indeed — and I don't doubt very efficient 
and open-handed, as usual, in anything that 
needed his help. He has ordered a great 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 49 

flag for the "■ barrack." Joe has set one fly- 
ing from his house-top. He (J. H. ) has 
joined a cavalry company in Fishkill who are 
drilling for a Home Guard or a *' reserve." 
Charley has joined a similar company 
(foot) in town. He is uneasy and wants 
to ''do something." Uncle Edward says: 
''Stay at home, my boy, till you're wanted, 
and if the worst comes to the worst 
I'll shoulder a musket myself!" 

Major Anderson was the hero of Cousin 
Anna's party last night. Only Charley rep- 
resented us; we didn't feel "up to it." 
C. said it was a very handsome party, as 
usual with their entertainments, and that 
a portrait of Major Anderson was hung in 
the picture gallery, wreathed with laurel, and 
all the "Baltic's " flags decorated the hall and 
supper room. Thirty of the expected guests 
had marched at four o'clock with the 
Seventh. Major Anderson is very grave, 
almost sad, in expression and manner, 
as a man may well be who has been 
through such scenes and looks with a wise 
eye into such a future; but if anything 
could cheer a man's soul it would be such 
enthusiasm and almost love as are lav- 
ished on him here. He says "they had not 
had a biscuit to divide among them for 
nearly two days, and were almost suffo- 
cated." They say he talks very little about 
it all ; only gives facts in a few modest 



50 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



words. He is ''overwhelmed" with the 
sight of the enthusiasm and unanimity of 
the North ; ' ' the South has no idea of it 
at all." He says that he "felt very much 
ag-grieved at being attacked at such disad- 
vantage;" that ''for four weeks he only 
received one message from government, and 
was almost broken down with suspense, 
anxiety, and ignorance of what was re- 
quired of him." He went to all the stands 
today at the mass-meeting, and was received 
with a fury of enthusiasm everywhere. 
Yesterday he was obliged to leave the bal- 
cony at Ball and Black's, the excitement and 
applause were so overpowering ; and he goes 
about with tears in his eyes all the time. 
Mrs. Gardiner Howland is very anxious and 
sad about Merry in the Seventh. She says 
she is " no Spartan mother." Mary G. G. 
has sent to Kate Howland withdrawing her 
invitations for her bridesmaids' dinner on 
Tuesday. She is not in spirits to give it.- 
Two regiments start tonight instead of to- 
morrow to go by rail to Philadelphia and 
thence by steamboats, outside. There are 
the gravest fears that they may be too late. 
... I have been writing while the others 
have gone to the Philharmonic concert. 
They have come back and had a splendid 
scene at the close — singing of the Star- 

■^Kate Howland was married April 2, 1861, to Richard 
Morris Hunt. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 51 

Spangled Banner, solo, and chorus by the 
Lierderkranz and the whole huge audience, 
standing, to the hundred stringed and wind 
instruments of the orchestra, while a great 
silken banner was slowly unrolled from the 
ceiling to the floor. Then followed rounds 
of vociferous applause, and three times 
three for everything good, especially for 
Major Anderson, and. the Seventh. 

The Massachusetts contingent passed 
through on Thursday, and then we got the 
news of the cowardly assault in Baltimore.'-'" 
The poor fellows tasted war very soon. 
Tonight the city is full of drum-beating, 
noise and shouting, and they are crying 
horrible extras, full of malicious falsehoods 
(^ive hope). G. G., we hear, is going from 
home to his Mother's and back again, all 
the evening, contradicting them. There 
should be authentic news by this time of 
the progress of the Seventh, but people 
will not believe these horrible rumors, and 
refuse to believe anything. 

There is the most extraordinary mixture 
of feeling with everyone — so much resist- 
less enthusiasm and yet so much sadness 
for the very cause that brings it out. It 

*The Sixth Massachusetts, crossing Baltimore to the 
Washington depot, were set upon by a furious mob of 
roughs and pelted with stones and brickbats. Two 
soldiers were killed and eight wounded, and the troops 
forming in solid square with fixed bayonets at last 
forced their way through the crowds. 



52 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

seems certainly like a miracle, this fresh 
and universal inspiration of patriotism sur- 
mounting the sorrow, like a fire kindled by- 
God's own hand from his own altar — and 
this alone ought to inspire us with hope of 
the future. 

Flag The following letter from our special cous- 

a^tlon'to'i^' Sarah Chauncey Woolsey, to G. M. W. 
the describes the making of the Connecticut 
Conn.' flags and their presentation, and the fare- 
well to the Second Connecticut Volunteers 
on the New Haven Green. Dr. Bacon (now 
''Uncle Frank") marched with them as 
Assistant Surgeon : 

Our beautiful flags are nearly done and 
are to be presented to the vSecond Regiment 
before they leave. The regimental banner 
is worked with the arms of the state, which 
are far more beautiful than those of any 
other state, with a heavy wreath of palm 
worked m gold-colored silk around the 
shield and mounted on a staff headed with 
a battle-axe and spear plated with gold. 
Won't it be beautiful? The other flag is 
the Union flag and just as handsome in its 
way. F. B. was here last night with 
stripes on his trousers, but wisely with- 
holding the full splendors of his ' * miling- 
tary" attire until we become gradually 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 53 

accustomed to it. He looked very hand- 
some and is as coolly delighted at the 
chance of a little fig-hting as anyone I have 
seen. We are both highly entertained just 
now by the pertinacity with which our 
friends here persist in engaging us to each 
other. I was telling him last night of a 
lady who called the other day and would 
not listen to any denials, on my part, 

asseverating that Miss assured her 

that she knew it to be a fact; whereon 
Frank, putting himself in an attitude, in- 
formed me that ' ' being on the eve of battle 
and about risking his life in his country's 
defence, he could Jiot feel that it was his 
duty to engage the affections of any young 
and lovely female and withdraw her from 
the bosom of her own family," v/hereon I 
begged him not to apologize, and explained 
that *' being on the point of joining the 
Nightingale Regiment and putting myself 
in the way of catching a fever, / could 
not feel justified in allowing my naturally 
susceptible feelings to run away with me," 
etc. I don't know why I tell you all this 
stuff — only it makes you laugh a little. . . . 
Later. — Dora and I went up at four 
o'clock to see our flags given to the Second 
Regiment, on their way to the '' Cahawba," 
which waited to carry them off, no one 
knows where, under sealed orders, — but 
probably to Washington or Fortress Monroe. 



54 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

The colors were presented on the Green 
at the foot of the liberty pole, where the 
Home Guard formed a hollow square en- 
closing all the ladies who had worked 
on or were interested in the flags, and when 
the regiment raarched up they took their 
places inside the square, which widened 
and kept off the crowd outside. Two pretty 
girls held the flags, assisted by two gen- 
tlemen. Mr. Foster made a short and 
spirited address to the regiment, and their 
Colonel replied in a few brave words, and 
then Dr. Leonard Bacon read the twentieth 
Psalm, ''in the name of our God we will 
set up our banners," etc., and made a beau- 
tiful prayer, and amid the shouts and cheers 
of the crowd, the frantic waving of hand- 
kerchiefs and flags and the quiet weeping 
of some who vv^ere sending off their dearest 
ones to all the chances of war, the glitter- 
ing waving splendors were lifted aloft and 
the regiment swept on — carrying in its 
ranks Frank, who found time in the midst 
of the confusion to ride his horse round to 
the place where we stood, and hold my 
hand tenderly for two or three minutes 
while he whispered some good-bye words, 
especially his ''farewells to Miss Georgy," 
greatly to the satisfaction of some old ladies 
near, who, fondly fancying that I am en- 
gaged to him, probably wondered at my 
comparative composure. Yes ! the good-byes 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 55 

are hard enough even if it is for the 
country, and I have had a heartache all 
day at the thought that I shall see the 
dear fellow no more for so long a time, 
and of how much we shall all miss him. 
He looked tired, with these last days of 
hurry. We stood two hours nearly, on 
the Green. We heard all about the do- 
ings in Norwich from Captain Chester 
and Lieutenant Coit of the '' Buckingham 
PJfies." They are both pleasant young 
fellows, and we made their acquaintance 
while sewing green stripes on the trousers 
of the company and brass buttons on their 
coats — the very garments which were made 
on Sunday by the Norwich ladies. It was 
funny work, as the men all had to be sent 
to bed before we could be put in possession 
of their apparel, and the officers being in 
the same quandary all were comfortably 
tucked up in their quarters and their 
trousers under way when sixteen Norwich 
gentlemen called to see them, and had to 
be received by them ''lying in state!" 

About this time the national flag was 
printed in colors on note paper, and on 
slips for use in books and wherever it 
could be displayed on anything, and this 
next letter of Jane's bears it, as a matter 
of course, on the first page. 



56 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

J, 5. VV. to the Sisters Abroad. 

Seventh Regiment safe and jolly. No 
fighting yet, — April 29th, 1861. 

Eliza has been making a flag for their 
church. It was her part to cut out and 
sew on the stars. She sent for a large 
number of very small testaments, for knap- 
sacks, for the Fishkill Regiment, and we 
have found some sheets of flags on paper, 
like stamps, to paste in them, each with 
an appropriate verse — ' ' Fight the good 
fight ; " ' ' Endure hardness as a good soldier 
of Jesus Christ," etc. 

On Thursday evening Charley had a few 
friends to supper — a substitute for the birth- 
day party — and we decorated the table 
with flags, bunting, red, white and blue 
mottoes, etc. They seemed to have a gay 
time and sang many songs to a squealing 
accompaniment from Pico. It is by no 
means unlikely that a Home Guard will 
be needed with all the militia ordered away 
and seditious people biding their time in 
town. Mansfield Davies is with his regiment 
at Fort Schuyler, drilling. They go south 
next week. George Betts goes today as Lieu- 
tenant-Colonel Second Zouaves. The great 
barracks in the park are nearly finished — 
meant as a mere shelter for troops in transit 
and there is a camp in the Battery — of- 
ficers' marquee and a whole fleet of tents. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



57 



We hear from Norwich that last Sunday 
was spent by Dr. Bond's congregation in 
making red flannel shirts for the regiment 
who were to leave next day. Mr. Davies 
asks us for bandages, etc., for their sur- 
geon, which we shall supply with great 
readiness. Mother has made a great deal 
of beautiful lint. There is an organization 
of medical men to train nurses for the 
camp ; lectures are to be given and bands 
of ten ladies are to walk some wards in 
the hospitals, as a preparation. Georgy 
has been to some of the lectures with Mrs. 
Trotter, and would like to go as a nurse, 
but would no doubt be rejected, as none 
but ''able-bodied and experienced" women 
are to be taken. While I write a company 
goes down Broadway with the eternal 
Reveille. We had a grand patriotic ser- 
mon last Sunday from Dr. Prentiss, and 
now we have only patriotic prayers and 
psalms, with the petition for the President 
borrowed bodily from the Prayer Book. 
This morning I got, to my surprise and 
pleasure, an official document containing a 
letter from Will Winthrop of the Seventh, 
written, no doubt, in acknowledgment of 
the little kindnesses we were able to show 
him on leaving. I quote, as it's far too 
bulky to send: "Washington, April 26. 
Dear Cousin : Here we are in ' ' marble 
halls " the adored of everybody, the heroes 



58 LETTERS OE A FAMILY 

of the hour. Members of Congress frank 
our letters ; hotel men fetch the sparkling 
wines; citizens cheer us with tears and 
rapture. Wherever we appear vivas greet 
us — now the triple cheer, now the ' ' bully 
for you I " This p. m. we paraded in the 
Capitol grounds, and forming in a grand 
square took the oath of allegiance, all to- 
gether, repeating it sentence by sentence 
after the migistrate. Green grass was soft 
under foot, trees in spring attire exhaled 
fragrance, the marble halls gleamed on 
every side. Every man was clean and 
beautiful of moustache, pipe-clayed as to 
belts of snowy whiteness, well-dinnered 
internally. Brass plates and bayonets glis- 
tened in the sun. The band played the 
national hymns and the Valence polka. 
Abe and wife walked happy and beaming 
along the line. All was brilliant and im- 
posing. Night before the last we were 
staggering along the line of railroad from 
Annapolis, wearied to exhaustion, stiff with 
cold and swamp damps, almost starved, with 
nothing but a little salt pork or jerked beef 
in our haversacks and no water in our 
canteens, feet sore with tramping — wretched 
beyond expression ; yet all the time forced 
to build bridges destroyed by the enemy, 
and relay railroad track, torn up (rails and 
sleepers ) ; also to push along before us 
heavy platform-cars carrying our howitzers ; 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 59 

also to scout in the van and watch on all 
sides for the enemy who might be am- 
bushed anywhere. This we had done dur- 
ing the day, now under a hot sun, now 
rained on hy heavy showers ; but at night 
in the dark and fog and cold it was cruelly 
severe, and to all of us the most terribly 
wearisome experience of our lives. When- 
ever we halted to hunt missing rails and 
lay track, our men who were not thus em- 
ployed would sink down and instantly fall 
asleep, and often could not be roused with- 
out violent shaking. Many a time during 
the night did I thank ( i ) the cherub that 
sits up aloft for having put me in the way 
of roughing it in Minnesota ; ( 2 ) the 
blessed women whose brandy helped to 
give heart to many a miserable beside 
myself. On the day before this forced 
march we were in clover in Annapolis do- 
ing parade drill on the Academy ground, 
sniffing the sea breeze and the fruit blos- 
soms, swelping down oysters on the demi- 
shell. On the day before this, we were 
packed in the transport, either stifled in the 
steerage in odors of uncleanness and water 
drips, or broiling on the deck, each man 
with a square foot or two to move in, and 
all subsisting on the hardest of tack. The 
day before, we woke at dawn in Philadel- 
phia and foraged for provisions around the 
railroad station, bearing off loaves on our 



6o LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

bayonets, entertained by Quakers with eggs 
and cakes, lingering all day at the station, 
utterly in doubt about the future — ending 
with a hot fatiguing walk across the city 
to take the transport. The day before, the 
triumphal march down Broadway! Such 
are the vicissitudes of a week, the most 
eventful and strange in the lives of all of 
us — a week of cheers, tears, doubt, peril, 
starvation, exhaustion, great dinners, woe, 
exultation, passion. And the sweetest thing 
of all has been the brotherhood and fraterni- 
zation. We share in common, give, relieve 
and love each other. . . . We were dis- 
appointed that we could not have a 
chance at Baltimore; also that we had no 
brush with the enemy in Maryland. We 
only saw them scampering over the. distant 
hills. They could tear up the track, but 
were too craven to meet us. There were 
but few troops here in Washington ; every- 
body was in doubt and dread, and when 
we marched up toward the White House 
with colors flying, full band playing and 
perfect lines, the people rushed out in tears 
and shouting welcome. Our importance is, 
of course, over-estimated, but 7noi I feel 
that I never before was so useful a member 
of the Republic. 

We are quartered in the stunning Repre- 
sentatives Hall and march down three times 
a day to our browsings at the hotel. This 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 6i 

is luxury, but pretty soon we go into camp 
on Georgetown heights. Regiments arrive 
all the while and the city is awake and 
brilliant — guards and watchings every- 
where. Washington is not in immediate 
danger, but all are ready to resist an at- 
tack at any moment." All very graphic 
and interesting. Now we shall be eager 
to know how you take all this stupendous 
news, and whether it affects in any way 
your plans. Perhaps you will think best 
to spend the summer abroad — Isle of Wight, 
or something. For many reasons we should 
be quite satisfied to have you. Perhaps 
on the other hand you will be for rushing 
home; — natural but after all, useless. One 
thing, look out for Jeff. Davis' privateers, 
and don't come in any ship that hasn't 
arms of some sort on board. This sounds 
ridiculous, so did the siege of the Capitol, 
ten days ago; so did the prophecy that 
New York would be nothing but a barrack 
full of marching regiments. 

Uncle E. has a turn of gout. Abby is 
going out to spend the day there. Some 
day soon Mr. Aspinwall is going to drive 
Major Anderson out, for Aunt E.'s grati- 
fication. I shall keep my letter open for 
tomorrow's news. Nothing immediate is 
expected, but a collision must come soon. 
We shall send every day's papers and you 
must look out for them. Tuesday. — The 



62 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

news this morning is the final departure 
of Virginia and the call for more troops 
by the President. We can send as many 
as are wanted and more. 

The On April 25th, 1861, the first steps were 

cot-*"^ taken by fifty or sixty New York women 
mission, towards organizing systematic work for the 
sick and wounded. 

From this '* Woman's Central Association 
of Relief," together with Boards of Physi- 
cians and Surgeons proposing to furnish 
hospital supplies in aid of the army, came 
the first suggestion to the Department of 
War at Washington that a ''mixed com- 
mission of civilians, medical men and mili- 
tary officers" be appointed, charged with 
the duty of organizing and directing the 
benevolence of the people towards the 
army. 

As the result of this petition the great 
United States Sanitary Commission, was, on 
the 13th of June, 1861, duly appointed by 
Simon Cameron Secretary of War, with the 
signature and approval of President Lincoln. 
While retaining its independence, the 
Woman's Central Association became at its 
own instance an auxiliary branch of the 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 63 

commission, and other branches sprang up 
all over the northern states. 

The headquarters of the commission were 
in Washington, where also was stationed 
Mr. Frederick Law Olmsted, its life and 
soul. With its work we, as a family, were 
associated from the beginning. 

Eliza and Joe were just taking possession 
of their beautiful new home, "Tioronda," U- 
at Fishkill, and all the little details of 
E.'s home letters have a pathos of their own 
in view of the speedy closing of the house 
and the sudden change from peaceful love- 
liness to the grimness of civil war. Mean- 
time, E. was busy, as all of us began to 
be, in work for the disabled soldiers. 

E. W. H. to A. H. W. 

"TioRONDA," Wednesday Evening. 
Dear Abby : I was just going to write 
you a note this p. m. when the Kents 
came in for a long call and stayed on for 
an early tea. We sat in the library where 
the books are now all arranged and the 
cushion we ordered at Soloman and Hart's 
in its place in the bay-window. To be sure 
there is no carpet down, and we have no 
tables or chairs, but it already has a very 



64 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

habitable look, and we feel quite at home 
in presence of our old book -friends. They 
make a very good show, though there are 
still a number of empty upper shelves which 
will fill up by degrees. James Kent had 
been in town for a couple of days and had 
a good deal to say about military matters. 
While Joe was in town I did a good deal 
of cutting out and have three dozen army 
pillow-cases and six double-gowns under 
way. Tomorrow I shall attack the drawers 
and night-shirts, for which I borrowed a 
good simple pattern of Mrs. Kent. I smile 
when I think of the sang-froid with which 
you and I discussed the cut of drawers and 
shirts with that pleasant young doctor the 
other day. I see that Georgy is excluded 
from the corps of nurses by being under 
thirtv . 



A. H, W. to E. 

Friday. 

Dear Eliza : We got off our first trunk 
of Hospital supplies for Colonel Mansfield 
Davies' Regiment yesterday and feel today 
as if we were quite at leisure. You have 
no idea of the number of last things there 
were to do, or the different directions we 
had to go in, to do them. Mr. Davies 
came in at breakfast yesterday, in his reg- 
imentals, quite opportunely, to tell us what 
to do with the trunk. It went down to 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 65 

his headquarters at 564 Broadway and thence 
by steamer to Fort vSchuyler for the sick 
soldiers there. Charley and Ned drove out 
there yesterday afternoon from Astoria to 
see the drill, and saw the box safely landed 
within the walls. It was the old black ark 
which you. and G. had in Beyrout, Syria, 
marked with a capital H, which now 
answers for Hospital. There were in it as 
follows — for you may be curious to know : — 

42 shirts, 

12 drawers, 
6 calico gowns, 

24 pairs woolen socks, 

24 pairs slippers, 

24 pocket handkerchiefs, 

18 pillow sacks, 

36 pillow-cases, 

18 damask napkins, 

36 towels, 

24 sponges, 
4 boxes of lint, 
beside old linen, oiled silk, tape, thread, 
pins, scissors, wax, books ( Hedley Vicars 
and the like), ribbon, cloth, etc., and fifty 
bandages. 

This morning Mother has been putting 
up a tin box of stores for Mr. Davies — 
sardines, potted meats, arrow root, choco- 
late, guava and the like, with a box of 
cologne, a jar of prunes and a morocco case 
with knife, fork and spoon, fine steel and 
double plated, ^'just out" for army use. 



66 LETTERS OE A EAMILY 

Lots more. The box, a square cracker box, 
holds as much in its way as the trunk. I 
am glad you are in the library at last. You 
will grow accustomed to it and find it 
pleasanter even than the dining-room. 

,y. 5. W. to a Friend in Paris. 
/ 8 Brevoort Place, Friday, May lo, i86i. 

V/ I am sure you will like to hear what 
we are all about in these times of terrible 
excitement, though it seems almost imperti- 
nent to write just now. Everything is 
either too big or too little to put in a letter. 
Then one can't help remembering some- 
times that you are that august being, a 
'< Tribune's Own," and as unapproachable 
on your professional pinnacle as the orna- 
ment of the Calendar whom Georgy ivill 
persist in calling Saint Simeon Stalactites. 
But the dampest damper to enthusiastic 
correspondents on this side is the reflection 
that what they write as radiant truth today 
may be ** unaccountably turned into a lie" 
by the time it crosses the ''big water." 
So it will be best perhaps not to try to 
give you any of my own ''views" except, 
indeed, such views of war as one may get 
out of a parlor window. Not, in pavSsing, 
that I haven't any! We all have views 
now, men, women and little boys, 

"Children with drums 
Strapped round them by the fond paternal ass. 
Peripatetics with a blade of grass 

Betwixt their thumbs," — 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 67 

from the modestly patriotic citizen who 
wears a postage stamp on his hat to the 
woman who walks in Broadway in that 
fearful object of contemplation, a "Union 
bonnet," composed of alternate layers of 
red, white and blue, with streaming rib- 
bons '* of the first." We all have our views 
of the war question and our plans of the 
coming campaign. An acquaintance the 
other day took her little child on some chari- 
table errand through a dingy alley into a 
dirty, noisy, squalid tenement house. 
'< Mamma," said he, <' isn't this South Car- 
olina? " 

Inside the parlor windows the atmos- 
phere has been very fluffy, since Sumter, 
with lint-making and the tearing of endless 
lengths of flannel and cotton bandages and 
cutting out of innumerable garments. How 
long it is since Sumter ! I suppose it is be- 
cause so much intense emotion has been 
crowded into the last two or three weeks, that 
the ''time before Sumter" seems to belong- 
to some dim antiquity. It seems as if we 
never were alive till now ; never had a country 
till now. How could we ever have laughed 
at Fourth-of- Julys? Outside the parlor win- 
dows the city is gay and brilliant with ex- 
cited crowds, the incessant movement and 
music of marching regiments and all the 
thousands of flags, big and little, which 
suddenly came fluttering out of every win- 
dow and door and leaped from every church 



6S LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

tower, house-top, staff and ship-mast. It 
seemed as if everyone had in mind to 
try and make some amends to it for those 
late grievous and bitter insults. You have 
heard how the enthusiasm has been deep- 
ening and widening from that time. 

A friend asked an Ohio man the other 
day how the West was taking it. ' * The 
West?" he said, ''the West is all one 
great Eagle-scream!" A New England 
man told us that at Concord the bells were 
rung and the President's call read aloud 
on the village common. On the day but one 
after that reading, the Concord Regiment 
was marching into Fanueil Hall. Somebody 
in Washington asked a Massachusetts sol- 
dier : ' ' How many more men of your state 
are coming? " "All of us," was the answer. 
One of the wounded Lowell men crawled 
into a machine shop in Baltimore. An 
'' anti- Gorilla^" citizen, seeing how young 
he was, asked, "What brought you here 
fighting, so far away from your home, my 
poor boy?" " It was the stars and stripes," 
the dying voice said. Hundreds of such 
stories are told. Everybody knows one. 
You read many of them in the papers. 
In our own little circle of friends one 
mother has sent away an idolized son; 
another, two; another, four. One boy, just 
getting over diphtheria, jumps out of bed 

*That was the newspaper's way of spelling " Guerilla." 



FTRST YEAR OF THE WAR 69 

and buckles his knapsack on. One throws 
up his passage to Europe and takes up his 
''enfield." One sweet young wife is pack- 
ing a regulation valise for her husband 
today, and doesn't let him see her cry. 
Another young wife is looking fearfully 
for news from Harper's Ferry, where her 
husband is ordered. He told me a month 
ago, before Sziinter, that no Northman 
could be found to fight against the South. 
One or two of our soldier friends are sur- 
geons or officers, but most of them are in 
the ranks, and think no work too hard or 
too mean, so it is for The Flag. Captain 
Schuyler Hamilton was an aid of General 
Scott's in Mexico, and saw service there, 
but he shouldered his musket and marched 
as a private with the Seventh. They wanted 
an officer when he got down there, and 
took him out of the ranks, but it was all 
the same to him; and so on, indefinitely. 
The color is all taken out of the ' ' Italian 
Question." Garibaldi indeed ! "Deliverer 
of Italy!" Every mother's son of us is a 
"Deliverer." We women regretfully "sit 
at home at ease " and only appease ourselves 
by doing the little we can with sew- 
ing machines and patent bandage-rollers. 
Georgy, Miss Sarah Woolsey and half a 
dozen other friends earnestly wish to join 
the Nurse Corps, but are under the required 
age. The rules are stringent, no doubt 



70 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



wisely so, and society just now presents 
the unprecedented spectacle of many women 
trying to make it believed that they are 
over thirty! 

The Vermont boys passed through this 
morning, with the ''strength of the hills " 
in their marching and the green sprigs in 
their button-holes. The other day I saw 
some companies they told me were from 
Maine. They looked like it — sun -browned 
swingers of great axes, horn-handed 
''breakers of the glebe," used to wintering 
in the woods and getting frost-bitten and 
having their feet chopped off and convey- 
ing huge fleets of logs down spring-tide 
rivers in the snow and in the floods. — The 
sound of the drum is never out of our ears. 

Never fancy that we are fearful or 
gloomy. We think we feel thoroughly that 
war is dreadful, especially war with the 
excitement off and the chill on, but there 
are so many worse things than gun-shot 
wounds ! And among the worst is a hate- 
ful and hollow peace with such a crew as 
the " Montgomery mutineers." There was 
a dark time just after the Baltimore mur-. 
ders, when communication with Washing- 
ton was cut off and the people in power 
seemed to be doing nothing to re-establish 
it. It cleared up, however, in a few days, 
and now we don't feel that the "social 
fabric " — I believe that is what it is called — 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



71 



J. H 

joins 
the 



is ' 'falling- to pieces" at all, but that it is 
getting- gloriously mended. So, ''Repub- 
licanism will wash" — is washed already in 
the water and the fire of this fresh bap- 
tism, "clothed in white samite, mystic, 
wonderful," and has a new name, which is 
Patriotism. 

From the first moment of the firing on 
Fort Sumter J. H. had felt that "solemn 
Army, aud compelHug Impulsc " that forced men, 
almost in spite of themselves, into the ser- 
vice of the government. Making his deci- 
vsion quietly, seriously, he gave up the new 
home and all that it meant, and early in 
May, 1 86 1, joined the Sixteenth New York 
Volunteers — a fine regiment from the 
northern counties of the state, then forming 
at Albany under the command of Colonel 
Thomas A. Davies, — into which he was 
mustered as Lieutenant and Adjutant. 

E. W. H. to Mother. 

May II, 1861. 
Dear Mother : Joe had a note from his 
Colonel last night requesting him to report 
himself at headquarters, 6j% Broadway, on 
Wednesday of this week. This may be 
merely to take the oath, receive his com- 
mission, etc., but he will arrange matters 



72 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

to stay if required. He is now under orders 
and not his own master. It is generally 
known now that he is going, and hearty 
blessings and congratulations pour in upon 
him. He wrote to Uncle Edward and his 
sisters last night, and was busy till a very 
late hour settling business matters and ex- 
plaining things to me. He goes off with 
rather a sad heart, but he feels that he is 
doing right, and I can give him nothing 
but encouragement. Our friends here have 
been most kind in their sympathy and in 
offers of service to me; and, as for me, 
if I can have all or any of you here I shall 
be very courageous. Don't forget our big 
house in making your summer plans. I 
would rejoice in having you with me. 

Uncle Edward to J. 11. 

May 13, 1861. 

My dear Joe: My eyes are so weak 
that I must use your Cousin Emily's pen 
to express the surprise caused by the an- 
nouncement in your letter that your sense 
of duty had obliged you to accept the 
adjutancy of a regiment. 

Had the question been propounded to me, 
I should have replied that I did not think 
you possessed the physical endurance needed 
for such a post, nor the requisite knowledge 
of military law apd tactics ; also that you 
could be ten times more usefully employed 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



13 



in aiding the cause than by a personal de- 
votion to the duties of an officer of the 
army. If there had been a deficiency of 
able men anxious to serve, then the duty 
might have been imperative to stand for- 
ward and offer personal services. There 
are, however, five men offering to each 
man required. All this I state, because 
you wish my candid opinion, though I am 
fully aware that now, having taken the step 
under your own sense of duty, it is perhaps 
well that you had not an opportunity of 
consulting me previous to your decision. 

May God's presence accompany you; and 
if during your absence I can be of any use 
to Eliza let her come to me as freely as to 
a father. 

Your Cousin Emily joins with me in all 
love and desires to do anything in her 
power for you or Eliza. 

Yours with sincere affection, 

E. J. WOOLSEY. 

Fro 7)1 Mother. 

May 15, 1861. 
My dear Eliza : Thank you and Joe for 
your letters received this morning. I was 
hoping to see you here today, and on read- 
ing these letters telling of Joe's sudden 
departure, and thinking of you as all alone 
at your house, I at once concluded to go 
up, Charley and I, by the three o'clock 



74 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



train. I was all packed up to start when 
your telegram was brought in. I felt re- 
lieved to get it, because I was going off in 
a little uncertainty as to whether we might 
not possibly pass you on the road, on your 
way to us. I hope you will come, and Joe 
too, if he can. He must now I suppose 
obey orders — a somewhat new position for 
him! Should the regiment be ordered to 
Washington, perhaps you might feel like 
going on there for a while, at least, But 
remember, my dear child, your home is 
with us still, for as long as you choose. — 
Indeed, I think you had better come to us 
altogether — at any rate we must manage 
to keep an eye over you, and all of us 
must look on the bright side and hope for 
the best. How comforting to fall back at 
such times to that invisible arm which is 
ever ready for our support and which, I 
trust, is leading in all this movement. 
Charley waits for the letter, and I will only 
add my tender love to you both. Many 
thanks to Joe for his letters. 

Your loving Mother. 

Among many kind notes from friends at 
this time was the following from Mrs. 
Professor Smith : 

My dear Mrs. Hoivland : I thank you 
very much for the beautiful flowers, which 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 75 

are a great delight to us all, and I thank 
you especially for thinking of our pleasure 
when your heart must have been so full. 
I could hardly be reconciled at first to Mr. 
Rowland's going, but now I am glad that 
such a man should go. Surely the cause 
is worthy of the best and noblest, and he 
will have the same Protector there as at 
home, and the constant loving prayers of 
many hearts will be like a shield of defence. 

A. H. W. to E. 

Friday, May 17, 1861. 
ATy dear Eliza : Your nice long letter 
of yesterday from Albany came this morn- 
ing at breakfast. I say your '^nice" letter 
in the sense of its being long and circum- 
stantial. That anything concerning Joe's 
going off is nice, I shall never be brought 
to say. It seems as if you both had been 
snatched up and swept away from us by 
some sudden and awful fate. No time for 
thought about it and no use for regrets! 
I hardly think he himself realized all he 
was pledging himself to — the bothering 
duties, I mean, of an Adjutant's office, a 
great deal of work and no glory ; a sort 
of upper servant to an exacting Colonel; 
though some people tell us that the Ad- 
jutant's post is a highly military one, re- 
quiring fine military education — a knowl- 
edge, at least, of theories and laws, etc. 



76 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

I am glad that Colonel Davies impresses 
you pleasantly. 

Do find out from Joe's Dr. Crandall what 
style of garments he thinks best for hos- 
pital wear, as we are constantly cutting 
them out, and may as well make them with 
reference to his wants. Should the night- 
shirts be of unbleached or canton flannel, 
and drawers ditto? Should the shirts be 
long or short? and are extra flannel shirts 
necessary for hospital wear? I am going 
to the Cooper Union today to try and get 
some simple pattern for calico gowns. They 
advertise to supply paper patterns of gar- 
ments to ladies, and their published circu- 
lar, a copy of which I have seen, is far 
more particular and satisfactory in its di- 
rections than the one we have had. 

I went to Astoria day before yesterday 
and came back yesterday noon. Aunt E. 
and I spent all the time in Casina library. 
The women dusted the books and I 
checked them off on the catalogue to see 
if they were all right and to leave them in 
good order for G. G. Rowland, who moves 
up next week. I saw the transport go up 
to Riders' Island with George Betts' Zou- 
aves — the Hawkins' Zouaves as they are 
called. We can see the barracks built for 
them from Casina. I thought if Robert 
were at home he would be flying about in 
his sailboat, visiting these points, and could 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



77 



make many a call on Joe if he were to be 
at Fort Schuyler. I found on coming home 
from Astoria that Georgy had fairly begun 
at the hospital — the City Hospital on Broad- 
way — but as she has requested me not to 
''discuss her" with anybody I had better 
leave her to tell her own story. She and 
Mrs. Trotter go down daily at twelve 
o'clock, and yesterday, Mother tells me, they 
went before breakfast beside, at 6 a. m. 
Two such visits a day, when a singing 
lesson and a German lesson come in be- 
tween, are rather too much, / think, but 
this insane war is making men and women 
insane, — Mr. of Alexandria, for in- 
stance. Mother had a letter from him this 
morning written in the true Southern style 
— so highfalutin — with abuse and melan- 
choly, martial ardor and piety, beautifully 
commingled. Mother wrote the other day 
to find out something about them, and this 
letter was to say that her's had been re- 
ceived and forwarded to his wife and 
daughters at Lexington, Va., where he had 
removed them ''to be out of the reach of 
the licensed outrages of our Northern out- 
casts, who make up the Northern army!" 
Today we are going to try and decide on 
our wedding presents for Jenny Woolsey. 
Just think of Susan Johnson, too! and 
now Sarah Winthrop tells us of her en- 
gagement to Mr. Weston, a friend of her 



78 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

brother Will's. It reminds me of the days 
of Noe when there was marrying and giv- 
ing in marriage and the flood came and 
drowned them all. Love to Joe. What is 
his title now? We cannot call him plain 
Mister ! 

G.M.w. As part of their excellent work, the 
Nursing. Woman's Central Relief Association organ- 
ized a nursing staff for the army, selecting 
one hundred women and sending them to 
the various hospitals in New York city for 
such drill as could be secured in a few 
weeks, through the kindness of the attend- 
ing staff. The Sanitary Commission under- 
took to secure recognition for these women 
from the War Department with the pay of 
privates ; and they were sent on to the 
army hospitals on requisition from Miss 
Dix and others, as needed. 

I (G.) still have my blue ticket, or pass, 
signed by (Mrs.) Christine Kean Griflin, 
Secretary of the Ladies' Committee, and 
Dr. Elisha Harris, of the Hospital Com- 
mittee, on which I, ''No. 24," was admit- 
ted to the old New York Hospital for a 
month's seasoning in painful sights and 
sounds. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



79 



[The old New York Hospital property 
comprised a square on Broadway bounded 
by Worth street on the north and Duane 
on the south. Great office buildings now 
take its place on the Broadway front, and 
the rest of the site has become the centre 
of the dry-goods trade. One hundred years 
ago your great-great-uncle, Mr. William 
Walton Woolsey, was one of the governors 
of this charity, and the family is still rep- 
resented on the Board by your cousin, 
Theodoras Bailey Woolsey.] 

(Later in the war it happened that the 
Sanitary Commission wanted contributions 
to the '^ Spirit of the Fair," published dur- 
ing the great Fair held for the Commission, 
and I gave them my experiences in getting 
ready to be a nurse three years before. 
They may interest you and I quote from 
them. You will be amazed to know that 
your aunt was considered by some of the 
committee as too young and too pretty ! to 
be sent to the front. That was thirty-seven 
years ago though !-r- 

' ' It was hard work getting myself accept- / / 
able and accepted. What with people atV v 
home, saying 'Goodness me! a nurse!' 



8o LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

' All nonsense ! ' ' Such a fly-away ! ' and 
what with the requisites insisted upon by 
the grave committees, I came near losing 
my opportunity. 

''First, one must be just so old, and no 
older; have eyes and a nose and mouth 
expressing just such traits, and no others ; 
must be willing to scrub floors, if neces- 
sary, etc., etc. Finally, however, by dint 
of taking the flowers out of my bonnet 
and the flounce off my dress; by toning 
down, or toning up, according to the emer- 
gency, I succeeded in getting myself looked 
upon with mitigated disapprobation, and 
was at last sat upon by the committee and 
passed over to the Examining Board. The 
Board was good to me. It had to decide 
upon my physical qualifications ; and so, 
having asked me who my grandfather was, 
and whether I had had the measles, it 
blandly put my name down, leaving a 
blank, inadvertently, where the age should 
have been, and I was launched, with about 
twenty other neophytes, into a career of 
philanthropy more or less confused. 

' * Then began serious business. Armed 
with a blue ticket,' I presented myself with 
the others at the door of a hospital and was 
admitted for instruction. 'Follow me,' 
said our guide, and we followed in proces- 
sion. 'This will be your ward; you will 
remain here under so and so, and learn 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 8i 

what you can ; and this, yours ; and this, 
yours.' That was mine! I shall never for- 
get the hopeless state of my mind at this 
exact point. To be left standing in the 
middle of a long ward, full of beds, full 
of sick men — it was appalling! I seized 
another nurse, and refused to be abandoned. 
So they took pity, and we two remained, 
to use our eyes and time to the advantage 
of the Army of the Potomac which was-to- 
be. We took off our bonnets and went to 
work. Such a month as we had of it, 
walking round from room to room, learn- 
ing what we could — really learning some- 
thing in the end, till finally, what with 
writing down everything we saw, and mak- 
ing elaborate sketches of all kinds of band- 
ages and the ways of applying them, and 
what with bandaging everybody we met, 
for practice, we at last made our 'reverses' 
without a wrinkle ; and at the end of the 
month were competent to any very small 
emergency, or very simple fracture.^ 

In looking over my little note book of 
those first days at the New York Hospital 
I find it full of extracts from the lectures 
of Dr. Markoe and Dr. Buck at the bed- 
side of the patients, and with sketches of 
four-tailed, six-tailed and many-tailed band- 
agesV .1 remember it gave me a little shock 



82 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

that first day in the ward to hear the 
young "house " say peremptorily : '' Nurse, 
basin!" I presented the basin promptly, 
and as promptly tumbled over in a faint 
at seeing a probe used for the first time. 
I came out from this ignomin}^ to find that 
my associate-nurse was dashing my face 
with water from a tumbler in which she 
dipped her fingers before offering it to me 
to drink from. 

' ' Before the summons from the army, 
though, came sickness among our soldiers 
passing through the great cities. Measles 
and typhoid fever began almost immediate- 
ly. New wards in hospitals had to be 
opened, and the beds were filled faster than 
we could make them. Such nice fellows, 
too, from the country villages as were 
brought in. 

* * My first patient of the war was a Dur- 
yea's Zouave, not a country boy though, 
but one of those poor desolate creatures, 
so many of whom the army has sheltered, 
giving them the first home they have ever 
known. My Zouave was dying when he 
enlisted; he had no friends, no place to 
live in, no place to die in, so he told me, 
and came into the army for the sake of 
finding one. ' I felt the sickness coming 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR ^2, 

on, and I knew if I was a soldier they 
^\ould put me into a hospital, and then I 
could die there.' 

' '■ Poor soul ! he was young and refined, in 
look and manner, and so comforted by little 
attentions, so appreciative of them; — and 
never to have had anything of the kind 
given him through all his lonely life ! 

' ' Now, in these few last days of it there 
was a satisfaction in doing everything for 
him, in being as good to him as possible, 
in bringing him all that a gentleman's son 
might have had. So, with his poor tired 
head on my arm, I fed him with jellies 
and ices, and in little ways tried to com- 
fort him. We owed him all the blessing 
we could bring into these last few moments 
of a dreary life. 

" My Zouave died, and they buried him in 
his fine new clothes — the best he had ever 
had — and put him to sleep in his own 
bed ; now, at last, his ozun, that no one 
would dispute with him; no one grudge 
him possession of forever." 

What our common soldiers understood 
the war to mean is shown in this extract 
from a letter of one of them, taken ill on 
the march through New York from Con- 
necticut and nursed by me in the New York 
Hospital. The rough draft in my hospital 



84 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

note book is sandwiched between directions 
for a ''figure of 8 " bandage and a receipt 
for boiling farina. The letter was to his 
old mother in Ireland: 

*' We are having a war here in America. 
The Southern states want to have a flag of 
their own and as many slaves as they can 
buy or steal. The North wants to keep 
the old flag and the country as Washington 
left it, and not to have slavery go any 
further; so they have gone to war about 
it, and I have enlisted and hope to fight 
for right and the country." 

This gives the cause of the war in a 
very few words. 

What the spirit was which these Northern 
men and women had to meet when they 
"■ enlisted for the war " is shown for instance 
in the proceedings of the ' ' open session of 
the Confederate Congress," May, 1861, 
where the ''assistance of The Most High" 
was impiously asked with the following 
blatherskite : ' ' To protect us from those 
who threaten our homes with fire and sword ; 
our domestic circles with ruthless lust ; our 
fathers' graves with the invader's feet, and 
our altars with infidel desecration." 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 85 

As soon as J. H.was mustered in, G. began \^,^^'^ 
to urge that she and E. should go as army ^ 
nurses. Mother writes: ''Georgy is more 
earnest than ever about being a nurse for 
the soldiers. / shall never consent to this 
arrangement unless some of her own family 
go with her." 

G. herself writes to E. 

May 15, 1861. 

I supposed you would go to Albany; 
I am sure I should, and I hope you will 
take into serious consideration the small 
plan I suggested to you about being a nurse 
— at any rate about fitting yourself as far 
as you can for looking after the sick, if 
you go, as I suppose you will want to, 
to Washington in the fall with Joe. I in- 
vite you to join me. Mrs. Trotter and I 
were yesterday examined by the Medical 
Committee, Drs. Delafield, Wood and Harris, 
and with ten other women admitted to the 
course of instruction at the New York Hos- 
pital. We are to learn how to make beds 
for the wounded, cook food properly for 
the sick, wash and dress wounds, and other 
things as they come along in the proper 
care of the wards — fresh air, etc. Not 
that we have any idea of really going 
south now, no one will till the fall, and 
two or three companies of ten each who 



86 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

are fitting themselves at Bellevue Hospital 
will at any rate go first. Then if there is 
really a necessity for more nurses we shall 
send substitutes agreeing to pay their ex- 
penses, — unless the opposition in the family 
has come to an end, in which case, having 
tested our strength and endurance a little 
in this training, we shall be very glad to 
carry out our plan and go. We three might 
very usefully employ ourselves in Wash- 
ington if we went no further south, and I 
shall not be satisfied at all to stay at home 
while Joe is down there. So, my dear, be 
keeping the little plan in view in mak- 
ing your arrangements, and don't say a 
word to anybody about our being at the 
Hospital; I don't want to have to fight 
my way all through the course, and be 
badgered by the connection generally, be- 
sides giving a strict account of myself at 
home. We all mean to be very brave about 
Joe, and I am sure you will be; — it's a way 
you have; especially as you and I, and 
perhaps Mrs. Trotter, will be near him in 
Washington at one of the hotels or hospitals. 

A. H. IV. to the Sisters Abroad. 

[Robert and his family and Hatty and 
Carry were still in Europe, but hurrying 
their return on account of the breaking out 
of the war.] 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 87 

New York, May 21, 1861. 
Dear Girls: We hope soon to have 
more particulars about your interview with 
Mrs. Browning, what she said, and ''said 
he" and ''said they." 

I hardly know what to tell you about 
home. I have been trying to think what 
questions about public affairs you are long- 
ing to have answered, the whys and where- 
fores of things, but am afraid I might hit 
on the very wrong ones. We cannot see 
into details ourselves; we live only on 
newspaper rumors, and the only peace of 
mind we get is by mentally consenting to 
leave everything in the hands of vScott, 
satisfied of his patriotism, wisdom and skill. 
The best statesmanship of the country is 
at work for its good ; many knowing heads 
are contriving and planning; many brave 
hearts and steady hands are executing the 
will of government; the monied men, who 
have so much to save or lose, feel that their 
only hope of extrication is in the vindica- 
tion of our laws and constitution ; the mil- 
itary men know the true weakness of the 
South and predict its ultimate ruin; and 
above all and over all, as Mr. Prentiss 
preached to us on Sunday, "this continent 
belongs to Christ. He has a greater stake 
in it than any of us, who are here only 
for our little day, can have. If it should 
be destroyed, where on earth has God such 



88 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

another country so suited to His great 
providential designs? Be sure He will see 
to it that America is delivered out of all 
her troubles in His own time." 

We hear the bugle-call now constantly 
floating down the streets. It is used as a 
rallying sound in the field — as in Europe — 
by the French and the German volunteers, 
and by some of our own regiments, I think. 
Going down Broadway you pass a great 
many ''headquarters" or recruiting offices, 
and the crossed bayonets at the door or the 
sentry marching up and down have a very 
foreign look. You should see Charley in 
his Home Guard martial array. It is a sight 
to strike awe into feeble sisters — a grey 
tight-fitting coat, with red cuffs and col- 
lar edged with white cord, and a red and 
grey cap trimmed with white braid. 

From Eliza and Joe at Albany we hear 
as follows: Joe was summoned there to 
report for duty, as the regiment is quar- 
tered in barracks, along with others, four 
thousand troops in all. The regiment and 
officers were sworn into United States ser- 
vice last Wednesday, drawn up in a long 
line, and the sound of their cheers rolling 
down the field like thunder. Two men re- 
fused to swear from some cause or other, 
and a third, who had hesitated but finally 
stepped into the ranks, was cheered by his 
comrades till the tears ran down his cheeks. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 89 

They say they are ' ' able to lick their heft 
in wild cats" and are pronounced the finest 
regiment so far accepted — all six feet or 
more high and experienced riflemen. Joe 
is well, so far, and busy, and does not for 
a moment regret the step he has taken. 
The duties of adjutant are honorable and 
responsible ones, and purely military. 

A. H, IV. to the Sisters still Abroad. 

June, 1861. 

We are gradually growing accustomed \ 
to things that a few weeks ago would have ' 
appalled us, or which we should have re- 
ceived as horrid jokes — such, for instance, 
as Georgy's training at the hospital. She 
comes home fagged-looking but determined 
to '^stick it out." Did you know. Carry, 
that Miss Bessie and Miss Mattie Parsons 
are walking the hospitals in Boston? Some 
of the ladies there fainted every day for a 
week, when Dr. Bigelow made them very 
mad by telling them ' ' they had tried it long 
enough; they were unfit for it and must 
go home." It will not surprise us if by and 
by Georgy starts for the wars. Nothing 
astonishes us nowadays ; we are blasces in 
revolutions and topsy-turvyings ; or, as Joe 
elegantly expresses it : '' How many excit- 
ing things we have had this winter ! First, 
parlor skates, and now, civil war!" 

I am reminded to say that the best thing 



90 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



that Theodore Winthrop has ever done, 
after volunteering- for this war, is to write 
an account of the eventful journey of the 
Seventh Regiment in ''The Atlantic " for 
June. You will get it in England — 
Sampson and Low no doubt receive it. It is 
very bright — just sentimental enough — 
and has its value given it in the fact that his 
feelings went along with it in the writing 
and our feelings go with it in the read- 
ing. He describes the fraternization of the 
New York Seventh with the Massachusetts 
Eighth, and says they began to think that 
there was nothing the Eighth couldn't do. 
All trades and professions were represented. 
The man that helped to build the locomo- 
tive, you know, stepped out of the ranks to 
repair it, at Annapolis; others sailed the 
good ship Constitution ; others laid rails ; 
others mended leaky canteens, as tinsmiths ; 
and Theodore says he believes if the order 
had been given, "poets to the front!" or 
''sculptors! charge bayonets!" a baker's 
dozen would have stepped from each com- 
pany in answer to the summons. 

Don't let me forget to give you Charley's 
message which is to countermand the pur- 
chase of his carriage blanket and to beg 
you to buy his gloves a trifle larger than 
the size he mentioned, as his hands have 
spread, as well as his appetite, since he be- 
gan to drill. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 91 

Mr. Dayton, the new French minister, 
will have arrived in Paris before you leave, 
and perhaps Mr. Charles Francis Adams 
may be in London in time for you to see 
him. I hope Robert will see and consult 
one or both of them as to the state of 
things at home and the safety of taking- 
passage in an American steamer. You can 
do nothing, of course, but take the best 
advice and then do what seems best to your- 
selves. The summer is going to be a 
broken one at any rate. We have given 
up our rooms in Conway. We cannot leave 
Eliza entirely alone, as she will be at Fish- 
kill. Joe has gone *'for the war" if he 
lives and it lasts, and Eliza reverts to our 
love and protection. The summer will be 
harassed by skirmishes in Virginia — possi- 
bly a great battle may be fought if General 
Scott thinks we are ready. He is bothered 
more than anything by the haste of igno- 
rant, injudicious men who think they are 
great military geniuses, and want to push 
the matter on. June is a great month for 
battles in the world's history — ive may add 
another to the catalogue — but it looks more 
as if the hard work, especially that in the 
far South and in the gulf, would be post- 
poned till fall. A rebellion that has been 
thirty years in maturing isn't going to be 
put down in a day. 

We went on Sunday night to a grand 



92 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



meeting of the Bible Society where reports 
were read of the distribution of Testaments 
and Bibles to the volunteer troops. Twenty- 
three thousand have been given away, and 
many interesting anecdotes were told and 
most stirring addresses made by Professor 
Hitchcock and Dr. Tyng. They began in 
a very sober Sunday-night spirit, but be- 
fore we got through there was the most 
rampant patriotism — stinging sarcasms 
about Jeff Davis; kissing of flags which 
draped the platform ; storms of applause, 
and a great time generally. . . . You would 
not judge by the streets that we were at 
war. The shops are thronged by gay 
women making cheap -purchases. Indeed, 
it seems difficult to pay more than two and 
sixpence a yard for a new dress — double 
width at that. 

E. fancying at first that she ought to 
stay behind to care for ''the stuff" when 
J. went to the war, sent cheerful bulletins 
to him of home matters: 

E. W. H. to J. H. at Albany. 

FiSHKiLL, May 2r, 1861. 

Everything goes on nicely. I have 
made the rounds this morning and the report 
is all satisfactory. Thomson has bought a 
very nice bay mare to take Dick's place 
for $130, and a third pig, as there was too 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 93 

mucli food for the others. The men are 
all at work, the potatoes in and the corn 
will be finished tonight. Then the sodding 
and grading will be resumed. Mechie has 
bought dahlia poles and is now finishing 
the flower beds outside the greenhouse, 
which looks finely. A superb box of flowers 
came up this morning. . . . Everyone 
expresses the greatest interest in you and 
your movements. Moritz says the country 
wasn't as "lonesome" all winter as it was 
the first few days of your absence. . . . 
I don't doubt James will go with you, but 
I wouldn't let him decide hastily. Thom- 
son would go with you himself in a min- 
ute but for his family. ... I have had 
a very busy morning and haven't had a 
chance to miss you. 

Sunday (between churches), May 26. 

I am going over to the Dutch Church 
at the Corners more, I confess, to hear the 
news from Washington than for the ser- 
mon's sake. The rumor by telegraph this 
morning was that Washington was on fire. 
I am restless and anxious. There nmst be 
important movements on one side or the 
other before long, now that we have ad- 
vanced beyond the Potomac. 

In yesterday's papers the great camp 
preparing on Staten Island is described — 
10,000 acres on the southeast slope of the 



94 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



island, with room for the tents and evolu- 
tions of an army of 60,000 men. Is it 
likely that you will be ordered there? 

Mr. Masters told me this morning to tell 
you you were not forgotten in the village, 
for the boys have organized a company 
and are drilling under the name of the 
' ' Rowland Guard." Mother thinks it should 
be called Mrs. Rowland's Guard 

May 27. This morning I deposited 
Mother with the papers at the old chest- 
nut tree seat and helped Thomson and 
Mechie get a good line for the turf on the 
carriage road. It is not right yet, but 
shall be made so. Thomson says : ' ' We'll 
na gie it up, ma'am, till you say it's right." 
The sodding round the door and kitchen 
end"^ is a great improvement and gives 
quite a finished look. We all took a turn 
in the wagon after dinner, stopping for me 
to get some cut-out work from the Women's 
Army Association, which is fairly under 
way now, with Mrs. David Davis as Pres- 
ident, Mrs. James Kent Secretary and Miss 
Rankin Treasurer. Five or six dozen shirts 
were given out today. ... I have a note this 
morning from L. H. H. asking me to make 
them a visit at Newport and saying Mr. 
H. would come on for me and bring me 

* Where the rhododendrons are now twelve to fifteen 
feet high. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



95 



back. It is very kind, but I shall stand 

by my post here this summer 

Mr. Masters told us an anecdote of old 

R who was in a tavern barroom the 

other day with a party of rough fellows^ 
discussing the war, when one of them de- 
clared that * ' any man who would refuse to 
go 7tozv that Air. Howland had gone ought to 
be drummed out of the community." 



A. H. W. to E. 

June I, 1861. 
Dear Eliza : We had a funny commu- 
nication from Theodore Winthrop this 
morning written at Fortress Monroe, where 
he is acting as Military Secretary to Major 
General Butler, in the very middle of the 
middle of things — ' ' Headquarters Depart- 
ment of Virginia." He tells about the 
negroes who are flocking to them, and begs 
that on the sly we will manage a patriotic 
job for them — get some sort of kepi, tur- 
ban or headgear, which shall make them 
more respectable to look at and more for- 
midable to the enemy. Of course. General 
Butler is to know nothing of it officially, 
but since the poor ragged fellows must be 
clothed they will be glad to have a sort of 
coarse uniform for them — shirt, trousers 
and cap — if the ladies will do it privately, 
and forward to Fortress Monroe. 



96 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Last night and night before G. and I 
each made three havelocks, and Georgy is 
going to take them down to the Battery 
Encampment and distribute the six to the 
six men who fled the hospital. They, at 
least, must be supplied, as they had had 
inflamed eyes already from wearing the 
hot caps. If the Fishkill ladies want work 
say there is a demand for 3,000 havelocks, 
3,000 grey flannel shirts and 3,000 grey or 
red drawers, and more will be needed. 
Those are needed today. 

Yesterday Charley went about a good 
deal trying to find a room as a depot for 
receiving and distributing books and mag- 
azines for the troops. He had seen one or 
two notices on the subject in the papers, 
but last night's Post showed us that some 
gentlemen of the Evangelical Alliance are 
already in the field. 

The E, W. H. to J. H. at Albany. 

Sisters 

abroad 8 BrEVOORT PlACE, JunC I3, 1861. 

We are waiting for our travellers who 
are due now at any moment by the 
''Adriatic." Abby and I came down this 
morning from Fishkill leaving a lovely 
summer morning behind us, but bringing 
some of it in the shape of flowers, straw- 
berries and vegetables. Mother has every- 
thing in nice order for the girls, cribs for 
the babies, little novelties and conveniences 



Home. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



97 



for the girls, plenty of lovely flowers, etc., 
etc. It will be a tight squeeze to accom- 
modate them all, but it will be done, with 
Mother's usual faculty, and there would 
have been a place for you, too, if you 
could have come. . . . How wretched the 
Southern news is ; such bungling and such 
frightful and unnecessary loss of life. That 
battle of Bethel must injure us very much 
and give strength to the rebels. I suppose 
you have seen the death of poor Theodore 
Winthrop — one of its victims. It has 
shocked us all and brought the matter very 
close. 

Major Winthrop was shot in the fight at 
Great Bethel, June loth, 1861. From the 
Yale College Obituary Record this extract 
is taken : 

' * While gallantly leading a charge on the 
battery he fell mortally wounded and died 
in a few minutes. His body was buried 
near the spot where he fell. It was sub- 
sequently disinterred, and after obsequies 
in New York City was brought to New 
Haven, where, on the 28th of June, 1861, 
with unusual demonstrations of respect from 
military, civic and academic bodies, and 
from the people-at-large, it was laid to rest 
in the burial-place of his father." 



98 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

All the students and faculty marched in 
procession to the grave. 

As the coffin was brought through New 
York it was taken to the Seventh Regi- 
ment Armory. There Mother and G. saw 
it resting on a gun carriage, when they 
went for a last farewell. They had, so 
short a time before, helped to pack and 
buckle on his knapsack ! 

E. W. H. to 7. H. {still in Albany.) 

New York, June 14, 1861. 

At 10 p. m. the expected telegram 
arrived saying the ''Adriatic" would be at 
her wharf by 11, and Charley and Mr. S. 
left at once in carriages to bring the girls 
up. The travellers all look remarkably 
well and by no means as seedy and sea- 
sick as they ought to by rights. Molly 
has a sore throat, but is bright and very 
smart in spite of it, and the other children 
are lovely as possible. Bertha is the 
stranger after all, for Una is like most other 
sweet babies — round and plump and laugh- 
ing — but Bertha is a little darling, unlike 
May and unlike Elsie, unlike all other 
children — not belonging to anyone, in like- 
ness or manner. She is a mere baby her- 
self; just running about and beginning to 
talk, saying, '' I wilV and '' I wonW in the 
sweetest and most winning way. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



99 



Robert has been out to the country with 
Charley, and the rest of us have had a 

grand "opening" of foreign traps 

Aren't you glad Harper's Ferry has been 
evacuated without bloodshed? 

The middle of June, 1861, J. H.'s regi- 
ment, the Sixteenth New York, suddenly 
received orders to be ready to march, and 
after some little further delay it left Albany 
for Washington and the front. The family 
were now fairly in the war. 

Rev. G. L. Prentiss to J. H. 

New York, June 19, 1861. 

Abby has just told my wife that you 
are ordered South. Is it so? If I were 
not strong in faith about you, I don't know 
what I should say. But the path of duty 
is the path of safety and of honor, and if 
you were my own brother (you seem to 
me more like a younger brother than any- 
thing else) I could not lift a finger against 
5^our going — assuming always that your 
health and strength hold out. God bless 
you and have you ever, dearest friend, in 
His holy keeping. 

Most affectionately yours, 

George L. Prentiss. 



lOo LETTERS OE A EAMILY 

G. M. W. to E. 

Wednesday. 
My dear Eliza: You must feel that I 
am ready and glad to go anywhere and at 
any time with you and dear Joe. You will 
probably go with him to Washington, at 
any rate. You and I could be companions 
for each other at the hotel as long as the 
regiment camps near the city, and, judging 
from the way the other regiments have 
been disposed of, that is likely to be the 
arrangement for them for some time. We 
should be able to see them every day and 
perhaps go even farther south. Since Joe 
has taken the sick under his care we per- 
haps shall be able to be a part of the reg- 
iment, as other women have been, and may 
keep together in this way, doing what we 
can. 

You know we three have travelled over 
rough roads together before, and have now 
only to take up our little bundles and com- 
mence our march again. We shall like it 
and we will do it if possible. Two of our 
bands of nurses have been sent on from the 
Hospital already, and with a letter of intro- 
duction from our association (which is ac- 
cepted by government ) / shall probably be 
able to go where I please, as far south as 
hospitals have been established ; and so we 
may be able perhaps to keep up with the 
Sixteenth. If you can, don't you think you 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR loi 

had better come down and be introduced 
to Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell and others, and 
go for a few days to one of the hospitals 
opened to us, so that you may be able to 
give references from our association, if nec- 
essary? It may save you some delay and 
be useful to you in other ways. I am 
ready, or shall be at the shortest notice, 
to do as you say. I cannot tell you how 
we all feel about this. We shall try and 
not feel at all, only our hearts are with 
you and Joe always. 

E., who had by this time definitely aban- 
doned the idea of trying to stay behind, 
alone, writes to G. from Tioronda, June 20 : 

We zvill go together, as you say, and will 
keep as near Joe as possible, though where 
it may be is entirely uncertain. They will 
march like others, with sealed orders. I go 
to Albany on Friday to see them in camp 
again before they leave. Will you go too? 
Joe has ordered a mess-chest and camp- 
table, and wants a cookery-book. I think I 
have seen one for army use advertised. 
Will you get me a simple one of any kind, 
civil or military, and send or bring it up? 
Simple directions for soups, gruels, stews, 
etc., are all he wants. His advice to me 
is to close up my affairs here and go to 
Mother for a while, till he can reach Wash- 
ington and spy out the land. He wants us 



I02 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

to be all ready to move but not to move 
hastily, and he says we must take Moritz 
with us as body-servant wherever we go. 
If any of you are near Tiffany's the next 
few days you might hurry the flags up. 

E. IV. H, to y. H. 

TioRONDA, June 23, 1861. 

. . . . I write chiefly to remind 
you of the stand of colors which Tiffany is 
making and promises for Wednesday. You 
may want to have them presented to the 
regiment the day they pass through New 
York, and, if so, will have to arrange the 
affair with the Colonel. / do not wish to 
appear in the matter, but you can present 
them in my name, or, if you like, perhaps 
Charley will be willing to, but don't have 
any fuss or parade about it, and dofit let 
the men tramp through the city a la 
McChesney till they are exhausted. The 
colors will remain at Tiffany's till the 
Colonel sends for them or notifies me. 

Mary and Robert and the children are 
still here and all well. Mary broke the 
news of my going to the servants, who were 
very sorry for me and for themselves. In 
the course of next week I shall wind up 
my affairs — pay my debts, etc., and goto 
Mother's. I shall go down on Wednesday 
when the regiment passes through New 
York, at all events, for the day and night, 
unless I hear to the contrary from you. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



103 



J. H.'s The Sixteenth left Albany for the seat 
^^°'^ of war via New York, Tune 25th, and, 

Passes "^ -' 

through reaching the city early in the morning of 
YoHc. the 26th, marched to Washington Square. 
Here at 3.30 before embarking for the 
South the regiment was presented with a 
stand of colors, state and national, made 
by Tiffany and Co., — Eliza's gift. 

Mr. Robert S. Hone made the presenta- 
tion in E.'s name, and Colonel Davies re- 
sponded for the regiment, — also saying 
' * already my command is deeply indebted 
to Mrs. Howland and her family for many 
articles which they needed while in Albany." 
Colonel Davies then delivered the state 
flag to the color-sergeant, who bore it to 
the line. Waving the national flag before 
the regiment, he asked each company if 
they would defend it. A prolonged ''yes" 
rang from one end of the line to the other, 
followed by deafening cheers and waving 
of caps. That promise was faithfully kept.* 

*At Gaines' Mill the color-bearers were three times 
shot down, and all except one of the color-guard were 
either killed or wounded. 

The regimental banner was in every march and 
every battle in which the regiment participated. At 
Crampton Gap Corporal Charles H. Conant was in- 
stantly killed by a minie ball through the head while 



I04 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



That same afternoon of the 26th the 
regiment left by transports for Elizabeth- 
port and from there by rail to Washington, 
via Baltimore. Before entering the last 
place ammunition was issued, in remem- 
brance of the brutal attack of the mob 
there on the Massachusetts Sixth and other 
national troops. The Sixteenth New York 
was the first regiment to march through 
that city without some form of attack. 

7. H. to E. W. H. 

Washington, June 30, 1861. 

Our journey on was a hard one. We 
reached Harrisburg late Friday p. m., and 
Baltimore at sunrise Saturday. Our pas- 
sage through Baltimore was unmolested, 
but was one of the most impressive scenes 
imaginable. We marched through about 
8 o'clock without music and with colors 
furled, in perfect silence, marching in quick 
time, only pausing once to rest. The 
streets were full of people, but we did not 
get one word of welcome or a single smile 
except from two little girls in an upper 

holding one of the flags, and Corporal Robert Watson, 
of the color-guard, was shot .through the leg in this 
action. 

These flags are now deposited with other battle-flags 
in the Capitol at Albany. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 105 

window and half a dozen old darkies stand- 
ing in doorways. At the head of the col- 
umn of eight hundred stern-faced men 
walked the Colonel with his sword sheathed 
and a hickory stick in his hand. Once a 
rough fellow in the crowd (a city official) 
asked tauntingly, ** Where's your music?" 
and Colonel Davies, gritting his teeth, re- 
plied, '^hi our cartridge boxes!'' We were 
all fully armed and supplied with ammu- 
nition, and had received full instructions 
how to act in case of an attack. Tramp, 
tramp, tramp, went the Sixteenth through 
Baltimore in the early morning, and the 
crowd looked cold and bitter at us, and we 
looked stern and ready at them. All the 
road from Harrisburg to Washington is 
guarded by strong bodies of federal troops, 
and they are needed. 

We got here safely at noon yesterday, 
and, after a couple of hours' delay under 
the shade of the trees of the Capitol grounds, 
we marched out to '<Camp Woolsey," for 
so this camp is named in your honor! 
There are 100,000 soldiers in Washington. 

I hope to see you very soon. I don't 
know what you will do with yourself here, 
but, if you want to come, your coming will 
make me very happy. God bless you! 




ro6 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

G. M. W. to E. 

New York, Sunday. 
My dear Eliza: In anticipation of a 
possible march on Tuesday I have got my- 
self ready and hold myself under orders 
for any moment. As for some sort of a 
hospital costume, if we chance to need one, 
I have two grey cottonish cross-grained 
skirts, and a Zouave jacket giving free 
motion to the arms — so the skirts can be, 
one of them, always in the wash; and a 
white Zouave will take the place of the 
waist when that is in the tub. Four white 
aprons with waists and large pockets ; two 
stick-out and washable petticoats to take 
the place of a hoop, and a nice long flan- 
nel dressing-gown, which one may put on 
in a hurry and fly out in, if the city is 
bombarded or '* anything else." Then for 
quiet and civil costume, I have only one 
dress made of black grenadine, like Mary's, 
and a black Neapolitan straw with green 
ribbon will make it all very nice. I shall 
make up a trunk of towels and old scraps 
of linen and cotton, soap, cologne, oil-silk, 
sponges, etc., and have it stored away in 
the hotel in Washington for use, if neces- 
sary. Any towels or old sheets you may 
have to dispose of we shall probably find 
useful if we are able to do anything for 
the sick. I have also under consideration 
a small camp cooking affair, about two feet 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



107 



square, with lamp and all complete, which 
I shall probably get — cheap and very use- 
ful in an emergency — could cook up little 
things for ourselves at any rate. If we find 
that we shall be allowed to march with the 
regiment, or rather ride, we could easily 
have grey flannel skirts and shirts made 
in Washington. So I don't see that we 
may not be very comfortable and useful, and 
consequently happy, even in following the 
war. 

A. H, W. to J. H. 

New York, July 3, 1861. 
My dear Joe: It was a satisfaction to 
us, at least, to receive your telegram of 
yesterday morning about half-past four in 
the afternoon. I was sorry that Eliza could 
not have ser i it before she and Georgy 
left, at 3 p. m. But she was in good 
spirits, having received your letter with the 
account of your strange, safe march ' ' through 
Baltimore," ''that luke-loyal, flagless city," 
as somebody from the Garibaldi Guard, 
writing to the Post, calls it. By the way, 
I think your camp and the Babel-camp of 
the Garibaldians must be near each other, 
from the accounts. I am glad yours is on 
that high open ground — a hitherto unde- 
fended part of Washington, too, I think. 
♦♦Camp Woolsey," has a strange sound to 
us, there never having been any military 



io8 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

association with the name in our family. 
Naval officers you know we have had, and 
there is a little village of five houses down 
at Pensacola named after the Commodore — 
"Woolsey.""^ I send by this mail some 
maps for Georgy and Eliza. Carry, Jane 
and I are living very quietly and miss you 
all sadly. Mother and Hatty intend to 
spend the Fourth at Astoria. 

Every morning I wake up to bright sun- 
shine and familiar sounds and sights, and 
think for a second that perhaps all this 
pageant and preparation of war has been 
a horrid dream ! A busy reality to you I 
dare say, hardly giving you time to read 
this or even to remember 

Yours affectionately, 

A. H. W. 

*Abby forgets the service during the Colonial wars 
of Colonel Melancthan Taylor Woolsey (brother of our 
great-grandfather, Benjamin Woolsey), who, according 
to the inscription on his tombstone, at Dosoris, L. I., 
"departed this life 28th of September, 1758, in the 
service of his country against the French in Canada." 

There was also our great ancestor, Captain George 
Woolsey, our grandfather's great-grandfather, who was 
commissioned Captain in the Burgher Guard of New 
York, in i6g6; and a brother of our great-grandmother, 
Anne Muirson Woolsey, Heathcote Muirson, a revolu- 
tionary soldier, was mortally wounded in an attack by 
the British on Lloyd's Neck, L. I., July, 1781. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



109 



ington 



G. E. We — Charley, E. and G. — left New 
go^^to^ York, July 2d, to join the army and J. H. 
Wash- in Washington, stopping on our way over 
' night with Cousin Margaret Hodge in 
Philadelphia. 

G. M, W. to Cousin Margaret Hodge. 

Washington, July 8, 1861. 
My dear Cousin Margaret : I should have 
begun by dating my letter Ebbitt House, 
we having been established here since Sat- 
urday, spending the first three days of our 
visit, or probation, at the *' National," in 
the fifth story, a prey to several incon- 
veniences, but refreshingly near processions. 
Joe sent his man down to meet us, and 
came himself after evening drill. He looks 
brown and well ; is dashing round on horse- 
back all day from camp to the War De- 
partment, and back again to camp, where 
he must spend seven hours a day drilling. 
Then all the cracks are filled up with our 
society out there. We go out every day 
in time for evening drill, and stay till it 
is time to shut up for the night, having a 
nice time in the door of Joe's tent '*in the 
cool of the day," and this sort of thing 
we fondly thought was going to last an 
indefinite length of time, till yesterday, 
when Joe surprised us by the news that 
they were ordered into Virginia, and would 



no LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

leave on Tuesday or Wednesday. The 
Colonel has been made an acting Brigadier- 
General, and he and Joe were eight hours 
in the saddle yesterday, flying round se- 
lecting three regiments to form the Brigade 
with the Sixteenth. Joe has been in today 
on the same business, being entrusted to 
decide upon them and take whichever he 
thought best; and has chosen the Eight- 
eenth, Twenty-first and Thirty-first — all 
from New York. So on Wednesday I sup- 
pose they will move over the bridge, and 
then we shall deliver our letters of intro- 
duction and plunge into occupation of some 
kind. 

Washington is the stillest place for a 
city I have ever been in ; nobody knows 
anything, or has anything to say. Every- 
thing is guess work. A few doleful little 
boys call the evening papers round the 
doors of the hotel, but in a tone that fixes 
a gloom upon you. I hate the **Eve-en- 
ing Star" already, and our only news comes 
via New York. The Tribune, Times and 
Herald have a great deal of information 
about what goes on here, and it generally 
proves true. . . . One longs now and then 
for a real living and lying ** Extra" boy, 
with his mouth full of fearful statements, 
all disproved by his paper which you im- 
prudently buy. We went, of course, to the 
opening of Congress and also to hear Pres- 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR m 

ident Lincoln's message, read on the fifth. 

Charley has been about visiting the camps 
at Alexandria, Georgetown and Arlington, 
but for all this a pass is necessary, which 
can only be procured through General Mans- 
field on introduction by some one known 
to him. If Lenox knows anyone at home 
who knows the General it would save him 
half a day to get his letter before coming 
on. Charley got his through Colonel Davies 
who is a relative of the General's. I hope 
Lenox will come on, but it is too bad that 
he will not see Joe. . . . 

Here comes a regiment down this street. 
About 15,000 men have gone over into 
Virginia since we came on. Joe goes up 
in rank with his Colonel as his aid — is now 
Captain and Assistant Adjutant General — 
and the Brigade will be in McDowell's 
Division. . . . The regiment has marched 
past — the Massachusetts Eleventh just from 
Harrisburg, all in beautiful order, gray 
uniforms and large clean havelocks. New 
England doesn't do anything by halves. . . . 
And here goes another company, guarding 
thirteen well-filled baggage wagons and 
followed by its regiment. We have only 
to flourish our handkerchiefs and the dear 
fellows will kiss their hands, twirl their 
hats and manifest affection for the entire 
woman population of the North. They are 
the Fourth Maine, and are going over 



112 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

into Virginia. I must put up my letter 
and watch them marching along. Our love 
to the Doctor and the boys. 

C. W. W. to G. M. IV. 

New York, July 9, 4.30 p. m. 

It is not quite one day since I left the 
" Ebbitt House," dear G., and here I am 
writing to you from the table in my room 
with Pico by my faithful side — no! the 
other way. I arrived at the house an hour 
ago for all the base lies that the railroad 
guide tells, and am waiting in a serene 
perspiration the arrival of my trunk by 
express from the station. Journey on long 
and fearfully dusty. Passed, just out of 
Washington, a long train full of ambulances 
and took a walk in Baltimore. Every- 
one sat on his doorstep and every group 
without exception was talking adoat the war. 

The Ebbitt House in Washington was 
a rambling, untidy place on F street, 
which became a sort of Army Headquarters, 
filled with officers and men connected with 
the service. We (G. and E.) were given 
a large parlor on the second floor, where 
cot beds were set up for us, and we began 
a sort of half army-life, with bundles of 
hospital supplies stacked in all the corners 



L 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



113 



and extemporized arrangements for comfort. 
We were close by Willards and in the midst 
of all that was going on, and just opposite 
the headquarters of the Sanitary Commis- 
sion. 

Charley, having seen us established, 
hurried home. ^ Rather later Uncle Edward 
Woolsey, Robert Rowland and some gentle- 
men friends came on for a brief view of 
what was going on, and took us to Mr. 
Lincoln's reception at the White House, 
where we are glad to think his great hand 
grasped ours for a moment. Mr. Seward, 
who was receiving too, was rather gruff 
and gave us welcome with the remark that 
"the fewer women there were there the 
better." 

As soon as possible we called on Miss 
Dorothea Dix, who had, by a general order, 
been recognized in the following words : 

" Be it known to all whom it may concern 
that the free services of Miss D. L. Dix 
are accepted by the War Department, and 
that she will give at all times all necessary 
aid in organizing military hospitals and by 
supplying nurses ; and she is authorized to 
receive and disburse supplies from individ- 
uals or associations, etc., etc. 



114 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 




Given under the seal of the War Depart- 
ment, April 23, 1861. (Signed.) 

Simon Cameron, Secretary. 

G. M. W. writes: 

Miss Dix received us kindly and gave us 
a good deal of information about the hospi- 
tals, and this morning we went out to the 
Georgetown Hospital to see for ourselves. 
We were delighted with all the arrange- 
ments. Everything was clean and com- 
fortable. We shall go again and take papers 
and magazines. 

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

New York, Monday, July 15, 1861. 
My dear Girls : I might as well give you 
the benefit of a scrawl just to thank you for 
the big yellow envelope in Georgy's hand- 
writing lying on the library table by me. It 
has just come and I think you are two of the 
luckiest fellows living to be where you are, 
down in the very thick of it all, with war 
secrets going on in the next tent and tele- 
graph-wires twitching with important dis- 
patches just outside of your door. " Who 
zvotildnt be a nuss" under such circum- 
stances? or would you prefer staying at 
home to arrange flowers, entertain P. in the 
evenings, devise a trimming for the dress 
Gonden is making for you, and go off into the 
country to fold your hands and do nothing? 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



115 



I tell you, Georg-y, you are a happy creature 
and ought to be thankful. Jane and Abby 
have been in Astoria all the week. It was a 
triumph of ours to make Abby loosen her 
hold of those abominable old women of the 
widow's society. She won't get back to 
them for some time either. . . . Mother and 
I went up to Northampton, Mass., one even- 
ing last week to look up summer quarters. 
We went via New Haven by the 1 1 o'clock 
boat. Charley saw us on board and we got 
to bed about twelve. Quite a good night 
for a boat. Mother says she slept well, and 
was prime for a walk over to the depot be- 
fore breakfast the next morning. She is 
certainly made of more enduring material 
than the rest of us, and, after getting through 
our business, wanted to come back in the 
express train at 5.30 that evening. Mr. 
Frank Bond and Mr. Thomas Denny spent 
the other evening here. F. B. is going on to 
Washington very soon, and is to be with 
General Tyler, something or other to him, 
and charged me when I wrote to let you 
know he was coming, and renewed his invi- 
tation to you to accompany them into Vir- 
ginia as chief surgeon ! 

Mary has cut Bertha's hair square across 
her forehead, which makes her look more 
sinful and unregenerate than ever. Polly 
has had her's cut, and is more comfortable. 
Did Robert mention the box of old wine 
for General Scott, from Uncle E.? Think 



Il6 LETTERS OE A EAMILY 

how glorious a part to take — propping up 
the government with rare old wine from 
one's own cellar." 

Camp Qyj. repfiment, the Sixteenth New York, 

at Cam- ° ' ' 

eron. was about two weeks stationed at " Camp 
Woolsey," near the Capitol, and then crossed 
the Potomac and pitched its tents on Cam- 
eron Run, a little west of Alexandria, in the 
fields which were once the property of our 
great-great- Aunt Ricketts, whose plantation 
was famous for its flour, ground by the mill 
on the Run. This Aunt Ricketts, a sweet- 
faced woman, whose likeness was among 
those taken by Saint Memin about 1805, 
brought up your dear grandmother (left an 
orphan in 1814), whose letter of July 19th 
speaks of those days : — 

Mother to G. a?td E. 

8 Brevoort Place, Friday, July 19, 1861. 
My dear Girls: A loving morning kiss 
to you both, and three hearty cheers for 
the success of the grand forward movement 
thus far. I have just been devouring the 
"Times" — that part of it, at least, and that 
only, which tells of the war movements — 
everything else is passed over with a very 
slighting glance. We feel the intensest in- 
terest now in every tramp of the soldiery as 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR uy 

they advance southward, and wait with great 
impatience from night till morning, and from 
morning till night again, for our papers. 
Georgy, how deeply interesting was your 
letter to us, written in the doorway of the 
tent at Alexandria! — not the first tent letter 
we have had from you, but how different the 
circumstances of this last from any other ! 
and how strange to me that poor old Alex- 
andria, where all of my eleven brothers and 
sisters were born, and where my father and 
mother and relatives lie buried, should be 
the scene of such warfare — the camping 
ground of my children under such circum- 
stances ! You must have been very near the 
graves of 370ur grandparents, and that of my 
dear venerated great-aunt, Mary Ricketts, 
who was a loving mother to me after the 
death of my own, and in whose house Abby 
was born. Cameron, too, was one of the 
places and homes of my childhood. It was 
the country-seat of this same good aunt, and 
on the grounds, some distance from the 
dwelling-house, stands a dilapidated build- 
ing, in its day a fine "mansion" for that 
part of the country, which was the original 
home of the family, and where my mother 
was married to a then " affluent merchant" 
of Alexandria. 

"Cameron Run" was the scene of all our 
childish sports, where we used to fish and 
sail and bathe and have all sorts of good 
times ; it was then a wide deep stream, and 



Ii8 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

formed the boundary line along the bottom 
of the garden at Cameron, and was lined on 
either side by magnolia trees ; and when the 
old family coach, with its grey horses, was 
called up to the door on Sunday mornings 
to take us into town for church, we each had 
our magnolia in hand, showing where our 
morning walk had been, and otir side of the 
old church was known by its perfume. All 
this is as fresh in my memory as though 
fifty years had been but as many days ! I 
perfectly remember every spot about the old 
place; — but everything had changed almost 
entirely when I was last there, though I look 
back to it still as it was in my childhood. 
More than ever do I now regret my not hav- 
ing kept a diary of my early life, which 
might have been interesting to my children. 
I feel very much as you do, my dear Eliza, 
that "somehow or other I cannot write let- 
ters now," and, indeed, I cannot sit down 
very long at anything. My mind is in a 
state of unsettledness, if 1 may coin a word 
— a sort of anxious suspense, all the while, 
and I feel better when on the jump, going 
about. I have been making up a lot of cur- 
rant jelly, some of which I will send on to 
the hospitals. I am going out by and by to 
get a work basket for little May — her birth- 
day present. She is to keep her birthday 
and little Bertha's together, to-morrow, by 
having a tea-party on the lawn. I shall fill 
the basket with goodies for them. . . . What 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 119 

an imposing sight it must have been when 
the troops all set forward together, and then 
the arrival at Fairfax ! and then at Centre- 
ville! the rebels flying before them and 
leaving all their goods behind ! I hope this 
may be the case all along, that they will 
throughout have a bloodless victory ! . . . 
We look any instant for your letters. I say 
constantly to myself, '' What will be the 
next news?" I dread to hear from Manas- 
sas, but hope the enemy will continue to 
retreat, until the whole land is clear of rebels. 
I cannot help thinking it will be an easy 
victory, and without bloodshed. May God 
bless and keep you, my dear children, and 
graciously prepare us for whatever may be 
his will. Give my love and blessing to Joe 
when you write. 

Most tenderly and lovingly yours. 

Mother. 

Our letters from Camp Cameron were 
among those lost in the Morrell lire, but late 
in the war, when the Sanitary Commission 
wanted items for its paper, G. sent the fol- 
lowing sketch of the camp : 

'* It was a pretty spot, our camp in a val- 
ley in Virginia — the hillside, covered with 
white tents, sloping to a green meadow and 
a clear bright little river. The meadow was 
part of my great-great-aunt's farm years 



120 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

ago, and in the magnolia-bordered stream 
my grandfather's children had fished and 
paddled. Now, we, two generations after- 
wards, had come back and pitched our tents 
in the old wheat fields, and made ready for 
war, and there were no magnolia blossoms 
any more. 

*' On the hills all about us the army was 
gathering, white tents springing up like 
mushrooms in the night. With their coming, 
came sickness, and sickness brought men 
of the next brigade into a poor little shanty 
close behind our headquarters. There we 
found them, one day, wretched and neglected, 
and ' most improperly ' at once adopted 
them as our own. We asked no one's per- 
mission, but went to work ; had the house 
cleaned from top to bottom, shelves put up 
and sacks filled with straw; then we pre- 
scribed the diet and fed them just as we 
pleased. All this was a shocking breach of 
propriety, and I have no doubt the surgeon 
of the regiment was somewhere behind a 
fence, white with rage. Never mind, our 
men were delighted, and one dear little blue- 
eyed boy, who had blown his lungs through 
his fife, was never tired of saying and look- 
ing his thanks. Finally we persuaded the 
General to break up the little den, and order 
all the sick sent to general hospitals, and our 
breaches of etiquette came to an end." 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 121 

Our regiment had only been camped a few Battle 

. . ^ oi Bu! 

days on Cameron Run when the advance Run. 
against the enemy at Manassas was ordered, 
and we two (G. and E.) watched the brigade 
break camp and march down the peaceful 
country road, carrying Joe away from us. 
We stood alone, and looked after them as 
long as they were in sight, and then made 
our way back to Washington. 

After skirmishing at Fairfax Court House 
and Centreville, in which the regiment was 
engaged more or less, the battle of Bull Run 
was fought, July 21st, the regiment taking 
position on the extreme left at Blackburn's 
Ford. 

Here Colonel Davies, owing to the unfor- 
tunate condition of Colonel Miles, was left 
virtually in command of the reserve division. 

J. H. zvrites from Ca^np near Centreville. 

July 19, i86r. 

We had hardly got here 3^esterday when 
we heard heavy cannonading in the S. W. 
It proved to be the firing at Bull's Run, 
where our troops were repulsed. A com- 
plete blunder — the old story of a masked 
battery and an insufficient infantry force 
sent against it. We expected a renewal of 
the fight last night. We slept on our arms, 



122 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

and were prepared for action at any hour. 
Nothing occurred, however. Our scouts 
bring in word that the enemy are receiving 
large reinforcements, and we on our side are 
also getting them. Everything points to a 
great battle. 

July 20th. We march at 6 p. m., and 
there will be a great battle within twenty- 
four hours unless the rebels retreat. Our 
brigade takes the advance on the left wing. 
We can see the enemy from a high hill near 
here concentrating their troops. Our pick- 
ets were firing all night, and we slept on our 
arras. I am well, though 1 feel the want of 
sleep and the constant anxiety. We are all 
in good heart, officers and men. 

On the battle-field near Bull Run, 

Sunday, 21, 12.45 p. m. 
Our brigade is making a demonstration 
in the face of the enemy and a fight is going 
on on the right of the line five or six miles 
off. The enemy's batteries do not return 
our fire. We see immense masses of troops 
moving, and the supposition is that the ene- 
my is trying to outflank us on the left. We 
started (from Centreville) at half-past two 
this morning. 

The following little note, hardly legible 
now, written in pencil on a scrap of soiled 
and crumpled paper, made its way to us at 
Washington and told the rest of the story : 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 123 

Evening. Half-past seven. 

A complete rout. The Sixteenth safe. 
We are making a final stand. J. H. 

Mother to G. and E. 

Monday, July 22, 1S61. 

My dear Girls : We have had an exciting 
night and morning. Just as we were going 
to bed last night we heard the distant sound 
of an " Extra ; '' it was very late ; everybody 
in bed. We had been out to the meetmg of 
the Evangelical Alliance at Dr. McAuley's 
Church. We were all undressed, but waited 
with anxiety till the sound approached 
nearer and nearer; but made up our minds 
not to rush down and buy one, as it might 
be a hoax — till at last a tremendous howl of 
three boys through loth street gave us the 
news of a "great battle at Bull's Run.*' 
"Rebels defeated! Batteries all taken!" 
We thanked God for this much, and went to 
our beds to try and sleep patiently till morn- 
ing. We have now had the newspaper ac- 
counts as far as they go, but long for further 
and later. Your two letters of Saturday, 
Georgy, we have also this morning ; many 
thanks for both ; rejoiced to hear good news 
from Joe so direct, and that you are both 
well and busy. It is better so. I feel this 
morning as if I could fly right off to Wash- 
ington, and can scarcely resist the impulse 
to start at once. Would you like to see 
me? . . . 



124 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



The girls are packing a box for your dis- 
tribution at the hospitals, — Jane rolling a 
fresh lot of bandages. Poor Kate, our house- 
maid, looks quite distressed to-day, thinking 
her brother may have been foremost in the 
ranks, as the paper stated "the First Massa- 
chusetts led in the advance, and had suffered 
much." . . . Dr. Tyng made an inspiriting 
address last night to a densely crowded 
audience. He said he was greatly surprised 
to see such an assemblage when he had sup- 
posed the city deserted, and thought such an 
audience was a sufficient appeal without a 
word from him, as showing the deep interest 
manifested in this '' righteous " cause — " I 
say rigJiteons, for I firmly believe if there 
ever was a righteous, holy war, direct from 
the hand of God, this is one." . . . There 
were some very interesting letters read from 
the different chaplains, and some from the 
men themselves of different regiments. Dr. 
Hoge has resigned, and left his charge to 
Dr. Spring, on account of his attachment to 
the South ! and his desire to be there at this 
time. / say joy go w^th him, but some of 
the people are unwilling to receive his resig- 
nation. ... I have no news for you; we see 
no one, and are supposed to be out of town. 
It is perfectly cool and comfortable here, 
and we are at present better satisfied to be 
here. By and by we may run off for a while. 
God bless you both, my dear children ! 1 
wish I w^ere close at your side. 

Your loving Mother. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 125 

A.H. IV.to G andE. 

July 22, 1861. 

My dear Girls : Since Mother's letter 
was sent this morning we have had some 
heavy hours. At noon we got the first 
extra with the despatch announcing the 
defeat and retreat of our troops — defeat, be- 
cause retreat, or vice versa, whichever it 
was. It is a total rout of our grand army of 
the Union. All guns gone, etc. ; but the sad- 
dest is the vast number of wounded and half 
dead. I have no doubt your hands are full, 
at some one of the hospitals. Hour after 
hour to-day went on and we heard nothing 
from you ; had nothing but the horrible ex- 
tras and our consciousness of your anxiety 
and suspense. We packed the trunk for you 
very busily and tried not to think too hard. 
At five p. m. your despatch came, dear E., 
and such a load was removed from our hearts. 
Joe not only was safe, but you had seen him. 
Thank Heaven ! We could hardly make out 
from the confused papers what his position 
had been in the fight. . . . 

Mary and Robert drove in at six to hear 
what we had heard, and met Ned at the 
Ferry, carrying out your despatch. Robert 
brought his valise in case Mother wanted 
him to escort her to Washington, but the 
immediate anxiety she felt for you having 
been relieved, she feels it is safest to wait 
till she gets a letter from you. So many 
troops will probably encumber the roads on 



126 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

the way to Washington to-morrow, and there 
is so much chance of a riot in Baltimore, as 
Robert suggests — that it is more prudent to 
wait. She wants to go for her own satisfac- 
tion as well as yours you know, so you must 
not think it desirable for you to oppose it. 
If she could only have been with you these 
two horrible days she would have been so 
glad. She is anxious to do something for 
the army and thinks she ought to go on and 
be matron in the Alexandria Hospital. We 
laugh, and remind her of her fortitude when 
Dr. Buck tried to vaccinate her ! . . . And 
now for the boxes. Mrs. Willard Parker is 
ready to make the largest grants. Has 
packed one box to-day, and is anxious to 
have it go to you that she may know what 
disposition is made of the things. Let us 
know when you receive them — one French 
black trunk, one wooden packing box. Mrs. 
Parker has a huge box packed, but I shall ad- 
vise that one going to the Sanitary Commis- 
sion. Your box has six dozen sheets in it 
from her, and the trunk is filled with our 
shirts, slippers, etc. 

In haste and with all love, 

A. H. W. 

P. S. Also one box of currant jelly. All 
will be directed to the Ebbitt House, except 
Mrs. Parker's box. 

Thread and needles are invaluable in 
camp. We hear that after every march bits 
of uniforms fly all over the camp, and that 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



127 



one man patched his black shoulder with a 
sky-blue scrap begged from a brother volun- 
teer. You know the men haven't always a 
sixpence to spare for the sutler every time a 
button is needed, and our two hundred 
thread cases will go very little way in a regi- 
ment. . . . Everybody is knitting yarn socks 
for the men — all the young girls and all the 
old women. Everybody means to make one 
pair each before winter. Cousin Margaret 
Hodge has set all her old ladies at work at the 
Asylum. We have set up four to-night for 
ourselves, and Kate and Mary the cook are to 
have their turn too. . . . But the deed of Mrs. 
Lowell of Boston, sister-in-law^ of the poet, 
puts all others to insignificance. She being 
a lady of means and leisure, took the Gov- 
ernment contract for woolen shirts in Massa- 
chusetts and is having them cut and made 
under her own eyes by poor women at good 
prices, and the sum that would have gone 
into some wretched contractor's pocket has 
already blessed hundreds of needy w^omen. 

Mother to E. and G, 

Tuesday Morning, July 23, '61. 
God be praised for that telegram ! What 
a day was yesterday to us ; and what a day 
must it have been to you, my dear Eliza ! 
The terrible news, the conflicting reports, 
the almost unendurable suspense we were 
in, the distance from you at such a time ! 
Altogether it was a time to be remembered ! 



128 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

We are thankful indeed, unspeakably so, to 
hear this morning by your nice letter, 
Georgy, of Joe's quiet sleep upon the sofa 
at your side ! How mercifully are we dealt 
with ! when we think of the families in our 
land who are this day in sorrow as the result 
of this terrible battle. . . . There is a tre- 
mendous sensation throughout the city in 
consequence of this news — crowds are rush- 
ing continually to the news offices, and all 
we have seen are wearing looks of sadness 
and disappointment, following as this does 
so immediately upon the accounts of the 
easy manner in which Fairfax, Centreville 
and Bull's Run were captured, and the flying 
of the enemy before our soldiers. 

G. M. W. writes : 

Washington, July 22, 1861. 

Mj^ dear Cousin Margaret: This is the 
third attempt I have made to finish a letter 
to you. Joe is safe and quietly sleeping on 
the sofa by us. You know all about this 
total defeat — our army is entirely broken up, 
all the army stores, three of the batteries, 
ammunition, baggage, everything, in the 
hands of the enemy — Centreville retaken by 
them, Fairfax C. H. retaken, and our troops 
scattered in and about Washington. Every- 
thing was in our hands and success seemed 
certain at Bull Run, when from some cause 
or other a panic was created, our men fell 
back, the rebels seized the moment for a bold 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR jzg 

rush and we were entirely routed. Joe says 
there never was a more complete defeat. 
All last nig-ht the soldiers were arriving in 
all sorts of conveyances, and on horses cut 
from ambulances and baggage wagons. An 
officer from Bull Run told us he saw four 
soldiers on one horse ; and so they came fly- 
ing back to Washington in all directions. 
Colonel Miles' division, in which Joe's regi- 
ment was, was held as a reserve at Black- 
burn's Ford on the left and only came into 
active duty when the rout began — they had 
a sharp engagement with 5000 in a '' gully " — 
lost only two men from the Brigade and 
none from the i6th and retired in order, first 
to Centerville, where orders met them to fall 
back on Fairfax C. H. Here they slept half 
an hour last night, when they were again 
ordered to retreat to Washington, which 
order they have followed as far as Alexandria, 
and expect now to be stationed there some lit- 
tle time. The dead and wounded were left 
in the hands of the enem}^ and one of the offi- 
cers told me it would be unnecessary to ask 
for the sick, for the rebels were killing them : 
he knew it had been done in some cases, 
and undoubtedly would be in all. Colonel 
Davies and two of the officers came up from 
their camp at Alexandria with Joe, and all 
four of them were wretched-looking men, 
dirty, hungry and utterly tired out. Joe had 
not had his high boots off since he left Alex- 
andria on the i6th. The day that McDowell's 



I30 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

divnsion marched south, Eliza and I were out 
at the camp to see them pass, and our own 
regiment march. Eleven thousand fine-look- 
ing fellows filed past us as we stood at 
the cross-roads, — and disappeared down the 
quiet country lane. What a horrid coming 
back it has been! ** We shall not see this 
place very soon again," they said as they 
packed up their things at Alexandria, and 
marched off, singing as they went. And in 
spite of all this, and in full knowledge of 
the great outnumbering of our men on the 
other side. General Scott sat quietly in St. 
John's Church that battle-Sunday through a 
tremendously heavy sermon, shook hands 
with me at the church door, and told us all 
that ** we should have good news in the 
morning and that we were sure to beat the 
enemy." Colonel Davies has seen him this 
morning too, and he is quite cheerful and 
composed. The Zouaves, one Massachusetts 
regiment, and the 69th and 71st New York 
have been the greatest sufferers — very few of 
the Zouaves are left. The fighting was all 
from behind masked batteries on the enemy's 
side. Lieutenant Bradford told me that he 
had to ride down the lines and give the 
order to retreat. Our men were all lying 
on their faces, and the air filled with shot 
and shell and not a rebel's head to be seen. 
When Colonel Davies was asked what lost 
the day, he said ''green leaves and fine offi- 
cering on the enemy's side." In open field, 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 131 

they all say they should have beaten the 
rebels entirely. . . . Now he and Joe are off 
on business in a hard rain, and go to Alex- 
andria at two, where the regiment is estab- 
lished in the old camp — at Cameron Run. 
Yesterday and last night were hard to bear, 
but what with General Scott's assurances, 
General Ripley's, Mr. Dixon's and Judge 
Davies' comforting little visits, w^e got along, 
jumping up every few moments through 
the night whenever a horse dashed by the 
house or an ambulance rumbled along. 
Now we shall be as much as possible at the 
camp in Alexandria, — for how long I can't 
say. . . . We have had an encounter with 
Miss Dix — that is rather the way to express 
it. Splendid as her career has been, she 
would succeed better with more gracious- 
ness of manner. However, we brought her 
to terms, and shall get along better. 

Eliza adds, also to Cousin Margaret : 

The sick and wounded are doing well. 
Georgy and I have been to all the hospitals 
and find them very well supplied, for boxes 
of garments and stores of all kinds have 
poured in ever since the battle. It has been 
the one cheering thing of the times. . . . We 
hear from the surgeons we have met here 
that very many of the wounded who were 
left behind had their wounds carefully 
dressed before the rout began, and they are 



132 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

constantly being brought into the city in 
ambulances, having reached the camps on 
the other side by slow stages. 

In this same battle of Bull Run the 2d 
Conn, was in the thick of the fight, and its 
surgeon. Dr. Bacon (your Uncle Frank), found 
himself separated from the troops and in the 
midst of a group of southern wounded, for 
whom he cared under the impression that we 
were victorious and he within our own lines. 
He ordered them to surrender their arms, 
threw most of these into a pond near by, 
and saved a pistol and two dangerous knives 
as trophies. They are those that afterwards 
hung on the banisters of his house in New 
Haven. One of the knives was more than a 
foot long and home-made from a horse shoer's 
file, with rough home-made scabbard ; the 
other, an ugly dirk, was made in England and 
engraved //^^^(f "Arkansas toothpick." The 
revolver belonged to the wounded command- 
ing officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Gardner, 
leading a Georgia regiment. He insisted 
upon giving his watch to Dr. B. as a return 
for the good care received. — (It was after- 
wards returned to him.) — When the arms 
were in the horse pond and the rebels cared 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 133 

for, the Doctor made the startling discovery 
that he was alone — our army in retreat, and 
he virtually a prisoner to the rebels. He 
left hastily, before the truth dawned upon 
Colonel Gardner's mind ! 

R. S. H, to G. 

Astoria, July 23. 

We are trying to look things in the 
face, — like the great apostle, cast down but 
not disheartened. 

Of course the first thought of us civilians 
is to take care of the wounded. I send 
enclosed a cheque from Cousin Edward and 
one from m.yself. If you find you cannot 
use these amounts satisfactorily at Washing- 
ton let us know and we will send materials 
as they may be wanted. Telegraph to 
Howland and Aspinwall (to G. G. lor me) if 
anything is wanted immediately. . . . If you 
want anything specifically in the way of hos- 
pital stores, wines, currant jellies, &c., tele- 
graph first and write more fully afterwards. 

H. R. W. to E. 

New York, July 23. 

Abby is in the front parlor reading the 
papers. It is quite useless to say anything 
about going into the country just now. If 
we are away from the daily papers, or if they 
are delayed an hour the girls get into a per- 
fect fever; besides, Abby, you know, has 



134 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

decided never to go to the country again ! 
Because she took a sea bath at Mary's and 
felt weak after it, she thinks the country 
doesn't agree with her! . . . Aunt Emily is 
going up to Lenox the last of next week, I 
believe. I hope so, for Uncle E. needs 
change ; he looks miserably, has a constant 
cough, and seems quite run down ; though 
when Aunt E. says, '' You don't feel very 
bright to-day, do you, dear ?" he is quite 
indignant and makes a feeble attempt to sing 
**the Cock and the Hen,'' or to whistle 
'' Dixie." 



CHAPTER III. 

The repfiments called out for three months Three 

111 months' 

were now about disbanding, though a large troops 
number of the men at once re-enlisted for tZdcd. 
the war. 

A. H. W. to E. 

July 27, 10 a. m. 
My dear Eliza: I have just been up to the 
corner to see a sorry sight, the return of the 
69th Regiment — oh, so shabby, so worn and 
weary — all sorts of hats and shirts and some 
with hardly any clothes at all, staggering along 
under their knapsacks which they should never 
have been allowed to carry up Broadway. The 
surging mass of men and women locking arms 
and walking with the soldiers, was wonderful. 
It was a wild, tumultuous, promiscuous rush — 
not a march. Yesterday afternoon the 8th came 
through. I could see from the balcony how 
brown they looked and sturdy, and trimmer 
than the 69th. The girls and Mother saw them 
from Brady's window. The cheers and applause 



136 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

they got down town, I suppose. There was not 
much of it up here — there was too much crying. 
Even policemen were in tears. What a dreadful 
collapse the " Grand Army " of the Potomac 
suffered, I don't think the North needed such 
a lesson ! Perhaps they did — perhaps the peo- 
ple have felt as if they could march down to 
Richmond whenever they chose. . . . Scott sent 
an inefficient general (known as a perfect wind- 
bag among brother officers) without commissa- 
riat, without organization, without proper regi- 
mental officers, against what he knew to be a 
fortified camp of a hundred thousand men. The 
one great blunder was that the battle was fought 
at all. All other minor blunders — and how 
many there were ! are included in this. . . . 

Jefferson Davis is free now to do what he 
pleases — flushed with success. Everyone says 
this battle has been as good to him as an in- 
crease of a hundred thousand fighting men. . . . 
He will perhaps attack Washington itself. The 
papers speak of the danger of this— and we all 
feel that the city is in greater peril than it was 
in those April days. Under such circumstances 
we do not quite relish your idea of going to 
Alexandria. You would be cut off at once, in 
that town, from communication or escape. One 
thought that checked Mother's desire to go im- 
mediately to Washington last Monday was the 
idea that on reaching there she might find that 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 137 

women and children had been ordered to leave — 
for fear of an attack from Beauregard. That 
order may come yet. My dear sisters, I do not 
want to write anything depressing, but you 
must make up your minds after this disaster 
for a long war^ an impoverished country, many 
reverses. So far, you have had but one thought 
— that of immediate success. General Scott's 
plan of closing in on the rebels in Virginia and 
crushing them as in his fingers, is blown to the 
winds. We are to have a protracted and some- 
what equal struggle, but the North is in ear- 
nest ; its fault has been ^z;^;'-eagerness. Men 
there always have been enough of, — let them 
have proper officers ; and as to money. Congress 
ought to be ashamed to haggle about direct tax- 
ation but pass the bill at once and provide ways 
and means. ... I am very glad the boxes had 
all arrived safely. Next day you would get 
Aunt Emily's two barrels, and Uncle Edward's 
$250 in money. Buy whatever you see is needed 
or the surgeons and nurses want. Don't wait 
for red tape. If it is mattresses, cots, pillows, 
spirit lamps, food, sheeting, flannel, etc. to wrap 
wounded men in, or what not. You can have 
plenty of money, and it could not be better 
spent than in fitting up a hospital even if that is 
government work. Carry wanted me to send 
you some money for her, but I told her I would 
wait and see whether you could buy the things 



138 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

you needed in Washington, or whether it had 
better be spent here. Please let me know. We 
shall have enough more things to fill a barrel 
early next week. Shall we put in the bandage 
roller, or are the hospital surgeons provided? 
I am sorry that Mrs. Leavitt did not send you a 
list of the contents of her boxes. . , . 

Don't save up things if you see them needed. 
It is easy to buy more slippers and mosquito net 
here, and it does not cost us any time or a stitch 
of effort to send more clothing. The Society 
has plenty on hand. Mrs. Parker jumped up 
with pleasure when we sent round the other day 
to see if she could let us have a few things for 
the trunk, and granted enough, as you saw, to fill 
two boxes and over. She was delighted at the 
idea of their being distributed where she could 
hear about it, and I must manage to put some 
scraps of your accounts together and tell her 
what you say. There is a fresh lot of handker- 
chiefs under way. Maria Gilman hemmed them 
on her machine. 

Mother to E. 

Brevoort Place, Late in July. 
My dear Eliza : If the regiments are all to 
be stationary for some time you and G. might 
run on for a visit. I have given up my plan of 
going to you for the present unless you should 
need me. We are now talking again of Lenox 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 139 

for the summer.— Abby and Jane are both wilt- 
ing daily in the hot city, and I feel troubled at 
their being here, though we are unwilling to 
move off further away from you girls. We 
don't know at what time the Southern army 
may make an attack. I have no idea that they 
will wait patiently till fall, though our side 
might, and the daily expectation of another bat- 
tle keeps us here. It is intensely hot, noisy, 
dusty and distracting. The streets seem filled 
w^ith a perfect rabble all the while. . . . Mary 
and the children are looking perfectly well. 
Baby Una grows fat and lovely by the hour — 
she is a splendid child. Bertha is a witch, but 
fascinating in her badness. Little May is very 
much interested in hemming a handkerchief for 
some poor soldier, which I basted for her, and 
am to send on to you when finished ! She feels 
as if she had the whole army on her hands ! in 
this important piece of work. ... It is pleasant 
to knoAv of your seeing so many friends. I 
think you are right to stay in Washington in- 
stead of Alexandria — the latter place must be 
intolerable, — but don't wear yourselves out. 

Social formalities were entirely abandoned 
in Washington in war time. The Ebbitt 
House public parlors were on a level with 
F street and the windows were always open. 
Any friends in passing would catch a glimpse 



140 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



of US and happen in for comradeship, giving 
bits of news, and offering kindly services. 
One group of four Philadelphia officers were 
especially friendly and helpful. The lack of 
conventionality now and then, though, had 
its drawbacks, as G's note shows — addressed 
to " Mrs. Howland — Parlor'' and sent down 
from the bedroom one evening to E., who, 
not fortunate in escaping, was captured by 
the enemy : — 

" Find out incidentally before Dr. E. goes, 
where Mr. Channing is to preach. Mind, I don't 
want to accept an invitation to go with him. I 
saw him, when I was shutting the blinds up 
here, pass the windows of the parlor, and stop 
and look in, and go on, and stop, and turn back 
and come in — ! and then I banged the blinds 
with glee, and am just popping into bed. Shall 
expect you up about midnight." 

A. H. W. to E. 

lOTH Street, July 31. 

My dear Eliza : We were quite touched by a 
note and a message from your farmer Thomson, 
and I write at once that no time may be lost in 
carrying out the generous wishes of the people 
on the place. As soon as they received the par- 
ticulars of the battle of Bull Run, Thomson 
took up a subscription among them, for the 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 141 

wounded soldiers, and raised hventy dollars. He 
took it to Mrs. Wolcott, asking her to put it into 
the Society's fund for buying hospital clothing. 
But she suggested that a more satisfactory way 
would be to send it to you, to be spent on the 
spot, in any way you thought best. . . . Thom- 
son preferred this himself, and hopes to hear 
from you that the twenty dollars are well laid 
out. 

E. to J, H. in camp. 

Washington, August — . 
Hurrah for you, to be offered the Colonelcy 
of the regiment! I am glad, however, that you 
have no wish to take it. I shrink from any such 
responsibility for you. 

Dr. Bacon came in last evening and we had a 
nice pleasant chat. His regiment, the 2nd Con- 
necticut, goes home to-day to be mustered out. 
We saw them march down yesterday to give up 
their arms and were struck with their fine manly 
appearance and precision in marching. Dr. 
Bacon is anxious to come back to the army and 
hopes that one regiment at least may be formed 
of the three just returning, in which he may 
serve. He has left one of his patients at the 
new Columbian College Hospital and com- 
mended him to our care. We shall see him this 
afternoon and take him jelly, slippers, etc. The 
slippers are from a large boxful which Lenox 



142 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Hodge has sent us, our commission. They are 
scarce at the hospitals and in great demand. 
Cousin M. Hodge writes of her happiness at 
hearing of your safety and welfare. Columbian 
College Hospital is just opened and only half 
organized, but already crowded. It will be nice, 
but now they have few comforts or conveni- 
ences, scarcely any sheets, no water, etc. One of 
G's nurse friends is there working like a slave, 
as are the other five women nurses. We spent 
the morning there helping them, reading to the 
men, writing letters for them, etc. 

G. writing in 1864 of the annoyances ot 
those first days, said: 

'' No one knows, who did not watch the thing 
from the beginning, how much opposition, how 
much ill-will, how much unfeeling want of 
thought, these women nurses endured. Hardly 
a surgeon whom I can think of, received or 
treated them with even common courtesy. Gov- 
ernment had decided that women should be em- 
ployed, and the army surgeons — unable, there- 
fore, to close the hospitals against them — deter- 
mined to make their lives so unbearable that 
they should be forced in self-defence to leave. 
It seemed a matter of cool calculation, just how 
much ill-mannered opposition would be requi- 
site to break up the system. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 143 

Some of the bravest women I have ever known 
were among this first company of army nurses. 
They saw at once the position of affairs, the 
attitude assumed by the surgeons and the wall 
against which they were expected to break and 
scatter ; and they set themselves to undermine 
the whole thing. 

None of them were 'strong-minded.' Some 
of them were women of the truest refinement 
and culture ; and day after day they quietly and 
patiently worked, doing, by order of the sur- 
geon, things which not one of those gentlemen 
would have dared to ask of a woman whose 
male relative stood able and ready to defend 
her and report him. I have seen small white 
hands scrubbing floors, washing windows, and 
performing all menial offices. I have known 
women, delicately cared for at home, half fed in 
hospitals, hard worked day and night, and given, 
when sleep must be had, a wretched closet just 
large enough for a camp bed to stand in. I 
have known surgeons who purposely and in- 
geniously arranged these inconveniences with 
the avowed intention of driving away all women 
from their hospitals. 

These annoyances could not have been en- 
dured by the nurses but for the knowledge that 
they were pioneers, who were, if possible, to 
gain standing ground for others, — who must 
create the position they wished to occupy. This, 



144 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



and the infinite satisfaction of seeing from day 
to day sick and dying men comforted in their 
weary and dark hours, comforted as they never 
would have been but for these brave women, 
was enough to carry them through all and even 
more than they endured. 

At last, the wall against which they were to 
break, began to totter ; the surgeons were most 
unwilling to see it fall, but the knowledge that 
the faithful, gentle care of the women-nurses 
had saved the lives of many of their patients, 
and that a small rate of mortality, or remark- 
able recoveries in their hospitals, reflected credit 
immediately upon themselves^ decided them to 
give way, here and there, and to make only a 
show of resistance. They could not do without 
the women-nurses; they knew it, and the women 
knew that they knew it, and so there came to be 
a tacit understanding about it. 

When the war began, among the many sub_ 
jects on which our minds presented an entire 
blank was that sublime, unfathomed mystery — 
' Professional Etiquette.' Out of the army, in 
practice which calls itself ^ civil,' the etiquette 
of the profession is a cold spectre, whose pres- 
ence is felt everywhere, if not seen ; but in the 
Medical Department of the Army, it was an 
absolute Bogie, which stood continually in one's 
path, which showed its narrow, ugly face in 
camps and in hospitals, in offices and in wards ; 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 145 

which put its cold paw on private benevolence, 
whenever benevolence was fool enough to per- 
mit it ; which kept shirts from ragged men, and 
broth from hungry ones ; an evil Regular Army 
Bogie, which in full knowledge of empty kitch- 
ens and exhausted 'funds,' quietly asserted that 
it had need of nothing, and politely bowed 
Philanthropy out into the cold. 

All this I was profoundly ignorant of for the 
first few months of the war, and so innocently 
began my rounds with my little jelly pots and 
socks knit at home for the boys — when, sud- 
denly, I met the Bogie ; — and what a queer thing 
he was ! It was a hot summer morning, not a 
breath of air coming in at the open windows — 
the hospital full of sick men, and the nurses all 
busy, so I sat by a soldier and fanned him 
through the long tedious hours. Poor man, he 
was dying, and so grateful to me, so afraid I 
should tire myself. I could have fanned him all 
day for the pleasure it was to help him, but the 
Bogie came in, and gave me a look of icy 
inquiry. My hand ought to have been paralysed 
at once, but somehow or other, it kept moving 
on with the fan in it, while I stupidly returned 
the Bogie's stare. 

Finding that I still lived, he quietly made his 
plan, left the room without saying a word, and 
in ten minutes afterward developed his tactics. 
He was a small Bogie — knowing what he 



146 LETTERS OF A FAMTLY 

wanted to do, but not quite brave enough to do 
it alone ; so he got Miss Dix, who was on hand, 
to help him, and together, they brought all the 
weight of professional indignation to bear upon 
me. I ' must leave immediately.' ' Who was 
I, that I should bring myself and my presump- 
tuous fan, without direct commission from the 
surgeon-general,' into the hospital ? ' Not only 
must I leave at once, but I must never returti.' 

This was rather a blow, it must be confessed. 
The moment for action had arrived — I rapidly 
reviewed my position, notified myself that I was 
the Benevolent Public, and decided that the sick 
soldiers were, in some sort, the property of the 
B. P. Then I divulged my tactics. I informed 
the Bogies (how well that rhymes with Fogies) 
that I had ordered my carriage to return at 
such a hour, that the sun was hot, that I had no 
intention whatever of walking out in it, and 
that, in short, I had decided to remain. What 
there was in these simple facts, very quietly an- 
nounced, to exorcise the demon, I am unable to 
say, but the gratifying result was that half an 
hour afterward Professional Etiquette made a 
most salutary repast off its own remarks ; that 
I spent the remainder of the day where I was ; 
that both the Bogies, singly, called the next 
morning to say — 'Please, sir, it wasn't me^ sir, 
— 'twas the other boy, sir ; ' and from that time 
the wards were all before me." 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



147 



/. S. W. to G. and E. 

Dear Girls: Your full, interesting letters 
have come in and given great relief. G's of to- 
day is certainly altogether more cheerful in tone 
than Eliza's of Tuesday, and very naturally. 
We are beginning to "look up" a little, too. 
Your rebuff by Miss Dix has been the subject of 
great indignation, but we all devoutly hope you 
will not mind it in the least. . . . Whatever you 
do, go in and win. Outflank the Dix by any 
and every means in your power, remembering 
that prison visitors and hospital visitors and 
people who really desire to do good, have taken 
no notice of obstacles except to vanquish them, 
and as soon as one avenue was closed have 
turned with perfect persistence to another. We 
shall be very much disappointed if you do not 
establish some sort of relations with the hos- 
pitals, at least enough to give you free access, 
and to make a reliable channel for such things 
as we can send. You ought certainly to get 
those boxes to-day if not sooner. . . . All your 
details are very interesting. Pray, send any 
that you collect, and make Joe write out or 
dictate to one of you a connected story of what 
he saw and did from the time of the advance 
up to the Monday morning when he came in. 
It will be invaluable, and ought to be done 
while it is fresh. Your '''■ metnoires pour servir" 
may immortalize you yet. . . . We have seen only 



148 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

a few people the last day or two, Mr. Denny, 
F. Bond, and Col. Perkins. All cheerful, hope- 
ful and undaunted, say we can have ten men to 
every one lost now ; that there is settled deter- 
mination to use every resource to the uttermost. 
Uncle E. says, setting his teeth, *'to the last 
drop of my blood !" Abby desponds. Thinks 
Scott to blame, that his tide of fortune is turn- 
ing, or that he is childish, or, at best, that he let 
the cabinet have its way this time for the sake 
of saying, " I told you so." We begin to grin 
now when Abby begins to croak, but there is 
certainly something in what she says. Don't 
keep drumming about our going away. We 
should have been crazy if w^e had been in sus- 
pense in some small country place the last week 
or two. When things subside, and look nearly 
settled for the present, we will take our owm 
time and go. . . . Frank Goddard is in the 
rebel army at Sewall's Point. '' Hopes it will 
make no difference in our pleasant relations." 
Hm ! ! ! perhaps it won't. 

Why don't you come home ? Now's your 
chance, if at all. The rebel army before Wash- 
ington will melt away like a cloud and come 
down again suddenly in Kentucky, Missouri, 
Jeff knows where, where we are weak and un- 
expecting, and leave us sitting like fools be- 
hind our laborious entrenchments that nobody 
means to take. . . . How can you doubt Fre- 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 149 

mont ? There has been no positive charge against 
him from any respectable source, only malevo- 
lent rumors^ filling the air, coming no doubt 
from the Blairs and other malignant personal 
enemies who hate him, because they are slave- 
holders and he is just now the apostle of libera- 
tion. I announce my adhesion still and my 
painful anxiety that he should retrieve himself 
in Missouri against all the heavy odds of for- 
tune. ... It is pitiful to see how great and gen- 
eral a defection from him has grown out of ab- 
solutely nothing (so far) of any authority. . . . 
Take some measures to make Frank Bacon let 
his beard grow ; tell him to go to Jericho with 
his " Victor Emmanuel." He is in the late 
fashion, by the bye ; so much the worse. Why 
should a man who can look like a knight of the 
table of the blameless King voluntarily look 
like a Lynn shoemaker? 

" Yet, oh fair maid, thy mirth refrain, 
Thy hand is on a lion's mane." 

Quote me to him; who's afraid? . . . Good- 
bye. I hope the highly accommodating Provi- 
dence which directs, or rather acquiesces in all 
G.'s movements, will afford you both every fa- 
cility for whatever you want to do. . . . 



Hospital 
work in 
Wash- 
ington 
and at 



150 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Having- established our own position and 
made it clear that we had no intention of 
being bluffed off, we were accepted by the 
home, surgeons and Miss Dix at our own valuation 
(purposely made high !) and from that mo- 
ment our path was as a shining light. All 
hospitals were open to us, and our relations 
with Miss Dix became most cordial and 
friendly, as the following notes, among many 
received from her (nearly all undated), show. 

My dear Miss Woolsey : I am thankful you 
are going to the hospital. Express to the good 
nurses my kind regards and purpose of seeing 
them so soon as I am able. Thanks for the 
lovely flowers, with cordial regards to Mrs. H. 
I have very little strength ; excuse brevity and 
abruptness. I must have some consultation with 
you so soon as I am better^ concerning the position 
of the nurses. I fear they are over-tasked. 
Very cordially yours, 

D. L. Dix. 

My dear Miss Woolsey : Will you give a little 
attention to the hospitals at Alexandria through 
next week for me if convenient ? Any requisi- 
tion on my stores will always be promptly met. 
I still feel that all the nurses who are really 
conscientious are very heavily tasked. 
Yours most cordially, 

D. L, Dix. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 151 

Receiving the nurses, and seeing that they 
were safely started on their way to various 
hospitals, and reporting to the New York 
committees on their services therein were 
among our occupations in the first year of 
the war. / 

r>r. Elizabeth Blackwell to G. M. W. 

New York, July 30th. 
My dear Miss Woolsey : I was extremely glad 
to receive your excellent letter yesterday. Had 
I known that you were residing in Washington, 
I should have requested you sometime before to 
collect information for our society. We had be- 
come extremely anxious about these women ; 
we could not learn who had safely arrived, where 
they were, what they were doing, nor how they 
fared in any respect; and a check of considerable 
amount, sent to one of them, was unacknowl- 
edged. As we had pledged ourselves to protect 
these women, pay their expenses, their wages, 
etc., you may imagine that we felt extremely 
uneasy about them. . . . 

I will ask you now, to find out for us where 
Miss E. H. and Mrs. M. S. are placed. They 
were sent from New York by the night train, 
July 25th, direct to Miss Dix, and should have 
reached Washington last Friday morning. 

Will you also visit the Georgetown Hospital 
and report on two nurses whom we sent on last 



152 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



Saturday. We should like some unprejudiced 
account of the management of this Hospital. . . . 

I will see that any nurse going to Alexandria 
in future is furnished with a certificate signed by 
some proper authority here. We feel much 
obliged to you for all the trouble you have 
taken in this matter. . . . 

As the government payment commences Aug. 
5th, from that time our society hands the nurses 
over to the government. 

I remain very truly yours, 

E. Blackwell. 

The nurses were required to take the oath 
of allegiance to the government, and to secure 
passes, in all of which G. helped them, also 
securing government ambulances to carry 
them to their destination : — 

"Dr. Asch begs to inform Miss Woolsey that 
he has seen the officer in charge of the passes 
into Virginia. It will be impossible to procure 
them this evening as the office closes at 3 p. m., 
and in addition it will be necessary for the 
nurses to present themselves at General Porter's 
office for the purpose of making affirmation as 
to their loyalty, — when, on presenting the accom- 
panying note. Dr. Asch trusts that there will be 
no delay in the accomplishment of their object." 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 153 

Surg.-General's Office, Aug. 27, 1861. 
Dr. Wood has requested Dr. Spencer to 
attend to the wishes of Miss Woolsey (in regard 
to the ambulances). 

He very much regrets he is prevented from 
attending personally. 

Government hospitals were multiplying- in 
Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria. 
As regiments were ordered forward extem- 
porized camp hospitals were broken up, and 
patients were sent back to these large gen- 
eral ones in the rear. 

By this time J. H. had ordered his horses 
and carriage sent on from Fishkill for our use 
and we were constantl}^ driving about, seeing 
where the need was in camps and hospitals 
and supplying wants. In order to make our 
way to the many outlying hospitals about 
Washington and also to visit Joe's camp over 
the river, it was necessary for us to be pro- 
vided with passes — not always an easy thing 
to procure. General Scott, however, came 
to the rescue and gave the following compre- 
hensive one which was ''good daily '' during 
the rest of our stay in Washington : — 



154 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Headquarters of the Army, 

Washington, Aug. 19, 1861. 
Mrs. Joseph Howland (wife of the Adjutant of 
the New York i6th Regt.), sister Miss G. M. 
Woolsey, and man-servant (Stanislas Moritz) 
will be permitted to pass the Bridges to Alexan- 
dria (and return) and are commended to the 
courtesy of the troops. 
Good daily. 

WiNFiELD Scott. 
By command : 

H. Van Rensselaer, 

Col. and Aid de Camp. 

Armed with this we constantly dashed 
over the Long-Bridge, the carriage filled 
with all sorts of supplies from the abundant 
and unfailing stores committed to us by the 
family and friends and societies at home. 
Warm woolen socks were always one item. 
Abby and many others never ceased knitting 
them during the war. Wherever we found 
a camp-hospital in need, there we thankfully 
left comforts from home, or arranged that 
the Sanitary Commission, whose general 
office was directly opposite to the Ebbitt 
House, should supply the want. 

The Commission on its side was always 
glad to have our report and responded 
promptly to all our suggestions. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 155 

A few letters among very many will be 
enough to show the feeling on all sides. 

Sanitary Commission, Washington, D. C. 

Treasury Building, Aug. 17th, 1861. 
Miss Woolsey : In absence of Mr. Olmsted I 
answer your note in regard to supplies for the 
25th N. Y. We will give immediate attention 
to this Regiment, and will gladly furnish them 
any supplies we have on hand for their comfort. 
There are now no beds or cases to fill with 
straw in the store-room of the Commission (but 
very few have ever been sent in). Mr. Olmsted, 
however, has sent for two hundred to be for- 
warded from New York as soon as possible, and 
when these arrive a supply shall be furnished to 
the 25th. 

It has been the endeavor of the Secretary to 
send notice of the existence and objects of the 
Commission to the surgeon of each regiment : 
it may not have reached some, but the visits of 
the inspectors, now in progress, will ensure this 
notice to all. 

Mr. Olmsted wishes to make the Regimental 
Hospital comfortable^ but not to induce the reg- 
imental surgeons to retain patients who ought to 
be sent to the General Hospital. 

I am glad to be able to add, that there is a 
reasonable prospect that a new General Hos- 
pital will be immediately established in or near 



156 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Alexandria for the sick of the regiments in that 
vicinity. Pardon haste, 

With sincere regards, 

Your obedient servant, 
F. N. Knapp, for 
Fred'k Law Olmsted. 

Rev. Edimrd Walker to G. M. W. 

Hdqrs. 4TH Reg. C. V., Camp Ingalls. 
Dear Miss Woolsey : Your kind note is just 
received. 

A week ago our hospital was in wretched 
condition, but, thanks to the Sanitary Commis- 
sion ! wx are at present provided with nearly 
everything we want. If anything is needed, it 
is a few more sheets, as we have some fever 
patients who require frequent change of bed- 
clothes. The surgeon suggests that more pil- 
lows are needed and that a little Indian meal for 
gruel would be very acceptable. 

There are 51 in the regimental hospital to- 
day — 2 dangerously ill, and 30 on the sick list in 
the camp. . . . Should we find ourselves really 
in need of further aid from the Sanitary Com- 
mission I will let you know promptly, either by 
a note or by calling on you when I come in 
town. 

Yours gratefully, 

Edward Ashley Walker. 

Chaplain 4th C. V. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



157 



Camp Trenton, 1861. 
Miss Woolsey, Ehbitt House : I have the honor 
to acknowledge your favor of the 2nd inst., and 
would beg leave to say in reply, that the stores 
will be most acceptable, and in order that you 
may have no further trouble in the matter, an 
order signed by our Surgeon, Dr. Grant, will be 
presented you by our regimental wagoner, who 
will take charge of the goods for us. 

With many thanks for your interest in behalf 
of the regiment, I have the honor to remain 
Your obedient servant, 

Saml. L, Buck, 
Major 2nd Regt. N. J. V. 

G. W. M. to Frederick Law Ohnsted. 

Washington, 1861. 
My dear Mr. Olmsted: Can the Sanitary 
Commission do anything to prevent a repetition 
of the inhuman treatment the sick received last 
week, on their way from Jamestown to Alexan- 
dria ? 150 men were packed in one canal boat 
between decks, stowed so closely together that 
they were literally unable to turn over : with- 
out mattresses, without food, without decent 
attention from the time they left till their ar- 
rival. Among them were three or four men with 
the worst kind of measles put in with all the 
rest : one of them died on the boat, and another 
on the way from the boat to the hospital, and it 



158 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

will be wonderful if the disease has not com- 
municated itself to others among the 150. 
There was of course no ventilation, and the 
men say that they suffered greatly from bad air. 
A medical officer came down with the boat and 
is perhaps not responsible for the state of things 
on board ; some one must be, however, and it 
may save further suffering if the affair could be 
made public. We heard this story through a 
friend who was in Alexandria when the boat 
arrived and has known all the facts of the case. 

*' Boston rockers" were an untold comfort 
to the men able to sit up. The first of the 
many sent to us were from Daniel Gilman's 
father and placed as follows : — 

Alexandria Hospital, 

Aug. 14, 1861. 
My dear Miss Woolsey : The eight chairs are 
very thankfully received and shall be disposed 
of precisely as you proposed. 

Yours in haste, 

Nurse in charge. 

Miss L. L. Schuyler to G. M. W. 

25 Cooper Union, N. Y., August 7th, 1861. 
My dear Miss Woolsey : Dr. Blackwell, at our 
last board meeting, read a very interesting 
letter from you, giving details about the hospi- 
tals. We should be very much obliged if you 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 159 



would be willing to write us a few incidents in 
regard to hospital supplies. Any little personal 
anecdote relative to the pleasure caused by the 
receipt of these delicacies and stores, any mes- 
sage from a wounded soldier, would go farther 
to interest our country contributors, than any 
figure-statements of what has been, and is to be, 
done. . . . 

The response made to our appeals is grand, 
and it is a privilege to know and feel the noble 
spirit that animates the women of the loyal 
states. We have contributions not only from 
our own states, but from Conn., New Jersey, 
Massachusetts and Michigan. Within the last 
fortnight our receipts have amounted to over 
7000 different articles of clothing and 860 of edi- 
bles. . . . 

Our letters from the Sanitary Commission say 
that the hospitals near Washington are now well 
supplied. 

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

August, '61. 
Dear Girls : Did you give the company cap- 
tains my little books by Ordronneaux ? If not, 
please do so. They have much useful advice, 
and as each captain ought to be the father of his 
company, and look after its welfare in every 
respect, some such little manual might be useful 
to them. 



l6o LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

In regard to your enquiry about sending the 
Tribune and Independent to the hospitals regu- 
larly from the publication office, I would say 
that I have already so ordered lo copies of the 
Independent sent every week for the coming 
three months, beginning with this week's issue. 
It is prepaid and will be delivered free by 
Adams Express at the hospital. Charlie has 
gone down this morning to order the Semi- 
weekly World or Tribune sent in the same way. 
You will receive 12 Independents which he 
has put up for the Columbia or any other hospi- 
tal, and some packages for the chaplain of the 
i6th. . . . 

The young men of the New York Christian 
Association who have been in Washington and 
Alexandria making the rounds of the hospitals, 
writing letters for the men and ministering gen- 
erally, send word that they have never known a 
single chaplain of any regiment present himself 
to enquire for his sick or wounded, that there is 
no resident chaplain, and no one at hand to read 
or pray for a dying man, or to conduct the 
funeral services of the dead in the city hospitals. 
This must be especially the case with the Alex- 
andria hospital— for in that town hardly any 
clergymen are left. ... It would be encourag- 
ing to know that somebody was detailed in each 
hospital for special chaplain's duty. Cannot 
some arrangement be made ? . . . 



FmST YEAR OF THE WAR i6i 

You must tell us something more about the 
men of the i6th. . . . How do they cook their 
food and how is it distributed ? Is the camp kept 
drained and clean ? What do the men sleep on ? 
Have they chances for bathing, washing clothes, 
etc. ? . . . Two-thirds of the New York regi- 
ments as examined by the Sanitary Commission 
are crowded too many in a tent — regardless of 
ventilation — and liable next month to some ter- 
rible pestilence. The only sign, so far, that I 
can see of God's mercy and the justice of our 
cause, is the absence as yet of any serious epi- 
demic. . . . But as carelessness, bad habits, hot 
weather, etc., only sow seeds of sickness to ripen 
in autumn, we may yet have that plague too, 
overtake us. 

Abby's informant was right. Up to this Hospital 
time there were no special chaplains in the lains^." 
Washington and Alexandria hospitals. G. 
and E. felt the need and wrote of it to Abby, 
who answers as follows: 

A. H. W. 

August, '6i. 
I think that the best you can do is to make 
your own private arrangement for missionary 
work two days a week, say, in the Columbia 
College and two in the Alexandria hospital. I 
mention these because I suppose they are the 
two you would be likely to have best access to, 



l62 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

and where your suggestions would be best re- 
ceived. You would have to do it with the con- 
sent of, or knowledge of, the head physician, 
superintendent, or whatever Cerberus it is who 
guards the portals. . . . You need not wait to 
find out what anybody else is doing. You have 
a grand scheme on hand for making the hospi- 
tals military posts and so entitled to chaplains, 
but I hardly think you will succeed. . . . 

Shall I not apply to Professor Smith for infor- 
mation about a graduate of Union Theological 
Seminary who would be glad of such an appoint- 
ment and who has qualifications for such special 
missionary work ? — some one who could be set to 
work at once, under the " young men's " auspices 
or your private patronage, and afterward get a 
government commission if such are granted. . . . 

How strange some of the statements in Rus- 
sel's last letter are ! That there w^as no hand to 
hand fighting at Bull Run. No batteries charged 
and taken by the Federalists. No masked bat- 
teries at all on the side of the rebels, etc., and 
then that horrid, insulting, false editorial from 
the London Times in yesterday's Tribune ! I am 
sure that is aiding and abetting our enemies if 
anything is, and Russell as the representative of 
such a paper ought not to be allowed within our 
lines again. . . . 

Do you two ever refresh yourselves by a drive 
out into the country — for pleasure purely, — with 
your thoughts so busy always ? 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 163 

E. following up the Hospital Chaplain 
plan, wrote to General Van Rensselaer, of 
General Scott's staff and received the follow- 



Headquarters of the Army, 

Washington, Aug., 1861. 
My dear Mrs. Howland : If you will send me the 
names of the persons you want appointed to act 
as Chaplains for the Hospitals, I will get the 
Lieutenant-General to give them (not a regular 
commission) but an authority to visit and have 
free access to the Hospital at all times. 

This will invest with full authority, but no 
rank or emolument. 

Yours very truly, 

H. Van Rensselaer. 

G. also wrote a private letter to Presi- 
dent Lincoln asking that Hospital Chaplains 
should be appointed and handed it in her- 
self at the back door of the White House; 
and, acting upon Abby's idea, E. wrote Prof. 
H. B. Smith of the Union Theological Sem- 
inary, asking him to suggest the right per- 
son, and soon received the following answer : 

... I hope I have found the right man. 
Young Hopkins, son of President Mark Hop- 
kins of Williams College, has just been in, and 
will think of it. If he can and will accept, he is 



164 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

as near being just the man as need be. He is not 
ordained, but I suppose can be, if necessary. 
Will you write me, if it is so ? He is a Chris- 
tian gentleman, every way, and a very able man 
intellectually. If you think well of him, and 
he agrees, when shall he come ? Please write 
soon. 

I have the most entire confidence in Mr. Hop- 
kins' discretion and courtesy. He does not seek 
mere position, he only wants to do good. 
Yours truly, 

H. B. Smith. 

Mr. Henry Hopkins took the position, to 
our great and lasting pleasure, and the friend- 
ship so begun has remained one of the best 
things the war brought to us. 

When he sent up his letter of introduction 
from Professor Smith to G. and E. in Wash- 
ington, he expected to be descended upon 
in the Ebbitt House parlor by two elderly 
women all ready to superintend him. A 
year later he wrote to G. in acknowledging 
her photograph, " It is the very identical 
countenance which demolished so delight- 
fully my ideal Miss Woolsey with iron grey 
curls, black silk dress and spectacle-case." 

Mr. Hopkins did most admirable work in 
the voluntary unofficial position he consented 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 165 

to occup3^ at first. Later, wishing a more 
formal connection with the army service, he 
secured proper official recognition in the 
General Hospital, and still later he accepted 
an appointment in the field as regimental 
Chaplain. 

C. C. W. to G. and E. 

August, '61. 
Dear Girls : I have wrenched this opportu- 
nity from Abby to take my turn in writing 
you. It is as good as a fight to attempt to do 
anything useful in this family. Each one con- 
siders it her peculiar province, and if I manage 
to tuck in a handkerchief or two in the next 
box of hospital supplies I shall consider myself 
successful beyond expectation — speaking of 
which, T. D. brought in a splended lot last 
night that we had commissioned him to get the 
night before. . . . Abby says, " would you like 
three or four hundred brown duck havelocks 
for any of the brigade ? " They can be bought 
ready-made. If so, find out from the quarter- 
master of the DeKalb regiment which pattern 
he thinks best, and let us know. In this con- 
nection I would advise that you answer all ques- 
tions that we ask, and don't suppose that they 
are put in to fill up. Mother and Charley are 
still in Astoria ; they drove out in C's little 
wagon Tuesday evening, I think mother re- 



1 66 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

pented before she got to the corner. I arranged 
her toes under the iron bar of the dash-board so 
that she could have that at least to hold on by, 
in case the horse went off the slow walk which 
Charley promised to keep to. . . . We have 
been holding a family conclave down in Moth- 
er's room in which it has been decided, — that is, 
after bullying the girls into consent, — that 
Charley and I go up to Lenox on Monday, and 
engage rooms for the following Friday somewhere^ 
if not in Lenox then in Lebanon. But go we 
must — the girls will slave themselves to death 
if we stay in town, and nothing short of heroic 
decision on our part will induce them to leave. 

S. C. W. to E. W. H. 

New Haven, August, '6i. 

The Second Connecticut Regiment returned 
on Monday and Willy and I rushed out to see 
them pass, poor, way-worn, tired fellows, as they 
were ; and in their ranks we saw Dr. Bacon 
prance by, much to our surprise as well as pleas- 
ure. His family are all spending the summer in 
the country, and as the last duties of his place 
w^ould detain him here for a few days, we offered 
him the shelter of our roof till they should be 
over, and so have had him to ourselves all the 
week — too tired and unwell to be as entertaining 
as usual, but still invaluable as a guide-book 
and interpreter to all the recent war movements. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 167 

I am hoping that a large blue pill which he 
swallowed publicly last night may make him 
even more graphic and interesting. . . . He 
gave me a charming description of his calls on 
you and Georgy and what you said and did, and 
what you meant to say and do. Oh, girls, don't 
I envy you, being so in the thick of everything ! 
. . . The reports from Lenox — (where Jenny 
and Harry Yardley, newly married, were settled) 
— are charming ; the little house is just like a 
bower, transformed into such by all simple 
means and expedients. I am really getting ap- 
palled by the smartness of the girls. Dora and 
Lilly put carpets down themselves the other day 
in three rooms and did it as well as a profes- 
sional. The last addition to the ornaments of 
the rooms was the pretty picture which Carry 
and Hatty brought from Rome for Jenny. 
Carry and Charley walked in upon them on 
Monday evening to their delight and surprise, 
having come up in search of rooms for the fam- 
ily — found at once quite near the Parsonage, 
and occupied by them to-day. 

J. S. W. to a friefid in Parts. 

Brevoort Place, August Sth, 1861. 

Your response to my patriotic fervors gave 

me a sort of chill. We did not seem en j^apporf. 

. . . We are heartily ready to record our faith 

that the war is worth what it may cost, although 



1 68 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

the end may be only — only ! the preservation of 
the Government, and not, just now, the libera- 
tion of the slaves. Perhaps you hold, with Mr. 
Phillips and Abby (I believe they comprise the 
entire party) that the war is not justifiable if it 
'' means only stars and stripes." We think, or 
to resume the perpendicular pronoun, I think 
that is enough for it to mean or seem to mean 
at present. "The mills of the Gods grind slow," 
you know, or, if you will let me requote to 
you your own quotation, "you cannot hurry 
God." Don't you and Mr. Phillips want to 
hurry Him a little? I would rather, for my 
part, think with Mrs. Stowe, that the question of 
the existence of free society covers that other 
question, and that this war is Eternally Right- 
eous even if it " means only the stars and 
stripes." . . . We are all getting bravely over 
the two or three dreadful days of a fortnight 
ago, and coming to think that our retreat under 
the circumstances was not such a bad thing after 
all. . . . Monday after Bull Run was a fright- 
ful day in Washington. Georgy says a thick 
gloom oppressed them which the knowledge of 
the safety of those nearest them could not 
lighten in the least, and that a sad procession of 
the wounded was passing through the streets all 
day under the heavy rain. . . . Many of the men 
are but slightly wounded, and all are perfectly 
patient, cheerful and only eager for " another 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



169 



chance." "Tell her about the wound in my 
hand preventing me from writing," one man 
said, for w^hom Georgy was writing home. 
'^ And the wound in your leg ?" G. asked. '' No, 
never mind about that." "And I shall say you 
fought bravely ?" '^ Oh, no matter about that ; 
she'd be sure of thaty They have known two 
or three cases of Southern barbarity to our 
wounded. But the poor wretches expected the 
same thing at our hands. Dr. Bacon, an intimate 
friend who has just come home with his regi- 
ment, Connecticut 2nd, says in the battle on 
Sunday he came upon a piece of shade in which 
four or five v/ounded Georgians were lying, and 
what was verj^ painful to him, every man be- 
lieved that he had come to kill them, lying 
there disabled. One young fellow called out, 
"Don't hurt me, I'm hurt enough already," and 
the rest made a feeble show of defending them- 
selves. Of course he dressed their wounds, and 
did what he could for them with more than usual 
care and gentleness, and I can bear witness how 
careful and gentle that must have been, but it 
was hard to tell which emotion was uppermost 
with them, gratitude or astonishment. Mr. 
Maclise, of the 7 1 st, which has come home, says he 
found a wounded man under a tree, a Carolinian, 
he thinks, who begged for his life in the same 
way. " Bless your soul," Maclise said, " I 
wouldn't hurt you for the world ; don't you want 



lyo LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

some water ?" The poor fellow eagerly took the 
water from his enemy's canteen. " If I only 
had a cup I could give you some brandy," Mr. 
M. added. " Oh, just look in my knapsack and 
you'll find a cup." So Maclise opened the knap- 
sack, took out a beautiful silver cup, mixed the 
draught, and made his patient as comfortable as 
he knew how, bringing home the silver cup, at 
the Carolinian's most urgent entreaty, as a 
souvenir of that sad day. He will try and re- 
turn it one of these days. But what a blackness 
of darkness, of falsehood and misrepresentation 
lies behind all this. These perfectly intelligent 
men devoutly believed that we would kill them, 
unarmed, sick and helpless ! . . . The *' prevail- 
ing " Prince comes and goes, and nobody seems 
to care much about it. We have learned some- 
thing, or it is that we have too many troubles of 
our own to care for the pleasures of princes. 
He overstayed his time at Mount Vernon the 
other day, and there was a splendid story that 
he had been captured, but he spoiled the bulle- 
tins and the joke by coming back to a soiree 
at two o'clock at night. . . . We are going, as 
much for duty as pleasure, to Lenox, to-morrow 
or Saturday, for a few weeks, to refresh our- 
selves for the winter. As long as McClellan 
keeps quiet we shall stay. He resigned one day 
last week. Col. Davies dined with us yesterday 
and told us so, from his uncle. General Mansfield, 



FIJiST YEAR OF THE WAR 



171 



who had seen the letter. The administration 
attempted some interference in his reforms, and 
he sent in his resignation. It was immediately 
hushed up, refused, of course, and he was 
allowed to have his way. 

E. W. H. to J. H. 

Ebbitt House, Washington, August id, 1861. 
Dear Joe : We had a very successful journey 
in from camp yesterday, for who should be on 
the boat but the Prince (called by the public 
*' Captain Paris,") McDowell, and McClellan 
himself, whom Mrs. Franklin introduced to us, 
and who helped us all into the carriage when 
we reached Washington. He and General 
Franklin are old and dear friends. He is sin- 
gularly young and boyish-looking for so im- 
portant a position, but at the same time has a 
look and manner that inspire respect. The 
Prince is exactly like the picture of his uncle. 
We hoped they would all discuss secrets of 
state, but the topic was persistently the range of 
different kinds of cannon. . . . G. goes to 
Alexandria this morning to look up a hospital 
Mr. Vernon told her of and take them some 
comforts. . . . There is no news except the sad 
story of Lyon's death in Missouri, and the 
mutiny here in the 79th, which was put down 
summarily by the display of six cannon, three 
companies of cavalry and a good many infantry, 



172 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



which came down upon them yesterday after- 
noon. The ringleaders, about 26, were put un- 
der arrest last night and in irons, and the rest 
marched off into the darkness somewhere. The 
trouble was that they did not like their new 
Colonel, and would not serve under Sickles as 
Brigadier. In the latter we sympathize with 
them. 

Letters from home report all well in Lenox. 
... I send one from Mary. We shan't think of 
going North at present. 

/M. W. H. to G. and E. t?t Washmgto?i. 
Astoria, August 12th. 
« / The Dear Girls : If mother and the remaining 

family |-|^j.gg kcpt to the programme, they all left for 
Lenox on Saturday and are at last settled in their 
summer quarters, much to my relief. So long 
as they would not come to us, I think it was 
highly necessary for them to go somewhere, as 
the city grew hotter and smellier and more un- 
bearable every day. 

Knowing what New York is at this season, 
and inferring what Washington must be, I am 
sure you will consider my proposition reason- 
able when I beg that you will come on and 
freshen up a little here at Astoria " by the side 
of a river so clear." . . . When you come 
Robert will sail you up to Riker's Island, in 
order to make you feel more at home, where 



at Lenox 

and 

Astoria 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 173 

the Anderson Zouaves are encamped. We went 
up there the other day with some illustrated 
papers sent by Jane to the men, and were 
enthusiastically received by a company of 
bathers, who swam round the boat for whatever 
we had to offer, and whom we left seated on the 
rocks reading Frank Leslie^ with not so much as 
a button or an epaulette on by way of dress. 

A. H. W. to E. 

Lenox, Mass., August 25, 1861. 

My Dear Eliza : I don't believe you realize 
how interesting your letters always are. . . . 
Five nurses consigned to Georgy ! — just think of 
it ! I was going to ask you in my very next letter 
more particularly about the New York nurses — 
who they were obliged to report to on arriving 
in Washington, Surgeon-General Finley or 
Miss Dix, when lo and behold ! I learn that they 
report to Georgy. ... I see by the morning 
Tribune that the Sanitary Commission are said 
to have furnished light reading, as well as a 
quantity of little tables to stand on the beds 
with rests for the arms, etc., etc. I have 
thought of having some of those plain book- 
racks made for weak or armless men. It grieves 
me to the bottom of my heart to think of 
how many men are ruined for life by surgeons 
who with savage glee hurry to chop off arms 
and legs ad libitum. Many a brave New Eng- 



174 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY: 



land forester or craftsman will have to earn a 
sorry livelihood by stumping about at a toll- 
^ate, or peddling candies, one-armed, at railroad 
stations, who might by a slower and more skill- 
ful process have been saved such humiliation.* 
... I copied out Trench's sonnet on prayer for 
your young Lieut. Ferris. You know Mary has it 
in Trench's own handwriting given her by him 
with his autograph ; and I also copied out a few 
of our least familiar hymns, thinking you could 
slip them among the newspapers now and then. 
I sent a package of Boston papers to Dr. Shel- 
don, at Alexandria, yesterday, and will do it 
again. 

A. H. W. to G. 

Lenox, Aug., 1861. 

/ My deal' Georgy : You need not speak so 

\/ coolly of our staying here three months. Three 
weeks will give us enough, I guess. It is actu- 
ally tiresome not to have anything to do, after 
being so busy in New York. We only take one 
paper too now — the Tribune, and that does not 
come in till four o'clock, so that our mornings are 
very blank. There is a newsboy here however 
—think of that ! who sells the New York and 
Boston papers every day on the hotel steps, 

[*Dear Abby's gloom, and her low opinion of army officers 
generally, kept the family in cheerful mood on many a 
doleful day.] 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 175 

after the arrival of the stage. And there is a 
brick store and a telegraph office, connecting 
with the telegraph in Springfield. Messages 
come over the wires in the short space of three 
days, I am told ! ... Is there not some news- 
stand or book-store on Pennsylvania Avenue 
where Moritz can buy you the illustrated papers 
for the hospitals ? I hope so, as we cannot send 
anything now except perhaps a stray Boston 
paper which everybody here has finished. I 
sent word to Edward Oilman, who has been in 
New York, when he goes home to Maine to 
mail you every now and then a Bangor paper 
for some sick Maine volunteers. . . . When we 
go back, we will constitute ourselves into a so- 
ciety, and do things more systematically and 
thoroughly. . . . 

Our letters must be few and stupid. Your 
last to us was Eliza's, written last Monday in 
camp. What scenes you must have gone through 
there, in the arrest and examination of those 
women spies ! What strange romance history 
will be, by and bye, to May and Bertha. Gay 
ladies and courtly gentlemen, and ragged rebel 
volunteers, and city brokers, and wily politi- 
cians, all assigned their respective cells side by 
side, perhaps, in Fort Lafayette. You wonder 
what " horse-cakes " are, which the old woman 
declared her packets of letters to be, when 
found between her shoulders. They are ginger- 



176 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



bread of the " round heart " consistency, cut in 
the flat, rude shape of a prancing horse with 
very prominent ears and very stubbed legs, sold 
in various small shops in Alexandria, along 
with candy balls, penny whistles and fly-specked 
ballads. '' Horse-cakes " are an Alexandria in- 
stitution. You should buy a few for lunch 
some day in the bakery. . . . We live in the 
newspapers and in your letters. It is impossi- 
ble to think of anything else. I have tried on 
successive afternoons to get interested in Mot- 
ley's Netherlands, and give it up as a bad job. 
One reads a sentence over and over without get- 
ting the sense of it. And then, I remembered, 
that I coiildnt remember a name, or fact, or date 
in the three volumes of Motley's other work ; 
so what's the use of reading anything ? " Fort 
Sumter " is ancient history enough for me. 
To-day we have quite a budget of news — the 
details of Butler's expedition to Fort Hatteras, 
which of course had to be successful. They 
went against the weakest point of the coast, with 
an overwhelming force. Little as it is, it serves 
for a subject of brag for us, and the newspapers 
glory over it as a splendid naval victory in the 
style of true Soutlm-ii reports. We have the 
text of Fremont's proclamation. It is all very 
well in itself, but I don't see the object of set- 
ting slaves free in Missouri, and setting soldiers 
to catch them in Virginia ; — shooting rebels out 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



177 



west and letting them off with *'a mild dose of 
oath of allegiance " in Washington. ... It is 
my growing conviction that nothing would be 
worse for the country than to be let off easy in 
this war. We should learn to think lightly of 
Divine guidance and Divine judgments. Provi- 
dence means to humble and punish us thor- 
oughly before full success is granted, and it is 
best so. 

M. W. H. to G. 

Astoria, Monday, Sept. 2nd. 

Dear Georgy : Your interesting letter was 
highly appreciated by little May, as well as by 
her parents, who thought it very kind of you to 
elaborate so nice a little story out of the mate- 
rials. May's artistic efforts were revived by it 
and all her inspirations lately breathe of camp 
life and army movements. I enclose the last 
one, " Recollections of what I saw on Riker's 
Island when passing in the boat," which is 
really not bad for a fancy sketch. You would 
have been amused to hear her reading the news- 
papers aloud to little Bertha the other day. I 
was writing at the time and took down verbatim 
one sentence. " We are sorry to state that Gen- 
eral Brigade, a contraband of war, was taken 
prisoner last night at Fort Schuyler: he was on 
his way to visit the navy-yard at Bulls Run 
and was brought home dead and very severely 
wounded." 



1 78 LETTERS OE A FAMILY 

The children and nurses have just driven off 
with a carriage full of little pails and spades to 
spend the afternoon digging in the sand at Bow- 
ery Bay. You know the bliss, especially if the 
tide admits of rolling up their pantalettes and 
wading in. We are having lovely weather, which 
I wish you were sharing. Indeed, I am greatly 
disappointed that you will not come on while 
things are comparatively quiet and stay awhile 
with us. Robert and T have had some delicious 
sails in the boat, for which I have taken a great 
liking, and we are having a quiet but delightful 
summer. To-day the Astoria flags are out in 
great numbers for our naval capture ; a little 
victory which is refreshing after so many de- 
feats. Abby and Cousin William are very blue 
up in Lenox and write desponding notes in the 
Toots style. The Micawber mood will probably 
follow, in which Abby will be " inscribing her 
name with a rusty nail " on the walls of some 
southern dungeon. Indeed I begin to think she 
must be in the confidence of the rebel leaders, 
from the entire assurance with which she looks 
for an attack by sea upon some northern port, 
while the land army meantime marches triumph- 
antly to Washington. 

We are looking for Sarah Woolsey this week 
to make a little visit, and were in hopes that 
Rose Terry, who was with her, would come 
too. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR jyg 

I sent your two letters to Mother, who will 
enjoy them as much as May did. When you 
write again tell us more about Joe, — how he is 
looking after the summer's campaign, how he 
really is, etc. It seems strange to think that 
autumn is already here and the dreaded hot 
weather for the troops nearly over, I suppose. 
If we can get anything for you in New York 
while the girls are away, or do any of the things 
for which you have depended upon them, be 
sure to let me know. ... I wonder if a season 
will ever come when for once we can all spend 
it together without the need of ink and paper. 
Some large, generally satisfactory Utopian farm- 
house, where, as in Pomfret days, one vehicle 
and one horse (alas, poor beast !) and Mother to 
drive, would be ample accommodation and style 
for all. Give our love and a God-speed to Joe 
when you see him next, and insist upon his taking 
good care of himself when out of your sight. 
Affectionately yours, 

Mary. 

M. W. H. to A. 

Astoria, Sept., '6i. 
Dear Abby : Sarah and I have been all the 
morning arranging flowers. . . . Our roses are 
most luxuriant this year, and just now we have 
outside the front door two large orange trees 
from the greenhouse which are one mass of 
blossom and perfume the whole place. We 



i8o LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

have been quite on the qui vive yesterday and 
to-day at the expected arrival of the Great 
Eastern at Port Morris which is that cluster of 
buildings, you may remember, next to Casina 
dock, on the opposite side of the river. The 
vessel comes consigned to Howland & Aspinwall. 
The English agents sent them word at the last 
minute that she would come in by the Sound, 
so we have been constantly on the look-out. 
It would be very pleasant to have her lying in 
sight of the windows for some days. On Satur- 
day we had a fine view of the imperial yacht 
which passed up the river with royalty on board, 
and looked beautifully with its g(jld prow and 
the gold line running round the sides. Sarah 
particularly enjoys the river, bathes every day 
in a highly ornamental costume brought for the 
purpose, and floats round on the surface like a 
cork. We have had some charming sails too, 
and indeed divide our time about equally be- 
tween the water and the carriage, with occasional 
short digressions among the rose bushes. Tell 
Carry that Mr Stagg spent Saturday evening 
with us, and brought up the package of hand- 
kerchiefs which he promised her. They are a 
dozen of large, fine, colored-bordered ones, very 
much in the style of those I brought Ned from 
Paris, and such as I should not at all object to 
crib for private use. He must have intended 
them in case of a cold-in-the-head of the War 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR i8i 

Dept., they are on such a grand scale. How- 
ever, I thanked him on behalf of the national 
nose, and will take charge of them for Carry, 

S. C. W. writes during her visit to Astoria 
at this time : 

''The children are my delight all day, espe- 
cially Bertha, whose little flower of a face tempts 
me to continual kisses. Dear little puss, she 
grows sweeter every day. Una, too, develops 
continually powers and talents undreamed of. 
She has learned to say ' R-r-ra,' which means 
Hurrah ! and she says it with great enthusiasm 
whenever a steamer passes full of troops and 
we all rush out to the bank to wave our hand- 
kerchiefs to them, — the children held up by Ann 
and Maria, and solemnly gesturing with their 
little hands, and May waving one flag and the 
gardener's boy another. The group is so very 
patriotic that we are generally saluted by cheers 
from the boats." 

The home letters, full of sweet air and 
peaceful views, were delightful to get in the 
dust and confusion of Washington, which, 
however, with all its discomforts, nothing 
would have induced us to leave. Among 
the letters of introduction which made our 
way simple and pleasant were those from 



1 82 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Cousin Wm. Aspinwall to Senator Dixon and 
General Ripley (''a fine, blunt old gentle- 
man ") of Connecticut, and to Generals Ham- 
ilton and Van Rensselaer, on the staff of the 
Commanding General Scott. Also to Gen- 
erals Wool, Dix and McDowell, Admiral 
Wilkes and family, and the household of Mr. 
Hodge, a cousin of our good Dr. Hodge of 
Philadelphia. We imagined that our unct- 
uous way to the good graces of the Com- 
manding General was made by the gift from 
J. H. of a number of very fine hams. These, 
cast upon the water, came home to us later 
in an invitation to dinner, which seemed 
rather to have the nature oi a military sum- 
mons, delivered as it was by a Colonel on 
the staff. We accepted with the mixed feel- 
ing which one must have who receives the 
'* Queen's Command'' to an interview. 
The hams appear in the following note : 

Headquarters of the Army, Washington. 
Dear Mrs. Howland : The Lieutenant Gen- 
eral desires me to send his thanks for the hams 
sent to him by Mr. Howland. He considers 
them very fine indeed, to which opinion I beg 
leave to add my own. 

Yours very truly, 

H. Van Rensselaer. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 183 

E. to J. H. ifi Camp. 

Ebbitt House, Sept. 5. 

I hope you are not entirely without starch 

this damp, sticky day, and that you have kept 

" Manassas "* busy all the morning bringing 

wood for the fire. Since my note we have had 

the confirmation of Jeff. Davis' death, reported 

yesterday. If he is really gone, I suppose we 

mustn't abuse him, but the fate is much too 

good for him. 

We won't go down to camp again till we hear 
from you, as you ask, but meantime I am anxious 
to know what your plans and prospects are, and 
what the order to be " ready for instant action " 
meant. . . . 

We had a charming dinner with General 
Scott yesterday, and shall value the remembrance 
of it all our lives. We are the only ladies ex- 
cept Mrs. Thomas Davies whom he has enter- 
tained at his table during the war. We ought 
to feel highly honored, and we do. There were 
only the three aides present, and it was all very 
social and pleasant, but they didn't tell any state 
secrets. The General looked very well indeed, 
but showed his feebleness when he attempted to 
leave his chair. He spoke in high praise of the 
hams, which we suppose to be the humble cause 
of the politeness to us, and toasted the ''absent 
Adjutant " in a bumper of sherry. 

* A " contraband of war " freed by the i6th N. Y. 



1 84 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

G. takes exceptions to the word '' charm- 
ing " in connection with that dinner, and per- 
fectly recalls it as a fearful joy, where none 
of the aides dared speak unless spoken to, 
and she and E. hardly then. J. S. W., how- 
ever, writing from Lenox and rising to the 
occasion, said : " Georgy's letter received 
last night with its gorgeous item of your 
dinner at General Scott's was very interest- 
ing. You are lucky to be so honored above 
all other women, and will consequently be 
able to brag to your posterity to the third 
and fourth generation of them that hate 
you." 

Mother to G. and E. 
/- Lenox, September. 

My deal' Girls : Abby, as usual, is writing 
away vigorously, and I am very sure her letters 
to you are better far than mine would be, there- 
fore I always give place to her ; but do not think 
me indifferent to you or to any little circumstance 
whatever connected with you in the most remote 
way, for I assure you every word relating to 
Washington has a deeper interest than I can 
express to you, and in all my reading of news 
I turn with indifference from other parts of the 
country and items of other regiments, to seek 
eagerly for some word of those immediately 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 185 

about Alexandria and Washington, and we look 
with more desire than ever for your letters. 
The '' expected attack " dwells upon our minds 
and hearts, and our sympathies and fears are all 
alive. When will the end come ? In God's own 
time, and we must only wait in patience and 
faith, looking to God for strength to help us in 
this time of need. . . . Ask counsel of some of 
your wise friends in Washington as to the pru- 
dence of your remaining for the present there. 
Do you not think in case of an attack upon the 
city you would be better elsewhere ? I scarcely 
know where either, south of Philadelphia. Had 
you not better take the chance, before communi- 
cation is cut off, of coming north.? I should 
fear your being in Baltimore more than staying 
in Washington. I hope you will call on Mrs. 
McClellan and her mother, if the latter is with 
her. I knew them both, you recollect, in North 
Conway, and I would like you to make their 
acquaintance. You might consult with your 
familiar, General Scott, as to the propriety and 
safety of your being in Washington in case of 
an attack. What a nice thing for you to have 
dined so socially with the General. It will come 
in as a pleasing little incident in that history 
which I hope you are writing for coming gener- 
ations. 



1 86 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

A. H. W. to Harriet Gilnian. 

Lenox, Sept. 12, 1861. 

To-day has been very beautiful. Such float- 
ing clouds and corresponding shadows, such 
liquid blue on the distant hills and such gold 
green on the nearer meadows ! We saw it to 
advantage at sunset, from Mrs. Sedgwick's 
house. Only Miss Catherine was at home, and 
we saw her in her own little parlor, hung with 
photographs and engravings and one or two old 
choice portraits. But the picture from the win- 
dow was best of all. . . . We had a charming 
drive one day with the Warners (of the " Wide, 
Wide World") to Tyringham, the Shaker set- 
tlement below Lee, which name reminds me 
of the story we heard of the loyalty of that lit- 
tle village. It had already sent its full propor- 
tion to the army. But that dreadful night when 
the news of disaster at Bull Run came, the 
baker told the Warners " Nobody couldn't eat 
nothin' and nobody couldn't sleep none." That 
very midnight sixty men of Lee started in the 
cars for New York and enlisted for the war. . . . 
I had a chance of seeing Mrs. Kemble to-day as 
she drove by, silks and lace and birds of para- 
dise, several I should think by the size. She is 
the great woman of the place here. Her daugh- 
ter, Mrs. Wistar, was with her — strikingly like 
her, and yet young, fair, simple and beautiful. 
She came back yesterday from New York with 



FIRST YEAR OF THE JVAR 187 

Julia Butler the sister. They had been down to 
see their father in Fort Lafayette. 

In consequence of complaints made of the 
treatment of the political prisoners, Dr. Bel- 
lows, the President of the Sanitary Com- 
mission, inspected Fort Lafayette and re- 
ported to the Secretary of State Oct. 31, 1861 
— " Every man has his own cot, plenty of 
blankets and abundance of food. They were 
in better condition in all respects than our 
own men in the field. They have many 
acres for play-ground. They complained of 
nothing- though I gave them abundant op- 
portunity." 

S. C. W., writing from Lenox, says ; 

• • • I was highly diverted by a story Mrs. 
Kane told Jenny Yardley of Mrs. Kemble. She 
was playing whist the other night with Mrs. 
Ellery Sedgwick as a partner, and became really 
furious because Mrs. Sedgwick played so badly. 
Finally, just as her rage had reached its height, 
Mrs. Sedgwick remarked, " I do not know what 
is the matter with me ! somehow I can't play 
well, or talk straight, or do anything right this 
evening, and it is strange, for I certainly do 
know how to play whist." Whereupon the ma- 
jestic Fanny exploded : '' Well, I am glad to 



1 88 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

hear that. It is a comfort to know that one has 
for a partner an inattentive genius and not a 
born fool! " 

Mrs. Kemble was most friendly with the 
various members of the family, though un- 
expected at times, as for instance when she 
remarked to Harry Yardley, while Lilly 
Woolsey was his guest, *' Mr. Yardley, you 
have a very handsome young woman at your 
house; I do not refer to Mrs. Yardley." 
However, the people in Lenox seemed used 
to these little bursts. They never resented 
them and only made a good story of it all, 
which they enjoyed. 



CHAPTER IV. 

E. W. H. to J. H. 

Sept. nth, 1861. 

Where do you think I am writing ? In the Patent 
Patent Office, where we heard the other day that Hospi- 
a large number of sick men had been brought ^^'• 
from the 19th Indiana regiment. We found 
them in a dirty and forlorn condition and have 
come to do what we can. The whole regiment, 
nearly, is down with sickness from great expo- 
sure when they first arrived, they say. The 
assistant-surgeon of the regiment and the ma- 
tron are here all the time, and a number of 
Washington women come in to help every day. ■ 

' From G's letter to the Sanitary Commis- 
sion Fair's paper this account of the hospital 
is taken :— /' 

"One of the first extemporized hospitals of 
the war was in the top story of the Patent Office, 
where the 19th Indiana regiment was brought, 
nearly every man of them. The great, unfin- 
ished lumber room was set aside for their use, 
and rough tables — I can't call them beds — were 



190 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

knocked together from pieces of the scaffolding. 
These beds were so high that it was impossible 
to reach them, and we had to make them up 
with brooms, sweeping off the mattresses, and 
jerking the sheets as smooth as we could. About 
six men could be accommodated on one table. 
These ran the whole length of the long room, 
while on the stacks of marble slabs, which were 
some day to be the floor, we spread mattresses, 
and put the sickest men. As the number in- 
creased, camp-beds were set up between the 
glass cases in the outer room, and we alternated 
— typhoid fever, cog-wheels and patent churns 
— typhoid fever, balloons and mouse-traps (how 
many ways of catching mice there are !) — typhoid 
fever, locomotives, water-wheels, clocks, — and a 
general nightmare of machinery. 

Here, for weeks, went on a sort of hospital 
pic-nic. We scrambled through with what we 
had to do. The floors were covered with lime 
dust, shavings, nails, and carpenters' scraps. 
We had tlie rubbish taken up with shovels, and 
stacked in barrels at one end of the ward. The 
men were crowded in upon us ; the whole regi- 
ment soaked with a malignant, malarial fever, 
from exposure, night after night, to drenching 
rains, without tents. There was so much of 
this murderous, blundering want of prevision 
and provision, in the first few months of the 
war — and is now^ for that matter. 

Gradually, out of the confusion came some 
system and order. Climbing up to the top of 
the Patent Office with each loaf of bread was 
found not to be an amusing occupation, and an 
arrangement of pulleys was made out of one of 
the windows, and any time through the day, 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 191 

barrels of water, baskets of vegetables and great 
pieces of army beef, might be seen crawling 
slowly up the marble face of the building. 

Here, for weeks, we worked among these 
men, cooking for them, feeding them, washing 
them, sliding them along on their tables, while 
we climbed up on something and made up their 
beds with brooms, putting the same powders 
down their throats with the same spoon, all up 
and down what seemed half a mile of uneven 
floor ; — coaxing back to life some of the most 
unpromising, — watching the youngest and best 
die. 

I remember rushing about from apothecary 
to apothecary, in the lower part of the city, one 
Sunday afternoon, to get, in a great hurry, mus- 
tard, to help bring life into a poor Irishman, 
who called me Betty in his delirium, and, to 
our surprise, got well, went home, and at once 
married the Betty we had saved him for, 

By-and-by the regiment got through with 
the fever, improvements came into the long 
ward, cots took the place of the tables, and mat- 
ting covered the little hills of the floor. The 
hospital for the 19th Indiana became the "U. S. 
General Hospital at the Patent Office," and the 
" volunteers for emergencies " took up their 
saucepans and retired." 

A. H. W. 

Lenox, Sept. 15, 1861. 

Charley talks of going down to-morrow to 
be inspected and mustered into State service 
with the regiment — the Home-Guard. He 
thinks his fine for non-attendance will about 



192 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

equal his railroad fare down and up. He is to 
stay over night and will see Mary at Astoria. 

c. c. w. 

Sept. 18. 
Charley left on Monday to be with his regi- 
ment, which has been drafted into the U. S. Ser- 
vice — the first step towards Washington. The 
members singly can resign at any time, and 
Charley will do this when called upon to leave 
the city. 

The family took this consoling view of 
Charley's duty to his country, and saw him 
leave Lenox without anxiety. Charley's pri- 
vate views developed later, when, after val- 
uable service with the Sanitary Commission 
at the front, he entered the 164th N. Y. regi- 
ment and was immediately assigned as aide 
de camp to very active duty at Army Head- 
quarters. 

Rev. Henry Hopkins to E. W. H. 
City Hotel Hospital, 

Alexandria, Oct., 1861. 
My dear Mrs. Howlaiid : I want to tell you 
how I am coming on here in my new field, for 
at Washington I received the impression, which 
it will take a long time to wear away, that you 
and Miss Woolsey are cordially interested in all 
that concerns me in this work. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 193 

Dr. Sheldon is entirely propitious thus far. 
. . . Those who are religious women among the 
nurses hail my coming with real joy. The very 
first one whom I encountered was such a woman, 
and as I sat down in her cheerful ward before 
the bright fire on the hearth, talking with the 
men, a poor emaciated creature who was sitting 
wrapped in blankets, with his feet upon a pil- 
low, asked me — " Are you a physician ? " '' No," 
I told him, "I am a clergyman." He stretched 
out his lean hand to me, and said — "Oh, sir, I 
am so glad to see you. I have been very sick, so 
that they gave me up, and now I am getting 
well, and I am not a Christian, and I inust be." 
Could the most trembling faith ask more than 
this? 

I have just come from attending the funeral 
of a soldier of the 27th N. Y. regiment, who 
died last evening of typhoid fever. It was 
severely simple in all its accompaniments, only 
a little gathering in the hospital dining room, 
and a simple exercise ; while a corporal's guard 
were the only ones to attend the body to the 
grave, to hear the last sad words spoken. But 
in the very simplicity of it, and in the peculiar 
circumstances of those concerned, and espe- 
cially from being the first time that I had ever 
officiated on such an occasion, it was to me very 
impressive. Had I not been here it is unlikely 
that he would have received a Christian burial. 



y 



194 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

. . . Dr. Sheldon called me Mr. Woolsey this 
morning, and as long as that association of ideas 
continues I am sure of most excellent treatment. 

E. W. H. to J. H. 

Oct. I, '61. 

Very little to tell you about except a few"/' 
calls, including one from Mrs. General Frank- 
lin to ask us to take tea with her to-night. 
Lieutenant Lusk of the 79th, whom we used to 
know as ''Willy" Lusk, also came. He seems 
to have grown up into a very fine young fellow, 
handsome and gentlemanly, and with the same 
sweet expression he had as a child. He was 
studying medicine in Europe w^hen the war 
broke out, but came home at once and enlisted 
as Lieutenant in the 79th, where he is now Act- 
ing Captain — so many of the regiment were either 
killed or taken prisoners at Bull Run. Dr. E, 
also came again and Captain Gibson and Col. 
Montgomery of Philadelphia, so we had quite 
a levee. 

Oct, 2. G. and I are just going up to Colum- 
bian College to cover and arrange a nice box of 
books Hatty Gilman has sent on at our sug- 
gestion to form the nucleus of a hospital library 
— an excellent selection of books, histories, 
biographies, etc. ; half worn, but the covering 
and labeling we mean to put them through will 
make them highly respectable and attractive. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



195 



We took tea last night with Mrs. Franklin and 
met five or six other people, among them Major 
and Mrs. Webb — he on General Barry's staff. 
Dr. Bacon has brought G. some splendid bunches 
of roses this week, the finest I ever saw. He 
expects to be ordered off with his new regiment, 
the 7th Connecticut, within a few days, proba- 
bly to join the Coast Expedition, but this is a 
secret. 

We have been with Captain Gibson all through 
the Corcoran Art Building, now used as a gov- 
ernment warehouse and filled with clothing and 
camp equipage of every kind, one item being 
twenty thousand tents. From the roof, to which 
we mounted, we had a fine view over the city 
and environs, the river, the opposite heights and 
an army balloon. 

E, W. H. to J. H. 

Oct. 6. 

After dinner yesterday we drove out to the 
camp of the Rhode Island 2nd, to see the friend 
of our infancy and of hay-loft and cow-stall mem- 
ory — Col. Frank Wheaton, son of Dr. Wheaton 
of Pomfret, Connecticut, to whose farm-house 
Mother took us all to board, the summer after 
Father's death. It is about twenty years (!) 
since we all played together. You know it was 
for him that Mary got that ugly scar across her 
nose, in her anxiety to reach him through a 



196 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

glass window, and they two at the age of about 
seven were married in state and went to house- 
keeping in the cow-stall on apples and flagroot. 
He says he remembers it all most distinctly and 
still claims Mary as ''his wife by right " though 
he has had one, and is engaged to a second. 

He was very much pleased to find that he had 
met you too, for he was mustering-in officer at 
Albany when you were there, and swore in, part 
of the i6th. He and the others were "delighted 
with Adjutant Howland, who used to come to 
their office nearly every day and ahiuiys had his 
muster roils right." 

I was sorry to hear that the mare *' Lady 
Jane " was so sick and I send George Carr out to 
camp to see if he can do anything for her. As 
he has known her from early youth he may un- 
derstand her insides better than others do. You 
may be surprised at my being able to get a pass 
for George, but not more than I was ! A mere 
statement of the case dissolved all the adaman- 
tine walls round the Provost Marshal, and is 
only another proof of our being "noble-hearted 
women of luck.'' 

A. H. W. writes : 

How funny it is that you should have met 
the Wheatons again. It is one of the queer 
ways in which people turn up. I wonder if 
they remember the little school which Mother 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 



197 



held for us every day in the porch of their 
father's house in Pomfret, and the yellow hymn 
book, and the tunes of 



and 



Our Father in Heaven 
We hallow Thy name," 

God is in Heaven, would He hear 
If I should tell a lie?" 



— and then how at times we used to see who 
could eat the most ears of corn ! And the skeleton 
in his father's office, what a corner of horrors 
that was ! 

E. to J. H. 

Washington, Oct. 7. 
After dinner to-day we said good-bye to Dr. f. b. 

T-k r-< p ^ \ r^ • with the 

Bacon, now burgeon 01 the 7th Connecticut, Pon 
and he left in the night we suppose, with the |°y^^. 
regiment, to join the second great land and naval tion. 
expedition for the southern coast. 

Oct. 9, '61. As I told you. Dr. Bacon left 
either Monday night or early yesterday for 
Annapolis with the 7th Connecticut. They 
seem to have been the first ones dispatched, for 
yesterday others went, and, as I write, a long 
train of baggage and men equipped for a jour- 
ney is passing down the street. We think of 
sending Moritz on to Annapolis this afternoon 
with a basket of sea-stores for the Doctor, and 
he can bring us back accounts of the number of 
vessels, etc. Moritz is anxious to know before 



198 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

leaving if the troops — including the 7th Con- 
necticut ! are Union ones ! 

Oct. 14. Moritz got back from Annapolis all 
right. Found Dr. Bacon and delivered the 
basket. There was no prospect of their going 
before next week. All the 15,000 had not yet 
arrived and only one transport was ready. The 
railroad was blocked all the way by immense 
trains of stores, ammunition, etc., and Moritz 
was from half-past two till eleven o'clock get- 
ting there. 

F. B. to G, M. W. 

Camp Walton, Annapolis, Oct. i8th, '61. 
Pardon a wretched notelet, written on camp 
stationery with the very dregs of the day's 
ration of nervous energy. Everybody is both 
tired and busy to-night with this embarkation 
business. . . . 

You will readily believe they are sober enough, 
these long, undulating files of honest brown 
faces, as they pour down upon the wharves, but 
there are good, rousing cheers, too, as the ten- 
ders swing out into the stream and go scuttling 
aw^ay to the great motionless ships in the roads. 

I notice with surprise, and with some appre- 
hension as well, that the 6th and 7th Connecti- 
cut, green as I have thought them, are farther 
advanced in the military art than any other 
troops I have seen here. This is not brag, you 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 199 

will please consider, it is very reluctant convic- 
tion. But still, as for me, turning more sadly 
than ever before from the loyal North, I feel an 
exultation in helping to strike, as we are hoping, 
the heaviest blow at the great crime that it has 
yet felt. 

Your basket is such a miracle of packing that 
I have hesitated to thoroughly ransack it, fear- 
ing that the attempt to restore its contents to 
their normal condition might reduce me to a 
state of hopeless idiocy, like a Chinese puzzle, 
or a book on political economy. 

Moritz delicately hinted at French rolls as 
being the only things that could not defy the 
ravages of time, and so, one terribly stormy 
evening, being the second after the arrival of 
the basket. Chaplain Wayland, my brother the 
Captain and I, having our rival teapots all in a 
row, each singing over her own spirit-lamp, I 
removed the stratum of rolls and disposed of 
them to the immense satisfaction of the tea- 
party. This gave me a glimpse of the blue and 
gold Tennyson lying lapped among the balmy 
bolognas. Ever since, I have been longing for 
the golden moment to come when I could sit, 
or, more properly, lie down to my own indi- 
vidual, personal, particular, blue and gold Tenny- 
son. This may probably be when every soul in 
the regiment except myself is helplessly, hope- 
lessly seasick, and nobody can " come a both- 
erin' me." 



200 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

F. B. to G. M. W. 

Hampton Roads, Oct. 27th. 

We still loiter here in a seeming imbecile 
way, waiting now for weather and now for no- 
body knows what. Meanwhile patience and 
strength are ebbing in twelve thousand men. 
The condition of some of the regiments on 
shipboard is said to be very bad. Ours is for- 
tunate in its ship, and they say is in better order 
than any other. A villain of a division-com- 
missary, supplied fifteen days' rations of pork 
and no beef, for the entire expedition ! Finding 
this out just as we were leaving Annapolis, I 
felt that we could never stand it, and we have 
behaved so cantankerously about it, that we 
have secured beef enough, fresh and salt, to 
greatly mitigate the Sahara of pork, for this 
regiment. God help the others ! Oh to have 
a Division-commissary's head in a lemon- 
squeezer ! 

/Leave J. H. got 2i wcck's furlough about the mid- 
absence. ^Ic of Octobcr Qud wc all went North to- 
gether. Just before leaving Washington E. 
writes : 

We did a few errands, went to see the In- 
diana boys at the Patent Office again, and to the 
Columbian College Hospital, and also to call on 
Will Winthrop, now Lieutenant of the Berdan 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 201 

Sharp Shooters. He entertained us in his tent, 
a nice neat one, full of contrivances — painted 
table, book shelves and a wash-stand. Captain 
Hastings^ of his company received us too ; and 
when we left, Will begged us to walk down the 
color-line with them as " it would increase their 
importance to be seen with two rather good- 
looking women. And if one of the field officers 
would only come by and ask who we were ! " 

On Sunday (the 13th) we went to St. John's 
Church and shook hands with General Scott 
and asked him in fun for leave of absence. He 
"thought we couldn't be spared ! " 

E. and J. H. went at once to their own 
home at Fishkill. 

Mother to E. W. H. at Fishkill 

New York, Thursday, Oct. 17th. 
My dear Eliza : I must write a line to you 
this afternoon, not only to congratulate you and 
dear Joe upon being together again in your own 
pleasant home but to tell you how charmed I 
am at the prospect of seeing you here. We be- 
gan to pack up immediately on the receipt of 
our last letter from Washington and came down 
from Lenox as soon as possible, reaching home 
yesterday in time for a six o'clock dinner. I 

* He died insane, at the close of the war. 



202 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

wrote to old William we were coming and he 
had everything very nice and clean, . . . Mary 
received our letter last night, telling her we 
should be in town, so that this morning the first 
thing, Georgy — who had gone right out to Mary 
— and Carry rushed in upon us, and right glad 
were we to see Georgy again, and to find her 
looking so well ; not entirely grey-headed and 
wrinkled with age from the cares and anxieties 
of her Washington campaign, as we expected ! 
but really looking better and certainly fatter, 
than when she left home. It is delightful to 
hear her account of things, and it will be very 
charming when you are here with us too, to join 
in the pow-wows. We are all eager listeners 
to Washington doings, and I cannot bear to be 
out of the room a minute while Georgy is talk- 
ing. . . . 

Do give my kind remembrance to Thomson 
and his wife ; I have a great respect for him. I 
hope you will come to us as soon as you can. 
We shall be all ready for you, except the ** nick- 
nacks," and I don't mean to take any of them 
out. I found William had opened Joe's like- 
ness, and set it out, as a delicate little attention 
to the family ! Hatty waits to take my note. 
Ever affectionately yours, 

Mother. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 203 

E. writes : 

On reaching home we found everything in 
the nicest order, gas lighted, bright fires, plenty 
of flowers, a delicious supper, and Thomson and 
his whole family, and Mechie (the gardener) 
with his arms full of pears and grapes, waiting 
to welcome us. They were all glad to have us 
back, and seemed unable to do enough for us. 
Mrs. Thomson and the gardener's niece helped 
Moritz, and we lived like princes for the few 
days on the products of the place without lift- 
ing our hands. 

Joe went back to the army at the end of 
his week's furlough, G. and E. staying in 
New York a fortnight longer with Mother. 
On returning to Washington they found that 
General Scott had just resigned from the 
head of the army, Nov. i, '61, and General 
McClellan had been appointed commander- 
in-chief. They began work again at once. 
E. writes home the next day :— 

*' We have been up to Columbian College 
Hospital and have helped Miss Dix cover a lot 
of books ; were most affectionately welcomed by 
her on the field of our old conflict. Joe is in a 
new camp near Leesburg Pike and very com- 
fortable. We took a lot of things to the Alex- 
andria Hospital and to Slocum's brigade, in- 



204 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

eluding a number of bright prints Mother and 
Hatty sent on." 

E. to J. //. 

EuBiTT House, Washington, Nov. ii. 
It is very kite, but I scribble a line before 
going to bed to say we got over safely from 
camp, stopping on the way for Mr. Hopkins, 
who is going to Poolesville with us to-morrow. 
We got in at six o'clock and since then we have 
been in a blaze of glory, for there has been 
a splendid torchlight procession in honor of 
McClellan, with rockets and blue lights and all 
sorts of fine things. Of course we followed it 
with Chaplain Hopkins, bringing up at Mrs. 
Hodge's in H street, next door to McClellan's 
own house, where the procession halted and 
called out Seward and Lincoln and Cameron 
and McClellan himself, and there were several 
little speeches, the best of which was General 
Blenker's, who said : '' Citizens and soldiers, 
when I shtand on de battle field with your thou- 
sands volunteers I will fight de enemy better as 
I shpeak your noble language." Then on tip- 
toe he patted McClellan on the back and I think 
kissed him ! Seward's speech was highly vague 
and promiscuous. 

We came home at midnight, just now, with 
our patriotic noses smutty from the torches. 

At 9 this morning we start for Poolesville and 
have the prospect of a fine day. 



Bluff. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 201 

The battle of Ball's Bluff near Pooles- Baii-s 
ville had taken place while we were on 
"leave of absence" at home, and on our re- 
turn to Washington, Major Potter, U. S. pay- 
master, and his wife, starting on an expedi- 
tion to pay the troops up the Potomac, 
invited Chaplain Hopkins and ourselves to 
join the party, which we did with great de- 
light, though it involved a three days' jour- 
ney in our own carriage — a formidable thing 
at that time. It gave us an opportunity of 
visiting the scene of the desperate fight at 
the Bluff and the encampments at Pooles- 
ville and Darnestown and of taking supplies 
to these distant hospitals. 



From E's Journal. 

..." The officers told us the whole story of 
the battle and described terrible scenes to us of 
cold, suffering and death by drowning which we 
hope to forget. . . . 

While standing on the dreadful bank where 
our poor wounded were dragged up (and from 
which we plainly saw the rebel pickets across 
the river gathering in a little group), we under- 
stood fully and bitterly the wicked incompe- 
tency of whoever is responsible for this blun- 
der. . . . 



\^" 



2o6 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Bright and early next morning we left for 
Darnestown on the return drive. There Captain 
Best, of Battery F, 4th Regular Artillery, was 
our host, and a most kind and attentive one, he 
and the other officers turning out of their tents 
for us and treating us lil<e queens. Frank 
Crosby turned up there as Senior ist Lieuten- 
ant, a position, Captain Best told us quietly, he 
worked fourteen years for in the regular ser- 
vice. Our tent was the salon and round our 
little fire that evening gathered Captain Best, 
General Hamilton of Wisconsin, Major Crane, 
Lieutenant Hazzard of Battery A, R. L Artil- 
lery, Colonel Stiles of the 9th N. Y., Captain 
Perkins, Lieutenants Muhlenberg and Crosby, 
Dr. Wier of the Battery and others. They all 
came laden with refreshments from the sutler's, 
and all seemed to enjoy the fun, . . . Next day 
we called at Fort Muggins, lunched with the 
General, dined with Lieutenant Hazzard of 
Battery A, and left for Washington. We were 
stopped on the way for lack of countersign and 
marched to Tenallytown between files of sol- 
diers ! but managed to establish our innocence, 
and finally reached the Ebbitt house at 8 p. m. 

At Darnestown we received the first official 
confirmation of the success of the great expedi- 
tion and the capture of Port Royal. Captain 
Rodgers of the navy was selected by the Com- 
modore as the first man to go on shore and run 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 207 

up the Stars and Stripes ; and Dr. Bacon, who 
was one of the party, was sent inland with Gen- 
eral T. W. Sherman's proclamation, issued on 
his own responsibility, to the citizens of South 
Carolina, exhorting them to " pause and reflect 
upon the tenor and consequences of their acts," 
etc. So deserted was the whole neighborhood 
of all but slaves that they had to go twelve 
miles to find a white man to hand the proclama- 
tion to, and he took it with oaths and under 
protest." 

A. H. W. to G. E. 

8 Brevoort Pl., Thursday. 

The details of the landing of the fleet at 
Port Royal fill all minds and mouths. I hope 
Georgy will have, from " our own correspond- 
ent " with the expedition, a full account of the 
landing of the 7th Connecticut, which seems 
to have been the first on shore. The sight of 
those vessels rounding to and sailing past, with 
sails spread, and the bands playing, and the men 
crying, instead of cheering, for joy ! must all 
have been wonderful. The poor blacks coming 
down to the shore, with their little bundles in 
their hands, is the most touching of all. Every 
one asks me what I think now of the state of 
the country, and I say — the results of the expe- 
dition are good, 2,^ far as they go. We must have 
something more than a Hatteras fizzle this time. 



2o8 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Flags are shown from all the private houses to- 
day. Our's is out again, and I dare say Broad- 
way will be quite a sight. 

F. B. to G. 

Tybee Island. 

The 7th was the first regiment ashore in 
South Carolina. It made the first reconnoissance 
in force ; a detachment of five companies occu- 
pied Braddock's Point and its batteries, and was 
the first to reconnoitre Daufuskie and neighbor- 
ing islands. The greater part of the regiment 
now holds this position, with a fragmentary Ger- 
man one. If you have ever wondered how I could 
be accessory to Sherman's proclamation in any 
way, let me suggest in the faintest possible 
whisper that I improved the occasion to issue 
on my own account a considerable number of 
small proclamations ''to the loyal people of 
South Carolina of various shades of black and 
yellow scattered over the country from Beaufort 
to Port Royal Ferry." 



C. C. W. to E. 

Nov. i8th. 

H. and Dear Eliza : Your most delightful letter has 

C, meet 
Major 



just been read aloud amid the cheers of the 
Ander- asscmblcd family. What a splendid time you 
are having with your brigadiers and serenades. 
How I should like to sacrifice myself and join 



son. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 209 

you in a few of your "noble" sprees, and be- 
come acquainted with some of your suffering 
generals. We, meantime, have been devoting 
ourselves, giving all our time and energy to the 
work of soothing and captivating a poor nerv- 
ous soldier, Major Anderson. I suppose you 
heard that we started on our Christian enter- 
prise the day after you left again for the same 
work. When we reached Tarry town, the scene 
of our labors, we were received, as such heroines 
should be, with a great deal of state, and as we 
found a dinner-party of some twenty awaiting 
us we rushed up stairs to dress in our red silk 
and our mauve. . . . The whole regiment of us 
encamped in the house for the night and we had 
a jolly time. 

On Wednesday, General Anderson, wife and 
son arrived. Mrs. A. is a great invalid and did 
not appear for the first two days, and when at 
last she was announced I looked to see a pale 
shadow glide in, and was astonished by the sight 
of a little, fat, plumpy woman with big bare 
arms and a good deal of jet jewelry ; quite a 
talkative, frisky person. The General is lovely, 
quiet and gentlemanly and devoted to young 
ladies — a very important requisite in a hero. 
His health is very much shattered but his loy- 
alty is unshaken. We were speaking of a lady 
who was engaged to a Southerner. "Break it 
off," he said, "break it at once, he is a lunatic ; 



2IO LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

I would as lief go into an insane asylum and 
argue with a man who calls himself Christ, as 
reason with a secessionist." Mrs. Anderson 
said she never saw such a change as being up in 
Tarrytown made in her husband. In town he 
was worn out by callers and indifferent people 
who came to see the hero and ask him why he 
did not do this and that and the other at Sumter ; 
and propound their own theories as to how he 
should have acted. . . . We told General Ander- 
son you were in Washington doing what you 
could, etc., and he said ** God bless them, it is a 
good work they are doing." . . . We were sorry 
to come home on Tuesday, but had to, as I had 

invited the s and Mr. to dinner. 

When we got home about an hour before dinner 
not a soul was here, Mother and Abby gone to 
Sing Sing for the day, Jane dodging a procession 
on Broadway, and one dish of chops ordered for 
dinner I We sent William out for jelly-cake, 
beef, etc., and with a spread of linen and glass, 
which fortunately was not in the closet of which 
Mother had the key, we set out quite a nice 
little table. . . . Cousin Mary Greene, Gardiner, 
and little Gardy arrived yesterday ; the two last 
are still here. Gardy cuts into every conversa- 
tion, asking innumerable and unanswerable 
questions : is now reading Ferdinand Second as 
pastime ! aged ten. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 211 

Lenox Hodge (Hugh's father) was ready 
to give us all the help in his power, and we 
depended upon him often to fill our com- 
missions for the hospitals. He writes from 
Philadelphia, Nov. '61. 

Dear Georgy : I hope that you will duly 
receive the six air-beds, which agreeably to your 
request I have ordered. The cost was eleven 
dollars apiece and one dollar for express. I 
send also 100 pairs of slippers and 100 palm- 
leaf fans. 

/. S. W. to G. and E. 

New York, November, 1861. 

Dear Girls : I went to the provisional Hos- 
pital here to see if the volunteers wanted any- 
thing. Mrs. Darragh took me all over, and 
said she wanted woolen shirts and socks very 
much. So I sent the requisition to the society 
and she will get all she wants there. . . . Mrs. 
D. also suggests slates for the men to scribble on, 
cypher on, do puzzles, etc. ; thought they would 
be very nice, in which I agree. Perhaps the idea 
may be useful to you. . . . Do you remember 
Peck, the man all twisted with rheumatism ? 
He is getting well, and is a great gourmand. 
They let him have anything he wants. While 
we were there he remarked sentimentally, 
" I say, send we some more of that roast pig^ 



212 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

won't you." I shall adopt the New York volun- 
teers to the mild extent of taking them some 
papers occasionally. . . . Mrs. Bennett, poor 
old soul, called yesterday to tell of the death of 
her son with typhoid dysentery in the camp, 
and, what with her grief and childish elation at 
having news to tell and being an object of sym- 
pathy, was most pathetically comic, — ''dead and 
gone ! dear, dead and gone ! and this is his 
picter that he sent home to his mar," was her 
greeting to everyone that came down stairs ; 
"and I hope you'll all be ready in time, my 
dears. It's bad enough to be left by the cars, but 
worse not to be ready when you come to die." 
Her great desire seemed to be to see and thank 
a drummer boy, who in the last few days of her 
son's life walked a mile and a half every day to 
get him a canteen of spring water. He was 
consumed with thirst and could not drink the 
river water. . . . Do the surgeons know that 
you can have money at your disposal for delica- 
cies, as well as clothes, etc. ? Let them know 
it, if you have not, and spend, spend indefinitely. 
I say to myself often, " fifty or sixty thousand 
dollars would give quite a lift, why do I cumber 
the ground.'' " So if you don't want to see me 
dead and the ducats in my coffin directed to the 
Sanitary Commission, say what I can do or 
send. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 213 

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

November. 

Bessie Wolcott's wedding came off very 
brilliantly. Carry went out to Astoria the day 
before. Mother and Hatty drove out together. 
Mary is said to have looked very handsome in 
white silk trimmed with black lace and white 
silk ruches. Hatty wore her crimson silk with 
white valencienne spencer or waist, and mother 
was very resplendent in velvet and feathers, 
stone cameos and black lace shawl. . . Charley 
drove out and back with his pony as rapidly as 
possible, as they had to drill for evacuation day, 
Charley's first appearance in a procession. We 
all stood on the curbstone and we winked, and 
he winked, and Captain Ben Butler and others 
twinkled and winked, not daring to do more, 
so precise and martial was their array. . . , 
Have you received a large brown bale that you 
didn't know what to make of ? It is black curled 
hair. Eliza said whole pillows were much 
needed — underscoring the words. I don't know 
what she means, unless that mere empty tickings 
to be filled with straw don't answer. I have 
thought that the best way was to send you the 
hair, as it can be packed far closer than any 
number of ready-made pillows would be. The 
tickings are all made and will be along in Wash- 
ington soon. 



214 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

/. S. W. to J. H. in camp. 

November 25. 

We have been evacuating the British with 
great zest to-day ; good weather, clean streets, 
and many praises for the 22nd, Charley's regi- 
ment, among other battalions — praises, that is, 
with the exception of some vile youths of the 
street, near Stuart's, who shouted '' hurrah for 
the never go 'ways !" . . . We had a very inter- 
esting meeting of the Bible Society last night, 
second meeting of the army branch, many excel- 
lent speeches ; Dr. Roswell Hitchcock, of course, 
who apropos of the slavery question, said, " Pa- 
tience ; we need not be hurrying matters — that 
cause, like the soul of old John Brown, is ' march- 
ing on,' and the chorus is ' Glory, Hallelujah !' " 
The allusion was charged with electricity, and 
the audience responded appropriately. A gen- 
tleman, I forget his name, had been to visit the 
Hatteras rebel prisoners and described the scene ; 
a sad, sorry six hundred as you could well find. 
He made them an address on repentance (of the 
gospel sort), and begged them to sing, to " start 
something" — "Pray, sing my brothers; it will 
do your hearts good." So some one began "All 
hail the power of Jesus' name." Then followed 
"Jesus, lover of my soul," and last "There is 
rest for the weary." He said they sang well, 
and it was a strange and even touching sight. 
He said they were comfortably cared for, and he 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 215 

saw a lot of underclothes sent them in a wrapper 
marked, " from a father and mother whose son 
(a Union soldier) is in prison in Richmond." . . . 

How are you going to spend your Thanks- 
giving, and what are you going specially to give 
thanks for? The question will rather be what 
to leave out, than what to put in the action de 
grace. Did you read Governor Andrews' proc- 
lamation ? if you didn't, do ! It is like a blast 
out of one of the old trumpets that blew about 
the walls of the strong city till they tumbled 
down. Have you read the Confederate Presi- 
dent's message, in which he has contrived to 
out-Herod Herod ? . . . 

Tell the girls to get F. L. Olmsted's " Cotton 
Kingdom " if they want anything to read. He 
labors a little with his conscientiously faithful 
statistics, but when he breaks into his story his 
style runs smooth and clear, and there are few 
prettier pieces of travel-telling than his ride 
through the pine forests with the filly " Jane," 
for instance. 



The Governors of all the loyal states Thanks- 
issued in these dark days their annual procla- Day. 
mation of a day of Thanksgiving. Governor 
Andrews' of Massachusetts was dated Nov. 
21, '61, " the anniversary of the day on which 
the Pilgrims of Massachusetts on board the 



2i6 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Mayflower united themselves in a solemn 
compact of government : 

'Sing aloud unto God our Strength.'" 

The proclamation proposes to " give thanks 
for the privilege of living unselfishly, and 
dying nobly in a great and righteous cause.'' 

These state proclamations came, hearten- 
ing and sustaining a people sorely in need. 

E's Journal. 

November 28, Thanksgiving. 

We have kept the day with J. in camp. He 
commissioned us to ask Mrs. Franklin to meet 
the General, unbeknown to him. So we sent 
the carriage for her by half-past eight, and 
started a little after nine, hoping to reach camp 
in time for service with the regiment. The 
roads were very bad, however, and we were too 
late. We stopped at the Brigade Hospital on 
the way, to leave oysters, jelly, oranges, etc., 
keeping some for the regimental " sick in quar- 
ters." Our camp looked very neat and comfort- 
able, tents all raised three or four feet on logs 
and clay, and nearly every one with a fire-place 
or stove. J. had arranged everything nicely for 
us, and his little fire and General Slocum's were 
running races. General Franklin soon arrived, 
and we all sat round the firesides till dinner 
time. The dining-room was the Sibley tent, 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 217 

charmingly ornamented with evergreens, and 
the dinner was a great victory in its way ; for 
out of the little tent-kitchen appeared succes- 
sively, oyster soup, roast turkey, cranberry 
sauce, canvas-back ducks, vegetables, and a gen- 
uine and delicious plum pudding that would do 
justice to any New England housekeeper. Cake, 
pies and ice cream were also among the good 
things. The whole day was delightful, ending 
with a visit to General Franklin's camp and the 
return to town with outriders. 

E. to J. H. 

Ebbitt House, December i, '61. 

We saw yesterday a nice dodge for enlarg- 
ing your tent and making the back one more 
private. It is pitching the two tents three or four 
feet apart and spreading the fly over the interme- 
diate vestibule. Chaplain Edward Walker of the 
4th Connecticut, whom we went to see yesterday, 
had his two tents arranged so, and the effect was 
very pretty. In the front one he had the regi- 
mental library (a very nice one) and the back 
one was his own, and between them was the lit- 
tle vestibule floored like the others and boarded 
at the sides to keep out the cold, and in it he 
had his stove and washing apparatus, and from 
its ceiling hung a pretty wire basket filled with 
moss and wild flowers ! a charming little bit of 
New England country life in the midst of civil 



2i8 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

war. He is a nice fellow, one of Dr. Leonard 
Bacon's Congregational boys and just the one for 
an army Chaplain — so cheerful and strong, and 
honest and kind-hearted. . . . He went with us 
through the camp and to the hospital, where we 
left them some supplies, including a lot of hair 
pillows which we had made from Abby's ma- 
terial. 

G. lately drove Chaplain Wrage's wife out to 
her husband's camp, carrying socks, pillows, 
comforters, farina, etc. to the hospital. The 
camp was very German and dirty ; no New 
England faculty shown in keeping it warm and 
clean, and the little German bowers looked 
dreary in the freezing weather. The Colonel, 
who addresses us as *' my ladies " in a polite 
note, is under arrest for stealing ; the Lieuten- 
ant-Colonel and Quartermaster are fools, and 
the men suffer in consequence. 

Mother to G. and E. 

Thursday Evening, December 5. 
My dear Girls : This will be a little Sunday 
greeting to you, probably, as I write it merely 
to give you my love, and your address to Mr. 
Charles Johnson of Norwich. He is now here 
spending the evening, and, as usual, very enter- 
taining. He leaves to-morrow for Washington. 
He goes to secure, if possible, a paymaster's posi- 
tion in one of the Connecticut regiments, and 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 219 

has Governor Buckingham, Mr. Foster and 
others interested for him. Jane has told him 
that perhaps you can "pull the wires" for him 
in some quarters ! I fear we are beginning to 
feel proud of you, as we hear your praises 
sounded in various quarters, and read para- 
graphs in the papers of your doings. At the 
wedding last night, Mrs. Colby told me all she 
had heard from your French widow nurse, who, 
it seems, has told her all about your visits to the 
hospital, etc., and what a "sunbeam" Georgy 
is, and how much comfort you have both been 
to her, and to all the other nurses. . . . The 
largest box yet, stands all nailed up and marked, 
ready for the express, in the front hall, and 
when Mr. Johnson said he was going on and 
would take anything for us, we told him we had 
a small parcel which he probably saw as he 
came in ; the poor man looked aghast at the idea ! 
. . . How very pleasant Mr. Hopkins is, but I 
think he must have been quizzing you in his very 
flattering remark about me. I do not like this 
in him. You poor, dear, little girls ! I wish I 
could place a tray before you every day or two 
with something relishing. A large dish has 
come up to-night of jumbles, which I should 
like to empty on your table. . . . Charley has 
just come in from drill, with his new military 
overcoat, which is quite becoming. . . . Many 
kisses and lots of love. 



220 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

A.H. W. to G. andE. 

December 6th. 

If Mr. Craney thought the bundle of hair 
was a feather-bed, he will certainly think that 
the stocking box, when it arrives, is the bedstead 
following on. . . . Let me describe its contents. 
In the first place, E's cheque bought seven dozen 
and a half pairs of socks. . . . We have added 
as many more dozen as our own purchase, and 
friends sent in nearly two dozen knitted ones, 
so that the whole number is sixteen dozen. The 
pair of Mackinaw blankets looked like very 
heavy and handsome ones, from one of Robert's 
parishioners. We added two pairs more of less 
expensive ones, and in the folds of one are a 
couple of little framed pictures, out of a lot 
Charley brought down to be sent, but I thought 
two were enough to run the risk of break- 
age. ... Of woolen gloves there are five 
dozen — Jane's purchase, etc., etc. . . . Lastly, 
after the box was all nailed up, came Dorus 
with a dozen of "country-knit socks" from the 
store in Friendsville, near where Annie Woolsey 
lives. We had the middle plank of the box 
taken off and stuffed them in. . . . It is unpar- 
donable that Wrage's men, or any men, should 
be badly off for socks. The dishonest quarter- 
masters are a curse to our army and our cause. 
. . . Mother thinks the best part of all this is to 
be able to put the pillows yourselves under the 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 221 

sick men's heads. What a scene your room 
must be with its boxes and bags ! . . . We are 
amused to think that you admire the President's 
message. . . . What do you think of his muddle 
about the slavery question ? about Government 
taking slaves at so much a lump for taxes? ex- 
patriating a man from the soil he was born on 
and loves, because he is loyal to the government 
and of dark complexion. 

C. C. W. to G. and E. 

December ist. 
L. came in a few evenings ago. He was 
at Conway last summer, and able to contradict 
an absurd story that was going the rounds, — that 
Charley and Joe having joined the army, Mother 
had given up housekeeping and gone into the 
hospitals, and all the daughters were children of 
the regiment ! 

Dr. Carmalt called too. He is very quiet, but 
good-looking, and ready to laugh at poor jokes, 
which is much in his favor. ... I never told you 
what a nice dressing-gown the one you left for 
Abby was ; and though she was immensely dis- 
gusted at your having given it, she wears it 
every night and looks comfortable and warm, 
which is what she did not look, with her flannel 
petticoat over her shoulders. 

Abby would not spend a penny that could 
be helped, on herself, during the war. She 



222 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

casually mentioned one day with modest 
pride that she had spent only $300 for her- 
self this year. Jane looked at her with sur- 
prise and remarked, " I can't imagine where 
you've put it !" 

F. B. to G. M. W, 

Tybee Island, Dec. 24, '61. 

Tybee You spcak of our hospital as a matter of 

course ; and we are, by and by, to have one, as 
yet uncommenced ; but we owe the medical de- 
partment no thanks for this when we get it. 
Dr. Cooper, Medical Director of the expedition, 
a sensible man, urged the necessity of a hospi- 
tal ; Surgeon-General Finley thought otherwise 
— "in this mild southern climate tents would 
do very well for men to have fevers in." It 
would suit my views of the fitness of things to 
have Surgeon-General Finley exposed in scanty 
apparel to a three days' Texas norther, by way 
of enlarging his views of southern climates. . . . 
I was just laying the foundations of a log hos- 
pital for our men at Port Royal when we were 
ordered here, and, as I have no compunction 
about committing any crime short of high 
treason for a hospital, I had effected a neat little 
larceny of a lot of windows and sawn lumber 
which were to work in so sweetly. It was a sad 
reverse to abandon it ! 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 223 

One great trouble has been to keep our sick 
men, with their lowered vitality, warm in tents. 
There is a popular prejudice against cannon 
balls which I assure you is wholly unfounded. 
My experience is that there are few pleasanter 
things to have in the family than hot shot. It 
would raise the cockles of your heart some of 
these wretchedly cold nights, to walk between 
the two long rows of men in my large hospital- 
tent just after they have been put to bed, each 
with his cup of hot tea and his warm thirty-two 
pound shot at his feet, and to see and feel the 
radiant stack of cherry-red balls in the middle 
of the floor. This is troublesome and laborious 
to manage, however, and we greatly need some 
little sheet-iron stoves. I sent for some a good 
while since, which should be here shortly. 
Your inquiry about medicines is a sagacious 
one, and shows that you have not neglected your 
hospital-walking opportunities. My dear un- 
sophisticated friend, permit me to indoctrinate 
you in a dainty device whereof the mind of un- 
departmental man hath not conceived. Know 
that there is one supply-table of medicines for 
hospital use and another for field use. Some 
very important, almost essential, medicines are 
not furnished for field service ; when your pa- 
tient needs them he is to go to the hospital. 
Very good — where is the hospital for us ? Now, 
before we left Washington, with a perfectly clear 



224 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

notion of what was likely to befall us in the 
way of fevers, and out of the way of hospitals, 
I made a special requisition for some things not 
in the field supply table, such as serpentaria, and 
some of the salts of iron, and went in person 
to urge it through the purveyor's office. No use. 

Ask any sensible, steady-going old doctor how 
he would feel with a lively fever clientele upon 
his hands, and no serpentaria or its equivalent. 

I declare, it seemed to me like a special provi- 
dence that in my pretty extensive "perusings" 
about these parts, I picked up, here and there, 
from rebel batteries and deserted houses, both 
serpentaria and many other needed medicines 
which have turned to the best account. . . . 

If you should hear some day that some rebel 
Major-General had been rescued from impend- 
ing death by hemorrhage by the application of 
Liq. Ferri Persulphat. in the hands of the sur- 
geon of the yth C. V., you may lay it all to that 
little bottle which was not the least wonderful 
content of that wonderful basket sent to An- 
napolis. The Tennyson and Barber inspired 
me with emotions too various and complicated 
here to describe ; the bologna cheered and in- 
vigorated ; the Castile soothed and tranquilized 
my soul ; but at the sight of the Liquor Ferri 

Persulphatis ! what shall I say, except to 

repeat the words of our own Royston — "a halloo 
of smothered shouts ran through every vein ! ' ' 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 225 

and whenever since, I have started upon any 
expedition giving promise of bullets, I have 
popped the bottle into my pocket, hoping to use 
it upon some damaged rebel. 

Our tents, flimsy speculator's ware at best, are 
now in a most deplorable state. I am distressed 
to think of the possibility of a long rainy sea- 
son overtaking us with no other shelter. . . . 

This island upon which we are now encamped, 
though a lonely wilderness enough and several 
days farther from home than that which we have 
left, is on the whole more interesting, as it seems 
to offer " a right smart chance " of a fight. At 
any time we can, and often we do, get ourselves 
shelled from Pulaski by walking upon a certain 
stretch of the beach. This afternoon a rifled 
shell came squealing along in its odd way and 
plumped into the ground without exploding, a 
few yards from where my brother and I stood. 
The rascals seem to have defective fuses, and as 
yet they have hurt no one. By creeping along 
under bushes we get within Sharps' rifle range 
of the great grim fort, and look right into its 
embrasures. Don't mention that fact just now. 
.... Every day, about the time Pulaski begins 
her afternoon shelling, "Old Tatnal"* runs down 

*"01d Tatnal" originated the expression, "Blood is 
thicker than water," when as flag officer of the U. S. 
squadron in '57, he came to the assistance of the English 
commander in Chinese waters. In 1861 he turned traitor 
to his flag. 



2 26 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

his fleet and gnashes his teeth at us from a safe 
distance, but doesn't come within range of our 
new battery or the gunboats. We hear cannon 
practice at Savannah occasionally, and from 
one quarter or another great guns growl every 
few hours. On the whole, a lively place. . . . 

Our jolly German neighbors have begun upon 
their Christmas eve with such rolling choruses 
right behind my tent, that I must step out to see. 
. . . — I find that they have a row of Christmas 
trees through their camp, all a-twinkle with can- 
dles, and hung with ''hard-tack" curiously cut 
into confectionary shapes, and with slices of 
salt pork and beef. Sedate, heavy-bearded Teu- 
tons are sedulously making these arrangements, 
retiring a few paces to observe through severely 
studious spectacles the effect of each new pend- 
ant. 

We have all the foliage orthodox for Christ- 
mas here, including holly and mistletoe with 
berries of scarlet and w^hite wax. The jungly 
unscarred forest of this island is superb. . . . 
The purple grey depths of the wood all flicker 
with scarlet grosbeaks like flames of fire, and 
quaint grey and brown northern birds flit in and 
out with the knowing air of travelled birds, and 
plan the nests they will build next summer, in 
spite of bombs and bayonets, in New England 
elms and alders. . . . 



FIRS 7 YEAR OF THE WAR 



227 



I owe something to Captain Rowland for 
keeping up my spirits, for, sometimes when I 
think how utterly these wretched Carolinians 
throw their best and their all into their bad 
cause as if they believed in and loved it, and 
then see, with a sort of dismay, how few, com- 
paratively, of our first-rate men have come per- 
sonally to the fight with self-sacrifice and out of 
pure love of the cause, I think of Captain How- 
land and take comfort of him at least., 

The Trent affair, to which the next letters 
refer, was the capture by Captain (afterwards 
Admiral) Wilkes, of Messrs. Mason and Sli- 
dell, rebel emissaries, making their way to 
England via Havana, on board an English 
vessel, the Trent, with their secretaries and 
families. They were afterwards surrendered 
by the U. S. Government without an apology 
to England. 

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

December. 
My dear Girls : The news of Mason and The 
Slidell's release has arrived since you wrote. '^'"^"^ 

•' Affair. 

It was generally known here about 11 a. m. 
Saturday. I am quite satisfied with the release 
and with the grounds of it. In making the 
claim, England runs counter to all her preced- 



228 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

ing history in the matter of maritime laws. In 
holding the men, we should contradict our own 
previous course. Is it not far better to put Eng- 
land in the wrong, by yielding to her claim and 
so negatively securing her assent to what Amer- 
ica has so long contended for — the rights of 
neutrals ? As the Washington Intelligencer 
said, Mason and Slidell are for a day, Maritime 
Law is for all nations and all time. For my 
part, I think our position more assured, more 
dignified, more honorable to us since the sur- 
render than ever before. Of course it will not 
satisfy England. Their peremptory demand, 
and Lord Lyons' laconic acceptance, are in con- 
trast with Mr. Seward's wordy, sauve, argumen- 
tative letters. They have got in part what they 
asked — possession of the men ; they have not 
got what they asked — an apology for the "insult 
to their flag" and the violation of rights of 
asylum. The Manchester Guardian even says 
plainly that "whether Mason and Slidell are re- 
turned or not, war preparation on the part of 
England must go on, the day being not far dis- 
tant when the Southern Confederacy must be 
recognized, and England must be prepared to 
support her policy." Mr. Seward, too, you 
know, says very plainly that recognition of the 
South would instantly be the signal of war be- 
tween ourselves and all the recognizing powers. 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 229 

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

December '61. 
Dear Girls : ** We are in the midst of stirring 
times," as the newspapers say — or rather, stir- 
ring times are in our midst, as well as all 
around us. I am prepared to be astonished at 
nothing, and to regard all events with stoicism 
bordering on a fiendish glee. New York was 
sizzling on Monday and Tuesday ; shops, 
omnibuses and everything, full of "don't give 
'em up" and "come on, Britain." Wm. Bond 
was here on Monday evening and said he never 
saw such a state of things down town. In their 
office they had drawn up a subscription paper 
among themselves iox 07ie privateer, with two rifled 
guns ; to sail front New London. — " But I thought 
privateering was a sort of barbarism, Mr. Bond ?" 
— " Oh, no. It is a relic of a bygone age ; that is 
all." — Mr. B. brought invitations to the break- 
fast at the Astor House to Gov. Buckingham 
and the officers of the nth Conn. Mother, 
Abby and Charley went yesterday and had a 
very nice time. . . . The young line officers 
munched and crunched and giggled and clapped 
with the keenest enjoyment. The remarks about 
England were the same in tone that most sensi- 
ble people make — ""prove us wrong and we will 
apologize like gentlemen ; if otherwise then 
otherwise." . . . For my part, as to war with 
England ; I do not see it where I stand. Infinite 



230 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

are the resources of diplomacy, and Mr. Seward 
and Mr. Lincoln are cool hands. — What a horri- 
bly satisfactory thing the burning of Charles- 
ton is — retribution from within; — Sumter 
avenged without our responsibility. There is 
something quite dramatic in the denouement. 
"As the captain of the Illinois came by, the 
whole sky was one red glare, with the outlines 
of Fort Sumter black against it." ... A note 
from Sarah Woolsey says she will be here to-night. 
I shall take her round to some of the fairs and 
things of which there is no end. The Union 
Bazaar is the biggest. Stewart gives a shawl — 
$1,500 — to be raffled for ; Dr. Hughes a bronze 
statue, ditto ; Miss King a doll bride with trous- 
seau, trunks, French maid, etc., all complete, 
ditto ; and so on. They took in $3,000 the first 
night. We have just sent off a lot of old party 
dresses to the Tracys for doll finery, everything 
we could find ; you may miss something famil- 
iar when you come back. ... I observe that 
when you write two sheets you speak of it as a 
letter. When / do it becomes a note. — We had a 
lot of little things already collected for F. B, 
and shall send them on as a little Christmas 
box without waiting to hear. I am going to put 
" Spare Hours," by author of Rab, in the box, 
and the jolliest tin canister of bonbons "as ever 
you see." . . . Anna Rockwell read us a lot of 
interesting letters from Charles. He is " head- 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 231 

ing home " now ; he belongs to the 7th ; the 
7th may have to turn out yet to garrison the 
forts. If there is war with England Robert says 
he shall enlist. . . . 



(. 



Mot/iej- to G. and E. 

Monday, December 24, 1861. 

My dear Girls: Col. D. is a godsend! I 
was in despair at the thought of not getting 
some little Christmas box off so as to reach you 
to-morrow, when lo ! he appeared, like an angel 
of mercy and offered to take anything we might 
have to send. So of course we gathered to- 
gether our duds, which we had set aside as an 
impossibility as Christmas gifts, to take their 
chance in reaching you for New Year, and have 
just sent off the bonnet box filled with love and 
best wishes in all the chinks, mixed in with the 
sugar-plums and covering over everything, to 
make all acceptable to our noble-hearted girls, 
who are " extending their benevolence to all 
within their reach." ... I have sent Joe a cake, 
which you must dress with its wreath and flag, 
for him to take down to camp. . . . We are 
going to give little May a Christmas tree and 
have a beauty now standing in the middle par- 
lor ready to be decorated. It is a very large 
one, and will take the whole of a box of one 
hundred colored candles which I have been 
arranging in little colored tin candlesticks with 



232 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



sharp points which fasten on to the branches. 
We have also a number of small colored lan- 
terns and a great variety of beautiful and cun- 
ning toys. This is to be my Christmas gift to 
the children. . . . 

E's Journal : 

Christmas Day we spent with J. again in 
camp, going round by Alexandria to pick up 
Chaplain Hopkins and take him with us. We 
had taken some goodies and little traps with 
us for the men in the hospitals in Alexan- 
dria and were glad to find the nice arrange- 
ments that had already been made by Madame 
M. She had got Col. Davies to detail some of 
the i6th men to bring her Christmas greens, and 
had dressed all the wards with festoons and 
garlands, little flags, mottoes, etc., besides ar- 
ranging for a grand Christmas dinner for her 
*'boys." 

The Mansion House Hospital too was resplen- 
dent with bright tissue papers and evergreens 
and Dr. Sheldon showed us with great pride his 
kitchen and store-room arrangements, which are 
excellent in every respect. Fifty roast turkeys 
were preparing for the Christmas feast, sixteen 
large loaf-cakes iced to perfection and decorated 
with the most approved filigree work, pies 
without number, cream puffs, cranberry sauce, 
puddings of all sorts, etc., etc. — altogether the 



FIRST YEAR OF THE WAR 233 

most Christmas-like scene we have looked upon, 
and all arranged with the greatest order and 
cleanliness. 

Among the little things we took out were 
Mother's and Jane's socks, which we gave to 
men likely to go back soon to their regiments. 
The only boy without mittens got Mrs. Smith's. 

After our own camp dinner, at which the 
Colonel and the Doctor joined us, we sat round 
the last and best chimney yet built, and talked 
about old times five or six months ago, which 
now seem like so many years. J. says his Christ- 
mas Eve was dreary enough in his tent, and they 
all agreed that our coming was the only thing 
that prevented their Christmas Day from being 
so too. 

A. H. W. to G. a?id E. 

December 26. 

Dear Girls : We had a great day yesterday. 
Of course^ Mother and the girls and Charley 
broke through the rule we had prescribed for 
ourselves, not to give Christmas presents, and 
launched upon Jane and me wholly unprepared, 
a flood of pretty and useful things. . . . We 
dined at Mary's, and there Mother was made 
happy by a superb dish of moss, growing and 
trailing over, and set in a carved walnut table 
or stand which Mary brought from Germany. 
. . . Our children's " Christmas tree " went off 



234 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

very successfully. Little May came over early 
and did the honors as nicely as could be to the 
arriving guests, introducing them all to each 
other and providing amusement. There were 
the three little Rowlands and their mamma, the 
Prentisses and theirs, Mally and Willy Smith 
and theirs, little Kernochan, little Parker boy, 
and Mary and Helen Skinner with the Rhine- 
lander children. The tree was in the back par- 
lor with the doors closed and windows dark- 
ened, and the effect was very pretty when the 
candles and the lanterns were all ready and the 
doors were thrown open, and the tree blazed 
out in its own light. Each child had half a 
dozen little things and was delighted, choos- 
ing, when left to him or herself, the most hid- 
eous Chinese toys only intended as decora- 
tions. Then there were ice cream and jelly, 
which the older people helped eat, and Mr. 
Prentiss came in, and the children gradually 
went away — and we subsided into quiet. 

And so, the first year of the war closed 
with at least a happy time for the children. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 
1862 



CHAPTER V. 

E's Journal. 

January 1862. 

. . . Sunday evening James Gillette came a New 
up to our room to tell us his story. He is one ^^l^xon 
of the two hundred and forty Union soldiers just g. and 
released from Richmond prisons in exchange 
for an equal number of rebel prisoners from 
Fort Warren. He was with the 71st N. Y., a 
three months' regiment, and his time was out 
before the battle in which he was taken pris- 
oner. These five months of prison life have 
turned him from a dapper little fellow into a 
sad-looking, care-worn, sick man. He and his 
fellows were in Prison No. 2, a tobacco factory, 
dirty and uncomfortable beyond description — 
170 men in a room 40 feet by 60. They immedi- 
ately organized themselves, however, into a little 
military community under strict discipline. A 
detail of men was made every day to police the 
place, and all unnecessary uncleanliness was pun- 
ished by the court they instituted for the trial 
of offenders. They had plenty of water but no 
soap or towels. Their rations were about 



238 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

eleven ounces of bread daily and one ration of 
beef or pork, and the water in which this was 
boiled was served at night as soup — " Confed- 
erate swill " they called it. They had no cloth- 
ing given or sent them except what came to the 
Massachusetts and Rhode Island men, and an 
occasional little bundle handed in secretly by 
some sympathizing citizen. . . . The principal 
suffering was from the ignorance and brutality 
of the prison guards, who treated them roughly 
and often shot at them. Several were killed in 
that way ; and yet these same sentinels would 
let the prisoners stand guard in their places, 
and go off and get them whiskey ; and when 
they themselves were drunk, our men would 
pass them and take an airing in the city. The 
sick suffered and still suffer for want of decent 
care and medicine. One building is given up 
to cases of gangrene — a sufficient commentary 
on the condition of things. As a rule the pris- 
oners kept up their spirits well and used all 
sorts of means for entertaining themselves ; a 
debating club, a court, menagerie exhibitions, 
carving in beef-bones, etc. I have a little ring 
cut from part of their rations. Some men, 
though, have grown simple, almost idiotic, from 
the confinement ; some have gone insane ; and 
some of good standing at home will now 
wrangle pitifully over a bit of cracker or meat. 
About one hundred of our men, he says, have 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 239 

already died in Richmond of sickness, besides 
those dying from their wounds. 

Among these released Richmond prison- 
ers were twenty-one men of the 27th N. Y., 
a regiment brigaded with our i6th. 

E's Journal, Jan. 11, '62^ says : 

Joe told us of the pretty reception they had 
given the returned Richmond prisoners of the 
27th. It was a shockingly muddy day or the 
whole brigade would have marched down to 
meet them. As it was, the General and Staff 
and the 27th marched as far as the Brigade Hos- 
pital, where they met the poor fellows trudging 
up the hill, each with his little bundle. They 
gave them a grand greeting with band-playing 
and hand-shaking and then the procession was 
formed : first the band, then the prisoners at 
the head of the column, then the rest of the regi- 
ment, and the General and Staff bringing up the 
rear. As they marched through the different 
camps there was a perfect ovation, friends and 
strangers alike smothering them with hugs, 
cheering them, slapping them on the back and 
*' old-fellowing " them. The regimental bands 
were a// out in force and the camp of the 27th 
was dressed festively for the occasion, the pro- 
cession entering it by an archway over which 
hung the words " Welcome, Comrades ! Your 



240 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

wounds bleed afresh in our hearts.." They 
were all more or less wounded but are now in 
pretty good condition and all are to have a fur- 
lough of thirty days. 

/. S. W. to J. H. 

Saturday Evening, January, '62. 
I received yesterday from Mr. Stephen 
Williams thirty dollars, on the part of Mr. Alex- 
ander Van Rensselaer, "for a soldiers' library." 
Stephen, good old soul, said, "Oh! I've got this 
commission ; now won't you help me ? / don't 
know about libraries ; you can consult How- 
land," etc., etc. ... It will buy about forty 
plain books for a hospital or regiment. Would 
the i6th or any regiment in the brigade like 
one ? . . . 

Lizzie Greene sent a box of flannel shirts to a 
Connecticut regiment lately, and put a dozen 
cigars and a paper of tobacco in a pocket in 
each — "true Christian philanthropy," William 
Bond says ; — " send them something they ought 
not to have." . . . We have been trying to per- 
suade Mother to go down to Washington with 
Hatty and Charley, and take a look at things, 
but she is not to be prevailed on, I am afraid. 
Charley's lame hand will prevent him from 
going for a while, but I think he and H. will go 
on while Carry is in Boston. Carry goes on 
Wednesday to Mrs. Huntington Wolcott's and 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 241 

afterwards to Miss Parsons', (lately engaged to 
a tall Captain Stackpole in a Massachusetts reg- 
iment now at Annapolis, expecting to go up the 
York river with Burnside's expedition). Abby 
saw Mrs. George Betts to-day, who says her 
husband (in Hawkins' Zouaves) expects to join 
the same expedition immediately. Transports 
are to take them at once from Hatteras to the 
rendezvous at Fortress Monroe. They have 
suffered severely at Hatteras ; the mortality in 
George Betts' regiment has been very great. . . . 

Malvina Williams says she hears G. and E. 
are known in Washington as the *' Angels ! " . . . 

Mr. Prentiss came in just now for a little call, 
cheery and bright, asking for your photograph 
to put in a book he had given him for Christ- 
mas. So you can send him one. It's a good 
book to be in, Mr. Prentiss' good book. . . . 

William Wheeler, who has been very ill with 
camp fever, writes home that he has received 
great kindness from Miss Jane Woolsey^ meaning 
G., and '* was delighted with her." I begged his 
friends not to mention it ; it was but little I 
could do ! But tell Georgy. . . . 

Would you like three or four dozen more 
gloves for your men, lonely and cold sentinels, 
for instance ? Spake the wurred. Mr. Gibson 
sends a lot of London papers all deep-edged 
with black for the Prince Consort (rest his 
soul) and their own sins (bad luck to them) I 



242 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

should hope. The "whirligig of time will no 
doubt bring in its revenges." . . . 

I had a vision of you to-day, as might be a 
year ago, sitting on the box seat of a sleigh, with 
a fur cap with ears, and, shall I say it, a roseate 
nose, visible when you turned around, skirrying 
over the crusty roads with the blue bloomy 
hills lifting, and the white fields rolling away, 
with the wonderful sparkling rime on everything 
and the heavy snow breaking down the fir- 
branches. The vision passed, as Cobb would 
say, and I tried to make another out of your 
present circumstances and didn't succeed at all, 
which proves that your normal state is not war- 
like. 

Young people at home could not be kept 
on the nervous strain all the time, and an 
occasional festivity served as a breathing 
place, though the regular occupation of the 
family followed hard upon it. 

M, W. H. to G. and E. 

January. 

Dear Girls : I have only been waiting for 
the New Year to come fairly in and shut the 
door, before sitting down quietly to wish you all 
the traditionary compliments of the season. . . . 
We all spent Christmas day together as usual 
in London Terrace. . . . The prettiest feature 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 243 

of the season was Mother's Christmas tree for 
the children, who were in ecstasies of delight, 
and insisted even upon perching on the branches 
to get as near to it as possible. Night before 
last was devoted to a brilliant little party for 
the children Hatty and Carry, — a very hand- 
some and successful affair. I did not go, my 
wardrobe presenting only the alternative of 
bogy or bride, either black silk or a too dressy 
white silk, but Robert and I feasted on some of 
the remains last night, on our roundabout way 
home from Mr. Everett's lecture at the Academy 
of Music, and had a near and satisfactory view 
of the spun sugar beehives and candy castles 
surmounted by nougat cherubim, which graced 
the occasion. 

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

8 Brevoort Place, January 7. 
My Dear Girls : I have only time before 
mailing hour for a short letter, but must tell 
you how pleasantly Hatty's and Carry's little 
party went off last night. . . . Maillard sent up 
at eleven a very handsome little supper. . . . 
Bessie and Mr. Merchant came in the afternoon 
to dinner, which was hardly over and our dresses 
pitched on when the company came. Miss Tilly 
Dawson was the prettiest girl here, and Charley 
Johnson was made happy all the evening by an 



244 LETTERS OE A EAMILY 

introduction to her. I think Zenie Smith* was 
the next prettiest. She came with two young 
friends staying with her, and Minnie Worthing- 
ton brought the sweet young fellow she is en- 
gaged to ; and there were the McCurdy girls and 
Helen Skinner, and Lilly Lusk and Tom Perkins, 
and Frank Bond, and Mr. Stagg, and the Cryders 
and McKeevers, and Bucks, etc., etc. Supper was 
so delayed that I don't know how we should have 
got on if it hadn't been for the man Charley had 
engaged to play the piano, and they all danced, 
and you can imagine that it was not a slow time 
when I tell you that I ! figured in a Virginia 
reel. Some of Charley's chums wxre agreeable 
young fellows, young Marsh, the son of G. P. 
Marsh, and others. Charley himself had been on 
the bed all day with a sick headache, but bright- 
ened up when the evening was half over, and in 
spite of his lame hand, dressed himself quite 
elaborately with a roman scarf for a sling and 
came down. . . . Chaplain Wrage goes to 
Washington to-night and will take you a hun- 
dred hymn books in German, which I bought at 
the Methodist book concern. They will do to 
give away when you come across a German sol- 
dier in the hospitals. . . . Did you know that the 
Boston Tract Society has an agent and a depos- 
itory in the Post Office Building, Washington ? 

* Arixene Southgate Smith, now your Aunt Zenie. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 245 

. . , The box of books for Joe, directed to Alex- 
andria, Va., went off yesterday. Cousin Sarah 
Coit has sent us her one pair of stockings, her 
giant pair, that she says she has knit, and knit, 
and knit on, and seemed to make no progress. 
. . . Young Crosby begged, the other night, for 
whatever mittens we or our friends might have 
this week, to make up 120 pairs for Frank's 
artillery company of regulars. Did you know 
how many of the Crosby family are in the 
army ? You saw Frank Stevens, who has a 
Lieutenancy at last, in Pratt's Ulster Guard. 
Then Schuyler Crosby is in the Regular Artil- 
lery at Fort Pickens. Floyd Clarkson is Major 
in a cavalry regiment at York, Pa. Rutgers is 
somewhere else, etc., etc. Charles Wainwright 
is Captain of a battery in General Cooper's 
Division on the Lower Potomac. 

Little May has been fairly launched in school 
life, and Mary says she doesn't know which has 
raised her in her own importance most — going to 
school or going to the dentist's, to have ever so 
many fillings put into her little back grinders- 

. . . We have had intelligence of Aunt Adela 
Newton, who tried to go through the lines to 
protect her property in Charleston. Somebody 
told Amelia Bailey that they had seen a lady 
from Richmond, who had lately seen Mrs. New- 
ton and daughters in that city. They had 
passed our lines at some point not stated, had 



246 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

travelled by private conveyance and reached 
Richmond after every hardship and difficulty, 
wandering at one time three days in the woods 
— lost. I want Mother to write a few lines to 
Aunt A. to go by Fort Monroe and flag of truce. 
It would get South in course of time if it was 
short and not treasonable. . . . Dr. Buck came 
in last night and re-vaccinated Hatty and me. 
He says if Georgy wants to be vaccinated he 
can send on a little quill with pure virus (Union 
virus, as Joe says) from here. There is much 
small-pox and considerable alarm about it here 
as well as in Washington. 

Mother to G. and E. 

8 Brevoort Place, Tuesday Eve. 

My Dear Girls : The question of my going 
on to Washington has been agitated for some 
time past, yet I do not seem to come to any de- 
cision about it ; not but that I would dearly love 
to look upon your faces again, and enjoy ever 
so much being with you, and seeing for myself 
all your goings and doings. Independent of all 
this, however, I confess I have no desire to visit 
Washington, and unless I could make myself 
useful tliere, and in every way a comfort to you, 
I think I am more in my place at home. Your 
uncle Edward was here this morning, and threw 
cold water on the movement, said it would be 
madness to run any such risk, as Washington was 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 247 

full of small-pox and typhoid fever. Now I 
write this evening to ask you what you think of 
our going on at present ; whether there is really 
so much sickness as to cause any alarm. Do 
you want us ? will it be a comfort to you to 
have a little visit from me ? I do not ask these 
questions because I have any fears myself, but I 
am not willing, after your uncle's remarks this 
morning, to run any risk in Charley's or Hatty's 
going. I feel now that it will all rest upon 
what you say about it. . . . The report here 
this morning said twenty-five hundred cases of 
small-pox in Washington ! This evening it has 
come down to eighty. . . . My eyes failing last 
night, I left my scrawl to finish to you this 
morning. We have had our breakfast, cold tur- 
key (not boned), hot biscuits, and fish-balls, and 
the girls are gathered round the front parlor 
fire with the newspapers, reading items, and dis- 
cussing the times ; Charley is directing Eliza- 
beth about his cushions for the chair he has 
carved and made, and I am scribbling this in 
the dining-room, feeling an occasional pang 
when I look up and see a horrid stranger, John 
by name, in the pantry, instead of the old faith- 
ful servant, William. You don't know how 
much I miss him in a thousand little things. 
This fellow is a perfect snail, never gets through 
with anything, and of course half is not done 
at all ; — an Irish drone and tobacco chewer. 



248 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Poor William's occasional spree was really pre- 
ferable. ... I have nothing to say to begin 
another sheet with, but to send you my love and 
a Mother's blessing. Give Joe his share in both. 
Yours lovingly. 

Small pox was more or less prevalent about 
Washington at this time, and one of the sad 
cases, entirely characteristic of war, was 
that of G. R., a private in tne 19th Indiana, 
cared for earlier by G. and E. in the Patent 
Office Hospital. He went safely through 
camp fever, measles and rheumatism, to die 
at last of small-pox in a lonely camp hospital 
in the outskirts of Washington, among 
strangers. 

C. C. W. to G. and E. 

Boston, January 13th. 

Dear Girls: I dare say you will expect a 
letter from me while I am in Boston. ... I 
find it exactly as I left it three years ago, only 
warmer. It used to be the coldest place imagi- 
nable, but the heated term seems to be on, so 
there is no skating and no talk of it. The Sani- 
tary Commission occupies all the ladies, and in 
the spare time they work for the contrabands. 
Mrs. Huntington Wolcott is entirely devoted to 
it. She keeps thirty poor women in sewing and 
runs I don't know how manv machines. Mattie 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 249 

Parsons, too, has come out in an entirely new 
character and fairly slaves for the cause, besides 
taking care of two families of volunteers in Mr. 
Stackpole's regiment, left destitute. They say 
she recruited a fourth of his company and 
knows every man in it. They are all devoted 
to the "■ Captain's lady," and swear to bring him 
safely home to her. ... I went out to Cam- 
bridge on Saturday to review the scenes of my 
youth — three years ago — at the Prof. Agassiz' 
School. Alas! the former familiar faces that 
were wont to llatten their noses against the 
law school windows no longer beam upon 
my path ; they are married and gone, and I am 
sorry to say the best are in the rebel army. The 
undergraduates look very small and the college 
grounds don't seem as classic as of yore. 

E, to J. H. 

Washington, '62. 

We have made an engagement with Rev. Mr. wash- 
Kennard, a young Baptist clergyman here, to ^^^l\^ 
visit the jail with him, where the poor contra- 
bands are imprisoned on suspicion of being 
runaway slaves, or for debt. We have the 
Marshal's permit, secured through a friend. . . . 
We made our visit; it is a wretched place, but 
the contrabands are better off than the convicts, 
though many of the poor creatures are almost 
naked. There are twenty men and boys and a 



250 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



few women, all runaway slaves. We gave them 
socks, shirts, drawers, etc. and shall go again. 
The women were very glad to get the sewing 
we had arranged for them. 

Mrs. Mrs. Thomas Gibbons, mentioned in the 

following letters, was one of the distin- 
guished Hopper family of ''Friends" — 
strong abolitionists and managers of what 
was called the " underground railroad." 
Through their efforts many wretched hunted 
colored people were landed safely in Can- 
ada. Mrs. Gibbons was busy in the war 
from the beginning, and all her life long, 
with serene determination, waged her own 
war against evil wherever she encountered it. 

Froiti A. H. W. 

J. C. called here yesterday bringing Mrs. 
Thomas Gibbons to see us. She told me much 
that was interesting, and disgusting too, about 
her experience at Fall's Church ; the brutality 
of the regimental surgeon, etc. She and her 
daughter go on again the 24th of this month, 
and unless they hear something to the contrary 
will go to the same regiment, the 23d New York 
Volunteers. She had thought of writing to 
Georgy ; wished I would do so, and see if she 
could learn from any of the assistant-surgeons, at 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 251 

the office, from the Commission, or from the army 
officers, where she would be most needed. They 
want to go where people are least liable to help, 
and where there is most to do. We are to have 
some towels, little books, etc., ready for her. . . . 
Mrs. Gibbons said that Horace Greeley was 
greatly distressed at the course of the Tribune ; 
he was sick at her house three weeks with brain 
fever, this autumn, the result of disappointment, 
etc., etc., in the paper. 

E. W. H. to J. H. in Camp. 

January, '62. 

To-day we are going out to look up some 
nurses for Will Winthrop's regiment, and then 
to the Senate. I forgot to tell you a pretty 
story we heard the other day from Mrs. Gib- 
bons, our Quaker lady friend. She is a very 
sweet, kind old lady, and she and her daughter 
have been out at Fall's Church getting the hos- 
pital there into working order, and showing 
them how to nurse and cook for the sick, and, 
thanks to them, one poor fellow who was dying 
was nursed back into the right road and is now 
nearly well enough to go home with his father, 
who, meantime, had been sent for. He, a plain 
well-to-do farmer from Western New York, was 
so overcome with gratitude to Mrs. G. and her 
daughter, that he entreated the young girl to go 
home with him and be his daughter! "He 



252 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

would do all in the world for her and she should 
be an equal sharer with his son in the farm of 
300 acres," and it was said (Mrs. Gibbons told 
us) in the most delicate, genuine way, w^ithout 
any allusion to the young Lieutenant and prob- 
ably without the least idea of " making a match." 
Of course the young girl declined, and then he 
went to the mother to ask if she hadn't other 
daughters like herself for whom he could do 
something to show his gratitude. Isn't it like 
some old ballad ? . . . 

The management of the jail was before the 
Senate yesterday and we heard the discussion, 
and left just before the bill was passed, requir- 
ing the release of all persons not committed for 
crime, which means, principally, the contra- 
bands. Mr. Grimes, the chairman of the Com- 
mittee on District affairs, abused Marshal Lamon 
roundly for his bad management and his inso- 
lent exclusion of congressmen from one of the 
institutions which it is their duty to supervise. 
G. sent Senator Dixon a note asking if, while 
the subject is before Congress, something can't 
be done about separating children committed 
for petty crimes, from hardened criminals. . . . 
There ought to be a reformatory school attached 
to every jail. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 253 



E. to J. H. 

January 28. 

My only letter by the mail last night was 
from Major Crane, about some of the patients 
of his Division who came down the Potomac in 
a wretched condition on a canal boat some 
time ago. He is going to do his best to find out 
who is responsible and prefer charges, and he 
wants us to help. Don't mention this, as we 
shall do it as quietly as possible, but also as 
thoroughly. . . . We hear every now and then 
of some new abuse among the surgeons, regu- 
lar and volunteer, — for instance : Mr. Hopkins 
told us of one poor fellow of a Vermont regi- 
ment who was brought to the hospital in Alex- 
andria with typhoid fever, having both feet frozen 
and one of them eaten by rats ! It is too horri- 
ble to think of, but I tell you that you may 
understand why we feel so strongly on the sub- 
ject. Good old Dixie hearing of the story went 
at once to McClellan and told him, and he sent 
an officer to find out all the facts and bring the 
responsible person to justice. . . . 

The Miss Schuylers went down with us to 
Alexandria to-day and we showed them through 
the Hospitals, much to the delight of the nurses. 

We have gone into the pension business too ! 
and are going over to Mr. Wrage's camp to 
arrange about getting the necessary papers for 
a poor woman who is applying for a pension 



254 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



and wrote to G. about it. We knew her and 
her husband here in one of the hospitals and 
she has the most implicit faith in G's power and 
influence. 

Mother The end of January Mother and Hatty 
wIsh-° went on to Washington under Charley's 
ington. escort for '' two or three weeks," which 

lengthened out into three months with G. 

and E., and proved a great delight to all. 

E. writes Jan. 2Q, '62 : 

Mother, Hatty and Charley arrived last 
night in the middle of the storm and mud. 
Mother is now writing at the table with me, 
while H. is gazing admiringly at a group of 
Irish Brigadiers at the door. Charley is out 
somewhere, and is to meet the rest of us in the 
Senate Chamber at noon. We are cosily settled 
and having a very nice time. The roads are 
almost impassable owing to melting snow and 
frost and incessant rain. J.'s last ride back to 
camp the other day was very hard. He and the 
General floundered about in mud 'Mike un- 
fathomable chewed molasses candy," and stum- 
bled against the stumps till darkness overtook 
them before they reached camp. Reports are 
brought in of private carriages abandoned along 
the road, and one — Mrs. Judge Little's — was 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 255 

fairly dragged in two by a government team 
which tried to haul it out of a hole. J. says we 
must not think of coming out to camp. 

E. W. H. to /. H. 

Jan. 30th. 

The only thing of interest I have to tell you General 
is of a very nice call we had last evening from ^Jj] 
General Williams (your friend Seth). He got iams. 
Miss Wilkes to bring him round and introduce 
him, and told us he had long wanted to call on 
us and offer his services. He hoped we would 
call on him for anything he could do for us, and 
said if I would send my letters to you up to 
Army Headquarters he would send them out at 
once by the orderly who comes in every day. So 
I will begin to-day by sending this one. They 
say that General Williams is as good as gold, 
and as modest as he is good. Miss Wilkes, who 
came with him, asked us all to spend Friday 
evening wuth them to meet a small party of 
Washington people and a few strangers. " Mrs. 
McClellan would be there and they hoped to see 
the General too," and I suppose the Franklins 
and Porters, and our friend General Williams 
and other " ofiicers of note." Don't you want 
to come in? We shall go, as it will be a nice 
chance for Mother and Hatty to see the notabili- 
ties and will be pleasant for all. . . . How dis- 
mal it is again and how wretched the camp must 
be! 



256 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Our pleasant acquaintance with General 
Williams — the Adjutant-General of the Army 
of the Potomac throughout the war — lasted 
all his life. A year later than this first call 
Charley was assigned to duty on his staff as 
his personal aide, at Headquarters of the 
Army. General Williams held a position of 
immense responsibility through all the fear- 
ful years of the war, and died insane, at its 
close. 

E's Journal. 

February i. 

We all went to the Wilkes's Friday even- 
ing — a very pleasant little party. General 
McClellan could not come, but there were five 
other generals, Fitzjohn Porter, Stoneman, 
Barry and Butterfield ; also Commodore Shu- 
brick, Commodore Wilkes, Judge Loring and 
family, the Prussian minister and family, and a 
good many lesser lights. General Seth Will- 
iams was the most modest man in the room, in 
plain skimpy citizen's clothes. 

Feb. 4th. Mother and all of us went down to 
Alexandria to visit the hospitals, — Charley pro- 
vided with camp bed, blankets, etc. to go out 
and make Joe a visit. Joe met us in Alexan- 
dria with the General, and a spare horse for 
Charley. . . . Saturday afternoon Joe came in 
from camp riding " Lady Jane," but, poor crea- 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 257 

ture, she took cold again on the boat, was dan- 
gerously ill all Sunday and died early Monday 
morning, kneeling on her fore-knees "as though 
saying her prayers," George Carr said. He and 
J. and the doctor were with her all Sunday, but 
could not save her. Joe had brought her from 
her comfortable stable at home to carry him 
through the war. 

One of the alleviations of the situation at 
the Ebbitt House just at this time was the 
coming in now and then of the family cousin 
William Winthrop, from his camp near 
Washington, or an occasional jolly, not to 
say audacious, note from him. 

William Winthrop to G. 

Headquarters Berdan's U. S. Sharpshooters, 

February. 

Dear Mrs. Brigadier: For why should we 
not say so, when we know it will be so ? Why 
this timidity of expression in time of war? . . . 
What is age, time, aeons, space, blood, preju- 
dice, quite-another-arrangement-made-by-your- 
mother, or any other triviality ? . . . 

I LOVE wedding cake. . . . 

P. S. The night caps. Doctor Snelling had 
just come up from the hospital tent, after mak- 
ing his evening rounds, anxious and disturbed 



258 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



because of the want oi just such! On account 
of the gale, the fires couldn't be well kept up ; 
but the patients could keep warm in bed as to 
bodies. Heads, however, were unprotected ; and 
the Doctor had instructed the nurses to capitate 
the men with their stockings, in want of night 
caps. Just then I entered the tent with your 
caps. All was gladness. You quieted minds, 
warmed heads, perhaps saved lives ! I say there 
is a singular patness, appositeness in your com- 
position. . . . Even the woman to whom my 
affections are irrevocably pledged might learn a 
thing or two from you. What more can I say ? 

This from a tent and with coldest fingers. I 
don't repine. Yesterday half the tents were 
blown down, but the cherub left mine standing. 
. . . Having immediate use for blankets for sick 
men, I send down Burr of my Company for the 
three or four which you said last evening I 
could have. Our surgeon says that the colored 
women nurses will be welcome. You say you 
will " send them out." If you can't, please in- 
form bearer to that effect. When they come let 
them report to Dr. Marshall, Surgeon of the ist 
Regiment Sharpshooters. Trusting you are 
blithe, I am, etc. 

P. S. I address the envelope to you by your 
maiden name 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 259 

E, to /. H. 

February 13. 

I have nothing more than the usual "all 
right " to tell you, but you must always have 
that. We ought to congratulate each other on 
the good news from Roanoke Island and Ten- 
nessee, which quite thrilled us all yesterday. We 
were out at Will Winthrop's camp when the 
boys cried the " Star " and the victory, and we 
heard the particulars first from Mrs. Captain 
Rodgers, who came here directly from Mrs. 
General McClellan's. Mrs. McClellan described 
to her, her husband's delight when the news 
came. He flung his arms over his head, and, 
fairly radiant with glee, pronounced himself 
the happiest man in Washington, "and the Gen- 
eral, you know," his wife says, "is such a quiet 
man usually. I have seldom seen him more 
excited." . . . 

We managed to get out to Will Winthrop's 
camp yesterday without an upset, but (so Mother 
thought) at the peril of our lives ! What will 
she say to the Virginia roads on the way \.o your 
camp.^ She is overwhelmed with pity for the 
poor men and officers. When we left, Will 
tramped some distance through the mud to 
show us a better way out, and we were im- 
mensely entertained at his manifesting his 
tongue in his cheek (behind Mother's back) 
when he found the road worse than he thought. 



26o LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

remarking, " Why ! this is quite a godsend. I 
had no idea of finding such a good highway." 

. . . This morning George Carr has been out 
on horseback to take Will some cake and candy 
from Mother, to make up for a well meant but 
bad cake we took him when we went ourselves. 

. . . We hear New York is overflowing with 
cheers and jubilees for the victories, and in 
Philadelphia the celebration was the best of all, 
for they took steps at once to raise a fund for 
the orphans of the soldiers killed in that battle 
and to found a " Soldiers' Home " for all maimed 
and helpless volunteers when the war is over. 

E. W. H. to /. H. 

February i8th. 

c. c. w. We have just packed and despatched Charley 

RolVoke for Baltimore and Fortress Monroe, and are 
Island. jjQ^ writing notes of introduction for Mr. Vin- 
cent Colyer, who is to join him at the Fortress, 
and if possible take him with him to Roanoke 
and Port Royal. I have given him a note to Mr. 
Withers, and G. will write one to Dr. Bacon, 
and I only wish we had some jolly little things 
to slip into the envelopes too. Mr. Colyer is to 
take down a quantity of stores for the hospitals. 
Charley also has a large trunk full. We hear 
from private sources that the sick of the Burn- 
side expedition have suffered terribly for actual 
necessities — water to wash with, and food to eat, 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 261 

and this six weeks after the expedition had 
started ! . . . 

Charley was at the War Department yester- 
day just after the news came of Grant's success 
at Fort Donelson and Mr. McClure described 
McClellan as coming in "pale with excitement" 
to rejoice over the victory a moment with Stan- 
ton before going to work again. . . . 

Feb. 21. We went yesterday to the Navy Yard 
and were very much interested in all we saw. 
They make 15,000 Enfield rifle and musket balls 
in every twelve hours, or 30,000 while (as now) 
they work day and night ! They also turn out 
800 rifled and other cannon balls a day, and 
three rifled brass cannons a week, besides the 
ordinary work of a ship-yard and naval station. 
Our usual luck attended us, for we fell in, by 
mere chance, with a young naval officer whom 
Hatty had met in Rome, and he took us about 
and, best of all, showed us all the rebel flags 
which are to be presented to Congress, so we 
had an opportunity, which probably no other 
outsiders have had, of trampling them privately 
under foot. The flags of Fort Donelson and 
Fort Henry were there — fresh and new and 
without the trace of a bullet hole — those taken 
from Roanoke and Hatteras, and the famous 
pahnetto one which was replaced by the Stars 
and Stripes at Hilton Head. There was also a 



262 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

pretty little company flag made of choice silk 
and embroidered by ladies' hands. 

. . . Later. . . . News from Charley. " Inside 
of Hatteras inlet, just going up to Roanoke 
Island." The voyage had been rough and 
wretched but he was well and happy. . . . 

We had no letters of interest yesterday except 
one from Carry, which Mother enclosed to 
Charley at Roanoke Island. She gave a very 
funny account of a wretched swollen face she 
has had. The Doctor recommended a leech, so 
they sent for one, but were completely at a loss 
to tell its head from its tail, and finally with 
many pokes from a hairpin (a new use) they 
wriggled it into the tube and trusted to Provi- 
dence to turn it right end up! During the pro- 
cess, however, she was foolish enough to faint 
dead away, and no sooner had she revived than 
Miss Parsons did the same. And Carry wanted 
to go as army nurse ! 

E's Journal. 

Wednesday, February 26. 

Encouraged by several windy days, which 

were likely to dry the roads, we ventured out to 

J's camp for the first time since early in January, 

to show it to Mother and Hatty. The roads 

were unexpectedly good, the only really bad 

places being near the camp. J. had dined, but 

gave us a nice and hearty after-lunch, and 



SECOND YEAR OE THE WAR 263 

Mother enjoyed the experience very much. 
While we were there the general order arrived 
placing the army in readiness to march at very 
short notice. Four wagons are allowed to each 
regiment, and quartermasters are to see that 
they are not heavily loaded : the men to carry 
knapsacks and blankets and the little shelter- 
tents large enough for three or four men to 
creep under. The order cast a gloom over our 
little visit, but the effect on the troops was very 
different. As we sat in J's tent we could hear 
the cheers ringing through the camps as the 
order was read — three times three and a tiger. 

Just before this J. H. had mailed a little 
box of trailing arbutus "from camp" to 
J. S. W. and this acknowledgment came 
back. 



Arbutus from Camp, near Alexandria. 
Sent by Capt. J. H., 1862. 

" Thank God for Spring !" I said ; 
While no one watches, through the gloomy hours 
She walks the weary earth with noiseless tread 
And fills the graves with flowers. 

And, holding in my hand 
My Soldier's message, in its leaves I read 
Through winter-sorrows of a weeping land 

A dawn of Spring indeed ! 



264 LETTERS OF A EAMILY 

Dull, sodden leaves o'er-strown, 
Then, tears of rain, and then, these tlowers for me. 
The wild war horses tread the blossoms down 

And set the sweetness free, 

So get me flowers again 
Dear Soldier;— not alone of Hope and Spring, 
Flowers of full Summer, through the crimson rain 
And battle thunder of the stormy plain, 

Close on their blossoming ! 

Red roses, flushed and bold, 
Red victor-roses, — sea-blue bells wide blown 
That ring for joy the river-edges down, 
And white l^eace-lilies with the spike of gold 

That clasp the perfect crown. 

J. s. w. 



A. If. IV. to a. (uul A'. 

March. 

J^ear Girls : May is busy concocting things 
for a fair she and Bertha hold to-day, for tlie 
benefit of our " brave volunteers." Papa and 
mamma and aitnties are to l>uy tlje things, 
and May is to spend the money in little books, 
the first day site is well enoiigh to come over. 
Robert asked me to say that he sent a box of 
books to Eliza's address, Ebbitt House, for some 
hospital library. They were chielly iuiglish 
reviews, which were too good reading to give 
to any of the recruiting camps here, and he 
thought in a general hospital there would always 
be sornebody who rouhl M[)preciate them. I was 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 265 

glad to get Charley's second letter and wish he 
could hear from us. . . . 

Perhaps these winds will dry the roads and 
enable you to go comfortably at least to Joe's 
camp. It is too bad to have Mother leave Wash- 
ington just as March winds prepare the way for 
McClelian's advance. I am ready, mind you, 
Georgy, to wait for McClellan just as long as 
he desires. Only I think unless he threatens the 
enemy in some way, and thus keeps them cooped 
up, he may wake up some morning and find 
them all flown southward and he left, stuck in 
the mud. I don't see why he couldn't have done 
on the Potomac last December what Halleck 
has just done on the Tennessee. 

... I shall take great interest in the working 
of the educational and industrial movements 
among the blacks at Port Royal. A large party 
of teachers, with supplies of various kinds, 
seeds and sewing machines, etc., went out in the 
Atlantic. Some of the lady teachers are known 
to us through friends, and though the whole 
arrangement has been matured very rapidly, it 
seems to be under judicious oversight. Jane 
has a venture in it. She went into the office to 
collect information and to offer help, and was 
levied on for eight neat bed-spreads, which she 
purchased at Paton's. We can imagine the 
lady teachers reposing on their camp cots, in 
those distant islands, under Jane's quilts. . . . 



266 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

I wish I could feel that the end of the war will 
see, (as Prof. Hitchcock said on Sunday), in all 
this wide country " not a master, not a slave* 
only all Christ's Freemen." . . . 

Jane and I get along famously, as independ- 
ent as two old maids. We are not even troubled 
with evening callers, but sit each in our arm- 
chair with a foot-stool, a cup o' tea and a news- 
paper, and shall be very much " put out of the 
way" if Mother comes home from Washington. 
We write begging her not to think of it again. 
Her duty and pleasure are both to be with you, 
and I don't want her to have a moment's uneasi- 
ness about the thought of separation, even if 
she stays months. 

/. S, W. to G. 

March lo, '62. 

Theodore Bronson has just called to say 

that he saw Mr. Woolsey (Charley) in Baltimore 

last night all well. He saw his name in the 

papers as bearer of despatches and wondered 

whether he really had any, or if it was a sort of 

passport. I am glad if he has been able to do 

any service, but I should not like him to go into 

the army. 

E. to /. H. 

March 12, '62. 

Charley has come back safe and sound via 
Baltimore from Roanoke, with rebel bowie 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 267 

knives, "shin-plasters," etc. He is ready to 
keep with us or go South when we go. He 
brought up parcels and letters from General 
Burnside for friends in New York, and took 
them on personally at once. 

Mother, or *' Moremamma " as all the 
grandchildren called her, and Hatty, were 
still with G. and E. in Washington, having a 
most interesting inner view of the city's 
daily war life. Mother kept up with the 
advance of the war in all parts of the coun- 
try, and her little journal of events, as she 
wrote it from day to day, is kept among the 
family papers as a precious possession. 



N. Y 



CHAPTER VI. 

E's Journal. 

Saturday, March 8th. 

J- ^- The item this mornina: is that Colonel 

becomes 

Colonel Davies was confirmed yesterday by the Senate 
letif^ as Brigadier General, so J. is now Colonel of 
the i6th by unanimous choice of the officers, 
and will take command at once.* He writes by 
the orderly that he has been with General 
Slocum to see the regiment pitch their new tents 
in the valley of Four Mile Run. 

March 9. A day of great excitement, for 
beside the news of the evacuation of Leesburg 
and the capture of Cockpit Point battery, we 
have the great naval fight at Fortress Monroe. 

* Mr. Robert S. Hone to E. W. H. 

New York, March, 1862. 
Dear Mrs. Rowland : Mr. Russell has just been in my 
office and wishes me to say that he has just left Governor 
Morgan, who informed him that he had to-day signed 
Joe's commission as Colonel of the i6th Regiment, and 
that he was delighted to hear the very high terms in which 
the Governor spoke of Joe. 

With congratulations, I am, etc 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 269 

The great demon ship, the Merrimac, came 
down from Norfolk toward Newport News and 
attacked our ships Congress and Cumberland, 
destroying both. She split the latter in two 
and sank her, and burned the Congress to the 
water's edge. The Minnesota meantime was 
aground and perfectly useless, as well as several 
others of our vessels. 

This ended the first day's fight— a victory for 
the rebels and a terrible disaster for us ; but 
early this Sunday morning, when the Merrimac 
came out again, expecting to finish her little 
affair by defeating the Minnesota and then run- 
ning out to sea, she found the new Ericsson 
iron-plated steamer, the " Monitor," all ready 
to receive her. From 8 a. m. till noon the two 
fought hand to hand, their sides touching, and 
then the Merrimac was towed off towards Nor- 
folk, supposed to be in a sinking condition, 
while the "Monitor" was unhurt. The sub- 
marine cable from Fortress Monroe was laid just 
in time to bring the news. The cable was fin- 
ished at 4 P. M. and the news flashed over it at 7. 

G's Tournal. 

'^ March 10. 

All strange rumors come on Sunday. 
Josepha Crosby, Hatty and I went down to 
spend the afternoon at the Patent Office Hos- 
pital. During the week the camps had been 



270 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

emptied of convalescents, sent north to recover, 
and their places in the hospitals were occupied 
by others. The Patent Office is full again ; 
four rows of beds and very sick men in them. 
I stooped down between two 8th New York 
Cavalry men in their little cots while they told 
me that their regiment had moved off silently 
on Saturday night. Coming away, I hurried up 
to Mrs. Captain Rodgers' house and heard the 
story of the Merrimac fight. The first intima- 
tion they had of it was in church on Sunday 
morning, when, during service, a messenger 
came in and was seen to whisper something to 
General Meigs, who immediately left the church. 
A little while later General Totten was sum- 
moned, and then a Commodore somebody, by 
which time the congregation was in a state of 
suppressed excitement miserable to bear. Dr. 
Pine preached an unusually long sermon, and 
finally the people rushed out and heard the bad 
news. 

Manas- While I was talking at the door with Mrs. 

uated by Rodgcrs a four-horse ambulance was standing at 
McClellan's door, and we sat down on the steps 
intending to see who got into it, and which way 
it went, a determination shared by plenty of 
other people on their way from church. At last 
a servant brought blankets, and McClellan and 
Franklin got in and started on their way over the 
Potomac ; and then I came home, and presently 



the 
rebels 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 271 

Colonel McClure came in and told us that 
Heintzelmann, with whom he had been sitting 
an hour, expects to move in the morning and 
that Manassas was reported evacuated. Con- 
trabands brought word of it to Kearney's quar- 
ters ; he made an armed reconnaissance and dis- 
covered the truth ; word was sent to McClellan, 
and his ride on Sunday p. m. was in consequence. 
Mrs. Rodgers came in as we were in our petti- 
coats, getting ready for bed, and confirmed it 
all. 

E's Journal. 
We went to bed in a state of great excitement 
and were awakened early Monday morning by 
a knock from George and a note from Joe say- 
ing it was all true. He wrote at 2 a. m., having 
been up all night. They had just received their 
marching orders — the brigade to leave at 5 a. m., 
the rest of the corps at 9. I sent George over 
at once with a note to J., and he found him on 
horseback just starting, the regiments formed 
and ready, and the General and staff in their 
saddles, all off for Fairfax Court House, which 
they reached, J. writes me, at 5 p. m., all in good 
spirits, having borne the march well. The rebs 
have abandoned both Centreville and Manassas, 
falling back, the "Star" says, as far as the Rapi- 
dan and Gordonsville — whether by panic or by 
a preconcerted plan, is unknown. 



272 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



J. writes the climate at Fairfax C. H. is lovely 
and the air dry, pure and very sweet, but the 
country is utterly desolate, houses burnt or 
pulled to pieces, fences gone, and the inhabi- 
tants, except a few miserable negroes, fled. 



:, G's Journal. 

March 11. 

The So the great move was made, the thing we 

Peninsu- j^^ \^Q^vi lookiup: forward to for so many months. 

lar cam- " •' 

paign The entire army was in motion, troops on the 
''^^""' other side the river advancing, troops on this side 
taking their place. All day Monday and far 
into the night regiments marched over the 
bridges into Virginia, — 50,000 over the Long 
bridge, they say, and to-day we drove up to the 
Chain bridge, and they told us 15,000 crossed 
there yesterday. We walked down towards the 
Long bridge to-day ; crowds of people were col- 
lected on 14th street to see the move. As we 
crossed the canal, mother, Charley and I, swing- 
ing along with the rest, three large army wagons 
brought up the rear, marked T. E., carrying the 
telegraphic apparatus for the Engineers, and the 
wires must have been laid last night, for this 
morning General Williams had the announce- 
ment from McClellan (who slept at Fairfax 
Court House), that our troops are in possession 
at Manassas. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 273 

Gs Journal. 

March 12. 
The most extraordinary movements are 
taking place. While I write the 85th Pennsyl- 
vania is scattered about at rest on 14th street, 
having just marched back from the other side of 
the river. The 14th New York Cavalry, dis- 
mounted and serving as infantry, marched up 
before them ; wagons filled with baggage, blan- 
kets, canteens, etc., have followed them. It is 
reported now that all the regiments are ordered 
back again, and Edward Walker tells us that the 
roads on the other side of the river are all lined 
with them returning. 

March 13. While we were cooking some 
arrowroot in our parlor for a Vermont private, 
sick in this hotel, Joe came in, back from Fairfax 
for a ride. The officers had been all over the old 
battlefield at Bull Run, McDowell crying, and all 
of them serious enough. The rebel works at 
Centreville, Joe says, are splendid, as formidable 
as any of ours about Washington. Their winter 
quarters were capital log houses, enough to 
accommodate 100,000 men. The burial ground 
was near at hand, and not far away a field of 
hundreds of dead horses. The works at Manas- 
sas were very slight, mounted in the most con- 
spicuous places with logs of wood painted black. 
The rebels had been evacuating for some time, 
but, at the last, left in a sort of panic, leaving 



274 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



dead bodies lying beside coffins, and quantities 
of food, clothing and baggage of all kinds, some 
of it fired. 

E's Journal. 

March 14. 

One of General Franklin's aids has been in 
to say that his Division is now marching into 
Alexandria and is to embark on Saturday or 
Sunday, down the Potomac. . . . We went 
down to Alexandria and took lodgings at Mrs. 
Dyson's, on Water street, for over Sunday, 
and two more wretched or longer days I 
never passed. Through a drenching storm 
McDowell's corps was marched back from 
Centreville, 35 miles, and arrived at dusk, cold, 
hungry, wet to the skin, to find no trans- 
ports ready and no provision made for their 
shelter or comfort. The city was filled with the 
wretched men, many crowded into the market 
stalls and empty churches, others finding shelter 
in lofts or under sheds and porches, and some, we 
know, sleeping in the open streets. In the mar- 
ket they had large fires, but with soaking knap- 
sacks, no dry clothing to put on. In one place, 
the loft of a foundry, where Chaplain Hopkins 
found shelter for one company, the steam which 
rushed out as he opened the door was as that of 
a laundry on washing day. The poor fellows 
suffered from hunger as well as cold and fatigue. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 275 

for on Sunday all the stores were closed. 
Whiskey could be had, which Moritz and G. 
and H. distributed among tired and wet volun- 
teers on cellar doors. Some of them actually 
begged for bread or offered to sell their rings 
and trinkets for food. It was a wretched and 
heart-sickening day and shook our confidence 
in McClellan or McDowell, or whoever the 
responsible person may be. We sent Moritz up 
to Washington for a half barrel of socks Aunt 
E. had just sent on and took them to the churches 
where the soldiers were quartered, and distrib- 
uted them among the eager and grateful men. 
The men were lying on the benches and floors, 
and in the baptistry of the " Beulah Particular 
Baptist " and the Presbyterian secesh churches, 
and we stumbled about, holding the end of a can- 
dle for light, distributing socks. All ours were 
soon gone, and Chaplain Hopkins went back 
to the hospital, and telling the steward to 
protest^ so that he might be shielded from blame, 
deliberately took ten dozen pairs from the store- 
closet and distributed them. The two long use- 
less marches with nothing accomplished, no 
shelter and no food, have shaken the unbounded 
faith in McClellan. Congress has been debating 
a bill displacing him ; the Star says it was with- 
drawn to-day. Our soldier, Joe, and the i6th, 
were not in that wretched plight but were kept 
in bivouac out of the town. Joe took final com- 
mand of the regiment that Sunday morning. 



276 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

E's Jour?ial. 

March 21. 

A damp, drizzly day, but I wanted to see 
Joe in camp once more, and we went down to 
Alexandria, where Mother and Hatty distributed 
a lot of sweet flowers to the poor fingerless, one- 
armed and broken-legged fellows in the hospital, 
while I went on. 

Joe has only had command of the regiment 
these few days and I found him extremely busy 
reorganizing and getting it into condition for 
the advance. Each man has been thoroughly 
inspected and all deficiencies in clothing, etc., 
are being filled. He keeps the officers busy, 
has an informal class of instruction for some of 
them, and has been issuing orders for arrange- 
ments on the transports, precautions against 
fire, etc. I only stayed a very little while. On 
our return boat from Alexandria we had a 
chance to see eleven of the transports start down 
the river crowded with troops, the men cheering 
and tossing their hats. It was a fine and strik- 
ing sight as the boats, densely packed with 
volunteers, moved out from the docks, the sun 
lighting up the sails and colors of the schooners 
and steamboats, the signal flags nodding and 
bobbing, and the bands playing lively tunes, 
while the crowds on shore cheered in response. 

We met the Berdan sharpshooters marching 
down to embark, and shook hands with Will 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 277 

Winthrop and Capt. Hastings. As we drove 
into town, McClellan (looking old and care- 
worn) and Franklin passed us, going out to the 
army. 

G's Journal. 

March 20. 

We have been getting some stores to-day 
for Will Winthrop. They are at last delighted 
by the order to join Heintzelman. Twenty to 
thirty thousand men have gone in the transports 
already. Will's black mess-boy came in to us 
and took out a basket with enough for the voyage. 
Have been up to see Charles Bradford, son of 
Captain Woolsey Hopkins' sister, at Columbian 
Hospital, and have sent him jelly, oysters, etc. 
Nice young fellow and pleased to see us. 

From Mother's Journal. 

Saturday, March 29. 

To camp again. Snow-storm. Stayed at Mrs. 
Bright's cottage Saturday night and drove up to 
camp on Sunday. Service in hospital tent, Dr. 
Miller, of the i6th, and Dr. Adams, of the 5th 
Maine, officiating. Communion — about thirty 
soldiers and several officers partaking. Heavy 
and continual thunder, with everything outside 
covered with snow — a singular combination of 
summer and winter, and rendering this interest- 
ing occasion still more strange and impressive. 



278 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Stopped Sunday night again at the Brights', a 
clean and comfortable cottage at the head of 
Cameron Lane. All around us were the tents 
d'abri and other tents, and hundreds of men 
without any tents at all, bivouacking on the 
hills and in the fields and swamps everywhere ; 
one cavalry regiment had arrived and their tents 
were pitched while we were out at the i6th. 
The camp fires at night were a new feature to 
me, and strangely did they loom up in the dark- 
ness, bringing to view groups of soldiers gath- 
ered round them ; — hundreds of these fires in all 
directions. 

E. W. H. to Chaplain Hopkins. 

Washington, D. C, April ist, 1862. 
Dear Mr. Hopkins : I send some Independ- 
ents with the " Rainy day " in them. We men- 
tioned that you liked the verses, and Abby sent 
these on for you to distribute among your 
patients. 

We spent last Sunday near Alexandria . . . 
glad to be storm-stayed on many accounts, one 
of which was the opportunity it gave us of going 
to service in the i6th, the first communion service 
since Mr. Rowland took command. It was 
pleasant to see the little "church" assemble in 
a hospital tent in a Virginia field. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 279 



Chaplain Hopkins to E. 

Alexandria Hospital, April 5th. 
My Dear Airs. Rowland : Yesterday was one 
of the brightest, pleasantest days I have known 
for a long time. The wards were more inviting, 
and the men more cordial than usual. All day 
I seemed to be in the right place at the right 
time, and by a glad intuition, to discover the 
avenues which were unfortified and the doors 
which were unbarred. I have told you this be- 
cause I am fully convinced that it was owing 
wholly to the good start that you gave me by 
that early morning visit. By some skillful ad- 
justment, which I failed to notice at the time, 
you left me in tune. . . . 

Please thank your sister Abby for the bundle 
of Independents. They were very welcome and 
I gave them away, each with the charge : " Be 
sure and read the Rainy Day in Camp." Did I 
tell you that I read it after each of my services 
last Sabbath ? and I think that it did more good 
than all that went before it. The men listened 
in perfect quiet. I feel sure that, if I could have 
looked up myself, I should have seen tears in 
the eyes of more than one who had been 
"skulking in the rear." 

Mary had written a number of verses for 
the soldiers, and they had been printed as 



28o LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

leaflets, each one floated over by the flag in 
red and blue, and distributed widely among 
the enlisted men. The first of these was 

A Rainy Day in Camp. 

It's a cheerless, lonesome evening, 
When the soaking, sodden ground 

Will not echo to the footfall 
Of the sentinel's dull round. 

God's blue star-spangled banner 

To-night is not unfurled ; 
Surely Lie has not deserted 

This weary, warring world. 

I peer into the darkness, 

And the crowding fancies come : 

The night wind, blowing northward, 
Carries all my heart toward home. 

For I 'listed in this army 

Not exactly to my mind ; 
But my country called for helpers, 

And I couldn't stay behind. 

So, I've had a sight of drilling, 
And have roughed it many ways. 

And death has nearly had me ; — 
Yet I think the service pays. 

It's a blessed sort of feeling — 

Whether you live or die — 
You helped your country in her need. 

And fought right loyally. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 281 

But I can't help thinking sometimes, 

When a wet day's leisure comes, 
And I hear the old home voices 

Talking louder than the drums, — 

And the far, familiar faces 

Peep in at my tent door. 
And the little children's footsteps 

Go pit-pat on the floor, — 

I can't help thinking, somehow. 

Of all the parson reads 
About that other soldier-life 

Which every true man leads. 

And wife, soft-hearted creature. 

Seems a-saying in my ear, 
" I'd rather have you in those ranks 

Than to see you brigadier." 

I call myself a brave one, 

But in my heart I lie ! 
For my country, and her honor, 

I am fiercely free to die ; 

But when the Lord, who bought me, 

Asks for my service here 
To "fight the good fight" faithfully, 

I'm skulking in the rear. 

And yet I know this Captain 

All love and care to be : 
He would never get impatient 

With a raw recruit like me. 

And I know he'd not forget me ; 

When the day of peace appears, 
I should share with Him the victory 

Of all His volunteers. 



282 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

And it's kind of cheerful, thinking, 

Beside the dull tent fire, 
About that big promotion, 

When He says, " Come up higher." 

And though it's dismal — rainy — 
Even now, with thoughts of Him, 

Camp life looks extra cheery. 
And death a deal less grim. 

For I seem to see Him waiting, 
Where a gathered heaven greets 

A great victorious army, 

Marching up the golden streets. 

And I hear Him read the roll-call. 

And my heart is all a-flame. 
When the dear, recording angel 

Writes down my happy name ! 

— But my fire is dead white ashes, 

And the tent is chilling cold. 
And I'm playing win the battle, 

When I've never been enrolled ! 

E's Journal tells of a quiet day in camp 
before another advance by the regiment: 

Headquarters of the i6th Regiment, 

In the field, April 3. 

We were on the point of driving out here 

yesterday when a telegram came from J. saying 

he was coming in. It was with his camp wagon 

this time, to carry out various things — new 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 283 

guide colors for the regiment, stationery, etc., 
and his new Colonel's uniform "with the birds 
on it," as Moritz says. Suddenly it occurred to 
me to come out to camp too. So I put up my 
things hastily and J. drove me out, sending 
James ahead on " Scott " to order another mess 
tent put up for me and have the fire made. It 
was our first drive together since Joe entered 
the service nearly a year ago. " Fairfax," the 
pony, jogged along at his ease and we didn't 
reach here till after dark. Camp-fires along the 
road and over the hill-sides burned brightly and 
picturesque groups of men gathered round 
them, cooking and smoking. The i6th, when 
we reached it, seemed like a little village of 
lighted and well-kept streets. James soon got 
supper for us and when the fire was burning we 
felt as serene and comfortable as possible. The 
"Evening Star" and the printing of a lot of 
postmarks with the new regimental stamp, filled 
the evening, and then, building up a good fire 
and getting under the piles of blankets Surgeon 
Crandall had sent in, I slept soundly and warm 
till " reveille" just after sunrise. After reveille 
came roll-call, then the sick-call on the bugle, 
then breakfast for the men, then guard-mount- 
ing at eight, then our breakfast. After this J. 
went out to drill the battalion and I wrote let- 
ters, had a call from General Slocum, and sent 
General Franklin the flowers I had brought 



284 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

him ; by which time the drill was over. The 
day was delicious, warm, soft, spring-like, and 
fires were oppressive. The evening parade was 
an uncommonly nice one. General Slocum, 
Colonel Bartlett and J. reviewed them and the 
men looked finely. The white gloves and gait- 
ers Joe has given them greatly increase the 
neat appearance, and the band is quite another 
thing. *' Coming through the rye " is no longer 
played as a dirge. 

The new colors were all brought out and the 
effect was very pretty, as they were escorted out 
and back and saluted by all the officers and 
men. After parade came a game of base-ball 
for the captains and other officers, and in the 
sweet evening air and early moonlight we heard 
cheerful sounds all about us as the men sang 
patriotic songs, lauglied and chatted, or danced 
jigs to the sound of a violin. There is a nice 
little band of stringed instruments in the regi- 
ment, and Joe sent for them to come and play 
for me in the tent, and then it was proposed to 
adjourn to General Franklin's Headquarters and 
give him a serenade. This with a call on Col. 
Bartlett in his patriotic tent, hung with Ameri- 
can flags, finished the evening. We went to 
bed, tired, but as peaceful and unwarlike as 
could possibly be. . . . At 3 a. m. we were 
suddenly roused. The brigade was again under 
marching orders, to leave at ten o'clock for 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 285 

Manassas once more ! This was the meaning of 
the vague rumors we had heard that our divi- 
sion was not to sail after all. 

I built up the fire and dressed and after a cup 
of tea at 5.30 said good-bye. Our peaceful little 
time was over. 

April 7. A note from J. tells of the regi- 
ment's safe arrival at Manassas, where they are 
camped. The General had complimented J. on 
moving his regiment better than any of the 
others. 

G. and E. had "enlisted for the war," which c.andE 
they did not understand to mean staying fouow 
comfortably housed in Washington, while ^^^ 
the army marched to danger and death. So 
when the orders came for the advance of the 
Army of the Potomac, they definitely deter- 
mined to go too, in some way or other, and 
not to allow themselves to be kept back even 
by dear J. H.'s concern for their comfort 
and safety, feeling sure of his consent when 
the right moment came. G. writes to him : 

Will you, dear Joe, seriously think about 
our going when and where you go. . . . The 
distress of having you away and in the greatest 
danger — hours and hours, probably days — 
beyond our reach, would be infinitely harder to 



286 LETTERS OE A FAMILY 

Stand than any amount of cold, hunger, or annoy- 
ance, and the knowledge that Eliza was in such 
a state of mind would make you quite as un- 
happy as the thought that she might be hungry 
and cold. . . . We want to be within one hour's 
ride, at most, of the battlefield, and to be there 
ready for the battle if it must come. When it is 
all over what possible use would there be in our 
coming on ? There will always be some roof of 
a barn at any rate that would give us shelter 
enough, and where we could stay if there was 
fighting. It was bad enough to go through 
Bull Run here in Washington. Nothing can be 
more miserable than a second such experience. 
. . . You only laugh when I talk to you, so I 
am obliged to write. 

E. to J. H. 

... I feel it to be my right and privilege to 
follow you, not only for my own satisfaction in 
being near you, but because we know we can 
be of great use among the troops in case of 
sickness and danger. We can follow you in the 
carriage, keeping within reach of you in case of 
need, and with George and Moritz we can be 
sufficiently protected anywhere in the rear of 
our army. I trust to you, dear, to do all you 
can to forward our plan, and I am sure you will 
not leave us in doubt and indecision longer 
than you can help. . . . 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 287 

The impression seems to be that a great battle 
will take place in the neighborhood of Yorktown 
very soon. In view of this, think of the crimi- 
nal neglect of the medical department in not 
having any hospital arrangements made there or 
at Fortress Monroe which begin to be sufficient ! 
One of the doctors of the Sanitary Commission 
writes that on his arrival there he found 
already 500 sick men without beds to lie on. 
The Commission have fitted up one large hospital 
on their own account, and have sent for supplies 
to be forwarded immediately, and we have this 
morning set a large amount of sewing going — 
bedticks, etc., to be forwarded to Old Point as 
soon as possible. There are so many sick and 
so few to take care of them that Dr. Robert Ware 
of the Sanitary Commission has had to undress 
and wash the men himself. And this is before a 
battle. 

A, H. W. to G. 

New York, April, '62. 

I notice what you say of bed sacks. The 
Sanitary Commission furnished thousands to the 
Burnside Division for its hospitals at Roanoke. 
Charley says not one of these was ever filled or 
used, there not being a wisp of hay or straw or 
moss or anything, except what was brought there 
for forage. The men all lay on the board floors. 
At Fort Monroe it might be easy to send down 



2 88 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

from Baltimore ready-made mattresses, or the 
material for filling, but I question whether 
anyone on the spot would take the trouble of 
seeing them applied. You could mention the 
instance of Roanoke to the Sanitary Commis- 
sion to prove to them that mere sacks are not 
enough. ... 

Yesterday when I came in from Mary's, I 
found "Robert Anderson, U. S. A." 's card on 
the table again. John said he bade him say 
General Anderson called in person to thank 
Miss Carry Woolsey for the flowers. . . . James 
Gibson writes from Belfast that " England did 
not want war with America, and special prayer 
meetings for peace were held " ; but wasn't it 
Earl Shaftesbury who refused to attend, saying 
such an act would place him in hostility to his 
government ? If England did not mean war, 
why did she fly to arms in that indignant and 
indecent haste ! Why did Lord Palmerston 
suppress the nature of the despatch from Seward, 
read to him by Mr. Adams, and even allow it to 
be contradicted in his organ the Post ? No ; 
two things will always stand on record as show- 
ing the hostility of the governing class in 
England toward America in its life and death 
struggle ; — this hurry to make a casus belli of 
what ought to have been a question for diplo- 
macy to settle ; and that first great wrong done 
us in the outset, when the English ministry, 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 289 

while Adams was on the railway train, the very 
day he was on his way from Liverpool to Lon- 
don, last May, hastened to declare the North 
and South equal belligerents. They confound 
the law-power and the law-breaker ; they call 
the police and the burglar brother-rogues. . . . 

It is just as Mr. Scharff's father said at the 
very beginning of the war, " Well, John, I don't 
know what part England will take in this mat- 
ter, but I am very sure of one thing, it will be 
the meanest part, possible." . . . 

Eliza's lovely home at Fishkill was all this 
time shut up and desolate, but the grounds 
were in the hands of their neighbor, Mr. 
Henry W. Sargent, who kindly undertook 
the work Joe had to give up for the war. 
He planted the place, selecting trees and 
superintending the work day after day. The 
little rise in the lawn north of the house he 
named Mars Hill, and there Mr. Thomson, 
the farmer-in-charge, set up a flag-pole and 
kept the colors flying, though the house 
stood empty. 

C. C. W. to E. 

April gth. 

Dear Eliza : We have made our little visit to 
the W's at Fishkill, and the first thing after din- 
ner drove over to your place. . . . Every one says 



290 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

it is very much improved, and the trees that are 
being set out are very fine ones and add to the 
general air of elegance. ... I must tell you how 
beautiful too your greenhouses looked, lots of 
flowers and very beautiful ones, and two large 
boxes have come down this week for Mother, 
and been arranged in rustic baskets, etc., and 
make us look very popular to the seven usual 
evening callers ; last night they were admired by 
Messrs. Beekman, Shepherd, Goddard, Denny, 
Bronson, Frothingham and Dorus W., and each 
gentleman tried to look conscious to the others, 
while I looked so to all. . . . Returning from 
Fishkill we found Sarah Woolsey here, and she 
is now sitting on the sofa reading the news. 
Uncle Edward has just gone, and Jane and 
Hatty are off at the hospital. Abby is very 
down in her mind about the Merrimac, and 
thanks fortune (secretly) there is always some- 
thing to be melancholy over. . . . 

Sarah drove out one morning to see Aunt E., 
who entertained her with abusing Abby for her 
political opinions ! She said the Tribune was 
not a paper for Christian people, particularly 
feftiales, to take, and that as long ago as Rutgers 
Place times Uncle E. had warned us against it. 
" I read it myself, it is true," she said, '' but 
then the curious eye and ear must be satisfied! " 
Capital reason for doing what a Christian 
"female" should not do ! 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 291 

J. S. W. to Mother in Washwgton. 

Thursday evening. 
Dear Mother : Your letter, or rather G.'s, 
E.'s check, etc., arrived this morning, with the 
important item inscribed, as usual, on the flap 
and disfigured in opening. We are very sorry 
to hear that Hatty doesn't get on faster. Per- 
haps if, instead of a *' good old soul " of a doc- 
tor, she had an enlightened young one, she might 
get sooner rid of her sore throat. I believe 
much more devoutly in modern than in ancient 
doctors . . . 

Sarah, Abby, Carry, Miss Parsons, Charley 
and Robert have all gone to the '* Reception " 
of the Cumberland's men to-night. It was time 
to show some interest in them. The Chamber 
of Commerce has got this up. I hope it will 
be a success. You remember the officer calling 
to the half-drowning men, '' Shall we give her 
another broadside, boys ?" and the " Aye, aye, 
sir," and the final volley, as the water rushed 
in at the portholes. We have had two visits 
lately from Prof. Hitchcock on the subject of 
a ladies' committee of visiting ; auxiliary to the 
gentlemen's committee of the New England Sol- 
diers Relief Association. He asked us to col- 
lect some names of ladies willing to serve 
(visiting only), and we have enrolled six or 
eight : Mrs. Gurden Buck, Mrs. H. B. Smith, 



292 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Miss Annie Potts, Margaret Post, etc., etc. I 
fancy there will be little to do really, as there is 
a resident superintendent and wife, and, I be- 
lieve, nurses, in the liouse corner of John st. and 
Broadway. You will see the details of the ar- 
rangement in the papers. . . . 

All the flags are out again for the Western vic- 
tories and the Western heroes. Col. Bissell, the 
Q^cQY who made a river 12 miles long to flank 
the rebel position, is Mrs. Dr. Parker's brother, 
a man of extraordinary energy and persever- 
ance. . . . 

Mrs. Bacon told Sarah that Frank had 700 
sick men under his care and made a point of 
seeing every man every day, so never wrote, 
leaving that business to Theodore. We sent, 
him and Mr. Withers each, another bundle of 
papers by the last mail. 

Sarah Woolsey to G. 

New Haven, April. 

J g ^ I spent one delightful day in New York 

at work with Jane at the New England rooms, where 
York!'^ everything is nicely prepared for 300 men. The 
superintendent has time during intervals to rush 
down stairs and compose puffs on Jane, which 
he publishes in the newspapers next morning! 
The day we went down, we had the luck to fall 
upon the first wounded soldier of the season, 
and, though he was not very sick, Jane went to 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 293 

work in the most approved way, and you should 
have seen her with her bonnet off, her camel's-hair 
shawl swung gracefully from her shoulders and 
a great-pocketed white apron on, making tea 
over a spirit-lamp and enjoying it all so thor- 
oughly. The Newbern hero was fed with sar- 
dines and oysters and all sorts of good things, 
and face and hands washed by Jane's little paws 
so nicely. . . . Don't say anything when you 
write home, for Jane is rather huffy when we 
talk too much about it, since her appearance in 
the public prints. Did you see the letter from a 
soldier in the hospital, describing Jane, and using 
the celebrated sentence which, as she says, 
leaves no doubt as to the identity : " I dare not 
mention her name, but she is beautiful." 

William Winthrop to G. 

Berdan's Sharpshooters, 
Camp before Yorktown, April 11. 1862. 

Dear Cousin : Your welcome and full letter 
brought joy and facts. ... As for us, we are 
sitting down before Yorktown, as yet untaken. 
The enemy retreated before us, first from Great 
Bethel, then from the extensive entrenchments 
at Smithville, two miles beyond. Yorktown is 
their stronghold ; the works are understood to 
extend pretty much all the way across the 
Peninsula to the James. They have some forty 
guns on the works now facing us. 



294 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



On the 5th, we saw something like war. As 
the head of Porter's Column — we are that head — 
emerged from the wood and rose upon the open 
land which forms a gradual natural glacis to the 
batteries, we were saluted with shell after shell, 
and all day the shell and round shot and rifle 
bullets cracked and boomed and whizzed about 
us. We, as usual, skimmed the creme de la creme 
being posted as skirmishers, as well under cover 
as we could get, about three-fourths of a mile in 
advance of the main army, and one-half mile in 
advance of our own artillery. We lost two and 
had four wounded during the day, and it is most 
unaccountable that our loss was not twenty 
times as great ; for the horrid, detestable music 
of shot and shell and ball was almost continu- 
ally tingling our ears. One of the killed was 
in my own company — Phelps. I had him buried 
next day — a sweet Sunday — and laid the green 
turf neatly over the mound. . . . By the way, I 
think of you and Eliza as I see the little hospi- 
tal flags hung out from all the more respectable 
farmhouses. . . . General Porter said in a note 
of commendation on our regiment, read on 
parade, that the enemy " by their own admis- 
sions had begun to fear us and provide against 
us as far as possible." This praise has rather 
turned the head of our Colonel. Moi^ I have 
been too cold, too weary, too wet, too unslept, 
too unwashed, to feel conceited or proud. Fur- 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 295 

ther, our teams have not yet come up with the 
officer's baggage, so I am without mutations 
of raiment, or have to depend on strangers for 
the same ; also am only one-half blanketed. But 
these are minor ills, for which, no doubt, our 
lovers are pitying us more than we deserve as 
they sit in their boudoirs far away. 

The brandy and things which you sent me, 
just before going off, were very valuable. I 
had a few swallows of the liquor left in my 
flask a few nights since on picket, and it proved 
worth more than so much liquid gold. A sol- 
dier of the 2nd Maine, on picket with my men, 
was struck by a ball which broke his leg. He 
crawled through the rain and cold of that mis- 
erable night, half a mile, on his hands and 
knees, to the reserve picket, and was just faint- 
ing when I came in with your brandy, treasured 
up for just such a moment. 

The weather is now fair and warm and deli- 
cious. I walked through the woods this a. m. 
before reveille, to the sandy beach of York River, 
and saw the sun come up out of the sea ; and 
watched our gunboats, which are ready to co- 
operate when the right moment comes. I hope 
we shall not be cheated out of a good battle. 

Since the sailing of the great expedition 
from Annapolis, F. B. had been on active 
duty with the troops on the coast of South 



296 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Carolina and Georgia, and at the reduction 
of the two forts at Port Royal, and of Fort 
Pulaski, April nth. At the siege of the lat- 
ter he was on duty with the battery nearest 
the fort, and was requested by General Gil- 
more to keep an account of the shots fired 
from our batteries and from the rebel guns 
within the fort. Here he stood in a scarlet- 
lined cloak with Gilmore's long, shining, 
double-barrelled field-glass in his hand for two 
days, — a fine mark lor the enemy. After 
the fight he went about the fort with the 
rebel officer who surrendered it, and who 
said, as they came to a big gun, *' I com- 
manded here, and sent a large number of 
shots at a man who stood at the corner of 
that cistern, and wore a cloak, and had some 
long shining thing in his hand. I wonder if 
I hit him!" 

General Franklin s wife to E. 

April 12. 

My dear Mrs. Howland : Last night (late) I 
was informed as a great secret that General 
Franklin's Division was to go to General 
McClellan after all ! I was wondering when I 
awoke this morning if I might not go and tell 
you. . . . General Meigs was one of the authori- 
ties given for the truth of the report — so I think 
we may believe the good news. . . . 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 297 

I have a favor to ask, which is, if you decide 
to go down to Alexandria to try and see your 
husband on his way through, will you let me 
know ? as I would like very much to go too. 

I feel as if it would be a great comfort to see 
them before they start South. 

Love to your mother and sisters. It is truly 
a mercy from above to have the Division re- 
lieved from the false position they were placed 
in, and now we have only to pray for their 
safety. 

Yours aff'ly, 

Anna L. Franklin. 

G's Journal. 

Alexandria, April 15, '62. 

Saturday morning we had private informa- 
tion that Franklin's Division was shipping down 
the river, and we packed our bags at once and 
with Mrs. Franklin came down to the Dysons' 
Cottage, Alexandria. . . . Dyson's two slaves, 
Harriet and her mother, have run away, for 
which I sing songs of thanksgiving. . . . The 
1 6th and all the others have arrived and are 
camping under Fort Elsworth, their old ground. 
At the street corner coming down here, we 
found ten men struggling with one of their 
comrades of the 5th Maine, who had just fallen 
in a fit ; about a hundred had collected to shut 
off the air and double him up, with his knapsack 



298 LET'J'F.RS OF A FAMILY 

still Strapped on iiis back. We asked the crowd 
to do what they ought to do for him, till we were 
tired ; and then we pushed them aside and went 
in ourselves, had a strong sergeant keep the 
crowd off, put the man on his back with his 
clothes loose, bathed his head and poured brandy 
down his throat. E. went to a near hospital, 
but they would not take him in. So we put him 
in his blanket for stretcher, and started him off 
with bearers to the Mansion House, while the 
crowd dispersed, one woman saying, " Poor fel- 
low, he is fighting in a good cause, and ought to 
have a dose of ipecac." 

Mother to G. and E. in Alexandria. 
Ebbitt House, 
Monday Evening, April 15 or 16, 62. 

Dear Girls: We have just had a call and 
salute from Joe's manservant James, who wished 
to know if we had any '' word for Mrs. How- 
land in the morning." What with your three 
devoted ''Mercuries" we seem to keep up a pretty 
constant intercourse, which is very cheering. . . . 
I was at my lonely tea this evening when sud- 
denly I heard a sepulchral voice at my shoul- 
der saying, " How is Miss Woolsey, Madam, 
this evening ?" It was "me" young Augustus 
on his way out from the table behind me, where 
I had not noticed him. " You seem to be quite 
alone. I will be happy to take my breakfast 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 299 

with you, if you will permit me !" I was horror- 
stricken at the idea of having either of your 
chairs occupied by anyone to whom I should 
feel called upon to do the agreeable. . . . 

I shall be very late unavoidably to-morrow, so 
that he will eat and go before I get down. This 
seems to be a favorite little attention with our 
gentlemen friends here — " taking breakfast with 
you !" . . . Only think of my missing another 
call from Mrs. McClellan and her mother. I 
had ventured out on a stroll by myself, to get 
my cap, which I didn't get, and to bring Hatty 
a tumbler of ice cream, which I did get, and she 
enjoyed it very much with some fresh lady- 
fingers. This woman is not to be relied on, the 
cap was not done, and I shouldn't wonder if she 
is taking the pattern instead of clear-starching 
it. I continued on to the avenue, bought 
Hatty a pair of gloves, looked in at one or two 
stores for something extremely pretty and cheap 
for a spring dress, but was not successful in 
finding it. The sun was very hot, and I was 
glad to get back again. . . . How in the world 
are you all accommodated in that small house ? 
. . . So, after all, you mean to go, if you can, to 
Fortress Monroe. I am sorry for one thing — you 
will be so much more inaccessible to your family, 
almost beyond our reach, as only those belonging 
to the army will be permitted to go there. 
Nevertheless, I will make all the enquiries you 



300 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

name, and although my heart will break, will 
speed you on your way. Plague take this war ! 
Hatty is better, but misses her other two nurses, 
and I do not believe has any confidence in my 
cooking ; she acknowledges, however, grudg- 
ingly, that the beef-tea 'Uasted good," and the 
arrowroot was excellent, though I saw her after- 
wards pouring in a double quantity of port 
wine, I having already seasoned it with sherry. 



After Tea. 

I have seen Mr. by particular desire 

in the parlor, — waylaid him, tied him down and 
pelted him with questions — as to the facilities, 
etc., of reaching Fortress Monroe at this pres- 
ent time. He gave no encouragement whatever 
as to your getting there ; said he was quite sure 
that no passengers were allowed to that point 
and none on the Baltimore boat. . . . You had 
better not set your hearts upon such a plan. 
Would you not be quite as near, and hear as 
readily, in New York ? We should be so glad to 
have you there with us. But I do not urge any- 
thing ; all I can say is take care of yourselves, 
as you are very precious to your 

Mother. 

We were pulling every possible wire to 
get permission to go to Fortress Monroe, 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 301 

and Mother was aiding us. General Franklin 
lent a hand too, but all failed. 

General Franklin to Brigadier General Thomas. 

Headquarters ist Division, ist Corps, 

Army of the Potomac. 

My dear General : Mrs. Rowland, the wife 
of Colonel Rowland, of the New York i6th 
Regiment, desires to be presented to you in 
order that she may get permission to join her 
husband, who is in my Division. I beg that if 
you can do anything to assist her in obtaining 
her very natural wish, you will do it, and I will 
consider it as a favor done to me. 

Mrs. Rowland is by no means an idler when 
she is with the soldiers, but has really done 
more than any other lady of my acquaintance in 
adding to the comfort of the sick as well as 
those in health. I therefore believe that it 
will be for the interests of the service that she 
should have the permission for which she asks. 
Very respectfully yours, 

W. B. Franklin, 
Brig.-Gen. Com. Div. 
Brig. Gen. L. Thomas, 

Adjutant General U. S. Army, 

Washington, D. C. 

General Thomas, however, failed us: his 
general orders prohibited all passes. 



302 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

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

New York, April, 62. 

Dear Georgy : Your letter to me came this 
morning about the facilities for (or rather the 
hindrances to) getting from Baltimore to Fort- 
ress Monroe. . . . Cousin William A. tells me 
all authority on General Dix's part to grant 
passes to anyone has been suspended. ... he 
has refused all — the Vice-President's son among 
others. ... If he cannot give us passes no one 
can unless we can be smuggled through on one 
of the transports from Alexandria down the 
Potomac. . . . Fortress Monroe is crowded to 
overflowing, though I know you would be satis- 
fied with a square inch per man if you could 
only get there (minus hoops). . . If I get letters 
that will take us by the transport to-morrow 
morning, I will telegraph you and come on im- 
mediately. 

Cousin Margaret Hodge to G. 

Philadelphia, April, 62. 
H L H ^y ^^^^ Georgy : I feel a great interest in 

goes to dear Eliza and yourself, and also in your dear 
Iront, mother, and all the family, knowing how anx- 
ious you must all be about Joe. I do wish you 
could get to Fortress Monroe, or, as you say, to 
the Hygiea Hotel. . . . We had a letter this 
morning from Lenox, dated from on board the 
steamer Welden, which Dr. Smith has chartered 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 303 

to fit up as a hospital ship for the Pennsylvania 
wounded. You know we have 50,000 at York- 
town, at least so say the papers. 

Lenox seems much pleased that they have the 
steamer, as it makes them so independent, and 
enables them to go where they may be most 
needed, without troubling any one. Dr. Smith's 
plan is to have a building on shore for a hos- 
pital, and the steamer can convey the wounded 
to it. Some of the doctors are to attend to their 
removal from the field, while some are to take 
charge of them on the steamer, and the remain- 
der to receive them at the hospital. . . . Lenox 
was just going off to Cheesman's landing. He 
is very much interested in all he sees ; has visited 
the Monitor and been all over it, and also he had 
been over the fortress and visited several camps. 

It is a great trial to part with him, but he has 
wanted so long to do what he could for the 
cause that it is a great gratification that he 
can go now without interfering wnth his duty 
to his father. The lectures are over, and he can 
spare him better than he could before, though 
even now Lenox is a great loss to his father. . . . 

My love to your dear mother and Hatty, and 
say I am still looking for their promised visit, 
and shall count on their coming here on their 
way home. We have Lottie and baby here 
now, for a little visit, but I have plenty of room 
for all. 



304 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



From H. L. Hodge. 

Fortress Monroe, April 19th, 1862. 
Dear Georgy : We were summoned to York- 
town, and about twenty of us left Philadelphia 
yesterday morning. We passed on the Bay this 
morning many transports bearing, as I suppose, 
Franklin's Division. I presume that Joe and 
myself were not far apart. He goes, however, 
if report be true, to the opposite side of York 
River. They brought down here some wounded 
yesterday ; they are under the care of Surgeon 
Cuyler and are comfortably located. 

We have come onl)' in anticipation that we 
may be needed, and may therefore remain a 
short time or for a long while, according to 
circumstances. . . . 

J. H. On April 17th the i6th had finally started 

from Alexandria on the steamer Daniel Web- 
ster. No. 2, with Franklin's Division, to join 
McClellan on the Peninsula. 

/. H. to E. W. H. 

Steamer Daniel Webster, April 18. 
I have a chance to send a boat ashore to get a 
mail and so can say good morning to you. All 
the steamers are lying in the stream two or three 
miles below Alexandria receiving their "tows." 
There are about a hundred schooners and 



leaves 
for the 
Penin- 
sula. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 305 

barges to take down. We tow four. All's 
well. The boat is very crowded, but the men 
are more comfortable than I supposed they 
would be and are behaving admirably. The 
work of getting them well on board was a hard 
one. I have 820 officers and men on this boat 
and the four schooners. The sick are doing 
well ; the change of air and rest are curing the 
dysentery. I do not know where we are going. 

Near Fortress Monroe, Sunday, April 20. 
No orders. The boat is becoming very dirty 
and cannot be cleaned as she is so crowded that 
there is no place to put any number of the men 
while cleaning is being done. The decks are 
swept and shoveled once or twice a day, but need 
washing. The regiment is behaving well. I 
have had to punish only one man since we left 
Alexandria, but have made an example of him 
for smuggling and selling liquor. 

We had a nice little service a short time ago 
and the chaplain is repeating it in different 
parts of the boat, as it is not safe to assemble the 
men in any one part where even a couple of 
hundred could hear. The men were very atten- 
tive. The more I see of the regiment the more 
highly I think of it. I am sure the old i6thwill 
always behave creditably. 



3o6 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

York River, April 22. 
Here we still lie awaiting orders, without a 
word of news and nothing to do. The boat 
is so crowded and dirty that life is becoming 
intensely disgusting, yet there does not appear 
any prospect of getting away. Last night there 
was heavy firing towards Yorktown and we 
could see the flashing of the guns ; but we do 
not know what it was. 

April 24. Yesterday, at last, I landed the regi- 
ment, having asked permission to do so and 
have the boat thoroughly cleaned. Having 
picked out a piece of level ground at the head of 
a little bay where there are lots of oysters, I 
got a stern-wheeler and sent the regiment ashore 
by companies, and got all fairly into camp 
before sunset. I put the major in command on 
shore, keeping my headquarters on the steamer, 
and had the work of purification begun as soon 
as the hold was cleared. 

I saw Franklin yesterday, and he asked after 
you and ours. I took the steamer's quarter-boat 
last evening and serenaded the old chap with 
our stringed band. He seemed pleased and the 
music sounded very sweetly on the quiet water. 

I suspect Commxander Rodgers is the right 
sort of man for the Galena. I heard a story of 
him to-day. Some one said to him, ''Your iron 
plates are too thin ; their thickness should be at 
least four inches." His reply (somewhat pro- 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 307 

fane) was, " What to h do I care about 

their thickness, — my business is to go up York 
River and shell the enemy." 

/. S, W. to G. 

New York, April 25, '62. 

... I always have a little talk with Col. 
Betts coming out of church, he keeps out such 
a sharp eye. He predicted all that business of 
the sub-division of McClellan's command and 
the Rappahannock department exactly as it fell 
out. He predicts now — (he laughs and says of 
course he only guesses) — no desperate fighting 
at Yorktown. He thinks there will be some 
bombarding but no storming of the works ; that 
the great battle at Corinth, now imminent, will 
occur before a battle at Yorktown, and will 
probablygreatly demoralize the rebel cause. . . . 
Cousin William Aspinwall has just sent us in an 
interesting letter from Lieutenant Greene, giv- 
ing his experience on the Monitor in the voyage 
and fight. He is only 18, and was in command 
for a little while after Worden was blinded. I 
have been down several days this week to the 
New England Association, and have succeeded 
in doing nothing with considerable ^clat. We 
have had only eight or ten transient lodgers, 
have had some droll incidents, have made a few 
beds and a few cups of tea, got great glory in 
the newspapers, and that is all. Don't think I 



3o8 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

am going into a minute account, for I have no 
idea of it. Indeed there is none to go into. 
The ladies' committee does not work altogether 
smoothly, and I think there will be some further 
attempt at organization with a responsible head. 

W B looks in occasionally and does 

nothing. M P tries to come the heavy 

patronizing over me with entire want of suc- 
cess. . . . The house is admirable, and the 
patients (if there are any) will be splendidly 
taken care of. If you know any New England 
men coming home invalided, and who want to 
rest over a night or two (most of them will not 
do it), send them to us. 

A. H. W. to Mother. 

New York, April 26th. 

My Dear Mother : We are all bright and 
well this fine morning. Jane and Charley have 
gone to the Philharmonic rehearsal and Carry 
is practicing some of her old music on the piano, 
in a w^ay to make you, who love to hear it, happy. 
Mr. Prentiss came in last night to see us, look- 
ing well, but queer, as he always does in a black 
stock. He had been hard at work moving his 
books, and did not intend to go to prayer meet- 
ing, and evidently didn't suppose ive had gone, 
or he wouldn't have come to spend the evening 
with us. He told us much that was pleasant 
and funny about his visit in Washington, which, 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 309 

short as it was, paid him well, he thought, for 
going. ... He hopes E. and G. will get their 
wishes and go to Fort Monroe, as they are in a 
state of mind to be fretted and troubled if they 
don't. . . . 

Very few of the wounded brought by the Cos- 
sack from Newbern were landed here. . . . All 
were crazy to get home, all full of spirits and 
fun. The five or six who were carried to the 
N. E. Relief only fretted at having to spend a 
night longer on the road. The man with both 
legs gone smoked his pipe and read his news- 
paper. His chief anxiety was to go into New 
Jersey by a certain train. . . . Five or six ladies 
were at the rooms, Jane among them, yesterday, 
a lady apiece and several men to each volunteer. 
. . . No wonder it dazed an Irishman just re- 
leased from four months imprisonment in Rich- 
mond. "- Begor," he said, '* I can't pay for all 
this ! " . . . Jane says there is nothing much for 
the present set of ladies to do, except to re- 
arrange the piles of shirts, etc., on the closet 
shelves — changing them about from the way she 
had fixed them ! They immediately proceeded 
to that work, and each new set of ladies will 
have that^ at least, to occupy them. As for the 
Park Barracks, a portion of them have been 
scrubbed and whitewashed, the bunks taken 
down, neat iron beds all made and put up. Mrs. 
Mack is to live there as Matron, and, for the 



3IO 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



purpose of a mere halting place and infirmary, 
it is as good an one as they could have, though 
too many ladies were on hand, switching things 
over with their hoops, giving unlimited oranges 
to men with the dysentery, and making the sur- 
geons mad. There were, beside, half the medical 
students in the city, all staring and eager for 
jobs ; — no difficulty in the men's having all, and 
more than all, the attention they want. One 
good thing Mrs. Woodruff did, at Mrs. Buck's 
suggestion, — sent over to the Astor House for a 
steward, and through him ordered a good din- 
ner brought in of tender beef, fresh eggs, etc., for 
the twenty or thirty New York and New Jersey 
men who were resting there. It will be charged 
to New York State, which supports the Barracks. 
. . . We have Lloyd's map of Virginia hung 
under the front parlor picture of the Virgin, 
along the back of the sofa, and we sit there and 
read the papers and study it. 

E, to /. H. 

WASmNGTON, April 26. 

Mr. Knapp, of the Sanitary Commission, 
has just been over and offers to take a note for 
me when he goes to Yorktown to morrow. We 
like him so much, and shall be in communica- 
tion with him all summer if we succeed in going 
down, and we are very likely to go! Mr. Knapp 
said the Commission had been speaking of us 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



311 



and hoping we might be able to go, and that, if 
they found women would be allowed, they them- 
selves would be very glad to have us under their 
charge, and would manage to get us there. We 
mustn't call it "our luck." It is something far 
better, and I for one shall be truly grateful to 
God — and the Commission. Mr. Knapp asks 
as a special favor that we will keep him informed 
of our movements. 

A smiling providence opened the door 
wide for us at last. 



CHAPTER VII. 

E. W. H. to J. H. 

Monday Morning, April 28. 

The Where do you think I am ? On the " Daniel 

floating Webster No. i," which the Sanitary Commis- 

Hospital ' •' 

service, sioii has taken as a hospital ship. We are now 
nurret^ on the way down to Cheeseman's Creek, near 
at large. Ship Point, and when you receive this we 
shall be lying just there. Saturday afternoon 
the gentlemen of the Commission, Mr. Olmsted 
and Mr. Knapp, came over to see us, and to our 
great surprise and pleasure proposed to us to 
come down with them in the ship as " nurses at 
large," or matrons, or what not — to do of course 
all we can for the sick and wounded men in the 
approaching battle. They had telegraphed to 
Mrs. William P. Griffin and Mrs. Lane of New 
York to come on at once, and go too. We only 
had one night's notice, as they were to leave 
early Sunday morning, but we accepted the 
offer at once, and here we are ! We four are 
the only women on board except a colored 
chambermaid, but there are 30 or 40 men nurses 
and hospital dressers, and several members of 
the Commission — Mr. Olmsted, Mr. Knapp, Mr. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



z-^i 



Lewis Rutherford, Mr. Strong, Dr. Agnew, Dr. 
Grymes, etc. They have two boats, this and the 
Elm City. The latter is to be a receiving ship 
and permanent floating hospital, and this one the 
transporting one, in which the wounded will be 
carried at once by sea to New York, Philadel- 
phia, or Baltimore and Washington, as the case 
may be. It is an old ocean steamship, and used 
to run on the Aspinwall route ; is stanch and sea- 
worthy, but now wretchedly dirty. A dozen 
stout contrabands are at work night and day 
scrubbing and cleaning, and, as they finish, the 
whitewashers and carpenters succeed them, and 
by degrees it will be put in good condition. . . . 
I saw Mrs. Franklin the night before we started 
and have a note for the General. We left our 
little dog Mopsey with her. ... If you are still 
off Ship Point we shall be very near each other. 
. . . There is a P. O. station at Cheeseman s Creek 
to which please direct your letters to me, care 
of Fred. Law Olmsted, Hospital Ship of Sani- 
tary Commission. 

G. to Mother. 

Floating Hospital, Daniel Webster. 
Cheeseman's Creek, April 30, '61. 

The sail down the Potomac to Acquia Creek, 
where we anchored for the night, was extremely 
pretty. Just as we started the little gunboat 
** Yankee " passed up, bringing, all on a string, 



314 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

five rebel craft she had just taken in the Rappa- 
hannock. 

Late in the afternoon we passed the stone 
fleet, eight boats all ready to sink in the channel, 
in case the Merrimac should try to run up the 
Potomac. The rebels having taken up all the 
buoys, we had to come to anchor at dark. Sun- 
day, the first day, was gone. As for us, we had 
spent it sitting on deck, sewing upon a Hospital 
flag fifteen by eight, and singing hymns to take 
the edge off this secular occupation. It is to be 
run up at once in case we encounter the Merri- 
mac. Just as we anchored, a chaplain was dis- 
covered among the fifty or sixty soldiers on 
board — men returning to their regiments, and 
in half an hour we got together for service and 
an unprepared discourse exhorting the Sanitary 
Commission to works of charity ! The contra- 
bands all came in and stood in a row, so black, 
at the dark end of the cabin, that I could see 
nothing but eyes and teeth ; but they sang heart- 
ily and everybody follow^ed them. 

H. R. W. to G. 

Ebbitt House, April 27. 

Mother Everybody was delighted with what you 

Hatty left in Washington for the hospitals. Some of the 
wind up jellies and wine (I found a whole box of it left 

affairs in "' ^ 

Wash- without orders), and some shoes, I took over to 
ington. Georgetown to Mrs. Russell, who was just out 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 315 

of all. Mother is going about the room indig- 
nant still at the Bank, and " expects to have 
every policeman in the city tapping her on the 
shoulder to know the facts of the case." We 
try not to miss you, but yesterday was very like 
Sunday, much more quiet and Sabbath-like than 
when you were here ; to-day we have had the 
bank excitement to keep us busy. 

The ''bank excitement" is the little inci- 
dent recounted in the Evening Star as fol- 
lows : 

A Cool Operation. — This morning, Mrs. C. W. Woolsey 
went to the Bank of the Metropolis to draw the money for 
two checks of a hundred dollars each. Unacquainted, 
apparently, with business of the sort, she stepped into the 
bank, and instead of applying at the counter, presented 
them to a person who was standing at a desk outside, and 
returned to her coach. This person presented the checks 
to the paying teller, who refused to pay because they 
lacked Mrs. Woolsey's endorsement. He took a pen and 
went out to the coach and returned with the checks prop- 
erly endorsed. They were paid, and the fellow made off 
with the money, leaving the lady minus. 

The man had just the right business man- 
ner, not too polite — stepped out without his 
hat as if he had left his desk to oblige a lady. 
He was thanked for his courtesy, and left 
'' right sudden '' with the funds. 



3i6 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

It was hardly fair in us to run Mother on 
this winding up of her triumphant career in 
Washington, which city, as she indignantly 
said, she ** left, under the full recognition of 
several of the Metropolitan police?" 

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

New York, April 28. 

My dear Sisters : Mother's letter of Sunday 
morning, giving the startling intelligence of 
your having gone off suddenly to Fort Monroe, 
came before breakfast. Since it was your very 
earnest wish, and, as Mr. Prentiss tells us, 
you might have chafed at being held back — why 
I am glad you have gone. But it seems to me 
a very trying position for you : you will work 
yourselves sick. Joe will be the most sur- 
prised person, and I don't believe he will 
approve of your being on a hospital boat. It is 
very satisfactory that Mrs. Griffin is on board ; 
as long as she stays you will not need either 
man or woman protector. . . . Georgy's letter 
to Charley came with Mother's. He will see to 
the wire camp-beds, and we will put the other 
stores, your hats, etc., etc., all in a trunk and 
have them ready for the first opportunity. If 
you write for Charley he will take them on at 
once. ... It is strange that Mr. Olmsted should 
have had you in mind, without having known 
of your desire to go. It shows that, as Georgy 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 317 

says, "Heaven had opened the door." . . . Our 
best love to you two dear brave girls ; you are 
doing what you love to do, and I hope will 
take care of yourselves as well as of the soldiers. 

A. H. W. to J. H. 

April 30. 

We had a very pleasant visit the other 
night from Charles Johnson, of Norwich, just 
returned from Port Royal. He went down as 
Allotment Commissioner from Connecticut and 
had pretty good success. He was particularly 
indignant about the chaplain of the Connecticut 
— th who had made a "handsome thing" all 
along out of the men whose money he received 
for being forwarded to their homes. He charged 
them a commission, and then by buying drafts 
on New York, which are at a premium in Bridge- 
port, Conn., managed to make his one per cent, 
net. Charles J. arrived out the day of the bom- 
bardment of Fort Pulaski and was among the 
first visitors after its surrender. It was curious, 
he said, to see the extra defenses prepared by 
the rebels ; heavy timber blindages against the 
casemates and quarters, all round the fort in- 
side, sodded six feet deep with earth dug from 
trenches with which the whole parade was criss- 
crossed. These ditches were already two feet 
deep with the green, slimy water which had 
oozed upward through the soil. ... He said 



3i8 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

that the 7th Connecticut, now garrisoning the 
fort, were a pale, peaked, sick-looking set, but 
every man of them as proud as Lucifer, and he 
came home with a higher idea than ever of the 
energy and spirit of our troops. One night he 
and Colonel Terry and Dr. Bacon couldn't sleep 
on account of the mosquitoes and heat, and they 
agreed to bring out the letters left behind by the 
rebel prisoners, w^hich had to be examined and 
sent some day to Savannah by flag of truce. 
There were more than a hundred ; some very 
laughable specimens of course, but some well 
written and sensible. About thirty were written 
in one hand, by some officer for his different pri- 
vates I suppose, and every one of them began, 
*' We have met the enemy and we are theirs ! " 
always winding up with the earnest advice to 
their friends, to quit Savannah. . . . Mr. Prentiss 
has lately spent a week in Washington, in com- 
pany with Dr. Stearns and Professor Schaff. 
Everywhere they went, of every great man. Pro- 
fessor Schaff asked his stock question — whether 
the social and political conquest of the South 
was not to be more difficult than its military con- 
quest. He received very characteristic answers. 
President Lincoln thought "perhaps, yes — but 
it wouldn't cost so much money ! " Mr. Seward 
said, decidedly, " No ! " and then trotted him- 
self out, most obligingly, in a dainty little sort 
of oration, using one of his fine figures in illus- 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 319 

tration. ''You are like President King," he 
said, '' who was greatly concerned here, last 
week, about the dome of the Capitol, how it was 
ever to be finished, and whether it would bear 
the weight of the figure of Liberty that is to be 
placed on it, and how the figure was to be got 
up there, etc. I don't know how it is to be done, 
but the engineers know. The plans were all 
made to accomplish just that result. The dome 
was built for the figure, and this figure cast to 
be in harmony and size with it, and the pulleys 
and ropes are all agreed upon ; and though it is 
a long way from the ground, where the statue 
lies now, to the top of the finished dome, I knoiv 
that the work will be done, and the figure of 
Liberty shall yet stand on the top of the Capitol!" . . . 
Mr. Chase was not so eloquent or philosophic. 
He thought we ought to ** do our present duty 
and leave the future to Providence," which per- 
haps was the best answer of all ; and putting 
the three together Professor Schaff was well 
satisfied with the argument and quite willing to 
be laughed at by his friends for his pertinacity 
in asking the question. 

From E's Journal. 

S. S. Daniel Webster. 

Just before sunset, last night, we passed 
the mouth of the York River, and could see our 
gunboats and a fleet of some four hundred 



320 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

sloops and schooners lying a little way up it — 
among them our fleet, Franklin's Division, still 
lying off Ship Point. We made our way in 
among them and dropped anchor just off the 
Point within a stone's throw of the rebel bar- 
racks, now used as a hospital for our men. 
After dark we could see the lights of the fleet all 
around us like the lamps of a great city on the 
shores of a harbor, and these, with the camp-fires 
on shore lighting up the horizon, and the little 
row-boats darting about, dashing up phosphor- 
escence at every stroke of the oar, made the 
scene a magical one ; while the bugle calls and 
regimental bands on the different boats increased 
the effect. Joe's boat, the Daniel Webster No. 
2, lies further away from us up towards Cheese- 
man's Creek. . . . 

Cs Journal. 
Next morning Mr. Olmsted hailed the steamer 
which carried the i6th New York, to "let the 
Colonel know that his wife was on board among 
the nurses." He received an acknowledgment 
from the Colonel in the form of a check for one 
thousand dollars for the Sanitary Commission, 
and what was still better, Mr. O. said, a note of 
hearty appreciation of the Commission's work 
for the soldiers. Joe soon came over to the 
steamer himself, and Lenox Hodge, who was 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 321 

with a Philadelphia detail of surgeons on the 
steamer Commodore, also came on board. 



G. to Mother. 

May I, '61. 

We are in sight of the abandoned rebel quar- 
ters at Ship Point, now used as a hospital, on low, 
filthy ground surrounded by earth-works, rained 
on half the time and fiercely shone on the other 
half, a death place for scores of our men, who 
are piled in there covered with vermin, dying 
with their uniforms on and collars up, dying of 
fever. Of course there is that vitally important 
thing, medical etiquette, to contend with here 
as elsewhere, and so it is : — ^' Suppose you go 
ashore and ask whether it would be agreeable to 
have the ladies come over, just to walk through 
the hospital and talk to the men ?" So the ladies 
have gone to talk with the men with spirit 
lamps and farina and lemons and brandy and 
clean clothes, and expect to have an improving 
conversation ! 

While we are lying here off Ship Point, New 
Orleans has surrendered quietly, and round 
the corner from us Fort Macon has been 
taken. What is it to us so long as the beef 
tea is ready at the right moment ? We have 
been getting the beds made on our side of 
the cabin ; only 25 are ready, but in two of them 
a lieutenant and private of the i6th are lying 



32 2 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

brought over from the shore yesterday — Eliza's 
game. She has taken them vigorously in hand, 
stealing clean clothes from the Wilson Small 
and treating them to nice breakfasts and teas. 
Dr. Haight, of New York, has just put his head 
in to know if Miss Woolsey has any rice ready. 
" No. She has used it all up on the man in the 
bunk-ward, with the dysentery." Ask the cook — 
cook won't boil it ; so Miss W. lights her spirit 
lamp and boils it, and boils it. She has her 
reward — two men, each with his little plate of 
it — Was it good ? — ''Yes, beautiful." 

E's Journal about this time. 

Before we were up this morning, Joe came 
over to the Webster to ask us to go down to 
Fortress Monroe for the day with him. General 
Slocum and Colonel Bartlett of the 27th New 
York. Finding I was not likely to be wanted, I 
accepted gladly, Georgy preferring to go over 
to Ship Point again. The sail down was only 
about two and a half hours, and we came upon 
the fleet almost before we knew it. A great 
deal of shipping was lying off Old Point Com- 
fort, and in the midst lay the " Minnesota," and 
the " Vanderbilt," with her great steel prow, 
prepared to meet and run down the Merrimac ; 
and just off the Rip Raps we saw the " Galena," 
the " Naugatuck," and the "Monitor." We 
landed at once and began our sight-seeing with 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 323 

a great space covered by some three hundred 
enormous cannon lying side by side like giant 
mummies in Egypt. Then we went directly to 
the Fortress itself unchallenged, and meeting 
Captain, now Colonel, Whipple, A. A. G., were 
taken to his nice little house and office just put up 
within the pretty enclosure of the fort, and then 
to General Wool's headquarters. The old Gen- 
eral was alone and very polite, said he remem- 
bered Uncles Gardiner and Sam Rowland, and 
took me for a daughter and therefore Joe's sister. 
He read us the despatches he was just sending 
to Washington announcing the fall of Fort Macon 
and the retreat of Beauregard from Corinth 
to Memphis. He insisted on taking us through 
his pretty garden and gave me a lovely bunch 
of lilacs and tulips, jonquils, wall-flower, etc., 
which the old gentleman picked himself (mostly 
without stems) and presented with very gallant 
little speeches. 

Captain Whipple took us over the moat and 
on the ramparts, and to the wonderful water 
battery where the great guns stand ready to 
belch forth at any moment on the Merrimac or 
any other enemy. The monsters " Union " and 
'' Lincoln " stand by themselves and point 
towards Sewall's Point. Even the lighthouse is 
on its guard and has its faces towards the enemy 
darkened with canvas. 

Got back to the ship all right and found noth- 
ing had occurred. 



324 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

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

New York, May ist, 1862. 
My Dear Girls : Never were two creatures 
pounced on and whirled out of sight more com- 
pletely than you. Fate seems to descend and 
wrap you from the vision and the reach of your 
family, and every event only carries you farther 
off. Do write us when you can and help us to 
realize what and where you are I . . . We hear 
from Mrs. Buck or somebody that the Daniel 
Webster is expected here the last of this week, 
on her first trip with wounded and sick, but I 
should hardly think it could load so soon. Is it 
to come through the canals, as the " Richard 
Welling " is coming with the Vermont wounded ? 
Perhaps we shall see you too ! That will be 
famous if you come on in her to New York. . . . 
We have got sponges, lots of towels, doylies, 
castile soap, etc., etc. together, and are all ready 
to put them up and send them to you at any 
moment. If you find you don't need them on 
board, keep them for the use of the i6th. We 
must do something for that, as our regiment. . . . 
There are three times as many ladies as are 
needed at the hospital, 194 Broadway, and Jane's 
work finished, she will not go again. . . . Mrs. 
Buck, Jane and Miss Caroline Murray are to 
have Thursday each week as their day at the 
Park Barracks. Young Dr. Schauflfler lives there, 
and the notice is posted all over the city, so that 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



325 



disabled soldiers returning (singly sometimes) 
may see it and know that there is rest for them 
and surgical treatment, all freely provided, and 
Mrs. Stetson of the Astor House, who is one of 
the committee, engages to have beef tea, broth, 
gruel, etc., always ready in case they are called 
for, and to have any delicacy quickly prepared. 

H. L. H. tv rites : 

Ship Point, May 3, '62. 

Dear Georgy : The 8th Illinois Cavalry arrived 
several days ago. They are disembarking to- 
day. Cannot the Daniel Webster take the sick 
off from Ship Point ? They will be doing a great 
service if they can. 

G's Journal. 

May 4. 

Mr. Olmsted decided to do it, and the " D. 
W." sailed with 190 sick from the deserted camps 
within a range of some miles — eighteen, the 
poor fellows say who were jolted down to the 
shore over corduroy roads. The loads began 
arriving at 5.30 this morning, and we refitted 
the state-rooms which had been made up twice 
already, all along of the men nurses turning in 
and rioting in boots in the nice clean beds. No 
objection to the " relief-watch " lying down 
gently on the outside of the beds, but why should 
they pull out the under-quilts and pin them up 



326 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

for state-room doors ? E. and I discovered all 
sorts of candle ends tucked away or stuck in 
cakes of soap, with every facility for setting the 
ship on fire — also the work of the men nurses. 

Mrs. Griffin and Mrs. Lane were, meantime, 
in the pantry getting breakfast for the sick. 

G. to Mother. 

Off Ship Point. 

York- It was the Wilson Small (a little steamboat 

town chartered by the Commission to run up the creeks 

aban- ^ -' ^ ^ 

donedby and bring down sick and wounded), that came 
rebels alongside with our first patients, thirty-five in 
number, typhoid cases, from Ship Point, who 
were slung through the hatches on their stretch- 
ers. . . , We women arranged our days into 
three watches, and then a promiscuous one for 
any of us, as the night work might demand. 

After breakfast, Sunday, on the Webster, we 
all assembled in the forward ward, and Dr. 
Grymes read the simple prayers for those at sea 
and the sick. Our poor fellows lay all about us 
in their beds and listened quietly. As the prayer 
for the dying was finished, a soldier close by the 
doctor had ended his strife. 

We crawled up into our bunks that night 
amid a tremendous firing of big guns, and woke 
up in the morning to the announcement that 
Yorktown was evacuated ! Franklin was in 
McClellan's tent when the news came, and he 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



327 



says McClellan did not know what to make 
of it. 

A little tug has just passed, calling out to 
each transport to be ready to move in ten min- 
utes if the order is given ; probably to go round 
to Yorktown, and be ready to push up the river 
in case our men advance. A tug from Balti- 
more came alongside just now with contra- 
bands and workmen for the "Ocean Queen," 
which the Commission has secured, and E. and I 
will probably go over to her this evening. 

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

New York, May 2nd. 

My Dear Girls : We have received this 
morning your letter of Monday and Tuesday 
(Georgy's) written at intervals and mailed off 
Ship Point. What a strange life you are lead- 
ing on board a hospital ship, sewing hospital 
flags, dispensing medicines, etc., etc. You two 
have always been together in the queerest and 
most varied circumstances, and in all parts of 
the world, from the heart of the Mammoth Cave 
to the top of the Pyramids of Egypt, in peace ; 
and now, in war. You did not inclose the ward- 
list, but " Dr. Woolsey," we feel confident, is a 
joke on Georgy. She deserves a title of the 
sort, I am sure. You thought of everything it 
seems, even to a flat-iron. . . . We seem to be 
sitting at home impotent and imbecile. It costs 



328 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

us no trouble to order home a few pieces of 
mosquito bar from Holmes', or a few dozen 
towels from Milliken's — and even these are sit- 
ting under the piano waiting. We have screwed 
the bandage-roller on again, and the little table 
stands with strips of cotton and pins and labels 
just as it stood one year ago, when Georgy fired 
away with it day after day, — between the folding 
doors of the parlors. 

Mother came home yesterday from Philadel- 
phia, leaving Hatty at the Hodge's. Aspinwall, 
wife and baby are there. We think Mother 
looks well. She brought a few of Joe's photo- 
graphs. What a keen, alert, decided look he 
has, as becomes a Colonel and a man who has 
done a year's military duty ! Soon after Mother, 
came Mary, Robert and May to dine and 
spend the night. This happened very nicely, as 
it was Mother's first evening at home after 
Washington. . . . 

What great events are happening ! Awhile 
ago, two such things as the fall of New Orleans 
and of Fort Macon in one week would have 
crazed us with surprise and delight. We are 
almcjst biases in such matters. . . . It is a good 
joke and commentary on the southern doctrine 
of "State rights" that the Governor of North 
Carolina has been arrested in Richmond, Vir- 
ginia, for " Unionism " ! 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 329 

From H.L.H. {sent on board the hospital ship to G.) 
Cheeseman's Landing, Friday. 
Dear Georgy : I hope to see you and Eliza 
to-day. . . . We received all the wounded from 
the assault on the lunette alluded to, except one 
too badly hurt to move (who has since died, they 
tell me) and a few so slightly injured as to be 
retained for future service. The " boys " here 
say that Thomas Archer, your servant's brother, 
did not belong to their Company H, but to 
Company A, and that he was among those left 
behind on account of his injuries being slight. 

So far our patients, with hardly an exception, 
have been a superior class of men, and it has 
been a great pleasure to attend to them. 

Dr. Tripler was here yesterday, and I was glad 
to hear of the probable removal of not only the 
200 sick at Ship Point, but of 400 scattered else- 
where, to Boston, New York or Philadelphia. 

Mother to G. and E. 

New York, Sunday p. m. 

My Dear Girls : I have an unexpected op- 
portunity of writing, or rather of getting my let- 
ter to you. Dr. Gurden Buck was telegraphed 
this morning, through the Sanitary Commission, 
to leave for Yorktown on board the " Ocean 
Queen," and he is off for Baltimore at 5 o'clock 
this p. M., to take ship there. In the meantime 
just as we came in from church, a telegram ar- 



3SO 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



rived from you, dear E., to Charley, asking if 
he would like the "Clerkship" of the "Daniel 
Webster," and if so to come on. . . . Charley ac- 
cepts the clerkship, and will be ready when the 
"Daniel Webster" comes here. Right upon 
the top of this excitement of a telegram from 
Yorktown to us ! comes another to Mrs. McClel- 
lan at the 5th Avenue Hotel, telling her that 
Yorktown has been evacuated by the rebels, 
leaving all their large guns, and much else be- 
sides ! The newsboys are out already with 
their extras, and the Aspinwalls are at the door 
wishing to know why we don't unfurl our flag ! 
which is all rolled up round the stick. Cousin 
William has been in to tell us of the news di- 
rect from Mrs. McClellan, and the whole city is 
at once commencing its rejoicings. How eagerly 
we shall look for your account, and how anxious 
to know what your movements will be. Why 
are they telegraphing for so many surgeons from 
here, and Philadelphia, and other towns, when 
there has been no battle, as we understand .? I 
suppose the army is to push on after the retreat- 
ing rebels. ... I wish I were down there with 
you, and have a great mind to offer my services 
to Dr. Buck as head nurse or matron of the 
" Daniel Webster." . . . Jane has gone off with 
her Sunday treat to the hospital, of jelly and 
oranges ; Abby and Carry have gone to church 
again, and Charley is out making enquiry 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



331 



about the boats and trying to find out whether 
the " Daniel Webster " is expected here, and 
when. 

Your things are all ready to go by him, and 
we have offered Dr. Buck any stores he may 
wish. We have piles of elegantly rolled ban- 
dages which he may be glad to have. 

/. S. W. to J. H. 

8 Brevoort Place, 3d May, Chi Alpha night. 
So you three have met again, Georgy, Eliza 
and the Colonel. ... It must have been a jolly 
meeting for you all on the floating Hospital, 
and Eliza says you showed symptoms of illness 
immediately on seeing the comfortable beds. 
But it is rather a perilous position for the girls. 
It is no longer visiting, but living, in an atmos- 
phere of infection, day and night, typhoid, 
rubeola, gangrene, and what not. They will be 
in for anything going, and the service in a 
crowded transport will make terrible draughts 
on the sympathies of all concerned. We hear 
surmises that the Daniel Webster will come 
round to New York. If so, I sincerely hope the 
girls will come in her if possible, if it is only 
for a day. What an excellent thing to have 
these boats systematically provided, and to have 
ladies on board. It will go far to humanize the 
horrid vehicles. Heavy reproaches belong j<?w^- 



332 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

where for the want of foresight and humanity in 
the government arrangements of the kind. I 
have seen it. Send your sick men, if you have 
any, on a Sanitary Commission transport. Fully 
half the complaints about the Vermonters of 
Lee's Mills are strictly correct, and half are half 
too many for toleration. The men are in compar- 
ative paradise now in "our" (!) hands, though 
one or two will die in consequence of careless 
treatment, — Government doings. Somebody 
says of the barbarisms of the Chinese Tae- 
Pings : " if you want to complete the picture, 
transfer them to America and prefix the adjec- 
tive Red." 

We have been having a Chi Alpha (the Clergy- 
men's Social Club) for Mr. Prentiss, while he 
was moving. I say " we " although our partici- 
pation was through the key-hole alone. The 
last of the mild elderly gentlemen has taken his 
hat and cane, and the family have rushed down 
and wildly consumed vast quantities of sand- 
wiches, chicken salad, and the loveliest fried 
oysters! Don't you wish you had some.? . . . 

One of the entertainments, not edible, was a 
"James Projectile," weight 58 lbs., brought in 
the self-sacrificing and gallant hat box of Chas. 
Johnson, sent by Frank Bacon as a receipt in 
full, I suppose, for the few little matters we have 
sent him from time to time, — filled and covered 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



ZZ2> 



with the red brick dust made by the great 
breach.* 

"The slave shouts in the barracoon 
As through the breach we thunder ! " 

But never, Chas. Johnson says, never was there f. b. 
such a disgusted set of men as the Connecticut ."bounded 
Seventh, when the white flag went up ; they had ■'^'^eis at 
set their hearts on storming the place, and Puiaski. 
everything was ready. He went through the 
casemates with F. B. on his rounds among the 
patients, his own and those left to his care by 
Colonel Olmsted, and gave us a very interesting 
picture of the scene, too long and circumstantial 
to write out in a letter. He was very much 
pleased with Dr. Bacon, " so exactly the man 
for the place," he said ; so utterly cool, so 
gentle, and so untiring in care and patience. 
One young fellow they came to, had lost his leg, 
and the Doctor was trying to soothe him to 
sleep without an anodyne — " What part of Con- 
necticut are you from ?" asked Charles J.; '* I'm 
a Georgian, sir. Yes, sir (kindling up), I fired 
the last gun from this fort, sir ! " "Yes," said 
the Doctor quietly, in his mesmeric way, '' he 

* On the newel post at your uncle Frank's house in New 
Haven stands this projectile, fired from the battery by 
which he stood during the attack on Fort Pulaski. It 
went through the wall, and was taken out of the rubbish 
inside the fort by him and sent North to your grandmother. 



334 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

Stood by his gun till a shot dismounted it and 
hurt him. But try now to go to sleep, and if 
you find you cannot, I'll give you something to 
help you." ** O, if I could have one drink of 
milk, Doctor!" "I'll see; perhaps I can get 
you a little." So he gave the candle (in a 
bottle) to Charles, and was gone for a quarter 
of an hour, coming back with a little milk in the 
bottom of a cup, which the young Georgian 
eagerly swallowed. The story is getting too 
long — and there were two or three others to 
match — but what I observe is, that a man of less 
fine fibre, instead of taking up the talk of the 
poor Georgian, would have "improved the oc- 
casion " to him. 

Did you notice that to-day, in the transactions 
of the Board of Brokers, when the " Govern- 
ment Sixes touched par," for the first time since 
the rebellion, that the brokers were all on their 
feet in a minute giving three tremendous cheers } 
. . . Mother seriously announces just here, that 
two of the tea spoons, used by the clergymen 
this evening, are missing, and mentions the 
name of Rev. Dr. ! 

Sunday. — A day of great events. At i p. m., 
Cousin William came in to tell us he had 
seen a man who had seen a man (literal) who 
had read McClellan's telegram to his wife, 
announcing the evacuation of Yorktown. The 
man, once removed, was Barlow, and Mr. A. 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



335 



considered it perfectly reliable. At two the 
extras were out in a swarm, and Colonel 
Betts and one or two others came in most 
kindly, bringing papers and congratulations. 
It is a blessed respite in our anxiety about you, 
for we were afraid of a severe battle if there had 
been any battle at all. It is good news for all 
who have friends in the army. ... It becomes 
us at any rate now to thank God and take cour- 
age and draw a much longer breath than we've 
drawn for a month. 

Apropos of your Uncle Frank's "" improv- 
ing the occasion " at Fort Pulaski — he did 
improve it in giving the rebel surgeon a mer- 
ited rebuke. " Good-bye, my poor fellows," 
the surgeon had said, '' I don't know what 
will happen to you now. I shall have to 
leave you to tJiis gentleman." " You need 
not have any apprehensions, sir," F. B. 
answered ; "these are not the first wounded 
Georgians I have had to care for;" and then 
he told him of the wounded rebels he had 
looked after at the battle of Bull Run. The 
fellow melted at once and said those men 
and Colonel Gardner came into his hands 
directly from F. B.'s, and he had heard of the 
kindness shown them. 



^^6 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

E's Journal. 

On the York River, May 5. 

Before we were up this morning, though 
that was very early, the army fleet (including 
Joe's transport) was off up York river to cut off 
the retreat of the rebels. Our last load of sick 
came on board the Webster this morning early, 
and by nine o'clock she was ready to sail for the 
North, so G. and I, with Messrs. Knapp and 
Olmsted, and our two doctors, Wheelock and 
Haight, were transferred by the Wilson Small 
to the great " Ocean Queen," lying in the bay. 
We sailed up to Yorktown, standing on deck in 
the rain to enjoy the approach to the famous 
entrenchments. Gloucester Point alone, with 
its beautiful little sodded fort, looked very for- 
midable, and the works about Yorktown are 
said to be almost impregnable. The rebels left 
fifty heavy guns behind them and much baggage, 
camp equipage, etc. 

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

New York, May 7th, 1862. 
My dear Girls : I hadn't time to write a long 
letter, but must send off a note to say that the 
Daniel Webster came to the dock at dusk yester- 
day. Charley went down at once, thinking there 
was a possible chance of your being on board, 
or at all events, some of the i6th sick. Mrs. 
Griffin, who came up to care for the men, had 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



337 



gone, and several of the officers had landed, but 
the men were to remain till morning. ... I am 
thankful you were not on board, for your own 
sakes. Five men died and more are dying to- 
day, and will die in the act of being landed. 
. . . McClellan's despatches to-day are not 
very hopeful. " He will do the best he can " — 
the "rebels out-number him greatly," "are 
fighting fiercely ; will contest every inch of the 
way ; strongly intrenched," etc., etc. Yesterday 
he called it a "brilliant success." . . . Your 
letter, Georgy, to Charley, of Saturday and Sun- 
day, is received this morning. It furnishes us 
the missing links in the story, and will instruct 
Charley whom to apply to about his duties and 
his passage, etc. We felt that your telegram, with 
merely your signature, did not authorize him to 
go aboard and assume duty. . . . Mrs. Griffin 
sent us your penciled note as soon as she landed, 
with one from herself, saying she had left you 
well — "lovely and active," I think were her ex- 
pressions. She asked if I knew anything about 
Mrs. Trotter's decision as to going to the front. 
The latter was here yesterday. She said she 
should love dearly to go, but she believed she 
couldn't, her mother couldn't spare her just now. 

Later. . . . Charley went down yesterday ^ ^^^^ 
and saw Mr. Strong, and was inducted as joins the 
Purser of the ship Daniel Webster. Mr. Strong commu- 
gave him a sum of money, and he has been on s'^"- 



338 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

board to-day paying the medical cadets and the 
contrabands. Came home just now for a lunch 
and has gone down again to finish. He thinks 
he may have to sleep on board. The vessel is 
not cleaned up or ready yet. . . . They may 
get off to-morrow afternoon. Mrs. Trotter is to 
send up to-night to see what we have heard. 
She is going to join the Daniel Webster on its 
return trip. 

E. W. H. to J. H. 

May 7th, '62. 

The My dear Joe : Down in the depths of the 

Ocean Qccau Ouccn, with a pail of freshly-made milk 

Queen. «s^ ' i -' 

punch alongside of me, a jug of brandy at my 
feet, beef tea on the right flank, and untold 
stores of other things scattered about, I write 
a hurried note on my lap, just to tell you that 
we keep well, but have been so busy the past 48 
hours that I have lost all track of time. You 
had scarcely left us the other day when our first 
installment of sick came aboard — i^o men — 
before anything whatever was ready for them. 
We had only just taken possession of the ship, 
as you saw, and not an article had been un- 
packed or a bed made. With two spoons, and ten 
pounds of Indian meal (the only food on board) 
made into gruel, G. and I managed, however, 
to feed them all and got them to bed. They 
have come in the same way ever since, crowded 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 339 

upon us unprepared, and with so few to do for 
them ; and we have now nearly 600, and more 
coming to-night. . . . Until to-day we have 
had only our small force who were detached 
from the Webster, and I may say without vanity 
that G. and I, and the two young doctors, Whee- 
lock and Haight, have done everything. We 
women have attended to the feeding of the 400 
or 500, and those two young fellows have had 
the responsibility of their medical care ! Last 
night, however, a large party of surgeons, 
dressers and nurses arrived from New York, 
and though to-day things have been frightfully 
chaotic, they will settle down soon and each one 
will have his own work to do. ... G. and I 
look after the special diet and the ordering of all 
the food. Beef tea is made by the ten gallons 
and punch by the pail. I was so busy yester- 
day morning that I didn't know when you left, 
and only saw the last of the fleet far up York 
river. 

G's Journal. 
Lenox Hodge happened to have come over 
from his hospital station on shore to call on 
us, just as the first patients arrived for the 
Ocean Queen, and, being the only doctor on 
hand at the time, was pressed into the service. 
He superintended the lowering into the forward 
cabin of all the very sick. He told us to have 



340 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

wine and water ready for the weakest, and I in 
the front cabin, and E. in the back, went round 
with brandy and water and gave it to every man 
who looked faint. By the time this was done, the 
gruel was ready, and it was good to see how 
refreshed the poor fellows were. E. and I were 
almost alone at the time these first men came. 
Messrs. Olmsted and Knapp were away on 
business, and the two young doctors had gone 
ashore ; we should have been completely at a 
loss without Len. Tug after tug followed, and 
800 men were put on board in the next three 
days. 

G. to Mother. 

" Ocean Queen." 

It seems a strange thing that the sight of 
such misery should be accepted by us all so 
quietly as it was. We were simply eyes and 
hands for those three days. Strong men were 
dying about us ; in nearly every ward some one 
was going. Yesterday one of the students called 
me to go with him and say whether I had taken 
the name of a dead man in the forward cabin 
the day he came in. He was a strong, handsome 
fellow, raving mad when brought in, and lying 
now, the day after, with pink cheeks and peace- 
ful look. I had tried to get his name, and once 
he seemed to understand and screeched out at 
the top of his voice, John H. Miller, but whether 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 341 

it was his own name or that of some friend he 
wanted, I don't know. All the record I had of 
him was from my diet-list, " Miller, forward 
cabin, port side. No. 119, beef tea and punch." 
Last night Dr. Ware came to me to know how 
much floor-room we had. The immense saloon 
of the after-cabin was filled with mattresses so 
thickly placed that there was hardly stepping- 
room between them, and as I swung my lantern 
along the row of pale faces, it showed me another 
strong man dead. E. had been working hard 
over him, but it was useless. He opened his eyes 
when she called '* Henry " clearly in his ear, 
and gave her a chance to pour brandy down 
his throat, but he died quietly while she was 
helping some one else. We are changed by all 
this contact with terror, else how could I delib- 
erately turn my lantern on his face and say to 
the Doctor behind me, "Is that man dead.?'* 
and stand coolly, while he listened and exam- 
ined and pronounced him dead. I could not 
have quietly said, a year ago, "That will make 
one more bed, Doctor." Sick men were waiting 
on deck in the cold though, and every few feet 
of cabin floor were precious ; so they took the 
dead man out and put him to sleep in his coffin 
on deck. We had to climb over another soldier 
lying up there, quiet as he, to get at the blankets 
to keep the living warm. 



342 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



From the " Ocean Queen " we, with the 
rest of the Sanitary Commission Staff, were 
transferred to the " Wilson Small," which 
became from this time our home and Head- 
quarters' boat. 

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

8 Brevoort Place, Saturday. 
My Dear Girls : How little we know where 
you are and what worlds of work you are doing. 
It is hard to keep still, I know, where so much 
ought to be done. . . . Yesterday Charley and 
the Webster were to sail and we had a carriage 
and all went down with the traps — box of 
brandy, trunk of towels, etc., bundle of air- 
beds, bundle of fans, and a basket with a few 
eatables — some fresh eggs which had just 
arrived from Fishkill, and three or four bottles 
of ale, which I hope Eliza will drink ; she 
sometimes used to take a glass of it at home. 
As for Georgy, I do not expect to have her 
take anything of that sort, after what mother 
tells me of the fate of the boxes of claret you 
took to Washington. One box was still un- 
opened, and, so far as she knew, Georgy had 
never touched a drop. . . . We found Mrs. 
Trotter on board. The other ladies soon came 
— Mrs. Griffin, Miss Katharine P. Wormeley, 
Mrs. Blatchford and Mrs. H. J. Raymond. . . . 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 343 

The vessel is a fifth-rate bed-buggy concern, I 
should say, and the hold where the men were 
put seemed miserable in spite of your pains, but 
for which it would have been very forlorn. 
Charley was so busy running hither and thither 
that we hadn't much chance at him. I was sorry 
we had not packed a great hamper of cooked food 
for him and Mrs. Trotter. Another time we will 
do better. They expect to be back by Wednes- 
day with as many sick as they can carry, and 
judging from the number they brought packed 
on the Ocean Queen, they will stow them 
with deadly closeness. We saw Dr. Grymes 
and liked his looks and manner. He startled 
us by telling us that the Ocean Queen was 
coming up the bay with over a thousand sick, 
foui' hundred typhoid cases. Couldn't do without 
you^ he said ; " only ladies down there to come 
— of course they are on board." Mrs. Griffin, too, 
was convinced of it and sent back by us a big 
bundle of tins she had bought for Georgy. We 
left the Webster at four, when they were to 
sail at any moment, and drove down to the pier 
where they said the Ocean Queen was to lie. 
She was not due till six, so we came home. 
What with the news from West Point, Va., 
without details, and with the idea that you were 
the only women on the Ocean Queen to see 
after the nurses and the sick, and Charley's 
departure, we were sufficiently sobered and 



344 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

excited, a compound of both. This morning 
Uncle Edward reports us the ZT^fr^/^'j news from 
West Point, that it was only a skirmish and 
that the loss of the i6th was two killed, beside 
wounded. ... At ten o'clock Dr. Buck landed 
on the Ocean Queen, came up to his house and 
sent us word that you were not on board. This 
morning he has been in for a moment, and says 
you were indefatigable and indispensable at the 
front ; far more useful in staying than in com- 
ing up, that he didn't know where you went 
when you left the Ocean Queen, but that you 
were " all right " with Mr. Olmsted some- 
where, and taken care of. . . . Eleven hundred. 
Dr. Buck said, came on the Ocean Queen. 
So many of them are virulent fever cases, men 
who must die, that there is great perplexity 
what to do with them. The City Hospital, 
North building, is fast filling up, and the air is 
so infectious that Mrs. Buck thinks it unsafe to 
enter it. The Commissioners propose that these 
new cases should go to Ward's Island. The 
government barracks on Bedloe's and Riker's 
Islands won't be ready for some days, and I 
dread having the Daniel Webster or some other 
transport bring a thousand more before these 
have been decently housed. . . . Mother has 
driven out to Astoria with Uncle E. Carry has 
gone to Park Barracks with flowers and cologne 
sent from Astoria, and Jane is at the City Hos- 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 345 

pital with oranges for fever men. She goes into 
the fever ward, considering it duty, and under- 
takes too much for her nerves, but you needn't 
tell her so. Carry and I are going this after- 
noon to see a " Mr. Woolsey," who was sent to 
St. Luke's, sick of fever. 

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

Friday, May 16. 

We have hundreds of dollars sent to us to 
spend "for the soldiers." Mr. Wm. Aspinwall, 
for one, sent Jane a cheque for $250. Now how 
shall we lay it out, so as to be most useful ? 
Dr. G. said it made him heartsick, as it would us, 
to see the destitution and suffering of those men 
brought in at Yorktown. It makes me heartsick 
to think of it, and the only comfort is in know- 
ing that if the condition of the men is horrible 
as it is, what would it be if nothing were done — 
if there were no Sanitary Commission. Take 
away all that voluntary effort has done for the 
army and what light would the government 
appear in before the world ? Shamefully ineffi- 
cient and neglectful ! 

Dr. Grymes shook Mother warmly by the 
hand to-day as we went on board the Daniel 
Webster, and said, " We can't do without your 
children. We fight for them down there, to 
know whether they shall go up on the boats or 
stay at Yorktown, but on the whole, they are 



346 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

more useful where they are. Your son, too, is 
very busy and is indispensable." I hope you 
will all three mana2:e soon to be toofether and 
have the comfort of each other's help, and keep 
each other in check from doing too much. 
Jane says she has awful dreams about Georgy, 
that the other night a message came that she was 
ill with hasty typhoid fever followed by paraly- 
sis from over-exertion ! There, Georgy, is a 
catalogue of evils for you. 

Uncle Edward is ready to do anything on 
earth. He sent by the Daniel Webster 75 canton 
flannel shirts which he thought would be useful 
for typhoid men brought in from camp. Up 
here, he says, they are sure to be taken care of 
after a while. He bought also eighty dollars 
worth of cotton pocket handkerchiefs, half of 
which I sent by Mrs. Trotter ; etc., etc. He 
brought here for Jane to dispose of six jugs of 
very old port wine, each half a gallon, which he 
had decanted himself. Jane says that shall be 
distributed under her own eye. . . . 

We ^2i\v your red flag, I suppose it was, that 
you spent Sunday in making, flying at the peak 
of the Daniel Webster. . . . After the hundred 
canton flannel bed gowns were all made they 
told us they were too long for sick men and too 
heavy for fever patients. . . . Mother is ex- 
tremely anxious to go on one of these trips of 
the Daniel Webster, and urges my consent ! I 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



347 



generally evade the subject, for I think it would 
be too severe service. Don't you need step- 
ladders for climbing to upper berths ? Have 
you got them ? 

We, G. and E. had, by Mr. Olmsted's orders 
remained on the *' Wilson Small '' instead of 
going North, in order to help in the recep- 
tion of wounded men from the front, the fit- 
ting up of the hospital transports and the 
trans-shipment of patients. Some of the 
twenty women who had just arrived from 
New York went up in charge of the Ocean 
Queen and other transports as they filled up. 

We were all assigned to duty by Mr. Olm- 
sted wherever he thought we fitted in best, 
and his large printed placards put up on the 
steamers gave orders for the *' watches '' and 
hours for ''relief," meals, etc., etc., so that 
the work went on as in a city hospital. 

G's Journal. 

Wilson Small, May 7, '62. 
The Merrimac is out ; and the Monitor and 
Naugatuck are fighting her. The Galena has 
run up the James towards Richmond, We are 
lying along the dock at Yorktown quietly, where 
four days ago the rebels were ducking them- 
selves in the water. 



348 LETTERS OF A FAAIILY 

Battle of Franklin's division has moved up to West 
Po^^j^ Point with large reinforcements, and has been 
va.;i6th fighting at the point of the bayonet. Captain 
engaged. Hopkins stcamed alongside this morning and 
called out the news, just down from West Point, 
on business, in the Mystic, Two of the i6th are 
killed, and Captain Curtis wounded in the chest. 
. . . We took on board the Small 20 to 30 from 
this fight. Had beds made on the cabin floor, 
and each man carefully put into a clean one as 
his stretcher came aboard. Captain Curtis among 
them. Several were amputations, and two died 
on the boat. Everything was done for them ; 
beef tea and brandy given, and a capital surgical 
nurse was in charge. It was pleasant to see Mr. 
Olmsted come quietly into the cabin now 
and then. I would look round and he would 
be there sitting on the floor by a dying Ger- 
man, with his arm round his pillow — as 
nearly round his neck as possible — talking ten- 
derly to him, and slipping away again quietly. 
He only came when the ward was quiet, and no 
one round to look at him. 

E's Journal. 

May 14. 

I can't keep the record of events day by day, 
but last Friday we came down again from West 
Point to Yorktown, and G. and I went to Fort- 
ress Monroe on two hospital ships, G. on the 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 349 

Knickerbocker with the sick of Franklin's Divis- 
ion, and Miss Whetten and I on the Daniel 
Webster No. 2, with two hundred of the Wil- 
liamsburg wounded. Since the day of the battle 
they had lain in the wet woods with undressed 
wounds. Some one had huddled them on to a 
boat without beds or subsistence, and then noti- 
fied the Sanitary Commission to take care of 
them ; and we were detailed to attend to them on 
the way to Fortress Monroe, with basins, soap, 
towels, bandages, etc. We washed and fed 
them all, Moritz going round with buckets of 
tea and bread. The poor fellows were very 
grateful, but we had a terribly hard experience. 
One man had lost both legs and had one arm 
useless, but was as cheerful and contented as 
possible. Colonel Small, of the 26th Pennsyl- 
vania, was wounded and lying in the dining 
room. Just before midnight I went in to see 
Colonel Fiske, sick with typhoid fever, lying on 
the bare slats of a berth with only his blanket 
under him and a knapsack for a pillow. We 
made him tolerably comfortable and left him 
much happier than we found him. 

Sunday morning the sick were all carefully 
removed by Dr. Cuyler to the shore hospital at 
Fortress Monroe, and we ran back to Yorktown, 
where we found Charley, just arrived on the 
Daniel Webster from New York, transferred 
to the Small. 



350 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

From Mother. 

8 Brevoort Place, May 13th. 

My Dear Girls : I have just come up to my 
own room from breakfast, and from the reading 
of your most welcome and satisfactory letter, 
my dear Eliza, written off West Point ; and now 
before anything calls off my attention, or any 
visitors arrive to " sit the morning," I have 
seated myself to thank you both, Georgy for 
her's of the 8th, received on Saturday, and 
yours E., this morning. It is very thoughtful 
and kind in you to write at all, and I wonder 
how you can do it in the midst of such scenes I 
and yet how miserable it would be for us if we 
did not hear directly from your own pens of your 
welfare. I am as much and more at a loss than 
yourself where to begin to tell you all I want to 
say. . . . Miss H. and a lady friend were ushered 
in upon me this morning, the latter wishing to 
know all the particulars about ih.Q posttioft of lady 
nurses down at Yorktown, and what was par- 
ticularly required of them, as she had started 
from home with a '^ strong impulse " to offer her 
services. All I could tell her was that '' a desire 
to be useful, plain common sense, energetic 
action, fortitude, and a working apron, were some 
of the absolute essentials ! — not to be a looker-on, 
but a doer — to take hold with a good will and a 
kind heart. She left with a feeling that perhaps 
she could be quite as useful without going down 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



351 



to Yorktown ! I have no doubt she can. . . . 

Charley must have seen you before this. He 

will tell you all about his getting off and our 

being on board with him. He took a quantity 

of things for himself and you girls, which I 

hope you may find useful. I told him to help 

himself from the long basket, and use anything 

he wanted for himself or others on the voyage. 

The fruit, I was afraid, might not keep. The 

fresh eggs were from Fishkill, especially for you, 

E. I long to hear from Charley all about his 

trip, and I wonder much whether he will come 

back in the boat or stay behind. I think it will 

be better, perhaps, for him to make the trip back 

here, and then return to stay with you. But 

this you will, of course, arrange among you. 

... So you have both seen Fortress Monroe, 

and landed, in spite of Stanton and his strict 

rules ! I am glad of it. You are certainly 

highly favored girls, and I must give way to a 

little motherly feeling and say you deserve it 

all. You cannot imagine what our anxieties 

have been since the commencement of McClel- 

lan's move to push the enemy to the wall. The 

evacuation of Yorktown took us by surprise, 

and somehow or other we do not seem to get up 

the proper degree of enthusiasm about it. The 

subsequent doings, with the destruction of the 

much dreaded Merrimac, have not called forth 

the jubilant demonstrations throughout the com- 



352 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

munity here that I supposed such news would 
produce. They seem to be waiting for the occu- 
patio7i of Richmond to burst out with a joyous and 
prolonged expression of their feelings. Think 
of our troops being so near the desired *' on to 
Richmond ! " We can scarcely realize all that 
has happened since our parting that Sunday 
morning. Oh ! how lonely and sad I felt when 
I turned away from the window to the empty 
room, and the deserted little beds in the corners 
at the Ebbitt House. But Hatty and I made the 
most of each other. I did not leave her that day. 
... A young gentleman sent in his card last 
evening, — Julian T. Davies — and followed in. 
He came to see Mrs. Howland, as her name and 
Miss Woolsey's were mentioned as having arrived 
here in the Ocean Queen. Mr. Hone had called 
for the same reason, and Mrs. Russell, I believe. 
Young D. said the report that Colonel Howland 
was wounded went up one aisle of the church 
in Fishkill, and immediately after, the contradic- 
tion went up the other, but he called to know 
what we had heard from you. You cannot tell 
what a relief and comfort your letter this morn- 
ing gives us. I drove out on Saturday to Asto- 
ria with your Uncle E. Took an early dinner 
there, and then went up to Mary's and sat with 
her till six o'clock. Found her perfectly well, 
and the children lovely. . . . Abby mails you 
the daily papers constantly ; they must be taken 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 353 

by other eager hands. Do let us know if any 
men from the i6th are brought here. We would 
like to find them out. Jane is untiring in her 
visits and attentions at the Hospitals — Abby at 
her shirt-making and cutting out for others to 
make, and doing all sorts of good things in the 
intervals, and doing all the running for the 
family generally. We cannot prevail on her to 
take time or money to buy herself a spring bon- 
net or dress. My love to Charley. I do not 
write him, as he may be on his way back. Hatty 
is still in Philadelphia. I am so glad you have 
Lenox Hodge at hand. It is a real comfort to 
think of it — tell him so, with my love. Give a 
great deal of love to our own Joe from us all. 
We shall be so anxious now to hear all the time. 
We grasp at every paper. . . . Farewell, dear 
girls, with a kiss to each, and to Charley two, if 
with you. We look anxiously for the Daniel 
Webster. Dr. Buck came and told us all about 
you — exalted praises ! 

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

May 14. 

My dear Girls : Since Mother wrote you yes- 
terday the Daniel Webster has come in again. 
Fred Rankin called last night with a message 
from Mrs. Trotter, whom he met in the street 
on the way from the steamer to take the cars 
for home. He told us that Charley had stayed 



354 



LETTERS OF A FAMILY 



down at Yorktown. It may have been neces- 
sary for him to do so, in the service, or at the 
request of the Sanitary Commission, but we 
feel disappointed that he did not finish up the 
round trip and return in the steamer. . . . 

** Capture of Richmond " has been cried every 
day for a week by the " Express ; 4th Edition " 
boys ! 

Mrs. Trotter sent word that slie had a very 
pleasant and satisfactory trip and should sail 
again on Friday ; that most of the men im- 
proved on the voyage. They were all to be 
landed at 194 Broadway, F. l^ankin thouglit. 
Among them, in the newspaper list, we see Capt. 
Parker^ Co. Dy i6th New York. Carry has just 
started down town, and a boy with her, carry- 
ing a quantity of Hannel shirts for convales- 
cents and some cotton ones for the City Hospi- 
tal. She will stop at all the depots, the Hospital, 
Park Barracks and 194, and at the two latter 
will enquire for Captain Parker. She has stuck 
some handkerchiefs and cologne in her pocket, 
and I think delights at tlie prospect of sallying 
forth unwatched to ^'find some wounded sol- 
diers." . . . Last night Motlier made a white flan- 
nel shirt, whicli has gone down to be put in use 
at once. She sighs for the quiet of Washington 
and the companionship of G. and E., whom she 
admires^ and who, she is afraid, are making 
themselves sick. . . . 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



355 



Do take care of yourselves and let us know 
what we can do. I am having long, white, flan- 
nel hospital shirts made, and have bought and 
sent off all I could find at the employment socie- 
ties of cotton night-gowns and red volunteer 
shirts. 

Charley's hurried letters from Headquar- 
ters of the Sanitary Commission no doubt 
gave the account of his arrival and his work 
as purser on the Daniel Webster, and as clerk 
in the Quartermaster's Department later. 
We have nothing left but an occasional 
mention of letters as received. Aunt E. 
among others says, " Charley's long, interest- 
ing letter reached us to-day," and in a letter 
of F. L. Olmsted's to the Rev. Dr. Bellows 
his name occurs in this paragraph : — 

Off Yorktown, May 15. 
... It is now midnight. Knapp and two sup- 
ply boats started five hours ago for the sick at 
Bigelow's Landing. Two of the ladies are with 
him ; the rest are giving beef tea and brandy 
and water to the sick on the Knickerbocker, 
who have been put into clean beds. Drs. Ware 
and Swan are in attendance, aided most effi- 
ciently by Wheelock and Haight. Mr. Collins 
is executive officer on the boat, and Mr. Woolsey, 
clerk, taking charge of the effects of the soldiers." 



erbock 
er." 



356 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

And later from Miss Wormeley : 

" We all take the greatest interest in Charley's 
letter. He writes well, just what he sees and 
thinks about and throws genuine light on other 
accounts." 

G. to Mother. 

Steamer Knickerbocker. 

On the If my letter smells of "Yellow B." sugar, 

"Knick- -^ j^^g ^ right to, as my paper is the cover of the 
sugar-box. Since I last wrote I have been jump- 
ing round from boat to boat, and Saturday came 
on board the Knickerbocker at Mr. Olmsted's 
request, with Mrs. Strong and some others, to put 
things in order, and, privately, to be on hand to 
*' hold " the boat, which had been made over to 
the Commission, over the heads of the New 
Jersey delegation. Dr. Asch was on board, and 
we had the New Jersey dinner table abolished 
and 56 Sanitary Commission beds made on the 
dining-room floor that night. The 200 wounded 
and sick brought down to Fortress Monroe 
under our care were transferred to the shore 
hospital, where we stole some roses for our 
patients on the Small. Saw regiments embark- 
ing for Norfolk, which surrendered the next 
day. Saw Mr. Lincoln driving past to take pos- 
session of Norfolk ; and by Tuesday had the 
boat all in order again, with the single excep- 
tion of a special-diet cooking-stove. So we 



SECOND YEAR OF THE WAR 



357 



went ashore at Gloster Point and ransacked all 
the abandoned rebel huts to find one, coming 
down finally upon the sutler of the " Enfants 
Perdus," who was cooking something nice for 
the officers' mess over a stove with four places 
for pots. This was too much to stand ; so under 
a written authority given to "Dr. Olmsted" 
by the quartermaster of this department, we 
proceeded to rake out the sutler's fire and lift 
off his pots, and he offered us his cart and mule 
to drag the stove to the boat and would take no 
pay ! So through the wretched town filled with 
the debris of huts and camp furniture, old 
blankets, dirty cast-off clothing, smashed gun- 
carriages, exploded guns, vermin and filth every- 
where, and along the sandy shore covered with 
cannon-balls, we followed the mule, — a triumph- 
ant procession, waving our broken bits of stove- 
pipe and iron pot-covers. I left a polite mes- 
sage for the Colonel "Perdu," which had to 
stand him in place of his lost dinner. I shall 
never understand what was the matter with that 
sutler, whose self-sacrifice was to secure some 
three hundred men their meals promptly. 

We set up our stove in the Knickerbocker, 
unpacked tins and clothing, filled a linen-closet 
in each ward, made up beds for three hundred, 
set the kitchen in order, and arranged a black 
hole with a lock to it, where oranges, brandy 
and wine are stored box upon box ; and got 



358 LETTERS OF A FAMILY 

back to Yorktown to find everybody at work fit- 
ting up the " Spaulding." I have a daily strug- 
gle with the darkeys in the kitchen, who protest 
against everything. About twenty men are fed 
from one pail of soup, and five from a loaf of 
bread, unless they are almost well, and then no 
amount of food is enough. 

One gets toughened on one's fourth hospital 
ship and now I could stop at nothing ; but it is 
amusing to see the different ways taken to dis- 
cover the same thing. Dr. McC. : " Well-my- 
dear-fellow-is-anything-the-matter-with-your- 
bowels-do-your-ears-ring-what-'s-your-name ?" 
Dr. A.: " Turn over my friend, have you got the 
diar^^?" Dr. A. was in a state of indignation 
with Miss Dix in the shore hospital at York- 
town. She has peculiar views on diet, not ap- 
proving of meat, and treating all to arrowroot 
and farina, and by no means allowing crackers 
with gruel. " Them does not go with this," as 
Dr. A. gracefully puts the words into Miss Dix's 
mouth. 



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