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IB a 

LETTERS, 1853-1868 



Gen V Wm. J. Talmer 

Compiled by 

Isaac H. Clothier 




A RECENT visit to General William J. 
Palmer at his delightful home, Glen 
Eyrie, Colorado, and a week s social 
intercourse under his hospitable roof, has, not 
unnaturally, renewed the remembrance of old 
associations and freshened memories of long 

It was my privilege during our youth and 
early manhood, to maintain with him a corre 
spondence, of which his letters in this volume 
form a portion. That they have been highly 
valued is evidenced by their careful preservation 
for so many years, and it is believed that the 
limited circle of his friends and mine, to whom 
this little volume may come will coincide in 
the judgment that the letters were worthy of 
preservation and of being gathered now into a 
volume for private circulation. 



iv Letters, 1853-1868 

Beginning when the writer was a youth of 
seventeen years, and maintained during the sub 
sequent eventful years preceding, during, and 
following the great Civil War, these letters form 
an important part of the biography of one who 
became one of Colorado s pioneers, a leader and 
potent force in her settlement ; in the conception, 
organization and construction of her great Railway 
System, and consequently in the development and 
growth of her material resources ; one whose 
name must thus always be prominently associated 
with the history of the State, and honored as 
among her most eminent citizens and benefactors. 

These letters also form a part of the history 
of a crucial period in the life of the Nation. 

On re-reading them since my return from the 
visit referred to, I feel that, notwithstanding a 
number of our friends who are named therein, 
have joined the Great Majority, that those of the 
narrowing circle who survive, and others of Gen 
eral Palmer s present friends and mine, will value 
them, both from their interest in him, and because 
of their undoubted literary merit and historic 

Written as a very young man to another very 
young man, they indicate a maturity of obser 
vation and thought quite remarkable. 

I Wm. J. Palmer 

As for myself, having treasured these letters 
for about half a century 

"And while in life s late afternoon, 

Where cool and long the shadows grow, 
I walk to meet the night that soon 
Shall shape and shadow overflow," 

my thoughts at times revert to incidents of my 
early life, and with this feeling, coupled with the 
belief that the letters are of quite unusual value, 
I put them now into permanent shape for his 
family and my own, and for a number of his 
friends and mine. 

I would add that I alone am responsible for 
this publication; that General Palmer has no 
part in it ; also, fearing to impair their freshness 
and originality, I have thought it best not to 
make any revision whatever, but to print the 
letters precisely as they were written, and with 
out changing any crudities of expression conse 
quent on hasty writing sometimes in camp life, or 
personal references which would be out of place 
if other than the most limited circulation were 


December 31, 1905, 


LETTERS, 1853-1868. 

Washington, Pa., June 23rd, 53. 

Probably when thee finished writing thy accept 
able letter of the 9th, folded it up and dropped 
it in the P. O., thee had no idea that it would 
have to come a few degrees further West of 
Greenwich than customary, to reach me. But 
no matter at what place thee had anticipated its 
arrival, it is the first letter I have received since 
I left home and its contents were devoured with 
avidity. I am a member at present of an Engi 
neer corps, engaged in surveying, locating and 
leveling the line of the Hempfield Railroad. 
Washington, Pa., where I am now stationed, is 
a country village with between 5 and 10,000 
inhabitants. It is situated in a rough hilly 
country West of the Allegheny mountains, about 
30 miles from Wheeling, Va., the one terminus 
of our road, and 40 from Greensburg, the other 


io Letters, 1853-1868 

terminus. I am in the field nearly all the time, 
from early in the morning till late in the evening, 
tramping over hills and across valleys, through 
woods and through fields of grain. Nothing 
stops us for a railroad line must be a straight 
one a locomotive is not a proficient in turning 
corners. So a locating party travels in a bee line 

-it cannot avoid a hill or go round a pond or 
choose its own walking. It must tramp right 
over the one and ford the other and walk by 
the points of the compass. We sometimes get 
pretty rough fare too we stop once in a while at 
a roadside Inn where they pack the whole corps 

engineers, rodmen and axemen in the same 
sleeping apartment and that one apartment 
none of the best. While we are stationed in 
Washington, however, we have pretty nice times 
in that respect. Each one has a room to himself 
and we manage to get along pretty comfortably at 
the Railroad House, though the bedbugs are as 
plenty and as wild as rattlesnakes in the bayous. 
I am sorry Ike, that I didn t get thy letter 
sooner, since thee wanted an answer to thy 
query about the autographs. It did not reach 
me until yesterday evening and I sit down this 
morning at 5 o clock to answer it. Will Cox 
was slightly mistaken in his statement about the 

Gen 1 1 Wm. J. Palmer i i 

method of obtaining those letters from distin 
guished persons. It was not by merely writing to 
them and requesting their autographs. A little 
chicanery was necessary. I doubt if a written 
request for their signatures would bring them. 
The modus-operandi was as follows Taking 
advantage of that inherent quality in the souls 
of our great statesmen, Ambition, and being 
aware of that love of distinction and that desire 
for office which characterizes all our politicians, 
myself and another interesting juvenile formed 
ourselves into a society for the diffusion and 
perfection of the intricate science of wire-pulling. 
This much being premised, what follows is plain. 
At a meeting of the members of the Seward- 
ambian Society of Philada. for the promotion of 
the political and much to be lauded art of wire 
pulling, Hon. Wm. H. Seward was unanimously 
elected an honorary member of the same with 
the privilege of participating in the discussions, 
and with all other privileges guaranteed to active 
members. In a few minutes a letter is dropt in 
the P. O., that goes post haste to Washington 
and into the Senate chamber informing the 
Honorable member from N. York, as he sits at 
his congressional desk, of his election to such a 
desirable post. The next mail brings with it a 

12 Letters, 1853-1868 

franked letter to Wm. J. Palmer, corresponding 
Secretary of the Sewardambian Mutual Improve 
ment Society of Philada. The two ingenious 
members constituting the latter corporation, 
chuckle over the contents that evening and 
laugh at the very easy manner in which our 
Representatives are gulled. But meanwhile 
another letter is despatched informing the Hon. 
Henry Clay of his election with but two dissent 
ing voices to the post of Honorary member of 
the Claytonian Society of Philada. and another 
franked letter from the disappointed aspirant 
for the Presidency thanks the Society for the 
honor conferred upon him and for the kind 
affable manner in which Mr. Wm. J. Palmer, the 
corresponding secretary, has informed him of the 
proceedings of the meeting. And the two inge 
nious members chuckle again as they add another 
document to their pile of literary morceaux. And 
so on till you ve caught as many as will bite. 
Then the Society makes a move at one of its 
stated meetings to dissolve the move is seconded 
the President puts it before the meeting with 
all due formality and it is unanimously adopted 
the members divide the plunder, separate, and 
find themselves possessed of a nice parcel of 
autograph lettters from distinguished people. 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 13 

This is the way, and now you and Josiah 
Chapman can form yourselves into a society for 
the purpose of filibustering or extending the 
Union indefinitely or for any other object. To 
be sure the acting members would be small but 
the Honorary department would I hope be well 
filled and that would be sufficient. Josiah might 
be President and yourself corresponding Secre 
tary. Tell the President to write to me. I did 
know the residences of the congressmen you 
mention but have unfortunately forgotten them. 
You had best wait till Congress is in session. 

Your Friend truly, 

WM. J. P. 
Direct to Wm. J. P. 

Hempfield R. R. Washington, Pa. 


Philadelphia, April i9th, 1859. 

Thy long and interesting letter from Louisville 
did not reach me until yesterday when I returned 
to the office for the first time after our meeting 
and parting at Altoona. 

14 Letters, 1853-1868 

I expect Breckenridge frequently has an inward 
jollification when he thinks of the manner in 
which he was mistaken for the Vice head of the 
Penna. R. R. Company. He of course appreci 
ated it at once. I knew that Breckenridge was 
at the Logan House on that evening, but I did 
not know of the amusing episode that had just 
before occurred in the cars. It was quite juicy. 
I thought that thee would enjoy the scenery in 
crossing the Alleghenies and in cutting through 
the Laurel and Chestnut Ridges with the gradu 
ally increasing Conemaugh, and finally in leaping 
across the rolling country that intervenes between 
Blairsville and Pittsburgh to be set down at the 
portal of the West, on the site of old Fort du 
Quesne. But did thee relish any of it as much 
as our night ride up the mountain on the " Blue 
Ridge " locomotive the evening thee spent at 
Altoona? I find car-travelling quite tame now 
and one can certainly get tired in half the time 
boxed up in a long passenger car, that he would 
on the engine, watching the flame in the furnace 
or the black smoke wreathing out of the chimney 
and talking with the engineer and fireman of the 
wonderful machine which they control with such 
facility. In addition there is the wide open view 
over hill and valley and " Kittanning," and 

Gen 1 1 Wm. J. Palmer i 5 

"Allegrippus" and " Whippoorwill " (sealed vol 
umes to the inside passengers) become as familiar 
to you in every outline, as the walls and ceiling 
of your own room at home. 

I am glad to hear thee has sustained the 
reputation of the " Junior." After a while we 
may perhaps fearlessly begin to engage in Chess 
matches by telegraph, with other cities. Say we 
try Cincinnati first ! 

I remained on the line at Altoona or Mifflin 
until last First day, and did not therefore have 
an opportunity of witnessing the fugitive excite 
ment. Indeed the news hardly reached to Blair 
County. If it had been a "petit morceau" stating 
that the Penna. R. Rd. was coming off first best 
in its fight with the New York Central, the 
whole population would have been discussing 
it from morning till night, or if it had been 
that the "Camel-back" had run to Mifflin 
and back with less coal than the cc Old Domin 
ion" the subject would have been considered as 
of at least temporary importance. But a paltry 
fugitive case in Philada! the pith had dropped 
out of the news before it passed Harrisburgh. 
If Beecher should go to Altoona, he would 
find himself without a subject, unless he chose 
" Motive Power." 

1 6 Letters, 1853-1868 

I am glad that thee is enjoying thyself so 
highly in travelling. By the time thee returns, 
we shall probably be removed to Germantown. 
In regard to the Baltimore case no new develop 
ments have turned up. I have not had an 
opportunity of examining a directory of that 
city. There is hardly a doubt about the identity 
of the two characters. 

After getting my business up here which has 
greatly accumulated during nearly 3 weeks ab 
sence, I expect to return to Altoona to finish the 
experiments which are yet incomplete. 
Thine truly, 


Write again if thee has an opportunity. 

Altoona, May 14, 1859. 

Not having heard from thee since leaving 
Philada. the last time, I am anxious to learn 
what has been done in the Morphy testimonial 
matter ; and if convenient and thee feels dis 
posed, write to me and let me know all about it. 
I have enjoyed this trip more even than the pre 
vious ones, in consequence of the weather being 
so much finer and the season more advanced. 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 17 

The scenery along the Juniata, half the length of 
which I ride every day, is far more attractive than 
it was when thee saw it on thy western tour, and 
one could hardly believe that a month would 
make so much difference. 

I hear but very little of what is going on in 
the great outside world but believe that war is 
inevitable in Europe. If such is the case, the 
only possible good that I can see to result from 
it, is the chance that would be afforded to Kos- 
suth and the other liberals of Europe to free the 
oppressed nations, and the slight possibility 
there is of blotting out Austria, with whose his 
tory the first traditions of European despotism 
and tyranny are connected. 

Whether Hungary and Italy have the right 
sort of stuff in their population to avail them 
selves of this glorious chance is a question. 

I suppose Yearly Meeting is now beginning 
or over. (I have lost the count of it). But in 
either event I feel assured that thee has enjoyed 
thyself in " breezing up " (to make use of a 
Western expression) that fair sex, to whose 
charms the wisest are not proof. Pray tell me 
what particular divinity now engrosses thy ener 
gies. Is it Ruth, or Rachael or Rebecca, Mary 
or Margaret or Matilda? But I pause from a 

I 8 Letters, 1853-1868 

dearth of names. When I recall to mind the 
brilliant galaxy of youth and innocence that 
yearly lines the modest - colored benches at 
Cherry Street, I cannot expect that the few 
names which might casually without a moment s 
warning flit through one s cranium should in 
clude a tithe of the legion that would be honored 
with thy flattering attentions. 

By the way, has thee heard from Harry Lam- 
born lately ? The last letter I had he was pre 
paring to leave Giessen and extend his tour 
through Germany and other parts of Europe. 
There may be a letter for me at Philada. but I 
cannot get it in consequence of the abstraction 
of my revered patron, until I return to the 

Remember me to all my friends whom thee 
may meet. I close hastily for the train. Write 


Altoona, June 12, 1859. 

Since my arrival here Wednesday morning, I 
have been so continuously occupied, sometimes 
till late in the night, that I have had no time to 
redeem my promise to send thee a letter. This 

I Wm. J. Palmer 19 

glorious cloudless morning of Sunday, however, 
making rest more agreeable than activity, woos 
me to a communion with home friends and I 
sit down in my room in the Logan House be 
side an open window through which the pure 
Allegheny air enters fresh from its journey over 
the hill tops, and propose to have a chat with 
thee of things and people. 

There is a Mrs. B - here, the wife of our 
Superintendent of Shops, who said to me this 
morning that she had seen a few weeks since, a 
young man with me at the breakfast table here 
a Mr. Clothier, whose sister Lizzie she was 
acquainted with, having been old schoolmates 
together. Does thee remember her ? She was 
born somewhere on the Delaware River, and is 
quite well acquainted in Bristol. She is an 
agreeable lady, and I doubt not would put thee 
through the ladies society of Altoona (what there 
is of it) if thee would come up. Moreover, she 
loves to play chess at which game I intend to 
test her skill some evening this week if " way 
opens." Is there not a superior satisfaction in 
playing chess with the ladies ? If you beat them, 
what more fine than obtaining a victory over a 
being purer and better than yourself; and to the 
lady what disappointment is there that she has 

20 Letters, 1853-1868 

not been able to cope with the superior (because 
more constantly exercised) intellectual force of 
man ? If on the contrary they beat you, what a 
sweet satisfaction to the lady it is, and how en 
couraging that in a conflict with the stronger 
vessel, she has realized her hopes and to you, 
how the pleasure of her victory and sympathy 
with her delight, cheat you out of the ugly 
sense of defeat, and leave you under a dim, half- 
formed impression that it s a drawn game or at 
least a stale-mate. 

Pray inform me whether this is not a philo 
sophical statement of the case or does your 
mettle prefer a more fiery contest gloves off, 
breast to breast and hand to throat with some 
well-tried Turk who gives no mercy and asks 

While on the subject of chess, I must ask you 
whether Morphy has come to Philada. yet, and 
if so, have you feasted him ; and enjoyed that 
honor from which England s champion shrinked, 
of playing a game with him? When you write, 
you must tell me of it, and be not afraid of 
going into details. 

If you were here to day, we would obtain a 
pair of sure-footed but fine-spirited mountain 
horses, and ride over to " Sinking Valley " or 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 21 

perhaps to " Wapsunnonnack." The latter place 
is about 8 miles distant on the verge of one of 
the Allegheny cliffs. From the edge of this 
bold escarpment, we would look off for 20 miles 
into the blue ether and then down beneath us 
into the valley of the Juniata. From such an 
elevation, the high hills that break up the valley 
and appear so steep and great when you are 
below, are softened down into mole-hills, hardly 
rising above the surface of the vast basin that 
spreads out before you, to the foot of the next 
Range. If the Reverend War Horse, Chambers, 
who preaches here to day, would mount a racer, 
and lead his congregation, big and little, from 
the little Presbyterian Altoona Church up the 
rugged road, inadmissible for carriages, to Wap 
sunnonnack and from that solid pulpit point 
out to them the sublime scene before them, 
I think they would be more impressed with 
the insignificance of man and the greatness of 
God, than ever they could be, if Calvinism 
were steam-hammered into them diurnally for 
a life-time. 

Man has to go to the mountains for health, 
and he must go there likewise, if he would get 
a true insight into things. There is a refraction 
in the atmosphere of cities and low lands like 

22 Letters, 1853-1868 

that the traveller meets with on the desert or in 
the equatorial seas, when a long coast line or a 
city with steeples and turrets loom out of the 
horizon to vanish the next day into vapor. 
Mankind as a general thing cannot see through 
brick walls. To be sure I have gazed myself 
through an instrument hawked about our 
Philada. streets by an individual whose con 
versational powers were tolerably developed 
the object of which was to enable one to see 
through a brick. But the majority of minds are 
not furnished with cameras, and it were better 
to take the brick away and look straight and 
clear. This they can do in the mountains. 
But, Mercy ! I am getting serious. Forgive 

me. How is Miss S and the other Miss 

S - and the Miss of Chester County, and 

all the girls of Riverton ? And how did you 
enjoy your last hurried trip to Longwood that 
bulwark against conservative fanaticism, and how 
did you leave Will Cox, on whose soul, benig 
nity was spread thick, when I saw him, by the 
recurrence of this epoch of happiness? Charley 
L is doubtless by this time up to his 
elbows in Algebra and Geometry and deeply 
immersed in the mysteries of his hie haec 
hoc. The engrossing Miss H. can no longer 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 23 

monopolize the affections of her Charley 
they are divided between College tricks and 

I have been up here a week now and have no 
news. For the sake of friendship, enlighten me. 
Some one charitably sent me a newspaper but 
it is the London Times, redolant of Sardinia and 
the Ticino but not a word about Philadelphia 
or the Delaware. 

Did Mr. Higginson stop over on his return 
to New England, and play that proposed game 
of cricket with the Philada. boys ? From the 
soul with which he enters into Prisoner s Base, 
I should judge he would be a competitor worthy 
of one s steel at cricket. 

If thee has fixed up no place to spend thy 
vacation, I think thee would find it very pleasant 
at Altoona and Cresson. Excursion tickets at 
half price will shortly be issued I think, and I 
hope thee will come up while I am here. I shall 
remain at least two weeks longer. 

Write to me whenever thee feels like sitting 
down to pen, ink and paper. Thy letters are 
always interesting and welcome. 

Thine truly, 


24 Letters, 1853-1868 

Altoona, June 25th, 1859. 

Thy letter was duly received, on my return 
from Mifflin to-day and was perused with 
pleasure. I should have been glad to have had 
thee spend a few days with me on the Juniata 
this summer, but as society is, I believe, in thy 
estimation a standard necessity of enjoyment (and 
it certainly is a very agreeable accompaniment to 
any plan for pleasure) thee has perhaps chosen 
more wisely, in selecting the pretty hills of 
Montgomery and the level plains of Jersey for 
the scene of thy summer vacation. I hope to 
hear from thee frequently during the progress of 
thy rambles and trust that thee will have no 
fear of going into details. Always direct to 
Altoona from which point a letter will reach 
me, wherever I may chance to be on the line. 

I have a letter from Charley Lamborn now at 
Ann Arbor, Michigan. His vacation comes off 
about the jist after which he will immediately 
come east. He spoke something of stopping 
over at Philada. His letter encloses one from 
Harry, chiefly however on business matters and 

I Wm. J. Palmer 25 

only referring briefly to his life at Giessen, in con 
nection with the experiments on coal and other 
carbonaceous matters which he is prosecuting. 

What a terrible thing this coal is and how 
many energies and thoughts it absorbs to the 
detriment, I have no doubt thee will say, of more 
important affairs. However, if it is pardonable 
in any one to bestow a little concern upon this 
sooty substance, it surely is so in a Pennsylvanian. 
The foundation of the material prosperity of our 
State rests in a great measure thereupon as any 
Politician will tell thee, and as hundreds of Poli 
ticians will busy themselves with telling thee over 
and over again about this time a year hence, in 
connection with the closely-allied theme of the 
Presidential chair. 

We have had a great meeting of the Masons 
in Altoona which has enlivened things and 
particularly the Hotel - keeper, who has been 
regretting that such a great mistake was made in 
the construction of his house, as to leave it only 
2 stories in height. 

The particular grand Body which met here 
was one started by a former Superintendent of 
the Road and composed almost entirely of Rail 
Road men. Col. Lombaert, the originator, was 
here, for the first time since his resignation and 

26 Letters, 1853-1868 

had a happy day in revisiting his former associa 
tions and shaking hands with his old men who 
crowded around him in the shops. Among a 
host of others, conductors, etc., was Father Funk, 
the Emigrant Agent of the Company all the 
way from Dock street. This is the gentleman 
whose parental care of the unfortunate European 
Israelites extends even to the shores of the old 
world. His sympathy for the emigrants is so 
wide that he must needs have a watchful eye on 
them from the moment they leave "Maxwelton s 
braes," or the banks of the Rhine, or Killarney. 
Nor does his solicitude cease with their safe im 
portation into New York. That same affectionate 
interest which was displayed before they left the 
Fatherland, is still manifested in their welfare. 
Not even when they reach the quiet city of 
rectangles does Mr. Funk s eye stray from his 
charge for there is a rival concern known as the 
Catawissa Rail Road, a great ogre who would 
snatch the child of Europe from his fatherly grasp 
were he to unloose it. It is only when he beholds 
his children safely ensconced in the cars on Dock 
street, and their tickets paid for to the great West, 
that his responsibilities end. Then it is truly 
wonderful how little interest he evinces in them 
afterwards. They might be so much freight or live 

Wm. J. Palmer 27 

stock they may be blown up, meet with colli 
sions, drowned or burned on the Ohio, for all he 
cares. In some respects it is shocking to think 
of the sudden change in his attentions to these 
immortal souls, after they leave that point of 
space, Dock street. Daily the cars pass by 
me on the Road, laden with them, all radiant 
with hope that the golden West may fulfil their 
expectations. But Father Funk is off to Europe 
by deputy or letter, after a fresh lot whom he 
will put through the same mill and turn them 
out in the shortest notice, approved Yankees 
and so the work goes on. 

When I look at the man, and consider that 
through his instrumentality, the fate and after- 
history of so many souls is diametrically changed 
from what it would have been, I am surprised at 
the power of man over his fellow-creatures. 

The Juniata, along which I daily travel, looks 
more beautiful than ever now. It is one complete 
vista of splendid and harmonious colors. From 
the deck of the engine, I look out on it, as we 
wind in and out of the rocky bays in the mountain. 
One would suppose that these engine drivers and 
stokers would insensibly have their tastes elevated 
and refined by the contact with such beautiful 
scenes, but I cannot see that such is the case. 

28 Letters, 1853-1868 

I shall be at home in about a week when 1 
hope to see thee and at any rate, I shall call in 
on Jim and thank him for the papers. 

Thine truly, 



Philadelphia, July 7, 1859. 

I attended the Morphy meeting the other 
evening, and am glad I did so, as the result 
would very likely have been different from what 
thee and I would desire for the credit of Phila 
delphia chess players, and the rebuke of ungen- 
tlemanly pretensions. The meeting passed by a 
vote of 10 against 9 a Resolution calling upon 
the Managing Committee to abolish itself, which 
of course implies the refunding of the money and 
the dropping of the entire affair. So ends the 
proposed Philada. testimonial to the services of 
Morphy. Thee will perceive that the vote was 
very close, and I fear that if I had not been able 
to attend, the question would not have been so 
decided. It would have gone to the Chairman 

Gen 1 1. Wm. J. Palmer 29 

with a tie vote and I hardly think he was 
prepared to go so far being an undecided man 
and apparently a lawyer, Jno. P. Montgomery. 

The matter was argued very closely and there 
were some good speeches made especially by 
IVells for our view of the case. Thomas, Floyd, 
Milligan and others spoke eloquently in behalf 
of Morphy and against the " slight " proposed 
to be offered to him, but common sense I am 
happy to say, triumphed. The meeting occupied 
three hours. 

I have not time to write thee more fully in 
relation to the subject. When I see thee, I will 
give thee all the particulars. 

I do not go to Altoona, and should be glad 
to hear from thee at this address. 

Pray, do not chase any more run-away nags for 
Miss Manderson during thy stay in Delaware 
County. It is too severe exercise for this warm 
weather, and if thee should contract the heart 
disease, just to reflect on the maidens who would 
pine away by sympathy. Of them it shall be 
written "they did not tell their love," etc. 

Give my respects to George and thy other 
cousins and relatives, and write to 

Thy friend truly, 


30 Letters, 1853-1868 

Altoona, July 2Oth, 1859. 

Thy interesting letter from Montgomery 
County reached me before I left home but it 
is only now that I have been able to answer it. 

I regretted very much to hear of thy illness 
which was not entirely unknown to me before 
receiving thy letter ; as Charley Lamborn, who 
dropped into our office on Wednesday or Thurs 
day of last week informed me that the people at 
your store had told him you were lying sick in 
the country. I hope by this time the symptoms 
have entirely disappeared, and left you with the 
appetite of a convalescent. Once able to take 
nourishing food, and you will pick up wonder 
fully. But I am sorry that you lost so much of 
your vacation. 

I came up here last Monday by the fast train to 
which was attached a special car for Mr. Thomson 
and his family, etc. who were on their way to 
Bedford. There were about ten in the party, 
who enjoyed themselves in gazing out of the car 
windows at the beautiful hills and valleys, the 
stony and rugged mountains and the forests that 

Gen 1 1 Wm. J. Palmer 31 

dotted the landscape more gracefully than art 
could possibly have arranged them. 

Yesterday, the whole party went up to Cresson 
in my experimental train, where we partook of an 
excellent dinner, rolled a couple of games of ten 
pins, drank from a spring of mountain water as 
pure and cold as I have ever tasted ; and then 
like the King of France (having gone up the hill) 
turned our faces eastward and came down again. 
We stopped at the eastern portal of the tunnel, 
and the ladies having succeeded in getting Mr. 
Thomson s assent, mounted the locomotive, 
where some stood beside the boiler and others 
sat on the tank, and thus we descended the side 
of old Allegheny getting a better view of his 
many features than could be gained from any 
other position on a train. This morning they 
have gone over to Bedford via Huntingdon and 
Hopewell a distance of 91 miles from Altoona, 
20 of which are by stage. There was one little 
girl amongst them a delicate, fragile little 
bairnie " Lottie/ they call her, who is one 
of the sweetest little girls I ever saw. She is a 

daughter of Mr. F . Her mother died a 

few years ago of consumption (I believe). Since 
then she has lost a younger brother while the 
blue veins on her temples and the occasional 

32 Letters, 1853-1868 

gloom of sadness which passes over her fair face 
warn you that she has inherited the delicate con 
stitution of both her father and mother, and has 
not many years to live. But while she lives, she 
will be loved, as Eva was in Mrs. Stowe s story. 
There is a sacredness about her girlish beauty 
which makes all who see her wish they were 
better and purer than they are. You know there 
is another style of beauty, but you have undoubt 
edly met with that to which I have referred, in 
the course of your extensive acquaintance amongst 
the ladies. Have you not? or is it rare, like all 
of Heaven s blessings. 

I have begun once more this morning in earnest 
(yesterday was play day) at the Coal Burners 
and now for a week, I am doomed to be smoked 
and sooted, and choked with Sulphuretted Hydro 
gen and Carbonic Acid between Altoona and the 
tunnel and between Mifflin and Altoona. During 
said week there will hardly be a dirtier person on 
the Juniata than your humble scribe. A gentle 
man to-day told me I looked rather " rough." 
The adjective is altogether too moderate. 

And now Isaac, I hope thou art well enough 
to write and let me know what engages thy atten 
tion and how thy health has improved. If weak 
ness has supervened on the sudden and painful 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 33 

sickness which thee dates from our pleasure of 
the 4th of July and the Sunday previous, try to 
get Friend Parrish to give thee an extension of 
thy holidays and come up to Cresson, where 
health and strength are wafted from the swaying 
boughs of the pine trees, and well-up in the 
transparent springs of pure water. All the chil 
dren on the Allegheny Mountain are Venuses and 
Adonises in my rides up and down the side of 
it I see faces which no Painter would hesitate to 
transmit to his canvas in connection with the 
finest scenery of Allegrippus or Kittanning. What 
is this due to what but the fresh, invigorating 
mountain air in which they roam about hatless 
and bonnetless, and the unsurpassable water? 
And above all when you write do not forget to 
mention the latest Idol that you worship, the last 
daughter of Eve, in whom your soul has seen 
written perfection. 
Write soon. 

Your friend, 

W. J. P. 

34 Letters, 1853-1868 

Altoona, July 24th, 1859. 

Your letter informing me of your convalescence 
was received this morning and perused with much 
interest. The Humorist, Hood, used to say that 
no man could be essentially bad, who was often 
sick. You will no doubt agree with him that the 
thoughtfulness created by a painful or severe ill 
ness has a mellowing and humanizing influence 
upon the character, which tends to make the man 
more conscientious and less reckless in his actions. 
I think, in accordance with this theory, that per 
haps either you or me sinners as we are might 
be washed comparatively white were we occasion 
ally to lounge without our coats on a warm 
Sunday or take 4th of July excursions on the 
banks of the Wissahickon. There may be some 
thing in Hood s fancy but I fear the effect of 
such solemnizing, like that of attending Revival 
meetings, is very transient and only lasts as long 
as the sickness. You, for instance, although but 
recently well of a dangerous disease, instead of 
writing to me in a sober and devotional style as 
becomes one of Hood s Christians, have exhibited 

3flAWAJ3d ,5l 

.1 i ,j /3;) iO HDA 

?4 Letters, 1353 - ISM 

July 2 4 th, 1859. 

O EA R 1 SA.4t % I 

Your letter informing mr of vour convalescence 

-us^d with much 

iiif-ritaf. The Humor**. -M;ii to say that 

man could he esscn^ *-** often 

You will no douiv .,. Wt the 

thoughtful ness created hv ;< , - <: ^ iil- 

n-s HAS a mellowing and hu? 


more conscientious and less reckless in his actions. 


haps either you or me Mnnrr* <- w *M might 
he was 1 ".* - ! *--r we occasion 

ally to ioun^r coats on a warm 

Sunday -^r nk?: 4. r S <-t Jui\ excursions on the 
hanks of the Wiw*hickori. There may he some 
thing in H -\>d s fancy but I fear the erlec* of 
such solemrn/ing, i;ke that of attending Kevivai 
meetings, >? very Transient and only lasts as lone 
as the sickness. You, for instance, although Kit 
recently well of a dangerous disease, inttead of 
writing to me in a sober and devotion A sfyit as 
> one of Hood s Christians, havr exhibited 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 35 

so much of the old Adam in your letter that I had a 
merry laugh over it for at least five minutes. What 
right have you. Sir, to seize hold of my words in 
that barbarous manner, and retort upon me with 
such Turkish ferocity. Can t one ask you a 
civil question without being drawn and quartered ? 

I was hoping that the state of your health 
would require a trip to the Alleghenies, by which 
I would have some company here but it is now 
manifest to me that you have stopped your pills 
and discharged your Physician. It is a pity too; 
as the scenery continues to remain of unabated 
magnificence, and the weather is cool and invig 
orating. I do not know how much longer I shall 
stay here, but it will be a week at least. I am 
very much obliged for the "Press," from which I 
have derived much profit and amusement this 
sweet Sunday morning in reading the letters 
from the Watering places, and the discussions 
in regard to Sunday travel. 

You must not let the Morphy protest die 
by inanition but keep a sharp lookout on the 
different members of the Committee as they 
return to the city and take a decided move at the 
earliest moment. I was anticipating some such 
difficulty in the way of carrying out the close 
resolution of the subscribers as that you mention. 

36 Letters, 1853-1868 

You desire me to tell you what is new about 
Altoona. Suppose I do. Engine "156 " has been 
fitted up with a fire brick deflector, and on being 
tried up the mountain yesterday, performed with 
great satisfaction. Her bonnet and spark-arrestor 
having been taken off her, she ran with a straight 
stack, and made steam much more freely with a 
3 % nozzle than she did before with one of 3 ^ 
of an inch. This, of course, was extremely sat 
isfactory so also was the fact of her producing 
very little smoke and an inconsiderable amount 
of dirt, although using the gaseous Pittsburgh 
coal. Mike, the engineer, was of the opinion that 
she would bear a 4 inch nozzle But on the trial 
being renewed in the afternoon, with Broad Gap 
Coa\, it was found impossible to sustain the 
pressure. From some unaccountable cause, either 
bad firing, or the character of the fuel, the steam 
sank down and down, until it reached 75 Ibs. and 
it was feared that we would come to a halt. This 
was all the more vexatious, as we had Mr. Scott 
the Superintendent along, with two young ladies, 
who as they rode on the locomotive, could see 
everything that was going on. Moreover, in con 
sequence of this great reduction in the draught 
of the engine, much more smoke was produced, 
and the ladies had their pretty faces tolerably well 

Gen 1 1 Wm. J. Palmer 37 

blacked while the Superintendent was kept 
pretty busy with his fingers pulling the upper lid 
of his eye over the lower, to remove sparks. 
When they got off at the Tunnel (to descend in 
a hand car), the party looked very much as if a 
dexterous Bootblack had been maneuvering with 
his brush over their countenances. 

I could tell you that 207 is having Gill s im 
provement applied to her ; and that the variable 
exhaust on 114 is doing well, and has already 
saved, the engineer estimates, a half cord of wood 
in the round trip ; and that the new turn-table in 
the Round House is finished, and works to a 
charm and that the Vandevender Bridge has 
only her piers half-way up although the Boiler 
makers finished the trusses some time ago but I 
feel doubtful whether these things will interest 
you. Nevertheless they form the staple of the 
conversation here, and as a faithful correspon 
dent, I must depict things as they are not as we 
would have them. 

If you want to learn here what any one thinks 
of the Patent Brake, you can quickly get it. But 
if you want to know what is thought of the last 
article of the " Autocrat, you will have consider 
able difficulty. By the way, if you have read it, 
tell me what you think of it when you write. 

38 Letters, 1853-1868 

Charley Lamborn, I presume will be kept 
pretty busy at the crops for some time after his 
return. Neither the attractions of the city, nor 
the encouraging smiles of the Chester County 
girls, will be able to allure him from his rustic 
seclusion. There was a friend of Will Cox s 
here the other day, and we had some talk about 
the " Athens of America." His name is Speak- 
man ; probably you know him also. 

Hoping to hear from you soon, I remain 

Very truly your friend, 


Altoona, Augt. 9th, 1859. 

I received thy letter of yesterday, on returning 
this evening from Mifflin. I would say, accept 
Mr. Curtis offer making the time the first week 
in December, with no intervening lecture by him 
in Philada. after that for the charitable association 
he names. 

Thee might state in writing to him, that we do 
not think that with the lapse of a month, his 
name would be any the less acceptable to a 
Philada. audience in consequence of his previous 

Gen* I Wm. J. Palmer 39 

I expect to be in Philada. on Friday morning, 
but lest something should occur to detain me, 
please write me anything else that may come to 
thy knowledge in relation to this business, send 
ing it not later than 1 1 o clock A. M., on Thurs 
day, by our train from nth & Market, care of 
T. A. Scott. 

Truly thine, 



Philada. Aug. 17, 1859. 

I came down late this morning, having been 
sick and somewhat doubtful until the 10 o clock 
train as to the propriety of coming to town 

I find on my desk your favor enclosing letter 
prepared for Bayard Taylor, which I have signed 
and Curtis manly and honorable note. Of 
course we will reply, that we have no special anti- 
slavery object in view, and that we will pay him 
the fiftv. Thee had better write him to that 

40 Letters, 1853-1868 

effect at once. Of course there is no objection 
to the topic which he alludes to. 

If we get both Curtis and Bayard, we have a 
splendid beginning and must look out for some 
one to complete the trio. Wendell Phillips has 
been making himself so famous with his scathing 
Junius-like letter to the high Dignitaries in Mas 
sachusetts, that I am more and more inclined to 
have him. If he won t accept, how will Starr 
King do ? 

I regret that my sickness will prevent me from 
going to Riverton with thee this evening. 


W. J. P. 

Aug. 19, 1859. 

I came in town to-day and called at your store, 
but thee was out. I think before going to New 
York, it would be well to call at the Musical 
Fund Hall and ascertain in regard to negroes 
also at Concert Hall in regard to the time that 
Hall is let to the Fair people. Also on the Fair 
people to see if it would be practicable for them 
to vacate their room for one night. With these 

I Wm. J. Palmer 41 

data, thee could, if thee could find time, call on 
Curtis while in New York and endeavor to fix 
the precise week for his lecture. 

Tell Beecher we want to get up an anti-slavery 
or at least a liberal course that we have secured 
Curtis and want Phillips and himself to complete 
the trio. That the effect would be beneficial on 
the minds of citizens of Philada. &c. 

Thine truly, 

WM. J. P. 

If thee knows any one who could introduce 
thee by letter to Beecher it would be better. 
Try Lucretia Mott. 


I have thought of a good name for our pro 
posed course of lectures (of course it ought to 
have a name and a distinctive one or we should 
get confounded with the other Concerns). 

If thee likes the name of " The Young Men s 
Liberal or the Philada. Liberal Course of Lec 
tures" use it in thy negotiations at New York. 

If thee sees Chapin, tell him our object is to 
get up a course of liberal lectures in Philada. 

42 Letters, 1853-1868 

that we have engaged Curtis, and that our main 
purpose is to liberalize. But I forbear. Don t 
forget about the evidences of our good faith and 

Very truly thine, 

W. J. P. 

St. Louis, Planters House, 

Sep. I4th, 1859. 

Thy interesting letter was duly received last 
evening. I reached here last Saturday, having 
stopped on my way from the East, at Columbus, 
Cincinnati, and Louisville long enough to take a 
peep at the streets and inhabitants of those cities. 
From Cincinnati, I of course, came by the Ohio 
& Mississippi Rail Road. It is one of the pleas- 
antest Roads in the Western country. If Dickens 
comes out to St. Louis, I think he will insert a 
special chapter of astonishment in his forthcom 
ing "American Notes," at the energy and daring 
which has constructed a Road 340 miles long 
through a comparatively uninhabited expanse 
like this. Of course the Ohio & Miss, cannot 
compare in engineering obstacles with our 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 43 

Pennsylvania Roads, but then we expect greater 
things from the East. 

The newness of everything out here, is what 
prepares us for astonishment. When we see 
structures of such magnitude in the prairies and 
forests of Indiana and Illinois, it is just as if 
the aboriginal savages had joined and put up a 
St. Paul s Cathedral in the swamps of Cairo. 

I had a most interesting expedition on Sunday 
and Monday last. In company with a young 
gentleman of St. Charles, Mr. Cunningham, I 
rode over to the point at the junction of the 
Mississippi and Missouri Rivers to examine Mr. 
Thomson s land. It is an immense belt of over 
3000 acres running across the neck from one 
river to the other, close to where they unite. 
We had to ride 20 miles across the prairie before 
reaching it. The soil was a black mould as rich 
as the Delta of the Nile and like it, subject to 
annual overflow, and every seven years, to the 
"great rise" which does not leave very much of 
it visible except to the mermaids (if there are any 
in such muddy waters) or at least to the alligator- 
garfish. A nephew of Mr. Thomson s came out 
to report on the property, last spring was a year. 
He was rowed over the tract in a boat, and by 
soundings, assured himself that the property was 

44 Letters, 1853-1868 

beneath. He left with the opinion that the water- 
privileges were undeniable. On the occasion of 
my visit, however, the water was low and I had 
visual demonstration of the existence of the tract, 
as far as the dense forests of magnificent trees 
would permit. The inhabitants of the " Point " 
are not such as one would choose for neighbors, 
if selecting a site for a country residence. I am 
afraid they would not pass muster at Germantown 
or Staten Island. The isolated situation of the 
neck, its liability to overflows, and to fever and 
ague, and the uncertainty of the titles of most of 
the land, have created a prejudice against it and 
it has been passed by, by decent settlers, although 
it is within 25 miles of St. Louis, and immedi 
ately opposite Alton. 

It has consequently been peopled (at the rate 
perhaps, of one man to every ten thousand trees) 
by thieves and scoundrels some of whom would 
esteem it a happiness to be able to rid you of 
your purse, at the small risk of taking your life. 
Mr. Cunningham carried his Colt s revolvers 
in a belt around his waist otherwise there 
were some of Mr. Thomson s tenants (don t 
imagine that they ever paid any rent or that 
Mr. T. was ever aware of their relationship 
to him), whom I should much have preferred 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 45 

regarding from the bluffs of Illinois across the 
River, than to visit them in their own eligible 

We did not go quite down to the forks, but 
we took dinner with the man whose farm extended 
to the point of union. Our dinner by the way 
consisted of crackers and cheese with a dessert of 
peaches, eaten in the log store of this gentleman. 
Bread was a luxury not to be thought of. I took 
especial interest in Mr. Perkinson, our Landlord. 
It was something to be the owner in fee simple, 
of the angular deposit that divides the largest 
river on this Continent or in the world, from the 
next largest. The individual that could boast of 
this distinction was an old man with silvery locks, 
a face yellow with exposure and with continued 
attacks of the " ager," and of a quiet assured 
manner and slow, slightly tremulous voice. He 
would not take any remuneration for his proven 
der, and we left pleased with his hospitality, and 
with finding a human being that was too high- 
toned to skin us. He told us, on our inquiring 
the character of some of his neighbors (tenants 
of Mr. Thomson), that he did not associate with 
them. Bless the old man s aristocracy. He 
was a gentleman of the " Point," by a patent of 
nobility issued by Nature. 

46 Letters, 1853-1868 

Well we got belated that night, as we were 
returning, by one of our horses foundering, and 
were obliged to put up all night at a little cabin 
in the woods, where the children had the " dumb 
ager " and the grown people the more ordinary 
type of this disease. In fact, everybody on the 
point was enjoying this malady at the time of our 
visit including the whole town of " Portage des 
Sioux." When we asked a man how he was, the 
usual reply was " Oh pooty well only a little 
ager that has weakened me a little." If we asked 
one of our witnesses if he would be up at the trial 
he answered, Yes, he expected to, if his ager would 
let him. And the woman would apologize for 
their cooking by telling us that they " were down 
all day yesterday with a fit of the ague." The 
following conversation passed, as we passed a 
native on the Road Mr. Cunningham " Hallo, 

Mr. how do you do how are you 

all over at Portage (an adjacent town) all 
well ? " The gentleman addressed " No we re 
all sick." The sickness was the inevitable ager. 
Between thee and me, Isaac, I wouldn t live 
a year on Mr. Thomson s big tract, if the 
Bonus was a gold piece under each tree. But 
Western people look at these things in a 
different light. 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 47 

After this expedition, I am persuaded that 
" Eden " was not situated at Cairo, but at the 
forks of the Mississippi and Missouri. I could 
fancy that it would be some credit to a man to 
" be jolly," in a location like this. 

I returned the next morning to St. Louis in a 
sail boat, 30 miles distant on the " Father of 
Waters." We passed the mouth of a river whose 
waters had rolled 3000 miles from their source, 
and had yet to flow a thousand more before reach 
ing the sea. I go from here to Keokuk to-morrow, 
and expect to be in Philadelphia early next week, 
when we will talk about the Lectures. 


Philadelphia, Apr. 7, 1860. 

I must beg a thousand pardons for having dis 
appointed thee last evening. 

I found, however, that after delays at the stable 
which I had not anticipated, I reached home too 
late to permit me to return by the 7 o clock train. 
I should have come by the Passenger cars as a 
last resort, but on a close calculation found that 

48 Letters, 1853-1868 

they would not put me at Arch St. Wharf by 
8.15 P.M. unless it proved to be an exceptional 
case, while there would of course be no time 
to fulfill the engagement I made to call on thee. 
I would after all have come in town and seen 
thee but that Father desired me to accompany 
him on a little matter of business. 

Thine in haste, 



Philadelphia, Augt. 2, 1861. 

Your pleasant note in pencil from the shore 
was reed, this morning. 

I am glad to hear that you have such agreeable 
quarters but regret exceedingly for your sake, 
that those young ladies should have beat a 
retreat so early. Is there any chance of their 
rallying and returning to the scene of action 
after they have had time to rest and reflect on 

Gen l Wm. J. Palmer 49 

the impropriety of the stampede ? Perhaps they 
will y with re-inforcements. 

I should indeed like to run down to the beach 
on Saturday and sniff some of the salt breezes, 
particularly as you are there but I do not see at 
present how I can manage to do so. In any event, 
I could only remain over Sunday, as Mr. J. E. 
Thomson leaves here this afternoon for a ten 
days vacation at the same place. 

I suppose you have lost all interest in the 
Republic since you reached Atlantic City news 
papers you probably consider as part of the town 
vanities which you have temporarily renounced. 
As the ocean and the sky still obey the everlast 
ing laws of Nature, you no doubt find it difficult 
to realize that Governments should be flying from 
their orbits. This is certainly a blissful state of 
mind and one well calculated to recruit the body 
and brain. How Gen. Scott or Gen. McDowell 
would have relished such repose after the Battle 
of Bull Run if there had been no danger to the 

Tell Mr. Lamborn that Harry left here on 
Tuesday night for Altoona, where he will be 
hereafter stationed. Charley is at Annapolis. 

Their Regiment is guarding the Branch Road. 
Col. Biddle s Regiment (the Wild Cat Boys) 

50 Letters, 1853-1868 

has returned to Harrisburgh from Cumberland 
and will be sent imm y. to reinforce Gen. Banks. 
You will remember that the Kennett Square 
Boys under Capt. Fred. Taylor are in this 

I suppose you have Ed. Lewis at Atlantic also. 
If so give him my respects. 




Philadelphia, Nov. jrd, 1861. 

Your letter reached me at Carlisle. I was 
much pleased to hear from you. I have been 
in Philada. for a few days past, but have been 
so steadily engaged in efforts to facilitate the 
equipment of our Company, as to be unable to 
see any of my friends. I believe, I at last see 
daylight in regard to arms and expect to have 
pistols and sabres at " Camp Kentucky " by 
Wednesday next. 

Gen 1 1 Wm. J. Palmer 51 

It is needless for me to say that I shall 
always be glad to hear from you wherever I 
am but particularly when I get out to Ken 
tucky, and become actively engaged in the 
Campaign. I shall no doubt have frequent 
opportunities of writing to you if not, pray 
do not let that prevent you from letting me 
hear how you are and what your views are con 
cerning daily events, whenever it is agreeable to 
you to write. 

Come up and pay us a visit at Camp Kentucky 
before we leave. 

My regards to Ed. Lewis. 



Camp Buell, 

Louisville, Dec. 19/61. 

I reed, your note as we were on the point of 
leaving Carlisle the last of November, and avail 
myself of this as the first opportunity of briefly 
replying to it. 

52 Letters, 1853-1868 

I wish you could occupy for a half-hour a camp 
stool in my tent this splendid December after 
noon and observe the scene which engages my 
eye as I lift it from this paper. There is nothing 
particularly striking about it it is a view com 
mon enough nowadays. But it would lead you 
as it has me this afternoon into a train of thought 
which is not bounded by the picket rope with its 
five score horses on the right, nor the neat line 
of Sibley tents on the left nor the guard tent in 
the foreground nor even by the cloudless Ken 
tucky sky which bounds the vision. 

What does all this mean what am I doing 
out here in Kentucky who so lately was proud 
to account myself an established denizen of the 
Quaker city? Why are these horses tied up to 
that picket rope where they paw and pull at their 
halters, and crowd up against each other and kick 
and bite when they are not eating their oats or 
hay in place of being warmly stabled this winter 
weather and why are bricks and mortar replaced 
by canvas in that line of habitations for human 
beings ? 

Alas ! the answer to these questions is a solu 
tion of the great enigma of American History 
and one might ponder on it for a day and find 
himself no less in a maze than at the start. 

Gerfl Wm. J. Palmer 53 

You no doubt must think that I should have 
abundant leisure, to be able to indulge in such 
speculations as these. But the truth is to-day 
has been a sort of little epoch for us a review 
and inspection, with every man and all his effects 
on horseback, and the tents as empty as before 
we covered the ground with our white wigwams 
an experiment to put every man in marching con 
dition, and to satisfy the Inspector Gen l. of this 
Department, Major Buford that we were to a cer 
tain extent soldiers and not a mere picnicing party, 
and this afternoon the ceremony being over and 
the men busily occupied in replacing their ward 
robes in their tents, I caught myself in a reverie 
thinking about old times and old friends and the 
change to present times and present things. So 
I naturally came to recall your unanswered let 
ter, and concluded to make good the deficiency 
although you would no doubt have preferred that 
,1 should have given you a few facts in regard to 
our condition, occupation, &c. But when I think 
of facts, so many come crowding on my mind, 
that I hesitate and prefer to give you my good 
friend a few fancies. Please write, and remember 

me to all friends. 



54 Letters, 1853-1868 

Camp Buell, 

Louisville, Jany. 10/62. 

I read with a great deal of pleasure your letter 
of the last day of the old year. 

I wish I could answer it at length, but you 
promised you know, to excuse brevity. Will 
you also graciously include in your forgiveness 
the scrap of paper upon which this is written. 
It was not intended to be in mourning but our 
Quarter Master brought it from Louisville in a 
wagon along with the ink, and on the route the 
ink seceded considerably to the detriment of the 
paper. However, the effect is not altogether dis 
pleasing, and if you please, you can imagine me 
in sackcloth and ashes mourning for all my friends, 
from whom I am compelled to be absent. 

To morrow we leave here, or at least expect to, 
bound South by sou-west but where we shall 
next pitch our canvas houses, I do not know. 
Such is one of the prerogatives of being a soldier. 
When a man is in the Dry Goods or Railroad 
business, he has a faint impression that to 

Gen" I Wm. J. Palmer 55 

morrow he will be in some particular locality. 
But a soldier only knows that he will be where 
the orders may direct him to go to if he can get 
there. There is one other thing, I believe deter 
mined upon, viz that wherever Gen l Buell goes, 
there will we go also. If this rule takes us to 
Nashville within a month or two, all I can say 
it s a place I have never visited before, and never 
expected to visit in such good company. 

Write to me frequently, and direct as hereto 
fore Your letters will be forwarded to wherever 
we may be. 

Remember me to any friends and when that 
speck of war with England enlarges into actual 
conflict (if it should), and camps in this country 
become even more numerous than they are, 
remember there is a berth for you in the Ander 
son Troop to fight either negro-driving secession 
ists or cotton-crazed Englishmen. 



In answer to your question I have the honor 
to inform you that at present I am Captain of 
the Troop. 

56 Letters, 1853-1868 

Up the Cumberland, 

Feb. 26/62. 

As I expect to be pretty busy after reaching 
Nashville, I have concluded to put in the time 
aboard this fine boat, or that portion of it not 
occupied with military duties, or in viewing the 
sunken forests that line this river, in replying to 
the unanswered letters of my friends. We left 
Louisville on Monday with the General s staff, 
and should by this time have been very near 
Nashville, but for the necessity of laying up to 
coal at one point and at another to avoid the 
dangers from drift and snags attending a night 
voyage on this swollen stream. The Cumber 
land is now higher than it has been for probably 
a dozen years, and is navigable for over 400 
miles. Nearly all the houses along its banks are 
immersed the people having scows moored to 
their porches ready to embark for the back coun 
try should the deluge increase, also for the pur 
pose of communicating with and receiving their 
necessary supplies from terra firma. They nearly 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 57 

all cheer us, and the women wave their handker 
chiefs at us as we pass sometimes close enough 
almost to look down their chimneys We have 
not yet, it is true, been invited to " a ball " by 
these aborigines but this little omission we con 
ceive to be due to the fact that they have no 
foundation solid enough for a cotillion party 
within a convenient distance and therefore will 
ingly excuse them. 

I feel puzzled to know how the Nashville peo 
ple are going to receive us whether as if they 
had determined to make the best of a bad bar 
gain with a sort of constrained civility or 
morosely and sullenly as men whose pride had 
reached a deep mortification but whose interest 
and the force of circumstances had forced them 
to bear the result, or with a quiet and humble joy 
as a penitent child would greet the father who had 
been compelled to punish it but with whom it had 
now made its peace or lastly with loud exulta 
tion and noisy demonstrations of loyal feeling long 
repressed but now breaking irresistibly through 
the floodgates sweeping them to oblivion. Per 
haps we may have a mixture of all these. But 
the deep genuine happiness which the arrival of 
our army will confer upon those sincere Union 
hearts whose faith has never wavered who have 

58 Letters, 1853-1868 

steadily adhered to the despised cause amidst per 
secution, doubts, Bull Run victories and all man 
ner of discouragements the joy of these faithful 
souls will compensate us for all lack of welcome 
on the part of the rest. 

But after I have been in the Tennessee Capitol 
long enough to find out I will write and let you 
know all about it. I can then also tell you how 
the ladies behave a matter which must always 
be fraught with interest to a young bachelor like 
yourself. My regards to Ed. Lewis, Jas. Parrish 
and any of my friends you may meet. 



Scott Barracks, Nashville, Tenn. 

March i6th, 62. 

Your very agreeable letter of the 8th inst., 
reached me as soon after it was written as we 
expect the mails to reach us here. 

I am glad to learn that your business is moving 
along so prosperously. If you can stem the 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 59 

current at all now, the flood tide which will follow 
the successful closing of this war, will certainly 
lead you on to fortune. You know what I 
prophesied for Ned Lewis and yourself when 
you embarked on your business career. I am 
very happy to learn that the result of your first 
year s trial has exceeded your expectations. 

We are still quartered at the Hotel which we 
invaded the first night of our arrival in Nashville. 
We do not trouble the honest Landlord with 
attending to our personal comfort but have 
allotted his good wife and himself one room, 
which experience in the field twelve men to a 
tent has satisfied us is ample for two rebels. 
The old fellow behaves very well however, and 
the other day presented me with some sweet 
potatoes from his farm in the country which 
were quite an addition to our pork, beans and 
crackers. He has confessed that the Yankee 
soldiers are a great deal better behaved than 
those of the Confederacy, and that he never had 
any particular fault to find with the "old Union." 

We haven t many friends in the "City of 
rocks," as they call Nashville our staunchest 
and most reliable ones are those of the despised 
race. The negroes here fairly and fully realize 
the situation. They come into me every day to 

60 Letters, 1853-1868 

inform of concealed rebel soldiers or contraband 
supplies hidden away in town. Our Troop is at 
this moment indebted to one for being on full 
allowance of forage for its horses instead of 
half commons. He informed me of a large lot of 
Confederate corn concealed at a livery stable. I 
got authority to seize it, and in the course of a 
morning, wagoned away ten or twelve days sup 
ply for our Company. The other day a mulatto 
washerwoman came in to report some Alabama 
soldiers concealed at a rich man s house on 
Spruce St. They were found and two of them 
seized the others were too sick to remove 
These colored people give us this information 
solely from the love of the thing and because 
they desire in every possible way to confound the 
rebels. The information is frequently given at 
the risk of detection and punishment hereafter. 
"You Northern people have some heart," the 
mulatto washerwoman said when she called to 
inform me of the concealed rebel soldiers. 
"You s different from our people they haven t 
got any heart, at all." Better wait my good 
woman and see the sequel before putting your 
whole trust in the Northman. 

Since I began this letter this afternoon, I have 
met in the course of a tour of duty a sister and 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 61 

niece of Gen l. Pillow who reside in a fine man 
sion some five miles South of Nashville. The 
young lady invited me into an adjoining parlor 
to shew me a portrait of her Uncle, whom 
she thought a particularly handsome man and 
as brave as he was handsome. "I see," she 
remarked "some of the papers are trying to 
make it out that he basely deserted his command 
at Fort Donelson." It s all false Gen l. Pillow 
is incapable of cowardice." 

I like to see faith strongly developed in a 
young lady it s the foundation of a great many 
good qualities. 

Miss Narcissa stated they had been advised 
to fly by all their friends, before our army 
arrived, but had ventured to remain. I presume 
her Uncle at the last moment told them the 
truth in regard to the United States officers and 
Army that they were not gorillas or anthro 
pophagi or Marshal Haynaus and advised his 
sister s family to remain. 

There was a younger sister of Miss Narcissa, 
an original artless little creature who said in the 
course of the conversation, she was such a poor 
shot, she did not believe she could hit one of us 
two paces off, if she had a pistol. I asked her if 
I should give her one and stand two paces off, 

62 Letters, 1853-1868 

whether she would fire. "Oh yes, she said 
that she would but she was sure she couldn t 
hit me/ 

I was much interested by the visit. You must 
not think however, that we poor soldiers have 
many relaxations of this sort. This morning 
in church, however, I was quite amused. As I 
entered, a little girl three or four pews ahead, 
as soon as she caught sight of " them buttons " 
commenced making the most singular faces at me 
that I ever remember to have seen. One might 
have supposed that she had the jumping tooth 
ache with all the other facial complaints under 
aggravated circumstances. It was quite in place 
with the sermon, however, for the parson who 
was a Presbyterian, prayed with much fervor 
for "their Excellencies the President and Vice 
President of these Confederate States." I felt 
very much inclined to exclaim "d n traitors," 
both of them," but Gen l. Buell s policy does 
not admit of such liberties. 

We shall probably leave here before another 
Sunday in the direction of Decatur or elsewhere. 
I shall always be glad to hear from you (letters 
will be duly forwarded from Nashville) but do 
not expect as long a letter as this again. I 
have been betrayed into "many words" from 

I Wm. J. Palmer 63 

the necessity of going through with what I had 
begun to tell. 

Please keep me out of the papers. I have 
no objection to what you sent me but I do 
not ever want to be on my guard in writing 

to you. 


W. J. P. 

Direct via Nashville, 

Camp near Huntsville, Ala. 

July 5th, 1862. 

Your letter of June reached me at our camp 
near Florence, a place you will remember as having 
been visited by our gun boats on the Tennessee 
River immediately after the capture of Fort 
Henry. It seemed like romance then to hear of 
our soldiers being actually in the cotton states 
but now it is nothing wonderful, and the Anderson 
Troop has scouted all about there within the last 
fortnight, while some of us have been far into the 
interior almost a day s march South from the 
United States lines. The marines on that early 

64 Letters, 1853-1868 

gun-boat must have been very credulous indeed, 
for we could not find or hear of but two Union 
men in Florence, and one of those was arrested by 
his neighbors and sent to jail as soon as the stern 
of our gunboat was turned down stream and 
was only released therefrom by Gen. Mitchell s 
forces when they paid a visit here from Huntsville 
last April. The charge against the poor fellow 
was not Unionism of course, but stealing -just as 
the kidnappers on the track of some poor fugi 
tive get their warrant out for burglary and not a 
black skin. In a word the unanimity for the Rich 
mond conspiracy is about as great in that North 
Western corner of Alabama as it is in Chester 
County for the United States Government. One 
planter who has just had 50 Bales of cotton 
($2,500) burned for him by some Cavalry, who 
had dashed into our lines from Beauregard s 
army, told me he "wished to God they d com 
promise this business," meaning the War. I 
looked at him very seriously, as one would look 
in the face of a little boy whom it was necessary 
to reprove for getting off a good joke in Friends 
Meeting, and told him there could be no com 
promise, when the men who are in arms 
against the Government laid down those arms, 
the war would end of itself, and not before. 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 65 

Another Planter in the same rich valley, whose 
gin with 40 or 50 bales of cotton had been 
destroyed in the same foray, acknowledged that it 
made him feel rather "wolfish" and seemed to 
think he would like to have a " hand in the 
business himself," whenever he considered that 
patriotism demanded an immolation of that 
sort of property. But at the same time it did 
not make a Union man of him by a long shot. 
On the contrary, I think he was rather more 
of a Secesh if anything, in consequence of this 
manifestation of the vitality and daring of the 
Confederate troops, and their ability to punish 
backsliders. Another saintly looking fellow with 
whom we stopped over night on one occasion 
who did not own any land, but who had bought 
his cotton on speculation, besides having some 
in store, belonging to poor people back in the 
mountains lost all he had, and the poor peoples 
also some 8000 dollars worth. I asked with 
some degree of inward exultation how it " made 
him feel " expecting a very savage analysis of 
his sentiments. But the sly old fellow replied, 
as meek as Moses " It makes me feel very 
poo-o-or." If he hadn t looked so very innocent, 
I should have felt inclined to sabre him, for 
letting me down so suddenly. This magnanimous 

66 Letters, 1853-1868 

individual who bore no malice against those who 
had stolen down in the night and in half an hour 
destroyed his little fortune, lived on the great 
" Dixon " Estate of 3000 acres near Buzzard 
Roost in a house rented of the hundred-negro- 
owning Landlord, Mr. Dixon. Dixon s son is a 
Lieutenant in the rebel army. "They wanted to 
make him Colonel," said George, a faithful servant 
on the plantation " but he said he didn t list for 
the position so he went in the ranks." If so, I 
expect he wishes he was out of them for he must 
be pretty well tired of being trotted from swamp 
to swamp in old Mississippi, and long to be back 
at his delightful Alabama home, supplied as it 
is, with every comfort and with negroes enough 
to execute every wish almost before he could 
anticipate it. 

George was one of those few bondmen that one 
would not care to see free; a sort of Uncle Tom 
before leaving the Kentucky plantation a steady, 
faithful old fellow whom his master would trust 
with the key to his bank a practical, intelligent, 
sober-minded, clear-headed steward, who could 
see the path of duty in his humble sphere as well 
as any of his pale-faced masters in theirs and was 
more disposed to walk in it than they. George 
had charge of all the forage on his master s 

Gen* I Wm. J. Palmer 67 

plantation, and I bought the corn of him to feed 
the horses of our squad. He could neither read 
nor write, but he ran up in his head what the corn 
came to, sooner than I could. I feel tolerably 
certain that all the money I gave him went into 
the pocket of Massa Dixon who by the way 
was scouting around somewhere in the woods 
afraid to come home by reason of a bad con 
science while loyal soldiers were in the valley. 
George was as happy as any old and near friend 
of the family could be to hear that I was ac 
quainted with Mr. Collins of Pennsylvania a 
railroad man who had built a big bridge on the 
Memphis & Charleston Road near by, and who 
lived with the Dixons while here and was held in 
high esteem by them. They had even paid him 
a visit at Philada. George had picked up a few 
military words which he thought he was in duty 
bound to use to soldiers. So when I bade him 
good bye he said " I shall report you, Captain, 
to my young Massa (the Lieutenant aforesaid) 
as a friend of Mr. Collins." I did not inter 
dict him but I thought to myself it would 
no doubt be more consonant with his " young 
Massa s " views, as it would with mine, to pay 
our compliments to each other in person on 
another field. 

68 Letters, 1853-1868 

But would you upset the quiet cheerful course 
of George s busy and self-respectful life even to 
make him free? I don t think I would like to 
try the experiment at least until his " old Massa" 
should get hard up and be compelled to sell him, 
or until his "young Massa" should gamble him 
away in some spree or stock speculation. 

I am surprised at the intelligence and shrewd 
ness of the negroes away down here in the cotton 
States, the inner dungeon of the great African 
prison house. Their quiet wit would not dis 
grace the " pisentry of ould Ireland." You meet 
everywhere big, greasy fellows black as the ace of 
spades who answer you promptly and to the point 
while a great many of the Whites are muddy- 
headed and slow. In casting about for a reason 
for this, I could only ascribe it ist to labor 
they do all the work, and work is a great educator, 
2nd to greater social contact just as men are 
ordinarily brighter in cities than in the country 
there are more of them and they rub together, 
exciting and communicating the electricity of 

Lieut. Rosengarten and I were taking a ride 
near Tuscumbia the other day when we met a 
negro, whose wife had been sold away somewhere, 
and who had to take care of his children himself 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 69 

between the hours of labor. It was Saturday 
afternoon, and he was half way on a walk of 
seven miles to see them, carrying on his arm a 
basket of gingerbread which he had baked him 
self for them. We asked him how he liked to 
be in bonds. He said he did not like it and he 
did not think the Good Lord ever intended it 
for any of his children. " But," said I, " don t 
the Scriptures say " By the sweat of thy brow 
thou shalt earn thy bread ? " " Yes," he said 
with energy, " but the Scriptures don t say that 
Massa shall earn his bread by the sweat of my 
brow." Sure enough Cuffee ! it can t well be 

When we first came into this valley from the 
Corinthian woods, the negroes crowded in groups 
to the fences to see the soldiers march by. The 
Anderson Troopers were so happy at being once 
more able to " see a long ways," after having 
been penned up for two months in the aboriginal 
forests and swamps of Mississippi and Tennessee, 
that they set up Dixie and other songs, as they 
marched along, greatly to the delectation of the 
Africans. One happy looking dog showed his 
ivory from ear to ear, as our boys rolled out " I 
wish I was in Dixie," and then vented himself 
"Well, here ye is" as much as to say 

70 Letters, 1853-1868 

You ve been wishing you were in Dixie for a 
good while they told this dark you d never get 
here but it seems to be a mistake, from all 
appearances and he yah yahed at his Massa s 
disappointment, until we all joined in out of 

I have run on so long with these yarns, that I 
have not retained enough room on my paper to 
thank you for your generous, patriotic, energetic, 
and successful exertions to fill up the thinned 
ranks of my Company. But it makes no differ 
ence. I could not thank you sufficiently if I had 
a whole sheet at disposal. I might as well fail 
with six lines therefore as with a greater number. 
I had no idea whatever of the difficulties you 
were encountering but I appreciated all when 
you mentioned the character of the first one. I 
had some taste of the fruit last fall while organiz 
ing the Co., but I had at least, an official and 
recognized position, while you had nothing but a 
stout heart, unconquerable perseverance, a mind 
quick to expedients, and energy that scattered all 
opposition to the winds. It is one thing to have 
a friend who can chat away the hours of peace 
and leisure with you in agreeable, but idle society 
but quite another to have a friend who puts 
his shoulder to the wheel for you at the moment 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 71 

of rugged and earnest labor, and lends you his 
intelligence, his wisdom and energy to bridge 
over some gap in the path to success and honor. 
Remember me to all our friends. 



Burnett House, 

Cincinnati, O., Feb. 4/63. 

I stopped here over a train to see Gen. Buell. 
He is attending the Court of Inquiry in his case, 
which is dragging its slow length along in this 

The Genl. looks well and was glad to see me. 

Isaac, I wish you would write to me frequently 
and without waiting for an equivalent. I will 
write whenever an opportunity presents. Please 
send me any newspaper, magazine or pam 
phlet that may contain at any time anything im 

You cannot imagine how difficult it is for us to 
keep posted in the field. We get to attach the 
utmost importance to matters of slight moment, 

72 Letters, 1853-1868 

and perhaps hear nothing of events and opinions 
that stamp themselves upon the history of the 
age. Write often. 



Camp Gareche, 

Murfreesboro, March 28, 63. 

After a long interval, I sit down again to write 
to you. 

I have received your letters of the ijth and 
2Oth ult., and their perusal gave me great 
pleasure. I have also been frequently reminded 
of you since by the receipt of the newspapers 
which you have so kindly sent. Unfortunately 
the latter are given so little attention in these 
western mails that they only arrive after a long 
delay. For instance your copy of the Press with 
my letter to Rev. Mr. Stine to which you referred 
in your letter of the ijth Feby. has just reached 
me to day. I presume this is because they had 
on hand at Louisville such a large accumulation 
of mail matter during the breaks in the Railroads 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 73 

North and South of Nashville and that here 
after newspapers will come more regularly. 

Lieut. Col. Lamborn arrived in due time, and 
his services have been invaluable to me. He is 
in command of the men left in Nashville, who 
are awaiting the arrival of horses to mount them, 
before being sent up to Camp Gareche. I shall 
probably take most of the men here and go down 
after them in a few days, doing a little runabout 
scouting on the way, as there are considerable 
numbers of what Gen l. Rosecrans calls "scalla- 
wags " on the Road, or infesting the vicinity of 
the Road from here to Nashville. 

The men are behaving as well as I could desire 
in fact there should never have been any difficulty 
with such men, they are calculated to make the 
best possible soldiers, and but for bad manage 
ment, would have fulfilled throughout, every 
anticipation that was formed concerning them. 
I pity the poor fellows who mutinied so many 
of them were led into it without reflection and in 
that careless accidental way by which it is so easy 
to stray from the right path into the wrong. 
These men take it very much to heart, now that 
the proper soldierly feeling has been restored, 
and seem abashed and down hearted. It is a 
good sign however and promises good fruits and 

74 Letters, 1853-1868 

is much better than the bold, defiant, reckless 
air of audacity which characterized them when I 
first came out. As I write there is a man doing 
Private s duty as orderly at my tent door a 

fine soldierly looking fellow named P of 

Bucks Co. He was a Sergeant before, but has 
been reduced to the ranks in consequence of 
being among the mutineers (all the non-com d. 
officers were reduced who participated) and has 
had to pull off his stripes since arriving at this 
camp. I have now no doubt but that they will 
all seek to prove that they are worthy of Gen l. 
Rosecran s clemency, and that their one unfortu 
nate step shall not prevent their Regiment from 
yet being what we all expected it would be when 

I hope the general Conscription Act will enable 
us soon to fill the thinned ranks of the Regt. to 
its maximum. Now, all you " light, active, and 
hardy young men " in Penna. who desire special 
service, I give you fair warning. If you join the 
Anderson Cavalry, you must expect to behave as 
soldiers, to fare as soldiers, and to be treated as 
such. There is no special service in this army 
that I know of which exempts a trooper from 
cleaning his horse, or from living on hard crackers 
and pork occasionally, and sometimes more 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 75 

frequently. The service is healthy to a sedentary 
man, interesting, and if performed well, highly 
honorable but there is no exemption with 
this Regt. from the usual fatigue hardships and 
dangers of a cavalry man s life. How d you 
like to join? 

There are indications that the rebels purpose 
attacking Rosecrans here shortly but I hardly 
know what to think. I hope they will postpone 
it a month, provided it makes no difference 
(unfavorably) to Gen. Rosecrans. 

Give my regards to all friends, and write 




Camp Gareche, 

Near Murfreesboro, May 5/63. 

I find myself your debtor for two letters, the 
last dated Apl. 25th, both of which I was very 
glad to receive. 

I presume you have now entirely recovered 
from the attack of illness which you were still 
suffering from at the date of your first letter 

j6 Letters, 1853-1868 

and that you are again attending to your usual 
business avocations. 

I have received the papers which you are so 
kind as to send and always read them with 
great interest. 

Charley Lamborn and I are particularly inter 
ested at this time in the results of Hooker s 
movement across the Rappahannock. We hear 
to-day that 16 guns have been captured and that 
1 Old Joe " expects to bag all the rebels north of 
the Pamunkey. I hope his expectations will be 
realized, but the dispatches are so muddy that we 
do not derive much comfort from them. 

Mr. Horn certainly proved to be a very faithful 
messenger. I hope he did not exact a receipt of you 
before he would deliver up the innocent cap box. 

No mutineer has yet been appointed to a 
single office, commissioned or non-commissioned 
in this Regt. Of course, when they have wiped 
out the stigma upon their character by faithful 
service as soldiers, the official memory will be 
come dulled, and will fail to remind of the serious 
dereliction of last December. 

The opportunity will not be wanting for this 
vindication. We have already been out on sev 
eral scouts and under fire and the men have 
all behaved well. On one expedition towards 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 77 

McMinnville about a month ago, we took 20 
prisoners, and killed and wounded 5 of the 
enemy s cavalry. 

Your friend Sergt. Isaac Bartram has just 
joined the Regt. to day. He is a good soldier 
and it is to be regretted that he was not here 
before, as he has lost the opportunity for drill 
and instruction which the rest have enjoyed. 
But I have no doubt he will shew himself worthy 
of promotion. Benjamin Bartram was sent for 
nearly a month ago, his parole not being deemed 
binding by Genl. Rosecrans, in consequence of 
the cartel not having been observed in his case. 
He has not yet reported and his brother tells 
me he never received the notice. If you see him 
tell him to come out imm y. 

Lieut. Col. Lamborn is very well and desires 
to be remembered to you. 

My friend Leonard Clark of Castle Thunder 
is here on a visit. He has posted me up on 
affairs in Richmond since I left. The Captn. 
Webster who came near interrupting the se 
renity of my thoughts the night he entered our 
prison by walking up to me and saying in an 
abrupt and distinct voice : " I know you you re 
Captn. Palmer of the Anderson Troop, aint 
you?" has been hung. Richmond has been 

78 Letters, 1853-1868 

pretty well cleared of citizen prisoners by the 
recent releases. 

I reed, a letter from Harry Lamborn about a 
week ago. When you see him tell him I will 
answer it soon. 

Charley and I were deeply interested in your 
account of the lamentable catastrophe that has 
befallen our friend John Will. We read it with 
the same mournful interest that we would an 
account of a grand shipwreck. As you learn 
further details, please inform us, as the most 
minute particulars of the going down of the 
Royal George are of absorbing interest to us. 

Alack ! Alas ! what direful events this war has 
been the cause of. Will not the grim demon 
be satisfied by this last sacrifice or must still 
another Curtius leap into the gulf. 

(Entre-nous strictly When will J. W. be able 
truthfully to be called a " conscript Father). 

My light blue pants suited exactly. Thank 
you for making the selection. 

Write often and excuse my long delays in 
replying. Will you have the kindness to insert 
the enclosed advsement in the Philada. Press. 
If possible have editors notice it. 


Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 79 

Stevenson, Ala., Augt. 26/63. 

I was very glad to receive your two favors, the 
last dated Augt. i8th. I have also received 
various newspapers from you for which accept my 
thanks. From one of them I learned that Ned. 
Lewis and yourself had been drafted. I think 
with Lt. Col. Lamborn that you are just the boy 
for a Body Guard, and shall expect you out in 
Georgia with him. All you have to do is to ride 
out occasionally with Gen l. Rosecrans, and the 
officers will let you do just as you please. How 
can you resist such a temptation ? Tell Lewis 
we can provide a berth on this boat for him also. 
Why not come in out of the draft ? The Southern 
Confederacy is all falling to pieces, and I am 
surprised that such ambitious and well disposed 
young gentlemen should not wish to be in at the 

You will not be able to get here in time to help 
take Chattanooga, but you might " assist " at 

I just returned with seven of our Companies 
this morning from the Sequatchie Valley, whither 

8o Letters, 1853-1858 

they accompanied the General on a reconnaissance. 
While at Jasper on our return, the General re 
ceived a dispatch (by signal lights) from the 
Secretary of War stating that Sumter had been 
reduced and that the bombardment of Charleston 
had begun the day before. The General was so 
delighted that he had General Reynold s troops 
ordered out and the five Regiments gave fifteen 
boisterous cheers for the result. The General 
ran on in this way " Charleston ! where they 
first fired on the American flag where this rebel 
lion began I want to see it reduced to ashes 
I want to see the old flag which waved over it in 
April 6 1 and which the Presidt. has carefully pre 
served, raised again over Fort Sumter by the 
hands of Gen l. Anderson." 

Burnside is in East Tennessee and Simon 
Bolivar Buckner will commence to hop soon. 
10,000 men can live there without any supplies 
but what the country affords. 

Remember me to friends and write soon. Tell 
Col. Lamborn I don t approve of the aristocratic 
ways he is getting into. Who would have sus 
pected that he would so soon have begun to wear 

boiled shirts ? 



Gen* I Wm. J. Palmer 8 1 

Camp near Nashville, June 30/64. 


It has occurred to me frequently of late that 
no letter has passed between us since my return 
from Philada. 

Inasmuch as I do not wish this silence to 
continue, I take the opportunity afforded by 
the visit of one of our officers Lieut. Kirk (a 
member of the Society of Friends) to Philadelphia, 
to write to you. 

I want to know how you are spending this 
hot and momentous Summer what you think 
the prospects are of success for our armies and 
what the spirit of the people is at home. 

You have of course been to the Sanitary Fair, 
that marvel of shows. I have received several 
copies of that gossipy little sheet which is pub 
lished at the Fair. If you have read it, you 
may have noticed some articles from a cavalry 
man. They are written by one of our officers, 
and embody some events in our Regimental 

82 Letters, 1853-1868 

Charley Lamborn is 32 miles from here 
engaged in confiscating horses to remount our 
men. Doubtless he is blessed by the Planters, 
their wives, and above all, their daughters. Per 
haps the last does not trouble him however, 
as it might have done in u Auld Lang Syne," as 
I believe this gallant gentleman like yourself is 
among those who now count their title clear to 
mansions in well certainly in no place lower 
than Heaven. All I have to say is "vive 
1 amour!" 

Last Sunday, Col. Lamborn and myself had 
a pleasant ride of 30 miles to the Hermitage 
and back. The weather was very warm so 
that about dinner time we could not resist the 
temptation of stopping in at the beautiful place 
of a sun-burned rebellious gentleman, and invit 
ing him to take dinner with us. He accepted 
our invitation with all the grace with which it 
was extended, and we accordingly dined together 
a fact which we will be the less apt to forget, 
from the circumstance of our having cucumbers 
on the table these vegetables being a rare 
luxury with the Field and Staff of this Regi 

The old gentleman turned out to be Mr. 
Donaldson, a nephew of Old Hickory s wife, 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 83 

and a cousin of Andrew Jackson Donaldson 
former candidate for Vice President. He had 
also been a trusted young friend of Gen l. 
Jackson, and intimated in a very mild way 
that the Gen l. would have been a Secessionist 
had he lived until the present hour of the 

I think so too. I never yet heard of a Poli 
tician that could be implicitly trusted. 

Give my kindest regards to Miss Jackson 
when next you happen by the merest chance to 
be in the neighborhood of Darby also to her 
sister. When does the happy event transpire ? 



Camp near Nashville, 

Aug. 5/64. 

I was very glad to receive your interesting 
letter of July 2Oth. 

We have received horses and marching orders 
at last, and shall start in two or three days for 
Gen l. Thomas s camp near Atlanta. I avail 

84 Letters, 1853-1858 

myself of the last opportunity to write you 
before starting, but you must not forget that 
mail communication is open to the vicinity of 
Atlanta, and that I shall expect to hear from 
you frequently after you have settled in your 
Eleventh street house and by the bye, Ike, 
you couldn t have selected in my opinion, a 
more agreeable neighborhood to be at the same 
time central and convenient. I wish you and 
your fair consort a bountiful share of all those 
joys and blessings which Heaven showers upon 
the married life of those who love and live for 
each other. I do not hope for you, that the 
honeymoon may be perpetual, but that the burn 
ing love of this happy period may give place to 
that pure and steady flame which shall go out 
only with life. Be assured how gladly I would 
have welcomed the opportunity of standing by 
you on the ist of September had not some 
thing more imperative than mere distance pre 
vented. Consider me there, however, and leave 
a vacant place for me on the right of the third 
groomsman. I cannot fill it, corporeally speak 
ing but you know what Goethe says : 

u The spirit with which we act is the greatest 

Gen 1 1 Wm. J. Palmer 85 

You may leave therefore a tolerably large 
space and while on this subject. Col. Lamborn 
says you may leave another vacant place for him. 
He sends his hearty congratulations, and while 
neither he nor myself approve altogether, or are 
desirous of encouraging the too extensive adop 
tion of this practice of getting married until the 
soldiers are mustered out, yet on a full considera 
tion of the whole matter, we have concluded out 
of motives of particular friendship, to grant a 
special dispensation in your case. 

We shall therefore not forbid the bans but 
shall stipulate as a condition precedent, that you 
shall, in addition to the number of kisses legiti 
mately accorded to you on that occasion, imprint 
two hearty ones on the cheek of the fair bride 
in our behalf we being necessarily absent 
and you will consider this as our power of 
attorney for you to do all and singular the 
above things. 

Charley says, after listening to a portion of 
your letter that I read him, he feels very much 
like sailing away from this stormy ocean and 
going into port on the " peaceful tide " himself. 
Indeed from all that I see of the young officer 
that helps to occupy this room of canvas, such 
an event is not at all unlikely to happen very 

86 Letters, 1853-1868 

soon after the expiration of his term of ser 
vice, or the ratification of a treaty of peace with 
the so-called confederates. With a pardonable 
deception he appears to be still carrying on the 
siege of Troy but I really believe he is inside 
the wooden horse and within the gates. 

It will take us between two and three weeks to 
reach Atlanta marching steadily, but we look 
forward to the prospect of this march with great 
pleasure. No doubt some of our recruits will 
wish that the " Gate city " was moved several 
degrees northward before we get there. Our 
army is within 4 miles of the city, but it may be 
some time before they enter it. It s defender 
Hood, will fight always. He is the " fighting 
Joe " of the Rebel army. 

I hope Penna. has decided by the recent vote 
to allow soldiers in the field the right of suffrage. 
What does this reported movement among the 
Republicans in favor of giving McClellan a com 
mand mean ? Better not ! 

Write to me care of Gen. Thomas Hdqrs. near 
Atlanta and be sure to give my kindest regards 
to your Lady Love and to all friends. 



Gen 1 1 Wm. J. Palmer 87 

St. Louis, April 19, 1867. 


I received your kind letter but ever since 
have been such a wanderer that I have found 
no fitting opportunity to answer it. 

I have been thinking a great deal over the 
subject which the Committee of Friends have 
written to me about, and intend as soon as I 
can sit down calmly and reply to their communi 
cation to do so. I have every desire to retain 
my connection with the Society, and hope they 
will look upon my case in that liberal and chari 
table spirit which I think distinguishes them 
from most other sects and which is one of the 
strongest incentives in my mind towards remain 
ing a member of the Society. 

I think my views on the subject of Peace 
can hardly differ in essential points, from those 
of our Meeting, or at least of a majority of the 
members as I have incidentally learned them 
through their conversation and actions during 
and since the War. Of course under the same 
circumstances as existed in the Summer of 61 I 
would act precisely as I did then, and I do not 

Letters, 1853-1868 

understand that Friends desire me to think or 
say otherwise as they would be the last to 
believe that principle should be compromised 
for the sake of avoiding troubles. They might 
say however that they would not sacrifice one 
principle for the sake of another but in regard 
to this it seems to me that one of the most 
essential principles of Friends is obedience to 
conscience much more essential than a belief 
in non-resistance. 

I do not ask more than that my case should 
be treated in that light. I think that Peace is 
holy and should be encouraged constantly and 
that an unjust War is only legalized murder. 
But the inner light made it very plain to me in 
the Summer of 61 that I should enter the army. 

With kind regards to Mrs. Clothier and all 
the members of your family, I remain 



Willard s, Washington, D. C., July 6/68. 

I was very glad to get your interesting letter of 
the 22nd ult. and to be informed of the important 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 89 

change in your business prospects. I prophesy 
for you the same success on a large scale that you 
have met in a more limited range hitherto. 

I will call and see you when I pass through 
Philada. on my way to St. Louis. I do not think 
I shall be detained here more than two weeks 
longer possibly not so long. The only hope I 
have left is of getting additional aid for about 76 
miles to a proper point of divergence for New 
Mexican and Denver trade. This point is called 
Cheyenne Wells and there is abundant water 
there. Congress will not give us through aid at 
this session because of political timidity. Our 
Radical Senators and Representatives would be 
willing to jeopardize the most important practical 
interests of the Country, rather than run the 
slightest shadow of risk to their political schemes. 
Being selfish, they are consequently narrow and 
do not know that these measures are more popu 
lar than anything else with the people. 

I think you would enjoy a trip to the end of 
our track and hope I may be going up to Kansas 
when you come out altho there is no certainty 
about that. Some of our friends may be going 
however. If you reach St. Louis before I get 
there, say to Col. Lamborn that I wish him to 
pass you to Ft. Wallace and return that is about 

90 Letters, 1853-1868 

700 miles west of St. Louis, and a little beyond 
the end of our track. 

I think you would find the " Great Plains " 
interesting altho monotonous after continuous 

You shall be admitted into any future contract, 
if you desire. It will be necessary for our Road 
to reach the base of the Rocky Mtn s before it 
will be very profitable or have a flourishing traffic. 
The business this year has not I believe been 
proportionately so large as last. If we had 
reached the mtns. we should have had an im 
mense amount of coal and timber to carry 
besides supplies for the gold and silver mines. 
The weather is quite exhausting here and I long 
to be once more in the Rocky Mtns. I often 
find myself doubting that a kind Providence ever 
intended man to dwell on the Atlantic slope. 

Please give my compliments to Mrs. Clothier. 

Yrs. truly, 


Gen 1 1 Wm. J. Palmer 91 

[The two following papers relating to the organization of the Anderson 
Troop, which afterward became the noted Fifteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry, 
are copied from the originals in General Palmer s own hand-writing, in my 



A picked body of light cavalry from Penna. 
composed of young men of respectability, selected 
from nearly every County of the State. 

The men to be light, active and hardy and 
more or less acquainted with horses and to be 
chosen for these qualities, and for their intelli 
gence, good character and patriotic spirit. 

Each man to pledge himself not to touch 
intoxicating liquor (except for medical purposes) 
during the term of enlistment. 

Particular attention to be paid to drill^ the 
ambition of each member of the Company being 
to make it as soon as possible, a model light 
Troop, as the " Chicago Zouaves " were a model 
light infantry Co. It is believed that this may 
be accomplished in a comparatively short time, 
with good instructors, from the superior intelli 
gence and enthusiasm of the men. 

92 Letters, 1853-1868 

The special duty of the Troop (in addition to 
service on the field of battle) will be to perform 
detachment service of all kinds in Brig. Genl. 
Anderson s Department to serve as escort or 
Body Guard to the General when desired make 
reconnoissances escort trains and convoys 
make arrests seize Railroads &c. perform 
advanced-post or patrol duty ; and generally, to 
be attached to the General for the performance 
of any special service required by him involving 
delicacy or danger. 

If desired, a squad of men from the Railroads 
of Penna. with telegraph operators, &c. will be 
included in the Company to expedite the trans 
portation of troops and supplies, and repair 
and operate Railroads that it may be necessary 
to seize or control in the prosecution of the 
campaign in Kentucky and Tennessee. 

The advantages of such a corps for the various 
duties above specified, would be unusual intelli 
gence, trustworthiness on duty, nervous energy 
and courage, and patriotic spirit. While the 
members would be gentlemen, they would be 
of the kind who would feel proud to submit to 
the strictest military discipline, hard drill, and 
any hardships uncomplainingly for the sake of 
their country. They will go determined to take 

I Wm. J. Palmer 93 

everything roughly, and nothing like dandyism 
or dissipation will be tolerated. 

Arms to be a light sabre, Colt s Revolver 
worn on the person, and (in consequence of the 
detached character of the service) a rifled carbine 
slung to the shoulder. 

Accoutrements so arranged that sabre can be 
hung to saddle, when Trooper dismounts to 
serve on foot. 

The horses to be got in Central Kentucky and 
to be light, active and hardy. 

The command to be given to such person (of 
cavalry experience if possible) as General Ander 
son may select. The remaining officers and non 
commissioned officers to be elected by the Co. 
after it shall have been filled up. 

Respectfully Submitted 


of Philada. 

Approved by Brig. Gen l. Anderson at Louisville, 
Sep. 20/61. 

94 Letters, 1853-1868 


Philadelphia, Sept. 24th, 1861. 

I take the liberty of enclosing to you herewith 
a plan for the organization of a picked Company 
of light Cavalry composed of Pennsylvanians, 
which Brig. Gen l. Anderson has requested the 
War Department to accept as an independent 
Corps for special service in the " Department of 
the Cumberland." The Company will be called 
the " Anderson Troop," and will be under the 
immediate eye of the General Commanding its 
special duties being those of a Body Guard to 
General Anderson, to make reconnoisances, escort 
trains, make arrests, and perform such other ser 
vice of a detached character as he may assign it. 

In the letter which he has furnished me to the 
War Department, the General says " I particu 
larly desire the acceptance of this Company, and 
I will be obliged if the Department will give 
such facilities to Mr. Palmer as will enable him 
to perfect its organization in the shortest possible 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 95 

time. Such a Corps will be almost indispensable 
to me in conducting the Campaign which is 
already opened in my Department." 

After this earnest statement of his wants, it is 
not doubted that the Department will unhesitat 
ingly accept the Company. I shall proceed im 
mediately to Washington to secure this result, 
and to procure the requisite orders for the mount 
ing, arriving, and equipping of the men, but not 
to lose any time I have addressed this note to 
you as a gentleman of influence, and one well 
acquainted in your section of the State, to ask that 
you will aid me in making this Corps, one that 
will fairly represent the intelligence, respectability, 
and patriotic spirit of the young men from Penna. 
The honor and fair name of the State will be in 
its keeping in the campaign in Kentucky and 
Tennessee it is therefore desired that its ranks 
should be filled with the very best of our youth, 
taking physical as well as moral considerations 
into view. The troop will be commanded by an 
officer to be appointed by Gen l. Anderson the 
Lieutenants and non-commissioned officers to be 
elected by a fair vote of the Compny, after it 
shall have been formed. It will be as much a 
matter of pride however to be a private as an 
officer in this Troop and no member will be 

96 Letters, 1853-1868 

bound by his acceptance, unless he chooses, until 
after he has seen his comrades, and been mustered 
into service. 

As soon as 85 men have been accepted, they 
will be sent to Louisville, Ky. the remainder of 
the Troop to be selected from the counties of the 
State which may not at first have responded, and 
for which more time will be admissible. 

It is not expected however that more than a 
week or ten days will be required for the enlist 
ment of 1 10 men in the State of Pennsylvania of 
the character referred to in response to this call 
and most flattering compliment from the gallant 
Hero of Fort Sumter. And let Penna. shew by 
this little contribution, if in no other way, her 
appreciation of and desire to repay the debt which 
the West has put us under by the recent detach 
ment of several regiments from Fremont s com 
mand to reinforce the army of the Eastern Coast. 

I have therefore to request that you will nomi 
nate for the county in which you reside, and for 
each of the adjacent counties, five young men, or 
any less number, aged between 1 8 and 30 years 
(the younger the better) who may in your opinion 
answer the description given above and in the 
enclosed plan ; and who may be willing to go 
from a patriotic motive solely, and with a 

I Wm. J. Palmer 97 

determination to submit to the strictest drill 
and military discipline, and to endure any hard 
ships for their Country s sake. 

The men to be light, active, and hardy and 
more or less accustomed to riding and the names 
to be mentioned on your list (with their addresses) 
in the order of your preference, so that in case all the 
counties respond, the best may be taken from each. 

I will personally see, or address a note similar 
to this, to influential and well-known gentlemen 
in nearly every section of the State, and make no 
doubt but that they and you will heartily co 
operate in this endeavor to furnish Gen l. Ander 
son a mounted Body Guard from Penna. worthy 
of him and of the State. 

Please let me hear from you with as little delay 
as practicable, at the office of the President of the 
Penna. R. Rd. Co., Philada. 

Yours Respectfully, 


P. S. In order to comply with the existing 
legal form, the Troop if accepted, will be com 
missioned by the authorities of the State of Penna. 
in obedience to a requisition made upon them by 
the War Department for such a company. 


98 Letters, 1853-1868 


DAVID RITTENHOUSE, the celebrat 
ed astronomer, who had lived at Nor- 
riton, came to Philadelphia, in 1770. 
He was appointed Treasurer of Pennsylvania, in 
1777, and held the office till 1789. He was 
appointed Director of the United States Mint in 
1792. In 1787 was finished upon the lot upon 
which he had erected his observatory, at the 
northwest corner of Seventh and Arch Streets, 
the substantial house shown in our view. He 
removed there from his previous residence at 
the southeast corner of these streets. He died 
June 26, 1796, and was buried near his observa 
tory. The tomb was afterward removed to the 
Old Pine Street burying-ground. His daughters 
continued to reside in this house and that adjoin 
ing, and here in 1 809 the United States and the 
State of Pennsylvania nearly came into armed 
collision. Rittenhouse, while State Treasurer, 
became the custodian of a fund in a prize-money 
case which was claimed by the State of Pennsyl 
vania and by the United States. The latter 


0681 JI3MJA? J H3O 1O :iMOH 

9 H Letters, 1853-1868 


DAVID RITTKNHOUSE, the celebrat 
ed astronomer, who had lived at Nor- 
rir.on, came to Philadelphia, in 1770. 
He was appointed Treasurer of Pennsylvania, in 
7i and held the office till 1789. He was 
appointed l.)ire< of \ p I m red States Mint in 
79 2. rne lor upon 


nth and Arch Streets, 
the substantial house shown in our view. He 
removed there from his previous residence at 
the southeast corner of these streets. He died 
June 26, 1796, and was buried near his observa 
tory. The tomb was afterward removed to the 
Old Pine Street burying-ground. His daughters 
continued to reside in this house and that adjoin 
ing, and here in 1809 the United States and the 
State of Pennsylvania nearly came into armed 
collision. Rittenhouse, while State Treasurer, 
became the custodian of a fund in a prize-monev 
case which was claimed by the State of Pennsyl 
vania and by the United States. The latter 

GenU Wm. J. Palmer 99 

obtained judgment, and called on Rittenhouse s 
executors, his daughters, Mrs. Elizabeth Sergeant 
and Mrs. Esther Waters, for payment. The 
State ordered them not to pay, and to prevent 
service of the writ upon them, armed State troops 
were posted around this house from March 2jrd 
to April 1 8th, when John Smith, the United 
States Marshal, obtained access to the premises 
by stratagem and made service of his writ. There 
was considerable legal trouble over it afterwards. 
From the circumstances the house afterward 
obtained the nickname, still known to old Phila- 
delphians, of " Fort Rittenhouse." 

This historic old house was the home of 
William J. Palmer for a few years, about 1856, 
and here he and Isaac H. Clothier roomed 
together for some time prior to the writing 
of the 1859 letters. 

ioo Letters, 1853-1868 


THE picture of General Palmer s home 
in Colorado is necessarily imperfect on 
the small scale which the pages of this 
book permit. It is reproduced from a photo 
graph taken last summer. 

The house was originally built in 1871, but 
rebuilt in solid masonry on precisely the same 
architectural lines, during the past two years, 
with the addition of Book Hall, a large library 

The house, itself, is most attractive as an ideal 
American home on a broad scale, but the site on 
which it stands, and the immediate surroundings, 
are of the most interesting and unique character. 

Glen Eyrie is equi-distant five miles from 
both Colorado Springs and Manitou, the latter at 
the very base of Pikes Peak, where the road up 
the mountain starts. This grand natural park was 
almost unknown until visited by General Palmer 
in 1870, before the founding of Colorado Springs. 
He was charmed with the beauty of the spot, and 
took prompt measures, under the Homestead Act, 

cOGl 3MOH 315 Y 3 H3JO HHT 

Letters, 1853-1868 


^pitt ire of General Palmer s home 

ssarily imperfect on 

i h the pages of this 

Prom a photo 

tnginafly rum m 1871, but 
nasonry on precisely the same 


fall, a large library 

use, itself, is most attractive as an ideal 
iome on a broad scale, but the site on 
it stands, and the immediate surroundings, 
are of the most interesting and unique character. 

Glen Eyrie is equi-distant five miles from 

l>oth Colorado Springs and Manitou, the latter at 
: very base of Pikes Peak, where the road up 
the mountain starts This grand natural park v ,., 
almost unknown until visited bv Ger.c-r 
in 1870, before the founding of (":>!.- 
Fie was charmed with the beauty of the s 
took prompt measures, under the Homest 


Gen 1 1 Wm. J. Paltoer i jaji- 

to occupy and become the owner of 160 acres, 
where the house now stands. The Garden of 
the Gods, immediately adjoining, was afterwards 
similarly occupied under the Homestead Law. 
By purchase of tracts adjoining Glen Eyrie, from 
time to time since, he has acquired a large area 
of mountain and park lands among the foot-hills 
of the " Rockies," perhaps approximating 3000 
acres in the aggregate. 

Glen Eyrie proper is a valley, but the grand 
Rocky Mountain Chain, with Pikes Peak domi 
nating all, is in full view from various parts of 
the estate. The scenery throughout the property, 
and immediately about the house, within easy 
walking distance, is of a varied grandeur not to 
be described. Queen s Canon, beginning a few 
hundred feet away, affords a walk of some miles 
through striking and impressive scenery, remind 
ing one of the world-renowned Grand Canon 
of Colorado, or that of Yellowstone Park on a 
smaller and more accessible scale. Driving roads, 
well-constructed paths, and mountain trails have 
for a number of years been gradually laid out, so 
that to-day they aggregate perhaps twenty miles 
in extent on General Palmer s estate alone. The 
public are admitted and freely welcomed to the 
driving roads on the estate, excepting perhaps a 

1 02 Letters, 1853-1868 

hundred acres immediately about the house; and 
during the tourist season long lines of carriages 
drive through and about the roads, affording 
at points excellent views of the buildings and 
private grounds. 

On the whole, the Glen Eyrie home is alto 
gether unique, so far as my experience and 
knowledge go. There are undoubtedly more 
costly and pretentious houses, but the combina 
tion of such a house with such surroundings in 
the midst of scenery unexcelled in the Western 
Hemisphere, causes it I believe to stand alone 
among American homes. 

I Wm. J. Palmer 103 

IT is deemed appropriate to insert the fol 
lowing poem as a great favorite of both 
General Palmer and myself, concerning the 
great President in whom as young men we both 
thoroughly believed during the stress of the Civil 
War, and who soon afterward came to be re 
garded in the South as in the North the Father 
of the Nation. 

Those whose memories reach back far enough 
can recall how during his four years of labor and 
sacrifice he was mercilessly reviled and caricatured 
with pencil and pen by the English " Punch," 
followed soon after his career was tragically closed 
by this magnificent recantation made in one of 
the greatest poems of the times. 

One reason for its insertion is that it appears 
to be not generally familiar to the community 
and is not included in usual collections of verse, 
perhaps because of its impersonal and unknown 

I would add that whenever I look at the face 
of Lincoln, with its expression of profound 
thought and unspeakable sorrow, an old couplet 
of the war time almost always comes into my 

" We are coming Father Abraham 
Three Hundred Thousand more." 

104 Letters, 1853-1868 


Assassinated April I^-th, 1865. 

From "Punch." 

You lay a wreath on murder d Lincoln s bier, 
You, who with mocking pencil wont to trace, 

Broad for the self-complaisant British sneer, 

His length of shambling limb, his furrow d face, 

His gaunt, gnarl d hands, his unkempt, bristling hair, 
His garb uncouth, his bearing ill at ease, 

His lack of all we prize as debonair, 

Of power or will to shine, of art to please ; 

Ton, whose smart pen back d up the pencil s laugh, 
Judging each step as though the way were plain ;. 

Reckless, so it could point its paragraph, 
Of chief s perplexity, or people s pain, 

Beside this corpse, that bears for winding-sheet 
The Stars and Stripes he liv d to rear anew, 

Between the mourners at his head and feet, 
Say, scurrile jester, is there room for you ? 

Gen 1 1 Wm. J. Palmer 105 

Yes : he had liv d to shame me from my sneer, 
To lame my pencil and confute my pen ; 

To make me own this hind of princes peer, 
This rail-splitter a true-born king of men. 

My shallow judgment I had learn d to rue, 
Noting how to occasion s height he rose ; 

How his quaint wit made home-truth seem more true ; 
How, iron-like, his temper grew by blows ; 

How humble, yet how hopeful he could be ; 

How in good fortune and in ill the same ; 
Nor bitter in success, nor boastful he, 

Thirsty for gold, nor feverish for fame. 

He went about his work, such work as few 
Ever had laid on head and heart and hand, 

As one who knows, where there s a task to do, 

Man s honest will must Heaven s good grace command ; 

Who trusts the strength will with the burden grow, 
That God makes instruments to work His will, 

If but that will we can arrive to know, 

Nor tamper with the weights of good and ill. 

So he went forth to battle, on the side 

That he felt clear was Liberty s and Right s, 

As in his peasant boyhood he had plied 

His warfare with rude Nature s thwarting mights, 

io6 Letters, 1853-1868 

The unclear d forest, the unbroken soil, 

The iron bark that turns the lumberer s axe, 

The rapid that o erbears the boatman s toil, 

The prairie hiding the maz d wanderer s tracks, 

The ambush d Indian, and the prowling bear, 

Such were the deeds that help d his youth to train : 

Rough culture, but such trees large fruit may bear, 
If but their stocks be of right girth and grain. 

So he grew up, a destin d work to do, 

And liv d to do it ; four long-suffering years, 

111 fate, ill feeling, ill report liv d through, 

And then he heard the hisses changed to cheers, 

The taunts to tribute, the abuse to praise, 

And took both with the same unwavering mood, 

Till, as he came on light from darkling days, 

And seem d to touch the goal from where he stood, 

A felon hand, between the goal and him, 

Reach d from behind his back, a trigger prest, 

And those perplex d and patient eyes were dim, 

Those gaunt, long-laboring limbs were laid to rest. 

The words of mercy were upon his lips, 
Forgiveness in his heart and on his pen, 

When this vile murderer brought swift eclipse 

To thoughts of peace on earth, good will to men. 

Gen 1 1 Wm. J. Palmer 107 

The Old World and the New, from sea to sea, 
Utter one voice of sympathy and shame. 

Sore heart, so stopp d when it at last beat high ! 
Sad life, cut short just as its triumph came ! 

A deed accurs d ! Strokes have been struck before 
By the assassin s hand, whereof men doubt 

If more of horror or disgrace they bore ; 

But thy foul crime, like Cain s, stands darkly out. 

Vile hand, that brandest murder on a strife, 

Whate er its grounds, stoutly and nobly striven, 

And with the martyr s crown crownest a life 
With much to praise, little to be forgiven. 

io8 Letters, 1853-1868 

AS this volume is partly historical, I con 
clude to add a little campaign song 
written for a Republican meeting in 
Newburyport, Mass., October 11, 1860, just 
after the Pennsylvania State election then held 
a month before the presidential election. 



Not vainly we waited and counted the hours, 
The buds of our hope have all burst into flowers ; 
No room for misgiving no loophole of doubt 
We ve heard from the Keystone! the Quakers are out! 

The plot has exploded we ve found out the trick; 
The bribe goes a-begging ; the fusion won t stick. 
When the Wide Awake lanterns are shining about, 
The rogues stay at home, and the true men are out. 

The good State has broken the cords for her spun ; 
Her oil-springs and water won t fuse into one. 
The Dutchman has seasoned with Freedom his krout, 
And slow, late, but certain, the Quakers are out ! 

Give the flags to the winds, set the hills all aflame ! 
Make way for the man with the Patriarch s name ! 
Away with misgiving away with all doubt 
For Lincoln goes in, when the Quakers are out ! 

Gen 1 1 Wm. J. Palmer 109 

In explanation to the young people of the 
allusion to the Wide Awake lanterns, I would say 
that in the Presidential campaign of 1860, many 
thousands of young Republicans all over the 
North formed associations under the general 
name of " Wide Awakes," and wearing oil cloth 
caps and capes, and carrying torches, marched in 
military array to the political meetings of the 
times. These clubs were a unique feature of the 
campaign, and helped infuse a spirit into the 
Republican movement which perhaps contributed 
largely to its success. Many a night during that 
exciting autumn General Palmer and I marched 
in uniform with the local Philadelphia body the 
Republican Invincibles to meetings held in 
Philadelphia and different points within fifty 
miles of the city, where we went by train, reach 
ing home oftentimes in the early morning. I 
distinctly recall the night of the Pennsylvania 
State election of 1860, when the returns showed 
unmistakably the success of the Republican party, 
and presaged the sure election of Lincoln in 
November, how with the Republican Invincibles 
I marched up Chestnut Street after midnight, and 
the street scenes of delirious joy can never be 
forgotten. I remember as we passed the Conti 
nental Hotel, that the then Prince of Wales, now 

i i o Letters, 1853 - 1868 

King Edward VII., a pale, slender youth, stood 
at the window watching the wild street scenes, and 
I saw him with the utmost distinctness. 

Those uniformed and marching companies were 
the precursors of the regiments, which, carrying 
the musket and bayonet instead of the torch, 
sprung into being six months later at Lincoln s 
call, and were the advance guard of the vast 
armies which stood for liberty and union, and 
through untold loss and sacrifice, purged the 
nation of slavery, and paved the way for a 
national future, the grand possibilities of which 
we, cannot even yet forecast. 

All this reminds me of the only times I ever 
saw Lincoln on the afternoon of his arrival in 
Philadelphia on his way to inauguration, and the 
next forenoon when I was one of a company 
which stood at the Ninth Street door of the 
Continental Hotel, and saw him enter his carriage, 
and then, shoulder to shoulder, with one of the 
reserve policemen, a cordon of which surrounded 
the carriage, I walked precisely opposite him and 
within six feet of where he sat, listening to his 
occasional conversation, down Chestnut Street to 
Sixth, where the pressure of the crowd caused me 
to lose my place. 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer I i i 

The party alighted on Sixth Street below 
Chestnut, and proceeded through Independence 
Square to a platform erected in front of the State 
House, and from a little distance, although I 
could not hear what he said, I saw him address 
the great crowd and watched every gesture with 
the utmost interest, and afterwards saw every 
movement of his as he raised the flag to the top 
of Independence Hall. Later he departed for 
Harrisburg on that day which soon became 

I have often remembered since that he had on 
his mind that morning the information which 
came to him the night before, of his sure assassi 
nation if he passed through Baltimore the next 
day. I do not think I ever saw him again in 
life, but four years and one month later, I saw his 
great funeral procession pass down Arch Street, 
and that night preceding the day when his body 
lay in state in Independence Hall, I was privi 
leged to have a somewhat deliberate view soon 
after the coffin was opened. 

H2 Letters, 1853-1868 




These lines were recited to General Palmer by a prisoner of Castle Thunder, 
Richmond, Va., and by him recited to me on his return, and put into writing 
recently from memory, at my request. I have never forgotten the profound 
impression they made on me at the time, as evidencing the spirit and deter 
mination of the Southern people, and their sincere devotion to their cause. 
As I have never seen them in print, I insert them here as another memento 
of the war times. 

You can never win them back, 

Never ! Never ! 
Though they perish on the track 

Of your endeavor ; 
Though their corses strew the earth 
Which smiled upon their birth, 
And blood pollutes each hearthstone 

Forever ! 

They may fall before the fire of your legions, 
Paid with gold murders hire 

Base allegiance, 
But for every drop you shed, 
You will leave a mound of dead, 
And the vultures will be fed 

In our regions ! 

The battle to the strong is not given 

While the Judge of right and wrong rules in Heaven, 

And the God of David still 

Guides the pebbles 

With His will, 
There are Giants yet to kill, 

Wrongs unshriven ! 



AS some of the letters in this volume refer 
to a course of lectures of which General 
Palmer and myself were managers in 
1859, it is deemed best to add some account of 
those lectures, which from the circumstances 
attendant on their delivery became a part of the 
history of the city and of the times. 

The subjoined account was printed in the 
Public Ledger of December 14, 1902, written 
by a reporter from notes made in an inter 
view sought by him with me, and without any 
preparation or revision on my part. While 
it is therefore naturally somewhat rambling and 
imperfect in expression, it is in the main correct 
as to facts, and is submitted in place of a more 
carefully prepared account. 

I would add, the young people of this genera 
tion can form little or no idea of the state of the 
public mind in those exciting times, or of the 
intensity of the feeling which existed just before 
it burst into the flame of Civil War. 

I. H. C. 


From the Philadelphia Ledger of December 14, 1902. 



THE most exciting episode of all this ante 
bellum period was unquestionably the effort 
on the part of a pro-slavery mob to break 
up a meeting at which George William Curtis delivered 
his powerful address on the burning question of the 
hour. The person most active in bringing Mr. Curtis 
to Philadelphia on this occasion was Isaac H. Clothier, 

then a young man who had scarcely reached his majority. 
Mr. Clothier was recently induced by the writer, 
after some persuasion, to tell the story of this remark 
able episode in his own way, which is modesty itself. 
As he talked Mr. Clothier grew warm with the generous 
enthusiasm of more than forty years ago, and the mere 
words themselves convey only a partial idea of the 
interest which he enkindled in his listener in the course 


120 Letters, 1853-1868 

of the narrative. He was seated at the time in his 
study at Ballytore, his beautiful chateau-residence at 

" I was deeply interested in the important questions 
of that time," said Mr. Clothier. u I had always a 
particular fondness for oratory. The great speakers 
then were mostly on the side of the anti-slavery move 
ment, and chief among them were Wendell Phillips and 
George William Curtis. In my thirst for listening to 
the discussion of great questions I used to attend 
lectures and meetings of all kinds. A young friend of 
mine and myself finally concluded that we would have 
a lecture course of our own in Philadelphia. (This 
friend was William J. Palmer, who afterward entered 
the army in 61 as Captain of the Anderson Troop, a 
Company organized for special service under General 
Robert Anderson, and which afterward became the 
Fifteenth Pennsylvania Cavalry Regiment. He has 
since the War been a prominent railroad man, President 
of the Denver & Rio Grande and Rio Grande Western 
Railroads, and a noted figure in Colorado life). This 
was in the summer of 1859, anc ^ we planned to have 
the course the next winter. As my friend was the 
private secretary of J. Edgar Thomson, President of 
the Pennsylvania R. R., and was much confined to 
his office, the executive business of the enterprise was 
mostly in my hands. You can imagine with what vim 
I, as an enthusiastic young man, entered into the work. 
I wrote to Henry Ward Beecher, Wendell Phillips, 

Gen 1 1 Wm. J. Palmer 121 


George William Curtis and others. I took journeys 
to see some of them. Mr. Curtis I visited at his 
residence on Staten Island, and Mr. Beecher at Peeks- 
kill. We found that George William Curtis and 
Wendell Phillips were the only speakers, among those 
whom we wanted, that we could engage. Our arrange 
ments were made in August ; one lecture was to be 
delivered by Wendell Phillips in November, and one by 
George William Curtis in December. There was then 
no particular anti -slavery excitement in this city, and 
we had no especial object in view in connection with 
that movement. But between that and the date of the 
first lecture John Brown s raid at Harper s Ferry took 
place in October. Instantly the whole country was 
aflame. The lecture of Mr. Phillips was appointed for 
the 28th of November in National Hall, on Market 
Street, between Twelfth and Thirteenth streets, on the 
south side. His subject was Toussaint L Ouverture. 
We had no reason to anticipate any particular disorder 
until a little before the time for the lecture. A noto 
rious Alderman, McMullin by name, came to the hall 
with a crowd of roughs prepared to break up the meet 
ing by force. But Mr. Phillips s wonderful eloquence 
overcame them. They were charmed with it, and sat 
as if spellbound until the end. Not a hostile word or 
sound did they utter, and the affair was most successful. 



" The next occasion, however, was very different. 
The date of George William Curtis s address was two 

122 Letters, 1853-1868 

weeks and a half later, the I5th of December, 1859, 
or a little less than forty-three years ago. John Brown 
had been hanged on the 2d of December, and the 
Abolitionists had held what I have always thought was 
a most unwise meeting at National Hall, at noon of 
that day. It was a very lively meeting, and came near 
being broken up. The lecture by George William 
Curtis was on l The Present Aspect of the Slavery 
Question. It was powerful, but there was nothing 
fiery about it ; and the subject and date, you must 
remember, had been fixed in the previous August. 
When the time arrived the whole city was in a turmoil. 
We tried to get two men of some prominence to intro 
duce Mr. Curtis to the audience, but they refused. 
Judge William D. Kelley, however, accepted the 
proposal with alacrity. He was perfectly fearless, and 
he enjoyed doing things that were a brave vindication 
of principle. 

"That day, the I5th of December, was one of the 
most exciting I have ever seen. Alexander Henry was 
Mayor of the city. It was evident that there was going 
to be a riot. That morning a number of people came 
to see me, as the only person accessible to them who 
had the right to put the meeting off. My associate 
and myself both had a decided conviction that it would 
not do to obey the behests of the mob, but to hold the 
meeting at all risks. Judge Kelley, who strongly sup 
ported us in this resolve, took me that morning to call 
on the Mayor. Mayor Henry said, that while it was 

Gen 1 1 Wm. J. Palmer 123 

his duty to maintain free speech, it was a very danger 
ous time, and he wished the meeting could be given up, 
but manfully added, that if we insisted on holding it, he 
would protect free speech to the full extent of his 
power. He added in a most earnest manner that 
lives might be saved by giving up the meeting. But I 
felt that we had no right to do that. It would be 
pandering to the passions of the mob and a surrender 
of free speech. Of course, in all this I had the advice 
of older persons, who confirmed me in my views. 
Mayor Henry made a personal appeal on the subject. 
Prominent citizens were present, including Eli K. Price, 
W. Heyward Drayton and others, who came to urge 
that something be done to avert the danger. They 
were afraid that blood would be shed. They besought 
the Mayor to stop the meeting, with the result as stated 
above. I went from the Mayor s office to the house of 
Rev. Dr. William H. Furness, on Pine street, where, in 
the meantime, Mr. Curtis had arrived. He had not 
heard anything as yet of the impending trouble. While 
we were talking a gentleman rang the door-bell. He 
was a well-known and very estimable citizen. He said 
that he had just come from the office of the Mayor, to 
whom he had made a personal though unavailing appeal 
to prevent the meeting, for fear that there would be 
bloodshed ; and now he had come to make a personal 
appeal to Mr. Curtis himself in the interest of safety 
and humanity. Mr. Curtis asked me what I had to say 
in the matter, as I represented those who had wished 

124 Letters, 1853-1868 

him to come here to lecture, and to whom he was 
responsible. I told him that while I certainly did not 
want him to go to that hall without knowing what he 
was doing, and I regretted that we were confronted 
with this danger, I saw no way out of it except to face 
it without shrinking. Dr. Furness said : l If it costs the 
lives of all of us we ought to go on. Mr. Curtis 
acquiesced, and so it was decided. 


" Quite a party of us left Dr. Furness s house 
together a little before the time for the lecture. We 
walked from Pine street up Thirteenth, and went into 
National Hall from the little street in the rear. There 
was a terrible noise in Market street and a great crowd. 
Mayor Henry had 600 armed policemen posted in front 
of the hall and within it. A passageway was kept clear 
for people who wished to enter. They came in great 
numbers. It was surprising, the pluck they displayed. 
After entering by the back way we sat for a while in a 
little room behind the platform. Chief of Police Ruggles 
was there, and he took me downstairs and showed me 
the array of police. It looked to me more like war than 
anything I had yet seen. Every policeman had a loaded 
revolver. I felt the greatest confidence in the outcome. 
I felt that free speech would be vindicated. Pretty soon 
we marched in upon the platform. The sight was some 
thing I can never forget. The Mayor had ordered that 
the Anti-Slavery Fair, which was being held in Concert 

Gen I Wm. J. Palmer 125 

Hall, on Chestnut street, should be closed for the even 
ing, in order that all the available police not already on 
guard could be kept in readiness for service at National 
Hall, if needed. This order also swelled our audience. 
Among the noted persons present were James and Lu- 
cretia Mott, Mary Grew, Charles Wise, Henry C. Davis, 
Rev. William H. Furness, D. D., and Mrs. Furness, 
Robert Purvis, Dr. John D. Griscom and Mrs. Gris- 
com, Clement M. Biddle, Edward M. Davis, Caleb 
Clothier, Daniel Neall, Warner Justice and his wife, 
Theodore Justice, Abby Kimber, Sarah Pugh, William 
Still, James Miller McKim and George A. Coffey, Dis 
trict Attorney. 

"George William Curtis had walked to the hall, with 
Mrs. William H. Furness leaning on his arm. A self- 
constituted bodyguard of young men kept close to him 
all the way and throughout the meeting. Many have 
since become prominent in public affairs. Those whom 
I remember were William J. Palmer, Clement A. 
Griscom, James C. Parrish, William W. Justice, 
Edmund Lewis, Frank L. Neall, Henry C. Davis and 
the Steel brothers, Edward T., William and Henry M. 

" Other persons than the police were prepared to 
give an account of themselves if free speech had been 
seriously retarded or the lives of law-abiding citizens 
had been assailed. Mr. Coffey, the District Attorney, 
sat on the platform with a loaded revolver in his pocket. 
1 remember him saying on that day : There will be 
hundreds of armed men in the streets to-night, ready 

126 Letters, 1853-1868 

to back the posse comitatus in behalf of free speech. 
Judge Kelley had a billy, or small cudgel, up his sleeve. 
It is now in my possession. 


u In introducing Mr. Curtis, Judge Kelley gave his 
listeners to understand that free speech would be vin 
dicated, and that the orator of the evening would be 
protected. He further said (the words are securely 
graven in my memory) : 

It is my privilege to introduce to you my friend, 
George William Curtis, who is here this evening in pur 
suance of an engagement made more than three months 
ago, to present to you his views the views of an accom 
plished scholar, a polished gentleman and, withal, a great 
hearted lover of his race and kind upon the subject which 
God is pressing closer and closer upon us every day of our 
lives the great question of slavery. 

" Mr. Curtis did not speak as long as he would have 
done, perhaps, if disorder had not been so rampant. His 
lecture lasted a little less than an hour. It was an hour 
of menace, noise and confusion. The building would 
have been torn inside out and burned to the ground if 
it had not been for the police. The mob on Market 
street made several charges upon the entrance, but the 
police charged them in turn and kept them out. Brick 
bats were thrown through the side windows of the hall. 
A bottle of vitriol was also thrown, and the sight of one 
person was destroyed by its contents. The mob had its 
delegates in the auditorium, too. Two or three attempts 

Gen 1 1 Wm. J. Palmer i 27 

were made to stop the lecture. Rough -looking men 
jumped upon the benches and gave cheers for the 
Union, to drown the voice of the lecturer. The police 
rushed at them, seized them and carried them out 
through a doorway under the platform. Robert E. 
Randall, brother of Samuel J. Randall, who became 
Speaker of the National House of Representatives, was 
one of the ringleaders, and was arrested. 


u Underneath the hall was a wholesale flour store, 
into which freight cars were run for the purpose of 
unloading. The prisoners were taken down into this 
store and were locked up in an empty freight car. 
Their confederates in the auditorium and in the street 
were then informed that if the building was fired the 
prisoners would be sure to be burned to death. To 
show how tense was the suspense of those on the plat 
form while the lecture was in progress, I will mention a 
little incident. My associate in the management of the 
course of lectures, William J. Palmer, did not know 
Mr. Henry by sight. At one stage of the tumult, the 
Mayor appeared suddenly beside Mr. Curtis, as he stood 
near the edge of the platform, and made an appeal to 
the audience for order. Mr. Palmer leaned over to me 
and asked : l Who is that man ? He afterwards told 
me that, supposing at first Mayor Henry was an accom 
plice of the mob, he came very near seizing him from 
behind and pushing him ofF the platform. 

128 Letters, 1853-1868 

u In spite of the menacing interruptions the lecture 
was delivered, and was heard, and free speech was 

Almost one year afterwards to a day, George William 
Curtis was again invited to speak in Philadelphia. But 
Lincoln had meanwhile been elected President, the 
secession agitation in the South had reached its highest 
pitch, and the anti-slavery advocates in the North were 
held by many thousands to be directly responsible for 
the great troubles which threatened the nation. The 
condition of public sentiment in Philadelphia was more 
dangerous even than it had been immediately after the 
execution of John Brown. The Mayor was strongly 
opposed to the delivery of the lecture, and Mr. Andrews, 
the lessee of Concert Hall, refused to allow its use for 
that purpose. 

In connection with the above reminiscences and as 
an instance of the whirligig of time, it may be inter 
esting to observe that during the past week the Hon. 
Grover Cleveland, twice elected President by the Demo 
cratic party, presided at a meeting in Philadelphia held 
in behalf of an African industrial school, and was pre 
sented to the audience by the author of these reminis 
cences, Mr. Isaac H. Clothier. 


Since this volume was issued, it has 
been ascertained that the author of the 
lines on Lincoln was Tom Taylor, a writer 
for " Punch," and subsequently its well - 
known editor. 

The lines were included in " Parnassus," 
a collection of poems published in 1876, 
compiled by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and 
also in Stedman s Victorian collection pub 
lished in 1895. 




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