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Full text of "War letters of William Thompson Lusk, captain, assistant adjutant-general, United States Volunteers 1861-1863, afterward M.D., LL. D"

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WAR LETTERS 

OF 

WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 



i 




CArrAiN WrLLiAM TH0MP30I 






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Capxai': 

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MCM-Vi 



WAR. LETTERS 

WiilliamThomps(Mi Lusk. 

Captain^ Assistant AdjuXant-C^ierwrai^ 
United States Volunteers 

i8bi— i8b3 
Aftenoard MJ).,LL.D. 




NcTV York 

PRIVATELY PRINTED 
MCMXI 






COPYRIGHT, 1911. BY 
WILLIAM CHITTENDEN LUSK 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 



" I believe that .... the next generation will be better when they 
hear the story of the present. And another generation still, when the 
dimness of time shall have enhanced the romance, will dearly love to 
hear the tale of the Great Rebellion . . . . " p. 243. 

*^ loving our country better, for having proved that it was 

so dear that we were willing even to give up our life for its preserva- 
tion." p. 92. 

" But living, or fallen among the chosen, I trust if the tidings of vic- 
tory be heard, all who love me will wear their gayest colors and cheeriest 
smiles, in the joy at the success of the cause in which the loved one 
rejoiced to risk his all. With such parting words I can go without a 
tremor into battle, and fear nothing where God ruleth Supreme." p. 272 



« 



It is enough to do one's duty and let Providence provide." p. 243. 



"... we know at least that Providence doeth all things well, if not 
exactly as man would have it." p. 262. 

"Let us hope for the best in all things then, and believe that in all 
things, if we seek, we may always find a best." p. 244. 






)54 




\ 



PREFATORY NOTES 

William Thompson Lusk, M.D., LL.D., was the son 
of Sylvester Graham and Elizabeth Freeman (nee Adams) 
Lusk; grandson of Sylvester and Sarah (nee King) Lusk, 
of Enfield, Conn., and of Richard and Mary Rebecca 
(nee Turville) Adams of Norwich, Conn. Richard Adams 
and his wife were both natives of Essequibo, British 
Guiana. 

His great-great-grandfather, John Lusk, was born in 
Scotland, whence he emigrated to the North of Ire- 
land, and thence to this country, settling at Wethers- 
field, Conn. He died at Newington in the township of 
Wethersfield in 1788 at the age of eighty-three years. 
His origin is obscure. 

William T. Lusk's great-great-grandfather on his 
mother's side was Richard Adams, who was born in 
England between 1690 and 1720 and settled in South 
America. 

His father (b. 1805, d. 1840) was a New York merchant 
of the house of Lusk, Lathrop & Co. His mother was 
born in 1814 and died in 1875. 

The familiar references to people in these letters have 
the following interpretations: Cousin Lou is Mrs. Henry 
G. Thompson; Uncle John is John Adams, the brother 
of William T. Lusk's mother; Uncle Phelps is Isaac N. 
Phelps, and Aunt Maria (nee Lusk) is his wife; Walter is 
William Walter Phelps; Hall is the Rev. William K. 
Hall, later of Newburg, New York; Horace is Horace 
Barnard, brother of Mrs. Henry G. Thompson. 

Vll 




viii PREFATORY NOTES 

The historical notes of this volume were collected by 
Anna H. Lusk. 

Mr. Edward L. Burlingame gave valued advice in 
the editing. 

Mr. O. G. Mason, for forty-two years the photog- 
rapher at Bellevue Hospital, skilfully revived much of 
the former intensity of those photographs used for repro- 
duction, that were faded and worn by time. 

The books from which the references and maps were 
taken are the following: 

"The Rebellion Record," edited by Frank Moore, published by 
G. P. Putnam, New York. 

"The 79th Highlanders New York Volunteers in the War of the 
Rebellion," by William Todd. Press of Brandow, Barton & Co., Al- 
bany, New York, 1886. 

"The Life of Isaac Ingalls Stevens," by his son Hazard Stevens, 
published by Houghton, Mifflin & Co., Boston and New York. The 
Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1900. 

"Antietam and Fredericksburg," by Francis Winthrop Palfrey, pub- 
lished by Chas. Scribner's Sons, New York, 1882. 

"Letters of a Family during the War for the Union," printed for 
private distribution. Copyright 1899, by Georgeanna Woolsey Bacon 
and Eliza Woolsey Howland. 

"The Memorial History of the City of New York," edited by Jas. 
Grant Wilson, published by The New York History Co., 1893. 

"The War of the Rebellion," prepared under the direction of the 
Secretary of War by Bvt. Lieut.-Col. Robert N. Scott, Third U. S. 
Artillery. Published at Government Printing Office, Washington, 1882. 

"The Medical and Surgical History of the War of the Rebellion," 
prepared, in accordance with acts of Congress, under the direction of 
Surgeon-General Joseph E. Barnes, U. S. Army. Part First. Medical. 
Published at Government Printing Office, Washington, Second Issue, 
1879. 



CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Prefatory Notes vii 

Introduction i 

Memorials of William Thompson Lusk, M.D., LL.D. . . 5 

William T. Lusk. An Editorial from The Brooklyn Eagle by 
Harry S. Kingsley 7 

Memorial Notice of The Military Order of The Loyal Legion 
of the United States 9 

Address in Memory of William Thompson Lusk, M.D., LL.D. 
By Dr. A. Alexander Smith 13 

Memoir of William Thompson Lusk, M.D. By Austin Flint, 
M.D 21 

In Memoriam. William Thompson Lusk, M.D., LL.D. By 

Henry C. Coe, M.D 25 

Valedictory Address of William Thompson Lusk on His 
Graduation from the Bellevue Hospital Medical 

College, 1864 35 

War Letters of William Thompson Lusk, Captain, Assistant 
Adjutant-General, United States Volunteers, 1861- 
1863 ........... 47 

William T. Lusk joins the 79th Highland Regiment, New York 
Volunteers, June, 1861 47 

Col. W. T. Sherman made brigade commander, and Brigadier- 
General Daniel Tyler, commander of the division, about July 
12, 1861 51 

Skirmish of Blackburn's Ford, July 18, 1861 5i> 54 

First Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861. Death of Col. Cameron 55, 60 

Transfer of the 79th Highlanders from Colonel W. T. Sher- 
man's brigade to that of General Mansfield .68 

Appointment of Gov. Isaac L Stevens Colonel of the 79th High- 
landers 70 

The Mutiny in the 79th Regiment, Aug. 14, 1861 ... 72, 76 

Reconnoissance at Lewinsville, Sept. 11, 1861. Restoration of 
Colors to the Highlanders. Colonel Stevens appointed Brig- 
adier-General 85 

The Port Royal Expedition under the command of General 
Thos. W. Sherman, started from Hampton Roads, Oct. 29, 
1861 89, 94 

ix 




CONTENTS 

PAGE 

Naval Engagement at Port Royal under the command of Com- 
modore Saml. F. Dupont, Nov. 7, 1861 95 

The Occupation of Beaufort, Dec. 9, 1861 107 

Action at Port Royal Ferry, Jan. i, 1862 115 

Appointment of Col. Addison Famsworth Colonel of the High- 
landers 115 

General Thos. W. Sherman superseded by Major-General 
David Hunter and Brigadier-General H. W. Benham, April 

8, 1862 132, 143 

The Fall of Fort Pulaski, April 11, 1862 .... 136, 141, 143 
Battle of Secessionville on James Island, June 16, 1862 153, 156, 157 
The 79th Highlanders sail for Fortress Monroe, and join Burn- 
side's Expedition at Newport News 163, 166 

The Reinforcement of Pope by Bumside's Troops .... 174 
Second Battle of Bull Run, Aug. 28, 29, and 30, 1862 . . . 182 
Battle of Chantilly, Sept. i, 1862. Death of Genl. Stevens . 180, 185 

The Reinstatement of McClellan 202 

Battle of South Mountain, Sept. 4, 1862 197, 203 

Battle of Sharpsburg or Antietam, Sept. 17, 1862 . 199, 205 

McClellan succeeded by Bumside 228 

Letters relating to efforts made to secure for Capt. Lusk the 
Commission of Major in the 79th Regiment, N. Y. Volun- 
teers . . 218,219,233,235,236,238,251 

Battle of Fredericksburg, Dec. 13, 1862 244, 249 

The "Mud Campaign." Bumside succeeded by Hooker . 268 
Letters relating to the appointment of Capt. Lusk as Lieutenant- 
Colonel of the Blair Light Infantry 276, 280 

The Return of Lieutenant-Colonel Lusk to the scene of con- 
flict (Harper's Ferry), serving as Assistant Adjutant-General 

on General Daniel Tyler's staff 281, 284 

Letter written after the Battle of Gettysburg, July i, 2, and 3, 

1863, and the Surrender of Vicksburg, July 4, 1863 . . 284 

The Draft Riots in New York City, July 11, 12, and 13, 
1863 287, 288, 290 



' ft 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

PAGE 

Captain William Thompson Lusk, Assistant Adjutant- 
General, U. S. Volunteers Frontispiece 

William Thompson Lusk, M.D., LL.D 7 

William Thompson Lusk 35 

Elizabeth Freeman (Adams) Lusk, Mother of W. T. Lusk 47 

Brigadier-General Daniel Tyler 71 

William Thompson Lusk at the Age of Seven Years . . 89 

Brigadier-General Isaac L Stevens 122 

General Isaac I. Stevens and His Staff 137 

Captain Lusk in His " Old Clothes." Taken by the " * Cheap 

John' Style of Man" 166 

House at Norwich, Conn., in which William T. Lusk was 

born. The Home of His Childhood ....... 175 

Mary Hartwell Chittenden whom W. T. Lusk Married 

May 4, 1864 262 

MAPS 

Map of Military Operations in N.E. Virginia, Maryland, 

AND PeNNYSYLVANIA 49 

Port Royal and Sea Islands of South Carolina ... 95 




1 . 



INTRODUCTION 

The letters of this volume portray in the life of William 
Thompson Lusk, his part as the patriot. 

During his later years Dr. Lusk referred little to his 
army experiences, and the discovery of these letters sev- 
eral years after his death, revealed a part of his career 
hitherto little realized by those who had known him more 
as the skilful physician, the wise counsellor, the generous 
and sympathetic friend, the boon companion. The same 
enthusiasm, the same high regard for duty, the same desire 
to be helpful to others, the same inconsideration for self, 
which dominated his professional life, are depicted in his 
career as the young soldier, ever at the front, fighting for 
his country. His heroism on the battle-field forms a 
characteristic picture equally true to every phase of his 
subsequent career. 

These letters have been put into print, that a story of 
heroism might be handed down, that the history of the 
War of the Rebellion might be embellished by descrip- 
tions written at the scene of the great drama by one of 
the performers, and that a fuller insight might be given 
to his friends into the rare personality of this man who, 
no matter how well they might have thought they knew 
him, must have been known to them only in part. 

The letters are the writings of a young man between 
the ages of twenty-three and twenty-five years. Threaded 
through them is a sturdy philosophy which puts forward 
the bright side of life to face all obstacles. Certain refer- 



2 INTRODUCTION 

ences to public characters which do not coincide with 
later-date views of the individuals, will be recognized as 
expressions which were true to local feeling during times 
when the nation was in peril and opinions ran hot and 
strong. To the soldierly courage of his regiment, in a 
letter written just before the battle of Fredericksburg, 
Captain Lusk pays his tribute in the following words: 
"Think of the pride I shall feel as my own Regiment 
receives its welcome from the joyous citizens of New York 
— a welcome deserved by its conduct on many fields." 



One of Dr. Lusk*s happy precepts was, never to insist 
on things being done which, as he said, "made no differ- 
ence." His advice was generally given as a suggestion 
which he would not reiterate, but his suggestions carried 
great weight and were generally accepted unequivocally 
as law. His patients idolized him. Numbers of them 
after his death uttered words like these: "I know he 
was more to me than he could have been to any one else." 
Thus each family whom he attended had grown to depend 
on his wisdom and cheer, and when he was taken away 
his place could not be filled. When, with the develop- 
ment of modern surgery, he was acquiring a large opera- 
tive gynecological practice, and the question arose what 
part of his professional work must be curtailed to give 
him time for the surgery, one thing he was very sure of 
was, that he would never give up his family practice, 
since that would deprive him of the opportunity of seeing 
familiarly the many friends who were his patients, which 
was one of his particular pleasures in life. One of his 



J 



\ 



INTRODUCTION 3 

patients once said, '' He seemed constantly at the bedside 
of my sick child, yet later I met a friend who told me that 
at this very period of time Dr. Lusk was constantly at 
the bedside of his child as well." The physical effort 
which he put into the discharge of his professional duties 
was always very great. He has been known, after two 
consecutive nights of work, to attend to his affairs on the 
third day without an intervening rest. One night, a year 
or two before he died, worn with great fatigue, he was 
called early from his bed to try and save a woman's life. 
He responded promptly, and as he went down stairs he 
was heard to say wearily to himself, **Oh! I am so tired." 
In the morning he remarked with a quiet smile, " It was 
all worth while. The patient lives." 

He was an inveterate reader. Whenever he had an 
idle moment he would pick up something to read. He 
accomplished much literary work while driving around 
in his coupe. Later he got an open carriage and would 
drive his horses himself so that he should not read so 
much. 

One particular charm was his never failing interest in 
the doings of young people, in whose society he always 
took a keen enjoyment. He never outgrew his ability 
to comprehend the standpoint of youth. Professionally, 
he never seemed happier than when he was helping along 
some of the younger men. 

He was a good story-teller, and quick to see and enjoy 
fun wherever it could be found, and so it was that he was 
his children's boon companion. 

He was a keen lover of nature, and especially enjoyed 
the color in nature. In the country he always liked a 
view with water near by for its color contrast. During 
one summer spent at Dives on the Normandy coast, he 



4 INTRODUCTION 

could frequently be found at the sunset hour over at 
Cabourg leaning on the sea-wall, looking out over the 
ocean and watching the play of colors in the western 
sky. Just before his death he was planning a house in 
the country, beside a lake among beautiful hills, and 
around the house there was to be a garden of holly- 
hocks. He once remarked: "Nature never looked so 
beautiful as the morning before a battle." 

W. C. L. 

47 East -^^th Street. 



MEMORIALS OF 

WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

M.D., LL.D. 

Captain^ Assistant Adjutant-General, United States Volunteers^ 

1861-1863 




WILl i 






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■"i tif iJl. Wiih-JM' ' . i 'i^'f. '.t -^ 

fci. . i :iM. i^f mariv i.. frierKls. aiul a nai'^^* \ampk* 
fii '"t s;.if-:^acrihcing sj-. ^f the Ivts* n.tMiil i. : (f ''r- 
callip:.- vliiih Dr. Lusk !»• ri-nL:;t!i« .ud .i;» ' .:,: . •.!'.. I 

He wure i.inii>clf' clown !vv^ [ i. ,! anJ t;in(->: v\ : . 
a plivsiciaii lmhI a suigcon, and . -* -war.lovl .i: ; ' ' . 

ertor*" as a inetlical instriu.ro-. /\i -^i svarnt'k! : • • 

iTv»nirii»w- ('t dccieas'in^ vi^or ro \>\.- » - !;. 

C'-J.w", i.'i ijrul U> give to hiipsolr i!i.  
;?'..•  •. ■>! :li he hafl pia'^t'lv iri.-' 

•!•* i',^:V ' '^Mit of a seiise •>; nv i i* . 
«!l"-. rf> »vliiv, .".. fell a \oiiiahlv iM.t:'^ 
)\^< %\j.s ail :*«!iri.r.ib!o rarcei, fi'i" ir ■-• • 
Hi:* .' .:s a leiijVn .srh )larslii;», trr 
spi:n" in ^er^u•e t-^r rhf luce. His '.^. .jn i m.^Mc en* 
l>c^;au^^. i* v i.iir r.-it to heal, ro sa^* imi '•• c«.fMff)Jt. H-- 
' was a inaorjihtxnc iinior: *'){ rliarai.ter ami o*' capacity, 



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MEMORIALS OF 
WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK, M.D., LL.D. 

Captain^ Assistant Adjutant-Generalf United States Volunteers^ 

1861-1863 



WILLIAM T. LUSK 

[Editorial from The Brooklyn EagUy written by Harry S, Kingsley,] 

The sudden death of Dr. William T. Lusk of New 
York by apoplexy, is a decided loss to the medical pro- 
fession, a distinct weakening of the ranks of good citizen- 
ship, a lamentable wounding of the hearts of not a few 
kindred and of many more friends, and a pathetic example 
of the self-sacrificing spirit of the best members of the 
calling which Dr. Lusk both strengthened and adorned. 
He wore himself down by faithful and earnest work as 
a physician and a surgeon, and by unrewarded and noble 
effort as a medical instructor. Although warned by the 
monitions of decreasing vigor to be generous to his own 
constitution and to give to himself that right of rest and 
recreation which he had grandly earned, he withstood 
the suggestion out of a sense of moral and professional 
duty to which he fell a veritable martyr. 

His was an admirable career, for it was lived for others. 
His was a benign scholarship, for it was acquired and 
spent in service for the race. His was a noble energy, 
because it went out to heal, to save and to comfort. His 
was a magnificent union of character and of capacity, 

7 



8 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

of genius and of experience, for it was devoted to the re- 
duction of pain, to the abatement of ills and to the preser- 
vation of life. Of him it can be said reverently that he 
saved others and himself he would not save. The Great 
Physician, the title by which the Founder of Christianity 
is so often and so tenderiy defined, is served in this world 
by thousands in His image who grandly work in His 
spirit. Few of His followers ever served Him, in serving 
humanity, better than did William T. Lusk, and he who 
would not permit to himself the respite which he should 
have taken here, has gone to a waiting reward where 
sickness and sorrow, which he did so much to alleviate 
and to diminish, are unknown. 



MEMORIAL NOTICE OF THE MILITARY ORDER 

OF THE LOYAL LEGION OF THE UNITED 

STATES 

New York, 
August 2d, 1897. 

At a stated meeting of this Commandery held at Del- 
monico's, corner of Fifth Avenue and Twenty-sixth Street, 
the following was adopted as the report of the Committee 
appointed to draft resolutions relative to Companion 
Captain William Thompson Lusk, Assistant Adjutant- 
General, United States Volunteers (Insignia No. 4,913), 
who died at New York, N. Y., June 12, 1897, aged fifty- 
nine years. 

Report 

Companion Captain William Thompson Lusk was 
born in Norwich, Conn., on May 23, 1838, and died in 
this city, June 12, 1897. As a boy he attended a private 
military school in New Haven, and entered Yale College 
in the class of '59, but left at the close of the Freshman 
year as he was strongly attracted to the study of chemistry 
and physiology, and there was little opportunity for pur- 
suing these studies except in the regular medical course. 
He devoted two years to the study of medicine in Heidel- 
berg and one year in Berlin. The War of the Rebellion 
called him home. Joining the 79th Regiment, New 
York Volunteers, Infantry, in June, 1861, he took part 
in the battle of the first Bull Run, though not mustered 

9 



10 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

into the service. He was commissioned Second Lieuten- 
ant in the same regiment September 19, 1 861, with rank 
from August 3; Captain February 24, 1862, with 
rank from January 19, 1862. Resigned February 28, 
1863, to take command of a regiment being raised in New 
York City, at the request of Governor Morgan. Before 
the regiment was recruited he joined the staff of General 
Daniel Tyler, and was commissioned Assistant Adjutant- 
General with the rank of Captain June 26, 1863. Re- 
signed September 17, 1863. 

While in the service of the United States he took part 
in the battles of Blackburn's Ford, First Bull Run, Port 
Royal, Secessionville-on-James Island, Second Bull Run, 
Chantilly, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, 
and a multitude of minor engagements. 

Coming to New York, he matriculated at the Bellevue 
Hospital Medical College, and on his graduation the 
following year he was valedictorian of his class. He de- 
voted one year more to medical studies in Edinburgh 
and Paris, Vienna and Prague. In 1866 he settled in 
New York as assistant to Dr. Barker, and in 1869 was 
appointed professor in physiology at the Long Island 
College Hospital. This association continued for two 
years, when he received an invitation from Dr. Oliver 
Wendell Holmes to lecture on physiology before the 
Harvard Medical School, and passed the winter of 1871 
in Boston lecturing with great success. The chair of 
obstetrics in the Bellevue School, in New York, having 
become vacant through the death of Dr. George T. Elliot, 
the position was offered to and accepted by him, and he 
also became visiting physician at the Bellevue Hospital. 

In 1882 he published his celebrated work "The Science 
and Art of Midwifery.^' It had an immediate and im- 



MEMORIALS ii 

mense sale in England and America, and made Dr. Lusk 
famous, the work passing through four editions and being 
translated into several languages. * Dr. Lusk was for a 
time editor of the New York Medical Journaly and in 
that and other periodicals published many of his earlier 
articles. 

His personality was a prominent and popular feature 
of the college (Bellevue) to which he devoted the best 
years of his medical life, and his genial, unassuming 
manner endeared him to many friends throughout this 
country and Europe. 

Among the offices held by him were President of the 
Faculty and Professor of Obstetrics and of the Diseases 
of Women and Children in Bellevue Medical College, 
Consulting Physician to the Maternity Hospital and to 
the Foundling Asylum, Visiting Physician to the Emer- 
gency Hospital, Gynecologist to the Bellevue and St. 
Vincent's Hospitals, Honorary Fellow of the Edinb.urgh 
and London Obstetrical Societies, Corresponding Fellow 
of the Obstetrical Societies of Paris and Leipsic and the 
Paris Academy of Medicine, President of the American 
Gynecological Society, President of the New York State 
Medical Association, and Vice-President of the New York 
Obstetrical Society. 

He joined this Commandery October 5, 1886, and 
George Washington Post, No. 103, Dept. New York, 
G. A. R., March 17, 1887. 

This committee has the honor to submit the following 
resolution, and respectfully recommend its adoption: 

Resolvedy That the New York Commandery of the 
Loyal Legion of the United States receives the notice 
of the death of Dr. William Thompson Lusk with un- 
feigned regret, and with a thorough realization of the 




12 



WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 



Committee. 



loss to the medical profession, to the community, and 
to this Commandery. 

Edward Haight, 

Brevet LieutenanuColonel, late United 
States Army. 
Andrew D. Baird, 

Major, United States Volunteers. 
Robert Gair, 

Capt.y United States Volunteers. 

By order of 

Major-General Grenville M. Dodge, 

United States Volunteers, Commander. 

A. Noel Blakeman, 
Acting Assistant Paymaster, late United States 

Navy, Recorder. 



J A 



ADDRESS IN MEMORY OF WILLIAM 
THOMPSON LUSK, M.D., LL.D. 

Delivered before the New York Academy of Medicine, Nov. i8, 

1897, BY Dr. a. Alexander Smith 

Dr. William Thompson Lusk was born May 23, 1838, 
at Norwich, Connecticut. He spent his boyhood days at 
Norwich, attending the Rev. Albert Spooner's school 
with a view to preparation for Yale College. His uncle 
examined him in Latin, and told him that although well 
taught it was by the old method; and that if he tried to 
enter Yale College on that preparation he would be 
rejected. Accordingly leaving Norwich in the winter 
of 1853-54, he attended Anthon's Grammar School in 
Murray Street, New York City, residing in the family of 
Dr. and Mrs. Fordyce Barker, to the latter of whom he 
was related by marriage. 

The winter of 1854-55 he was sent by his mother to 
Russell's Military School in New Haven, because of 
"the great advantage he will derive from thorough physi- 
cal training in the gymnasium." 

In 1855 he entered the Freshman class at Yale College, 
but remained only one year, leaving college because of 
difficulty with his eyes. Later, in 1872, he was enrolled 
with his class by the action of the Corporation, and then 
received an honorary degree of A.M. Later still, in 
1894, Yale conferred on him the honorary degree of 
LL.D. 

For one year after leaving college he engaged in busi- 
ness, but his eyes continuing to trouble him, and having 

13 



14 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

no liking for business, in 1858 he went abroad to consult 
a distinguished oculist, Dr. Monoyer, at Geneva. He 
had become much interested, even in boyhood, in the 
study of chemistry and physiology, and after a short stay 
in Geneva, he went to Heidelberg and began the study 
of medicine, his interest in chemistry and physiology 
leading to such decision. 

He remained in Heidelberg two years, and one year in 
Berlin, coming home to America in 1861 to enter the army. 
Governor Buckingham of Connecticut offered him a 
position on his staff, but the young man wishing assured 
active and immediate service, enlisted as a private in 
the 79th Highlanders, New York Volunteers. His wish 
was soon gratified, for joining the regiment in June, 
1861, he took part in the battle of the First Bull Run, 
though not yet mustered into service. At this battle he 
was one of a group who carried the dead body of Colonel 
Cameron of the 79th Highlanders off the field, it being 
said of him on this occasion, that he walked backward 
from the enemy so that he might not be shot in the back 
if a bullet should strike him. 

He was commissioned Second Lieutenant in the 79th 
Regiment, September 19, 1861, with rank from August 3. 
He was commissoned Captain February 24, 1862, with 
rank from January 19. He resigned February 28, 1863, 
at the request of Governor Morgan, to take command 
of a regiment then recruiting in New York City. Before 
the regiment was filled he joined the staff of General 
Daniel Tyler, and was commissioned Assistant Adjutant- 
General with rank of Captain, June 26. 

While in the service of the United States, he took part 
in the battles of Blackburn's Ford, First Bull Run, Port 
Royal, Secessionville-on-James Island, Second Bull Run, 



MEMORIALS 15 

Chantilly, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, 
and many minor engagements. 

Of the battle of Manassas he writes : " I made the charge 
armed with a ram-rod which I had picked up on my 
way thither. I acknowledge that I found the work 
hotter than I anticipated.'* 

General Isaac I. Stevens in his official report of the 
battle of James Island, South Carolina, in June, 1862, 
writes: "My Assistant Adjutant-General was in all parts 
of the field carrying my orders and bringing me infor- 
mation, to the great exposure of his life, as was Aid, Cap- 
tain William T. Lusk." 

And at the battle of Antietam, in September, 1862, as 
Acting Assistant Adjutant-General of Colonel Christ's 
brigade, his name is recorded as among those mentioned 
for "gallant and meritorious conduct in the field, and for 
efficiency in their departments." 

He served as a staff officer on General Isaac I. Stevens's 
Staff for a considerable period of time preceding the 
latter's death in the summer of 1862. 

During the draft riots in New York City, in 1863, 
Captain Lusk commanded two companies of troops, and 
was stationed at Eighth Avenue and Twenty-Third 
Street. 

During his service in the army he had two horses shot 
under him, once had his belt shot off, and saw his 79th 
Highlander Regiment of one thousand men reduced to 
two hundred and thirty in number, yet himself never 
received a scratch. 

He resigned September 17, 1863, when his troops were 
sent into Delaware and put on the inactive list. After 
his resignation he came to New York and completed 
his medical course at the Bellevue Hospital Medical 




x6 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

College, graduating in 1864 (March 3), and was valedic- 
torian of his class. 

He went abroad in May, 1864, for further study, spend- 
ing four months in Edinburgh with Sir James Y. Simpson; 
six months in Paris, four months in Vienna with Carl 
Braun, and two months in Prague with Seifert. 

On his return from Europe in 1865, he went to reside 
in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where he became associated 
with Dr. Robert Hubbard from whom he claimed to have 
learned much of the art of how to practise medicine. 

In 1866 he came to New York and became associated 
with Dr. Fordyce Barker, which association continued 
until 1873. 

In 1869 he was made "Professor of Physiology and 
Microscopic Anatomy" in the Long Island College Hos- 
pital. This position he held until 1871. 

In the winter of 1870-71, at the request of Dr. Oliver 
Wendell Holmes, he delivered a course of lectures on 
physiology at the Harvard Medical School.* This course 
was very successful and he was led to expect an immedi- 
ate appointment to the chair. There was, however, a 
little delay, during which time he was offered the chair 
of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women and Children at 
the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, made vacant 
by the death of Dr. George T. Elliot. This latter he 
accepted at once, and a few hours later came the offer 
from Harvard, which, of course, was declined. Through 
this incident New York became his permanent resi- 
dence instead of Boston. 

He held the chair at Bellevue Hospital Medical Col- 

*Dr. Lusk was the first lecturer on physiology at the Harvard 
Medical School, who gave a course which was accompanied by 
experimental demonstrations. 



MEMORIALS 17 

lege from April 4, 1871, up to the time of his death, June 
12, 1897. 

In 1870 he was appointed Visiting Physician to the 
Nursery and Childs' Hospital. 

In 1 87 1 he was appointed Obstetric Surgeon to Bellevue 
Hospital. 

From 1 87 1 to 1873 he was co-editor with Dr. James B. 
Hunter, of the New Tork Medical Journal. 

From 1889 to 1897 he was President of the Faculty of 
the Bellevue Hospital Medical College. 

Other positions and titles he held or had held were: 
Consulting Physician to the Maternity Hospital and to 
the Foundling Asylum; Consulting Obstetrician to the 
Society of the Lying-in Hospital of the City of New York; 
Visiting Obstetrician to the Emergency Hospital; Gyne- 
cological Surgeon to St. Vincent's Hospital; President 
of the American Gynecological Society; Vice-President of 
the New York Obstetrical Society; President of the New 
York State Medical Association; Honorary President of 
the Obstetrical Section at the Berlin Medical Congress; 
Honorary Fellow of the Edinburgh and London Obstetri- 
cal Societies; Corresponding Fellow of the Obstetrical 
Societies of Paris and Leipsic; Corresponding Fellow of 
the Paris Academy of Medicine. 

He was also a member of The Military Order of the 
Loyal Legion of the United States with title of Captain, 
Assistant Adjutant-General, United States Volunteers. 

Dr. Lusk was the author of many papers on various med- 
ical subjects, chiefly on obstetrics and gynecology. He 
evinced his interest and training in physiology by occa- 
sional contributions on that subject. A paper on the 
"Histological Doctrines of Robin," a paper on "Urae- 
mia, a Common Cause of Death in Uterine Cancer," 



x8 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

and still another on "Origin of Diabetes with Some 
New Experiments Regarding the Glycogenic Function of 
the Liver," all attest this, and were published in the New 
Tork Medical Journal during the time he was one of the 
editors. 

A paper entitled: "Nature, Causes and Prevention of 
Puerperal Fever," read before the International Medical 
Congress in 1876, in Philadelphia, was one of the first 
in support of the germ theory of disease, which then 
created considerable interest. When Koch's paper ap- 
peared in 1882 on the isolation of the tubercle bacillus, 
Dr. Lusk accepted its conclusions enthusiastically, re- 
garding such conclusions as offering the only satisfactory 
scientific explanation of the origin and spread not only 
of tuberculosis, but also of many other diseases. 

The first edition of his monumental work "The Science 
and Art of Midwifery," appeared in 1882, and has gone 
through four editions. The last edition, published in 
1892, Dr. Lusk regarded as practically a new book, it 
having been largely rewritten. In 1895 he appended a 
chapter on symphysiotomy. It was his intention during 
the summer of 1897 to revise the book again and issue 
a fifth edition. 

The work has been translated into French, Italian, 
Spanish, and Arabic. 

When the book was about to be issued, the plan of it 
was submitted to an eminent obstetrician of New York, 
whose opinion was highly valued by both author and 
publisher, and whose criticism was that it would certainly 
fail of success unless the plan were changed. Dr. Lusk 
refused to change the plan and said : " It must go before 
the profession on its merits without such change." 

A few months after it was published, the writer of this 



I 



MEMORIALS 19 

address asked him as to the sale of it. His response was 
quite characteristic of his well known modesty: "As 
well, quite as well probably as it deserves, there are still 
four hundred copies unsold. I am desirous of issuing a 
second, and, as I think, a much improved edition." Within 
a few days on meeting him again, he said: "The second 
edition must come out at once; the publishers have just 
received an order from London for nine hundred copies." 

This work added greatly to his reputation both at home 
and abroad. While its trend is decidedly German, the 
clinical aspect of it is the result of New York practice. 

Dr. Lusk married May 4, 1864, Miss Mary Hartwell 
Chittenden, daughter of Mr. S. B. Chittenden, of Brook- 
lyn. She died in 1871. Of this marriage there were 
born five children, one of whom died in infancy. Two 
daughters and two sons survive. One son, Graham, is 
Professor of Physiology in the Medical Department of 
Yale University, and the other, William C, is a practicing 
physician in this city. 

He married again in 1876, Mrs. Matilda Thorn (nee 
Myer), who died in 1892. Of this marriage a daughter 
survives. 

Dr. Lusk's eminence as an author, a teacher, and a 
practitioner, made his name well known. His charming 
personality and his genial, hearty manner brought him 
many friends. Modest as to his own attainments, he 
was ever ready and cordial in his praise of the work of 
others. He was a loyal friend and a generous antagonist. 
He was sometimes impulsive but always just and magnani- 
mous. He was sincere, and unselfishly devoted to duty; 
qualities which always command respect and admiration. 
No efforts were too great for him when suffering called 
for his services; indeed he often worked for others to 



20 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

the detriment of his own health. He was ever ready 
to take responsibility when necessary, but he was always 
conservative in his judgment. With his colleagues in 
college work, he was always the affectionate and warm- 
hearted co-laborer, and intensely interested in it. 

He was the counsellor and friend to young men. Well 
might be applied to him the sentiment he expressed in 
the dedication of the first edition of his book, to Dr. 
Fordyce Barker, "Generosity toward the younger mem- 
bers of the profession." 



MEMOIR OF WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK, 

M.D.» 

BY AUSTIN FLINT, M.D., OF NEW YORK COUNTY 

William Thompson Lusk was born May 23, 1838, 
and died June 12, 1897. 

The death of a truly great and good physician, at the 
zenith of his fame and in the full development of his 
powers, is indeed a loss. On June 12, I saw Dr. Lusk, 
in full vigor and health, at work in his private hospital. 
An hour later, his gentle spirit had passed away, and his 
useful and laborious life was ended. 

From the time of his graduation in medicine in 1864 to 
the hour of his death, he had devoted his best energies 
to the study and advancement of the science of medicine. 
The history of his professional life has been written by 
himself. The thousands of physicians who had the bene- 
fit of his instruction will long hold him in grateful remem- 
brance; and the public institutions with which he was 
connected will long feel the influence of his wise counsels 
and faithful and disinterested work. His associates and 
personal friends may well say, '^we shall not look upon 
his like again.'* The honors which he received at home 
and abroad engendered no feeling of envy in the hearts 
of his friends and professional associates, but were re- 
garded as merited recognition of his valuable services 
to science and humanity. His sturdy honesty of purpose, 
with his delicate sense of honor and exquisite gentleness 

^Read at a meeting of the New York County Medical AstociatioD, Oct. i8, 1897. 

21 



22 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

of character and manner, impressed all with whom he 
came in contact; and his friends, as well as he himself, 
were as much astonished as grieved at any evidences of 
antagonism or ill-will, which few positive and fearless 
characters are fortunate enough to escape. 

The memory of Dr. Lusk should be peculiarly dear to 
the Fellows of this Association. When it was deemed 
wise by certain of us, in the interests of the whole pro- 
fession, to organize the State Medical Association in 
1884, Dr. Lusk was one of its Founders. In the ^ame 
year, he participated in the foundation of the County 
Association, and signed the articles of incorporation in 
1890. He was President of the State Association in 1889 
and contributed largely to its scientific proceedings as 
well as to the work of the County Association. In all 
discussions and controversies within the profession, when 
necessary. Dr. Lusk had the courage of his convictions, 
but without malice and with charity for all. He readily 
forgave every slight or injury, fancied or real. 

With Dr. Lusk*s brilliant public career since 1864, I 
am entirely familiar, and the life of his early manhood 
is consistent with the later character we knew and ad- 
mired. Having passed the three years previous to 1861 
in the study of medicine and the allied sciences in Heidel- 
berg and Berlin, his patriotism recalled him in the hour 
of the nation's peril, to enlist as a private in the 79th 
Highlanders, New York Volunteers, in 1861. He served 
as private, second lieutenant, captain, and assistant ad- 
jutant-general until late in 1863, and participated in 
many important engagements. I made his acquaintance 
when he was in command of a detachment in Gramercy 
Park during the draft riots of 1863. In 1863-64, he 
completed his medical education and was graduated at 



MEMORIALS 23 

the Bellevue Hospital Medical College. After gradua- 
tion, he studied in Edinburgh, Paris, Vienna, and Prague. 
He practiced medicine one year in Bridgeport, Conn., in 
connection with Dr. Hubbard. In 1866, he became a 
permanent resident of the city of New York. In 1867, 
he became my pupil and prepared himself to teach physi- 
ology, occupying the Chair of Physiology in the Long 
Island College Hospital, from 1868 to 187 1. In the year 
1870-71, he lectured on physiology in the Harvard Med- 
ical School, and at the close of that session, he was ap- 
pointed Professor of Obstetrics and Diseases of Women 
and Children in the Bellevue Hospital Medical College, 
which professorship he filled until the time of his death. 
Ih 1889, he was elected President of the Faculty. 

With all his great acquirements. Dr. Lusk was modest 
even to the point of diffidence. It may be said, perhaps, 
that this quality was so marked that the value of his 
instruction was not at first fully appreciated, but it was 
not long before he assumed great prominence as a public 
teacher. The same quality influenced the early part of 
his literary career. Although he had ably edited the 
New York Medical Journal^ in connection with Dr. 
James B. Hunter, from 1871 to 1873, ^"^ before writing 
his book on "Midwifery*' had published many valuable 
papers, he long hesitated to attempt the preparation of a 
systematic treatise. I urged him to write a text-book on 
obstetrics, with a persistence and insistence that prevailed 
at the end of two years. In 1881, he published his great 
work on the "Science and Art of Midwifery." This work 
immediately took its place as the best text-book on the 
subject in the English language. He labored on it 
faithfully to the time of his death, and improved and 
extended it in subsequent editions. It has had four 



24 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

American editions and has been translated into French, 
Italian, Spanish, and Arabic. 

The publication of this book, particularly of the later 
editions, niarked the culmination of the author's fame 
as a teacher and writer. Honors were heaped upon him. 
He received the degree of LL.D. from Yale University; 
he was elected Honorary Fellow of the Edinburgh and 
London Obstetrical Societies; Corresponding Fellow of the 
Obstetrical Societies of Paris and Leipsic; Correspond- 
ing Fellow of the Paris Academy of Medicine, etc. He 
was no less famous as a practitioner and was consulted 
largely in the city of New York and elsewhere. His 
frequent visits abroad, where he often read papers before 
learned societies, made his foreign friends acquainted 
with his charming personality. He was taken away in 
the height of his fame and prosperity. 

No eulogy of mine can add to the nobly earned and 
well deserved reputation of Dr. Lusk; but I esteem it a 
precious privilege to pay this tribute to his memory which 
lives in the hearts of his thousands of pupils and tens of 
thousands of readers. He was a true and reliable friend 
and had no enmities, a most accomplished physician, an 
original thinker and observer, a laborious and success- 
ful investigator and a gentleman in the highest sense of 
the word. 



IN MEMORIAM/ WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK, 

M.D., LL.D. 

BY HENRY C. COE, M.D., NEW YORK 

Soon after we parted for the summer an honored 
Fellow of our Society suddenly passed into the unknown. 
Death has singularly spared our company during the past 
decade, but when he rudely summoned one of our noblest 
and best, we felt that the breaking up of our goodly fellow- 
ship had indeed begun. The pathetic cry of the Litany 
was not answered, but who can say that it was not best ? 
His end was unostentatious, like his life. In the midst 
of restless activity, at the period of a well-rounded career, 
he went apart and fell asleep. To be spared the decay of 
mental and physical powers, to depart at the moment 
of victory — was not this the enviable lot of the father 
of the Olympian victor whom the ancient philosopher 
declared to be the happiest of men ? 

Others will utter more elaborate and fitting eulogies; 
be it our mournful, though pleasant, duty to offer a simple 
tribute to the memory of one who met with us here in 
the years that are gone, and whose gracious influence 
rests upon us as a benediction. I might speak eloquently 
of Dr. Lusk's international influence upon obstetric 
medicine, of his classical book, his numerous contribu- 
tions to current Uterature, of the impress which he left 
upon his students — but here, among those who knew 
him best, we think of him rather as the kindly associate, 
the fine type of the physician and gentleman, which, 

> Read before the New York Obstetrical Society, Oct. 19, 1897. 

as 



26 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

pray Heaven, may never become wholly extinct in this 
age of fierce competition, when it sometimes seems as if 
our noble profession were in danger of degenerating into 
a trade. 

Although it might seem more proper that one of his 
own contemporaries should perform this duty, there is 
a certain fitness in the tribute coming from us of a younger 
generation to whom he was at once teacher, example, 
and friend. If, in mystic faith of Swedenborg, the de- 
parted are still with us in spirit, sharing in our daily life, 
it would be most distasteful to him to hear words of 
fulsome flattery, who was himself so modest and retiring 
that, like the wise Athenian, he ever held that "he only 
knew that he knew nothing." I shall refer only to Dr. 
Lusk's relations to the Obstetrical Society. Our old 
volumes of Transactions furnish most interesting, nay 
even, inspiring reading. The list of founders far back 
in 1863 is a list of intellectual giants, of whom we may 
well be proud. To them Lusk was one of the young 
and rising men. Admitted to the Society in 1872, he 
was Vice-President the following year, and was elected 
President in 1879, when most of us were in college, or 
were just beginning the study of medicine. I have looked 
through all the transactions of the last quarter of a cen- 
tury and find abundant evidence of his mental activity 
and interest in the Society. His papers and clinical 
reports are marked by the same peculiarity, which was 
only accentuated in his later years — a disposition to 
publish unfavorable rather than successful results, when 
it seemed to him that they taught a valuable lesson. 

Promptness in acknowledging errors in diagnosis and 
technique, a tendency to criticize himself more severely 
than others would criticize him, an earnest desire to point 




MEMORIALS 27 

out the way by which his confreres could avoid his mistakes 
— this was the marked characteristic of all his public utter- 
ances. The modest, self-depreciating manner with which 
we were so familiar, increased with advancing age and 
experience. Quick to seize upon all that was good in 
new theories and surgical methods, he was preeminently 
conservative and allowed younger and bolder spirits to 
push ahead, while he waited and thoroughly tested the 
old ways before he abandoned them for the new. This 
mental attitude, which rendered him such a safe teacher, 
constituted him a sort of balance-wheel in many discus- 
sions in which advanced, or what then seemed heroic, 
methods were generally advocated. Whenever Lusk 
spoke, in his quiet, modest way, none of his hearers had 
any doubt that he was thoroughly in earnest, and that the 
sentiments which he expressed were those which influ- 
enced his daily work. So unobtrusive was his manner 
that even we who knew him so well often forgot that his 
words carried weight all over the world, and when uttered 
in foreign medical associations, were received as the dicta 
of a master. Thus has it ever been that "a prophet is 
not without honor save in his own country." 

We do not recall that Dr. Lusk ever sought to pose as 
an innovator, nor did he read a paper before this Society 
which advocated any new or startling procedure. He 
seemed to feel that his mission was to weigh carefully 
new facts and to compare them with the old, to warn 
against too sweeping generalizations, and the too ready 
adoption of radical methods. When he had occasion to 
introduce the personal pronoun it was always apolo- 
getically. His was the reverent agnosticism of true science. 
He had no sympathy with loud pretensions, nor did he 
seek to be "heard for his much speaking." Of late years 



28 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

he came but rarely to our meetings, and then always 
because he felt that he had some special message to 
deliver. 

It would be a great mistake to infer that because he 
was by nature, as well as by choice, conservative, Dr. 
Lusk was not fully abreast of modern surgery. I doubt 
if there is one here present who followed more closely the 
work of foreign operators, not in the library, but by 
actual attendance at their cHnics. His active, restless 
mind was like a sensitive photographic plate, which needed 
only an instant's exposure to the light of truth in order 
to retain a lasting impression. He was keenly alive to 
all that was transpiring in the medical world, and you will 
remember the deep interest which he manifested in the 
work of his younger brethren in this city. If a new or 
especially difficult operation was to be performed, Lusk 
was sure to be on hand. Such a man might be called 
"conservative," but his conservatism was the outgrowth 
of wide observation and experience; it was not a volun- 
tary mental stagnation, due to ignorance of the vast 
progress of modern surgery. 

We recall with mournful tenderness the kindly attitude 
of our lost friend in public debate. He was ever con- 
siderate of his opponent's feelings — a gentleman in the 
original interpretation of the word, with a fine sense of 
the fitness of things and a never-failing courtesy that 
disarmed all irritation. How these traits are remembered 
now, when he, alas! is only a memory. The keen, eager, 
kindly face, the earnest air, the low voice, never raised 
in harsh answer or biting criticism — these, with the bright 
smile of welcome, the warm hand-clasp, all are gone 
forever. 



<c 



MEMORIALS 29 

To lose him from our eager ken, 

To lose his thoughts, to ripeness grown, 

To lose his presence, are as when 
A richly-freighted ship goes down.'' 

As he was here, so we knew him in his work. He was 
too broad for petty rivalries and jealousies, too honest 
and consistent to swerve a hair's breadth from the straight 
course which he had marked out, either to win or to keep 
patients. If he thought that an operation was not indi- 
cated, no man, no financial consideration, could induce 
him to perform it. He might feel keenly the adverse 
criticism of his associates, but he adhered to his own 
standard of right. Professional honor was not an empty 
name to him, but an integral part of himself. Its influence 
pervaded his work in the consulting-room, at the hospital, 
wherever he came in contact with men and women. 

From this Society he went out to practise what he 
preached. We sometimes disagreed with him; some of 
us thought, perhaps, that he was a little old-fashioned, 
but we honored him for his consistency and recognized 
in him a true Bayard, sans peur et sans reproche. It 
would be pleasant to review our social relations with 
Dr. Lusk, to recall the many delightful qualities which 
rendered him so beloved, but I believe that every man who 
has lost a friend cherishes some memory of the departed 
which is peculiarly his own, and which it is not fitting 
to subject to cold analysis. It was good for us to have 
been with him, for none touched him in the press of life 
ever so slightly without perceiving the aroma shed only 
by the pure in heart. 

You remember the touching description of how the 
Doctor of the old school was borne to his last resting-place. 
"Surely no funeral is like unto that of a doctor for pathos," 



30 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

we read: but in the last splendid tribute paid to our 
friend by his professional brethren one felt that through 
the requiem ran a strain of triumphal music. And in 
after years it will be said of him, as was said of the first 
Napoleon: "Something great and good must have been 
in this man, something loving and kindly, that has kept 
his name so cherished in the popular memory and gained 
him such lasting reverence and affection." 

Sad indeed is the man who is remembered only for 
the books which he has written, the operations which 
he has performed, or the wealth which he has amassed 
during a long and successful professional career. But 
thrice happy he who, like our lost brother, leaves not 
only these evidences of a well-spent life, but a precious 
memory, cherished in the hearts of those made happier 
and better by his living. When we think of our illustrious 
dead our Society seems lifted to a higher plane. Surely 
we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. The 
superb Peaslee, the magnetic Sims, the genial Taylor, 
Barker*s kingly presence, and now the gentle spirit which 
has been absorbed into the Eternal Light. What a rich 
heritage is ours! How great is our inspiration to carry 
on the work which they began, with the same enthusiasm, 
the same zeal for pure truth ! Let us too see to it that no 
narrow personal aims, no petty dissensions prevent the 
fulfilment of this sacred duty. As, one by one, our elders 
turn aside to the wayside inn, let us cherish those who 
remain. They may seem old-fashioned or slow to adopt 
new ideas. But old fashions are often the best fashions, 
and many of our "new" ideas were conceived years 
before we re-discovered them. May no regrets be ours 
when we think after they have gone how little we appre- 
ciated them when they were still with us I 



MEMORIALS 31 

We offer our poor, imperfect tribute to the memory 
of one who lived among us so quietly and unostentatiously 
that few realized how rare and lovable was his character. 
Only two days before his death he uttered these prophetic 
words: "I do not care to have any resolutions offered 
about me after I am gone." It is in accordance with his 
last wish that I point you to the story of his life as 
his best eulogy. 

Note: On March 22, 1887, Dr. Lusk performed the second successful 
operation of Cesarean section in New York City, saving the lives of 
both mother and child, the first having been done in the year 1838. 
There had been in this country, prior to this time, but one other case 
where the mother as well as the child had survived (Dr. H. F.' Biggar, 
Cleveland, Ohio, Dec., 1886). In reponing (in 1888) three successful 
cases performed by himself within little more than a year. Dr. Lusk 
writes: "... it is my highest pleasure to acknowledge my obligations 
to Sanger, and to add my tribute to the glory he has justly won." 



l\ 



VALEDICTORY ADDRESS OF WILLIAM 

THOMPSON LUSK 

Billevut Hospital Medical College, 1864 



•■*■•■ _»  



• . « 



%1 




THOHPtOH Lu«H 



I » 



r 



r , .■ - 1 





L 



VALEDICTORY ADDRESS OF WILLIAM 
THOMPSON LUSK ON HIS GRADUATION 
FROM THE BELLEVUE HOSPITAL MEDICAL 
COLLEGE, 1864 

In entering upon a professional career there are few 
subjects that more nearly interest the neophyte than the 
way to achieve success. 

Now the successful physician may be sui generis. "I 
have done well," says Dr. RadcliiFe, "by bullying my 
patients." While Sir John Arbuthnot, tickling the ears 
of Queen Anne with courtly compliments, likewise does 
well, becoming the Queen's favorite physician. Possibly 
address without merit may be successful, the public be- 
ing the judges. But the lives of those most famous in 
our profession teach us another lesson. 

I take as a type case. Dr. Jenner, to whom the human 
race owes a debt of gratitude greater than was ever be- 
fore earned by any living man. He had no eccentricities 
— no peculiar personal qualities to win him favor — but 
he had the rarest habits of industry. Slowly and patiently 
we find him laboring at his life's work, knowing that 
nature only reveals her secrets little by little to such as 
unweariedly scrutinize her ways. Yet he was very quick 
to catch every thought dropped n his presence. It was 
in his student days that he first heard a young peasant 
woman, at the office of his preceptor, saying, " I cannot 
take the small-pox; I have had the cow-pox," which 
immediately set him to thinking. And gradually in his 

35 




36 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

mind the conception begins to assume the importance of 
a discovery. He communicates to one or two trusted 
friends the hopes and fears alternating in his bosom. He 
studies the subject of vaccination from every point of 
view. He goes on year after year, subjecting his theo- 
ries to new tests, and more searching methods of analy- 
sis. With the true scientific spirit he wishes to add facts 
to facts beyond the point of conviction, up to the exclusion 
of every possibility of error. Thus for twenty years he 
steadily pursues his investigations, and then, at length, 
offers to the world perfected his simple plan for control- 
ling the most frightful disease that ever cursed the human 
race. It is curious to read how the views he entertained 
were first received. The public of course was incredu- 
lous. I regret to say the profession was hardly less scep- 
tical. Ridicule was rampant. Dr. Jenner was painted 
riding on a cow. Children after vaccination were repre- 
sented as bellowing and running on all fours, while grown 
persons became shaggy with hair and the possessors of 
superfluous horns and tails. 

Dr. Jenner, conscious of being right, is tranquil under 
all this storm of ridicule, and still labors patiently on to 
accomplish the object nearest his heart, viz: to make the 
public and the profession aware of the magnitude of his 
discovery. At the present day among the valued treas- 
ures of the British Museum is the skin of the cow that 
furnished the first vaccine virus to Dr. Jenner, a prouder 
memorial of his greatness than the proudest inscription 
in Westminster Abbey. The boon conferred by him on 
humanity makes us wonder at the power for good to be 
derived from the labors of a single man. The work of 
Dr. Jenner will serve as a type-case to show what may 
prove the result of a well spent life of industry. He was 



VALEDICTORY 37 

able to say in his last moments^ "I do not wonder that 
men are grateful to me, but I am surprised that they are 
not grateful to God for making me an instrument of 
good." 

Next, the physician, to be successful, needs to cultivate 
tact, by which I mean intuitiveness of perception, fitting 
one to act before thought has had time to form, each 
individual sense being, in a measure, capable of a reason 
of its own. It is the exercise of this faculty, that con- 
stitutes the true Art of Medicine. It is not a natural 
gift, but, Sydenham tells us, "must be learned by use and 
experience." It includes all powers of observation, all 
acuteness, all quickness of apprehension, and holds them 
ready for duty at command the moment the foot crosses 
the threshold of the sick chamber. It derives fresh 
strength from each successive bedside. It will not be 
trammelled by routine. It guides nature in disease, and 
does not kill by over-officiousness. 

Only one thing more is lacking to make the good 
physician. Skilled he may be in the Art, pursuing it with 
a spirit of devotion, he still needs to be imbued with an 
earnest spirit of humanity, his heart never closing to the 
voice of sorrow. Avarice must not deafen his ears to 
the pleadings of poverty. The same courtly spirit, the 
same considerate regard governs the true physician, alike 
when the poorest patient appeals to his sense of pity 
and gratitude, or the sense of duty done is his only repay- 
ment, as when summoned to the bedside of those who 
cannot too bountifully reward the skill that affords relief 
from pain, or immunity from a life of suffering. Dr. 
Fothergill, who practised in London a century ago with 
unparalleled success, says, ** I follow my business because 
it is my duty, and I banish all thoughts of practising 



£ 



38 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

physic as a money-getting trade, with the same solicitude 
as I would the suggestions of vice or intemperance," 
and to him who practises in such a spirit, the old saying 
"Dat Galenus Opes" deserves to be true. 

The heart though habituated to scenes of sorrow needs 
not to grow callous. Cheselden, whose marvellous dex- 
terity, coolness and presence of mind never for an instant 
forsook him at the operating table, would grow sick only 
a few moments before, at the thought of the pain to be 
inflicted, this delicacy of feeling not hindering him in 
the performance of his professional duties, but serving 
rather as a stimulus quickening him to new acts of mercy. 

Only these three things I claim, industry, tact, and 
kindness, all capable of cultivation, are essential to the 
success of the young physician. We do not need to search 
through old records to verify this. Men still deserve and 
win success as in the days of Jenner. We owe gratitude 
to the living as well as to the dead. 

Let us turn for a moment to see how our science stands 
in the present. Science is progressive and to-day is better 
than yesterday. Men nowadays only say Credo to posi- 
tive demonstrable facts. Students of nature are every- 
where busy eliminating errors perpetuated by compilers 
of books. Mere names are no longer entitled to rever- 
ence. Time-honored theories are challenged, and the 
most precious traditions rejected if they do not accord 
with carefully conducted observations. Laws of disease 
are derived from bedside records. A flood of light has 
been shed upon our science by the study of the functions 
of health. The microscope helps us to solve many mys- 
teries. But we accept nothing that cannot be demon- 
strated by actual experiment guarded against all chances 
of error. Positivism rules absolute in science. Changes 



4 

I 



VALEDICTORY 39 

in the system to be taught necessarily revolutionize the 
system of teaching. Imaginary diagrams and symbols 
can no longer serve to illustrate mere fanciful hypothesis. 

In this new era, each student will have the testimony 
of his own senses; the contents of the Professor's note- 
book is of minor interest; and the fact is recognized that 
it is not right to send the young student into practice to 
whom the sick-bed is known only by report, and with 
naught but dogmas to govern him in the future exercise 
of the most sacred professional duties. The wise teacher 
would show from the bedside the varied forms of dis- 
ease, and how, from day to day, health is won back 
under the watchful care of the skilful physician. 

To meet the wants of students it was long sought to 
utilize the means afforded by the splendid public hospi- 
tals of the city. 

Four years ago the creation of a college equal to the 
progressive demands of science was a matter of experi- 
ment. Bellevue Hospital was selected as the site, and a 
system was projected for the more perfect employment 
of its clinical opportunities in the cause of medical edu- 
cation. To-night we bear our heartiest testimony to the 
success of the system adopted. Is it partiality if we claim 
that the Institution which has fitted us for our future 
duties, most nearly answers the students' necessities ? 

We gratefully acknowledge the value of our privilege 
and the extent of our indebtedness. 

At such a time as this, personal preferences or predi- 
lections have no place. Our thanks are offered to the 
entire body of the Faculty. Thanks to them as pioneers 
in a great movement in behalf of practical medicine. 
Thanks to them for the untiring zeal with which they have 
labored to anticipate our wants. Thanks for the cour- 




40 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

tesy with which they have encouraged us to intercourse. 
Thanks for the example they have set us at the bedside, 
teaching us the sacredness of suffering. And we part 
with them, I will not say with regret, the thought of self- 
dependence is too sweet, the feeling of self-reliance too 
strong for that, but we leave them carrying with us 
precious memories of their kindness to us in the days of 
our apprenticeship, and our heartiest wishes for the ever 
increasing prosperity of the Institution with which they 
are connected. Often in future practice, the familiar 
lessons they have taught us, recurring to our minds, will 
recall the familiar forms and faces, always awakening 
afresh a feeling of thankfulness toward those to whom we 
owe so much. 

To-morrow we go forth, each one his own way, eager to 
begin his professional life. Some to the Hospital, some to 
country homes. Many, and proudest of all, to serve under 
the National flag. But before we part, let us for a 
moment pause. Only a few weeks ago, ay, and even a 
few days only, others there were of our number not less 
eager than we, whose hopes were as bright, whose aspira- 
tions were pure and noble, and yet they have not answered 
to their names to-night For duty with them is done. For 
a moment let us linger upon their memories. When the 
term commenced in the pleasant autumn months, all of us 
can call to mind in our attendance at the Hospital, the quiet 
figure of Dr. Rowe. We remember, notwithstanding his 
unobtrusive ways, feeling the sense of his efficiency. 
Kindly he was to all, but not demonstrative. Rather one 
of those to make great sacrifices for others, than great pre- 
tentions of affections. The stream was deep, not a rip- 
pling shallow. With earnest ways and thoughts, with lofty 
ideals, and an overruling sense of duty, he had those quali- 



VALEDICTORY 41 

ties in a rare degree which most lend beauty to our profes- 
sion. I mean the ministering qualities, added to keenness 
of intellect. Hardly conscious of his own physical needs, 
he could take into exact account the sufferings of others. 
In his readiness to help another he hardly knew the mean- 
ing of self-sacrifice. Thus we find him never flinching 
at his post. Sickness pulls down others, but he only labors 
the more strenuously to supply their place. A comrade 
is dying of fever, and the air of his chamber is poisonous 
with contagion. He will watch at that bedside, he says. 
He will listen to no remonstrances, to no selfish words of 
caution. He answers the timid, with, " I believe in Christ 
and do not fear to die," and he watches at the bedside 
of Olmstead, till he sees the parting of the spirit. Then 
in a little while he himself droops and sickens. The fever 
craves another victim, and, looking in on his sick-chamber, 
we find that he who only a few days before could not do 
or risk enough to serve another, is shocked at the very 
thought of others endangering their lives for him. His 
family would take him home, and nurse him tenderly. 
He will not go though, thinking only of their safety. 
Friends would watch at his bedside. He will not have 
them. Life is bright and beautiful and they must cherish 
it. In a few short days his young life, so full of devotion, 
begins to flicker, and then goes out. For so rare a spirit 
death has no pang. 

Again only a few days ago, two more of our number 
left seats vacant in the college lecture-room, whose forms 
and faces had grown familiar to us during the term. 
Two whom we knew as always diligent, always attentive, 
listening like true earnest disciples, eager for instruction, 
conscious of their future work. Harris and Hickok! 
Two more victims of contagion. Harris had already 



42 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

passed his examination^ and was just admitted a member 
of the profession. How he had labored fully to qualify 
himself for usefulness, few can know. Conscientious in all 
things, he was most conscientious in this. He had already 
chosen the Army for the exercise of his vocation, and 
was looking forward shortly to be assigned to duty. Each 
day he began and ended with prayer. Death came sud- 
denly but did not find him unprepared. Hickok was 
called away as a bright future was opening before him. 
Those who knew him best speak of him with enthusiasm. 
Letters from friends at home pay touching tributes to his 
excellence of character. His preceptor grows warm in 
praising him, and, already as a student, chooses him as 
his successor. Classmates who were his intimates, say: 
"Speak your best of his memory, for he was worthy." 
Thus in our gladness of heart to-night it is good to call 
the dead to mind. 

On the eve of battle we see friends clasping hands and 
bidding God-speed to one another. When the battle is 
over we find companions seeking companions, the 
living gazing on the parted lips of the dead, oozing 
wounds pleading dumbly to our sympathies, and then we 
recognize the hero, in spite of all disfigurement. As 
we gaze on the mutilated form, our hearts beat quicker 
and quicker, our spirits kindle, and we pay the tribute 
of spontaneous applause to him who surrenders life and 
interest to sustain the cause of his country, and we do 
well thus to honor him. But are we to keep silent when 
the scene changes, and, without glitter of arms or brilliant 
pageant, faithful souls are found ready to pass through 
the midst of death, thinking not of themselves, earnest 
only for the welfare of others? Have we no applause 
in honor of these — the heroes of our profession ? I say 




) 



VALEDICTORY 



43 



let the noble examples of Hickok, Harris, and Rowe, 
keep alive in our hearts the true heroic spirit of self- 
sacrifice, which shed beauty upon their souls as their 
eyelids were closing in death. Oh! my brothers, I say 
let us go forth to-night clasping hands, and bidding 
God-speed to one another. Who are soon to fall in the 
battle of life, we know not, but among the fallen, we will 
recognize our heroes and rejoice to do them honor. I 
have said that to-day is better than yesterday. I say 
now that to-morrow will be better than to-day. And we 
are for a little while to be the guardians of the future, a 
sacred trust which we are to assume, forgetting not that 
our work is one that will not admit of play, for which 
we must fit ourselves by the light of an enthusiasm kindled 
in a desire to do good, and in doing good to others find 
our true reward. And thus may we hope to realize the 
words of the Roman orator: "Men in no wise so nearly 
resemble the Gods, as when engaged in giving health 
to their fellowmen." 

In an address entitled "The Illustrious Boerhaave/' ^ delivered 
before the graduating class of the Medical Department of Yale Univer- 
sity, June 26, 1894, attendant upon his receiving the degree of LL.D., 
Dr. Lusk wrote the following: 

*'Of the serious questions which need to be considered at the outset 
of a professional career, there is none more vital than that of personal 
conduct. This is recognized by the provision for the medical man of a 
code of ethics, which shows him how the portion of the ten command- 
ments which teaches one's duty toward one's neighbor, is applicable 
to his dealings with the public and with other medical men. It is use- 
ful to the class which need to be reminded that for uprightness a man 
should do no murder, should not steal, should not bear false witness, 
should not covet. But the sweetness and light which should govern our 
relations to others are not the product of written law. The real train- 
ing comes from action with attendant victories and defeats. There is, 
however, a special inspiration to higher effort which is derived from 
the study of the lives of distinguished men." 

* Popular Science Monthly. May, 1895. 




•J 



WAR LETTERS OF WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

Captain^ Assistant Adjutant-General, United States Volunteers^ 

1861-1863 

Afterward M,D,^ LL.D. 



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WAR LETTERS OF WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

Captain, Assistant Adjutant-General, United States Volunteers, 

1861-1863 

June 27th, 1 86 1. 
Dear Cousin Lou: 

Did I not promise to write you, when the time came 
to say good-bye ? Aye, oh best of women ! And now 
I am fulfilling my promise hastily, for in an hour I shall 
be on my way to Washington. You must feel with me 
in my happiness! At length I am judged worthy to ex- 
pose my life for my country^s sake. I go to join the 
79th Regiment. Think, Cousin Lou, I am going to see 
real danger, real privation, real work — not as a mere 
Carpet-Knight, talking valorously to girls, but going 
forth in all humility to help to conquer in the name of 
God and my Country. Pray for me. Cousin Lou! Not 
for my life — I never prayed for that in any hour of peril 
— but pray that I may never falter, whether my duty 
shall lead me to honor or to death. 

Good-bye Cousin. Love to Mr. Grant, Cousin Laura, 
Cousin Henry, the children, and all friends. 

Lovingly, 
Willie. 

Hurrah! Off in ten minutes, so Au-Revoir here or 
hereafter. 

**Life of General Isaac /. Stevens," Vol, II, p. 321. 

"For many years the Highland Guard was a crack New York City 
Militia Battalion, composed of Scots, or men of Scottish lineage. They 

47 




48 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

wore the kilt as their uniform, and, for fatigue or undress, a blue jacket 
with red facings, and trousers of Cameronian tartan. At the breaking 
out of the rebellion, the battalion was raised to a full regiment by the 
addition of two companies and filling up the ranks, and on May 13th, 
1 861, entered the United States service for three years as the 79th High- 
landers, New York Volunteers. . . . 

"One company contained so many bookkeepers and clerks, that it 
was known as the Clerk's Company." 

Page 327. In August, 1861, "the Highlanders still wore the blue 
jacket with red facings, but the regulation uniform as to the remainder. 
Later, when the jackets were worn out, they were uniformed like other 
troops." 



Georgetown Heights, July ist, 1861. 

Headquarters 79th Regiment. 

Dear Mother: 

At length I have an opportunity to inform you of my 
doings since we parted. 

I will spring over details however, to say that I am now 
with Elliott at the Barracks of the 79th Regt. — that I 
slept last night upon the floor — that I am not yet Lieu- 
tenant, though assured of an eventual appointment — 
so until I write that I am entitled to wear the epaulets, 
please direct my letters to the care of Lieut. S. R. Elliott, 
loth Co., 79th Regt., N. Y. S. M., Washington, D. C. 
Up to the present I have enjoyed myself much and am 
delighted with the novelty of the situation. However, 
I have no catalogue of hardships to complain of, as I 
have been dining in the best of company at a very good 
Secessionist Hotel which lies handy to our quarters, so 
please, dear mother, don't expose yourself to any priva- 
tions, for the purpose of better sympathizing with me as 
regards camp experiences. . . . Elliott you know, and I 
need not sound his praises. . . . By-the-way, my ex- 
penses here to Washington were paid by a grateful coun- 



# 



WAR LETTERS 49 

try, and in this wise. Young Quartermaster Elliott, 
meeting me at the Steamboat Landing, introduced me to 
some officers of a Maine Regt. on its way hither. I was 
introduced as Lieut. Lusk and in that capacity was invited 
to occupy the car appropriated for the staff. The officers 
manifested some curiosity regarding the Regt. I was sup- 
posed to represent, so it was with no little difficulty that 
I resorted to such evasions as would enable me to cover 
my ignorance. I pronounced the 79th Regt. to be the 
finest in the field, and was looked upon quite respectfully. 

We are now delightfully quartered on Georgetown 
Heights in the Catholic College, but are going into Camp 
today. Yesterday a preacher from the Scottish Kirk 
discoursed to the soldiers in the yard. The Catholic 
priests must have shuddered at the terrible sacrilege, 
but even sectarianism must bend to meet the exigencies 
of war. 

Elliott sends kind regards to you, and the sisters, 
and Hunt. Love to all. 

Very afFec^y., 

W. T. LusK. 

Care of Lieut. S. R. Elliott, 

loth Co., 79 Regiment, Virginia. 

Glebewood, Virginia, July 8th, 1861. 
My Dear Mother: 

You see from the above that the "sacred soil" con- 
tinues to be invaded. General Scott is inexorable, so, 
notwithstanding the protests of the States Right supporters. 
Regiment after Regiment crosses the line, and the sanctity 
of the Old Dominion is violated by the desecrating foot- 
steps of the ruthless horsemen. Yesterday we left George- 




so WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

town and after two hours march arrived at our present 
camping ground. A romantic scene it was last night, 
arriving as we did at an evening hour. But our advent 
was followed by a dreadful act of destruction! The ruth- 
less invaders charged with full force upon a snake-fence, 
demolished it, laid the pieces upon four different piles, 
and set to them the incendiary torch; soon our camp 
fires were blazing. The men fell into groups, some song- 
singing, some keeping guard, while here and there hoarse 
laughter showed that the solemnity of invading the sacred 
soil did not entirely prevent the outburst of unseasonable 
hilarity. Then the stars shone brightly, and the comet 
whisked its tail for us, and the tattoo sounded for sleepy 
s souls to say their prayers before sinking into slumber. 
But when all was ready, the baggage-wagons were still 
far from us, lagging sadly behind, so we had no tents 
to cover us, but lay in the long grass looking upward at 
the silent stars. Those of us who had brought our blankets 
were fortunate, those of us who had trusted in an unsol- 
dierly way, for the wagons to bring them to us, and I 
was one oT those, could do naught else than lie without 
any barrier between us and the bare soil — "sacred soil*' 
— stickey, clayey soil it was too — of the "Sovereign 
State of Virginia." Owing to its quality much of it stuck 
to us, but it being the real "sacred" stuff you know, 
made us regard our soiled garments with becoming rever- 
ence. We woke early this morning, you can imagine, as 
the sun rises hot in these regions, but we woke in excel- 
lent spirits. Our poor little Lieutenant was found after 
the Reveille y still enjoying his morning dreams. "Fence 
him in!" the Captain orders. With the greatest alacrity 
a couple of men took some rails, and while the youth 
still slept, built a sort of a chicken-coop around him. 



WAR LETTERS 51 

Then a circle laughing and employing derisive epithets 
was formed about the unfortunate. At these unwonted 
sounds our little Lieutenant awoke, looking irresistibly 
comical, in a state of utter bewilderment. As he released 
himself from his confinement, he looked so pitiable that 
the mirth excited was only the more increased. 

I saw Ned Tyler yesterday. He is looking well. 
Much better than I had expected. We had a pleasant 
time together, though our interview was interrupted by 
our march hitherward. Major-General Tyler, who is to 
command our Division I believe, also looked well — and 
full of business. 

Good-bye, Mother. In these times let us put our trust 
in God and accept the inevitable. 

Very affectionately, 

Willy. 



« 



The ygth Highlanders," p, 16, 

About July I2th, Col. W. T. Sherman was made commander of the 
brigade of which the 79th Highlanders formed a part, while Brigadier- 
General Daniel Tyler of Connecticut, commanded the division. 



[Skirmish of Blackburn's Ford] 

Near Centre ville, July 19th, 1861. 

My dear Mother: 

I am happy to write you of my continued health and 
good spirits. We had an adventurous time since I wrote 
you so hurriedly a few days ago. Leaving our encamp- 
ment we marched on, halting often to remove trees and 
such other impediments as a retreating foe could place 
in our way. The first night we passed in Vienna. The 




52 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

next day we advanced on toward Fairfax Court House. We 
were drawn up about two miles off in line of battle upon 
rolling ground, and the batteries placed where they could 
play upon the enemy. Five shots from our guns sufficed 
to start our friends the foe again, so we advanced further, 
passing a deserted battery on the way. At noon we were 
in Germantown, which place we found deserted, and soon 
the soldiers were ransacking the houses for food, destroy- 
ing and burning what they could not use themselves. I 
am happy to say the boys in my company had little hand 
in these doings, as such paltry work finds little countenance 
from its officers. Germantown is but a poor place though 
and ^200 would probably cover any damage done to it. 
At night we bivouacked upon fields where the enemy's 
fires were still burning, not far from Centreville. Here 
we were but a mile or two from the Secessionists, and the 
firing of pickets caused frequent alarms, calling us to our 
posts once in the middle of the night. We were all awak- 
ened by the long roll of the drum, which is the signal of 
an advance. We heard then what seemed to us all in 
our half sleepy state, the tramp of cavalry upon us. Our 
toilettes were hastily made you can imagine, and soon we 
stood in silence not knowing whence the attack would 
come, but after an hour's anticipation all became still, 
so the "chivalry" must have changed their minds and 
returned back to their posts. I cannot enumerate all the 
alarms we have had, for there is only paper enough to 
tell of our part in yesterday's fight. About noon, I should 
think, for I have no means of calculating the time, we heard 
cannon firing not far off. There was no alarm sounded, 
so we lay around, sleeping, talking, and laughing with 
the utmost indifference. About 3 o'clock we were called 
to arms and, in the highest spirits, were marched off 



WAR LETTERS 53 

at a "Double Quick," hoping that the 79th might have 
some share in the conflict now at hand. We found a 
Massachusetts Captain, an acquaintance of one of our 
sergeants. "We are going to give them fits'* says the 
Captain. It was not half an hour afterwards we saw 
his body borne back in one of our ambulances. When 
near the field of action we were divided off in line, con- 
cealed in the edge of the wood. The cannon balls whipped 
about us on all sides. The enemy, either by accident, or 
knowing of our presence, had us directly in their range. 
One man in my platoon was struck in the leg. Thank 
God our loss was not greater. We were totally unaware 
of our destination. It was found afterwards we had 
been stationed out to cover the retreat of the Brigade 
already in action. After a while the cannon ceased 
firing and we were marched oflF to our present bivouack. 

You must know the particulars of yesterday's skirmish 
by the papers a thousand times better than I can tell you. 

Excuse the style of this letter, for it is written with the 
paper on the side of an axe. An order has just been 
issued imposing the severest penalties upon all those who 
shall in any wise trespass on private property. I am now 
ready to march forward with a lighter heart, for it was 
not pleasant to be connected with thieves — call thieving 
confiscation or what you will. 

My best love, dearest Mother, for all. Keep up a 
light heart and trust in the Power of Him who ruleth all. 

Very aflPec'y., 

W. T. LusK, 

Lieut, loth Co. ygth Regt. 

(A part of this letter was published in the Norwich 
Morning Bulletin of July 23d, 1861). 



54 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 



« 



Rebellion Record," Vol. II y f, 55 of Documents. 



The following is taken from Gen. McDowell's general orders of 
July 1 8th, 1 86 1, written from Fairfax Court House: 

"It is with the deepest mortification the general commanding finds 
it necessary to reiterate his orders for the preservation of the property 
of the inhabitants of the district occupied by the troops under his com- 
mand. Hardly had we arrived at this place, when, to the horror of every 
right-minded person, several houses were broken open, and others were 
in flames, by the act of some of those who, it has been the boast of the 
loyal, came here to protect the oppressed, and free the country from 
the domination of a hated party. . . . Any one found committing the 
slightest depredation, killing pigs or poultry, or trespassing on the prop- 
erty of the inhabitants, will be reported to headquarters, and the least 
that will be done to them will be to send them to the Alexandria jail." 

Skirmish of Blackburn's Ford 
July 18, 1861 
**The ygth Highlanders,'* p. 18. 

At 2 o'clock in the afternoon of July i6th the march began. 

Page 19. "At daylight of the 17th the march was resumed. As 
Germantown was approached about noon, an earthwork on a hill di- 
rectly in our front was observed. A section of artillery was ordered to 
the front and a few shells fired into it without, however, eliciting a re- 
sponse; the skirmish line advanced, found the works deserted, and 
when the flag of the leading regiment was placed on the parapet the men 
cheered as though a great victory had been obtained." 

Page 20. "Our advance was made with extreme caution. Rumors 
of masked batteries, such as General Schenck had run into at Vienna, 
were rife among the men; to our imagination every strip of woods con- 
tained a body of 'secesh' infantry, and every hillock a concealed bat- 
tery. ... As no enemy appeared the men began to grow careless. 
Gen. McDowell says: *They stopped every moment to pick black- 
berries or get water, they would not keep in the ranks, order as much as 
you please; when they came where water was fresh they would pour the 
old water out of their canteens and fill them with fresh water; they were 
not used to denying themselves much; they were not used to journeys 
on foot.' The Highlanders straggled as much as any regiment — more, 
our brigade commander" (W. T. Sherman) "thought, than any other." 

Page 21. "On the night of the 17th we bivouacked a short distance 
east from Centreville; during the night an alarm was raised by musket 
firing at the outposts near the town, but we were not called into line." 

Page 22. "When McDowell began his march he expected to en- 
counter only Beauregard's army at Manassas. . . . Beauregard, by 



WAR LETTERS 55 

means of spies at Washington, was kept well informed of the plans of 
General Scott, and knew, the night before, that the army was to start on 
the 1 6th. He at once communicated the intelligence to Richmond, and the 
authorities there advised Johnston to cooperate with Beauregard, and 
also ordered the force at Acquia Creek to join the latter. Beauregard 
ordered his troops, who occupied the roads over which the Union army 
advanced, to 'retire before superior numbers,' and fall back on the 
main body now securely posted along the western bank of Bull Run, 
from the Stone Bridge on the north, to Union Mills on the South, a dis- 
tance of about six miles. Between, and including these two points, 
there were seven places at which an army might cross: . . . the Stone 
Bridge, Lewis* Ford, Ball's Ford, Mitchell's Ford, Blackburn's Ford, 
McLean's Ford, and lastly, the railroad bridge and ford at Union Mills. 
. . . Longstreet's brigade guarded Blackburn's Ford." 

Page 24. General Tyler "decided to make a reconnoissance, and . . . 
proceeded toward Blackburn's Ford." 

Page 25. " Between eighty and ninety of Richardson's brigade had 
been killed, wounded and captured — and General Tyler, recalling his 
instructions 'not to bring on an engagement,' ordered the troops to 
withdraw. The loss was very heavy — far too heavy — for a mere 
reconnoissance, but the fact was developed that the fords of Bull Run 
were so well guarded, that McDowell's plan would need revision before 
the main attack was made." 



[First Battle of Bull Run] 

July 28th, 1 86 1. 
Dear Mother: 

A week has passed since our misfortunes at Bull's 
Run, and in all the intervening time I've had only oppor- 
tunity to let you know that I was safe. But I must tell 
you something of that unlucky day, for I know you had 
rather have the story from my own lips. As I promised 
Henry Goddard to write once in a while for the Bulletin^ 
I will put my story in a form to suit that sheet, if you think 
proper to communicate it : — 

We too have breathed into our nostrils the smoke of 
battle, we too have listened to the voice of the cannon, 
we too have seen the finest of pagents, the most splen- 



56 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

did of dramatic spectacles — the death struggle between 
armed arrays of men. We, who only yesterday were 
numbered among the "Sons of the Muses," find ourselves 
today counted among the full-fledged "Sons of Mars." 
We have fought, suflFered, and survived to tell our tale. 
"To-morrow morning at 2 o'clock be ready for an 
advance, provided with a couple of day's provisions," 
is the command we receive on Saturday evening, and at 
the chilly hour appointed, without the sounding of the 
ReveilUy we are noiselessly summoned to our Arms. We 
stand in silence at our posts until the red glare of the 
rising sun had followed the dark hour before dawn. 
Then we marched on, gay of heart, and full of confi- 
dence. We cross Bull's Run, and see men cutting trees 
by the bridge. We ask their reason. "It is to cover a 
retreat," they tell us. "Ho! Ho!" How we laughed at 
the thought of our retreating! What innocent woodmen 
those were that could talk of us defeated ! It was a bonnie 
sight to see us then, eager for battle, dreaming of vic- 
tory. Some three miles we marched on, and then were 
drawn in the woods in line of battle. In line we advanced 
till we came to the edge of the forest, where we were told 
to lie down to avoid the range of the enemy's cannon. 
About 6 o'clock a couple of pieces of our artillery to the 
left of us opened a fire upon such of an unseen foe as 
our skirmishers were able to discover. Long our pieces 
were unanswered. How glorious, we thought, this firing 
on the foe, and ourselves in seeming safety! How we 
laughed when afar we could see an exploding shell scatter- 
ing the enemy in confusion, who for a short moment 
were thus forced to show themselves on open ground. 
The fields before us were occupied by our officers recon- 
noitring. Away off on the line of wood-covered hills two 



4 

i 



WAR LETTERS 57 

or three miles away, we could see the glitter of bayonets. 
Seen from a tree, they were found to belong to fine troops, 
well equipped, and marching in order — troops not to 
be scattered by threats, but worthy of being combatted. 
Upon an elevated open space of ground before us to the 
right, we could see more troops moving — horsemen 
riding — above all one on a white horse who seemed to 
be everywhere. The sun grew warm and we became 
listless. The artillery continued to discharge its Death 
messengers, the sharp rattle of musketry was heard to 
our right, volley after volley following in quick succession, 
yet many of us slept, quietly awaiting our turn to be sum- 
moned to action. About 11 o'clock two horses came 
galloping riderless toward us. While surmising whence 
they came, we were called to rise and march to battle. 
We sprung from the earth like the armed men of Cadmus. 
On we rushed by the flank, over fields, through woods, 
down into ravines, plunging into streams, up again onto 
rising meadows, eager, excited, thrilled with hot desire 
to bear our share in routing the enemy. We cheered, 
and yelled, pressing onward, regardless of shells now and 
then falling among us, thinking only of a sharp fight 
and a certain victory. At last we reached the lines of the 
brave boys of the 69th. Here the American banner was 
planted, so we shouted lustily, for the spot had not long 
since been wrung from the foe. 

From many a point not long since covered by secession 
forces, the American banner now floated. What wonder 
we felt our hearts swelling with pride, and saw, hardly 
noticing, horse and rider lying stiffs, cold and bloody 
together! What, though we stepped unthinking over the 
pale body of many a brave fellow still grasping convul- 
sively his gun, with the shadows of Death closing around 




58 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

him! We were following the foe, I have said, and were 
dreaming only of victory. So we were marched to the 
edge of a slope which sheltered us partially from the aim 
of the enemy's artillery. Here lying prostrate, shell after 
shell flew over our heads, or tore up the ground around. 
Now we could feel the hot breath of a cannon ball fan 
our cheeks; now we could see one fairly aimed, falling 
among our horses, and rolling them prostrate; and now 
again one of these messengers would come swift into 
the ranks of one of our columns, and without a thought 
or a groan, a soul was hurried into eternity. 

After about an hour in this trying position, we were 
called up and turned into the road, where Death began 
to make sad havoc in our ranks. Surely aimed, the shot 
of the enemy fell among us. We could not see the foe, 
and then it was terrible to see our own boys, whose faces 
we knew, and whose hands we had pressed, falling in 
Death agony. We heard, while marching stealthily, a 
great shout, and looking we saw a hill before us, covered 
with the Ellsworth Zouaves. A moment more, and from 
the top of the hill, from unseen hands blazed a terrible 
discharge of arms. It was one of those masked batteries, 
which have so often brought us misfortune. Bravely 
fought the Zouaves, but they had to fall back from that 
hellish fire. Other Regiments made the charge but only 
to be repulsed with ranks thinned and broken. At length 
our turn came. Up we rushed — our brave Colonel 
with us. 

The first fire swept our ranks like a quick darting pes- 
tilence. "Rally, boys — Rally!** shouted the officers, and 
a brave rally was made. Our men stood firmly firing, 
answering volley by volley. Here we felt the worthless- 
ness of our old Harper's Ferry muskets, when matched 



WAR LETTERS 59 

against the rifles of the enemy. Tall men were mowed 
down about me. Wounded men begged their comrades 
to press on, and not to risk anything by lingering near 
them. We were only some twenty yards from a battery, 
belching forth a thick heavy hail of grape and canister, 
shell and fire of musketry. With unerring accuracy the 
enemy's riflemen singled out our officers and mighty 
men. Suddenly we saw the American flag waving over 
the battery. "Cease firing" was the order given, and 
for a short moment we believed the battery was ours. 
It was the enemy though that had raised the flag to de- 
ceive us. As we lowered our arms, and were about to 
rally where the banner floated, we were met by a terrible 
raking fire, against which we could only stagger. 

"By the Lord, but I believe them coons 's too cunning for 
us!** cried an old soldier near me. We halted, fell back, 
and the hillside was left to such only as lingered to bear 
away their wounded comrades. 

As we passed down we saw our Colonel lying still, in 
the hands of Death. He had fallen bravely, breast to 
the foe, not wishing to cherish his own life, while the 
lives of his men were imperilled. Over the sad dishearten- 
ing retreat let us not linger — let it be covered by the dark- 
ness of the night which followed. We took with us 750 
brave men into the battle, but our roll call shows that 199 
are numbered among the dead, the wounded, and the 
missing. Six captains of ours are silent now when their 
names are called. They died with many of their men, 
careless of Death, willing to give up all things, even life 
in its sweetness, for the good of the Republic. " Dulce 
et decorum est pro patria mori." 

L. of the yqth. 



£ 



6o WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

I have received only three letters from you, the rest 
probably having been intercepted by the enemy while 
I was in Virginia. 

Very afFec'y., 

Will Lusk. 

First Battle of Bull Run 
July 21, 1861 

"Rebellion Record,*' Vol, II, />. 13 of Documents. 

Colonel W. T. Sherman says in his report of the Battle of Bull Run: "I 
have the honor to submit this my report of the operations of my brigade 
during the action of the 21st inst. The brigade was composed of the 13th 
New York Volunteers, Col. Quimby; 69th New York, Col. Corcoran; 
79th New York, Col. Cameron; 2d Wisconsin, Lieut.-Col. Peck; and 
Company E., 3d Artillery, under command of Capt. R. B. Ayres, Fifth 
Artillery. We left our camp near Centreville pursuant to orders at 
2:30 a.m., taking place in your column next to the brigade of Gen. 
Schenck, and proceeded as far as the halt before the enemy's position, 
near the stone bridge at Bull Run. Here the brigade was deployed in 
line along the skirt of timber, and remained quietly in position till after 
10 a. m. . . . The regiment" (69th New York) "rallied again, passed the 
brow of the hill a second time, and was again repulsed in disorder. By this 
time the New York 79th had closed up, and in like manner it was ordered 
to cross the brow of the hill and drive the enemy from cover. . . .The 
fire of rifles and musketry was very severe. The 79th headed by its 
Colonel (Cameron), charged across the hill, and for a short time the 
contest was severe. They rallied several times under fire, but finally 
broke and gained the cover of the hill. ... But about 9 o'clock at 
night I received from General Tyler in person, the order to continue the 
retreat to the Potomac. This retreat was by night and disorderly in 
the extreme. The men of different regiments mingled together. . . . 
Our loss was heavy, all around us; but the short exposure to an intense 
fire of small arms, at close range, had killed many, wounded more, and 
had produced disorder in all the battalions that had attempted to destroy 
it. . . . Col. Cameron was mortally wounded leading the regiment in 
the charge." 

In Col. W. T. Sherman's brigade there were 1 1 1 killed, 205 wounded, 
293 missing; total 609. 

• "Rebellion Record," Vol, II, p. 47 of Documents. 

Southern Account of Battle of Bull Run. 

"By Divine favor we are again victorious. To God be the glory. 
The armies of the North and South yesterday faced each other — the 



WAR LETTERS 6i 

former not less than 50,000 men" (Error. Really 33,000, only 18,000 of 
whom were engaged) "the latter not exceeding 30,000 — and wrestled 
together for six long hours, with that desperate courage which Americans 
only can show." 

After a description of the battle, the account goes on to say, " It is, 
however, due to truth to say that the result of this hour hung trembling 
in the balance. We had lost numbers of our most distinguished officers. 
. . . The tide of battle was turned in our favor by the arrival of Gen. 
Kirby Smith from Winchester, with 4,000 men of Gen. Johnston's 
division. . . . They were at first supposed to be the enemy, their arrival 
at that point of the field being entirely unexpected. The enemy fell 
back, and a panic seized them. . . . Thus was the best-appointed 
army that had ever taken the field on this continent beaten, and com- 
pelled to retreat in hot haste." 

The Dark Day 

" Rebellion Record," Vol, II, p. 388 of Documents. 

Part of a Letter of Edward Everett, written a month after the Battle of 

Bull Run. 

"There probably never was a military disaster, of which the impor- 
tance was more unduly magnified, than that of the 21st of July in 
front of Manassas. After a severe and protracted encounter between 
the two armies, which, it is admitted, was about to terminate in a 
drawn battle, if not even in favor of the United States, the Con- 
federates were largely reinforced, a panic arose on the part of the 
teamsters and civilians following in the train of our forces, the alarm 
gradually spread to the troops, a retreat commenced, and ended in a 
general rout. The losses of the enemy in the meantime were equal to 
our own ; he was unable to pursue our flying regiments, and they reoccii- 
pied, unmolested, the positions from which (from political reasons, and 
against the judgment of the Commander-in-Chief) the premature advance 
was made. . . . There is reason to think that, though the United States 
forces engaged on the 21st of July under almost every conceivable dis- 
advantage — (raw troops to a great extent, whose term of service was 
expiring, coming under fire for the first time, after a weary march be- 
neath a blazing sun, contending on strange ground with fresh opponents 
sheltered by field-woiks that had been in course of construction for 
weeks) — nothing happened beyond the average ill-luck of unsuccess- 
ful battles. . . . 

** But it will be said. General McDowell's army was not only worsted, 
it fled in wild disorder from the field. I apprehend most defeated 
armies do that. The Roman veterans of the army of Pompeius did it at 
the battle of Pharsalia. ... A greater than Pompeius was vanquished 
at Waterloo; but the French writers all but unanimously claim that they 



62 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

had the advantage till the arrival of the Prussian reinforcement at the 
close of the day. Then, says the English historian of the battle, 'The 
whole French Army became one mass of inextricable confusion.' " 

The following newspaper clipping was evidently written after the 
Battle of Bull Run: 

"A large proportion of the patients at both the Georgetown hos- 
pitals are from the Seventy-ninth (Highland) Regiment and the Wis- 
consin Second, and I am convinced that in the various reports of 
the battles, these regiments have not been given the credit they richly 
deserve. Headed by the fearless Cameron, the former was ever in the 
hottest of the fight. Charged and rechargod by the infuriate enemy, 
the target of their most desperate and concentrate fire, chased, divided, 
scourged and trampled by the Black Horse cavalry, they stood all, 
worthy the historic blood coursing in their veins, and won for Scotia 
fresh and strong claims upon American gratitude." 

(E. F. LusK TO Mrs. Henry G. Thompson) 

Norwich, July 28th, 1861. 



D 



ear Loustn Louisa: 



I will not commence with prefatory remarks but hasten 
to reply to your questions about my boy. Mr. Abbott 
returned from Washington to-day. He found Will well, 
and well cared for at the house of Lt.-Col. Elliott, whose 
family are bestowing upon him every imaginable kindness. 
Oh! dear Louisa, God's promise has not failed, and the 
widow's son is not only safe, but he has added joy to his 
mother's heart by his noble conduct. Col. Elliott told 
Mr. Abbott he should be promoted, that his courage and 
prudence were rare, and eminently qualified him to be an 
officer. Mr. A. wept as he spoke of his appearance on the 
battlefield, his courage and resolution never failing 
though surrounded by his dead and dying comrades. 
The Colonel said, "that boy is not known, but he must 
be now." I do not hesitate to write you this, dear friend. 
God knows I rejoice tremblingly, but I share him now 
with the country to whom he is devoting all the energies 



WAR LETTERS 63 

of his earnest spirit. If you or any friend feel like writ- 
ing him, direct to Washington, Lieut. William T. Lusk, 
loth Co. 79th Highland Regiment; he has not written 
even me, for he has no time, but as soon as he can be 
spared he hopes to come to me for a day or two. I notice 
by the papers he was in the hottest of the fight and that 
the regiment was covered "with immortal honor." Tell 
Laura, as he is connected with the Highlanders, I would 
like to know something of his Scotch ancestry we have so 
often laughed about. Pray for him my friend. God 
never seemed so near as in this dark hour. I know that 
He pities his sorrowing children, remembering "we are 
but dust." With much love to all our dear Enfield 
friends, 

I remain 

Affectionately yours, 

E. F. LusK. 



Meridian Hill, Washington, 

Aug. 1st, 1 86 1. 
Dear Cousin Lou: 

I am seated in my tent, the rain is pouring in torrents, 
and I am at leisure to think of friends at home. You 
see whom I was first remembering, not having forgotten 
the kind letter which Mr. Houston brought me from 
Thompsonville, when I was somewhere over in Virginia. 
I thank you so much for all the dear, kind expressions of 
love your letter contained. 

Oh! Ah! Here come about twenty-five men or more 
with complaints, and as the Captain is away, I must 
straighten up, and play the part of Magistrate. Oh 
Olympian Jove! Oh Daniel risen to judgment! The 



64 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

malcontents have been severally coaxed, wheedled, threat- 
J ened, and sent about their business, and the Centurion is 
once again at leisure. A pleasant thing is this exercise 
of power, especially when commands can be given in 
the quietest manner possible, and yet to feel that from 
your judgment there can be no appeal. In fact, dear 
Cousin Lou, imagine me when the Captain is away, per- 
forming the paternal function towards some hundred 
grown up children. Ah me! I am growing venerable and 
cares are weighing heavily upon me. 

But I must not forget that I am a veteran soldier now. 
Poor Horace! How I shall assume superior airs, tell 
him, when I return home! In fact when, one of these days, 
I get a furlough and am surrounded by friends, how I 
shall exercise my soldier's privilege of drawing the long 
bow! In my first battle, of course, I performed the 
most remarkable deeds of daring. I shall not pretend to 
tell you how many Secessionists I killed! Between our- 
selves though, in all privacy, I will confess that the fearful 
weapon with which I struck such terror in the hearts of 
the enemy, was a toy wooden sword, captured by one 
of our men from a secession boy-baby. In the great 
battle of Manassas, holding the occasion to be one of 
greater moment, I made the charge armed with a ram- 
rod, which I picked up on the way thither! I acknowl- 
edge I found the work hotter than I anticipated in the 
latter engagement, and mean in future to go armed in 
regulation style. The truth of the matter was, that being 
ordered suddenly to march from our pleasant encamp- 
ment in Georgetown, I was found unprepared, and must 
either stay behind, or trust to my pistol in case of emer- 
gency. I preferred the latter, and the kind Providence 
has brought me safely through the fiery ordeal, through 




WAR LETTERS 65 

which we all had to pass. What think you, dear Cousin 
Lou of our miserable defeat ? It seems hard, as we lost 
many good men out of our Regiment on that bloody day. 
I saw many things never to be forgotten. No matter 
for sickening details though. The ground lost must be 
recovered at any cost. We have lost out of the 800 who 
went into the engagement about 150 in killed and wounded, 
besides some fifty more numbered among the missing. 
Hardship and exposure have caused much sickness in 
the camp. Most of the liquor-dealing Captains and 
Lieutenants who commanded before the battle, have re- 
signed, many others are dead or in the hands of the enemy 
— so I can give no very cheerful picture of our camp at 
present. We are to be soon thoroughly reorganized, to 
be cared for tenderly by the President and Secretary of 
War, to be recruited to the army standard, and when 
once more discipline shall be enforced, we trust that 
the 79th will be able to charge as gallantly as at Manassas, 
but that the charge may result not in mere loss of life, but 
in glorious victory. 

You would be much entertained, could you only see 
behind the scenes, at the daring feats of individuals, which 
are passing the rounds of the papers. A specimen is 
afforded by a story I read in the Herald of a certain Cap- 
tain who is reported to have repeatedly rallied the 

men of the 79th and led them back to battle. Now 

the fact is that Captain never was within three 

days journey of the battle, and moreover, at least ten days 
before the engagement the Colonel threatened him with 
arrest should he dare to show himself in the Regiment. 
Captain wrote the article himself, and had it pub- 
lished. This is only an isolated example of the manner 
by which this war is made to subserve the dirtiest of 






66 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

politicians. I have had no letter from Horace, and but 
few from home since I left New- York. I suppose some 
of the letters addressed to me, have been captured by the 
Secessionists, and have been perused with the same gusto 
that we felt when a package of the enemy's letters fell 
into our hands. Of course we had to read them to glean 
as far as possible the state of political feeling in the South, 
and I blush to say we read with special interest the tender 
epistles which fair South Carolina maidens penned for 
the eye alone of South Carolina heroes. Think of such 
sacred pages being polluted by the vulgar gaze of a parcel 
of peddHng Yankees. 

We learned some of the peculiarities of the Aborigines 
down South from these epistles. We learned that the 
ladies are so modest that they write of themselves with 
a little i — that all Southern babies send their papas 

"Howdy" — that a certain perfidious 

is "cortin the gall" of one of the brave palmetto soldiers 
who is congratulated by his sister upon having slain 
3000 Yankees — that the ladies in the South are thirsting 
for the blood of the Northern mercenaries, and, above all, 
penmanship, spelling and composition showed that the 
greatest need of the South, is an army of Northern School- 
masters. Well, Cousin Lou, I must not write for ever, 
so good-bye. Love to all in Enfield and in Pelham. 

Very affectionately, 

Wm. T. Lusk, 
Lieut, loth Co, ygth Regiment^ Washington, 



WAR LETTERS 67 

Aug. 5th, 1 86 1. 
My dear Mother: 

Living now quietly without excitement, the events of 
two weeks ago have become like a dream. Our camp 
is beautifully situated on Meridian Hill in the suburbs 
of Washington, and overlooks an enchanting prospect of 
the city, and the green banks of the Potomac. The 
air is fresh and healthy, and sickness which has been 
very prevalent among the men, is now breaking up, and 
a better appearance is beginning to be seen in the camp. 
Still the shock we received in the last battle was very 
great. I have written how great our loss was, and that 
the same was most heavy among our officers. Fifteen 
of them, six Captains and nine Lieutenants, nearly half of 
the entire number, were lost to us that day. On our 
return to Fort Corcoran after the battle, having walked 
over thirty miles from the battlefield, having been thirty- 
six hours without food or sleep, consequently exhausted 
from fatigue, hunger, and want of rest, we hoped to be 
allowed to throw ourselves anywhere, and to get a mouth- 
ful of anything to eat. The rain poured in torrents and 
we were soaked to our skins. There was not a cracker 
to be had at the quarters; there was not a tent to shelter 
us. We crawled into an old bam. Sherman, the com- 
mander of our brigade, ordered us to come out and 
stand in the rain. Many of the men were desperate. 
They became clamorous for food. Sherman sneered at 
them for such unsoldierly conduct. They begged for some 
place to rest. He bade them sleep on the ground. They 
had no blankets, many not even a jacket, and all were 
shivering in the wet. The soil was oozy with water, and 
deep puddles lay everywhere. The men became quer- 



tj 



68 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

ulous. Sherman grew angry, called them a pack of New- 
York loafers and thieves. 

Oh ye Patriots, was not this a spectacle! Afterward 
Sherman visited the camp with President Lincoln. The 
men had grown sullen. As he drove by, they besieged 
his carriage, hooted him, and reminded him who it was 
that first basely deserted us on the battlefield, turning his 
horse's head from us, and leaving us to our fate. 

President Lincoln ordered his coachman to drive away. 

Affairs were now interesting. Lieut.-Col. Elliott visited 
the Secretary of War — denounced the conduct of Sher- 
man in the plainest language. Everything served to 
corroborate his testimony. The Secretary of War then 
removed us to our present encampment, and placed us 
in the Brigade of Gen'l Mansfield. We are now doing 
well, but the past is not forgotten. The men feel that 
they were wronged, and are discontented; officers feel 
that they were insulted, and have resigned. Those of 
us who remain by the Regiment are a mere handful. 
Under these circumstances, and because the men fought 
well at Manassas, the Government has concluded to send 
us to some one of the forts near New- York for a short 
time, there to recruit, and restore the organization of 
the Regiment. As it is now, whole companies are with- 
out officers. It is thought in a short time we may again 
be upon a war footing, and ready to win fresh laurels, 
only laurels that are worn after victory, not the mournful 
ones that even the defeated may wear after a manful 
struggle. 

I am very much entertained and amused to hear of 
your accounts of my heroic deeds. You don't know 
the half of them. I won't pretend to say how many I 
killed in the fight. About five hundred, I suppose — 



f . 



WAR LETTERS 69 

most of them Colonels, only a few ranking less than a 
Major. You say you read in the Tribune the statement 
of the bearing away the body of our good Colonel, made 
by Lieut. S. R. Elliott, a reliable witness. Yes, my 
dear Mother, I was one of the little band mentioned in 
the paragraph, but regarding that dreadful bomb-shell 
which, exploding, killed five of us, I can only say that I 

didn't see it. The story originated with , 

the correspondent of the Tribune^ who called one night 
in a beastly state of intoxication, upon Colonel Elliott to 
inquire the particulars of the fight. We were all some- 
what astonished at the particulars as they appeared the 
next day in the papers. You may have read too, how a 

certain Captain repeatedly rallied us, and led us 

back to the fight. Captain was not near the field 

of battle the whole day, but being a small politician, he 
stayed at home and composed an account of his gallantry, 
in which perhaps there was much wisdom. You see, 
Mother, what reports are worth, and I positively deny 
all stories regarding myself, with the exception, of course, 
of such authentic anecdotes as my having killed several 
hundred Colonels, Lieut.-Colonels and Majors with a 
ram-rod, which served me as the jaw-bone did Sampson 
when he went out against the Philistines. 

Your letters reach me now with the utmost regularity. 
Thank Lilly for her kind letter too. I have been looking 
for Hunt all day to-day. I suppose I shall see you when 
we are transferred, perhaps to Fort Schuyler. 

I was sorry not to see Mrs. Tyler when here. 

Very AfFec'y., 

William T. Lusk, 
Lieutenant Co. K. jgth Regiment. 



70 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

Meridian Hill, Washington. 

Aug. nth, 1861. 
My dear Mother: 

I have been overjoyed by a visit from Hunt, who has 
now probably returned home and reports me hearty and 
well. I have been fortunate in meeting several friends 
most unexpectedly during the last few days. Miss Woolsey 
was at our encampment on some errand of mercy yester- 
day evening. I saw her for a few moments, and promised 
to call upon her and Mrs. Howland soon, which I shall 
do if allowed to leave the camp. The laws are very 
strict though now, and I doubt whether I shall be able 
to leave the camp for some time to come. We are now 
going through a stage dreaded by all officers in the army, 
viz: that immediately following upon pay-day. Not- 
withstanding the utmost precautions the men contrive 
to obtain liquor, and when intoxicated are well-nigh 
uncontrollable, so that the utmost vigilance is needful. 
As the number of our officers is but small we are kept 
almost constantly active. When the money is once spent we 
will then breathe more freely. To-morrow I am to be the 
officer commanding the Guard, so I am scribbling a few 
lines rapidly to-night, as I shall be too busy to attend to 
such things to-morrow, and the following day too ex- 
hausted to do much after twenty-four hour's exertion. 
You see all the labors of an officer generally are com- 
pressed into short seasons of unexampled labor, and long 
periods of repose. We have now a new Colonel — 
Governor Stevens of Washington Territory. He seems 
to be a first class man. His advent among us was inaugu- 
rated by an order for us young officers to leave the pleas- 
ant rooms we occupied when Hunt was with us, and 



• • * 




BRIOADIEft-GeNERAI. DaNIE1.TvI 



■■f • 



' I 



i> : 



/' 



WAR LETTERS 71 

to return to our tents. This was as it should be; and 
other strict measures toward officers and men show that 
he is the right sort of a commander for a Regiment like 
ours, requiring a strong firm hand to govern it. I trust 
we may continue to be satisfied with him as our chief 
officer. 

I begin to regard it as a little doubtful as to whether 
we really return to New York. Military men regard 
such a movement as unprecedented, and as affording a 
dangerous example. We will see how it is to end. You 
ask me regarding Gen'l Tyler! I will answer with all 
candor that he acted with the utmost bravery on the day 
of the fight. It was owing to his prompt and energetic 
action that once, after our Regiment was scattered, when 
weary and exhausted, having also (Elliott assisting) the 
additional burden of our wounded Captain to bear away, 
we escaped a cavalry charge in which many of our men 
were taken prisoners. When the cavalry came in sight, 
and all was in confusion, you could hear his quick, sharp 
voice rallying the disheartened to make such a stand as 
alone would ensure them victory. The men rallied, 
poured a volley of musketry into the foe galloping upon 
us, at the same time giving them two fatal shots from a 
couple of artillery pieces which luckily were in our pos- 
session — at which time I must mention the activity 
displayed by Ned Harland too. The fire was effective, 
the cavalry retreated and we marched on unharmed. 
Such things should shut the mouths of slander. Gen'l 
Tyler unfortunately played a leading part in a fatal 
engagement, and consequently must bear an undue 
share of blame. His great fault seems to have been an 
overweening confidence in our strength, and a great 
undervaluation of the enemy. Since the fight I regret 



^^ WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

to say a spirit of bitterness pervades his conversation as 
well as his official report of the battle. 

I have just seen Lieut.-Col. Elliott, and feel more 
reason to hope we may return, as was before promised. 
Give the best of love to all. 

And believe me. 

Very AfFec'y., 
William T. Lusk. 



PThe Mutiny in the 79TH Regiment, New-York 

Volunteers] 

Maryland, 
Camp Causten, Aug. 17th, 1861. 
My dear Mother: 

This has been a busy and painful week for the officers 
of the Highland Regiment. You have seen various ac- 
counts of our troubles in the papers, but they contain 
nothing authentic, although perhaps about as much as 
an outsider can understand. The mutiny of Thursday 
is only the legacy of a quarrel begun among the officers 
before the Regiment left for the seat of war. The quarrel 
ended after the battle of Bull Run, in the resignation of 
several of the officers whose ambition was disappointed 
as to governing the affairs of the Regiment. Not con- 
tent with withdrawing their services, these men resolved 
to undermine the Regiment itself. Their plans were 
well laid. In an underhand way they conveyed papers 
among the men purporting that, as State Militia they 
were entitled to return home at the expiration of three 
months service, but that an effort would be made to detain 
them for the war. By going home, it was represented 
the men would receive a grand ovation, would meet their 



WAR LETTERS 73 

families, and be enabled to tell their tale of the Bull Run 
battle. Those who had had enough of fighting could 
resume their old employments, while the greater part who 
were ready to re-enlist for the war, would be entitled to 
the re-enlistment bounty of $30. A Government which 
would give $^0 bounty for re-enlisted three month sol- 
diers must place a high value upon them. "Now," the 
men were told, "a secret plan has been formed to prevent 
your return home at all. Lieut.-Col. Elliott has received 
from Government $10,000.00 to sell you all for the war, 
and to cheat you of your rights and privileges." Some 
little things occurred, which as far as the men were con- 
cerned, seemed corroborative of these statements, viz: — 
An order which had been issued by the Secretary of War 
for us to return to New- York to recruit, was recalled as 
inexpedient on the day the three-month service of our 
men expired. This was sufficient for them. They be- 
lieved they had been sold; and the train which had been 
carefully laid, exploded upon our being ordered, not into 
the boat for home, but onto the road into Maryland. 
Since the battle, owing to the loss through resignations 
or deaths, of our Colonel, Major and 9 of the 10 Captains, 
besides that of many of the Lieutenants, we were left 
in a condition peculiarly unfavorable to discipline; and 
this much is to be said that the companies of Captain 
Ellis (my own) and that of Captain Elliott, which were 
provided with officers, obeyed their orders, and refused 
to join the mutineers. The mutiny commenced in the 
morning by the nien's refusing to strike their tents as 
commanded. They were to have been struck at 5 a.m. and 
the Regiment was to move at 6 o'clock. Col. Stevens 
repeated the orders, but they were still silently and sul- 
lenly neglected. He then went among the men and 



74 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

used all his powers of persuasion, but they had been told 
that they had the law on their side, and if they only per- 
severed, they would be able to return home as a militia 
regiment. Col. Stevens next went to each company 
singly and read the articles of war, appending to them 
such remarks as would enforce in the men the danger of 
their course; but by this time, the camp, left without sen- 
try, became exposed to the whiskey dealers who made 
good use of their opportunities. Soon a scene of the 
wildest confusion took place. The soldiers, throwing 
off all authority, presented the hideous and disgusting 
spectacle of a debauched and drunken Helotry. It was 
a time trying to one's nerves — more trying far than the 
musketry or cannonading of Bull Run. The Colonel 
ordered the officers to strike the tents themselves. This 
we did amid the jeers, the taunts, and the insults of an 
infuriated mob. One man brought me his gun, cocked 
it, showed me it was capped, and reminded me it was 
intended for one officer at least to die, should our release 
be attempted. Still we worked quietly on, obeying our 
orders. Some of the Lieutenants were allowed to take 
down the tents undisturbed, but on leaving them a mo- 
ment, they were again pitched by the men. Everywhere 
we were threatened, and it became equally necessary to 
show neither fear of the men, nor, on the other hand, 
to allow ourselves any act of violence which would pre- 
cipitate bloodshed. Luckily for us, when the men were 
most maddened by drink, an old country quarrel broke 
out among them, viz: — the feud between the Orangemen 
and the Ribandmen, which we only know of through 
English novels, and history. We were not, however, 
altogether forgotten. Names neither poetical, decent, or 
complimentary were freely bestowed upon us. Finally 



WAR LETTERS 75 

afternoon advanced, and nothing was gained. The Col- 
onel called on the men for the last time to render obedi- 
ence. Soberness and reflection had begun their work 
upon a few. These fell into their places, and were 
stationed around the Camp as a guard over the others. 
Still, though thus yielding, their sympathies were either 
extended to their mutinous comrades, or else they were 
too fearful to render much assistance. It was necessary 
for the officers to be everywhere, and I confess I was quite 
exhausted when a body of cavalry and a line of infantry 
appeared, coming toward us. This was a great relief. 
The mutineers, all unconscious, were surrounded, and, 
when it was too late to resist, obeyed the orders issued, 
a death penalty being promised to those who wavered. 
You have seen in the papers the punishment awarded to 
the Regiment — the taking of our colors and the disgrace 
from which we are suffering. 

Dear Mother, I feel heartsick and much depressed. 
I begin to repent bitterly of having cast my lot with a 
foreign Regiment. Our men have not the feelings of 
Americans, and cannot, when a reverse comes, be in- 
spired to renewed efforts by enthusiasm for the cause. 
I am eager for another battle in order that we may have 
an opportunity to regain our colors, yet dread to risk it 
now that our men are much demoralized. I wish old 
Connecticut had a place for me. 

Col. Stevens, who is an able man, thinks though, in 
less than a month he can make us once more the finest 
Regiment in the field. These stories regarding the Lieut. - 
Col. are simply absurd. I have just received a letter 
from you. I endorse fully the bravery of Gen'l Tyler. 
His chief fault was his paying the Connecticut Volunteers 
the high compliment of believing they could fight like 



76 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

veterans, a compliment not at all to the taste of the 
Connecticut boys. 

Good bye, dear mother. 

Love to sisters and all. 

AfFecy., 
W. T. LusK. 

Note. — Dr. Lusk once said that at the time of the mutiny among 
the 79th Highlanders he had one of the narrowest escapes of his life. 
A drunken soldier pointed a rifle at his head and fired, but a friend 
seeing the danger, knocked the muzzle of the gun in the air, just in 
time to avert catastrophy. In narrating this episode Dr. Lusk remarked 
with characteristic modesty, "You know I never was very brave, but 
when the men refused to strike the tents, the officers had to do it 
themselves. " 

The Mutiny in the 79TH Highland Regiment 

"Life of General Isaac I, Stevens" Vol. II y p, 321. 

"At the battle of Bull Run the Highlanders were terribly cut up, 
losing 198 killed, wounded, and missing, including eleven oflicers. The 
Colonel, James Cameron, brother to the Secretary of War, was killed 
gallantly leading his regiment, which was considerably scattered after 
the battle. It was collected together in a few days, and moved to a 
camp on Meridian Hill. The officers and non-commissioned officers 
now petitioned the secretary to order the regiment home to recruit and 
recuperate." 

The Secretary of War endorsed the petition as follows: 
"*The Secretary of War believes that in consideration of the gallant 
services of the 79th Regiment, New York Volunteers, and of their losses 
in battle, they are entitled to the special consideration of their country; 
and he also orders that the regiment be sent to some one of the forts in 
the bay of New York to fill up the regiment by recruits, as soon as Col. 
Stevens returns to the command. 

Simon Cameron, 

Secretary of War* 

"The men were informed of the Secretary's order, and notified to 
prepare for the homeward trip, to which they looked forward with eager 
anticipations and longing. But the military authorities remonstrated so 
strenuously against the order, on the ground of the bad effect on other 
troops of allowing one regiment to go home, that the Secretary allowed 
it to be set aside, yet no notice of the revocation was given the High- 
landers." 



WAR LETTERS 77 

On August loth, Col. Stevens arrived at the camp. On the 13th 
he issued an order at dress parade that the regiment should move camp 
on the morrow. The mutiny of the soldiers followed on the 14th. 

Page 324. "At length finding all efforts to restore obedience fruitless, 
Col. Stevens felt obliged to report the mutiny, and ask for troops to 
suppress it. In response the camp was surrounded late in the afternoon 
by an overpowering force of regular infantry, artillery, and cavalry. . . . 
Colonel Stevens then addressed them, standing in the midst of the camp: 
*I know you have been deceived. You have been told you were to 
go to your homes, when no such orders had been given. But you are 
soldiers, and your duty is to obey. I am your Colonel, and your obedi- 
ence is due to me. I am a soldier of the regular army. I have spent 
many years on the frontier fighting the Indians. I have been surrounded 
by the red devils, fighting for my scalp. I have been a soldier in the 
war with Mexico, and bear honorable wounds received in battle, and 
have been in far greater danger than that surrounding me now. All 
the morning I have begged you to do your duty. Now I shall order 
you; and if you hesitate to obey instantly, my next order will be to those 
troops to fire upon you. Soldiers of the 79th Highlanders, fall in!* 

"His voice rang out like a trumpet. The men, thoroughly cowed, 
made haste to fall into the ranks. . . . 

" The colors were taken away by order of Gen. McClellan, and thirty- 
five men, reported by the oflicer of the guard as active in the disturbance, 
were marched off to prison. . . . Fourteen of the so-called ringleaders were 
soon afterwards released and returned to the regiment, and the re- 
mainder were sent to the Dry Tortugas on the Florida coast, where they 
were kept on fatigue duty until the i6th of the following February, 
when they were also released, and joined the regiment at Beaufort, S. C." 

Page 326. "Col. Stevens commanded his regiment with a firm and 
severe hand. He enforced early roll-calls, hard drilling and strict 
cleanliness in person and camp. There were some men so demoralized, 
by homesickness or otherwise, that they could not be induced to keep 
themselves decent, or attend to their duties, and he made the guard 
take them daily to the river, and strip and scrub them with soap and 
brooms. Under such drastic treatment, they speedily recovered their tone. 
He promptly and severely punished every neglect of duty." 

Camp Causten, Aug. 22d, 1861. 
My dear Cousin Lou: 

What a pleasant thing it is to live, and how I do enjoy 
it here on the banks of the Potomac. I do not believe 
God ever made a more beautiful land than this. How 
I would fight for it if I believed it threatened by an un- 



78 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

scrupulous foe! Cousin Lou, I used to think the "booty 
and beauty" allusion a sort of poor joke, too sorry even 
for ridicule, but I now see it as the cunning work of the 
far-sighted master who knew his people. 

By-the-way do you know we are now encamped on 
the Kosciusko farm, and near by the house still stands 
where the patriot lived ? I was walking in a cornfield 
today, and spied the silk drooping from one of the ears, 
dyed a deep red. I plucked it, and send it now to you 
in memory of Kosciusko, or if you like it better, in memory 
of Cousin Will. Bother! I was getting sentimental, when 
a gust of wind tore up the tent pins and blew out 
the candle. One has great experiences in camp. The 
other night I was softly slumbering, dreaming of Dolly 
Ann or of cutting a Secessionist's throat, or some- 
thing agreeable at any rate, when I heard a sound like 
that of mighty waters — I felt the waves washing over 
me — then followed a chilly sensation. I awoke. The 
stars were above me and by my side lay a sea of canvas — 
"in short," as Mr. Micawber would say, my tent was 
blown down. Another night my tent was pitched on 
the side of a steep hill. I wrapped myself in my blanket, 
braced my feet against the tent-pole and fell asleep. In 
the night my knees relaxed, and no longer prevented 
by the prop, I slid quietly downward, awaking in the 
morning at a good night's march from the point at 
which I first lay down to rest. 

Much obliged for the information you send me regard- 
ing that youngest son of the Earl of Montrose, who came 
to America and graduated at Yale College. I always 
knew I was of noble degree, and have felt my blood pre- 
eminently Scotch since the first time I heard Aunt Caroline 
singing "Where, and oh where is my Highland Laddie 



WAR LETTERS 79 

gone?" I look too, admiringly upon the queenly Julia, 
and I say, "Nay, nay, but there's no churl's blood there." 
In beatific vision the sisters five file past me; then comes 
long lanky Sylvester Vegetable Graham, leanest of men, 
with a bag of oatmeal, and I say to myself, "Verily my 
blood is very Scotch." 

Give my best love to that wee mite of a little lady, who 
is to have the delightful honor of taking charge of my 
wooden leg, when I return from the wars a garrulous 
one-legged old soldier. Imagine me. Cousin Lou, tripping 
it at my own wedding not on the light fantastic, but on 
timber toes. Now let us consider the matter, Cousin Lou. 
Shall the leg be a real timber one though, or shall a 
compromise be made with Nature, and one of the flexible 
Anglesea pattern be chosen ? 

Alas, alas! All day long we have heard guns firing in 
the distance. Some poor fellows must have fallen, though 
we get no intelligence of movements made. We are left 
out of the question. There is a great battle soon to take 
place, but I fear the 79th is too much crippled to make 
a great show. We numbered once a thousand gallant 
hearts — we number now 700 men capable for action; 
to such a pass we have been reduced by death and what 
is worse, by desertion. Officers have deserted, and the 
men have followed the base example. I have seen enough 
to convince me that this is no war for foreigners. It is 
our war, and let us cheerfully bear the burden ourselves. 
The South sends its best blood to fight for a phantom, 
but we, in the North, send our scum and filth to fight for 
a reality. It is not thus we are to gain the victory. I 
would have all our Northern youth not talk, but act — 
not deem their lives so precious as their honor. Have 
you read the names of those who resigned their commis- 



8o WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

sions after the Battle of Manassas ? The names of over 
250 cowards. Life is sweet to all, but have they no trust 
in God that they fear the bitterness of death ? Love to 
all friends in Enfield. I must say good-night. 

Au'Revoir^ 

Will. 

I did not serve as a private but in the capacity of Lieut, 
at Bull Run. 

Kosciusko Farm, 

August 25th, 1 86 1. 
My dear Mother: 

I am seated writing my usual Sunday letter, happy to 
state that my spirits are good and health excellent, as 
Uncle Charles will confirm. I was out drilling my men 
yesterday, when my attention was attracted by somebody 
nodding to me in a familiar style — a second glance told 
that it was Uncle Charley, and no other. I was much 
pleased at his kindness in looking me up, as well as to 
see him again. You will find he is looking well, and will 
learn from him that he entertains Republican sentiments 
of so decided a stripe that I, who was formerly a sort of 
an abolitionist, am obliged to confess myself a conserva- 
tive in comparison. I received from Thomas a very 
pretty present, through the Express office, a few days ago. 
It consisted of a case containing knife, fork, spoon and 
cup — things which I shall find highly useful when on 
the march. When in Virginia before, provided with no 
such conveniences, fingers were obliged to adapt them- 
selves to the performance of all the varied functions of 
"table services." You ask for my address! I never can 
give you any fixed address, as no Regiment knows where 



WAR LETTERS 8i 

it will be twenty-four hours in advance, but anything 
directed to the 79th Regiment, N. Y. S. M., Washington, 
will be forwarded without difficulty. I was in earnest 
in wishing that I was connected with some New England 
Regiment, but not in earnest as regards any intention of 
deserting my present post because of any difficulty attend- 
ing it. As long as my friends stick by the 79th, I shall not 
surely be less faithful than are they. The wish to change 
arose from a desire to take part in the approaching battle 
to be conducted by McClellan, in which, it seemed prob- 
able, the 79th would be too much crippled to take any 
prominent part. Our Regiment is, however, now rapidly 
recovering from the effects of the battle, and the intrigues 
of the old rum-selling officers now happily resigned. I 
have some responsibility resting upon me, as I am de- 
tailed to take sole charge of one of the Companies. I 
have the duties of Captain, ist Lieutenant, and 2d Lieu- 
tenant, all combined, at present to perform, so I have 
little right to think of abandoning my post. In confi- 
dence I may add, that possibly five or six of us may be 
transferred to a new Regiment by the Secretary of War. 
The Regiment would be under his patronage, and be 
called the "Cameron Highlanders." In this new Regi- 
ment I most likely would be assigned the post of Captain. 
However neither say or think anything about this, as it 
is by no means determined yet. The letter from Fraulein 
Mathilde contained the kind wishes of the family, and 
an invitation to be present at her wedding which is to 
take place on the ist of September. I find I have grovni 
rusty in the German language, so that I had no little 
difficulty in deciphering the young lady's epistle. 

Have I written you that we are now encamped on 
Kosciusko's farm ? It is a pleasant spot, but damp. I 



82 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

hear we are to be marched off somewhere to-morrow. 
Report names Georgetown as our probable destination. 

Uncle Charles is still in town I hear, but I cannot leave 
camp to visit him. 

I will take the photograph question into consideration 
when we get paid off. Tell Lilly she must accept thanks 
and love for her kind letter, but I do not mean to answer 
it until after some success occurs. 

Thank Mary for her kind intentions regarding writing 
me. Love to the little ones. Ask Wll if he wants to 
be a soldier. Turly shall be made a Congressman, and 
get appointed Chairman of the Military Committee. 

Love to all. 
Believe me. 
Very Affec y., 
William T. Lusk. 

Headquarters 79TH Regiment, 

Camp Advance, Va. Co. K. 

September 21st, 1861. 
Dear Cousin Lou: 

Let me see — it is a long time since I wrote you, but 
I am not forgetful. I must thank you many times for 
your kindness in writing me away off here. Perhaps you 
think it not very far, only four miles off from Washington; 
yet it is so, for we are quite shut off from all communi- 
cation with the outer world. My goodness, how I did 
cheer Mrs. Gen. Smith the other day on passing her 
carriage as the Regiment was returning from the field 
where its colors had been restored! 

I am not quite certain that Mrs. Brigadier-Gen. Smith 
was beautiful, yet I thought her so, for she had little 



.^ 



WAR LETTERS 83 

hands, white teeth, and was not shouldering a musket. 
If you will visit camp. Cousin Lou, I'll crown you Queen 
of Beauty and vote you lovelier than a thousand Mrs. 
Brigadier-Gen. Smiths. Tell Cousin Henry and Dr. 
Grant that their visit to me, while on Kalorama Heights, 
first taught me that there was still remaining communi- 
cation with the worid. The result of the lesson was, that 
I bought a looking-glass and combed the snarls out of 
my hair. 

It is raining to-night, so I am shut in my tent. Field 
life agrees with me excellently, so that as yet I have 
hardly had an ill day. Our Regiment has been unusually 
healthy, there having been no deaths from sickness in 
it since it first left New- York. A captain of the 19th 
Indiana Regiment was telling me that they had lost 25 
of their number from disease already, although they have 
not been out here so long as we by two months. This I 
suppose is partly owing to the fact that the city soldiers 
endure change of climate better than country ones; 
and something I believe is due to our surgeon Dr. Mc- 
Donald. The Doctor says that you are one of the few 
women for whom he has an unbounded admiration. 

You would laugh if you could hear the conversations 
between our Chaplain and the profane physicians. Our 
parson is a love of a little man from some back country 
village, accustomed to be kissed ( .^), admired, and petted 
by the ladies of his congregation, and to be regarded 
as a model of eloquence by the men. Fired with 
patriotic zeal he volunteered his services on the opening 
of the war, to his country, and left the peace of home 
for the horrid din of Mars. But the horrid din of Mars 
he finds to his astonishment, not nearly so agreeable 
as being kissed ( ?) and petted in his own quiet village. 




84 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

So he has grown petulant, thinks himself unappreciated, 
and calls all the men hardened sinners, because they 
sometimes look incredulous when he answers their" Why ?" 
with, "It is so for I say so." Shocking unbelievers! Dear 
little parson tells us weekly not to fear to die, but to face 
death bravely, as we are certain of being transported 
instantly to scenes of heavenly joy. Yet our little parson 
whenever an alarm occurs, rushes to his tent, secures 
his bag, and trots off in all haste to the nearest place 
of shelter. Taking advantage of this little weakness, the 
Doctor is in the habit of explaining to him in a horridly 
lucid way, the dreadful nature of gunshot wounds. 
Then some one will suddenly jump up, assume a 
listening attitude and cry: "Hark! Was that a gun?" 
The comical aspect of terror which is thus elicited, 
forms an inexhaustible source of amusement to us all. 
He reminds me of the Chaplain of the story, who bade 
the soldiers before the battle, not to fear, as they would 
assuredly that night, if they fell, sup in Paradise. He 
himself however ran away when the first shot was fired. 
An indignant hearer of his morning discourse reminded 
him of his encouraging promises. "No thankee," said 
he, "don't talk to me, I never did like suppers." All 
of which story you can anywhere find better told in the 
newspapers. 

Next to the parson, our greatest source of entertain- 
ment is the article called "nigger," a thing I never saw 
until I came to "Ole Virginny." We own an African of 
the Pongo species, a sort of half idiotic monkey-man, 
partially possessing the gift of speech, and totally pos- 
sessing the gift of doing nothing. I consider it a curious 
study to see how, when he is ordered to perform any 
service, he manages most ingeniously not to do it at all. 



WAR LETTERS 85 

You should see the Pongo though in the Highland cos- 
tume. "The What Is It ?" will have to retire from busi- 
ness. 

Good-bye dear Cousin Lou. 

Very afFec'y., 

W. T. LusK, 
Lieut. Co. K. jgth Regt. 

Reconnoissance at Lewinsville (Sept. ii, 1861). Restoration 
OF Colors to the Highlanders. Colonel Stevens Appointed 
Brigadier-General. 

"Life of General Isaac /. Stevens," Vol, II, p. 326. 

"On the 26th " ( August) " the regiment broke camp, marched through 
Washington, the band playing the dead march, by order of the colonel, 
in token of their disgraced condition and loss of the colors, and went 
into camp on Kalorama Hill, beyond Georgetown, a mile from the Chain 
Bridge. Col. Stevens named the new location Camp Hope, and in a 
brief address to the regiment bade them hope, and declared that together 
they would win back their colors and achieve a glorious career. With 
all his matter-of-fact judgment, he had a pronounced vein of enthu- 
siasm and poetic feeling, and had a singular power of arousing them 
in others, and of appealing to the higher motives." 

Page 327. "On the evening of September 6th, a large force, includ- 
ing the Highlanders, crossed Chain Bridge to the southern side of the 
Potomac, and took up positions in front and extending to the left, con- 
necting with troops from Arlington. At midnight, as the regiment was 
drawn up in line. Col. Stevens addressed them as follows: 

" 'Soldiers of the 79th! You have been censured, and I have been 
censured with you. You are now going to fight the battles of your 
country without your colors. I pray God you may soon have an oppor- 
tunity of meeting the enemy, that you may return victorious with your 
colors gloriously won/" 

Page 328. "The troops were kept hard at work, thus felling forests 
and digging forts, and also in outpost duty, for a strong picket line to 
cover the front, posted nearly a mile in advance, had to be maintained." 

Page 329. "On the nth," (September,) "under orders from Gen. 
Smith, but with strictest injunction not to bring on a general engagement 
under any circumstances, Col. Stevens, with 2,000 troops, made a recon- 
noissance in force of Lewinsville, a hamlet six miles in advance of Chain 
Bridge." 

The Highlanders were of this force. 

Col. Stevens reported of Lewinsville, "It has great natural advan- 
tages, is easily defensible, and should be occupied without delay." 



86 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

Page 331. The Union loss was two killed, and thirteen wounded. 

Page 332. General Baldy Smith, "perceiving the fine order and 
undaunted bearing of the troops, and learning how well they had all 
behaved, and that the enemy was keeping his distance, . . . heartily 
congratulated Colonel Stevens and his command on the well-conducted 
and successful reconnoissance. ... A few days later the colors were 
restored to the Highlanders by Gen. McClellan in person, in recogni- 
tion of their soldierly conduct since recrossing the Potomac, especially 
in the affair at Lewinsville." 

"79//^ Highlanders," />. 77. 

Lieut. Elliott says of his command, in connection with the recon- 
noissance at Lewinsville, Sept. nth: "Just as the bugle was sounding 
(the recall), an officer rode up and ordered me to move the picket parallel 
with the column, at the same distance out, and preserving the same 
intervals, so as to protect the flank from surprise. I immediately started 
for the guide to aid me in carrying out the order, but before I could 
find him another order came to recall the picket as soon as possible. 
Lieut. Lusk started to call in the picket, and in his over-eagerness at- 
tempted to call in both platoons, which caused him to be late with his 
own wing. As soon as the men stationed on the Falls Church road 
began to come in, I observed a number of men without uniforms emerge 
from the wood at the side of that road and creep on their hands and 
knees along the fence to the gate where the cavalry had been stationed; 
they then trailed into the wood on the right of Gilbert's house. Form- 
ing the men as quickly as I could, I made a signal for the left wing, 
under Lieut. Lusk, to retreat through the cornfield, as they were cutting 
us off, and started with what remained of my command down the lane 
to rejoin our regiment. . . . We had not moved fifty paces from the 
house when a volley of musketry was directed obliquely at us from 
the left, and at almost the same instant the gun opened fire on our 
right. Looking back I saw Lieut. Lusk, who had not understood my 
signal, returning with the last of his men into the very yard where the 
enemy's skirmishers were. By this time nothing could have been easier 
than to have taken them prisoners, instead of which the skirmishers, 
apparently thinking themselves surprised, in turn fired at them and 
retreated by the side of the house. Lieut. Lusk, with considerable 
adroitness, leaped the fence, followed by his two sergeants, and re- 
treated under cover of the cornfield in safety to his regiment." 

**Life of General Isaac /. Stevens" VoL II, />. 335. 

"General Stevens's appointment as brigadier was made on the 28th," 
(September) " and on the following day he was formally assigned to the 
command of the third brigade of Smith's division, consisting of the 
four regiments already under his charge, viz.: the Highlanders, 33rd 



WAR LETTERS 87 

and 49th New York, and 47th Pennsylvania. He retained the imme^ 
diate command of the Highlanders in addition to that of the brigade." 

Page 336. "Gen. Stevens named the new position occupied by his 
brigade, which was not far from Falls Church, the Camp of the Big 
Chestnut, from a huge sylvan monarch near by." 

Page 337. "Drilling, picketing, and tree-felliog fully employed the 
troops, at the Camp of the Big Chestnut." 



Headquarters 79TH Regt. 

Camp Advance, Co. K. 

Virginia, 1861. 
Dear Mother: 

A most delightful moonlight forbids my retiring at 
the usual hour to rest, so I will write and let you know 
that all is well — that we have had a dull week, that 
there has been naught to stir the sluggish blood since 
last week save once, when it was thought that the Army 
of Beauregard was marching in heavy columns upon us, 
but it didn't come, so we all said : "Pooh, pooh ! We knew 
it wouldn't. They are too wise to attack us." Alas, that 
we should have to tell that sorry tale of Bull Run! Walter 
has written me, and is full of our defeat. He does not 
feel flattered by the cheap lithographs in the shop windows 
representing "Yankees Running," which are thrust upon 
his sight all over England. He is delighted though to 
think that the 79th did well, and that I was a member 
of the Highland Regiment. As we file out of our camp, 
full equipped, the soldiers of other Regiments are wont 
to say, "There go the Highlanders. There will be fight- 
ing to-day." We are now formidably intrenched, and 
I think can make a tolerable defence against the foe. 
The Richmond jExflmm^r says: "We" (the Southerners) 
"flaunt our flag defiantly in the face of the cowed and 
craven-hearted foe, but they tamely endure the insults we 



88 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

heap upon them, and refuse to accept oui challenge to 
a fair and open fight." Well I think we can afford 
to endure the flaunting of the "stars and bars" until 
McClellan is ready, when we hope to march forward, 
seeking winter quarters in the pleasant mansions of the 
South. Just this same thing the Southerners are hoping 
to gain in the North. Beauregard thinks Philadelphia, 
Baltimore and New-York, gay places in the season, where 
the Southern youth may join in the festivities of winter. 
Nous verrons. 

We have a little parson in our regiment, who has 
a due regard for his personal safety. We love to get him 
into our tents, and describe with graphic truthfulness the 
horrid nature of shell wounds. The worst of shells too, 
we add, is, that they can be thrown to such a distance 
that even the Doctor and Chaplain are exposed to their 
death-bearing explosions. Our parson grows uneasy, and 
when an alarm is given, starts off, carpet-bag in hand, 
to our intense amusement, for the nearest place of safety. 
He is like that worthy chaplain, who, on the eve of battle, 
told the soldiers, " Fear not, for those of you who fall, will 
this night sup in Paradise." The battle commenced and 
the chaplain began to display most entertaining signs of 
terror. He was reminded of the consoling language he 
had himself used in the morning. "No thank ye," he 
answered quickly, "I never did like suppers." To such 
an extent are we obliged to resort to everything to amuse 
ourselves. Our darkeys give us some amusement and 
much more trouble. Ours, we have dubbed the " Pongo," 
who knows how not to do it, in a manner to excite our 
unbounded admiration. In the evening these Africans 
have a way of getting around the fire and singing real 
"nigger melodies," which are somewhat monotonous as 



• • » 



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1 Thompson Lusk 



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WAR LETTERS 89 

regards the music, and totally idiotic as regards the 
words. A favorite of theirs goes thus — viz: 

My little boat is on de ocean 
Where de wild bird makes de music 
All de day. 

This will sometimes be repeated for a couple of hours by 
the indefatigable nigger — indefatigable in this alone. 

Good-bye, darling mother. 

Most afFec'y., 

W. T. LusK. 

''Letters of a Family During the War^* Vol, /, ^. 194. 

Extract from a letter of E. Woolsey Howland, written to her husband, 
evidently from Washington, dated October 1st, 1861. 

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

[Start on Port Royal Expedition] 

October i8th, 1861. 
My dear Mother: 

I can only write you a few hasty lines. We have 
suddenly been summoned to Annapolis, and are now on 
board ship, bound I know not whither. This is so far 
pleasant, as there is a chance of relief from the wearisome 
picket duties which devolve upon Regiments on the ad- 
vanced outposts; and we have likewise an opportunity for 
distinction, as well as to do the country good ser\4ce. It 
is so far a disappointment, in that I had a leave of absence 
granted me, and hoped yesterday to be spending to-day 



90 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

with my dear Mother. I am very tired, as I marched 
all last night, and have been hard at work all this morn- 
ing. Health and spirits are excellent. Gen. Stevens will 
most likely command our expedition, which is almost 
a guarantee of success. At any rate we will trust it will 
prove more brilliant even than the affair at Hatteras. At 
any rate let us pray, come what will, God grant us 
peace in the life hereafter. A thousand times love for 
all. 

In haste, Affec'y., 

Will. 

**Life of General Isaac L Stevens" Vol. II, p. 338. 

"On October i6th, Gen. Stevens unexpectedly received orders to 
turn over the command of his brigade to the senior colonel, and report 
in person to General Thomas W. Sherman at Annapolis, Md., by day- 
light the next morning." Upon being urged by Captain David Morrison, 
the senior officer, to say good-by to his regiment in person, ''he rode 
in front of the line, and in a few feeling words expressed his regards 
and hopes for them and bade them farewell. As he wheeled and rode 
off, a spontaneous and universal cry of *Tak' us wi* ye ! Tak' us wi* 
yel' burst from end to end of the line, and tears stood in many a manly 
eye." 

Page 340. "They" (General Stevens and others) "reached Annapo- 
lis that evening, and were most cordially received by General Sherman, 
and by Colonel Daniel Leasure of the looth Pennsylvania, known as 
the 'Roundheads,' which was to form part of General Stevens's new 
brigade. His first act on reaching Annapolis was to apply by telegraph 
to the Secretary of War, in conjunction with General Sherman, for the 
Highlanders. He also personally telegraphed the President to that 
effect. Colonel Leasure too, telegraphed the Secretary that his regi- 
ment was largely composed of the descendants of Scotch Covenanters 
and Cromwell's soldiers, and were anxious to be joined by the High- 
landers. . . . General McClellan . . . strenuously objected to it, pro- 
testing that he could not spare one of his best veteran regiments. But 
Mr. Lincoln . . . ordered the Highlanders to Annapolis to rejoin their 
beloved commander." 

General Stevens "discussed, also, McGellan's character without 
the least trace of animosity, admitting his ability and patriotism, but 
lamenting his fatal lack of boldness and decision, which, he said, ren- 
dered his failure inevitable." 



J A 



WAR LETTERS 91 

October 21st, 1861. 
My dear Mother: 

We are sailing rapidly down the Chesapeake, still in 
doubt as to our ultimate destination, but expecting soon 
to reach Fortress Monroe where possibly there may be a 
chance of mailing a letter. We feel as though we were 
leaving the scene of old triumphs, and old disasters — 
of the latter we are mindful of many; so it was delicate 
sarcasm upon the part of our Bandmaster which induced 
him to strike up "Carry me back to old Virginny!" as 
we were crossing the Chain Bridge (which spans the 
Potomac), leaving the *' sacred soil" behind us. And 
now we are embarked on the "Vanderbilt," bound, this 
much we know, for "Dixie." I am hoping to exchange 
salutations with some of my old friends in Charleston. 
What fun it would be to be playing the magnanimous 
to a captive Prince Hugo, or Whalley despising Yankees 
much, or any other of the royal youth who live in the 
Kingdom of South Carolina. It may be we are to visit 
Mobile. If so, tell Hunt I will try and collect his rents 
with interest. But why speculate .? 

Let us pray for laurels and victory! Much is expected 
of the 79tn Regiment, I find. "My Highlanders!" as 
Gen. Stevens calls them. "They are equal to Regulars," 
the General is reported to have said to Gen. Sherman * 
commanding our expedition. "Send for them!" says 
Sherman. They are sent for, and arrive on shipboard 
in a horrible state of intoxication, with bloody faces and 
soiled clothes. The Chaplain of the 8th Michigan Regi- 
ment is horrified. He preaches to his men, and says: 
"I wish to make no invidious comparisons, but after 
what Fve seen of late, Fm proud of you for your excellent 

^ Thomas W. Shennan. 



92 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

conduct!" Well, we must hope that "My Highlanders" 
will silence invidious comparison when facing the foe. 
You tell me Ellis thinks I ought to boast of my Graham 
blood, and gently urge the same yourself, but the fact is, 
nothing has caused more amusement than Ellis' own pre- 
tensions to his descent from the King of the Hebrides. 
Indeed, on one occasion, up at Sunbury — a country 
town of Pennsylvania — when he was introduced on a 
public occasion to the worthy citizens of the place as 
a lineal descendant of Donald, King of the Hebrides, 
a man in the audience forgot himself so far as to call out, 
"Damn Donald, King of the Hebrides!" which was highly 
improper, and wholly irrelevant, yet very entertaining to 
those who heard it. I am awaiting an official announce- 
ment of the birth of Walter's boy, and mean to write con- 
gratulations as soon as I can find time. Hall will soon 
be married, he tells me. All my friends are getting 
settled, but I am a Nomad, fit, I fancy, for my present 
mode of life, which I find healthy and by no means 
disagreeable. Indeed, were my brother officers of a more 
agreeable character, I would take to soldiering with a 
relish, and with a reasonable amount of success might 
cry, "Vive la guerre!" However all dreams of the future 
terminate in dreams of peace, of home, and honorable 
repose in advancing years, all of which, dear mother, 
may we enjoy together, loving our country better, for 
having proved that it was so dear that we were willing 
even to give up our life for its preservation. 

Well, the blessings of peace be upon all at home. Kiss 
the little ones for me. Give love to all and 

Believe me, 

AfFec'y., 
Will. 



WAR LETTERS 93 

October 25th, 1861. 
My dear Mother: 

It is with extreme pleasure I write you to-day. We are 
still at Fort Monroe, and of course I do not know how 
long we are to remain here, but Old Point Comfort has 
proved itself such to me. I think few up to the present 
time have served under greater disadvantages in the army 
than I. A member of a Scotch Regiment strong in its 

foreign prejudices, introduced as I was by ,a man 

greatly unpopular among the men, I have enjoyed little 
prestige or favor. We have had hard work to do, and for 
four months I have suffered from extremes of heat and 
cold, from hunger and wet, and sleepless nights — from all 
the hardships of outpost life — have had the credit which 
I felt was due, denied, and have waited patiently, though 
sometimes against hope. After Col. Stevens became 
Brig.-Gen., our Regiment fell to the command of . . . 
Morrison, who sought to exhibit his authority by all 
sorts of petty and irritating acts of insolence toward 
myself. The life became intolerable, and I sent in my 
resignation. I have written you how kindly Gen. Stevens 
acted in the matter. I withdrew the resignation tem- 
porarily, however, on learning from Gen. Stevens the 
probability of a speedy action. 

When Gen. Stevens was detached from our Brigade 
to command one stationed at Annapolis, I was left, 
almost without appeal from the insults of . . . Morrison. 
I found my rights taken away, and favors bestowed on 
low, ignorant rowdies. I then obtained a furlough, 
meaning to arrange some plan of honorable escape while 

on a visit home. 

« 

Suddenly a despatch came ordering our Regiment to 



94 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

meet Gen. Stevens at Annapolis, and it was whispered 
our destination was to be some place on the Southern 
coast. I thereupon pocketed all affronts, gave up all 
thoughts of a leave of absence, and resolved to be resigned 
to the painfulness of my position, and to perform any 
duties that might be allotted me. A few days ago I was 
appointed officer of the day. The duties of the day were 
arduous, and for twenty-four hours I had no sleep. 
It was about ji in the morning and my duties had nearly 
expired, when Gen. Stevens desired to see the officer of 
the day. I supposed it was to perform some business 
in connection with my position. ' On reporting myself 
he said, " Mr. Lusk I wish to have a few words with you." 
"Yes," said I, "but be quick as my time has nearly ex- 
pired." " Oh !" said he, " I only wish to tell you that you 
are appointed my Aide-de-camp. You know my peculi- 
arities, and if we are satisfied with each other I think 
you will have no reason to repent of your appointment." 
I thanked him, told him I was proud to accept the 
appointment. So now, Mother, with best love to all 
the dear ones at home, I subscribe myself. 

Your affectionate son, 

Capt. W. T. Lusk, 

Atde'de'Camp to Gen, Stevens y 
Sherman s Division, 

The Port Royal Expedition 

** Life of General Isaac I, Stevens" Vol, II, p. 341. 

"The force which General Sherman was fitting out at Annapolis was 
destined, in conjunction with the navy, to secure a harbor on the Southern 
coast to serve as a base for the blockading fleets. General Sherman 
was a veteran regular officer of artillery, who had greatly distinguished 
himself at the battle of Buena Vista, a thorough soldier, a strict disci- 
plinarian, devoted to his profession, and moreover a man of ability, 
sound judgment, and true patriotism, but perhaps somewhat deficient 



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WAR LETTERS 9S 

in enterprise. He personally applied for General Stevens, for whom 
he entertained great esteem, as one of his brigade commanders. His 
force numbered some twelve thousand, all new, raw volunteers, except 
two regular batteries and the Highlanders, who, having fought at Bull 
Run, were looked up to as veterans by the other troops." 

Page 342. "The Highlanders arrived" (at Annapolis) "on the i8th" 
(October) "and the next day the troops were taken off in small bay 
steamboats to the large ocean steamships anchored two miles out, and 
embarked upon them. The largest of these vessels, and second only t3 
the Great Eastern, was the Vanderbilt, a noble side-wheel ship of three 
thousand tonnage, which had recently been given the government by 
Cornelius Vanderbilt." Gen. Stevens and staff and the Highlanders 
were among those on this steamer. 

Page 343. "The General appointed as his first Aide-de-Camp, 
Lieut. William T. Lusk, of the Highlanders, an educated and high- 
toned gentleman, who had abandoned his studies in Germany to fight 
for his country, and who proved a brave and excellent officer, and has 
since achieved distinction in his profession as a physician." 

"The transports sailed on the 20th and reached Fortress Monroe 
the next day. Here were awaiting them a fleet of thirty war ships, under 
Commodore Samuel F. Dupont, and a large number of sailing vessels 
laden with munitions and stores. The expedition lay here at anchor 
for a week, completing the necessary preparations." 



[Naval Engagement at Port Royal, Nov. 7, 1861] 

Headquarters 2nd Brigade, 

Hilton Head, Nov. qth, 1861. 
My dear Mother: 

It is a long, long time since I have heard from home — 
nearly three weeks I think since we have been blessed 
with news by mail, and all this time I am wondering how 
you are all faring in New-York. Well, when a mail bag 
does come, may it be crowded with all sorts of good news. 
Now we have good news to report, for we are now enjoy- 
ing ourselves in the pleasant climate of South Carolina. 

We have been many days on shipboard, 1700 of us 
all together, on board the good ship "Vanderbilt" which 
bravely rode the storm, while other good ships foundered 



96 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

m the sea. But the storm abated, and the winds went 
down, and we were lying ofF the coast of South Carolina. 
Then we thought that a death struggle was about to com- 
mence, for were we not to lock arms, and wrestle, with 
traitors at the very headquarters of rebellion ? We lay 
off Beaufort Harbor some sixty hours in idleness, waiting 
for the ball to open. That navy though is a slow affair, 
and we abused it mightily, being impatient to decide the 
fate of the expedition. Our naval commanders — Com- 
modore Dupont and Secretary of Navy Welles — re- 
ceived most unflattering notices. Why would they not 
begin ? Finally the old concern got a working — the 
"Wabash" led off, and was followed by a whole fleet of 
minor vessels. They sailed into line, and soon were 
sharply engaged with the forts protecting the entrance 
to the Harbor. For four hours shot were poured thickly 
into the defenses of the besieged, and nearly as long a time 
the besiegers sent destruction among our ships. But the 
terrible explosions of our shell, the steady broadsides 
poured from the Frigate "Wabash," and the sure-aimed 
missiles sent from the little gunboats that would run up 
close to the shore, ensuring thus accuracy of aim — all 
these things were terrible in their effect upon the foe. 
At last a white flag floated from the parapet of their forti- 
fication, and quickly a white flag was despatched from 
the "Wabash" to the shore. Hip, Hip, Hurrah! We see — 
ay — we rub our eyes — is it really true ? We see the 
American banner once more floating on the soil of South 
Carolina. All this time we were looking on, silent spec- 
tators of the scene. But now the harbor rings with the 
shouts of applause, with which we greeted the great naval 
victory. We forgot for a moment how slow Secretary 
Welles is, and how dreadfully slow are all the operations 



WAR LETTERS 97 

of the Navy. And now we vile Yankee hordes are over- 
running the pleasant islands about Beaufort, rioting upon 
sweet potatoes and Southern sunshine. Hilton Head is 
a sandy island but beautiful with palmetto leaves, cotton 
fields, magnolia and orange groves, and plantations of 
sugar cane. Here lived the Pinckneys, the Draytons, and 
other high-blooded Hidalgos, whose effervescing exuber- 
ance of gentlemanly spirit have done so much to cause 
our present troubles. Alas! Yankee hordes, ruthless in- 
vaders — the vile Hessians — infest their splendid planta- 
tions. One poor fellow was taken prisoner; afterward 
we learned there was in our hospital a brother of his, 
dying from disease, a young man who was too ill to 
retreat when his comrades fled precipitately. The brother 
first mentioned ventured to request that they two might 
remain together. To his surprise the request was will- 
ingly granted, and they seemed to feel that we had shown 
them a great kindness. The effects left by the South 
Carolinians in their flight show that there were many 
young men of wealth among them, who, feeling obliged 
probably, to do their duty as soldiers, selected the neigh- 
borhood of Beaufort, which is a kind of Southern Sara- 
toga. But if the flower of South Carolina youth, it is to be 
regretted that the flower never paid more attention to the 
spelling-book. A letter written them from a friend exhorts 
them to remember that they are "of gentilmanly blud. 
As a sort of memento I send you enclosed a "poem, 
the brilliancy of which will make it pay for the perusal. 
I saw William Ely yesterday. It is long since Tve seen 
him before, and he has changed so that I did not recog- 
nize him until he gave me his name. If I had time I 
would write pages more, but I am full of business now. 
Oh a thousand times love and oceans of kisses for sisters 



99 



98 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

and little ones, with less demonstrative but very warm 
regards for all friends. 

I remain AfFec'y-> 

Will. 

Can't stop to correct what I've written so excuse mis- 
takes. 



« 



Life of General Isaac I, Stevens" Vol. II y p. 344. 



" It was a fine, bracing autumn afternoon, October 29, when the great 
fleet sailed out of the Chesapeake in two parallel columns a mile apart. 
The giant warship Wabash lead the rig^t column. . . . The third day 
a furious storm struck the combined fleet and scattered it far and 
wide." . . . The Vanderbilt was among the first to arrive at Port 
Royal on November 3d, and by the 6th, nearly all the ships had 
assembled. The loss of life was 7 drowned and 93 captured. 

Page 345. " Port Royal was defended by earthworks on each side 
of the entrance. Fort Walker on Hilton Head, on the south side, and Fort 
Beauregard on Bay Point, on the north. These were strong and well 
constructed forts, with heavy parapets, traverses, and bomb-proofs, moun- 
ted forty-one guns of large caliber, and were garrisoned and defended 
by three thousand troops." 

"Rebellion Record** Vol. III^ p, 104 of Documents, 
Part of General Tbos. IF, Sherman's Report^ Nov, 8th ^ 1861. 

"Our original plan of cooperation of the land forces in the attack 
had to be set aside, in consequence of the loss during the voyage, of a 
greater portion of our means of disembarkment, together with the fact 
that the only point where the troops should have landed, was from five 
to six miles, measuring around the intervening shoal, from the anchoring 
place of our transports. 

"It was therefore agreed that the place should be reduced by the naval 
force alone. ... I deem it an imperative duty to say that the firing and 
manoeuvering of our fleet against that of the rebels and their formidable 
land batteries was a master-piece of activity and professional skill that 
must have elicited the applause of the rebels themselves as a tactical 
operation. I think that too much praise cannot be awarded to the ser- 
vice and skill exhibited by the flag officer of the naval squadron, and the 
officers connected with his ships. I deem the performance a masterly 
one, and it ought to have been seen, to be fully appreciated. After the 
works were reduced, I took possession of them with the land forces." 



WAR LETTERS 99 



« 



«' 



Life of General Isaac /. Stevens^' Vol, II, p, 349. 

Immediately after landing, General Sherman held a conference with 
his general officers as to undertaking an offensive movement. The enemy 
was evidently demoralized, and either Charleston or Savannah might 
fall before a sudden dash, and offered a tempting prize. But the gen- 
eral opinion was that a movement upon either involved too great risks, 
and that the first duty was to fortify and render absolutely secure the 
point already gained. General Stevens alone dissented from this view. 
He strenuously urged an aggressive movement inland to the mainland, 
then, turning to right or left, against one of the cities. In answer to 
objeaions, he declared that the overpowering naval force rendered 
Hilton Head already secure, and it could be fortified at leisure. The 
navy too could support an advance, and cover a withdrawal in case of 
need. The country was full of flat boats used by the planters for the 
transportation of cotton. Hundreds of these could be collected. . . . 
But the cautious counsel prevailed, and General Sherman reaped the 
reward of his lack of enterprise by being superseded a few months later, 
after rendering faithful service. Certainly he lost a great opportunity. 
With such subordinates as Generals Stevens and Wright, and the navy 
to assist, he might have taken Savannah, and could not have been badly 
damaged, even if repulsed." 

Page 351. General Stevens writes to his wife from Hilton Head» 
December 5th : 

"My brigade is still at work on the entrenchments. They have done 
an immense amount of work, much to the satisfaction of General Sher- 
man. . . . Our mess consists of the brigade Quartermaster, Captain 
Lilly; the brigade surgeon. Dr. Kemble; my aide-de-camp, Lieut. 
Lusk; Hazard, and myself. We have a most excellent cook, brought 
from New York, and a good dining-room servant picked up here. . . . 
How long we shall remain here I cannot form an idea — probably some 
months." 



Headquarters Second Brigade, 

Hilton Head, S. C. 

November 13th, 1861. 
My dear Mother: 

I am delighted, after several busy days, once more to 
have an opportunity to quiet the uneasiness of your 
anxious heart, and assure you of my continued welfare. 
We are now fairly ensconced on South Carolina soil. 
Our headquarters are at an old wooden building innocent 



loo WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

of paint, but rendered interesting by a large hole in the 
side, caused by the passage of one of our shot. These 
were pleasant places that the planters have abandoned 
us, and though conscious that our victory has been glori- 
ous, and that a heavy blow has been struck, would to God 
that this war had never visited us, and that the planters 
were once more peacefully cultivating their pleasant 
homes. The country for many miles around has fallen 
into the hands of our armies, and, unhappily, victors are 
apt to be ruthless in destroying the property of conquered 
enemies. 

However, the season of pillage is almost over. Our 
camps are being well guarded, and the opportunities for 
the escape of straggling parties of marauders have ceased. 
Every effort has been made to check wanton excesses, 
and it has been made for a few days past almost the sole 
duty of the Aides to scour the country for the purpose 
of intercepting parties wandering about without proper 
authority. In this manner I have come to see something 
of neighboring plantations, which are among the wealthiest 
in South Carolina. 

I wrote you before that here lived the Pinckneys, the 
Popes, a gentleman named Jenkins-Stoney, and others 
-whose names may, or may not be familiar to you. Their 
houses are in the old fashioned Southern mansion style, 
and show evidences of luxury and comfort. 

By-the-way, I saw a letter from a Secession soldier 
named Lusk the other day, which dilated much on the 
justice of the Southern cause, and the certainty that God 
would give the South the victory. I hear there is, or was 
previous to our arrival, a large family of Lusks at Beaufort, 
a few miles distant. I regret to say that the letter I have 
mentioned, did not show the writer to have displayed 



• ••• 



WAR LETTERS loi 

any great diligence in studying his spelling-book in the 
days of early youth. The weather here is warm as sum- 
mer. Oranges hang still in ripe profusion on the trees, 
the cotton remains unpicked, and the corn remains for 
us to gather. Negroes crowd in swarms to our lines, 
happy in the thought of freedom, dancing, singing, void 
of care, and vainly dreaming that all toil is in future to 
be spared, and that henceforth they are to lead that life 
of lazy idleness which forms the Nigger's Paradise. I 
fear that before long they have passed only from the 
hands of one taskmaster into the hands of another. 

All this long time I get no news from home, and am 
eagerly, impatiently^ awaiting the advent of the mail 
which is to recompense for the long weeks of waiting. I 
may write very irregularly, as my time was never so little 
my own as now. I think, when the " Vanderbilt" returns, 
you will see my old school friend Sandford, who will 
bear you news of me. Sandford is a young fellow, of 
the family of the name, so extensively engaged in shipping 
interests. I mention this as possibly Uncle Phelps may 
know of them. Have Lilly and Tom any intention of 
soon being married ? I send by Sandford, a hundred 
dollars of my pay home to be delivered to Uncle Phelps, 
and would like $25.00 of it to be expended in buying Lilly, 
when the wedding day comes, some remembrance from 
brother Will. I enclose in this letter a ^{5.00 bill to be 
especially employed in the purchase of toys for the chil- 
dren. I would like much to see little Willie and Turlie 
once more. If I possibly can, I shall try and get a leave 
of absence about Christmas time, though I hardly expect 
to be successful. Walter, I suppose, is fairly home by 
this time. I would have written before, congratulating 
him upon the arrival of his little boy, but have been 



102 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

waiting to get hold of the letter which announces it. 
Beyond the fact that he is a father I know nothing. 

Give love to all my friends, and all who feel an interest 
in me. I would like to see you soon again, which, in fact, 
is the burthen of all the Southern letters we have ii^ter- 
cepted. There is one thing very conspicuous in all 
letters from Southern soldiers. I refer to the deep re- 
ligious vein pervading them. Their religious impres- 
sions seem to be warmer than those of our troops. One 
poor fellow fears their cause is doomed because of the 
fearful immorality in their ranks. "Why," he writes, 
"I even hear that officers have been known to curse the 
men under their command.'* 

Good-bye, 

Very Aff"ec'y.> 

Will. 

Headquarters 2d Brigade, 

Hilton Head, Dec. 2d, 1861. 
My dear Mother: 

A real Southern storm is without — the rain falls 
heavily, thunder rolls in the distance, the fly of my tent 
flaps noisily — yet here within all is peace and quiet, 
loving not stormy thoughts. Let us look about my 
tent a little. The bottom is boarded and covered with 
straw; a washstand occupies the corner; a bed, com- 
fortable with blankets, extends along one of the sides; 
from the tent-poles hang my sword, sash and belt, my 
military coat, and such clothes as are needful for daily 
wear. Then I am sitting on my valise (Lieut. Elliott's 
name is upon it), and am writing at a table of rude con- 
struction — an old shutter, robbed from a Secession barn, 
laid upon a box — yet, covered with the beautiful blanket 



WAR LETTERS 103 

which came a gift from Hunt, it has a fine, jaunty 
look, and we think ourselves elegant in the extreme, 
especially when we put our new coffee-pot upon it, and 
sit writing at it for the purpose of spinning a yarn. A 
circular yam I call it, for I intend it for all the kind 
friends whose loving thoughts were so abundantly mani- 
fest in that box of "goodies" which the ** Bienville" 
brought me. There's one thing that I've been keeping 
back all this time — the cunning rogue that I am. Its a 
big, blue Secession chest, a good deal battered and worn, 
but I have only to throw open the lid — and presto (in 
the excitement I had nearly written prestidigitato) — I 
feel, see, think all sorts of things — things around which 
cluster pleasant memories. 

Let us see! Come, oh bottle of Abreco, out of thy 
hiding place, for thou must distil for me dainty fancies 
warm as the sun that ripened the grapes out of which 
thou art made! Ay, and a cigar I must have too — a 
real Havana — Santa Rosa is inscribed upon it. Why 
that was the name of a little Jew maiden whom I once 
knew, and concerning which Miss Ellen Dwight with 
her superior worldly knowledge, whispers in the ear of 
Sam Elliott, "Oh strange infatuation!" But no matter. 
Let the fragrant clouds arise; clouds bearing fair, friendly, 
earthly visions! Stop though! There the cap of blue 
and white, knit by small, slender fingers. Dear Lilly, 
I put it on now, and now I take it off* and look at it. 
It has a pretty maidenly appearance about it, and sug- 
gests indefinitely kisses from red pouting lips, and the 
sort of romantic dreams in which sentimental youths 
indulge. Some such articles as this, probably, Penelope 
spun while waiting her Lord's return from Troy. Is 
Penelope quietly spinning for me still ? Or is the yam 



104 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

run out, and does she now bend a willing ear to new 
suitors ? If so, why then, bother take Penelope; let us 
look at the stockings! They have a jolly comfortable 
aspect. They bring one from visions of "airy, fairy 
Lilians" of poet fancy, to the substantial bread-and- 
butter sentiment of Germany. They are the work of 
comfortable middle-aged Penelopes, I fancy. I can 
commence at the toes of them, if I choose, and unravel 
them slowly, and each time the yarn makes a circuit, 
I can feel sure that I am unravelling a kind thought — 
perchance a tearful memory, that the loving ones wove 
into their work, as they sat knitting around the fireside. 
"Sweet home" — it is long since I have known thee, 
yet, when the labor is done, how eagerly will I clutch 
the promises the words "Sweet home" contain! I have 
some studs in my shirt. They are made of Sarah's hair 
and they tell me home has changed somewhat since I 
knew it. I asked General Stevens the other day if he 
had known General Garnett. He said, "Yes. Well?" 
and almost in the same breath added, "He had such 
a lovely wife who died in my territory." They two have 
bidden us farewell, and grief is deadened at the thought 
of their present happiness. I look again into the box, 
and I see there gifts from Hunt and Thomas. They 
have been good brothers to me. They two and Wal- 
ter have always given me a full, hearty brother's love. I 
am not an humble man, and am proud in many ways, 
but there is naught of which I am half so proud as my 
own true valued friends. As I think of them, they are 
not few; as I look into the box, I see this; as I remember 
all the kind acts they have done me, I feel this; and when 
I call to mind the goodness of the Almighty, I know it. 
Dear mother, dear sisters, dear brothers, I can hardly 



J % 



WAR LETTERS los 

keep back the tears when I ask you to accept the thanks 
for your exceeding love. There are the little ones too, 
and they are never forgotten. I must add Walter's boy 
to the list now — that wondrous boy, so different from 
all other babies, and yet so like all others in the strik- 
ing resemblance he bears his papa. Tell Cousin Lou 
that I am using the ink and paper she sent me, to express 
to all my friends my thanks. Does Cousin Lou think 
I am such a savage — so delighting in secession blood — 
that I would not extend my hand to help any one in trouble ? 
And does she not feel sure that a duty would become a 
pleasure when it would be to assist her friends? Let 
her never doubt that should any of her relatives fall into 
our hands, I will not forget either my duty to them nor 
my love to her. The gift from Uncle John I felt, and 
accept with that pleasure which not only springs from 
affection, but from the honest respect I have for his 
fearlessness of character in vindication of the right. Thank 
Uncle Phelps and Aunt Maria. They have never faltered 
in their friendship toward me. Thank my Aunts. I 
trust I may never disgrace them. Thank Mrs. Tyler, 
Cousin Lizzie and Aunt Elizabeth. Their gifts were 
timely and acceptable. I trust I have omitted none of 
those to whom I am indebted. If so I would thank them 
too, and in conclusion I can only thank God who has 
given so many friends — friends so faithful, so kindly, 
and so true. 

Aff'ec'y-f 
Will Lusk. 



xo6 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

Headquarters 2d Brigade, 

Port Royal District, Dec. loth, 1861. 

My dear Mother: 

I am still much busied — still find it difficult to cull 
even a few moments from multifarious duties, even to 
write my dear mother. I would like much to have a 
chance to write you a good long letter, yet must wait 
until more leisure shall fall to my share. We have the 
last few days been more than ever busy, owing to our 
formal occupation of Beaufort, where we are now pleas- 
antly living. All sorts of comforts are at our disposal. 
The house occupied by the General is one belonging to 
Rev. (I think) Mr. Smith, an extremely elegant one. The 
portrait of Bishop Eliot looks down benignantly from 
over the mantel while I write. 

I wish the owners were back in their old homes, not- 
withstanding they have relinquished all their old home 
luxuries to us. I do not, I think, possess quite enough 
of the Vandal spirit, for anything like predative warfare. 
I have spoken of the extreme pressure of duties, and this 
you will understand when I tell you I often ride thirty 
miles, visiting posts, arranging pickets, and in the examina- 
tion of doubtful points, during the day, besides perform- 
ing many other duties, such as may fall to my share. I 
must say night generally finds me weary and after evening 
work is done, disinclined even to write you. 

All things seem to thrive with us so far. What we still 
need is a sufficiently efficient organization to enable us to 
strike with rapidity. Here we are, nearly five weeks in pos- 
session of this point, and as yet we have hardly been able 
to get the stores ashore, which we originally brought 
with us. And all this time too we read in the newspapers 






WAR LETTERS 107 
of the great zeal and activity displayed by Captain 



who has charge of these things. By this time we ought, 
considering the great fear that filled the inhabitants on 
our first landing, to have been able to follow up our first 
successes by a series of determined blows, placing the 
entire State at our disposal. Still we are young at war, 
and cannot hope to learn all these things at once. We 
have however done something. Immense quantities of 
cattle, corn, and provisions have been gathered into the 
commissary stores, Hilton Head has been securely fortified, 
and some cotton saved, though much of the latter has 
been burned by the South Carolinians to prevent its falling 
into our hands. I think Cousin Louisa's favorite, Sam 
Lord, is in the Army awaiting us on the mainland. At 
least I heard such to be the case from a negro driver on 
one of the plantations, who seemed to know him. The 
Pringles lived somewhere in this neighborhood too, so I 
am brought almost face to face with old friends. 

Believe me. 

Very AfFec'y., 

W. T. LusK. 



The Occupation or Beaufort 

Life of General Isaac I. Stevens" Vol. II ^ p. 353. 
Scarcely were the works at Hilton Head completed when General 



(« 



«< 



Stevens was ordered, early in December, to occupy Beaufon, as an ad- 
vanced post threatening the mainland, and affording protection to the 
negroes on the islands." . . . Beaufort '* was a place of fine mansions 
and houses, almost wholly exempt from the poorer class, the seat of 
wealth and refinement, and often styled the Newport of the South. . . ." 
When the appalling news of Dupont's victory reached Beaufort, 
"the whole white population fled in terror. . . . From all the islands 
the flight of the planters was equally hasty." There were at least 10,000 
negroes left on the different islands, who ''flocked into Beaufort on 
the hegira of the whites, and held high carnival in the deserted man- 
sions, smashing doors, mirrors and furniture, and appropriating all that 




* ' 



io8 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

took their fancy. . . . After this sack, they remained at home upon the 
plantations and revelled in unwonted idleness and luxury, feasting 
upon the com, cattle, and turkeys of their fugitive masters." 

Page 355- "General Stevens . . . reached Beaufort at seven 
in the morning on December ii,^ landed, and threw out a strong 
picket on the main road across the island, known as the shell road. 
. . . The next morning the remainder of the troops landed, and 
General Stevens advanced across the island on the shell road to Port 
Royal Ferry on the Coosaw River, with two regiments and Ransom's 
guns. The rebel cavalry, falling back without resistance, crossed the 
ferry. ... A small, square ferryhouse stood at the end of each 
causeway, and the one on the further side had been strengthened and 
converted into a blockhouse, and from it the enemy fired on the Union 
advance. But the first shell from the 3-inch rifled gun went crashing 
through the extempore blockhouse, and sent its brave defenders 
scampering up the long causeway. Two adventurous soldiers then 
swam the river and brought back a boat in which a party crossed 
over, demolished the blockhouse, and returned with the ferry scow and 
paraphernalia. 

" A strong picket line was posted along the river, a good force left 
in support at a cross-road some miles back on the shell road, and the 
general with the remainder of the party returned to Beaufort. 

"Gen. Stevens at once cleared the blacks out of town, and estab- 
lished a camp in the suburbs for the temporary reception of refugees 
and vagrant negroes. He placed the troops under canvas in the out- 
skirts, and prohibited their entering the town without a permit, and 
strictly forbade all plundering, or even entering the empty houses. 
Guards were posted over a fine public library, the pride of the town, 
which, however, had been thrown about in utter disorder; patrols were kept 
scouring the streets, and the strictest order and discipline were enforced." 

" fFar of the Rebellion" Series /, FoL VL, p, igg. 
Heaek^uarters District of Port Royal, 

Beaufort, S. C. December /o, 1861. 
Brigadier-General Sherman, 

Commanding Expeditionary Corps: 

General: Lieutenant Ransom and the section of Hamilton's battery 
under his command moved at 3 o'clock this morning, and I followed 
with two members of my staff. Acting Aides-de-Camp Lusk and Tay- 
lor, of, respectively, the Highlanders and Fiftieth Pennsylvania, a half 
hour afterwards. We reached the ferry at daylight. I found, how- 
ever, on careful examination, that the Confederates had not commenced 
the erection of any works since our occupation of the island. After 

^Dec 9 would conform with the other records. 



WAR LETTERS 109 

an examination of the country adjoining the feny, especially of the old 
ferry at Seabrook, a mile and a half to the westwood of the present 
ferry, I determined to take positive possession of both sides of the 
existing ferry, especially as an effort had been made during my 
absence at Sea brook, to fire the ferry building on the island side. 
Lieutenant Ransom, bringing, under my direction, his battery into 
position at Stuart's place, fired four shots and dispersed the enemy's 
pickets, and Lieutenant-Colonel Brenholts, commanding the detach- 
ment at the ferry, advanced immediately a picket of 12 men to the 
ferry, and took possession of both banks, with some four boats. 
These have since been secured. A small blockhouse commanding the 
ferry on the main was destroyed. ... I have, with the assistance of 
my aides and scouting parties, examined nearly all portions of the island 
to-day. The conduct of the troops is exemplary, and there will be 
considerable additions made to our stock of quartermaster's stores. 

I am, sir, very respectfully yours, most obediently, 

Isaac L Stevens, 
Brigadier-General Commanding, 

Headquarters 2d Brigade, S. C. 

Beaufort, S. C. Dec. 20th, 1861. 
My dear Mother: 

Here it is almost Christmas, but there is no hope of 
dining with you all at home on that joyful day. Still I 
will try to make myself cheerful here, as that alone is 
a comfortable philosophy. Duties are a bit lighter 
to-day — the result, I suppose, of great exertion for a few 
days back. I received last night three letters from you 
and one from Horace. Let me thank you, dear mother, 
very much for the photograph you sent me. It gives me 
much gratification, and now occupies a conspicuous place 
in my room. I shall look impatiently for the photographs 
likewise of my sisters and the little boys. It would do 
me much good to see Hunt's good-looking face, if he does 
feel too logy to favor my whims. You write me for my 
photograph, as though I was living at the seat of civiliza- 
tion, and the abode of elegance. Well, to be sure, I am; 



no WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

but then everything is in Southern style, which does not 
admit of such vulgar things as tradesmen, much less of 
itinerant shadow catchers. I have grown immensely 
aristocratic since in South Carolina. There is something 
in the air that's infectious. A few more weeks here, and 
ril be able to stomach even a Bostonian, which — Oh! 
I had almost forgotten how soon Hall's wedding comes 
off; the 25th of December, Walter writes me. Do for 
Heaven's sake give the bride something from me. I 
enclose ;^ 10.00 to make the purchase. There is nothing 
one can possibly buy down here. Pay-day is not far off 
again, and I hope to be able to remit something hand- 
some to Uncle Phelps, which may make him cry, "Oh, 
provident youth!" Until then Walter's baby must go 
without the coral and bells destined him by his affection- 
ate Uncle William. Tell Horace I took into considera- 
tion the request he made with regard to writing a few 
lines to Saml. Lord, assuring him of the welfare of Miss 
Mintzing, concluded to do it, have done it, and think the 
communication will reach him. 

We are quite active here at Beaufort, giving the good 
people on the mainland all sorts of starts. The other 
night a young Lieutenant crossed to the mainland with 
a small party, caught six of their pickets, and brought 
them safely back as prisoners. A captain takes a boat, 
glides along the shore, gets fired upon, returns the fire, 
and, it being his first fight, he has the agreeable sensation 
of seeing the enemy run. The fact is, though the people 
of respectability are many of them rampant, the poor 
whites think the war a hard thing, which they do not like 
to bear. So much we gathered from the prisoners taken 
the other night. They say that all who do not volunteer 
are drafted into the army, and the difference made is. 



^ ^ 



WAR LETTERS iii 

that volunteers receive $25.00 for clothes, and are treated 
with respect, whereas drafted men get nothing but abuse. 
Therefore it is not difficult to see how popular volunteering 
must be in the South. 

You will be pleased to hear that my friend William 
Elliott has gained perhaps the most brilliant reputation 
for cool courage and daring, of any man in the Army 
down here. He is a rare hero, and is bound to make 
his mark. 

Give my best love to all, dear mother. 

AfFec'y., . 

Will. 

**Life of General Isaac /. Stevens" Vol. II, p. 356. 

" In order to protect the negroes and keep the enemy within his own 
lines. General Stevens strongly picketed the western or exposed side of 
Port Royal and Ladies' Islands, guarding all the landing-places, and 
watching the Coosaw and Broad rivers for twenty-five miles. Knowing 
the difficulty of maintaining so long and exposed a line of outposts 
against an enterprising enemy, he threw him on the defensive by the 
boldness of his advanced line, and by a succession of well-planned and 
daring raids upon his pickets on the opposite shore. Thus Lieutenant 
Benjamin F. Porter, of the 8th Michigan, on the night of December 17th 
captured a picket of six men on Chisholm's Island, and on several occa- 
sions small parties were thrown across the Coosaw in boats, the enemy's 
pickets were driven off, and the buildings from which they fired upon 
the Union pickets, were destroyed. So successfully was this policy 
carried out, that the enemy made but one counter-attack during the six 
months that General Stevens occupied the islands, . . . and that was 
repulsed without loss on our side." 

December 30th, 1861. 
My dear Mother: 

I hardly know what you all think at home — Hall gets 
married, and I send no word of congratulation; Walter 
sends me a beautiful present, and I return no word of 
thanks; Horace writes me a letter full of kindness, and 



112 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

it lies still unanswered; your letters come with such 
regularity, and yet are hardly better treated. You have 
been waiting, I suppose impatiently, to receive some news, 
but I have been obliged to be silent, for I have been quite 
ill with a fever. I am better this morning, so I write to 
set your mind at ease. I am under the charge now of 
Dr. McDonald, who is excessively kind and supplies me 
with every comfort a sick man could desire, such as 
clean sheets, cheerful faces, currant jelly, easy chairs, etc. 
I do not feel much like writing I must say, and, after Fve 
told you I am now getting along very comfortably, you 
will excuse me from making this letter a long one. 

With best love. 

Very AflFec'y., 
W. T. LusK. 

Headquarters 2d Brigade, 

Beaufort, S. C. Jan. 9th, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

It is with great pleasure I am able to write of my 
rapid recovery from a somewhat severe illness. I caught 
the fever prevalent in this country, and lost all those 
pounds of flesh of which I have boasted, but am thank- 
ful to be again restored to health, if not to full strength, 
and am gaining rapidly. There is little chance of 
obtaining a leave of absence, for, though delightful as 
it would be to see you all again, it is not well to look 
back when the hand is once put to the plough. You 
will ere this have received an account of our New Year's 
call over on the mainland of South Carolina. It was 
very successful, but I was unable to be present, as exces- 
sive exhaustion, the result of the fever, kept me cop- 



WAR LETTERS 113 

fined in bed. The weather down here is charming now, 
the sun is as warm as summer. I think of you suffering 
from cold. I would be willing to exchange the warm 
sun of Beaufort though, for a couple of weeks in the chilly 
North where there are warm hearts ever ready to welcome 
me. I am going to enclose to you a copy of a Secession 
letter which may afford you some amusement. 

I have not received either my trunk or sword yet, though 
they undoubtedly are at Hilton Head, but the express 
agency is a slow working affair, and I must abide their 
time patiently. Yesterday was the anniversary of the 
battle of New Orleans. In the evening the General had 
a reception, at which many patriotic speeches were made, 
and a general feeling of jollity prevailed. There is little 
news to communicate. Your letters come regularly. I 
have received Hunt's photograph, which is capital. I hope 
gradually to get the likenesses of the whole family. 

There is at present as far as we can learn, a general feel- 
ing of depression among the South Carolina troops, which 
possibly may eventually develop into a Union sentiment. 
The feeling the soldiers express is: "We have no negroes 
to fight for, while the slave-owners have all taken good 
care to retire to the interior of the State where they can 
live in safety." The question is beginning to pass among 
them, " Why should we stay here to be shot, when those 
who have caused the war have run away.?" This is 
dangerous talk, and, we are told, officers have great diffi- 
culty in maintaining the organization of their Regiments. 
At least these are stories brought by the negroes who are 
continually escaping to our lines, and the unanimity of 
their reports seems to lend the appearance of truth to 
them. The fact is, the frightful effects of the explosions 
of the 1 1 inch shell which some of our gun-boats carry. 



114 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

have produced a great panic among the land forces of 
South Carolina. Negroes from Charleston report the 
city in a great fright, the inhabitants making preparation 
to leave at the sound of the first note of alarm. I hope 
we may catch old Tyler. ^ It would do me a deal of good 
to see the traitor sent North to be dealt with properly. 
There is a strong contrast between the treatment of our 
prisoners, and that received by the unfortunates who fall 
into the hands of the "chivalry." The prisoners we have 
here are certainly as well treated if not better than our own 
soldiers. As I see them, on passing their place of con- 
finement, with their legs hanging out of the windows, 
smoking their pipes, lolling about, enjoying fires when it 
is chilly, I cannot but think of a poor fellow named Biick, 
a German in my company and a capital fellow, who 
was captured at Bull Run and taken prisoner to Rich- 
mond. Once he ventured to put his head out of his 
prison window, and in an instant the guard shot him 
dead. I remembered too an amiable practice of the 
chivalrous youth of Richmond, who, when drunk, were 
in the habit of discharging their pieces from below, 
sending the bullets through the floor of the prison. 
This piece of pleasantry they termed "tickling the legs of 
the Yankees!" Well, we are not barbarians, and the 
other day a poor fellow whom we took prisoner at 
the battle of the Coosaw, as he lay grievously wounded, but 
receiving every kindness and attention at our hands, 
said: "Ah, there's a mistake somewhere. We think you 
come here to murder, and burn and destroy." It will 
take time, but we believe by making ourselves dreaded 
in battle, but using kindness to all who fall into our 
power, even South Carolina may learn the lesson that 
there is a mistake somewhere. 

1 John Tyler. 



WAR LETTERS 115 

There, I think I have written a long letter. With 

much love to all, I remain, _ _ _ 

Your aiiec. son, 

Will. 

Action at Port Royal Ferry, Jan. i, 1862 

This was the " New Year's call " mentioned in the preceding letter. 
"Life of General Isaac I. Stevens," Vol II, p. 358. 

*' Impressed with the importance of dislodging the enemy and keeping 
the river open. Gen. Stevens laid before Gen. Sherman a plan to that 
end, which the latter promptly approved. It was simply to throw a 
sufficient force across the river several miles below the ferry, advance 
up the left bank, beat any force that might be found covering the 
work, and take it in the rear. Three light-draught gunboats were 
to cooperate in the movement. . . . Nearly every plantation on 
these islands was supplied with large fiatboats, used chiefly for the 
transportation of cotton. Ever since his occupation General Stevens 
had been quietly collecting these scows at Beaufort, with a view to 
using them in future operations." 

Page 360. ** At one a.m. New Year's morning the embarkation 
commenced." 

Page 362. "At 1.30 p. m. Gen. Stevens formed his order of march, 
and moved forward for the fort, marching parallel to the river." The 
movement ended by a complete victory, and the enemy made a precipi- 
tate retreat. 

Page 366. ^ This action was almost the first Union success achieved 
by the army since the disaster of Bull Run, and the thanks of the gov- 
ernment were extended in general orders to Gen. Stevens and his 
command." 

Page 367. "After the action of Port Royal Ferry, General Stevens 
continued to hold Beaufort and the neighboring islands for five months, 
without the occurrence of any military event of importance, chiefly 
occupied in thoroughly drilling and disciplining his troops." 

Col. Addison Farnsworth made Colonel of the Highlanders. 

*'Tbe ygth Highlanders, p. 1 16. 

"On the 17th," (Jan.) "Col. Addison Farnsworth of Albany, N. Y., 
arrived and assumed command of the regiment ... a veteran of the 
Mexican war. . . ." 

**Life of General Isaac I, Stevens** Vol, II, p. 426. 

"Col. Farnsworth . . . joined his regiment at Beaufort, but was 
absent on leave during the James Island campaign, at the close of which 
he returned to it." 



ii6 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

Headquarters 2d Brigade S. C. 

Beaufort, S. C. Jan. 19th, 1862. 

My dear Mother: 

I am so accustomed to commence all documents in 
an official form, that even in a letter to you I find myself 
employing the customary heading. I regret very much 
that this letter will not reach you by the "Atlantic," but 
it is too late — the steamer sailed a day sooner than at 
first reported. But I trust Walter has told you I am well, 
that Uncle Phelps has reported my purchase of a new 
horse, and that Capt. Wm. Elliott, who has returned 
home with your address in his pocket, will relieve your 
mind of all anxiety as regards the effect of my late illness. 
But tell Walter that all my fretting and fuming on two 
points was in vain. After writing as I did about the 
sword, I went to the express office to make a last inquiry. 
The office was closed, so I despatched my letter. On 
going to dinner a few hours later, one of the officers spoke 
up : " By the way, there's a package for you at the express 
office, about three feet long and four or five inches deep.*' 
My sword after a long delay at Fortress Monroe, at last 
had come. I am charmed at Walter's forethought, and 
I promise to wear it with double pleasure, for the great 
love we bear each other. 

Then the matter of the 79th officers sent out with com- 
missions from Gov. Morgan, although not having a pre- 
text of a claim for recognition — well, my efforts, some- 
what Quixotic, and decidedly mutinous in character, 
were of no avail. I had set my heart on seeing Wm. 
Elliott in a position which every man who knows him, 
acknowledges to be his due. The Lieut.-Colonelcy was 
vacant, the Colonelcy too; one of these offices the Gen- 



> 
/ 



WAR LETTERS 117 

eral declared he should have, but the Governor of New- 
York had to attend to his friends and so William lost his 
promotion. I was indignant, outraged. I tried to get 
all the officers to resign, sooner than submit to imposition. 
Luckily for me, the men I sought to influence were "Canny 
Scotch " — the promotion of Elliott had no material in- 
terest to them. They could say that it was a shame, but 
losing the liberal pay the U. S. Government allows, was 
too much of a stretch upon their sense of justice, so I 
was saved a deal of foolishness which must have ended 
disastrously. Necessarily in the army a great amount of 
temporary injustice is done, but in the long run merit 
will rise. And so I satisfy myself that Wm. Elliott will 
yet be a Colonel or something more, but he must bide 
his time. I meant to have written ever so much more, 
but just hearing the" Baltic'' sails directly, I halt abruptly, 
hoping this may catch her. 

Love to all. 
Affectionately, 

Will. 



"Life of General Isaac I, Stevens,** Vol, II, p. 377. 

Around Beaufort "this intrepid officer*' (Captain Elliott, of the 
Highlanders), "made trip after trip within the enemy's lines, explored 
the whole region, and examined every bridge between the Coosawhatchie 
and the Ashepoo, located the enemy's posts, ascertained their forces, 
intrenchments, guns, etc., and gleaned much information in regard to the 
roads, approaches, and country. . . . The service . . . was so well 
performed that it is doubtful if the Confederate commander himself 
was much better informed as to the state of things within his lines 
than was his opponent." 

" The ygth Highlanders** p, 4gj. 

Captain William Elliott became Major of the Highlanders May 12th, 
1862; he was severely wounded at Chantilly, Sept. ist, 1862. 



ii8 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

Beaufort, S. C. Jan. 26th, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

Another Sunday has come around, time slips quietly 
by — still nothing striking has taken place. We are all 
impatiently awaiting the advent of some steamer, bring- 
ing us news from the Burnside Expedition. Is our coun- 
try really so prolific in great Commanders } Is there a 
Napoleon for each one of the dozen armies that compose 
the anaconda fold ? Ay, ay, it would be a sad disappoint- 
ment if the fold should happen to snap somewhere! 
Things look like action down here, and that not long 
hence. We have been gathering our troops gradually 
on the islands about the mouth of the Savannah river. 
Thither have gone our Connecticut friends, and yester- 
day three more steamers, loaded, took the remainder of 
Gen. Wright's Brigade with them. We are left here quite 
unnoticed on Port Royal Island, in seeming safety, though 
there are many troops around us. An army, boasting 
much, awaits us on the mainland, but an army having 
still a wholesome dread of Yankees. I made them a 
sort of visit the other night (25th), passing up Hospa 
Creek in a light canoe, hidden by the darkness and the 
long grass of the marshes. A negro guide paddled so 
lightly that, as we glided along, one might have heard 
the dropping of a pin. It was fine sport and as we passed 
close by the enemy's pickets we would place our thumbs 
to our noses, and gracefully wave our fingers toward the 
unsuspecting souls. This was by no means vulgarly in- 
tended, but as we could not speak, we thus symbolically 
expressed the thoughts that rose in our bosoms. We 
pushed on until coming to a point where a stream like a 
mere thread lay before us. Here we paused, for this was 
a stream we wished to examine. At the mouth of the 



WAR LETTERS 119 

stream stood the sentries of the enemy. We could hear 
their voices talking. We lay under the river grass, watch- 
ing. Soon a boat pushed across the little stream to the 
opposite shore. We shoved our canoe far into the marsh, 
and lay there concealed. Then all was still and we 
thought it time to return, so back we went, and returned 
home unnoticed and in safety. Such little excursions give 
a zest to the dulnessof camp. I have not yet been able 
to give Miss Mintzing's letter to any one who could send 
it to her friends, yet I hope such an opportunity will 
speedily come. What is Tom Reynolds now doing ? 

The paymaster has not visited us this long time, and 
I have but fifty cents in my pocket. However, when one 
has nothing to spend, he feels quite as happy down here, 
as money can buy but few luxuries in camp. We don't 
starve though. Secession cows give us milk, speculators 
bring us butter, and the negroes sell us chickens. 

Jan. 27th. We find all sorts of communication with 
home fairly cut off. Gen. Sherman has been long plan- 
ning some expedition against Fort Pulaski. At length it 
has started from Hilton Head, and Gen. Sherman, with 
his characteristic caution has closed all communication, 
fearful that otherwise, through letter, or in some other 
manner his plans might be revealed. I trust when the 
embargo is raised, the same steamer that carries this to 
you, will bear accounts of some new success from our 
expedition. 

I am sorry Uncle Phelps is disappointed that he did 
not have the pleasure of reading my name in print. Why, 
I read the other day (in the Herali)^ how I commanded 
an enterprise at which I was not even^ present. So much 
for newspaper glory! After Bull Run, numbers who never 
left New-York, had themselves puffed for gallant conduct 



120 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

by a mercenary press. Pooh ! Mother, your reputation 
outside the circle of those who can see, is not worth the 
words that picture it. I have to laugh when I think of 
Brig.-Gen. of the Irish Brigade, and the af- 
frighted Captain beating a quick retreat from Bull Run, 
swearing that the South had fought well and deserved 
its independence — that it was useless to resist a free 
people, and the sooner we recognize the South the better. 

Since then has become a great hero, by the 

mighty powers of quackery. 

Well, dear Mother, Good-bye. 

Yours affectionately, 

W. T. LusK. 

Headquarters 2d Brigade, S. C. 

Beaufort, S. C. Feb. 6th, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

... I have received the little prayer-book from Nannie 
Day and thank the dear soul many times for a remem- 
brance that by no means is needless to a soldier. You 
may tell her that I have several times carried it in my 
pocket, when circumstances have been such as to prevent 
my using the larger book which was packed in my trunk. 
I must not forget now either, Tom's photograph which I 
display with pride along with those of Hunt, Uncle John, 
and my own mother. To-day the " Ellwood Walter " 
arrived at Beaufort where the Connecticut battery is to 
be landed. I went on board immediately, hoping, notwith- 
standing his illness. Captain Rockwell might be aboard, 
but learned he would in all likelihood arrive by the next 
steamer. The "Atlantic" is looked for now hourly, and I 
trust he may be aboard. I was not a little disappointed to 
learn from the officers of the battery, that not a man 



WAR LETTERS 121 

of them all, except the Captain, had ever fired a gun 
(cannon) in his life, for I had boasted much of the Con- 
necticut battery which was to be sent to Port Royal. 
Any time the good Governor of Connecticut, or the sons 
of the worthy state, see fit to honor me, I am open to 
anything like promotion. So goes the world. I have 
only held as a secure and settled thing, my position as 
Captain about three weeks, when I talk of something 
better. I will confess to you now, that though, since 
deserted by Lieut, (now Captain) Sam Elliott,^ I have 
held command of a company of Highlanders, and though 
I had been led to suppose for a time (on my first being 
transferred to the Staff) I held it as Captain, under which 
supposition I wrote you, stating the same, my real title 
to the rank of Captain has only dated since the short time 
I have mentioned. But having made the mistake once, 
there was nothing left for me to do but to try to get a 
Captaincy as soon as possible, and now that I have re- 
ceived the congratulations of the Regiment and Brigade, 
I think I may mention the matter candidly. Dear old 
Walter, I shall be glad to hear from him. I have lately 
written Hall, and trust he will forget my neglect in times 
past. There is going to be a "Nigger shout'' to-night, 
which a number of the officers are going to attend. As 
I have no definite idea of the character of the performance 
except that it is a relic of native African barbarism, I 
shall attempt no description. Give my best love to all 
my dear friends at home. I do not forget their kind 
words, or wishes, though I do not often mention them. 

Your AfFec. Son, 

W. T. LusK. 

1 Lieutenant Samuel R. Elliott resigned from the 79th Highlanders Sept., 1861. 
He subsequently senred as Surgeon in other regiments, up to the dose of the war. 



122 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

Headquarters 2d Brigade, S. C. 

Beaufort, S. C. Feb. i6th, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

Pleasant land of South Carolina! Roses blooming 
in the gardens, mocking birds whistling sweet notes 
in the forests, trees green and beautiful as dense foliage 
can make them — quite different from the cold winter 
you are spending — but Ugh, how the wind does blow here 
to-night though! It makes little difference to us 
here in the house, for the bright wood-fire blazes cheer- 
fully, and around it is gathered by no means a dejected 
party smoking cigars, and good-naturedly cursing the 
slowness of the campaign. Out of door, the pickets 
perhaps, blowing their fingers, may be using deeper ex- 
.pressions, and may be having different motives for wishing 
the war to wag along a little faster. Would that our 
little General with his big shaggy head, were in com- 
mand! I think he would set them dancing over on the 
mainland to the merry old tune of Malbrook, but Sher- 
man is slow and cautious, and the biggest figure he allows 
us to execute is a sort of dos-a-dos performance at best. 

So our little General, with nothing better to do, con- 
tents himself with having the best managed Brigade in 
the Command, lectures us young men occasionally on 
Strategy, and at times, in sheer despair, reads novels 
with the same energy and vigor with which he conducts 
his operation on the battlefield. He is, indeed, a prodig- 
ious little man, and it would rejoice many a one, were he 
to receive a larger, and more splendid field of action — 
such a one as his talents demand. 

Dear, dear! I am impatient to hear from home, but 
our transport vessels are needed elsewhere, and we have 
no idea when we are to receive another mail. 



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WAR LETTERS 123 

I see Captain —  quite often. He is like 

Sherman, very slow. I try to give him some hints 
about flying around more, and I trust experience will 
teach him the necessary lesson. 

By-the-by, who is George Martin, now Quarter- 
master of the 79th Regiment, who talks about "Uncle 
Lusk" and "Uncle Olmstead " and "Uncle Thompson " 
and " Henry G., " etc ? He heard me say I was from 
Connecticut — "What, you don't belong to the Enfield 
Lusks?" I explained my relationship. . . . Wishing 
to ascertain the relationship existing between us, I found 
he was born somewhere in Suffield, and that his using 
the title of "Uncle" was merely intended to show that 
he was accustomed to mingle familiarly in the Aristo- 
cratic Circles of Enfield. Indeed we kept up quite a 
running talk about Enfield. While talking rapidly upon 
the topics suggesting themselves, on finding our " relation- 
ship," we were somewhat interrupted by a loud haw- 
haw from a bed in the comer of the room. Then a voice, 
deep and gruflF, cried : "Haw-haw! Oh Lord, haw-haw! 
One would think there were no people in the world 
except those that come from Connecticut, haw-haw!" 
This proceeded from a drunken Captain, who was so 
amused at his own wit, that he continued to laugh, 
and roll, and shake his fat sides until the room was in a 
roar, and as I left, way down the street you could hear 
the same "haw-haw" from the jolly drunken Captain. 

Love to all. 

AflFec'y., 

Will. 



124 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

"Life of General Isaac I, Stevens^^ VoL 11^ f. 367. 

Whfle at Beaufort, General Stevens's ''attention, moreover, was largely 
taken up with other matters^ not military. ... He caused the public 
library . . . with several fine private libraries added to it, to be put in 
order, restored to the shelves and catalogued, and thrown open for the use 
of the troops. . . . He intended that the library, thus preserved, should 
be cared for and kept in the town where it belonged, and restored to the 
inhabitants when they resumed their allegiance and returned to their 
homes. But one day the treasury agent. Colonel William H. Reynolds, 
presented himself, and demanded the books as captured rebel property, 
to be sold for the benefit of the government, a demand which General 
Stevens indignantly and peremptorily rejected." General Stevens pro- 
tested to General Sherman, but the latter "was unwilling to take such 
a responsibility and there was no alternative but to give up the books." 

Page 368. General Stevens heartily approved taking measures to 
induce the negroes to plant crops, but he seriously doubted the propriety 
of teaching them the elementary branches, " pointing out that to educate 
the blacks and raise hopes of freedom in their breast would make their 
condition doubly hard in case, on the suppression of the rebellion, they 
had to return to their masters." 

Page 375. "At this time" (March, 1862) "General Stevens wrote 
Professor Bache a memoir to be laid before the President, giving his views 
of the military policy and operations to be undertaken. Dr. Lusk, 
who, as his aide, copied the letter from the rough draft, declares that he 
urged the very movements that were afterward adopted, and was greatly 
impressed with the ability and prophetic foresight of the memoir.^ Un- 
fortunately, no copy of it has been found." 

Headquarters 2d Brigade S. C. 

Beaufort, S. C. March 2d, 1862. 
My Jear Mother: 

In the short letter I wrote you last week, I mentioned 
that I would not encourage your visiting Beaufort, and 
will now state my reasons more at length. In the first 
place, we have here some four thousand men on the island, 
of whom the best are long separated from the refining 
influence of home, and, in consequence, the two or three 
ladies who are visiting here are subject to a deal of coarse 
remark, to which I would not be willing that any woman 
should be subjected, where it lay in my power to prevent. 

1 Dr. Lutk often in conversation reiterated this statement. 




WAR LETTERS 125 

Again, it would be quite impossible to provide you with 
such accommodations as would enable you to spend a 
few days without more suffering than you could well bear. 
It is all well for Quartermasters, who are not liable to be 
removed from this Post at a moment's notice, to provide 
themselves with bedding and comforts from the North, 
suitable for lady friends, but this cannot be the case 
with those of us who are liable to an order to move at 
any moment, and to whom only a certain number of 
lbs. of baggage is allowed. We are not, moreover, so 
absolutely secure from the probability of an attack, that 
it is with perfect safety a lady may venture here. Should 
an attack take place, there would be a double duty to 
perform, the one to place my mother in security, and 
at the same time to assist in providing for the safety 
of the Brigade. I fear it would be hard to combine the 
two. However, I will say this, a hotel is soon to be 
opened here. If it has the effect to draw many lady 
visitors to Beaufort, I would not then say nay to your 
coming, but I imagine it will become more the resort 
of topers than of fine ladies. Well, dear mother, let us 
trust that there will soon be some way opened to us 
by which we may meet happily. 

I tell you what I think would be a capital idea though — 
that is for Hunt or Walter, or both, to make me a flying 
visit one of these days. I think that would really be capital. 

I was round to dine with Alfred Rockwell to-day. He 
is certainly a real good fellow, and if I have not given 
him the credit for rapidity of action, he certainly is doing 
what he attempts exceedingly well. His whole soul is 
absorbed in his battery, and he makes a better officer 
every day. I wrote Horace a few days ago, and trust he 
may receive my letter. We are getting, in indirect ways. 



126 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

glorious news from the North concerning the capture 
of Fort Donelson, and are now impatiently awaiting 
the arrival of a steamer with particulars. We can hardly 
credit a report now current, regarding a convention to be 
called by the Governor of Tennessee to repeal the 
Secession Ordinance in that State. Our latest dates are 
Feb. 1 6th, and here it is the 2d of March. 

There was quite a funny affair happened last night 
among the pickets. Fresh meat has long been scarce in 
the Command, and we are forced to await the arrival of 
a steamer from the North before we can indulge in such 
a luxury. This morning, among the "Reports" sent 
in to these Headquarters from the "Advanced Posts," 
was one containing the following remarkable account: 
That about i o'clock last night, the pickets guarding a 
causeway were startled by the steady tramp of advanc- 
ing footsteps. On looking in the direction whence the 
sound came, they saw — Oh wonderful! a cow march- 
ing steadily toward them, a secessionist grasping her 
by the tail, and five men following in single file, protected 
from harm by the flanks of this redoubtable cow. Our 
pickets, instead of running, fired upon the foe. The cow 
fell groaning to the earth, and the secessionists fled and 
were seen no more. I hardly need add, that those pickets 
had fresh meat for breakfast, and though the laws against 
killing cattle are very stringent, in such a case nothing 
could be said. Capt. Elliott has not yet arrived, so I 
am not yet in receipt of the wine Uncle Phelps has been 
kind enough to send me. Still I thank him very much 
for his kind remembrance. 

It is getting late, so many kisses, mother, and good- 

"•g»^^- I am very afFec'y, ^_ ^^ ^USK. 




WAR LETTERS 127 

Headquarters 2d Brigade, S. C. 

Beaufort, S. C. March loth, 1862. 

My dearest Mother: 

The "Atlantic" brought Wm. Elliott who had much to 
tell me of you all, and I gladly learned of your happiness 
and good health. The letters with the latest news and 
Lilly's carte-de-visitey likewise came to hand. I must 
thank Lilly a thousand times for having undergone the 
ordeal of being photographed for my sake. Only let 
Molly go and do likewise. As for the little boys, I fear 
their moustaches will grow before their mother will con- 
sider them lovely enough for the occasion. Pshaw! As 
though a photograph could represent a red nose or a cold 
in the head! 

Well, I thank Uncle Phelps most heartily for the wine 
he sent me, which has been much commended by judges 
of the article. Aunt Maria's crackers were a welcome 
addition to our mess for which I am this month acting 
as caterer. 

I received a long, long letter from Sam Elliott, for which 
I am most grateful. Tell him, if I do not answer as 
speedily as it deserves, he will nevertheless always re- 
member how much I prize his friendship. I am very 
glad you did not accompany "the excellent females" 
whom the "Atlantic" brought hither for the purpose 
of regenerating the negro race. Theyihave been having 
a most royal time of it I assure you. Some of the ladies 
are from Boston, and do not wish to associate with 
ladies from New- York. Indeed, some of the Boston ladies 
have been creditably informed that the New- York dele- 
gation is composed of nothing better than milliners. 
The New- York ladies say that they have volunteered 



tA "RULl^J-C TB'J^U^J^ LZ3 



Guttr lerric.*! -while the -rn: irr^ricic Biisnit -v^misi 
ar* z^jfsrKTJt i'jr^rx, 2, mincE: — in £icr 5r» rani 
fvr rrjtir vrjStTjrr, And io tie hairie raises iiapr. ] 

Ther u:;:&^>4ed tker -wire ririn^r her* ta icrjirr 
luperS nukrLiioca of die wtaihiesc -^t Sccrhern. Panrgrs — 
ttk-ji maiwir-aa as too r«ai ot h: Mrs. Can-irn*^ Lee Heicz'5 
picrart of Soaefaem Ete- Tne^ have cirre. hijwig^er. ami 
fourui in oM-fajhsofiexi rr/wm wirh crumh^in^ c-ui-cashioQed 
hiViiei, all run to irajre in piazzz — verr picturaque ta 
Wjk at fo mr tr/t^ — "^fcur t&ea ther are so iiffercnc.'" 
fhe htdiet sav, ^to what we are acniscocied aboczt 
B^^^/oo.** Wirh the rrjen of the Assodanoa there has been 
ly^ liftie fan. The^- are ffricrK- non-cocibarants. and have 
irAettd a v>ft of uiperior feeling to thiDse who are brutalhr 
employed in bearing arms. For this they hare been 
prumifaed by being made the recipients of the most mar* 
irelloTts '^canards'* imaginable. They are kept in a 
ovAfinual uare of alarm by reports of a speedy attach 
frotn r/verwhelming forces. They are comfoned by the 
c/^/lest aMurances that the enemy would in no case regard 
th4!rm as priv>ners of war, but would hang them without 
a/mpunction to the nearest tree. 

But I have told scandal enough. We were reviewed 
a week ago by Gen. Sherman. Our brigade made a 
fine appearance, and I am glad to particularize our Corm. 
Battery which really reflected very creditably on its cap- 
tain. I met a young fellow a few days ago, named 

^ who says he knew you and Lilly when you 

were at the Wauregan Hotel. I believe he had a class 
in Sunday-school then, though somewhat anxious to play 
the fast tx>y now. Well, it seems we are making rapid 
progress in the war, and who knows but that I may be 




WAR LETTERS 129 

home by next 4th of July, instructing Mary*s boys in 
firing off crackers and other noisy nuisances incident to 
the occasion. 

Good-bye, my dear, darling Mother. Love to you and 
all of my friends, to sisters and the little children. You 
must report progress too about Walter's boy. 

By-the-by, you addressed me some time ago in a most 
mysterious manner. Reading over the letter lately, I have 
concluded to answer with equal mystery — "Precisely!" 

Your affectionate son, 

W. T. Lusk, 
A ide-de-Camp, 

"Life of General Isaac I. Stevens,** Vol. II, p. 369. 

"But the generals were only wasting time in discussing the negro 
problem, for by the next steamer, early in March, there descended 
on the Department of the South, like the locusts on Egypt, a swarm 
of treasury agents and humanitarians, male and female, all zealously 
bent on educating and elevating the 'freedmen,' as they immediately 
dubbed the blacks. The irreverent young officers styled these good 
people the 'Gideonites,' and were disposed to make all manner of fun 
of them; but among the number were persons of the highest respecta- 
bility and purest motives, and they undoubtedly accomplished some 
good. They met with a cold and ungracious reception from Gen. 
Sherman, who declared that their coming was uncalled for and entirely 
premature, and incontinently packed them off to Beaufort to the care 
of General Stevens. . . . The latter treated them with the utmost 
courtesy. ... He took a real interest in their mission, talked and 
advised with the chiefs, and exerted a decided and salutary influence 
in modifying some of their crude and extravagant ideas.'' 

Headquarters 2d Brigade, S. C. 

Beaufort, S. C. March 24th, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

The steamer arrived last night, bringing a long letter 
from you, one from Horace and one from Walter, affording 
of course much pleasure, but the tone of all occasion- 



130 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

ing much surprise. Indeed, in the midst of all our 
victories and astonishing successes, it is to me inexplicable 
why McClellan should be attacked with such a savage 
spirit! I had no idea that the spirit of malevolence could 
carry men so far, but I am confident that McClellan will 
stand justified on the pages of history for preferring to 
ensure victory where reverses would have been well nigh 
fatal. The plan of the present grand campaign may 
not entirely have originated with McClellan, but un- 
doubtedly he had the total arrangement of it. It seems 
to me to be as wise and perfect a one as was possible, 
considering the magnificence of its proportions. Of 
course, people will cry: "Why was not all that has been 
done, done long ago V* But I honor him the more that he 
had the moral courage to wait. It is well enough to talk 
about the immense army at his disposal, but if the army 
is a mere mob without cohesive power, a Napoleon 
might lead them, and see them fly from earthworks that 
would excite a soldier*s derision. I believe now we have 
an army of soldiers, and believe we will win victories at 
every turn. I do not forget though the lesson of Bull 
Run, and more than that, it is not many months ago I 
can remember that our army, despite every effort of its 
commanders, was a poor, cowed, spiritless thing — a good 
army to get killed in, but a poor one to look for the crown 
of laurel. I say McClellan has done a glorious thing, 
and shame on his detractors! A few short weeks ago 
when Elliott was off recruiting, he met with few recruits, 
but many a coward tongue eloquently detailing our re- 
verses. And now I suppose they would rob those who 
have borne the burden and heat of day, of the poor praise 
which they had hoped for when the fruit of their labors 
had ripened, and the reapers were ready to gather a har- 



WAR LETTERS 131 

vest of glory. I have heard many say that they do not 
pretend to have any military knowledge, but they do 
pretend to be governed by a little common sense, and com- 
mon sense teaches them so-and-so. Now, dear mother, 
be sure, when you hear men talk thus, that common sense 
means simply pure ignorance. It was this common 
sense, alias ignorance, that forced the battle of Bull 
Run. It was a little military knowledge that has made 
the opening of the year 1862 a glorious one for our 
Union Army. Enough ! I have had my say — have ex- 
pressed my disgust — and may now change the subject. 

My dearest Mother, it will be a sweet thing for us all 
to see peace once more restored, and I do not doubt that 
no one prays more earnestly for it than yourself. I 
cannot but feel that a Higher Power has guided us of late 
to victory and do not fear for the result, yet bloody battles 
must be fought in which we must all partake, before 
the olive-branch is possible. I hardly think that the 
impatient ones at home, who are clamorous as to the in- 
activity and want of efficiency of our army, will have 
in the end any reason to complain that blood enough has 
not been shed to compensate them for the millions they 
have expended on it. 

Many think that before July the war will be ended. 
How pleasant a time it will be when I can honorably 
return home. There is no sweeter anticipation than the 
joy I know my return would bring to your heart. I have 
been called away to attend to' some business. Very 
much love to my dear sisters and the little ones. 

AfFec'y., 

Will. 



132 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

I wrote the above shortly after reading my letters. 
Since then I have been diligently reading the papers, 
and perhaps must modify my opinions somewhat, but as 
the mail leaves in a few moments, you must take the first 
outburst, or none. You offer me a flag; send it, dear 
mother, by all means. It shall be carried when we 
advance. 

Lovingly, 

Will. 

Headquarters 2d Brigade, S. C. 

Beaufort, S. C. March 31st, 1862. 

My dear Mother: 

I hear the "Atlantic," which has just arrived, will return 
at once, so I do not feel willing to lie down without writ- 
ing a few lines, though it is full bedtime now. Gen. 
Hunter was here this afternoon. I saw too little of him, 
however, to form any judgment with regard to him, as 
his visit was brief. Poor Sherman must betake himself 
to the Mississippi, and forego for the future the sweets 
of unrestrained authority. Sherman has doubtless done 
a good work down here, though he has gained no glo- 
rious victories. This, however, was not expected by 
Government which never once thought of supplying him 
with the force requisite to active operation. To be sure 
his force comprises nearly 20,000 men, but it must be 
remembered this is not a great force when the line ex- 
tends from Dan to Beersheba. I am no special admirer 
of Sherman, but still do not think it worth while to join 
in abusing him as bitterly as most do, for not attempting 
what did not lie in his power. Perhaps I am mistaken, 
but I hardly think it probable Gen. Hunter will do much 







WAR LETTERS 133 

better than his predecessor unless properly reinforced. 
Few Generals, I find, have that taste for fruitless slaughter 
common to civilians, and most shrink from sacrificing life 
where nothing definite can be gained. My friends fre- 
quently write, asking me if I am not disgusted at the 
utter inactivity of the Command, and at times I have 
written strongly, still I could not but know that we were 
so from necessity. We were sent here by Government 
simply to defend a Harbor where our blockading squad- 
ron could ride in safety. This object has been accom- 
plished, and not only this, but the whole remaining coast 
as far as the Gulf of Mexico is occupied by our troops. 
More than this has been done, but I pause, for there 
will be much to tell when the war is over, which one 
may not mention now. I do not wish you to understand 
that Savannah and Charleston might not have been ours 
had our leader been a greater man than is generally 
vouchsafed to armies, but we' must give him credit for 
accomplishing reasonable possibilities. Stevens, I think, 
would have accomplished impossibilities, but quien sabe. 

We have all been much amused in reading the papers 
brought by the last mail, at the editorials of Bennett on 
"Our Only Son." It is necessary to see "Our Only 
Son" to appreciate the feeling remarks of the tender 
parent. 

Do not suppose that, because I felt some little amuse- 
ment at the early experience of the "Brethren" down 
here, I am in any wise inclined to join in the vulgar 
abuse so common with the multitude. I sincerely trust, 
indeed, their efforts may be attended with success, and 
certainly know some extremely pleasant people among 

them. I do not like Mr. though, and am inclined 

to doubt the sincerity of a few. 



^ 



134 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

Had I been up North I should have tried to have got 
Gen. Tyler to make me his Adjutant-General, being able, 
I believe, to give satisfactory testimonials of capacity for 
the detail office-work of a Brigade, but I am too far away 
to heat my own irons, and, indeed, I suppose it is much 
better to wait down here, until something has been done 
by our Command. Write me if Frank Bend is to occupy 
the position I have mentioned. He could fill it well. 

I have got quite well acquainted with two of General 
Tyler's old Aides now on Gen. Sherman's Staff and both 
fine fellows. I give the names, O'Rourke and Merrill, as 
Mrs. T. may have been acquainted with them. 

Well, my dear mother, I write a deal that I would 
not like to have repeated. 

My clothes, though quite lately new (December), are 
beginning to grow rusty. I think it would be a good 
plan to have a new suit made for me. I shall need it 
before it reaches me. I am greatly in need of shirts (3 
will do me). You know I left home with a small valise. 
My wardrobe has since been diminished by Bull Run, by 
washerwomen, by thieves, and by natural wear and tear, 
so that I have become almost as much an object of charity 
as the contrabands. I have been under the hallucination 
ever since leaving home, that a good time would come 
when I would be able to return again, and fit myself out 
properly for a campaign. Not having seen the time yet, 
it was lucky that the box you sent me supplied me with 
the means of sustaining myself to say the least. 

Now, my dear mother, fearing that you may exaggerate 
my needs, I will confess candidly that all I want are 3 
or 4 shirts and a few pairs of stockings. Handkerchiefs 
and towels I have in abundance. I would like everything 
as plain as possible, for anything that has a tinge of red. 



WAR LETTERS 135 

or yellow or blue, it is impossible to prevent the negroes 
from appropriating to their own uses. 

Before two months are over, the time for military opera- 
tion down here will have passed, so we have every 
reason to suppose that the time has come when our 
Command will commence a victorious career. When the 
summer heats shall prevent any further movement, I trust, 
dear mother, I may be allowed to spend a few days with 
you. That would be so delightful. Good-bye, kiss all 
around, sisters, little ones and all. Love to Aunt Maria 
and Uncle Phelps. Tell the latter I will send him a 
check by the earliest opportunity. 

Yours afFec'y., 

Will. 

Headquarters 2d Brigade, S. C. 

Beaufort, S. C. April 3d, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

The steamer has not yet gone, so I seat myself once 
more to write you a few lines. With regard to getting 
myself a new suit of clothes I have changed my mind 
for the present, having been fortunate enough to obtain 
a light flannel suit for every day wear, from one of the 
officers just returning from the North. This will be fully 
sufficient with my old suit, until I shall have an oppor- 
tunity to return home — a thing not to be anticipated for 
the present — when I wish to appear as fine as possible. 
Mrs. Gen. Stevens returns by the "Atlantic,'* it having 
been thought best by our new Commander to send home 
all officers' wives. The order has not yet been issued, 
but Mrs. Stevens wishes to leave in time to anticipate it. 
On arriving at New-York, she will stop at the St. Nicholas 
Hotel for two or three davs. If you can manage to see 



I 



136 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

her, you will be much pleased with her, as she is extremely 
lady-Hke and agreeable. 

I told Alfred Rockwell of your congratulations, at which 
he seemed much pleased. Love to all. 

Affec'y., 

Will. 

Beaufort, S. C. April loth, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

I was glad to get your photograph, as it does not look, 
as did the other one you sent me, as though you were the 
last inhabitant without a friend left in the world. This 
one is a thousand times more agreeable, though I have 
to make allowances for those very extraordinary expres- 
sions which play about your mouth, when photographically 
tortured. 

The bombardment of Pulaski has begun to-day. Full 
accounts, I hope, of the " fall " will be taken North by 
the steamer bearing this. We can hear the guns booming 
in the distance, but our Brigade, with the exception of 
the 8th Michigan Regiment, is condemned to remain at 
Beaufort. So I shall see nothing, but hope soon to hear 
the fort is ours, and, indeed, so secretly, yet so securely 
have preparations been made, that we can hardly fail 
of success. It is dangerous though to make predictions, 
so often have I read similar sentences in " Secesh " letters 
written just previous to a defeat. 

The atmosphere is most delightful to-day. I wish 
you could breathe such balmy, though invigorating air. 
It is hard to realize that it soon will change to an atmos- 
phere deleterious in character. 

It is strange to think how ordinary dangers lose all 
terror in these war-times. I have been almost constantly 



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WAR LETTERS 137 

exposed to smallpox, yet never have so much as thought 
of the matter further than to assure myself that the vac- 
cination was all right. It is wonderful too how perfect 
a safeguard vaccination is. Although smallpox has been 
so prevalent, it has been wholly confined to the negroes 
and young children, and a few backwoodsmen, to whom 
modern safeguards were not accessible, or who had neg- 
lected the common precaution. I think there has not 
been a case among our vaccinated soldiers. It is quite a 
relief to feel that this is so. 

I am glad to hear of all my friends wheeling so enthu- 
siastically into the service of their country. As far as I 
can ascertain, the position of an Allotment Commissioner 
is one that requires an earnest determination to do some- 
thing, to tempt any one to accept it, and yet it is really 
a philanthropic act to perform its purposes. 

I wish Charley Johnson would come down here. I 
would give him the best reception I know how, and this 
is a pleasant season to visit Beaufort. You ask for my 
photograph dear mother, and I meant long since to have 
gratified you, having had myself taken alone, in company 
with the Staff, and on horseback with the Staff — in a 
variety of positions, you see, to suit everyone. But I know 
not how it is that I have never been able to get a copy since 
they were first struck off, although we have had promises 
enough that they will soon be ready. I intended to 
surprise you, but despairing of success, I write the matter 
that you may not think I have not tried to gratify your 
wishes. 

I am suffering great torments from the sand-flies which 
abound. These are the peskiest little creatures you ever 
saw, completely forbidding sleep on a warm night, and 
defying such flimsy obstruction as mosquito bars. 




138 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

I wrote Sam Elliott a few days ago. Wm. Elliott has 
returned looking well, and disgusted with leaves of ab- 
sence. He is really about the most efficient man in the 
Brigade. His education has given him great habits of 
self-reliance, which are invaluable in his profession. Give 
my love to Mrs. Walter Phelps, and tell her I expect she 
will send me a photograph of that precious baby of hers. 
Capital idea photographs are! 

Love to all my dear friends. 

AfFec'y., 
Will. 

(To Horace Barnard) 

Beaufort, S. C. April 12th, 1862. 

I hardly know how, writing from peaceful Beaufort, I 
can find themes so exciting as to gratify the tastes of the 
public, used to tales of victories purchased at bloody 
rates; yet the importance of the work now quietly being 
wrought at Beaufort must not be underrated. 

Here too, as well as on the splendid fields of the West, 
the spirit of John Brown is marching on. Toward the 
close of last autumn our troops entered Beaufort, then 
deserted by its inhabitants, and looking sad and desolate. 
Now the winter has passed away and the spring is far 
advanced. Nature has put on her most lovable hues. 
The dense dark foliage of the pine and the magnolia 
harmoniously mingle with the bright new leaves of the 
forest. The streets of the city are once more busy with 
life. Vessels float in the harbor. Plantations are being 
cultivated. Wharves are being built. Business is pros- 
perous. And the quondam proud resort of the proudest 
of Aristocrats is being inundated with Yankees acquainted 
with low details regarding Dollars and Cents. There 



^ 



WAR LETTERS 139 

are all sorts of Yankee ventures in town, from the man 
with the patent armor recommended by McClellan, which 
no one buys, to the enterprising individual who manu- 
factures pies in the old Connecticut style, and who has 
laid the foundation of an immense fortune. Even the "one 
only man of Beaufort," catching the spirit of trade, dis- 
plays a few dingy wares in a shop-window. "But why,'* 
the impatient public asks, "is our Army so far away 
from Savannah ?'* "Strategy, my dear public, *' I answer. 
Can anything be more beautiful than the strategy of our 
Leaders, which strips war of its terrors and makes it so 
eminently safe? Tell me, if Mars chooses to beat his 
sword into a ploughshare, and devote himself to the cul- 
tivation of sea-island cotton, and invites live Yankees 
to assist him therein, ought not the satire of the thing 
to please the restless spirit of John Brown and excite it to 
renewed efforts in its great performance of marching on ? 
Now there is no doubt that our Army ought long ago to 
have been in possession of both Charleston and Savannah. 
Common sense teaches us that much, although we know 
nothing whatever of military affairs forsooth, and still 
less of the peculiar circumstances which happen to govern 
the action of our Generals.- Well, when we see matters 
in this condition, common sense teaches us that the 
proper remedy is to decapitate incompetency, and to put 
the " right man in the right place." The proper time for 
doing this is when, after long and earnest labor, a Com- 
mander is seen to be ready to strike a blow. Then is the 
moment to clamor loudly for his dismissal, and insist 
that another be put in his place, and when this one shall 
reap the harvest his predecessor sowed, we will all nod 
our heads approvingly at such evidence of our own 
ineffable wisdom. This is decidedly the most pleasant 



140 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

mode of proceeding for a public unacquainted with mili- 
tary matters but governed by common sense, and it is 
so satisfactory to all parties concerned, excepting perhaps 
the poor devil that gets decapitated. This, however, is 
a digression, intended possibly as a sort of "haec fabula 
docet" derived from the recent capture of Pulaski. So, 
to return — 

Oh, dam it all, my dear Horace, Fll send the subscrip- 
tion price of the Evening Post without further delay. 
Here Fve been floundering around, using up whole reams 
of paper trying to work up. a newspaper style, but I have 
only succeeded in getting together a vast amount of ma- 
terial to kindle fires with. I thought I was doing beauti- 
fully when I commenced this, but, becoming disgusted 
with myself, I have concluded to give you the benefit 
of the production and spare the public. Thanks many 
times for your long, kind letter. You don't know how 
enjoyable it was. It has got to be late at night and 
soldiers must rise early you know. I have just been 
reading over this epistle and see that I have been 
making a feeble eflFort to be funny. Prithee forgive me. 
I didn't mean to. Give my love to Cousin Lou, Miss 
Hattie, Anima Mia, Miss Alice (if it be proper), and 
friends upon Murray Hill. 

Very afFec'y., 

Will Lusk. 

Beaufort, S. C. April 15th, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

Not wishing you to be exposed to disappointment, I 
must write a few brief lines by the mail that I have just 
learned will leave here in a short time. I have hardly 
anything to write beside the delight at the news received 



WAR LETTERS 141 

by latest advices. The fall of No. 10, the battle at 
Corinth, and the surrender of Pulaski are a rare combina- 
tion of good things to come at one time. I can give you 
no particulars regarding the bombardment at Pulaski, 
as it was expected to continue several days, and the Gen- 
eral consequently postponed visiting the scene of action 
until it was too late. The newspapers, however, will be 
full of the matter, I suppose, and will be loud in their 
praises of General Hunter, though he had really nothing 
whatever to do with It. The whole affair was prepared 
under the Sherman regime^ and to it belongs the credit. 
The one immediately deserving of credit is General 
Gilmore who has had the direct superintendence of the 
matter. 

We are hoping for reinforcements soon from the North, 
feeling, as we do, unwilling to enter into summer without 
having contributed something to the glory and success 
of our cause. But we are half relinquishing the hope 
that the Government considers our little post in other 
light than a good field, for emancipation experiments. 
I am sorry to say I do not feel great sympathy in the efforts 
made at present in that line — not that I do not feel the 
necessity of the question's being settled, or do not feel 
the same interest that others do in the question itself. I 
am delighted to think that the time has come when slavery 
has lost its power, and something is to be done for the 
regeneration of the negro, but believe the question to be 
one of such delicacy, and requiring in its solution such 
rare wisdom, that I can not but be filled with extreme 
disgust at the character of the agents employed. I do 
believe that there is hardly one of them who would 
have the slightest chance of success in anything but pro- 
fessional philanthropy. A more narrow-minded pack of 



142 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

fools I rarely ever met. Instead of showing the neces- 
sary qualities for the position, they seem to care for 
nothing but their miserable selves. There is undoubtedly 
some good leaven in the mass, but, could you see them, 
the men especially, I do not think they would command 
your sympathies much. I suppose such preHminary 
experiments have to be made though, before any syste- 
matic plan can be adopted for the general amelioration 
of the mass. I do wish though there were more unselfish 
ones among them, and a few more acquainted with 
worldly matters. The ladies are by far the best part, 
for they mostly came down under excitement, or deter- 
mined to do good. Here's a pretty dish of scandal, truly, 
but I get exasperated sometimes. 

I am much obliged to Hattie for her kind offer to make 
the flag for me. Any such evidence of kindly feeling is 
appreciated, I assure you, down here. 

A steamer lies embedded in the sand a short distance 
from the shore. I think it has some mail matter aboard, 
so I watch it impatiently. 

Good-bye, dear Mother, love to all and believe me. 

Affectionately, 
Your son. 

Will. 



"Rebellion Record/' Vol IV, p. 441 of Documents. 

Gen. Sherman's reconnoissance on the Corinth (Miss.) road occurred 
April 8th. 

'*Life of General Isaac I, Stevens** VoL II y pp. 378 and 379. 

"With the thorough knowledge of the enemy's defences he had so 
carefully gained," (through scouts — Captain William Elliott and Cap- 
tain Ralph Ely) General Stevens conceived the plan of destroying the 
railway between Charleston and Savannah, and then with Sherman's 



WAR LETTERS 143 

cooperation, "to strike for Charleston by the inner waterways . . . th^s 
completely turning the heavy harbor and sea defences which protected 
the city against a front attack. . . . General Sherman decided to adopt 
and carry it" (Stevens's plan) "out as soon as the fall of Pulaski should 
free his whole force for the operation. Commodore Dupont also heartily 
entered into the plan." 

Page 380. "Fort Pulaski fell April nth. "With due allowance for 
preparation and delays, the railroad should have been destroyed and 
our army in possession of Church Flats" (14 miles from Charleston) 
"by May 1st." 

Page 383. "But this promising movement was nipped in the bud 
by the untimely and unexpected arrival of Major-General David Hunter 
to supersede Sherman. Brigadier-General H. W. Benham accom- 
panied Hunter as a kind of second in command. In fact, both officers 
were enfants terrihlesy whom the administration exiled to South Carolina 
to get rid of. Hunter had just been relieved from commanding in Mis- 
souri, for an act of insubordination in issuing an emancipation proclama- 
tion in defiance of orders; and Benham, fresh from skirmishes in West 
Virginia, was in Washington, claiming eveiything in the way of credit, 
and loudly importuning the government for high command, when they 
were ordered to South Carolina." 

"Sherman turned over the command of the department, and sailed 
Nonh April 8th. Three days later Pulaski fell after a day and a halfs 
bombardment, and Benham made haste to claim the credit of the achieve- 
ment due to Sherman and Gilmore." 

A clipping from a Norwich newspaper of April 24th, 1862, entitled 
" From Hilton Head " and giving news of the Connecticut troops under 
Major-General Hunter, includes the following: 

"Capt.Wm.T. Lusk, of the Seventy-ninth N. Y., (late of this city), 
now on Gen. Stevens's staff, is located at Beaufort. There is no one 
who surpasses him in reputation for gallantry, and soldierly qualities." 



Beaufort, S. C. May 2d, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

May has opened charmingly in Beaufort. The air is 
warm but not oppressive. We are luxuriating in green 
peas, strawberries, blackberries, all the early vegetables, 
and the fig trees, loaded with fruit, will soon supply us 
with an abundance of green figs. Fish are supplied by 
the rivers in great plenty. Indeed we are well supplied 



144 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

with all sorts of good things, so we have little of which 
we can complain, except inaction. It is now fifteen days 
since a mail has reached us from the North. Telegraphic 
news in the columns of the Charleston Mercury dated 
the 26th, speaks of the city being in great alarm from 
the advancing army and fleet of Genl. Butler. A sailing 
vessel occasionally brings us a newspaper from the North. 
Otherwise we would be quite separated from the rest of 
mankind, and would be compelled to consider the North 
as having regularly seceded from us. 

I have received the beautiful flag you sent me. I gave 
it to the boys of the Company, who were delighted. The 
other companies are quite envious. Thanks, dear Mother, 
a thousand times, for the expression of your love. 

I think after all I must have that new suit of clothes 
I wrote for before. Notwithstanding all efforts to the 
contrary, my old suit will persist in growing daily rustier, 
and more unseemly in the seams. So if you will please 
have the suit ordered, I shall find good use for it full as 
soon as it shall be ready for me. 

Tell Mr. Johnson I had a right pleasant time with his 
friend Bronson, and add too that Sloat's men produced 
such an effect on the 79th Regiment, that it is impossible 
to persuade them that the whole affair of allotment is 
anything more than a Jew swindle. I am looking for- 
ward with great delight to the next steamer arrival, an- 
ticipating a heavy mail after so long neglect. There is 
so little of interest to write. I believe I wrote you there 
was quite a charming lady, a Mrs. Caverly, stopping at 
the Generars. Her husband is dying with consumption 
and has come here to try the effect of the climate. You 
can imagine that a pretty and lively lady makes quite a 
difference in the house. 



« 



WAR LETTERS 145 

You do not know how inexpressibly indignant I feel at 
the attacks made on McClellan. They are certainly most 
scandalous, and calculated to ensure his defeat were he 
in any wise what his enemies represent him. It is the 
height of folly to suppose that men are going to sacrifice 
their lives, unless they have good reason to suppose that 
they are to be brought at the right moment to the right 
spot to play their part in gaining a victory. You have 
only to convince them that incompetent men are putting 
them in positions to occasion a defeat, and they will run 
before a shot is fired. It would seem that the enemies 
of McClellan are doing their utmost to produce that sort 
of spirit of distrust in our troops, so as to lead to new 
disasters. I am sick and tired of these howling politicians 
who would be willing to see everything we consider holy 
destroyed, provided they could only under the new regime 
get the Governmental patronage of the devil. 

AfFec'y. your son. 

Will. 

Flourishes supposed to indicate genius. 

Headquarters 2d Brigade. 

My dear Mother: 

The '* Atlantic" has just arrived bringing me two letters 
from which I judge all is going on well at home. I had 
heard from Mr. Johnson that Lilly would soon be married, 
but I did not give the matter much thought, willing to 
wait until I should hear the story from the best of all 
sources of information — herself. I must say I cordially 
approve of the measure. Prudence is without doubt most 
commendable, and Mr. Matthus is certainly theoretically 
right, still, luckily for the happiness of young couples. 



146 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

I believe that it is generally conceded that it is in the 
shop of Care and Responsibility that the best kind of 
prudence gets fabricated. I go in for the wedding at 
any rate. Shall make myself merry on the occasion if 
allowed to attend, and have some romantic notions that 
trouble is not so hard to bear when there are two to 
share the burden. Anyway let Lilly write me, and give 
me her mature reflections on the subject. 

I was very much gratified to think you took the little 
parcel of money I sent home last. It makes me feel quite 
proud to think I could be of any help in such a way. I 
do hope Dr. Grant will get sent to Congress. He would 
be such an honor to my native State, and would know 
how to keep his political garments clean, even in a cess- 
pool such as our National Capitol. 

Of course we are all hurrahing for the evacuation of 
Yorktown. It so happens that the rebels have no place 
its equal in strength in the whole confederacy. Yet that 
wretched puling sheet, the , while professing pleas- 
ure, is covertly pursuing McClellan as usual, declaring 
that the work had been greatly exaggerated, and that 
we might have had Yorktown a month ago. My dear 
Mother, I have had the pleasure of seeing and knowing 
the pack of vagabonds that follow our armies in the 
employ of newspapers for the purpose of criticising our 
movements, and I know that truth, fairness and prin- 
ciple in description go only so far as the polidcs of their 
respective sheets allow. It would make you indignant 
could you see the characters who take upon themselves 
the censorship of our military movement. Such a thing 
as any reasonable acquaintance with what they prate about, 
is unnecessary and probably would interfere too much 
with the style of their cridcism. 



WAR LETTERS 147 

You may see Wm. Ely, who is now North. He is one 
of our Conn, boys who does his state great credit. 

We had a concert here a few evenings ago, so I will 
enclose the programme. 

Good-bye. Much love to all. 

Your afFec. Son, 

Will. 

Beaufort, S. C. May i8th, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

I am going to write you a short letter to-night, as there 
are some rumors of business on hand this week, which 
may not leave me much time for correspondence. If it 
should turn out a false alarm, I will try and write again 
shortly. Time is slipping by rapidly, as my clothes 
testify especially, and unless I soon receive a reinforce- 
ment to my stock, I shall look like a "Secesh" after a 
twelve-month blockade. My present suit, after stand- 
ing by me nobly for several months, seemed all of a sud- 
den to give out all over, as you know clothes will do at 
times. Fact is, I supposed I should have been home for 
a few days long before now, but a favorable moment 
does not seem to turn up ready made to suit my case 
exactly. If you have a chance, please send me a cravat, 
as my own, under the influence of the weather, after pass- 
ing through a thousand varieties of color, has finally 
settled into such rueful hues, that I have concluded to 
beg for another. Any lady that will make me a present 
of a new cravat, shall receive in exchange the old one as 
a specimen of what things come to after having been 
through the wars. A box of tooth-powder would like- 
wise be acceptable as my teeth are getting quite shabby. 
Never mind, I will come home and get tinkered up one of 



14$ WILLUM TSOMPSOS UCSK 

these d2Y% a thing I am im^itihr in attd cf. I woodier 
whether opemng the Poet of Beaafbrt will bring hicher- 
ward a large initannifnr of the cocunerce of the world; 
if so, never mind about the tooth-powder. 

We hare all been pkasandy eTcired by the cxmmng 
escape of the negroes from Charleston with the Steamer 
** Planter.'* The pilot, Robert, is the hero of the hour, 
and is realhr a most remarkable specimen of the duskr 
ions of Africa (alias nigger), never using a word of less 
than three sjrQabies when an opportunity offers. 

We all were in the habit of abusing G^d. Sherman in 
old timesy but with customary fickleness^ wish him back 
again now. This last batch of General officers with the 
**GTt2t Superseder" (Hunter) at the head, is poor trash at 
best, so that there are few who would not rejoice to have 
^ Uncle Tim" (Sherman) back again, notwithstanding 
his dyspepsia and peripatetic propensities. This is entre 
nous, and quite unofficial, for as my superior officer, I 
must recognize in the ''Great Superseder" a miracle of 
wisdom, forecast and discretion. Oh my, what an ill- 
natured letter! Never mind, behind it all there is lots 
of love in it for those whose eyes it is likely to meet, and 
kisses too for my mother, sisters, nephews and others 
where they would be at once desirable and proper. 

The '^Connecticut" has arrived, but the mail has not 
been distributed yet. 

Yours affec'y-> 
W. T. LusK. 

''Life of General Isaac L Stevens^ Vol. 11^ p. 374. 

The following is taken from a letter wiiitai bj Gen. Stevens to his 
wife, dated May i8th. 

"Above is a view of the steamer Planter, a despatch boat of Gen. 
Ripley in Charleston Harbor, which was run off by the pilot Robert 



WAR LETTERS 149 

and the black crew last week. It is a very remarkable afFair, and 
makes quite a hero of Robert. She was tied up at the wharf close to 
Ripley's office. Yet he slipped out of the harbor unobserved, and gave the 
steamer up to our blockading fleet. The Planter lay at Beaufort from 
Thursday morning to this morning. She was run off on Tuesday, 
May 13th." 

Beaufort, S. C. May 28th, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

After 12 o'clock at night, and the certainty of a fatiguing 
day to-morrow, to be followed still by days in which sleep 
will be but stingily indulged in — so I must write briefly. 
At length a prospect is before us of active service. The 
long dreamed of time has arrived, and the word ''On- 
ward to Charleston" has been spoken. Unless a steamer 
arrives to-morrow from the North, which shall utterly 
change all plans, on Friday we will make our start. The 
same steamer that takes you this will likewise make known 
to you my fate. I trust I may write you from Charles- 
ton. The plan of attack is Benham's. Hunter only 
suffers it. Capt. Elliott is off to-night to destroy the 
railroad communication between Charleston and Sav- 
annah. He is our principal dependence when anything 
desperate is to be wisely done. 

Multitudes of farewell kisses for yourself, sisters, the 
little boys, and others claiming love, and the kindest 
remembrances to Hunt, Tom, Walter, Horace, Sam and 
others. 

Good-bye, dear Mother. 

Aflrec'y., 

Will. 

**Life of General Isaac /. Stevens" Vol, II ^ p, 387. 

"Benham was greedy to signalize himself. His dense egotism and 
self-sufRciency rendered him almost incapable of listening to any sug- 
gestions, or even information, that did not originate with himself. The 




\ 



150 WILLIAM THOMPSCW LUSK 

movonent planned hj Gen. Stevens wicii so modi care was rejected off- 
hand by Benham.'* 

Ben ham conceived a plan of sending a force upon Charleston bj 
way of James Island. 

Page 3S8. "The plan was entirely practicable, but marred from the 
start by Benham's unfortunate talent for blundering. . . . General 
Stevens pointed out to him that he was not allowing time enough for 
Wri^t to make the movement required of him, and reach James Island 
simultaneously with the other division. . . . Benham took this friendly 
advice in dudgeon. The orders were not changed, and Wright w^ls just 
one week behind the appointed time, as predicted. 

"As ioon as he was informed of the intended movement. General 
Stevens earnestly urged Benham to inaugurate it by sending him to 
break up the raflroad, as he had so long and so well planned, or, i£ not 
with the heavy force and thoroughness approved by General Sherman, at 
least to permit him to throw his own brigade upon it. . . . Finally he** 
(Benham) "would only consent that a demonstration might be made by 
the single regiment that was to be left to garrison Beaufort, the 50th 
Pennsylvania, stipulating, moreover, that it was to be back the same day 
it started on the raid. Accordingly the 50th, under Colonel Christ, sup- 
ported by a company of the Highlanders . . . and a section of Rockwell's 
battery, advanced on May 29 to Pocotaligo, had a brisk skirmbh with 
the enemy, driving him from his position, with a loss of two killed, six 
wounded, and two captured, and returned. The Union loss was two 
killed and nine wounded. How different this mere demonstration from 
the bold and crushing onslaught planned by General Stevens!" 

Headquarters 2d Brigade, 
Nor. Dist. Dept. of the South, 

James Island, June 4th, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

I must write a few lines to inform you of my continued 
welfare, although we are now actually in the field. We 
have had much skirmishing the past few days and some 
small losses. I got in a bog yesterday, lost my horse, 
and had a hot time of it escaping. I will give you the 
particulars, when I have time to-be minute. I cannot say 
how soon the engagement will become general. We have 
a young prisoner with us named Henry Walker, who was a 
Lieutenant in Sam Lord's Company. He reports Capt. 



WAR LETTERS 151 

Lord on the island. Alfred Tyler is also here. Tell 
Cousin Louisa, Lord is still by no means rabid in his 
secession sentiments. He talks still of some Northern 
cousin of hisy older than himself, and with children now 
almost old enough for him to marry, but who was an old 
sweetheart of his, and for her sake he has a kindly feel- 
ing toward all the people of the North. He does not think 
he cares to hang all Yankees, but credits them with vir- 
tues not generally admitted by devotees of secession. 
Lord has lost a cousin lately — a Mrs. Walker, I think 
— only a short time married. I do not doubt that all 
this will interest Cousin Louisa and Horace. 

This letter is short, but I trust satisfactory, as I have 
good health and spirits to communicate. I have received 
Lilly's letter, and will send no messages to her until I 
can answer it at length. May she be very happy though, 
should the chances and perils of war forbid our meeting 
again. Good-bye, many times good-bye. 

Love to all the dear friends who have always been so 
kind to me. 

Next I shall hope to write from Charleston. 

Very afFec'y., 

Will. 

Landing on James Island 

"Li// of General Isaac I, Stevens ,' Vol, II ^ p. 390. 

The troops were landed on James Island, June 3d. "They were put 
on shore in small boats, which were insufficient in number, and made 
the landing slow and laborious. As soon as a few companies were ashore, 
Gen. Stevens advanced with them, drove back the enemy who were in 
considerable force, after a sharp action captured three guns which they 
were moving back to their inner line, and established his permanent 
picket line two and a half miles from the river, running diagonally across 
the island from Big Folly Creek to the Stono near Grimbairs." 



152 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

Headquarters 2d Division, 

James Islaxd, June latfa, 1862. 

My dear Mother: 

I saw a few moments ago a mail-bag walking off — 

hailed it, and learned that it was going home^ and per- 
suaded it to wait a few seconds until I could inform vou 
that I was still safe in limb and life, though we have brisk 
times in our new position. Genl. Stevens you will notice 
now has charge of a division. It is a temporary arrange- 
ment arising out of the necessities of the case, but I hope 
it may result in his confirmation as Major-General. I 
cannot yet say if we are surely to reach Charleston, but 
hope so. The fact is, I believe Gen. Rosecrans was 
not far wrong when he charged Genl. Benham with 
cowardice, drunkenness, and lying. He was Court Mar- 
tialed and acquitted, and sent down here to take charge 
of our little army. Right or wrong all despise him. No 
one trusts him. If we take Charleston it will not be his 
fault. This is rather bitter, but it is a shame to put such 
men in command. 

Please send Horace $9.00 as my subscription for the Post. 
I agreed to write an occasional letter for that journal, but 
have never done so. I shall feel better when it is paid. 

When this matter of taking Charleston shall be either 
brilliantly consummated, thanks to Wright and Stevens, 
or shall have fizzled out through the folly of Hunter and 
Benham, if still safe in life and limb, I trust I shall see 
you once more, but Qjuien Sabe, We have fighting every 
day now and new victims swell the list of the battlefield. 

Give my best love, my darling mother, to my- sisters 
and all my dear friends. 

Your afFec. and sleepy son. 

Will. 



€f 



WAR LETTERS 153 

"Life of General Isaac I. Stevens^' Vol, II, p. 393. 

In a letter to his wife, dated June nth. General Stevens gives 
expression to his disgust at the incompetents set over him : 

'* ' I am not in very good spirits to-night, for the reason that I have two 
commanders, Hunter and Benham, who are imbecile, vacillating, and 
utterly unfit to command. Why it has been my fortune to be placed in 
positions where I was of little account, and to be subjected to such extreme 
mortification and annoyance, is beyond my imagining. . . . No proper 
use is intended to be made of me, and as everybody is in the humor to 
speak highly of my abilities, I shall be held in part responsible for the 
follies of others. Benham is an ass — a dreadful man, of no eanhly 
use except as a nuisance and obstruction.'" 

A few days later he writes; 

"We are now attempting an enterprise for which our force is endrely 
inadequate. The want of a proper commander is fearful." 



[Battle of Secession ville on James Island] 

(To John Adams) 

Headquarters 2d Division, 
James Island, June 17th, 1862. 
My dear Uncle: 

I write to impose a solemn duty upon you, which in- 
volves the lives of thousands of brave men. 

Brig.-Gen. Benham is a native of the State of Conn., 
and I understand it is to his native state he owes his 
present position. There is only one way for the State 
to atone for so fatal a blunder — only one way to wipe 
out the obloquy the State deserves at putting such a man 
in power — and that is to give its weight to his immedi- 
ate removal. Let there be no mercy shown to one who 
shows no mercy. He must be crushed at once, or we are 
all lost, and even as it is, God only knows whether his 
folly may not involve us in destruction before any action 
can be taken. I will not enumerate half the examples 
of imbecility he has shown, or the wickedness of which 



154 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

he has been guilty. The last act is too real. His folly 
has culminated in one damning enteq)rise which must 
make him eternally infamous. 

You will leam from the steamer conveying this, of 
the shocking battle of the i6th. There will be a struggle 
to suppress the truth, to call fair names, and to shift the 
responsibility, but the blood of the murdered men cries 
out for vengeance. This is no rhetoric. It is solemn 
truth. The ill-fated enterprise to this island has been 
characterized by the grossest mismanagement, and the 
men — poor dumb creatures — have had to suffer priva- 
tion, exposure, and death, where no excuse can be pleaded 
in extenuation. 

On the night of the 15th, Genl. Benham assembled 
his oflScers in council. Generals Wright, Stevens and 
Williams were present. He unfolded to them his plan 
of taking the Enemy's Battery by storm. It was in vain 
that the other oflScers entered their earnest protest against 
a needless work of slaughter. It was useless to suggest 
that his object could be effected in other ways. His 
decree was absolute that the work must be stormed in 
front — and for what ? Because visions of another Donel- 
son or Newbeme had smothered in his breast every 
sentiment of mercy. A success would be but little gain 
to the country, but the eclat might make Benham a Major- 
General. Men might die to win a needless victory, could 
only his foolish vanity be gratified. 

His orders were obeyed, and the next morning's work 
attests their folly. But even then all might not have 
been lost, had not his conduct in the field been marked 
by weakness, vacillation, and imbecility. 

When the action was over, Genl. Benham tried to say 
that it was only a reconnoissance. If this be so, then 




WAR LETTERS 155 

let us have a General in command, who can reconnoitre 
without the sacrifice of an eighth of the force engaged. 
700 killed, wounded, and missing! Let the dead who 
died nobly have a voice, I say. Let the wounded lying 
on their beds of pain, plead their sufferings. Let those 
who lie in the prison houses of the enemy cry all shame, 
shame to a General who makes such a reconnoissance! 
We are growing weary of patriotism. We, who would 
have liked to have died to show our love to our country, 
begin to sicken at the thought our country loves us so 
little, as to leave our fate to the control of a man, already 
branded ... It is as true as Holy Writ, that our 
bravest men will never fight again with Benham in 
command. 

Don't be deceived by printed reports of what took 
place on the i6th. It was a terribly disastrous affair, 
and remember the author of it. 

I wish the public safety would allow me to publish 
to all what I write you. I do not fear the consequences 
if it be shown boldly to Benham himself. But I beg of 
you to do what you can in this matter. Press it with 
Governor Buckingham. Get Dr. Grant to help you. 
Let the influential men help you, and for God's sake act 
quicky or the army here is sacrificed, and we will begin to 
investigate too late. 

I remain, 

AfFec'y. but sadly. Your nephew, 

W. T. LusK, 
Capt. £5f A. D. C. 



156 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

[Battle of Secessionville on James Island] 

James Island, June 17th, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

Yesterday was for us a hard, cruel, memorable day, 
memorable for its folly and wickedness, memorable for 
the wanton sacrifice of human life to gratify the silly 
vanity of a man already characterized . . . You have 
heard already from rebel sources, I doubt not, of yes- 
terday's disaster. I can only say that the plan of the 
attack was ordered by Gen. Benham in direct defiance of 
his subordinate Generals' opinion. Gen. Wright, Gen. 
Stevens and Gen. Williams pronounced on the evening 
of the 15th, the project of storming the battery attacked, 
as conceived in utter folly. They entered their earnest 
protest against the whole aflTair. But Benham was ex- 
cited by stories of Donelson and Newberne, and would 
not yield. Had the fort been taken, it would have done 
us no good, except that we could have spiked the three 
guns it contained, but had it been taken, the eclat^ per- 
haps, would have made Benham a Major-General, and 
for this contemptible motive between six and seven hun- 
dred men strewed the field, dead and dying. I do not 
know how I escaped unhurt — it must have been your 
prayers, mother — but this I know, that sixteen boys of 
my company were killed or wounded, fighting nobly, 
fighting like heroes on the parapet of the work, but fight- 
ing vainly to give a little reputation to . . . Mother, 
when I see their pale fingers stiffened, their poor speech- 
less wounds bleeding, do you wonder at the indignation 
that refuses to be smothered — that my blood should 
flow feverishly to think that the country which our sol- 



WAR LETTERS 157 

diers love so well, loves them so little as to leave them 
to the mercies of a man of ... I can give you no 
particulars of the affair now — you will read of it in the 
papers. I must busy myself to-day to assist in getting the 
requisite information for Gen. Stevens's report. 

I do not know whether I can return in July. It hardly 
looks as though I should be able to leave before Charleston 
is taken. 

A thousand kisses for my dear sisters. May Lilly's 
life be very happy. Ever so much love for the children. 
Bless them. 

Tell Walter that when galloping across the field yes- 
terday I saw a sword and scabbard lying in my path. I 
looked instinctively at my side, and found, when or how 
I cannot say, my sword-belt had been torn or cut, and the 
sword was gone, but you can understand the pleasure I 
experienced at discovering the sword in my path was 
Walter's gift, which I strangely recovered. 

Good-bye. I have much to do to-day. Capt. Rock- 
well's Battery did excellent service yesterday. 

Lovingly and thankfully. 

Your son, 

Will. 



Battle of Secessionville on James Island, 

June i6th, 1862. 



« 



Life of General Isaac /. Stevens/' Vol, 11, p. 399. 



"Benham . . . had received positive orders from Hunter not to 
fight a battle . . . General Hunter returned to Hilton Head for a short 
visit. In his absence, in an evil hour. General Benham took it into his 
head that he might take the Secessionville fort." 

Page 412. "The confederate loss all told was 204. The Union loss 
aggregated 685, of which Stevens's column suffered 529; Williams's 
Brigade, 152; Wright's Division, 4. . . . The Highlanders lost no out 



158 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

of 484, notwithstanding which they withdrew in good order, and brought 
off 60 of their wounded, some of their dead, and their two prisoners." 

Page 414. "The chief reason for the failure was the deadly fire from 
the woods and cover behind the fort." 

Page 415. "For his wrong-headed and disobedient conduct Benham 
was placed under arrest by General Hunter and sent North." 

"Rebellion Record" Vol, V^ p, 21 1 of Documents. 
General Stevens*! Report. 

"The strictest orders were given to maintain the most perfect silence, 
for each regiment to follow the preceding regiment within supporting 
distance, and to rely exclusively upon the bayonet in encountering the 
enemy, resorting to firing only in case of manifest necessity. 

"At the first break of day, or about 4 o'clock, it being a dark and 
cloudy morning, the entire command was in motion. . . . My Aide-de- 
Camp, Captain William T. Lusk, guided the 28th Massachusetts. The 
command pushed forward, surprised and captured the pickets at the house 
occupied by them, entered the fields beyond, and as they came within the 
effective range of grape and musketry, pushed forward into line of battle. 
. . . The Highlanders, led by Morrison, seeing the hot fire to which 
the Eighth Michigan was exposed, pushed forward at the double-quick 
. . . gained the parapet . . . and shot down the enemy whilst serving 
their guns. . . . The front on which the attack was made was narrow, 
not over 200 yards in extent, stretching from the marsh on the one side 
to the marsh on the other. It was at the saddle of the peninsula, the 
ground narrowing very suddenly at this point from our advance. . . . 
The whole space at the saddle was occupied by the enemy's work, im- 
practicable abatis on either hand, with carefully prepared trous de loup, 
and in front a ditch seven feet deep, with a parapet of hard-packed earth, 
having a relief of some nine feet above the general surface of the ground. 
On the fort were mounted six guns, covering the field of our approach. 
The whole interior of the work was swept by fire from the rifle-pits and 
defences in the rear. ... It will thus be seen that the whole front was 
scarcely enough to deploy a single regiment. ... It was during a period 
of less than one-half hour — from five to half past five o'clock — that 
thegreater portion of the casualties occurred. . , . The remainder of the 
regiments were gallantly lead . . . that of the Highlanders by their 
gallant Lieut.-Col. Morrison, who, wounded in the head on the parapet, 
seemed only the more eager to lead on to the assault. . . . Not a fugitive 
did I observe passing from the battlefield. . . . My troops were then 
withdrawn in good order. . . . 

"To my own staff I am under the greatest obligations. . . . My 
assistant Adj.-Gen., Capt. Hazard Stevens, was in all parts of the field 
carrying my orders and bringing me information, to the great exposure 
of his life, as was Aide, Capt. William T. Lusk. . . . Capt. A. P. 



WAR LETTERS 159 

Rockwell, of the Connecticut battery, deserves particular mention for 
his gallant bearing and skilful handling of his guns on that field. I 
desire, in this official report, to place on record my objections to these 
early morning attacks. They are justifiable, in my humble judgment, 
only under extraordinary circumstances. The troops get necessarily 
but little rest the night before, and they go to the work fatigued and ex- 
cited. ... I must confess that the coolness and mobility of all the troops 
engaged on the i6th surprised me. And I cannot but believe, had proper 
use been made of the artillery, guns from the navy, and our own batteries, 
fixed and field; had the position been gradually approached and carefully 
examined, and the attack made much later in the day, when our bat- 
teries had had their full effect, all which, you will recollect, were strongly 
urged by me upon Gen. Benham, the evening of the conference, the 
result might have been very different." 

The following is taken from a description of the Battle of James 
Island in a New Tork paper: 

"Troops never fought with more steadiness and determined bravery 
than our men did yesterday. Their pluck and obedience to orders are 
worthy of the highest commendation. Captain Lusk, Aide-de-Camp 
to General Stevens, led and placed in position the Twenty-eighth Massa- 
chusetts at the edge of the abatis, and had a horse shot under him." 

Editorial in "Norwich Bulletin" of June 30, 1862. 

" It is cheering to know that under the terrible fire of the rebel bat- 
tery our own Conn. 7th, under the gallant Col. Hawley, stood bravely up 
to their work, and never faltered or wavered, while our Conn. Light 
Battery under Capt. Rockwell performed all the work assigned to them 
with the greatest skill and bravery. The Conn. 7th, Michigan 8th, 
and New York 79th were in advance, and did the heaviest of the fight- 
ing and suffered the heaviest losses. Conn, has no reason to be ashamed 
or blush for the conduct of her sons before Charleston." 



"Norwich Bulletin;' July 1st, 1862. 

" Capt. Wm. T. Lusk, formerly of this city, a grandson of the late 
Richard Adams, Esq., was, in the late battle on James Island, acting 
Aide-de-camp to Gen. Stevens. He is mentioned in the reports for gal- 
lant and meritorious conduct on the field. Letters from Hilton Head 
received since the battle, speak in the most glowing terms of his bravery 
and disregard of danger. One letter says *He seemed omnipresent.* 
He was Lieut, in the N. Y. 79th until promoted to a position on Gen. 
Stevens's staff, and was with that Regiment at the Battle of Bull Run 
where he distinguished himself also by bravery and coolness^ and received 
honorable mention from his superior officers." 



i6t 'g^::*:^ tbotcs.j^ i: 



nr-*i>i:rAi:j f t-? :s i-^msji*^ 



II - - ^ • ; * 



a is ro take ^iar* i= Tih". Kr^ I -wrac rcf^ td 
be tifccre, t-^q can w«il cikiae. tsc 



to fsTCT xsT leano^ =t post, wr^ i— c:3£r n Ke2ir::«t 



I fciC I3T hopes, wni: aS in mr^ctl here r:rr r^Tves scan 
bir SJn^.aTl, and ret there are scot who hare ace been 
half the time in the Kxrice I ba^e, who have Tissaed their 
homes once, r«ice, and are aow gccng b^cse asazn. That 
it a Kftt of luck some pecple have, a sor: ct IiKk vbich 
does not favor n>e. Yet tbere viB be a rrry I ssippose 
when it will be pleasant to rcmesiber I was ne-rer absent 
from dut}% though I cannoc see that smctness in such 
respects is held in anj spedal hooor now. You must 
tell Lilly I win think of her with all a brocher^s feeling 
of love, when the dav comes. I will see that I am properir 
represented at the table which bears her marriage gifts. 
I will dream of the orange flowers that bind the brow 
of the bride and will wish them — the bride and gnx>m — 
God speed. I will wish them a brave career, and wiD 
rejoice that xhcy do not fear to face the future tc^ether. 
I have no patience with that excessive prudence which 
would barter the blesangs of youth and happiness and 
love, for some silly hope of wealth, and the happiness 
wealth can give to hearts seared with selfishness and 
avarice. If misfortunes come, will they be hearier when 
borne together? And are men less likely to prosper 
when they have something more than themselves for 
which to toil ? And when one man and one woman are 



WAR LETTERS i6i 

brave enough to show they have no fear, but are willing 
to trust, "Bravo!" say I, "and God grant them all that 
they deserve." 

My coat and pants have come. All very well, only the 
coat is about six inches bigger round the waist than I 
am. There are tailors around the camp though who can 
remedy so excellent though rather ungraceful a fault. 

I have had a letter from Hall lately, who seems quite 
happy. On this island, dear Mother, there are secret, 
hidden, insidious foes which undermine one's happiness. 
We are truly in the midst of enemies which give no quar- 
ter, whose ruthless tastes blood alone can satisfy. Now 
I am not alluding to the human "Seceshers" — they 
are only mortal — but the insect kingdom. What a 
taste they have for Union blood ! Mosquito bars are use- 
less. They form breaches, and pierce every obstruc- 
tion imagination can invent, when they once scent Union 
blood. Flies march over one in heavy Battalions — 
whole pounds of them at a time. Mosquitoes go skir- 
mishing about and strike at every exposed position. Sand- 
flies make the blood flow copiously. Fleas form in 
Squadrons which go careering over one's body leaving all 
havoc behind. Ticks get into one's hair. Ants creep 
into one's stockings. Grasshoppers jump over one's 
face. You turn and brush your face. You writhe in 
agony. You quit a couch peopled with living horrors. 
You cry for mercy! — In vain. These critters are 
"Secesh." They give no quarter. You rush wildly 
about. You look for the last ditch. Until utterly ex- 
hausted you sink into unrefreshing sleep. Then begins 
a wild scene of pillage. Millions of thirsty beings, long- 
ing for blood, drink out one's life gluttonously. Enough! 
Why harass you with these dismal stories ? 



i62 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

Benham has been sent home under arrest. The last 
thing he did on leaving Hilton Head was to lie. He 
doubtless has not discontinued the practice since. 

My love to Mary and Lilly, the little boys (how I would 
like to see them), and all my dear friends. I have been 
several times with a flag of truce to the enemy, concern- 
ing our prisoners in their hands. In all these interviews 
I heard of Sam Lord. I wished to see him very much, 
but permission was not granted. I was allowed, however, 
to write him concerning Miss Alice Mintzing's welfare. 
The Colonel of his Battalion — Lamar — was badly 
wounded in our late engagement. Genl. Stevens has 
mentioned me handsomely in his official report of the 
fight, but he has done the same to all his staff. 

Very aflPec'y. your Son, 

Will. 



« 



War of the Rebellion^' Series I, Fol. XI Fy p. 358. 



Hdqrs. U. S. Forces North. Dist. Dept. South, 

James Island, S. C, June 20, 1862. 

General Isaac I. Steven s^ 

Commanding Second Division, James Island, S. C. 

General: I have received yours of this date, stating that no arrange- 
ment has been made with the Confederate officers regarding cessation 
of operations on account of flags of truce, and that you had sent Cap- 
tain Lusk for instructions as to further proceedings. 

I have seen Captain Lusk, and from what I leam from him and from 
the letter of General W. D. Smith, which Captain Lusk delivered to 
me, I do not see that any further action is necessary, unless it may be 
in regard to exchange of prisoners. I do not know what instructions 
you may have had from General Benham on this point, but you are no 
doubt aware that exchanges are prohibited by War Department order 
except under instructions from the Secretary of War. 

Please send me copies of any instructions in this matter you may 
have received from General Benham, or if they were verbal, then of your 
letters on the subject. 



WAR LETTERS 163 

I send you copy of a letter from General Hunter to General Benham, 
directing the latter to turn over the command to me and return to Hilton 
Head. 

Very respectfully, your obedient servant, 

H. G. Wright, 
Brigadier-General^ Commanding. 

Headquarters, 
U. S. Forces en Route to F. Monroe, 

July 1 2th, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

When I wrote you a few hurried, peevish lines, by the 
last steamer, I then had little thought we were so soon 
to be summoned to a different sphere of action, and that, 
had my longing to see you at home been really gratified, 
I would have returned only to be mortified by being 
absent from duty at a time when every man should be 
standing steadily at his post. So you see my lucky star 
is always dominant. Just when I thought my fate 
intolerable, I was merely being providentially detained 
that nothing might prevent me from the fulfilment of my 
duty. Ten Regiments from the Department of the South, 
six under Stevens and four under Wright, are ordered to 
Fortress Monroe, we know not yet whether to reinforce 
Pope or McClellan. Few of us regret to leave this unholy 
soil and wretchedly mismanaged department, where we 
have been sure only of mismanagement and disgrace. I 
am sorry Rockwell could not go with us. He would 
have liked to have done so, but a demand was made 
for infantry alone. 

It is a good thing for me that I have escaped from the 
Southern climate, having been long enough exposed to 
feel as though every fibre of my body was involved in a 
malarious atmosphere. A change of climate and a per- 



i64 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

sistent employment of quinine, the Doctor says, are all I 
need, though were times less stirring, he would probably 
prescribe in addirion a few days at home. I shall prob- 
ably lose the letters you will write relative to Lilly's 
wedding, but you must not forget to let me know all 
about it in whatever new sphere I may be placed. I 
suppose you had better address the first letter to the care 
of General Stevens near Fortress Monroe, and so soon 
as may be, I will let you know a more definite address. 

I enclose the J25.00 for Lilly's bridal gift. I could not 
enclose it in my last, as it was then some time since I 
had seen the paymaster. I hope I may have an oppor- 
tunity to see you all this summer, but it looks dubious. 
Next to Lilly's wedding, I was very anxious to be present 
at my class meeting, which takes place the end of this 
month. Hall will be there and many old friends. It 
will seem strange enough to get among civilized people 
once more, and there will be so many changes too. Walter, 
an aged paterfamilias. Lilly and Hall, both old domestic 
bodies. Hunt in a new house. Horace alone will be 
left unchanged. 

Are any of my friends desirous of making a profitable 
speculation ? A sure and magnificent fortune may be 
realized from the sale of ginger-pop at Hilton Head. 
Blind Dennis is doing a flourishing business in the lemon- 
ade line, and will certainly before long be putting up a 
superb house on Washington Street, in Burdick's best 
style. The ginger-pop trade, I predict, will be one of 
the most remunerative branches of business ever opened 
at Port Royal. It even bids fair to prove as handsome 
a thing as negro-philanthropy, which in shrewd hands 
has proved a most capital paying business, and then the 
sale of ginger-pop is eminently more respectable. At 



WAR LETTERS 165 

any rate it is a pet idea of mine, and I would like to see 
the experiment tried. 

Well, good-bye. I hope to hear good news on arriving 
at Fortress Monroe." Love to all. 

14th. Still on shipboard but near Fortress Monroe. 

Lilly's wedding day. Miles of friends — little chil- 
dren's voices — church bells — sweet thoughts. I shall 
feast to-day for all that though, on hard tack and salt horse 
with a quinine pill by way of dessert. So goes the world. 

Good-bye, my dear Mother. Blessings on you all. 

Lovingly, 

Will. 



"Life of General Isaac /. Stevens** Vol, II ^ p. 421. 

"On Benham's arrest General Wright succeeded to the command 
as next in rank, and field-works to protect the camps were commenced, 
and considerable work done upon them, when General Hunter wisely 
decided to withdraw from James Island." 

Page 423. General Stevens and his command "reached Foitress 
Monroe on the i6th" (July), "debarked at Newport News, and went 
into camp. . . . General Bumside had just arrived here with 8,cxx> 
troops from North Carolina, and the ninth corps was organized from the 
two commands, . . . General Bumside commanding the corps." 

"The transfer to Virginia was the very movement that General 
Stevens recommended to the President in a letter dated July 8th, 
in which he wrote: '. . . The crisis of the war is in Virginia. There 
throw your troops. There signally defeat and destroy the enemy. You 
strike Charleston and Savannah by striking Richmond. . . .'" 

Page 422. Stevens wrote to his wife July 14th: "McQellan has 
unquestionably met with a very serious check. . . . The army should 
never have been divided, and the route should not have been by Fortress 
Monroe. ... I am afraid the Confederates will by a rapid counter- 
march fall upon Pope with overwhelming force. I think, so far as I 
can gather the facts, that Pope should be largely reinforced, and that he 
should wage the campaign. It has also occurred to me that the wisest 
plan would be to withdraw McClellan from his present position, send 
him to the Potomac, unite him with Pope, and commence anew." 

Page 424. "The very movements he mentioned as best in his letter 
to his wife, were precisely the ones adopted immediately afterwards, 
viz: the withdrawal of McClellan and reinforcement of Pope." 



i66 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

Headquarters Stevens's Div. 

Burnside's Expedition, 

Newport News, Va. 

July 20th, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

I rode over yesterday to Fortress Monroe in my old 
clothes. Maj. Elliott, now Act'g. Inspector-General of 
our Division, and others, were of the party. On reaching 
the Fortress we found a man who for the sum of fifty 
cents, gives you half a dollar's worth of likeness — a 
"Cheap John" style of man — and him we concluded to 
patronize. I send you the result. If it has defects, I 
have no doubt there is fifty cents worth of truth in it. 
The moustache and imperial in the picture I consider 
an improvement of the original, the most considerate of 
mirrors being unable to conceal the fact that these articles 
of beauty are in reality a bright plinthic red. Next 
week the "Cheap John" style of man says he will have 
an apparatus for taking carte-de^isite. If so, I will put 
on my best clothes, get taken, and forward myself to 
you in a more presentable manner. 

I have received a couple of letters from you, one of the 
5th, the other of the 9th, both of which took first a trip 
to Port Royal. I hope my telegraphic despatch may pre- 
vent any more from traveling so far in vain. 

I am much obliged to my friends for their kind thoughts 
and words regarding me. I'll tell you what, I think I 
ought to have a place in the Field of one of the new Conn. 
Regiments, not that I feel myself peculiarly competent 
for such a position, but because I think I'll do better 
than those they are likely to select. I have been the long- 
est in the service of any of my friends. I have been oftener 
in battle and been subject to more vicissitudes, yet they 



•• • 



c 
 * 



* «  • 



WAR LETTERS 167 

all outrank me. Matteson and Doster are Majors. Ely 
commands a Regiment. Harland commands a Brigade. 
Charies Dodge has a Regiment. Rockwell commands a 
battery, and so on all through the list. Somehow or 
other IVe not been so accustomed to bringing up at the 
tail end as to fancy it now. I am delighted, to be sure, 
at the success of friends. I feel no envy, but would like 
to be a little more upon an equality with them. To be 
sure, by crawling along slowly, I have risen from the 
Junior Lieut, of my Regiment to rank as the 2d Cap- 
tain — that is to say, from the 30th position in the line 
to the 2d. Still I would like a Major's position in one 
of the new Regiments. However, where I now am, I 
have responsibility enough, I suppose. 

Benham being disposed of, my letter to Uncle John 
has proved uncalled for, but I was very indignant at the 
time of writing it. . . . You may have read something 
of his letter relative to Gen. Stevens. It is unnecessary 
to characterize the whole as a .malicious falsehood. I 
will only mendon one thing. Benham quotes a let- 
ter from Stevens to prove that he (Stevens) approved 
the reconnoissance Benham projected. I happen to 
know personally the note quoted was written by 
Stevens with regard to a reconnoissance proposed by 
Stevens himself. This plan of a reconnoissance was 
agreed to by the Generals in Council in opposition to the 
plan proposed by Benham. Benham at first consented 
to this, but finally ordered the attack of the i6th to be 
made as he had originally proposed. The letter then of 
Gen. Stevens written regarding the Stevens plan of recon- 
noissance, is used by Benham to show that the Benham 
plan met with Stevens* approbation. 

Benham had an unaccountable aversion to Rockwell. 



i68 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

When Rockwell was sick, and stopping on board the 
steamer with the amiable General, Benham growled so 
much about it, that Gen. Stevens was obliged to advise 
(privately) Capt. Rockwell to return to his company, 
though he was still pale, weak and unable to do duty. 
After the battle of the i6th, Benham wrote his report 
complimenting Capt. Hamilton of the Regular Artillery, 
omitting all mention of Rockwell, though Alfred's Bat- 
tery had been the most exposed, and had done nobly. 
This made Gen. Stevens very angry, so he informed Ben- 
ham that he must alter his report, that his Command 
should have justice, that Rockwell had acquitted himself 
as well as Hamilton, and that he should have the credit 
he was entitled to. (Somewhat mixed way of expression, 
but comprehensible I believe). Gen. Stevens being an 
unpleasant man to deal with when angry, Benham got 
frightened and altered his report. 

Since commencing this letter I have received one from 
you regarding dear Lilly's wedding. I could not be there, 
but you all know how I feel. You speak of J^ioo.oo 
having been spent on Lilly's wardrobe by you in my 
behalf. I only mention it to have it fully understood 
that that money must never be returned to me. 

Tell Mrs. Tyler, information I afterward received at 
James Island, renders the presence of Alfred there, to 
say the least, very doubtful. 

I am tired, so I will close. Love to all. 

AfFec'y. your son, 

W. T. LusK. 



WAR LETTERS 169 

Headquarters Stevens* Div. 

July 25th, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

Your letter has just reached me. I have only to say 
that It has long been my earnest desire to serve with the 
troops of my native state where there are so many who 
feel an interest in me.* I have many times sought an 
opportunity to change to the troops from Old Connecticut, 
but the mutiny in the Highland Regiment, then being 
sent to S. Carolina, and other things have prevented. 
Should I be selected for the position of Major in one of 
the new Regiments, I think I can bring the necessary 
testimonials to my fitness. As a staff officer I have 
been too long employed in teaching field officers their 
duty, to feel many scruples about accepting the position, 
if offered me. I will see Gen. Stevens, and ask his advice. 
The mail is about closing now, so good-bye. 

Lovingly, 

Will. 

Headouarters Stevens' Div. 

Burnside's Expedition, 

July 28th, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

I have received no further news from you since your 
last short communication hurriedly informing me of an 
improvement in my prospects. I only hope your intima- 
tion may be true. I asked Genl. Stevens* advice. He 
told me "unequivocally to accept.'* I trust the appoint- 
ment may soon be made, as I must have some little change 
before I return to life in unhealthy swamps. My experi- 
ence in South Carolina has not specially fitted me to 



170 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

resist climatic influences here. It will be of incalculable 
advantage to me if I can get North three or four weeks 
this summer. I received a letter from Walter yesterday. 
He seems to feel the present critical condition of our coun- 
try very much. Ned Harland is a near neighbor of mine 
now. Once I have met Charley Breed. I saw Henry 
King at Fortress Monroe a few days ago. We met and 
parted as though we were in the habit of seeing one an- 
other every day. Halleck was here day before yesterday. 
I was greatly disappointed in his appearance. Small and 
farmer-like, he gives a rude shock to one's preconceived 
notions of a great soldier. He is a striking contrast to 
Genl. Burnside who is rather a Chevalier Bayard in ap- 
pearance and accomplishments. One has opportunities 
on the staff of seeing a great deal that is interesting, still 
staff officers are simply satellites of the General — if any- 
thing else, they are no use. 

I see good accounts of recruiting in Connecticut. I 
trust this is so, for we must have those troops drilled and 
ready for the field as early as possible. It is not pleasant 
to think of dragging through another winter in quarters. 
These troops in Burnside's corps are really splendid, de- 
serving indeed the name of soldiers. The Army looks 
very different now from what it did last fall, previous to 
our expedition down South. 

I have really nothing to write, except that I am impa- 
tient to see you all, and that I remain as ever, with love 
to sisters and dear ones at home. 

Affectionately, 

Will. 



WAR LETTERS 171 

Headquarters Stevens' Div. 

9th Army Corps, Newport News, 

Aug. 2d, 1862. 

My dear Mother: 

As General Burnside's Corps is being transferred to 
other scenes, and as our turn to go on shipboard will 
come to-morrow, I take this opportunity to inform 
you of our intended change of Camp. I cannot tell you 
where I am going. I hope and think we are to join 
Pope. So soon as we shall have arrived at our desti- 
nation, I will let you know. I fear a letter or two may 
be lost, but hope not. 

The Governor of Connecticut made a most excellent 
appointment in Wm. Ely to the Colonelcy of the i8th 
R. C. V. Cool, decided, brave, enterprising and experi- 
enced, he will fill that position with honor to himself and 

to his native State. will find he has made 

a great mistake if he has entered this new Regiment 
with a view to playing a high-handed insubordinate part. 
There are ways of bringing fractious officers and soldiers 
to a sense of duty now, that were quite unknown at the 
time of the three months' service. The news in the papers 
of yesterday relative to drafting if the contingents are not 
filled by Aug. 15th, if true, must occasion quite a panic 
in the North. I am glad of it. This bounty business 
is simply disgusting. If there is so much spare money 
to be thrown away, it is better that it should be given to 
those who have borne the burden and heat of the day, 
than to those who enter at the eleventh hour. It speaks 
badly for the patriotism of the North, if the bribes must 
be increased now to induce men to serve their country 
in the hour of its extremest peril. I say it is a poor sys- 



172 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

tern, and believe in the draft — the rich to serve with 
their wealth, the poor with their muscle, and the patriotic 
of both classes the best way that lies in their power. By- 
the-way, I enclose for your album a capital likeness of 
Col. Farnsworth, of the 79th Regt. 

Aug. 3d, early in the morning. I trust by the time this 
reaches you, you may ascertain through the papers our des- 
tination. I am quite in the fog, but cling to the fancy that 
it must be to join Pope. I am much obliged to my friends 
who are urging my appointment in the new Regiment. 
Of course for the present I can only hold my tongue. 
You cannot long to see me more than I do you. I cer- 
tainly would give six months* pay for one month's rest. 
It is a good deal wearing to be kept steadily at the wheel 
which seems never to stop turning. However, I shall 
hope for a few days to recruit myself, if appointed to the 
1 8th. It is really remarkable though, how my health 
continues. I am beginning to have strong faith in my 
vitality. If there be no other chance, why, I shall have 
to wait until next winter. I think had I received a short 
leave of absence this summer my usefulness would have 
been much increased. I could not have it, though many 
have been home ten months out of the twelve. Of 
course I shall feel the prouder for it in the end. Good- 
bye. A thousand kisses judiciously dispensed among 
dear ones at home. 

AfFec'y., 

Will. 



WAR LETTERS 173 

Headquarters Stevens' Div. 

9th Army Corps, 
Steamer "Elm City," Aug. 5th, 1862. 

My dear Mother: 

Here we are at length at Acquia Creek. Our desti- 
nation is Fredericksburg. Please direct your letters to 
that place in future. We are exchanging at every move 
disease for health. Our present position is one of the 
healthiest in Virginia, so dear Mother, give yourself no 
alarm. 

I received two letters from you previous to leaving 
Newport News, one written after Lilly's marriage, which 
had travelled down to Hilton Head, and the other a letter 
containing an account of the kindly manner all speak of 
me at home. For the latter I am grateful indeed, though 
I feel a little puzzled at its extent. The first day I landed 
at Newport News, as I was riding toward our camping 
ground, a nice, handsome-looking young fellow stopped 
me, saying, "How are you Will?" I stopped, examined 
his face, talked, and tried to discover who my friend 
was. After running through the probabilities, I said, 
"Why this is Charley Breed!" "Yes," said he, "you 
are a good deal changed, but I recognized you at once." 
So we parted, promising soon to meet again. But 
duty intervened, and the other day I read that he was 
dead. 

I received likewise a letter from Edward Stedman, via 
Hilton Head, with kind words of encouragement for me. 

I have nothing more to write. Don't mind . 

Instead of "Speed the Plow," "Speed the Bayonet," and 
all will be right again. Vive la guerre and down with the 
rebellion. If the South wishes to secede, they must wait 



174 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

until they ask it of the North, not with threats, but in 
fear and trembling. 

Good-bye, dear mother. 

Truly your aflPec. 

Will, 
Capt. £5f A. A. A. G. 

which means that the Assistant Adjutant-General is sick 
and has gone home, and that I am acting in his place 
until his leave of absence expires. 

"Life of General Isaac I. Stevens/' VoL II, p. 425. 

"The military authorities having decided to throw Bumside's troops 
up the Rappahannock to reinforce Pope, Gen. Stevens sailed from 
Newport News on Aug. 4thy debarked at Acquia Creek on the 6th, and 
reached Fredericksburg the same day." 



Norwich, August i6th, 1862. 
My own dear Son: 

After having received intimations from various sources 
of the almost certainty of your appointment to the Lt.- 
Colonelcy of the Eighteenth, you may imagine the crush- 
ing disappointment produced by the order from the War 
Department forbidding the removal of all officers from 
their present positions. Col. Ely is very anxious to have 
you with him. Ned Tyler told me that Ely said to the 
Gov.: "If you will appoint the officers I wish, I will be 
responsible for the reputation of the Regiment. If how- 
ever you put in mere politicians I cannot." I feel the 
sickness of "hope deferred" this morning, and my heart 
is very heavy. Well, I cannot resist all influences, and 
though I have brave hours, I have times of bitter struggling. 
Well, this is useless as well as discouraging to you. Par- 



WAR LETTERS 175 

don me, my son. I shall soon recover from this unworthy 
despondency. I am much gratified by the interest shown 
by your friends here. Mr. Johnson (Charlie's father) 
told Lillie the pressure upon the Gov. from Norwich 
people on your behalf had been very great, the matter was 
now decided, and you would probably be with us next 
week, still he said, we must not be too sure, for "there's 
many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip." For 
Gen. Tyler's affectionate interest, I must always be very 
grateful. He has returned to Connecticut to take charge 
of the Regiments now preparing in the State. He has 
taken great interest in you always. Perhaps I am un- 
reasonable in my disappointment at not seeing you, but 
I do feel you might have been appointed earlier, before 
these orders were issued. 

We are all well, and anxiously watching for news from 
Burnside. I have sent to New- York for a flag to wave 
from our old home, the home of your childhood. I intended 
it to greet your return. I shall place it over the front 
entrance so that all who pass in or out, must walk under 
its folds. Hunt just passing the door called out, "give 
my love to Will." All are interested and excited about 
the new Regiments. The Twenty-second goes into 
camp in Norwich, on the Fair Grounds. Eating, drink- 
ing, or sleeping, our thoughts are on the war and the 
precious lives at stake, as well as the great issue involved. 
Bromley is Captain of a Company, and young Merwin 
his first Lieutenant. Morton Hale is a Lieutenant in 
one of the companies; he is to be married next Tuesday 
to Emily Huntington. Her sister Hannah was engaged to 
Charlie Breed. 

Good-bye my own dear, dear son. My whole trust is 
placed in the mercy of God to whom I earnestly pray 



176 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

for your deliverance from all evil. God bless you wherever 
you may be is the cry of my anxious, loving heart. 

Always lovingly. 

Mother. 

New London has furnished one private and an Adjutant 
— wants a field oflBcer besides. They have sent four hun- 
dred men to the Fourteenth. I have just heard that 
perhaps the staff oflBcers are not included in this order 
from the Department. Gen. Tyler will be at home this 
evening when I shall learn. 



Headquarters Stevens's Div. 
9th Army Corps, 

Fredericksburg, Aug. 19th, 1862. 

My dearest Mother: 

Here we are, occupying a fine house in the pleasant 
town of Fredericksburg, with the thermometer standing 
ever so high in the shade among a people whose glances 
are at zero in the hottest of this summer sunshine. I 
have seen nothing like this before, except in the single 
City of Venice where the feeling is so intense toward the 
German soldiery. Yet it is not strange when one thinks 
that there are few left beside women. The men are away 
fighting in the pride of sons of the Old Dominion, and 
many a family here is clad in sombre colors, for the loss 
of dear friends who have lost their lives at the hands of 
'* Yankee Invaders." So a military occupation of a 
disaffected town is less pleasant than the tented field. 
We will not remain a great while though. We are now 
on the eve of great events. God only knows what the 



WAR LETTERS 177 

morrow has in store for us. I cannot say where I may be 
when I next write, but continue to direct to Stevens' 
Division, 9th Army Corps, and the letters will reach me. 
I am sick at heart in some respects, and utterly weary of 
the miserable cant and whining of our Northern press. 
It is time that we assumed a manlier tone. We have 
heard enough of rebel atrocities, masked batteries, guerillas, 
and other lying humbugs. Pope's orders are the last 
unabatable nuisance. Are we alone virtuous, and the 
enemy demons ? Let us look at these highly praised orders 
of Pope which are to strike a death-blow at rebellion. 
We are henceforth to live on the enemy's country, and 
to this as a stem military necessity, I say "Amen I" But 
mother, do you know what the much applauded practice 
means ? It means to take the little ewe-lamb — the only 
property of the laborer — it means to force from the widow 
the cow which is her only source of sustenance. It means 
that the poor, and the weak, and the helpless are at the 
mercy of the strong — and God help them! This I say 

is bad enough, but when papers like the , with 

devilish pertinacity, talk of ill-judged lenity to rebels 
and call for vigorous measures, it makes every feeling 
revolt. We want vigorous measures badly enough to 
save us in these evil times, but not the measures the 

urges. The last thing needed in our army is 

the relaxing of the bands of discipline. And yet our Press 
is urging our soldiers everywhere to help themselves to 
rebel property, and instead of making our army a glorious 
means of maintaining liberty, would dissolve it into a 
wretched band of marauders, murderers, and thieves. 
If property is to be taken, let the Government take it. 
That is well — but I would have the man shot who would 
without authority steal so much as a fence rail, though 




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«f^yv* •<i*»m, -Mir -v^r -^smsaiv imri x -ytisnie 
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h^fi^Mt^Ay. i tM (m\y f^uy Uft your uStty and trust in 



WAR LETTERS 179 

the mercy of God. . . . My heart cries out in constant 
prayers for your safety. Oh! God be with him every- 
where, defend his body and his soul. 

Always very lovingly, 

Mother. 

Aug. 26th, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

I have an opportunity to smuggle a letter through the 
lines letting you know that I am well, and, in the stoppage 
of all communication with the army, assuring you that 
you must comfort your heart with the thought that "no 
news is good news." If any accident should befall me, 
rest assured you will hear of it soon enough. If you hear 
nothing, then, dear Mother, rest content. I am still 
performing the duties of an Asst. Adj.-Gen. I saw to- 
day in the papers the arrival of the i8th Regt. C. V. in 
Baltimore, and saw too that my name was not printed 
in the Field. Never mind, these are too important times 
for the indulgence of mere petty ambitions. I am con- 
tent to serve my country in my present position, and have 
all the responsibility I desire on my shoulders. We are 
very busy. I must not tell how we are employed. 

Write me as usual. Occasionally your letters will 
reach me when an opportunity occurs, remaining in the 
meantime at Washington. Grood-bye. Many, many 
kisses, and a deal of affection for you all at home. God 
bless you all. If I could only see the children, my sisters 
and my own dear mother I Still I am getting along swim- 
mingly. Love to all. 

Yours affec'y-> 

Will. 



i8o WlLUA^f THO^nSOX LUSK 

[Battle or Chaxtilly] 

Headqcakteks 1st Dnr. Reno's Commaxd, 

Near AhEXASDmiA^ Sqic 4tfa, 1862. 
Dear Mother: 

Once more, after a lapse of nearhr five weeks, am I 
able to write jou again. During this time we have been 
cot oflF from all communication with our friends, we have 
been busiljr employed, and have suffered much. I have 
lost mj good friend, GenL Stevens, who has been sacri- 
ficed bj little men who can poorly fill his place. When- 
ever anything desperate was to be performed, Stevens 
and Kearny were always sheeted, with this difference 
though, that Stevens rarely was credited with what he 
did, while Kearny's praises were properly published. 
On Monday's fight, the General's son and I were walking 
together in the rear of the 79th Regiment, when Capt. 
Stevens was wounded. Finding that TOung Stevens was 
able to move off* without assistance, I continued to follow 
the Regiment. Soon the General came up on foot. " Have 
you seen your son ?" I asked him. ''Yes," said he, 
'^ I know he is wounded," and then added, *' Capt. Lusk, I 
wish you would pass to the left of the line, and pu^ the 
men forward in that direction." I did as I was ordered, 
and on my return, found the General had been killed, and 
the troops badly slaughtered. The General you have 
read was shot while holding the flag of the 79th Regiment 
in his hand. 

There were five shot holding the same flag in about 
twenty minutes time. I found the sixth man standing 
almost alone at the edge of some woods still clinging 
hopelessly to the colors. I drew him back to the crest 
of a bin a couple of hundred yards back and gathered 
a few of the 79th about it. Kearny then came riding 



WAR LETTERS i8i 

up, and asked the name of the little band. On being told, 
he said, "Scotchmen, you must follow me/' They told 
him they had not a round of ammunition left. " Well," 
said he then, "stand where you are and it may be you 
will be able to assist my men with the bayonet." The 
soldierly form moved on, and it too soon was dust. Stevens 
was a great man and Kearny a courageous soldier. It 
is not every man of whom this last can be said, though 
the country may have placed him high in power. I sup- 
pose I must not tell all I have seen in the last few days 
fighting, but I have seen enough to make it no matter of 
wonder at the extent of our disaster. I have read little 
truth as yet in the papers, though I see the people are 
beginning to feel the truth. So long as the interests of 
our country are entrusted to a lying braggart like Pope, 
or a foolish little Dutchman like Sigel, we have little 
reason to hope successfully to compete with an army led 
by Lee, Johnston and old "Stonewall" Jackson. Carl 
Schurz, our lately returned minister to Spain, I found 
blundering horribly. Schenck was a laughable instance 
of incompetence, and so with others. You must be care- 
ful to whom you repeat these things, and yet there is 
much which it were better were known, for our soldiers 
are not deceived by lying reports. They feel whom they 
can trust, and are not willing to fight for men like Mc- 
Dowell and that ilk. McClellan's reappointment gives 
great satisfaction to the soldiers. Whether right or wrong 
they believe in him. 

I expect to get my back letters to-day, and then what 
a treat. I am still very much fatigued by the last month, 
and like to rest all I can. 

Good-bye. Kisses and love to all. 

AfFec'y.f 

Will. 



ifi WILLIAM TBOMFSOS LTiS 

Sectho Ruttlx or Bcix Rcnv 

''Tlie Coofetfence AnsT ocufler Lee mmi&<ac£ — L miyme t, jd/kp; 

Fooe's scicaccii was csrarivatni. at 6c,;300. 

f5 «r^ope'. ann. ^ ^ P«™«i for , <i««««I 
jctack oipoa Jadwa die ttcK dtoc^ t£ie oexz mnciuig br McDtTweil and 
S[f^, wvh dae ri|^ axniii^ ap cstIt ta n^vin. . . . And k  dear 
chat Fope^s oolj clooce oc *baggi:i!^' <ik bcazns Jacksoo was losi oe 
die 2Sdi br die ^Hbcocr, discoaoecxesi, axxd parposekaB umvJi c s of 
Mcl>y«rell'fl wiie " 

Fai^ 44S. '"Inbea Scerens's ditkiu o ■undies op tke pAe to tke 
cnMSiRg of die Scbdler mad, where S^gd ii receivia^ Scinuz's and M2- 
fnf% ciies for aid. . . . Si^, wvii die coosezx of Reno, as he daims, 
wnmtdmAf scatters diis fine dmsioo. . . . Reno's ilmsaoo, wiikh 
nest ^nhrtd^ was dissipafed ia like mannrr . . . Hooker's difkio o 
OD its armal was also divided. . . . 

** It was DOC an nncoomioo thing dmiog the war, as manjr an 
knows from dear-bo u g ht experience, for commanders of troops in 
to beseech support, nsuallj claiming that thejr were oat of ammonitioa, 
or their flanks were being tnmed, and, when the reinforcements reached 
them, to pot the newcomers into the front line and withdraw their own 
troops to the rear. This was what S%el did widi the difiw Do s of the 
right wing as thcj reached the EekL Thus these fine troops, second to 
none in condition, discipline, and morait^ which, led hj their own gen- 
erals and thrown in mass upon the enemj, would have Kmck a m%falf 
blow, were frittered away over the field, simply rdierkig odier troops; 
and adding but little to the extent or strengdi of the battle line. Sdnuz, 
erer mi|g^itier with the pen than the sword, ci>ince d a marrelloos capacity 
to absorb reinforcements. And Sigd, baring demonstrated his talents as 
a mntepti 2nd a marcher the prcrious day, now prored his abiliry on 
the batdefield by so sca t t ering the i7/xx> troops of the right wing as to 
deprire them of their own able and tried commanders, and reduce them 
to the least possible weight upon the fig^iting line. 

''His diWsion being thus scattered. Gen. Sterens led up die pike the 
brigade which was to reinforce Schenck. This consisted of only a regi- 
ment and a half.'* 

Page 450. ** Longstrect's wing was fast arnringy and by noon four 
of his diyisions were in poskion." 

453- ** General Pope arrived on the field about noon. . . . All the 
afternoon he was expecting Porter's and McDowell's colunm to fall 
upon Jackson's n'ght and rear, for he had worked himself up to the 
belief that Longstreet would not be up for another day, and nothing 
short of disastrous defeat could change his dogged belief.** 



WAR LETTERS 183 

Page 455. "Unable longer to control his impatience. General Pope 
began about 4 p. m. sending peremptory orders to attack, first to one 
command, then to another, as he could get hold of them, accompanying 
the orders with assurances that the enemy was being driven by some 
other command, and that Porter was about to fall, or was falling, on his 
flank and rear, and using him up." 

Page 458. "The rattle of musketry is still echoing in the forest, and 
Kearny's fugitives are pouring out upon the open, when an officer in hot 
haste conveys Pope's order to General Stevens to advance into the woods 
and attack. The only troops left him were a regiment and a half . . . 
only seven hundred strong. . . . The scanty line enters and sweeps 
through the woods, encounters the enemy now holding the railroad, 
delivers and receives for fifteen minutes, which seem hours, a heavy 
musketry fire, and then, with the enemy swarming past both flanks, is 
forced back through the woods to the open ground, where the men at 
once halt and reform. Both the regimental commanders and Colonel 
Leasure, commanding the brigade, were severely wounded, and the loss 
was about two hundred. Gen. Stevens's horse was shot under him. ... 
It was remarked that when his troops emerged out of the woods, 
almost the last one was a short man in a general's uniform, followed 
by a tall orderly bearing a saddle on his shoulder. With this attack 
the fighting on the right came to an end that day." 

Page 459. "The following incident, which illustrates the evil eflPects 
of scattering commands, is related in the history of the 79th Highlanders 
by Captain William T. Lusk, one of the General's aides: — 

"'I was directed to find Famsworth; was sent by Sigel to Schurz, 
and by Schurz to Schimmelfennig. The gallant German, when at last 
found, exclaimed, "Mein Gott! de troops, dey all runned avay, and I 
guess your men runned avay, too!" General Stevens was indignant, and 
used some pretty strong language, when I carried back this report, 
and ordered me to find the missing regiments, and not to return until I 
brought them with me. I started, therefore, for the old railroad em- 
bankment. Luckily, I found Famsworth just on the edge of the woods. 
He said he was waiting for orders, but had none since I left him in the 
morning.' 

" But the day was not to close without one more useless slaughter of 
brave troops. . . . Pope . . . ordered McDowell to push it" (the divi- 
sion) " up the road in pursuit of the enemy, declaring that he was in full 
retreat. . . . The other three brigades . . . fired by the lying promises 
of success . . . hastened up the road with high hopes . . . but the 
disparity in numbers was too great for the Union troops. . . . Night 
put an end to the unequal struggle. 

"This ended the fighting of the 29th. The Union arms were out- 
numbered and repulsed in every encounter, and lost ground on both 
wings. Sigel's dilatory and timid advance consumed the morning 
hours until, with Longstreet's arrival, the chance of attacking Jackson's 



i84 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

4 

right was lost. Sigel, too, may be censured for his importunate and 
\ unsoldierly demands for aid which so frittered away the weight of the 

right wing. But Pope on his arrival could have rectified this. Pope, 

and Pope alone, ordered the hasty and disconnected attacks of the after- 

* noon, wasting the blood and impairing the morale of his best troops. . . . 

All that afternoon Lee was master of the situation. His army was united. 
1 Pope's was divided ; over twenty thousand of his troops out of reach and 

beyond his control." 

Page 463. The following day, Aug. 30th, "at noon, Pope issued an 
order, the most astonishing in its fatuity ever given out on a battlefield." 
The order was one to pursue the enemy, *'and press him vigorously 
during the whole day." 

Page 464. " But the officers charged with the execution of the order 
never attempted to carry it out according to its terms. . . . The pursuit 
feature of the order was ignored by all, and instead of it a strong column 
of attack was organized against Jackson's center." 

Page 476. "Under the leadership of a Sheridan, a Grant, a Meade, 
or a Thomas, his" (Pope's) "gallant army would never have retreated 
from the field, and might have inflicted a deadly blow upon its antagonist. 
How bravely and even desperately the Union troops fought is best attested 
by the Confederate reports, and the nine thousand Confederate losses 
in killed and wounded. The union loss, including that of the 28th, 
amounted to fourteen thousand. That at the end of the battle there was 
disorder and demoralization among some commands it were idle to 
deny, but it has been grossly exaggerated." 



r 







t 



^'7 he 79fA Highlanders'* p. 204. 

Todd, in speaking of the retreat at Second Bull Run, says: 
"Without haste and without the least confusion, the batteries limbered 
up and moved back to the Sudley road . . . Ricketts' division followed 
and then ours. As soon as we began moving back, the enemy flocked 
out of the woods in considerable numbers, and pressed so hard that 
twice we formed a partial line and delivered a few volleys which retarded 
their advance. The second time, and just as our brigade was forming 
line, and the rear of the other regiments were filing past out of our front, 
we heard the exulting shouts and yells of the enemy, who had gained the 
position just left by us. At that moment too, and just as the early 
twilight rendered objects indistinct in the woods, a one-armed horse- 
man galloped up followed by some straggling infantry; we recognized 

Gen. Kearny. 'What are you — cowards running away for.?* he 

exclaimed. A regiment on our right had broken, and the General no 
doubt thought that a stampede was about to take place. Some one 
replied that we were not running away very much just then, and that 
if he wanted to know why we had left our position, he could 'go and 
see.' Turning to his men he shouted: 'Come on boys! We'll show these 



WAR LETTERS 185 

fellows how to fight!' It seemed but a moment, before we heard 
a terrific volley of musketry, the bullets whistling over our heads, and a 
moment later the gallant Kearny came dashing back through the woods, 
his men following at his heels in great disorder. ' — boys, its hotter 
than — there!' he exclaimed, and disappeared with his men. The 
enemy followed, yelling and firing at the retreating troops, but Stevens' 
veterans stood firm. Captain Lusk says: 'Capt. Stevens, our Assistant 
Adjutant-General, realizing the necessity of presenting a bold and deter- 
mined front to the enemy, caused the Highlanders and another regiment 
on their right to again halt for a few minutes, and to pour so well aimed 
and heavy a volley into the faces of the exulting enemy that they in turn 
fell back into the heavy woods.' 



9 *t 



The Battle of Chantilly 
Sept. ist, 1862 

"Life of General Isaac I. Stevens^'* Vol. II, p. 477. 

"General Stevens now" (Aug. 31st) "received orders from General 
Pope to act as rear-guard." It was a "duty, the most important and 
responsible in the army at this juncture. . . . Contrary to expectation, 
the enemy did not press on after his victory, although he appeared in 
force, advanced his skirmish line in plain view, and opened briskly 
with his artillery, to which ours as briskly replied. ... At night 
General Reynolds and his division relieved General Stevens. He 
criticised some of the latter's dispositions, which called out a sharp 
rejoinder. . . . Then he said the enemy might attack at any moment. 
But General Stevens did not share his apprehensions, and remarked to 
him, ' I think it most probable that the enemy will move around and 
strike us under the ribs.' 

"After being relieved, the division moved to Centreville, and biv- 
ouacked on the heights half a mile south of the hamlet. The following 
morning, Monday, September ist, the officers straightened out their 
commands and took account of their losses. . . . Half of the division" 
(Stevens's) " had fallen in battle, or on the march, since leaving Fredericks- 
burg a fortnight before." 

Page 479. "While the beaten and distracted Union commander 
was trying to straighten out his forces huddled about Centreville, uncer- 
tain whether to risk further conflict or to fall back to the defences of 
Washington, Lee was moving his whole army in one column, to fall upon 
his enemy's line of retreat and rear. . . . On this Monday morning 
Jackson was marching down the turnpike with Longstreet and his whole 
wing following closely in support, thus turning the Union Army at 
Centreville, and moving to fall upon its only line of retreat. . . . Pope 
had taken no steps to anticipate or guard against this fatal flank move- 
ment. He was groping in the dark, utterly at a loss what course to 
pursue, and consequently he did nothing until noon, when startling news 



k 



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j|jvt^4 r*ilnv*4 ■fmiiwilemmr ▼?iich nnrcxsKi x. sna jusnea m utcr 

f^.»^ 4^'^ ''A? Wile 'tie Hi^ianiient -weic ?hu« pu^nn^ isck dir 
<^f»emv» ^prn^raA .Vwwi*, witti«vir riaihn^ or ccsaLrdtne chc mann ir ts 
ff^fyw ;m tn^r^nr, -srtM ;Armin^ rUem as f^asr as tie7 isme id« ji 1 -liittrwr 
^ -^rif^v^* '^ '^ hirher ««ie if rhe ieids ijcy/imi die boilcnr. . . . 

P;#l^t 4^4l *'The "AtiMnn now advancisU Beniamin'i sons inn^ 
4s^]W ititA fhe tt^srA^ in nnnr. , . . Them ftim nnrhini^ tn 'ae frrrr inir 
As^ 'Vvn nHH, «*vf#m«im!f rM*\ hiuiiined ^anii in frnnr and daaed 'tv ant 
•jMI /vf 'jf'W^^, wirh *ii 'vid laigpa^ rati tencc ar iis edese. 'Taeic is no 
^^my rH#^r^/ «r)f<'{;rtnv»d Catjraiii T^^ssk r^ Captain itevensk. as dney weoe 
mi»i^hm^ fH<^ Ky Me; 'fhey h:i7e fallen back; we fiiail taid aothin^ 
f\s^f^' i^/^ %^ he tp^vke, fhe enem^ ^nnrnd a cerrmc ▼nOey tam beimui 
^ ^;#>l f<»n^e, f^ji^^n .%fev«wii frrurfc die zrnond. - . - shot tn die 
;vym Af^ hv^, »ii4 ;K he ifriif^ed rf> hss feet uw die even Line of die 
Uyg^At\4^f^ pff^^n^ ^tmiy anri jire^ufily on. . . . TIxe enemy 
^ff^ff'rr,^ fh<» 'A<nmn irirh a ferriWe and lieadlT mnsfcetry. The 
w^f^ /;fllm|r /;»<#. f>Aeral Stevens now otdtred Captain Losk to 
fnt^^f* fA ffn* ^>rh f'^m^-o^anta, which was heskating at enterine die 
f'Mh^S^, nfiA fff ptHh fh^tn f/vfward, , , , The troops, cmder the wither- 
fhfi^ hni) ^A hiifWf» wi?r« now w^vermi^ , . , Five color-bearers of the 
Mifil^l'«fF/)^r# StTi^ UW^^ in #fK/'e^ion, an<l the colors again fell to the 

!7/ffif»/|. At fhw rfw# (tmt.r»\ Sffrtr«)t poshed to the front, seized the 
niUttf tiAM% ffffftt fhe h^fulit of the woanded bearer, unheeding hii 
ttft * tfft (hkW Mke, don'f fake the colors. General ; theyll shooc foa 



'III 



WAR LETTERS 187 

if you dol' and calling aloud upon his old regiment, ' Highlanders, 
my Highlanders, follow your general!' rushed forward with the uplifted 
flag. The regiment responded nobly. They rushed forward, reached 
the edge of the woods, hurled themselves with fury upon the fence 
and the rebel line behind it, and the enemy broke and fled in disorder. 
The 28th Massachusetts joined gallantly in the charge, and the other 
brigades as gallantly supported the first. . . . General Stevens fell 
dead in the moment of victory. A bullet entered at the temple and 
pierced his brain. He still firmly grasped the flagstaff, and the colors 
lay fallen upon his head and shoulders." 

Page 487. "Jackson, judging from the fury of the attack and the 
numbers of his men running in disorder out of the woods that he was 
assailed by a heavy force, . . . hurried Hill's infantry division forward 
to maintain the battle. . . . General Stevens's division withstood the 
attack of these fresh troops stoutly. It had driven back everything in 
its immediate front. ... It was impossible for its scanty numbers long 
to resist the pressure of Hill's brigades successively rushing into the 
conflict. But aid was at hand. 

"At the moment of ordering the fatal charge. General Stevens sent 
Lieutenant H. G. Belcher, of the 8th Michigan, back to the main turn- 
pike with instructions to ask support, and to go from commander to 
commander until he secured it. Belcher applied to several generals, 
who declined to go without orders, until finally he met General 
Kearny. Scarcely had he made known his mission to him, . . . 

when Kearny exclaimed, * , I will support Stevens anywherel* 

and at once broke the head of his column ofl" the pike, and struck 
across the fields to the sound of the battle." 

Page 492. "Only sixteen Union regiments . . . fought this battle 
against Jackson's whole corps of seventy regiments, of which at least forty- 
eight were in the fight. The Union force numbered 5500 effective, the 
Confederate at least twice as many. In this brief and fierce battle 
the losses on each side were from eight hundred to one thousand. . . . 

"How exactly General Stevens grasped the military situation when 
he caught sight of the rebel skirmish line, and instantly decided to stay 
Jackson's impending advance by an attack that would throw even him 
on the defensive, is clearly shown by the Confederate leader's objective, 
and the dispositions he had made of his troops to accomplish it." 

Page 493. "It lay wholly in Jackson's will and power, advancing 
but little over a mile, to hurl this mighty mass, seventy regiments strong, 
upon Pope's only road and his retreating troops and trains. ... At 
the very instant of launching the thunderbolt, Jackson learns that the 
enemy is advancing upon him, his skirmishers are driven in, his center 
division is hurled headlong from its position, the fugitives pour out of 
the woods, he hurries his artillery to the rear, is forced to throw the whole 
of his right division into the fight, brigade after brigade, and to withdraw 
his left division for his last reserve. The possibility of striking his enemy 



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Headqcakters 1st Dmsiox, 

gdi Aiunr Cohfs, 
Meridian Hill, Washingtdx, D. O 

Sept. 6tfa, 1862. 

3/j ^<^<ir Mother: 

Now that our General is dead, a Colonel cxxmnands 
the old Division temporarilT, and I continue to sup^in- 
tend the office, running the old madiine along until 
different arrangements can be made, when I suppose I 
shall be set adrift with no pleasant prospects before me. 
I would resign, were I permitted to do so, and would ^dly 
return to my medical studies this winter, tired as I am 
of the utter mismanagement which characterizes the 
conduct of our public affairs. Disheartened by the ter- 
mination of a disastrous campaign — disasters which 
every one could and did easily foresee from the course pur- 
sued — we find as a consolation, that our good honest old 




WAR LETTERS 189 

President has told a new story apropos of the occasion^ 
and the land is ringing with the wisdom of the rail-splitting 
Solomon. Those who were anxious and burning to 
serve their country, can only view with sullen disgust the 
vast resources of the land directed not to make our arms 
victorious, but to give political security to those in power. 
Men show themselves in a thousand ways incompetent, 
yet still they receive the support of the Government. 
Politicians, like Carl Schurz, receive high places in the 
army without a qualification to recommend them. Stem 
trusty old soldiers like Stevens are treated with cold neg- 
lect. The battle comes — there is no head on the field 
— the men are handed over to be butchered — to die 
on inglorious fields. Lying reports are written. Political 
Generals receive praises where they deserve execration. 
Old Abe makes a joke. The army finds that nothing has 
been learned. New preparations are made, with all the 
old errors retained. New battles are prepared for, to end 
in new disasters. Alas, my poor country! The army is 
sadly demoralized. Men feel that there is no honor to 
be gained by the sword. No military service is recog- 
nized unless coupled with political interest. The army is 
exhausted with suffering — its enthusiasm is dead. Should 
the enemy attack us here however, we should be vic- 
torious. The men would never yield up their Capitol. 
There is something more though than the draft needed 
to enable us to march a victorious host to the Gulf of 
Mexico. Well, I have been writing freely enough to 
entitle me to accommodations in Fort Lafayette, but I 
can hardly express the grief and indignation I feel at the 
past. God grant us better things in future. 

I had said my own prospects are somewhat gloomy. 
When the changes are made in this command, and new 



igo WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

hands shall take charge of it, I will have to return to the 
79th Regiment — a fate at which I shudder. The Regi- 
ment has been in five large battles, and in ten or twelve 
smaller engagements. While adding on each occasion 
new luster to its own reputation, it has never taken part 
in a successful action. The proud body that started from 
the city over a thousand strong, are now a body of crip- 
ples. The handful (230) that remains are foreigners whose 
patriotism misfortunes have quenched. The morale is 
destroyed — discipline relaxed beyond hope of restora- 
tion. The General and all the true friends of the Regi- 
ment were of the opinion that it should be mustered out 
of the service. After performing hard duties in the field 
for fifteen months I find there is nothing left me, but to 
sink into disgrace with a Regiment that is demoralized 
past hope of restoration. This for a reward. I am 
writing this from the old scene of the mutiny of last year. 
A strange year it has been. God has marvellously pre- 
served my life through every danger. May he be merci- 
ful to my mother in the year to come. My old friend 
Matteson is dead. He was a Major in Yates* Regiment 
of Sharpshooters which distinguished itself at Corinth. 
He died at Rosecrans* Headquarters, of typhoid fever. 

We are going to move from here to-morrow, but your 
safest direction will be Capt. W. T. Lusk, A. A. A. G., 
1st Div. 9th Army Corps, Washington (or elsewhere). 
All the letters sent me since I left Fredericksburg have 
miscarried, and I am very anxious for news. 

AfFec'y., 

Will. 



WAR LETTERS 191 

Norwich, Conn. 

September 9th, 1862. 
My own dear Son: 

I am half sick, very sad, grieved, and troubled on your 
account, yet very thankful for the wonderful preserva- 
tion of your life through so many dangers. I cannot 
but feel that a life so cared for, has been saved for the 
accomplishment of good and wise purposes, which will 
be wrought out in God*s own time. Take courage, and 
strengthen your heart, my own precious son, in the re- 
membrance of what He has done for you, through the 
whole course of your life, and especially for his goodness 
amid the dangers of the past year. Well may we all lament 
the loss of your General. I feel, and mourn as for a 
personal friend, and the nation too late acknowledges 
the want of appreciation of one of its greatest men and 
ablest military commanders. Gen. Kearn/s staff, I 
noticed, returned with his body, and so we have hoped 
that, sad as the journey might be, you would be permitted 
to accompany your General's remains to their last home. 

I have just received two letters from you, one of the 
4th, the other of the 6th. May God be with you, my dear 
son, to comfort and guide. A dark cloud seems to have 
gathered around you ; may it soon pass and the bright- 
ness shine again. The Herald and Times have contained 
little regarding Gen. Stevens, but the Tribune corre- 
spondent sounds his praises, and dwells upon his memory. 
There was a statement in yesterday's Tribune^ that while 
he was engaged in his last battle, prominent men, though 
political opponents, had decided to request that he 
might command the Army of Virginia, his splendid fight- 
ing on Friday and Saturday, having at last awakened 



192 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

the remembrance of his superior abilities, and his dis- 
tinction at West Point, as well as in Mexico, and where- 
ever he had opportunities to show himself. The Express 
says he was sacrificed to political opinion. 

Do write as often as possible, my son. My nerves are 
greatly shaken, although my health is far better in most 
respects than it used to be, yet I feel sensibly this strain 
upon my spirits. I cannot write as long a letter as I 
wish to-day, but I intend in future to write a little every 
day, to always have something ready for you. 

The Lt.-Col. of the Eighteenth is not all that could be 
desired, and Ely I am told regrets that you are not with 
him. Political interests are paramount everywhere. Al- 
fred Goddard called on us last night. He said he had 
followed your course, and everywhere heard your noble 
conduct spoken of. I will write again to-morrow. I 
am very sorry you have lost your back letters which have 
gone from my pen, as well as one from Lillie. All are 
well at home. Poor Matteson, how you must lament 
for himi Major Elliott I see is wounded. 

God bless you my own dear son. In Him is our only 
trust. Would that we could meet if only for one short 
hour. 

Your sisters send love and warmest sympathy. We 
all feel for you, and I pray earnestly to God for His help 
and blessings. 

Lovingly and anxiously. 

Mother. 

Hunt's suggestions are dictated by his kind heart, but 
I think you deserve and must receive a higher appoint- 
ment than that of Aide. 



WAR LETTERS 193 

(From E. F. Lusk to Horace Barnard) 

Norwich, Sept. loth, 1862. 
Dear Horace: 

I received your letter on Sunday morning. I am satis- 
fied that you will manage the business intrusted to you 
as well as may be during these horrible times, and hope 
for a better future. I am sad, sick, despairing. Fifteen 
months ago I gave my son, my only one, to serve his coun- 
try as he best might. How faithful he has been his Gen- 
eral has testified. He has fought in five large battles and 
in ten or twelve small ones, not a day's respite, always at 
the wheel, full of hope, full of energy, sacrificing home, 
University honors in Berlin, all that made life lovely, 
to serve his country in her hour of need. Look at 
the result. Gen. Stevens, his good friend, the best, 
the bravest, the truest patriot, the courageous soldier, the 
great man, is sacrificed, while blundering little men who 
can never fill his place are for political reasons reaping 
honors. My son is still performing the duties of an 
Assistant Adjutant-General, trying, as he says, to keep 
the concern in motion, but with gloomy prospects when 
the command passes into new hands. His regiment, the 
79th, is reduced from its proud array of 1000 men to a 
regiment of cripples — only 230 men are left, wholly, 
I fear hopelessly, demoralized. Oh, my God, has he not 
one friend who can lift a hand to help .? Are his services 
of no value ? Loyal as I have ever been, loyal as I am still, 
now that his kind appreciative General is gone, I would, 
if I could, withdraw him from the army, where the faith- 
ful servant is unnoticed, and the scheming politician 
receives the honors. 

I have received two letters since the battles on the 



I9f WILLIAM THO]^IPSO^ UISK 

Rappahannock, in all of which he was engaged, throu^ 
which, my God, **The God of the widow," presenred 
him alive. He was ** Acting A. A- General," full of love 
and admiration for his General, and honored in return by 
his loving confidence. I now quote from his letter re- 
garding his last battle: ''Wlienever anything desperate 
was to be performed, Kearny and Stevens were always 
selected, with this difference though, that Stevens was 
rarely credited with what he did, while Kearny's praises 
were very properly published. On Monday's fight, the 
General's son and I were walking together in the rear of 
the 79th Regiment, when Capt. Stevens was wounded. 
Finding that he was able to move off* without assistance, 
I continued to follow the Regiment. Soon the General 
came up on foot. ^Have you seen your son r' I asked him. 
'Yes/ said he, 'I know that he is wounded,' and then 
added, 'Capt. Lusk I wish you would pass to the left of 
the line, and push the men forward in that direction.' I 
did as I was ordered and on my return found the Gen. 
had been killed, and the troops badly slaughtered. The 
General you have read was shot while holding the flag of 
the 79th Regiment in his hand. There were five shot 
holding the same flag in about 20 minutes time. I found 
the sixth man standing almost alone at the edge of some 
woods, still clinging hopelessly to the colors. I drew 
him back to the crest of a hill a couple of hundred yards, 
and gathered a few of the 79th about it. Kearny then 
came riding up, and asked the name of the little band. 
On being told, he said, ' Scotchmen you must follow me.' 
They told him they had not a round of ammunition left. 
* Well,' said he then, ' stand where you are, and it may be 
you will be able to assist my men with the bayonet.' The 
soldierly form moved on and it too, soon was dust. 



WAR LETTERS 195 

Stevens was a great man, and Kearny a courageous 
soldier." 

If these incidents would interest the public, and Mr. 
Godwin is inclined to publish them I have no objection; 
you may do as you like. I wish the country knew all 
that occurred on those battlefields. The truth is begin- 
ning to dawn. I have written a long letter. Will is still 
at the Headquarters of the ist Division, Reno's Com- 
mand. He shudders at the thought of returning to his 
Regiment. The General and all the best friends of the 
79th felt that it had suffered so much from constant active 
service, was so terribly decimated, and so demoralized 
from the loss of officers, it should be recalled from the 
service. If my son has friends who can help, beg them 
to think of him now — his General killed, his intimate 
friends wounded. Major Matteson, his tried friend, dead 
of typhoid fever — his cup is more than full, and my heart 
is ready to burst with its grief for him. 

Well, good-bye; give much love to all who care for us, 
and believe me. 

Truly yours, 

E. F. LusK. 



Norwich, Conn. 

September 12th, 1862. 
My own dear Son: 

You see I am following out my resolution to write 
you every day, although I have many doubts about your 
receiving one half the letters I write. There is a great 
dearth of news. Pope's report with its censures is excit- 
ing remark, and I trust the country will demand a full 
investigation as soon as the public necessity will permit. 



196 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

JefF Davis* Proclamation is highly entertaining in view 
of past acts; however, that we care Httle about, his words 
are nothing. I wish I knew where you are, and where 
the last turn in the wheel has placed you. I suppose 
Gen. Stevens* part in the last battles, together with that 
of his Division, can never be known. It is specially hard, 
because his gallantry and the splendid fighting done by 
his troops, were in the first accounts acknowledged. 

The death of young Matteson I feel sorely on your ac- 
count. It seems as though the storm had swept over 
you; your General killed, friends wounded or ill. I stop 
and think: "What am I that God should so preserve the 
precious life of my son .? Should guard his health, should 
guide his steps ? May I be grateful as I ought, may I be 
more trustful/* 

We have so hoped we mignt see you, that Hunt and 
Mary have had a room furnished in the wing, hoping you 
would be the first to occupy it. 

13th. I wrote Horace a day or two since, giving an 
account of Gen. Stevens* death from your letter, saying 
if it possessed any interest for the public he might give it 
to Godwin of the Posty and this morning I saw it published 
there.^ I am glad, because so little has been said of this 
brave man by any of the New- York papers except the 
Tribune. I have written Mrs. Stevens a letter of sym- 
pathy for her loss. I wanted her to know, and to feel, that 
the Nation weeps for her illustrious dead. I wrote her 
I took the liberty of offering her my sympathy, because 
personally I felt her husband's loss most deeply for his 
kindness to my son. 

Mr. Benedict is below in the library with Hunt. His 
brother, who was taken prisoner some time ago, but recently 

^ N. Y. Evening Post of Sept. 12th, 1862. 



WAR LETTERS 197 

released, has been appointed Colonel of one of the new 
N. Y. regiments. Our Governor I hear excuses his want 
of consideration for you, by saying it would have been 
different if you had belonged to a Conn. Regiment, so I 
suppose you are considered as belonging to New- York. 
Good-bye, my own dear son. God bless you always. 
I thank him for your perservation. 
Love from all to you, and kind words to Major Elliott. 

Lovingly, 

Mother. 

[After the Battle of South Mountain] 
(J. C. Wyatt to E. F. Lusk) 

MiDDLETOWN, Md. 

Sept. 15th, 1862. 
Mrs. Lusk: 

Capt. Lusk desired me to pen you a line, as he did not 
have the time or opportunity, informing you that he has 
passed through another bloody and fearful carnage and 
is spared and in good health. I met him this morning 
as I was returning to the General Hospital at this place. 
The enemy has been badly beaten. Our Regt. has not 
suffered much comparatively. You have reason to be 
proud of your son. May God bless him and protect him. 

Yours truly, 

J AS. C. Wyatt, 

Chaplain 79th N. T. V. 

Norwich, Sept i6th, 1862. 
My own dear Son: 

I have very little reason to believe in the probability 
of your receiving my many letters, yet I continue to write 
with the bare possibility that they may some of them 



198 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

reach you. Last night came the news of a glorious vic- 
tory for us, but alas! also came the sad and sickening 
news that another of our good and able Generals was 
killed. In the general rejoicing my heart is heavy, for 
my dear son was in Reno's command when I last heard, 
and I am looking with fear and dread for the terrible list 
to come from that battlefield. How my God is trying 
me, and how merciful he has been to preserve my precious 
son through so many appalling dangers! My heart was 
so full of sympathy for Mrs. Stevens. I wrote her a letter 
a few days ago. I saw that her husband was buried at 
Newport, and an extract from an address delivered on 
the occasion impressed me wonderfully. We are all 
occupied by the same train of thought, deepened in 
intensity of course with some of us, by the danger our 
loved ones are in. I received a very kind letter from 
Horace a few days since, wherein he dwells upon the 
birth of your reputation; he says at twenty-four you have 
won honors enough to suffice for a life time. You are 
not forgotten my own son, my heroic boy. Many hearts 
are watching, eager for every word from you. The extract 
from your letter in the N. T, Post has attracted the atten- 
tion of many who know you personally, or have heard 
of you. They say the account is interesting, and written 
too, by one who observes. . . . 

17th. To-day our rejoicing is somewhat subdued by the 
news of the surrender of our forces at Harper's Ferry. 
Burnside's corps is said to have fought splendidly at 
South Mountain; Reno's Command is highly compli- 
mented, not a man faltered. I am so longing for another 
letter from you. I see the 79th was in the recent engage- 
ments. It seems they are always where work is to be 
done. I saw too that Capt. Pier, of whom I have heard 



WAR LETTERS 199 

Dr. Elliott speak, was slightly wounded. I trust you have 
escaped unhurt, that God's good angels have guarded 
you, and brought you safely through. I noticed the names 
of one or two from Co. K, 79th, among the wounded. 
Uncle John's faith in Gen. Pope remains firm. Mine is 
lost, yet I wish all to receive full justice, and am very 
glad to discover merit among our officers; our men are 
almost beyond praise. 

Miss Abby Bond (Dr. Bond's daughter) is to be married 
to-day, to a Mr. Adriance from St. Louis. Nannie Day 
has come up to attend the wedding. Hunt is in good 
spirits this morning; he sends love, thinks you are doing 
great things, and hopes the ball now in motion, will 
move until the great end for which it was started, is ac- 
complished. He says he sees McClellan has been under 
a chiropodist, and he is glad to see so glorious a result. 

Again, good-bye, my own dear son. I pray that you, 
so marvellously preserved as a soldier of our country, 
may likewise always remain a soldier of the Cross. God 
bless you, guard you, guide you, wherever you may be. 

With much love from all, I remain, my precious son. 

Always your loving 

Mother. 

[After the Battle of Sharpsburg or Antietam] 

Capt. W. T. Lusk, a. a. a. Gen. 

1st. Brig. 1st. Div. gth. A. C. 

Washington, D. C. 

(To be forwarded) 

Sept. 1 8th, 1862. 
My dearest Mother: 

After the battle of South Mountain, as we were being 
pushed on to this point (near Sharpsburg), unable to 



Address 



aoo WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

write myself, the Chaplain of the 79th kindly promised 
to inform you of my safety. Yesterday there was an- 
other fierce battle in which I took an active part, but 
he who lends a pitying ear to the prayers of the widow 
and the fatherless, vouchsafed to spare me in the time 
of danger. To-morrow I suppose there will be another 
battle, so to-night, though it is late, I write you hurriedly. 
Our successes in Maryland have been signal. We have 
been cheered for the bloodshed of the past few days by the 
sight of a retreating foe. God grant us such victories as 
may speedily end the war. All wish for peace, and so 
are willing to fight with desperation. Our division has 
done splendidly so far. 

I long to hear from home. Your letter of the 25th of 
August, telling me that I was an unsuccessful candidate 
for position in the i8th Conn., is the last news I have 
received from home. Well, my fate is the fate of thou- 
sands. Those of us who have borne all the dangers and 
privations of the past, have no pretensions in comparison 
with such as can control a few votes in a country parish. 
I have taken part now in seven grand battles, and over 
a half dozen smaller engagements, have been constantly 
in service for fifteen months, have received the most 
gratifying expression of the esteem of my superior offi- 
cers, but promotion is not the result of service accord- 
ing to our present system. In my old position as Acting 
Asst. Adjt.-General to the Division, with a change of 
Generals, I was superseded by a private of the 7th Regi- 
ment of New-York, who received a Commission from the 
President. This is perfectly right, as each General must 
choose his own Adjutant and form his own staff. Of 
the fifteen months I have held a Commission, fourteen 
months I have held acting appointments, that is, have 



WAR LETTERS 201 

had the labor and responsibility of various positions 
without the emolument. I am now Acting A. A. General to 
the first Brigade of this division, the regular pay of which 
position is between $160 and $170 per month. Holding 
only an acting appointment I receive ;J 120.00. There is 
not much encouragement in this, but still I am content to 
be of any assistance, or to do my duty in any position 
which may be allotted me. I fear my old friends who 
hoped for much, feel more distressed than I do. I saw 
Charley Farnsworth in Washington. He feels that he has 
done much, and has received only neglect in return. His 
wound troubles him still, and I think he is not sorry to 
make it a pretext for quitting a service where there is 
no glory, no recognition of service to promote and foster 
a soldier's pride. Charley is a fine fellow, and his parents 
may feel proud of him. 

I have had those two bad teeth of mine extracted. 
Tried a Regimental Surgeon first. Surgeon breaks one 
of them off, and I decline to have the experiment repeated 
— suffer all sorts of agony for about a month. At Fred- 
erick find a regular dentist who feels confident that he 
can draw any tooth. I let him try first the one not already 
partially operated upon. Dentist puts on the forceps and 
crushes in one side, then cuts the gum, tries again — 
pleasantly assures me he can do it, and crunch goes the 
old tooth again. Dentist grows radiant and tells how 
he extracted twelve from one lady the day before, and is 
more confident than ever that he can do it; puts on his 
forceps and by a succession of wrenches breaks the crown 
of the tooth, lays it complacently on a sheet of paper, 
and says that is just what he most ardently desired; makes 
another effort, smashes the root, and with the face of an 
angel, tells me it's all right — that now he can do it. Here 



2SZ imuAM imntFsas ixs£ 

JPBiBnniann tssat&fssrxs^at faaisji^ I objected to anr fmnliei tor- 

tJns?!tg, ttfCiotlk cMoiintiilfWiEm. sasnk tsseo a sczte of nMrmahihgyy 
rtTDorrtmtxd xnasunii- tw^ tccdh, anad all n^b:. 

Gcivo^S-inne^ «(Sc^ar« dailxQ^ modBer, keep op good hcait. 
God is unerdifyi as weiD as jait- Love so aD dae dear ones. 

AffecV-j, 

Wax. 

OF McCi 



'The tannpanlppf JB g&it Lass ■sdbesBnzn&ES'.c^rift^x vara 
SA> dbr X««idbL MfOrltim asod ttlie Azeiit tid' 8^ Pocsmar ace «i!£^ 
^iiS XK< iUigscawt RjciuDAako 4v ijlBaigBc tfttc Ooisiif^BdSuaflc. Amif of 
wBigjiBiaiiy iwi vm KfCKs Srxk npcm nbc raaiBicai |pmb( <ob okv 
TV«4i^ tibcT indltncd iacavr ion upon i&at csasnr, i&kt Mtfi c i BJ keavj 

Faee2. '"It KMdbiitigBe^m&rBtfaeAiWaf \ln!PBiiaaJtfaeAnBr 
Miht F'QCiMnac vcse aBaittsd midfan the fact ujo—mMUe dfer the Aiiact of 
Wjtfiiiiai^]08&y tixjc civr iuvt beeves, ^n ^Dc^ccinuicf' 2iil, i¥i5x.* 

Pa^ 4. GcDeral ^^IcCScSbD vas pnftiraly wjrinint a cammamd 
drngo^fWactMOSof tiaelast ilais of Aoi^iwr. as afl or ■cadi' al of tke 
Atmr ^iht Pocootac had bcca sobk to ^cvi Pope 

''Od dae mo t ntpg of dae xd** (Scf?<.>, **McCIefijB savs: *Tkc 
Pniiil*ni and Ocncial H^Pfrlr caoie to odt ***«^tt^ vhra dae PnsadoK 
fD^MnBcd me ... tisat dbe aiamr vas in fdBB icticat obmo dbc Jii i Lnccs 
of WaslsiBa^ioo. ... He isBstmctcd tot to take steps at onoe to snp and 
cofiect the itia^ig^eis; to place the vocks in a proper scale of dcie n cc, 
and to £9 oat to meet and take cwwnmand of dae annr. . . .' So far as 
9pptau%^ dds Terbal order of the PcesideDt vas the onlr one faf- whidi 
I^fcOcflan was reinsated in CMmmjn d, and thtie docs not seem to 
hare been anr order inaed b>r TDtne of mhkh dae Annr of Viqrinii 
ceased to exist. . . . \lcOdian*s talents as an o t^^ium arc grncraflr 
admitttd^ zad there k do doubt that at dae date cf mhkh w aie vridcag 
he was extrctnehr popolar widi his men. As afl p te ssme of dae eccmr 
was remored, as we have seen, on dae ftar after the PiesiJ en t d ii ected 
him t/> take conmsand of dae afmr, he had a bieathing-space in which to 
prvride f«>r the defences of WasfaingjRMi and to reorganize his annr, bat 
as the information which he received on the 3d led him to beiine tint dae 
cnesnv intended to crofs the opper Potomac into XIarjIand, ii was necc»- 
sarr that the process of rcofjganization should go on while the troops- 
were morin^^ 

Pa^ 16. ''Lee's plan was a good one. . . . Whether he knew or 
eren suspected how hearir the brave and loyal and long- suff e ii u g Arm j 



WAR LETTERS 203 

of the Potomac was handicapped by the miserable jealousies, civil and 
military, that prevailed at the time, cannot be told." 

Page 20. On Sept. 13th, Lee's order designating the movements of 
his several divisions, and setting forth the plan of attack on Harper's 
Ferry, fell into McClellan's hands. 

Page 22. "The finding of this paper was a piece of rare good for- 
tune. It placed the Army of Northern Virginia at the mercy of 
McClellan, provided only that he came up with it and struck while its 
separation continued. . . . The case called for the utmost exertion 
and the utmost speed. . . . Not a moment should have been lost in push- 
ing his columns detailed for the left and right advance, through the 
South Mountain passes. ... It cannot be said that he did not act with 
considerable energy, but he did not act with sufficient." 

The Battle of South Mountain 
Sept. 14th, 1862 

** Antietam and Fredericksburg,'* 

The South Mountain passes had to be crossed to bring relief to 
Harper's Ferry, and the author shows how McClellan, by making a 
night march on Sept. 13th, could have occupied this strategic position 
before the arrival of Lee's troops. 

Page 30. "We know now that if he had marched no further than to 
the foot of the range that night, a distance which he ought to have accom- 
plished by midnight, he could have passed through it the next morning 
substantially unopposed, and that advantage gained, the Federal army 
ought to have relieved Harper's Ferry or fatally separated the wings of 
Lee's army, or both." 

Page 40. "The great fact remains that the two battles of South 
Mountain were tactical defeats to the Confederates, but strategical 
victories won by them. General Hill was right in saying, 'We retreated 
that night to Sharpsburg, having accomplished all that was required, 
the delay of the Yankee army until Harper's Ferry could not be relieved.'" 

"Rebellion Record" Vol. F, f, 432 of Documents. 

Despatch from General McClellan to H. W. Hallecky General-in-Chief, 
dated Sunday, Sept. iphy gi^o P. M. 

"After a very severe engagement, the corps of Gen. Hooker and Gen. 
Reno have carried the heights commanding the Hagerstown road by 
storm. The troops behaved magnificently — they never fought better. 
. . . The action continued until after dark, and terminated, leaving us 
in possession of the entire crest. 

" It has been a glorious victory. I cannot yet tell whether the enemy 
will retreat during the night, or appear in increased force during the 
morning. 



204 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

" I regret to add that the gallant asd able Gen. Reno is killed.^* 

Despatch of General McClellan to H. W, Htdleck^ iaui Seft. ijlb^ 
10 A. M. p. <^55. 

** Information this moment received, completdy confirms the rout and 
demoralization of the rebel army. ..." 

Part of Gen. Cox*s report, f. 4^4. 

HEADqUARTERS KaNAWHA DIVISION, 

Ninth Army Corps, 

Sept. 20th, 1862. 

Sir: I have the honor to submit the following report of the pait 
taken by the Kanawha division. Ninth Army Corps, Major-General 
Bumside commanding, in the battle of South Mountain: At six o'clock 
on the morning of September 14th, the division marched from Middle- 
town, under an order received by me from Major-General Reno, direct- 
ing me to support with my division the advance of Gen. Pleasanton, 
who, with his brigade of cavalry and artillery, was moving up the 
Hagerstown turnpike, toward the positions of the enemy in the pass of 
South Mountain. ... It soon became evident the enemy held the crest 
in considerable force, and the whole division was ordered to advance to 
the assault of the position, word being received from Major-General 
Reno that the column would be supported by the whole corps. . . . 

About 4 o'clock p. M. most of the reinforcements being in posi- 
tion, the order was received to advance the whole line, and take or 
silence the enemy's batteries immediately in front. The order was 
immediately obeyed, and the advance was made with the utmost 
enthusiasm. The enemy made a desperate resistance, charging our 
advancing lines with fierceness, but they were everywhere routed and 
fled with precipitation. . . . About seven o'clock still another efFoit 
to regain the lost ground was made by the rebels in front of the position 
of Gen. Sturgis's division, and part of the Kanawha division. This 
attack was more persistent, and a very lively fire was kept up for about an 
hour, but they were again repulsed, and under cover of the night re- 
treated in mass from our entire front. Just before sunset Major-General 
Reno was killed while making a reconnoissance at the front. . . . The 
conduct of both officers and men was everything that could be desired, 
and everyone seemed stimulated by the determination not to be excelled 
in any soldierly quality. 

Very respectfully, 

Your obedient servant, 

J. D. Cox, 
Brig. -General, Commanding Kanawha Division, 



WAR LETTERS 205 

General Burnside*s order on the death of General Reno. p. 457. 

''The Commanding General announces to the corps the loss of their 
late leader, Major-General Jesse L. Reno. By the death of this dis- 
tinguished officer the country loses one of its most devoted patriots, the 
army one of its most thorough soldiers. In the long list of battles in 
which Gen. Reno has fought in his country's service his name always 
appears with the brightest lustre, and he has now bravely met a sol- 
dier's death while gallantly leading his men at the battle of South 
Mountain. For his high character and the kindly qualities of his heart 
in private life, as well as for the military genius and personal daring 
which marked him as a soldier, his loss will be deplored by all who 
knew him, and the Commanding General desires to add the tribute 
of a friend to the public mourning for the death of one of the country's 
best defenders." 

"7(^h Highlanders" />. 233. 

The Highlanders were among the troops that stormed and took the 
South Mountain heights, turning the right of the enemy's line. 

'* In order to escape the bullets which they showered on our advanced 
position, we lay down, some of us falling asleep while the bullets were 
cutting the tops of the corn-stalks above our heads." 

The Surrender of Harper's Ferry 

"Rebellion Record," Vol, F, p. 439 of Documents. 

Harper's Ferry surrendered at 8 a. m., September 15, on the third 
day of the defence, the ammunition having become exhausted. 

Page 448. Confederate General Jackson says in a despatch dated 
September i6th: "Yesterday God crowned our arms with another 
brilliant success on the surrender, at Harper's Ferry, of Brigadier- 
General White and 11,000 troops, an equal number of small arms, 
73 pieces of artillery, and about 200 wagons. In addition to other 
stores, there is a large amount of camp and garrison equipage. Our 
loss was very small." 



Battle of Sharpsburg or Antietam 
Sept. 17, 1862 

"Antietam and Fredericksburg" p, 47. 

In attributing to McClellan a lack of expedition in his pursuit of Lee 
after the battle of South Mountain, Palfrey says: 

"If he had used the priceless hours of the 15th of September, and the 
still precious, though less precious hours of the i6th, as he might have, 
his name would have stood high in the roll of great commanders; but 



2o6 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

he let those hours go by, and . . . it took him forty-eight hours to get 
ready to deliver his main attack, and then he had to deal not only with 
Lee and Longstreet and Hood and D. H. Hill, but with all of them 
with Stonewall Jackson added with two of his divisions." 

Page 53. The author says of McClellan : 

" He was a man of short and solid figure, good carriage, and singularly 
pleasing manners. He was never in a hurry, and always seemed to 
have plenty of time at his command. He had shown marked ability 
as an organizer, and his men generally felt an almost idolatrous enthu- 
siasm for him. . . . After Pope's defeat, the army turned to him pas- 
sionately and the people hopefully, and the time was now coming that 
was to test the question of his talents." 

Page 56. "On the afternoon of the hot fifteenth of September, while 
the long columns of the Federal Army were resting along the Boons- 
boro' Road, General McClellan passed through them to the front, and 
had from them such a magnificent reception as was worth living for. 
Far from the rear the cheers were heard, faintly at first, and gradually 
the sound increased and grew to a roar as he approached. The weary 
men sprang to their feet and cheered and cheered, and as he went the 
cheers went before him and with him and after him, till the sound reced- 
ing with the distance at last died away. The troops moved on later, 
slowly and wearily, and some of them were not in position till the next 
morning. 

"Gen. McClellan says that after a rapid examination of the position, 
he found it was too late to attack on Monday" (Sept. 15). ** He does 
not say at what hour he reached the front, but ... it was well into the 
afternoon. ... So all this day, the 15th of September, Lee stood in 
front of Sharpsburg with the troops of Longstreet and D. H. Hill 
alone, while the whole army of the Potomac, excepting Franklin's 
command, was near him. 

"Tuesday the sixteenth was a terribly hot day in its early hours, 
with a burning sun and no breeze. ... It was a day of mere idleness 
throughout, for a large part of the army. . . . 

"On the morning of this day Jackson arrived at Sharpsburg with 
his own division . . . and Ewell s division." 

Page 119. "Tactically, the battle of the Antietam was a drawn 
battle, with the advantage inclining slightly to the side of the Federals, 
who gained some ground and took more trophies than they lost. The 
Confederates, however, held most of the ground on which they fought, 
and held it not only to the close of the battle, but for more than twenty- 
four hours after, and then retired, unmolested and in good order. The 
steady tramp of their retreating columns, like the steady flowing of a 
river, was heard all through the still night of the i8th of September, as 
they streamed along the road to the Shepherdstown ford of the Potomac. 
But, for an invading army, a drawn battle is a little less than a lost battle, 
and so it was in this case. Lee dtew off successfully and defiantly, but 



WAR LETTERS 207 

the invasion of Maryland was at an end. Of McGellan's conduct of 
this battle there is little to be said in the way of praise beyond the fact 
that he did Bght it voluntarily, without having it forced upon him." 

Page 122. "Both McClellan and Sumner exhibited their deficiency 
in those qualities which appear to be Grant's most valuable endowments 
— absolutely clear perception of the end to be attained, absolute insensi- 
bility to cost so long as the end appears attainable, and never forgetting 
and always acting upon the theory that when both sides are about ex- 
hausted, then is the time to push, and that he who pushes then will find 
the other side give way." 

Page 127. "General McClellan decided not to renew the attack 
on the 1 8th. . . . Orders were given by McClellan for a renewal of the 
attack at daylight on the 19th, but at daylight on the 19th Lee was 
gone." 

"79/i?> Highlanders^'* p, 243. 

"The next morning" (i 8th) "we expected to renew the battle, but all 
remained quiet along the line, except for the exchange of shots between 
the picket lines. The enemy could be distinctly seen occupying the 
position they held late the previous afternoon, and we wondered why 
McClellan did not at once press forward and secure the fruits of the vic- 
tory won the day before. We all believed that a decisive victory was 
within our grasp, and chafed at the apparently uncalled-for delay." 

''fFar of the Rebellion^' Series /, Fol. XIX, p. 438. 

Col. Christ* s Report, 

Hd^rs. First Brig. First Div. Ninth Army Corps, 

Antietam Creek, Md., September 21st, 1862. 

Sir; I respectfully submit the following report of the part borne 
by my command in the engagement near Sharpsburg, on Wednesday, 
September 17th, 1862. 

About 10 o'clock a.m. I was ordered to support some batteries cover- 
ing our advance near the stone bridge across Antietam Creek. During 
the afternoon I crossed the bridge and marched to the right, and parallel 
with the stream, for several hundred yards. I here deployed the Seventy- 
ninth New- York Volunteers as skirmishers, supported by the Fiftieth 
Pennsylvania, Twenty-eighth Massachusetts, and Seventeenth Michi- 
gan Volunteers, and then moved forward in front of the enemy's battery 
(heavily supported by infantry), in the rear of a corn-field, on the right 
of the road. On reaching the crest of a hill, about 350 yards in front of 
the battery, I discovered that my support on my left had not come up. 
Deeming my force alone inadequate for the attack on both artillery and 
infantry, I was obliged to halt until supported on my left. 

While halting under cover from the enemy directly in front, he opened 
a battery on my left which commanded my whole line from left to right. 



4 *5 



2o8 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

and for thirty minutes we were under a most severe fire of round shot, 
shell, grape, and canister, and suffered severely. It was impossible to 
move forward for the reason before stated — no place in the neighbor- 
hood that afforded any cover — and the alternative presented itself 
either to retire from a good and only position from which to advance on 
the enemy in front, or to wait patiently until some demonstration on the 
left would compel him to change the direction of his fire. Again, I could 
not get under cover without retiring at least 250 yards, in full view of 
the enemy, and if there would have been the least confusion the men 
might have retreated in disorder, and exposed a larger and more dis- 
ordered front to his fire, which would have largely increased the list of 
casualties. I chose the former, and was gratified by having my expec- 
tations realized. 

A demonstration on the left compelled the enemy to change the direc- 
tion of his fire, and my supports coming, we moved to the front, where 
we engaged the enemy on his left, and in about one hour succeeded in 
driving both his artillery and infantry from the position. I charged 
on the battery with the Seventeenth Michigan Regiment (this being the 
regiment immediately in front), supported by the Fiftieth Pennsyl- 
vania and Twenty-Eighth Massachusetts Volunteers, but when within 
100 yards of his guns (and while he was covered by a hill which pre- 
vented my advance column from shooting either his horses or their 
riders), he limbered up his pieces and retired. I did not deem it pru- 
dent to advance after his artillery had retired, for the reason that the 
woods were lined with his sharpshooters, and I would only have exposed 
my command to their fire without gaining anything. I retired with my 
charging party to my line of battle, and maintained my position until 
ordered to take another farther down and near the bridge, where the 
men slept on their arms for the night. 

In this engagement it is impossible to particularize regiments, officers, 
or men, for, from the moment we were brought under fire until ordered 
to retire near the bridge, all displayed the utmost coolness and courage, 
ready and prompt to move forward at the word of command, and both 
officers and men vying with each other in the discharge of their duty. 
My especial acknowledgments are, however, due to my Acting Assist- 
ant Adjutant-General, Capt. William T. Lusk, for the assistance 
rendered me not only during this .but also during the engagement of 
the 14th. 

All of which is respectfully submitted. 

B. C. Christ, 
Colonel^ Commanding First Brigade. 



« 



WAR LETTERS 209 

Rebellion Record,*' Vol, V^ p. 465 of Documents, 
General Wilcox's Order, 

HEADqUARTERS NiNTH ArMY CoRPS, 

Antietam Creek, Sept. 22, 1862. 

General Order No. 12. — It is with the greatest pleasure that 
the Brigadier-General commanding the First Division, announces to 
the officers and men of the command, his entire satisfaction with the 
manner in which they fought in the bloody battles of South Mountain 
and Sharpsburgh. No troops in Europe could have done better. 
The insolent enemy, flushed with the late successes, choosing their 
own position, and led by their most talented generals, have been met 
in desperate contest and hurled from the soil they had invaded. 

We have borne no mean part in these victories, won for the glorious 
Union and Constitution without which life is worth nothing, and for 
the defence of which we are still ready to die. 

Soldiers! In our rejoicings let us drop a manly tear for those who have 
fallen by our sides, and for the brave men of our division, whose spirits 
have fled to new scenes of glory. 

The names of "South Mountain" and *' Sharpsburgh," will be 
inscribed on the respective regimental colors. 

By order of 

Brigadier-General WiLCOX. 



Headquarters ist Brig. 

1st Div. gth Army Corps, 

Sept. 22d, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

Heigh-ho! I do wish I could hear from home. We are 
promised a mail to-day, but I am not certain if my letters 
will reach me. I get piles of papers which travel down 
to South Carolina, make the tour of half the continent, 
and finally inundate me with news eight or ten weeks 
old; but the letters — where do they go to.? I asked 
Genl. Bumside's Postmaster this question the other day. 
"Why let me see" was his answer, "there were some letters 
for you. I remember the name. Its a queer sort of a 
name. Now where can they have gone to ? " Consolatory, 
was it not? Here I am full of anxiety, and no relief. 



210 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

However most of us here stand on the same footing. We 
are resting now from past labors, near the mouth of An- 
detam Creek where it empties into the Potomac. This 
rest is indeed grateful to us all, for we were pretty well 
exhausted, ridding Maryland of its invaders. The rest 
can't last long though, I suppose. If possible I am going 
to abandon the immediate pursuit of arms, and return 
to medicine. Dr. McDonald, Surgeon of the 79th, urges 
me very strongly to accept the position as his 2nd assist- 
ant, and has well-nigh persuaded me that I could do 
more good in that position than anyone he would be apt 
to get elsewhere. I would like this first-rate, but how to 
accomplish the transfer from Brigade-Adjutant to Asst. 
Surgeon? The Government is not very obliging in 
these matters, and it is too difficult a thing to work, for 
me to hope much. I have a pretty good time now — 
am not too much pressed with work. The Col. command- 
ing the Brigade treats me with flattering consideration, 
and I believe myself generally respected and beloved 
in the Brigade. I am not consequently very unhappy, 
am rather jolly than otherwise. Still I feel neglected, 
and have abandoned anything like military aspirations. 
It is vain to refer to long service, or to the estimation in 
which I have been held by commanding officers as shown 
on the records of the Division from the first. I cannot 
but feel that had I stayed at home until these last levies 
were raised, I might have held a much more responsible 
position than my present one. I have abandoned in 
future all care or thought of promotion, and content 
myself with doing simply and purely my duty. Now 
my precious mother, if I am querulous, don't let it trouble 
you. I do not mind it myself. I only write as I do to 
show you how it is that my feelings have so changed since 



WAR LETTERS 211 

we parted. You can remember how indignantly I re- 
pulsed every suggestion as to my entering the army in 
connection with the medical service, and yet would very 
gladly do so to-day were it in my power. As for the rest, 
not being one of your grand and gloomy geniuses oppressed 
by a sense of their own merits, and the world's want of 
appreciation of them, although occasionally exercising a 
soldier's privilege to grumble, I contrive to keep up my 
spirits, like a Mark Tapley in the township of Eden. 
Bother! I would like to see you all. Master Turly 
must wear breeches with pockets in them. Master Will 
has doubtless grown large enough to bully smaller boys 
than himself. (Such things are possible my dear sister 
Mary, though I grant the improbability in this particular 
case). Lilly and Tom have grown staid and domestic. 
Walter can hear the heir-apparent talked about without 
blushing. Both the Ellens make charming young mothers. 
The old house, Hunt and Mary, and then my mother 
thinking of an absent scapegrace who now sits in his 
shirt-sleeves, having laid aside his shabby war-worn 
regimentals, and wants to be remembered lovingly by all 
his friends! Oh bother! 

AfFec'y., 
Will. 
Capu eff A. A. A. G. 

Mouth of Antietam Creek, 

79th Regiment, 

Sept. 28th, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

I have been sitting smoking my pipe by moonlight, 
pleasantly chatting with my old friend Dr. McDonald, 



212 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

rill remembering my anxious mother, I have returned to 
say cheering words to that most estimable and precious 
lady. At last your kind pains have been rewarded. A 
mail-bag has arrived from Washington, and made me 
the happy possessor of nine letters. What a treasure! 
Eight from you, and one full of kindness from dear Lilly 
who promises moreover to write me more, though I should 
prove a negligent correspondent myself. Tell her to 
do so by all means. Such proofs of love are very delight- 
ful. I wrote you last, that I was entertaining some idea 
of joining McDonald as his Asst. Surgeon. We had the 
thing all nicely arranged — had consulted and received 
the approval of the Medical Director, when a young man 
presents himself duly commissioned for the position by 
the Governor of New- York. My lucky star is not in the 
ascendant. 

Another change has taken place in my affairs. A new 
brigade has been formed, and the 79th Highlanders trans- 
ferred to it. I was obliged to follow with my Regiment, 
and consequently resigned the position of A. A. A. G. 
to the old Brigade. The same position was offered me 
in the New Brigade, but, not liking the Brigadier, I de- 
clined the honor. So now I am back again, a simple 
Captain in the 79th, sole commander in chief of a com- 
pany numbering some 20 effective men. So much for 
** Glory." It may perhaps console you that Col. Christ, 
who had charge of five Regiments in the late battles, 
writes in his reports: "While I have reason to commend 
in general the conduct of the officers of my command, my 
special thanks are due to Capt. Lusk for the valuable ser- 
vices he rendered me." I quote it (as nearly as I can 
remember) because in the mass of reports which are sent 
in, few, if any, will ever come to light again. 



WAR LETTERS 213 

I am glad you proposed to visit Maj. Elliott in New 
London. He is a warm and true friend of mine. I wrote 
Horace to-day quite a long letter. Hunt's letter, recom- 
mending me to accept the position of Aide on General 
Tyler's staff came too late. I could not apply for it, as 
a Brigadier is not entitled to an Aide beyond the rank of 
Lieut., unless the officer receives his commission direct 
from the President. With Stevens I was simply detached 
for Staff duties. This could be done inside, but not 
outside, of the Brigade I may be attached to. I could 
therefore accept by Army Regulations nothing less than 
the position of Asst. Adjt.-General. Otherwise I would 
have fancied the thing right well, as, having consigned 
all ambitious project to him who is said to be the Father 
of them, I would like very much to see something of cam- 
paigning in the West, and the Western country. We are 
now resting, recruiting, and getting ready for new deeds. 
I trust we have inaugurated victory now, and mean to 
hear nothing more of Manassas. 

Great must Uncle John's faith be, if he still believes 
in Pope. I am sure there was not a man in his army, 
who had any confidence in his capacity, even previous 
to his final disasters. We all considered him a very 
noisy, pretentious liar. 

It is now so late that I must say Good-Bye. 

AfFec'y., 
Will. 
7g/A Regiment f ist Brigade^ 1st Div. 

gth Army Corps. 



214 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

79th Regiment, 

Near Antietam Creek, 

Sept. 28th, 1862. 
My dear Horace: 

Here we are, still resting at the mouth of this muddy 
little stream now famous and historical. Ten days have 
gone since the battle and yet there are no signs of bustle 
and busy preparation aiming at the destruction of our 
dirty foes on the other side of the river. I say, " Forward ! " 
To think of hesitating before such a pitiful crew as those 
we have so lately beaten! You perceive our recent suc- 
cesses are making us forget Manassas. But McClellan 
is cautious, and, without intending any disparagement, 
does not possess that lightning rapidity which character- 
ized the "old Napoleon." Yet we of the Army are jeal- 
ous of McClellan's reputation and fear the possibility 
of losing him. Not indeed because we believe him 
equal to the command of 600,000 men — we believe 
him simply the best general we have got, and do not 
trust the judgment of old Abe in the selection of a new 
one. Pope, Sigel, Fremont, and the whole batch of our 
political Generals are objects of honest terror to every 
soldier in the Union Army. Stevens was a better man 
than McClellan. His judgment was unerring, his fore- 
sight marvellous, his prophecies sure of fulfilment. He 
had a power to electrify troops, and lift them at the critical 
moment to a degree of enthusiasm that was inspiration. 
He could be cautious and crafty, as well as daring. He 
felt himself bom to hold the reins of authority, and grasped 
them so that the steady hand was felt by the commonest 
soldier of his command. Soldiers all loved him, and 
recognized his strength as it were by instinct. He knew 
how to deal a hard blow, and deal it with rapidity. He 



WAR LETTERS 215 

never underestimated a difficulty, but his estimates were 
forestallments of history. What he possessed in an emi- 
nent degree was Power — and Power composed of rude 
strength and natural vigor. What he lacked was comeli- 
ness. This, culture could not give him. He needed a 
grand sphere in which to move. Then he would have 
been grand. Confined, one could detect what was 
gnarled and ungainly. The oak is the monarch in the 
midst of the forest, not in the garden. Among flowers, 
neat trimmed box shows to the best advantage. There 
was something about Stevens that offended little souls, 
and there were many little souls who hated him. He 
had such a galling way of expressing his detestation at 
what deserves contempt, that many felt themselves 
off^ended thereby. He had many enemies and many 
friends, but those who knew him best mourn his loss 
most deeply. The neglect and injustice shown him in 
his life time broke his heart. He is dead now and at 
peace. 

To-day I received nine letters, the first I have seen 
in many a day. Some of them are very old, but they 
afforded a rare treat for all that. In one of them my 
mother writes she had received a letter from you, in which 
you wrote that I had glory enough at twenty-four to last 
me for a life time. Ah, my dear Horace, there was rare 
irony in that! I acknowledge it. I have had "glory" 
enough to last me for a life time. I am satisfied with 
what I've had of the article and am willing in future to 
dispense with any further accessions. See what a valu- 
able thing it is! A few days ago I enjoyed high favor, 
I went into fresh battles, and the records show fresh 
praises from my Commanding Officers. Christ, who 
commanded a Brigade of five Regiments in the recent 




2i6 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

battles writes in his report: "While the officers of my 
command in general conducted themselves well, my 
special thanks are due to Capt. Lusk for the valuable 
services he rendered me. " Now for the rewards of ser- 
vice. I have to-day the command of 14 men, six of 
them old soldiers that grumble, and eight raw recruits 
who are learning the mysteries of the goose-step. Sic 
itur ad astra. There's glory for you. I acknowledge 
I have had enough to satisfy me for the rest of my 
life. I have not been persecuted in any way. The whole 
thing is the result of natural causes which could not be 
avoided. Fortune simply played me a sorry trick. Friends 
say, "Resign." But I am not willing to be petulant. 
If disgusted with "glory,** I believe in a better word, and 
that is — duty. So I have turned to, tried to stop the 
grumbling of the old soldiers, and get the recruits to 
do the goose-step creditably. I want the fighting to go 
on though. I can't stand it, lying still. I want to fight 
the thing through, and get out of a mortifying position. 
After sixteen months of service I trudge around with a 
corporal's guard, while old friends who have been wait- 
ing favorable opportunities at home until now, prancing 
by me in new regimentals at the heads of Regiments, 
nod to me familiarly perhaps, or probably pass me un- 
noticed. There are no vacancies at present in the Field 
of the 79th Regiment, and yet any day there may be. I 
am the next eligible candidate at present in the Regiment 
for promotion, and might get the next vacancy if friends 
at home were only alive to the necessity of vouching for 
me in some way, to those who have the power to dispense 
Commissions. Here I see miners, tailors, carpenters and 
all sorts of petty tradesmen, who find no difficulty in 
getting friends to mention their names, and because sue- 



WAR LETTERS ai; 

cessfuly boast much of their political influence, and yet I, 
a gentleman with plenty of friends, cannot boast of enough 
to secure me my just dues in the regular order of seniority. 
I do not want to be querulous. I do want Uncle Phelps 
though, if he knows Gov. Morgan, to remind him occa- 
sionally that he has a nephew whom Gov. Morgan might 
remember, &c. Well, my dear Horace, I will say no 
more. Ferhum sat sapienti. I hope one of these days 
to get home with my duty done, and then I can laugh 
at my present comical situation. Do write me a long 
letter. I have heard nothing from you for some months, 
though this is my third letter. I suppose either yours or 
mine have been lost. Love to Cousin Lou, Hattie, your 
mother and the good people on the Hill. 

AfFec'y- but sadly. 

Will. 

79/^ Regt. 1st Brig. 1st Div. gth Army Corps^ Washington. 

(To be forwarded) 

Antietam Iron Works, 

79th Regiment, 
Sept. 30th. 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

I send you herewith the copy sent me to-night of Special 
Order No. 8 from the Headquarters of the 9th Army 
Corps. I trust it will afford you a crumb of comfort. 
Keep it, if it will be of any use in getting me recog- 
nized in Connecticut. Having always boasted of hailing 
from that State, I am considered as a sort of alien in a 
New-York Regiment. But Connecticut doesn't appear 
to trouble herself much about me, so I think it would be 
better if you should forward the document to Horace, to 
whom I have confided the delicate task of insinuating 



2i8 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

to my New-York friends that I am really living still. It 
might be of some assistance to him. 

Have nothing further to add» except that I don't 
fancy my old crony Hattie's marrying a widower with 
three children. Love to all. 

Affec'y., 

Will. 

"Rebellion Record" Vol, V^ p. 465 of Documents. 

HEADqUARTERS NiNTH ArMY CoRPS, 

Mouth of Antietam Creek, Md., Sept. 28, 1862. 
Special Order No. 8. 

The following officers and enlisted men of this command have 
been honorably mentioned in the official reports of the engagements of 
the 17th inst., and their names are hereby published, as a testimony to 
their gallant and meritorious conduct in the field, and for efficiency 
in their departments: 

FtTSt Division. 

. . . Colonels B. C. Christ and Thomas Welsh, for the able man- 
ner in which they handled their brigades; Capt. Wm. T. Lusk, Acting 
Assistant Adjutant-General of Col. Christ's brigade. . . . 

J. D. Cox, 
Brigadier-General Commanding. 

Norwich, Oct. 6th, 1862. 
My own dear Son: 

I certainly did not intend writing you to-day, and have 
but little time, yet I must acknowledge the reception of 
Special Order No. 8 from the Headquarters of the 9th 
Army Corps, and the pleasure it affords me. Thomas 
Perkins obtained a letter from the Gov. of Conn, to the 
Gov. of New- York. Walter has written you the favorable 
result of his application so far, but of Gov. B*s* letter I 
wish to make special mention. It was in the highest de- 
gree complimentary to you, and stated in conclusion that 

^ Buckm^am. 



^ 



WAR LETTERS 219 

had you served in a Conn. Reg*t he should have promoted 
you long since. In fact my son, even I felt he had written 
as handsome a letter recommending your promotion as I 
could desire. So N. Y. I think is fairly the State of your 
adoption, and your claims rest upon her, as you have 
served with her sons. Should E. resign. Gov. M.* has 
promised upon proof of your being first Captain, that you 
shall receive the commission. However, it is best that 
you should keep your friends advised, and we will do 
what we can. I have so much to say, I wish I could talk 
to you. Good-bye, God will bless you, trust Him for 
all things. 

Very lovingly. 

Mother. 

Hannah has a son three days old. I have sent Special 
Order No. 8 to your Uncle Phelps and Walter who will 
use it as they like. 

(W. W. Phelps to E. F. Lusk) 

New- York, Oct. 8th, 1862. 
My dear Mrs, Lusk: 

I inclose Willie's letter, in hopes that it has not yet 
been too long at hand to be the latest from his Head- 
quarters. 

I have pleasure in announcing the result of an applica- 
tion at Albany, which Mr. Phelps wrote you about. 

I saw the Gov. 

"If the position were vacant I should give it to you 
now. All I can say under the circumstances is this, if 
the vacancy occurs, and the facts are as stated about your 
friend, he shall have it. I will bear it in mind." 

1 Morgan. 



220 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

I wrote Will immediately that what he had to do was 
to get Elliott to resign, and proof that he was the Senior 
Captain, when he could mount his gold leaf as Major. 

You can imagine how difficult it is to obtain a Com- 
mission out of regular order, from the fact that the Gov. 
has been trying for a month to get a simple Lieutenancy 
for a ward of his. 

Very truly, 

W. W. Phelps. 



79th Regiment, Camp Israel, 

Pleasant Valley, 

Oct. 19th, 1862. 

My dear Mother: 

It is some little time since I have had an opportunity 
to write you, for a few days ago we were suddenly sent to 
Frederick for the protection of that place, apprehensive 
of an attack from Stuart's troopers. While there, we 
had no conveniences for inditing epistles, little to eat, 
and plenty of exposure. When I left for Frederick, I 
was quite ill with camp dysentery, but it left me very 
soon, although I have no doubt, could you have seen 
me lying out of doors without shelter in the cold night 
air, you would have predicted certain death to me. I 
find men don't die easy, unless they are shot. Atmos- 
pheric exposure doesn't kill. Men grow and thrive with 
hardship. 

Well, so I am another Uncle, bless my heart! As well 
as the little heart of the new youngster who wouldn't 
be a girl for any consideration! The female sex don't 
seem to smile upon me, but then boys are such "rare 
birds," as Dr. Tyng said of Billy Willson's Zouaves. 



WAR LETTERS 221 

There's some consolation in that. I think I shall accept 
the Uncleship of Ellen's baby, so that when I get old 
and a busybody, I can make a match between this last 
nephew of mine and little Miss Dodge. Hey! Won't 
it be fun! Give the small boy a good kissing, tell him 
I am going to arrange all his love matters for him when 
he gets old enough, and most charming of all, will buy 
him a new drum as soon as he can handle the drumsticks. 
For the rest I do not doubt but that he is a phenomenon 
of a beautiful mottled cherry color, in fact beyond com- 
parison, unequalled by any other baby of his age living. 
Give my congratulations to Hunt and Mary, and tell 
them, like a good brother I rejoice with them, and only 
wish I could be present with them for a few days to share 
their joy. 

It is raining hard to-night and we think that cold weather 
will follow. As for promotion, I do not bother my head 
about that. I have enough to disgust me in a thousand 
ways to make me sick of soldiering. However, duty is 
duty, so I put my nose to the grindstone and say, "Grind 
away." . . . My own tent — we are five of us together — has 
a pretty good set of fellows. The only trouble is, with the 
exception of my old first Lieutenant (appointed Capt. to- 
day), they sadly lack interest in the cause they are engaged 
upon. These new Regiments have destroyed the enthu- 
siasm of the old. The newly enlisted men have already in 
advance, in the way of bounties, received more money than 
old soldiers can hope to earn in the entire war. The old 
officers who have been in many battles and by hard ser- 
vice have learned their duty, are obliged to receive instruc- 
tions when on picket or other extra duty, from some 
Major just entering on military life, who very likely pegged 
shoes for them, without an inspiration for military glory, 



222 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

a year ago. These things are hard to gulp down, and 
unless the sense of duty is very strong the murmurings 
are loud indeed. 

Affec'y., 

Will. 

"Antietam and Fredericksburg^* p. 129. 

"The movements of the two armies in the seven weeks which fol- 
lowed the battle of the Antietam, do not require minute description. 
Both armies needed rest. . . . McClellan devoted his attention to guard- 
ing the line of the Potomac, and to the equipment and reorganization 
of his command. ... He wanted horses, shoes, clothing, and blankets, 
and he wanted all the 'old troops that could possibly be dispensed with 
around Washington and other places,' and he repeated his assertion 
that in the recent battles the enemy was greatly superior in number." 

Page 130. "By the 6th of October the President had become im- 
patient, so much so that Halleck, the General-in-Chief, was instructed 
to telegraph McClellan as follows: 'The President directs that you cross 
the Potomac and give battle to the enemy or drive him south.' This, 
however, did not move McClellan, and on the loth of October Stuart 
crossed the Potomac, above Williamsport, with orders to 'endeavor to 
ascertain the position and designs of the enemy.' He penetrated as far 
as Chambersburg which he occupied for a time, destroyed public prop- 
erty, made the entire circuit of the Federal Army, and recrossed the 
Potomac, near the mouth of the Monocacy, without any material loss. 
Thus for the second time a force of Confederate cavalry rode all around 
McQellan's army. The latter exploit was the more noteworthy, and 
the more discreditable to McQellan, because the raid was made on 
Union territory." 

Page 131. "There was undoubtedly great delay in the arrival of 
supplies. ... At last, however, near the end of October, affairs were in 
such condition that McClellan began to put his troops in motion." 

79th Regiment, Oct. 28th, 1862. 

Camp near Southville, Va. 
My dear Mother: 

We are once more on the march and have recrossed 
into Virginia. Let us pray for success — and hope. I am 
in first rate health and spirits. It seems as though ex- 
posure was a good thing for a soldier. All the time I 
lay in camp I did not feel well. The day we marched it 



WAR LETTERS 223 

rained hard^ and the air was excessively cold at night. 
I was appointed Division Field Officer for the day, and 
had to spend hours in a cold dark rainy night wandering 
through marshes and wet fields examining picket posts. 
Well, instead of killing me, as my good mother would 
have supposed, I lost all my ill-feelings, and, after a 
night's sleep, am in better condition than I have been in 
for weeks. I regret only one thing — that we can no 
longer receive our mails regularly. In our last camp 
things were so arranged that we received the mail daily, 
which was very pleasant. 

I had a letter from Coz. Lou a day or two ago, and 
enjoyed it greatly. It seems to me that Lilly has for- 
gotten her offer to become my correspondent, that is to 
say, to do all the corresponding herself. I am sure I 
grasped her offer most warmly. I received a kind and 
friendly letter from Col. Farnsworth some days since, 
which I forwarded to Walter. The Colonel promised 
me all the influence he possessed for my advancement. 
A call has been lately made for men of the Volunteer 
Army to enlist in the Regulars. It speaks well for the 
discipline of the Highlanders, that, while from other 
Regiments from 75 to 100 men eagerly sought the oppor- 
tunity to enter a new service, hardly a dozen of our men 
have been found ready to change their present condition. 
In my own company not one has volunteered. 

Affec>., 

Will. 

If I get disabled, I think I shall keep a candy store — 
with so many nephews I would be so popular. Tell Mrs. 
Dodge that, for the benefit of her little girl, I shall keep 
an assortment of the biggest goggle-eyed wax dolls. 

W. T. L. 



224 WILLLWI THOMPSON LUSK 

Near Rectortuxe, Va. 

XoTcmber, 1862. 

\Ij dear Xfotker: 

I received your half reproachful letter last night just 
after I had gone to bed, and thou^t that perhaps I might 
have made a little too much of the diJScuIties of writing 
without pens, ink, stand, and oftentimes in the cold with 
numb fingers after a day's march. These thii^ make 
me disinclined to write letters, vet I should know bv the 
pleasure the receipt of your missives affcnds me, that to 
occasion like pleasure in return should be sufficient incm- 
dve to exertion. I am commencing well to-night with a 
small stub of a pencil, sitting in McDonald's tent. But 
remember do, dear mother, when at dmes I prove neglect- 
ful, that all is necessarily well; that "no news is gQod 
news.** 

I hardly can give you any hint of the intentions of the 
Army. We do not see the papers often enou^ to study 
the general movement of our troops, and cannot even 
make conjectures. We all hope thou^ that we are 
engaged on some earnest and important undertaking. 
We feel that it is ^~ital to act, and wish to act successfully. 
Bumside and McClellan are near us, and we have faith 
in them. I judge from some remark I read in the papers, 
that Connecricut has given her vote to the DenKxrracy 
in the late elecrions. A test-vote was taken on elecdon 
day in our Regiment to tr)* the relarive strengths of 
Seymour and Wadsworth. 168 votes were polled, of 
which Wadsworth received only 52. This was not so 
much because Se^-mour or his principles were popular, as 
for the reason that Wadsworth, long before his nominarion 
for Governor of New- York, was generally known to the 



WAR LETTERS 225 

army as rather the leader of the clique so obnoxious to 
the soldier, which was loud and virulent in its abuse of 
McClellan. The feeling was rather McClellan versus 
Fremont, than Seymour versus Wadsworth. 

While I think of it, I will deny the story that Rockwell 
did not command his battery in the James Island battle. 
He did so, and I do not think Porter meant to deny it. 
Porter probably said that he (Porter) commanded Rock- 
well's Battery the most of the time they were on James 
Island, without specifying anything regarding the fight. 
You know Rockwell was sick a good deal of the time, 
and Porter, as next in rank, did command in many of 
the almost daily skirmishes. Porter did first-rate service, 
and is too good a man I think, to injure his own repu- 
tation by decrying another. On the day of the battle 
Rockwell was well enough to command in person, and to 
the entire satisfaction of General Stevens. 

I had a letter from Horace yesterday, and should judge 
he was blue. The poor fellow has had discouragements 
enough. He writes that if the draft falls upon him, he 
shall enter the ranks and come out to the war. This is 
wrong. He should secure a Commission, or stay at home. 
With my present experience, I would not have leaped 
blindly as I did at the commencement of the war. I 
have had a hard struggle with pride and duty to make 
me persist, but a little of the caution displayed by most 
of my friends, would have saved me many difficulties. 
If my friends have generally been more successful than 
I, I can at least feel consoled by the thought that what I 
have gained has been won by my own exertion. There, 
that is pretty egotism! Little boy blue, come blow your 
horn! 

I wish I had seen Charley Johnson when in my neigh- 



225 WnJJAM TBOMFSOX IXSK 

borfaoocL I su pp ose I «as cE to F r cdoiclL 

mast have been joonieriiig to die moco, I guess, ^riien 

he « luim^ escaped'Scoan's Candrr. 



Wnx. 



November iTdi, 1862. 
My €fivn dear Son: 

I dunk I win commeoce die week by wridng a letter 
to you who in these times of trouble occupy so large a 
diare of my thoughts. Sam Ellbott was here 00 Saturday, 
dined with us and staved some hours. His sad condition 
makes me feel very melancholy. Poor fellow! How he 
has suffered. I sometimes widi vou were all withdrawn 
from the Army. Ghl my poor, poor country! It is so 
grievous to see our sons and friends maimed, sick, or 
to know that they are dead. He (Elliott) tells me you 
are well, and seem strong. God has indeed been merci- 
ful to ^are your life and strength amid such great dangers 
as you have passed through during the last eighteen 
months. Elliott talks of returning to his dudes this 
week. He certainly ought not, for he is weak, sick, and 
unfit for exerdcMi; besides that, he requires the most 
nourishing diet. He told me that he found you at break- 
fast on mouldy bread and sloppy coffee, while we who 
are at home doing nothing, are fattening on luxuries. 

Oh! my dear, dear son, I feel so anxious about the effect 
of this coming cold winter, and I cannot help a feeling of 
bitterness that you are not provided with proper food. 
If you should have an attack of rheumarism, do get per- 
mission to return to be taken care of properly. I hear 



WAR LETTERS 227 

nothing more of your prospects in New-York, but am 
sure your friends will not relax their exertions. We are 
all well here, and the Grands are doing finely, especially 
the last. A week from Thursday is our Thanksgiving 
Day in Conn., so we are expecting Thomas and Lillie to 
pass the day, after which I shall return with them to New- 
York for the winter. Elliott told me when he reached 
New- York, being cold, he wrapped around him the blanket 
Hunt gave him, and as he staggered from weakness, a 
police officer arrested him for drunkenness, but released 
him immediately on discovering that he was ill. What 
is the general feeling in the Army regarding the removal 
of McClellan, as far as you can judge ? Uncle John is 
violently opposed to him, and Hunt, I think, partakes of 
his feelings. Whether justly, or unjustly, there is certainly 
a strong party against him. The Post and Tribune 
oppose him, the World and Express uphold him, while 
the Herald humbly submits its judgment to the will of the 
President. 

Mary Wells and her husband have returned from 
Europe, and are expected here this week. Hannah has 
nearly, or quite recovered her strength. I have not much 
news to tell you. The Twenty-sixth Regt. left last Thurs- 
day, to the relief of some of our citizens. They were 
in town at all hours, and a hundred or more at once 
would run past the guard and rush to their tents when 
they pleased. The Lt.-Col. when issuing his orders, would 
address them thus: "Gentlemen, please to stand back,*' 
or, "Gentlemen, please to stop," when he wished them 
to halt. This is the gossip. Very few of them were 
known in town, and consequently less interest was felt 
for them than for the Eighteenth and Twenty-First. 
Edward Ells, and young Meech who married Louisa 



228 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

Bond went with them. Gen. Tyler and Ned, Dr. Osgood 
saw last week in Chicago. He reports that they are 
having a rather forlorn time. It is some time since their 
paroled prisoners have seen the paymaster. I hear you 
have been inconvenienced by the same cause. The papers 
state that all are now being paid, so I hope you too will 
receive your own. Uncle Thomas heard somewhere, that 
the "De Soto" was off New Orleans on her way home 
for, repairs. If this is true, Charles may soon be home. 

Good-bye, my own dear son, may the Almighty God 
be ever your defence and shield. 

Always very lovingly. 

Mother. 

Elliott said, if the Medical Examiner forbids his return 
this week, he should come and see me again. His brother 
William is in Washington. His arm is still useless. 

McClellan succeeded by Burnsidb 

"Antietam and Fredericksburg^* p. 132. 

" Late on the night of the 7th of November McClellan received an 
order relieving him from the command of the Army of the Potomac, 
and directing him to turn it over to Gen. Bumside. . . . To relieve 
McClellan of his command so soon after he had forced Lee out of Mary- 
land, was hard measure. He had succeeded to the command when Pope 
had been very badly beaten, and when the sound of the enemy's 
guns had been plainly audible at Washington. He had rapidly raised 
the troops from a condition of much discouragement and demoraliza- 
tion, and made of them a compact and efficient force." . . . 

Page 133. "His interminable and inexcusable delays upon the 
Peninsula afforded just ground for dissatisfaction, and they seemed, to 
say no more, to be followed by similar delays upon the Potomac. . . . 
So the 'young Napoleon,* the popular idol of 1861, was removed from 
the command of the army for which he had done so much, and while 
it seems that hard measure was meted to him, there is more ground for 
sympathy than there is for wonder." 

Page 134. "It is little to say that his character was reputable, but 
it is true. He was a courteous gentleman. Not a word was ever said 
against his way of life nor his personal integrity. No orgies disgraced 



WAR LETTERS 229 

headquarters while he was in command. His capacity and energy as 
an organizer are universally recognized. He was an excellent strategist 
and in many respects an excellent soldier. He did not use his own 
troops with sufficient promptness, thoroughness and vigor, to achieve 
great and decisive results, but he was oftener successful than unsuccess- 
ful with them, and he so conducted affairs that they never suffered 
heavily without inflicting heavy loss upon their adversaries. . . . There 
are strong grounds for believing that he was the best commander the 
Army of the Potomac ever had. No one would think for a moment of 
comparing Pope or Bumside or Hooker with him. . . . While the Con- 
federacy was young and fresh and rich, and its armies were numerous, 
McClellan fought a good, wary, damaging, respectable fight against it. 
He was not so quick in learning to attack as Joe Johnston and Lee and 
Jackson were, but South Mountain and the Antietam showed that he 
had learned the lesson, and with longer possession of command, greater 
things might fairly have been expected of him. ... A growing famil- 
iarity with his history as a soldier, increases the disposition to regard him 
with respect and gratitude, and to believe, while recognizing the limita- 
tions of his nature, that his failure to accomplish more was partly his 
misfortune and not altogether his fault." 



Near Fredericksburg, 

Nov. 19th, 1862. 

My dear Mother: 

Here we are at last on familiar ground, lying in camp 
at Falmouth, opposite to Fredericksburg. I have been 
unable while on the march for the few days past, to write 
you, but am doing my best with a pencil to-night, as one 
of our Captains returns home to-morrow, and will take 
such letters as may be given him. It was my turn to go 
home this time, but my claim was disregarded. You 
know Lt.-Col. Morrison has command of the Regiment 
in Col. Farnsworth's absence, and Morrison never omits 
any opportunity to subject me to petty annoyances. I 
am an American in a Scotch Regiment, and in truth not 
wanted. Yet I cannot resign. The law does not allow 
that, so I have to bear a great deal of meanness. Stevens 
in his lifetime knowing how things stood, kept in check 



230 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

the Scotch feeling against interlopers like Elliott and 
myself. ... I do not exaggerate these things. I used to 
feel the same way in old times, but had been so long 
separated from the regiment as almost to forget them. 
I have borne them of late without complaint, hoping 
the efforts of my friends might work my release. In the 
Regiments of the old Division I think no officer had so 
many strong friends as I. In my own Regiment I may 
say that I am friendless. (I except McDonald). In 
the Division I had a reputation. In my Regiment I 
have none. After eighteen months of service I am forced 
to bear the insults of a man who is continually telling of 
the sacrifices he has made for his country, because he 
abandoned on leaving for the war, a small shop where 
he made a living by polishing t^rasses for andirons. 

Forgive me, my dear mother, for complaining. It 
does me good sometimes, for then after speaking freely, 
I always determine afresh that if these things must be, I 
will nevertheless do my duty, and in so doing maintain 
my self-respect. Love to all, dear mother. Good-bye. 

Very afFec'y., 
William T. Lusk. 

Near Falmouth, Nov. 22nd, 1862. 

My dear Mother: 

We are still overlooking the city of Fredericksburg, 
which the enemy has not evacuated, disregarding our 
warnings. I suppose the shelling of the city will com- 
mence to-morrow, unless regard be shown by our Com- 
manders for the Sabbath day. I must say the attack on 
Fredericksburg is a thing I greatly dread. The field of 
battle with all its horrors is redeemed somewhat by the 



WAR LETTERS 231 

thought that the dead on both sides have fallen in a cause 
sacred in their own eyes at least, and this redeems them, 
but wanton destruction of property and all the probable 
results of a successful siege develop only the most devilish 
propensities of humanity. To see women and children, 
old men, the weak and the feeble insulted and injured, 
makes one hate war and distrust one's cause, and yet 
with the lax discipline maintained in our armies, we have 
too frequent examples of such outrage, the efforts of 
officers to check them being completely neutralized by 
the accursed conduct of the Press with its clamor for a. 
vigorous prosecution of the war. In this way Pope pre- 
pared his troops for defeat. Burnside is a nobler nature, 
and will do what he can to prevent such stains on our 
honor, but he even cannot wholly arrest the effect of 
the savage appeals of our journals at home. You ask 
me what I think of McClellan .? I cannot answer for 
myself, I have been too little under his command, but by 
his old soldiers — by those in whose judgment I place 
confidence, he is trusted as the ablest General in our army. 
Granting even that he is slow, they believe he had the 
power to have brought the war successfully to a close, 
had he been allowed to execute his plans without the 
assistance of our Executive's wisdom. I fear we have no 
great soldiers in our army. Probably we had a good medi- 
ocre one in McClellan. It is doubtful whether we have 
that now. Poor old . . . Abe has put down his big clumsy 
foot — and God help us! We don't look for assistance 
either to old Abe or the collective wisdom of his advisers. 
We hardly look to the people of the North wearied with 
repeated disappointment. In our wretched army system 
we have not much more to hope. What then ? We 
must trust in God, and conquer. This alone can help 



232 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

us now. To this is our pride humbled. In hoc signo 
/ vinces. I do not despair, but hope — and while I live, 
will never despair — but my hopes will rise, when a sincere 
effort shall be made to check the license and marauding 
propensities of our troops, when thieves and robbers shall 
receive speedy and terrible justice, when, in a word, we 
shall deserve to conquer. A righteous indignation toward 
the authors of the rebellion may be a good thing, but it 
is very likely to be confounded with a desire to pamper 
one's belly at the expense of the helpless. It may be a 
good thing to use severe measures to bring deluded men 
to a sense of their errors. Still I think, were low ignorant 
ruffians to visit my home while I was away fighting, burn 
my house, lay waste my property, insult mother and sisters, 
beggar the little children I might love, taunt the gray 
hairs I might respect, leave starvation in the place of 
plenty, I should feel singularly strengthened in my early 
— delusion. Yet this is a truthful picture of what the 

and its school mean by a vigorous prosecution of 

the war. Cromwell's troops were terrible soldiers — a 
scourge to the enemy — and they conquered because 
they were forbidden to stain their cause with robbery 
and wrong. I heard two soldiers disputing to-day, one 
of them belonged to the i8th Ind. Vols., the other to the 
8th Ohio Vols. They were contending as to which Regi- 
ment should be entitled to the credit of having collected * 
and sent home the greatest amount of plunder. I heard 
a Michigan soldier boasting that his Regiment had foisted 
thousands of dollars worth of counterfeit money on the 
people of Virginia in exchange for little luxuries. A 
poor woman lived near us. A party of cowards entered 
her house to search for booty. She implored them to 
leave the little that she had for her children's sake. The 



WAR LETTERS 233 

brutes thrust her out of the door, until they had ran- 
sacked the poor dwelling, and then left a weak woman 
and feeble little children to go supperless to bed. The 
great, hulking, cowardly brutes! But I have no wish to 
point the finger further at our disgrace. I have said I 
do not despair, but at sight of such things I cannot but 
despond. 

Give my best love to all my dear friends — God bless 
them and protect them. 

Very affec'y-> 

Will. 

Near Falmouth, 

Nov. 26th, 1862. 

My dear Mother: 

I have selected the most inviting of the paper Nellie 
sent me to write you to-day — such nice paper I thought 
it would be to write a love-letter on, to some dainty little 
lady. I have lighted a real good cigar, and fancy I might 
be delightfully sentimental, but nearly five years absence 
from home has left me, alas! with no dainty little lady 
acquaintances, time having changed them into inter- 
esting matrons. So as my own mother is the most 
interesting matron of my acquaintance, I find myself 
writing to her. 

To-morrow will be Thanksgiving Day. The manner 
in which it is supposed to be observed in camp you will 
find interestingly pictured in last week's "Frank Leslie." 
I suppose we will dine in reality to-morrow on coffee and 
crackers and fried beefsteak. Still these things satisfy 
the appetite, and are even capable of producing dyspepsia, 
notwithstanding the popular notion that such an evil is 



234 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

confined to the pampered denizens of cities. You must 
take Sam Elliott's descriptions of camp-life cum grano 
salisy remembering what wonderful descriptive powers he 
possesses. I do not doubt he pictures the horrors so 
vividly that the hearers suffer far more from listening to 
his accounts, than the actual victims do from experiencing 
the reality. 

You will see Wm. Elliott I suppose. Tell him then 
that I must have written authority from him to collect 
the money for his lost horse. I wish to serve him, but 
need the writing to enable me to act. My special friend, 
Lt.-Col. Morrison, played me another amiable trick to- 
night, having appointed More Major of the Regiment, 
subject to the approval of the Governor of New- York. 
This was in the first place unnecessary, as More has not 
yet reported for duty. Then it was a thing he had no 
special power to do. Col. Farnsworth (so he writes me) 
having already recommended me to the Gov. for the 
position. But it was a cunning trick, as, should my 
appointment occur in the face of his own published to 
the Regiment, endless troubles could easily be made 
to result. Yet Morrison to my face is the sweetest, 
most amiable among the artificers of brasses for andirons. 

Capt. who so flatteringly presented my prospects 

and deserts to Uncle Phelps, was at the same time, Farns- 
worth writes me, the bitterest of my opponents, and using 
his best efforts to ruin me in New- York and Albany. They 
are a sweet set among whom I have fallen. They owe 
Elliott and myself an old grudge for the favor Stevens 
showed us, which they now have an opportunity to repay. 
They have fixed Elliott's case for him, and they are busy 
settling mine. However I have recovered my amiability, 
and no longer feeling any hope of escape, am not a little 



WAR LETTERS 235 

amused at the trouble they take regarding me. I tell 
them everything candidly, so that they need be at no pains 
on my account, but they, not supposing it possible for a 
man to be staightforward, exhaust any amount of useless 
cunning to gain their ends. And the best of it all is, that 
while all this working is going on, we are all such capital 
friends that it is really delightful to see brethren live in 
such harmony together. 

With regard to the intended Army movements we are 
all utterly in the fog, the time passing and the mud 
growing deeper, while batteries are being built by the 
enemy under our very noses. What's the use of question- 
ing ? Time will show. 

I shall think of you feasting merrily to-morrow, mind- 
ful of the absent son and brother, and wish you all joy. 

I am wearing the stockings you sent me and find them 
glorious. I am generally quite comfortable now, from 
the contents of the box my friends prepared and sent me. 
You must thank all those to whom I am indebted, in my 
name. I shall send this letter to New- York direct, sup- 
posing it may reach you sooner so. Love to Lilly, Mary, 
Hunt, Tom, and the Infant Department. 

AflFec'y., 

Will. 

(W. W. Phelps to E. F. Lusk) 

New- York, Nov. 28th, 1862. 

My dear Mrs. Lusk: 

You will rejoice with me on hearing that the Postman 
has just brought me a large envelope stamped with the 
State Seal, containing a Commission for Major W. T, 



236 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

Lusk! Hurrah! And Hurrah a second time, because I 
was too much for his honor, Lt.-Col. Morrison! 

I surmised he would play Will a shabby trick and 
recommend another, and I was ready for him. I wrote 
to the Gov/s secretary that he might nominate a fellow 
named More, but that Famsworth, I was pretty sure, 
preferred Capt. Lusk. Sure enough! In Major Linsly's 
letter enclosing the Commission, he tells me that Capt. 
More presented himself with Col. Morrison's nomination, 
whereupon Major Linsly read my last letter to the Gov., 
in which I had anticipated the case, and the Gov. told 
him to send me the Commission for Capt. Lusk. 

I write Will to-day, and send the Commission. I 
daren't send the latter before I have advised Will, or 
Col. Morrison, through whose hands it goes, might ven- 
ture to detain or destroy it. 

With love of Nelly and me to Hunt and Mary, 

Very truly, 
Wm. Walter Phelps. 

(W. W. Phelps to W. T. Lusk) 

Nov. 28th, Evening. 

My dear Will: 

The end of a day marked by the alternation of joy with 
sorrow in an extreme degree. This morning the Postman 
gave me a large envelope covered with postage stamps, 
and marked with the seal of the State. It contained two 
papers — the one in a large envelope with the same seal 
upon its face and the superscription Major W. T. Lusk; 
the other, the letter explanatory from the Gov.'s Secretary, 
which I enclose. 



WAR LETTERS 237 

You can imagine my gratification — the labor of months 
rewarded and the suspense ended. I made it a holiday. 

Your Uncle, who had travailed with me, should rejoice 
over the birth. Down I rattled in the omnibus, with that 
beautiful Commission in my pocket — surest of the sure, 
for hadn't I it in black and white and on parchment ? I 
could tell any one, but, except Nelly and our folks who were 
rejoicing over it at home, Mr. I. N.^ should be the first. 

I left the omnibus at the Post-Office, where I dropped 
in a letter to tell your mother that I had a Commission, in 
which the Commonwealth of N. Y. declared that for the 
confidence it had in him, her son was declared Major 
of the 79th. From the Post briskly to 45 Wall, where 
your Uncle and I re-read the Commission, shook hands 
and laughed over the accomplishment of well-laid schemes. 
Mr. Stillman was still off for Thanksgiving, so we had 
the office to ourselves. 

Finally I tore myself away and went with Commission 
and a light heart to my desk at Judge Woodruff's. Young 
Woodruff read the Commission, congratulated me and 
floored me with a telegraphic despatch. I felt it in my 
boots as soon as "the words" (vide Homer) "escaped the 
hedje of his teeth," that here was a fall to Pride. And 
so it was, and a happy day received a most gloomy end. 

The Despatch told me to send back the Commission — 
that Capt. More must have it — that Capt. Lusk had 
recommended the appointment. I saw our Postmaster 
and told him to recall your mother's letter if possible. I 
broke the joy of your Uncle, who was telling Mr. Brady 
with glee of his nephew's promotion, and longed for 
bedtime that I might cease to think of the disappoint- 
ment of human hopes. 

^ Isaac N. Phelps. 



lj« WILLIAM THOMPSON 

I Aim\ %i:t how you could well help signing^ but if 
you had rmly had the courage to rely on our watchfuhiess 
and refuse t But it's too late now. Your Uncle and I 
have only this melancholy consideration to console us — 
that we have spread your fame. Your name is as familiar 
as h/>uschold words to Mr. A. T. Stewart who wrote for 
your Uncle the strongest of letters, to Gen. Wetmore, 
to Mr. Opdykc and hosts of solid men, who could tell 
your story from Bull Run down, as well as I. 

Never mind. Will, your disappointment cannot be 
any greater than mine, who carried "Major Lusk*s" 
Commission for six hours and had to return it. 

Only next time, if your friends have worked and provided 
for every contingency except that, don't sign away your 
chances by recommending another for the place they seek. 

All well. Your mother comes down Monday to live 
with Lilly. 

In haste, most afFec'y., 

Walter. 

Camp near Falmouth, Va. 

December 3d, 1862. 
My J far Mother: 

1 hasten to write you to-day, fearful lest you should 
drrud n\y being overduly oppressed by any feeling of 
disappointment at not receiving that promotion in my 
Regiment, which friends may have flattered themselves 
Nvus n^y due. I accept the disappointment without com- 
plaint at least now, if not at first. Its so indifferent a 
mutter after all, what position I may fill, so long as I am 
found worthy to serve in any wise the interests of a be- 
Kwe\l ci>untrv. 1 do not believe ^•ou love or esteem the 
^mple C^iiptain less. Rank in our Army is of small 



WAR LETTERS 239 

importance at best. I know full-fledged Colonels who 
once sat cross-legged in a tailor's shop, and who still 
know a deal more about mending breeches than about 
soldiering. Our democratic institutions work beautifully 
in the Army. But I won't grumble, provided friends at 
home don't fall asleep while such an institution as " pip- 
ing" exists. I saw Gardner Green to-day, and talked 
McClellan to him until the cars carried him off. 

By-the-way, dear mother, I need hardly state to you 
that I would rather like to get out of the 79th Regiment, 
and not only that, but out of the Volunteer service alto- 
gether. I do not know if the thing be possible, but would 
like very much to get into the Regular Army. Ask Walter 
and Uncle Phelps if they know of any parties capable of 
helping me in the matter. I suppose there are plenty 
of parties with feelings similar to my own, so that there 
are twenty applicants for every vacancy. Even if I were 
not to retain my Commission after the close of the war, 
a position in the Regular Army would secure me more 
congenial companions for the present. Do, mother, in- 
quire if the thing can be done. 

I like "Old Abe's" emancipation plans as developed 
in his "Message" very much. His "Emancipation 
Proclamation" though, I decidedly object to, after my 
Beaufort experience. The "Freedmen's friends" down 
there used to send home very glowing accounts of their 

successes, but they told awful lies. That whom 

Lilly speaks of meeting, was a rare old chap in the way 
of lying. I believe in getting rid of slavery at any cost, 
but think Father Abraham has proposed the wisest plan 
I have heard of yet. 

I tried to get a chance for a few days at home this month, 
but as usual was told there was no chance. Were I any- 



240 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

where else I could get home occasionally on Regimental 
business, but I don't ask, nor expect, any favors in a 
Scotch Regiment. What evil star ever guided my destiny 
into a parcel of foreigners ? I suppose Providence knows 
best, and now I find myself as fairly caught as Sterne's 
Starling with no likelier chance of getting out. 
Well, success to my new fancy for the Regulars. 

Love to all. 

AflFectionately, 

Will. 

I am repeatedly informed of the great sacrifices my 
brother officers have made in coming out to the war, 
usually in the following words: "Why, that man used 
to be a boss-mechanic at home." Nothing but boss- 
mechanics in the 79th are supposed to have either hearts 
or any other kind of entrails. 

Camp near Falmouth, Va. 

December 7th, 1862. 

My dear Mother: 

We are still lying quietly in camp — no signs of a 
move yet, but general suffering for want of clothes, shoes 
in especial. The miserable article furnished by the 
Government to protect the feet of our soldiers seldom 
lasts more than three or four weeks, so it is easy to under- 
stand the constant cry of "no shoes" which is so often 
pleaded for the dilatorintsss of the Army. I am, happily, 
well provided now, and can assure those of my friends 

that contributed to the box Capt. brought me, 

that the box contained a world of comfort for which I 
heartily thank them. I think I have acknowledged the 
safe receipt of the box and its contents already, but a 



WAR LETTERS 241 

letter from Lilly says not. I will write Uncle Phelps 
that it came all right. I have had a rare treat to-day. 
Indeed I feel as though I had devoured a Thanksgiving 
Turkey. At least I have the satisfied feeling of one that 
has dined well. I did not dine on Peacock's brains 
either, but — I write it gratefully — I dined on a dish 
of potatoes. They were cut thin, fried crisp, and tasted 
royally. You will understand my innocent enthusiasm, 
when I say that for nearly six weeks previous, I had not 
tasted a vegetable of any kind. There was nothing but 
fresh beef and hard crackers to be had all that time, 
varied sometimes by beef without any crackers, and 
then again by crackers without any beef. And here were 
fried potatoes! No stingy heap, but a splendid pile! 
There was more than a "right smart" of potatoes as the 
people would say about here. Excuse me, if warming 
with my theme I grow diffuse. The Chaplain and I 
mess together. The Chaplain said grace, and then we 
both commenced the attack. There were no words 
spoken. We both silently applied ourselves to the pleasant 
task of destruction. By-and-by there was only one piece 
left. We divided it. Then sighing, we turned to the fire, 
and lighted our pipes, smoking thoughtfully. At length 
I broke the silence. "Chaplain," said I. "What ?" says 
Chaplain. "Chaplain, they needed SALT!" I said 
energetically. Chap puffed out a stream of smoke ap- 
provingly, and then we both relapsed again into silence. 
I see a good deal of Capt. Stevens now, who says were 
his father only living I would have little difficulty in 
getting pushed ahead. He, poor fellow, feels himself 
very much neglected after the very splendid service he 
has rendered. It is exceedingly consoling, in reading the 
late lists of promotions made by the War Department, 



242 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

to see how very large a proportion has fallen to the share 
of young officers whose time has been spent at Fortress 
Monroe, Baltimore, or anywhere where there has been 
no fighting done. Perhaps our time may come one of 
these days, but I trust I may have better luck in the 
medical profession than at soldiering. However I sup- 
pose when I get old, it will be a proud memory to have 
fought honorably at Antietam and South Mountain, in 
any capacity. I feel the matter more now, for I have 
been in the service so long, and so long in the same place, 
that I am fairly ashamed to visit old friends, all of whom 
hold comparatively high rank. I do not see why before 
the first of January though, I should not be the Lt.-Col. 
of the 79th Regiment. In trying to be Major, I at- 
tempted to be frank and honorable, and lost. Now I 
shall try to act honorably, but mean to try and win. 

I feel sad enough about Hannah. You know what 
inseparable playmates we were when children. God 
help her safely, whatsoever his will may be. 

Love and kisses for all but gentlemen friends. 

AfFec'y., 

William. 

Camp near Falmouth, Va. 
December loth, 1862. 

My dear Mother: 

I was much disappointed to-night not to hear from you. 
I had expected a letter all day long, but the usual mail 
did not arrive. I wanted to hear this time, because to- 
morrow we believe will be spent amid the deafening roar 
of cannon, which is to usher in another act, let us hope 
the final one, of the grand drama popularly known as 



WAR LETTERS 243 

"Onward to Richmond." While I write, wagons are 
moving over the road, and preparations are being com- 
pleted for to-morrow's engagement. Possibly the enemy 
may make no resistance here, still their batteries frown 
ominously upon us. The indications promise the great 
battle of the war — possibly an Austerlitz for the enemy 
— we hope a Waterloo for us. I have heretofore, shel- 
tered by the prayers of mother and sisters, been singularly 
exempt from the accidents of war. The same Power that 
has already shown so much tenderness, has still the power 
to spare. But if in His wisdom it seemeth best this 
time to take my life, then, my dear mother, recognize in it 
only the Hand of the Inevitable. If my dying hours were 
only crowned by the certainty of victory, I could then 
close my eyes in peace. And in the great joy of the Na- 
tion, all individual griefs were selfish. So that I would 
have my mother's heart beat high, and be proud to have 
contributed a part of its own life's blood to the glorious 
consummation. With my whole heart I am eager for 
our success. Should I not see it with my earthly eyes, 
still let my mother rejoice for me, when all once more 
is well. But I am not given to entertaining forebodings. 
It is enough to do one's duty and let Providence pro- 
vide. I prefer to think of the time when we all will return 
home, the laurel won. Think of the pride I shall feel 
as my own Regiment receives its welcome from the joy- 
ous citizens of New- York, a welcome deserved by its 
conduct on many fields. Think of the stories I would 
have to tell. I believe that Mary's boys — the next 
generation — will be better when they hear the story of 
the present. And another generation still, when the 
dimness of time shall have enhanced the romance, will 
dearly love to hear the tale of the Great Rebellion from 



244 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

the lips of Uncle Will. I think a wound — not a danger- 
ous one, but some mark to show at the climax of the 
tale — would both contribute to the interest, and heighten 
the effect. Let us hope for the best in all things then, 
and believe that in all things, if we seek, we may always 
find a best. 

Give my best love to Tom and Lilly, Hunt, Mary and 
the boys, Walter, Ellen and Nellie, Cousin Louisa. Pshaw! 
My dear friends are so numerous that I cannot mention 
them without surely omitting many often in remembrance, 
so good-bye. 

AfFec'y- your son. 

Will. 

(Note appended in his mother s handwriting) 

My dear, dear child, he has a nobler, purer, better, more 

unselfish heart, than the poor weak mother who gave him 

birth. 

[Battle of Fredericksburg] 

Camp near Falmouth, Va. 

Dec. 1 6th, 1862. 
My dear Mother: 

Back again once more in the old camp, sound as a 
dollar. Would that 10,000 lying on the field across the 
river, or stretched on rude soldiers' beds in pain and 
some in mortal agony, could say as much! Gone are the 
proud hopes, the high aspirations that swelled our bosoms 
a few days ago. Once more unsuccessful, and only a 
bloody record to show our men were brave. This can- 
not heal the broken hearts this pitiful record is to cause. 
That God must do! Alas, my poor country! It has strong 
limbs to march, and meet the foe, stout arms to strike 



WAR LETTERS 245 

heavy blows, brave hearts to dare — but the brains, 
the brains — have we no brains to use the arms and limbs 
and eager hearts with cunning ? Perhaps Old Abe has 
some funny story to tell appropriate to the occasion. Alas, 
let us await the wise words of Father Abraham! I say 
I am back, having recrossed the river about two o*clock 
this morning. Yesterday evening I was sent out with 
a couple of hundred sharpshooters to cover the front until 
the troops were all withdrawn. There I lay supporting 
the pickets within two or three hundred yards of the enemy 
while our troops crossed the river. Then word was sent 
us, and in silence we fell back, crossed ourselves, and 
then the pontoons were removed. Now we are in the 
old camp, and I am happy to write myself down in 
the number of those who have narrowly escaped. In the 
battle of Saturday, troops were thrown into the fight 
without any seeming regularity. Many were not under 
fire at all. Among the latter were the First, and a part 
of the Second Division of Wilcox's Corps. You know I 
belong to the First Division. Our position gave me a 
fine opportunity to witness the battle. It was a bonnie 
sight though, and thrillingly exciting. From the crests of 
the hills frowned the enemy's batteries. The city was 
gay with our troops. Beyond the city and below the 
batteries was open country giving no cover to advancing 
troops. Over this expanse our men were marched. The 
pennons fluttered gaily in the sunshine. Then suddenly 
the hills seemed to vomit forth smoke wreathing them 
in obscurity. Then followed the thunder of the cannon, 
intermingled with the screaming of the bursting shells. 
The ordeal was a terrible one. Some Regiments marched 
on without flinching; others fell back. To the left, 
running diagonally, was a stone-wall. A portion of our 



246 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

troops drew near it. This suddenly is likewise jetting 
with curls of smoke, followed by the sharp crack of the 
rifle and the angry humming of the conical balls. Now 
the troops are shaken. Stragglers run rapidly to the 
rear, then whole Regiments fall back with torn colors 
and broken ranks. It is of no use. That terrible stone- 
wall is alive with death. Many Regiments try to reach 
it. Their efforts avail nothing though. Nearly in the 
center of the hill, west, there stands a fine old Virginia 
mansion of red brick with a stately colonnade running 
along its front. It was here that Col. Farnsworth had 
his headquarters last summer. This point was often 
attacked by our troops, but the house was like a hornet's 
nest. The enemy was strongly posted about it, in its 
alcoves, outbuildings and windows. There was death 
only, for those who tried to reach it. Our troops found 
some partial cover at a point below the house at the foot 
of the hill, where a small white house stood. Here two 
American banners were planted, the dear old thirteen 
stripes! How breathlessly we watched them! Though 
often attacked, when the smoke wreathed upward, our 
hearts were happy to see the colors still floating defiantly 
near the small white house. At length night closed on 
the scene. We believed the bloody day was done. There 
was one scene yet bloodier to be enacted. A final night- 
attack was decided upon. We could not see our troops 
advancing in the darkness, but we heard a yell along 
the rebel line. Then a rapid musketry fire ran along the 
heights — a more terrible fire I never have seen. Forked 
tongues of flame such as old artists paint issuing from 
the mouths of the serpents to whom is given the tormenting 
of the damned, flashed in the night with a brilliant eflFect 
as the fire was delivered from man to man. Then dark- 



WAR LETTERS 247 

ness followed. Then silence. And we knew that more 
blood had been shed and nothing won. The next morn- 
ing we were told that the 9th Army Corps was expected 
to storm the heights. It was Sunday morning. The 
Regiment was drawn up in line. The Chaplain read 
a chapter from the Bible, then said a short prayer. 
The men followed the prayer with their hearts, as men 
do who may never pray again. Then the word was 
given, " Forward," and we started on the march, few 
hoping to survive. Then we were ordered to halt. We 
lay long in a state of expectancy. Meanwhile a new 
council of Generals was being held. There had been 
enough blood fruitlessly shed, said the most. No more 
of the madness and folly which will only result in the cer- 
tain destruction of our army. Ten thousand men lost and 
the enemy sits unharmed in his trenches. Burnside says 
he will lead his own corps in person. But finally reason 
prevails in the council. The attack is postponed and 
finally abandoned. Last night the troops crossed the 
river, and to-day we are counting on our fingers the thous- 
ands of men the events of the past few days have cost us. 
There are impossibilities in warfare — things that no 
troops can accomplish, however brave they may be. They 
cannot for one thing cross long stretches of open country 
without any cover in the face of an artillery fire of any 
magnitude, and then clamber up a hill-side exposed to 
the musketry of a concealed foe, and then cross the ditches 
and scale the earthworks of the enemy, driving the latter 
from their position with the bayonet. Men fight in 
masses. To be brave they must be inspired by the feel- 
ing of fellowship. Shoulder must touch shoulder. As 
gaps are opened the men close together, and remain for- 
midable. But when the ranks are torn by artillery, the 



248 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

cohesion begins to faiL Then expose the men for several 
hundred yards to a murderous fire of musketry, and 
front rank man is gone, rear rank man is gone, com- 
rades in battle are gone too. A few men struggle along 
together, but the whole mass has become diluent. Little 
streams of men pour in various directions. They no 
longer are amenable to command. The colors must be 
drawn to a place of safety, and in time the men will 
gather around it again. Numbers can effect little under 
such circumstances, provided they have no means of 
touching the enemy. The latter, lying under cover, fir- 
ing from a place of safety, may murder your men. You 
may try again and again the experiment, but each repe- 
tition only lengthens the butcher's bill. Now I have 
written all this to show that success, as the attack was 
made, was impossible. In the same way we butchered 
the Confederates at Malvern Hill. 

Well, I have seen McDonald, and felt quite happy to 
meet one who had been so lately among my friends at 
home. He told me of Uncle Phelps' offer of a horse, 
of his efforts for me and their probable success, and 
brought me some liquor and cigars from him and Cousin 
Henry. Give them my thanks, and say I delay acknowl- 
edging their kindness in a special manner, until I can 
learn all particulars from the Doctor. Arriving here the 
day of the battle, he has been so busy in the hospitals 
since, that I have barely learned the above facts as they 
were hurriedly repeated by him. I will write Uncle 
Phelps as soon as McDonald has time to tell me any- 
thing more than the general result of his visit. 

I am so cold, that though I have much more that I 
would like to write, I must close and go to the fire. I 
may write again to-morrow. Love to all. 

AfFecy, Will. 



WAR LETTERS 249 

Battle of Fredericksburg 
Dec. 13, 1862 
"Antietam and Fredericksburg,** p, 138. 

"General Burnside's whole plan was based upon the expectation of 
an immediate occupation of Fredericksburg. . . . The promised pon- 
toons did not arrive until the 25th, eight days after Sumner reached 
the river. . . . Thus it happened that before the pontoons arrived, the 
Confederates had concentrated a large force on the opposite side of 
the river." 

Page 141. "It is a familiar military maxim that a general should 
never do what his adversary wishes him to do. There probably never 
was an occasion since the first body of troops was arrayed, when a gen- 
eral did more precisely what his adversary wished him to do than Bum- 
side did at Fredericksburg. When the Confederates began to fortify 
the heights in the rear of Fredericksburg is uncertain, as it is uncertain 
just when the last of Lee's army arrived there, but their advance was there 
nearly a month before the battle, and their last arrivals probably a fort- 
night before it. Lee's present for duty December loth, 1862, was 78,228. 
Seventy or eighty thousand men, working with a will, throw up perfectly 
sufficient eanhworks in a very few days, not to mention the assistance 
which the Confederates probably had from working parties of blacks. 
There was probably nothing that the engineering talent of the Con- 
federacy could supply, wanting to the completeness of their defence on 
the 13th of December, 1862." 

Page 166. "At Fredericksburg we see a gallant army engaged in an 
undertaking at once unnecessary and hopeless, and sent to destruction 
with no plan and no preparation." 

Page 184. "The gallantry displayed by the Federal army was the 
more to its credit, because of the feeling which prevailed in it. . • . 
The Army of the Potomac had been at Malvern Hill and at Sharpsburg. 
It knew how the Southern and Northern armies in turn had fared 
when either undertook to assail its opponent in a chosen position, 
and the difficulties of the position to be earned at Malvern Hill and 
at Sharpsburg were as nothing to the difficulties of the position at 
Fredericksburg." 

"jgih Highlanders" f. 262. 

"About eight o'clock on the morning of the 12th we marched 
down to the river, crossed, and, a short distance to the left of the 
bridge, brigade line was formed, where we remained for several 
hours." 

Page 263. "About eight o'clock the next morning, Saturday, the 
13th, our artillery opened a furious cannonade, under cover of which 
our troops advanced to the positions from which they were to make the 



2S0 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

assault. The Ninth corps, occupying that part of our line below the 
town, between Hazel and Deep Runs, was ordered to be in readiness to 
support the attacks of either Franklin on our left, or Couch who com- 
manded the Second corps, on our right. 

"At noon the assault began. . . . The troops moved forward bravely, 
and as soon as they gained the open plain, were met by a terrific fire 
from the guns of the enemy; the storm of shot and shell was fearful, 
and wrought sad havoc in the advancing ranks. Our troops pressed 
forward, however, until they came within range of the enemy's infantry, 
and there their advance was checked. Flesh and blood could not with- 
stand the terrible shower of iron and lead that now poured into their 
already decimated ranks, and the men were obliged to lie down behind 
such slight shelter as the rolling ground afforded. The bravest of our 
troops held their ground, while others fell back in disorder, and suffered 
heavily again in their retreat across the open ground. 

"About three o'clock in the afternoon our division was sent across 
Deep Run to support Franklin, but his advance had been checked, 
and thus we were saved from the fearful slaughter of the day. . . . We 
lay on our arms until about four o'clock Sunday morning, at which 
time we marched back to the city, where the whole corps was massed. 
. . . The 15th was passed without anything worthy of note occurring 
till after dark, when fifty picked men under Capt. Lusk and Lieutenants 
Armour and Menzies, were ordered to advance as near the enemy's 
lines as possible without drawing their fire, and hold the position 
till further orders. We supposed at this time that Bumside had 
re-adopted his plan of attacking with the Ninth corps. . . . The men 
moved quietly through the lower end of the city and out on the plain 
between it and the enemy's works. It was very dark, and . . . they 
marched noiselessly along. . . . When within a hundred yards — as near 
as could be guessed — of his pickets, our men halted and lay down flat 
on the ground; orders were passed in whispers. . . . This position was 
maintained till within an hour of daylight, when orders were quietly 
given to wit)idraw. ... It now began to dawn upon the minds of our 
party, that they were covering the retreat of a portion of our army; this 
was confirmed when, on entering the city, not a living person but them- 
selves was to be seen or heard; . . . and when the last of our men stepped 
on the bridge, the ropes that held the bridge to the shore were cut. . . . 
It was daylight when our men reached camp, feeling quite proud of the 
confidence placed in their courage and prudence, which caused them to 
be selected for such an important and delicate task." 



WAR LETTERS 251 

(Col. a. Farnsworth to W. T. Lusk) 

New- York, December 20th, 1862. 
My dear Lusk: 

Your last letter has not been answered before this, 
because of the reason that you — ye army of the Potomac 
— were on the move before it reached me, and I felt dis- 
posed to await your arrival in Richmond! The "turn 
of things" lately, however^ has induced me to alter my 
mind. 

In regard to the matter of the Majorship, I must con- 
fess I was "dead beat." They got "way ahead" of me. 
ril explain all to you satisfactorily when we meet. 

I suppose you have seen Dr. McDonald, and that he 
has told you how "on the 29th of October, Gen. Burn- 
side wrote a letter to the War Department, recommend- 
ing me for a Brigadiership," and how the said letter was 
sent to Gen. McClellan for his approval, and never re- 
turned. Now, if that letter could be reproduced and sent 
again to the War Department, nothing would prevent 
me from soon pocketing a Brigadier*s Commission. I'll 
tell you a joke about the Brigadiership, rather at my 
expense however. The other day Thurlow Weed was 
sitting with the President — Generallissimo Lincoln — 
when Col. Farnsworth's card was sent in. Weed, suppos- 
ing that the card represented this individual, remarked, 
"By the way, Mr. President, my call on you was par- 
ticularly in relation to Col. Farnsworth." And then he 
"put in" for me, leaving with the promise that my name 
should be sent in to the Senate immediately. Three or 
four days thereafter, to the astonishment of Mr. Weed, 
he saw an announcement in the papers that Col. Farns- 
worth of Illinois had been appointed a Brigadier! In 



252 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

fact, the Illinois Farnsworth secured his promotion at the 
expense of the New- York Farnsworth. Mr. Weed and 
others are now pushing the thing for me, but as every 
Col. in the army is now an applicant for a Brigadier- 
ship, I am not disposed to rely solely upon the aid and 
influence of politicians. That letter from Burnside would 
fix the thing at once. In the event of my promotion, you 
can rely upon the Lieut.-Colonelcy. Keep mum on the 
subject. Of course this matter is in my own hands. As 
soon as my name is sent in to the Senate, I shall go to 
Albany at once. I can do far more with Seymour than 
a Black Republican. Now keep quiet and get your straps. 
I am getting better — leg improving a little. Great 
excitement here among ye people in relation to Fredericks- 
burg aflFair. Don't be surprised to hear in a few days 
that "Old Abe" has been forced to abdicate or change 
his cabinet. 

Regards to all. Yours, 

A. Farnsworth. 

New- York, Dec. 20th, 1862, 

Saturday. 
My own dear^ dear Son: 

I have many times during the past week thought of 
writing you, but I could not. Disaster, death, and the 
sickness of distressing fears have kept me quiet, striving 
for a firm trust and confidence in the mercy of God. My 
mind has been greatly relieved on your account, by see- 
ing in the Herald that Burns' Division, of which the 79th 
formed a part, were not under fire, although they ren- 
dered important service. Thanks and praise to Him 
who has, I trust, again brought you safely through the 



WAR LETTERS 253 

perils of the battlefield. When the news of the repulse, 
with the dreadful loss on our side, reached New- York, 
gloom and despondency rested on all who had hearts to 
feel for anything. The sickening list of dead and wounded 
have been read over again and again, by mothers and 
sisters with tears and groans. Fathers sink their heads 
in anguish, and for all this distress and agony, we have 
gained nothing. But my dear son, the Nation is now I 
believe fully aroused, and the awful responsibility of this 
dreadful slaughter must rest where it belongs. None 
of our rulers, we hope and believe, will now escape the 
searching ordeal, and though this thought brings little 
consolation to the ** desolated hearth," yet for the brave 
hearts still "battling for their country," it may bring 
some cheer. I visited St. Vincent's Hospital yesterday 
with your Aunt Maria, who is constantly doing good 
from her abundant means to the sick and wounded sol- 
diers. I talked with one poor fellow who had lost a leg, 
and was lying weak and pale in bed. He was so uncom- 
plaining, so cheerful, I looked and wondered. He was so 
glad to get newspapers, he felt anxious about his brothers 
in the army before Fredericksburg, he had looked over 
the lists and their names were not there, and so he hoped 
they were safe. I told him I had my anxieties too, I 
had a dear son there, but so many days had passed I had 
courage to hope now. I learnt a lesson by that bedside. 
I am waiting, watching for letters from you. I feel that 
good reasons of some kind prevent my hearing. Sam 
and Wm. Elliott called to see me last Sunday evening, 
but I was out, which I deeply regretted. Lilly saw 
them, as they called first at our boarding-house, 24 West 
31st Street. I am still on Murray Hill, but am going 
into my own apartments early next week. Wm. Elliott 



<suii he saw in Wastiin^nn: 2. picrmrr at Gsl jievqia 
and ni5i ^radv ^uid as iie was huyinc <^uie txir inmseif he 
ai«v hmi^r Mie thr msl whick he wouid sum hrmc en 11& 
The likeness of ynu he saya is ^^exy i^mmL Dc Fllintc 
has been rransTerred m die ieomd Hiawkins ZbiuEsres 
and -vtil be in V. V.^ he rhink.^y vm\ rnnmirs longs: 
I presume 7our Code will write yoa abmir ynur gtnpo* 
<iinnn tn raise mnnev ^r the PfighJanrferg anithrm. He 
^eems m be cnnsiiienng the marrpr> thougii he has sziii 
lirrle «:ccept thar ic would be wdL and might gediags 
be icxi^ if 70U cnuld cnme an vouracit We da not fee£ 
fhat the Hi^ianders^ aithoug{i a ^raiianc Ete^r ha^ve hesi 
jusr or kind ro vocl We are pmud di the deeds af chat 
g^llanr cnrps hnwe^er^ and if diey do you the juacoze 
rhar is your due, I chink your friends would giadly asssc 
fhem. Neilie is hurnnng me 90 I muse dose. OraHie 
Johnson is engaged go 3i^&s Jo&a Wfase^ ssca^ to Dr. 
Lee'i wife, 

God bfe^s youy sny own dear no. If tlie prayers of 
iiv^rher and aiders are indeed a ^lelcer, ours have nor 
been m ^ain, May God guard, guide, be wkfa yoa 
e^erpvheft^ is my cnnsrant cry to F&m. Unde P^ Aunt 
\(,, NeHie, Thomas, Lilly, all unite in lo^^e to yoa azfid in 
grarif ude to God for your preserration from danger. 

Always my own dear, dear son, your very 

Lo¥ing MOTHEK. 

Ca3€P 3(ear Falmouth, Va. 

Dec 7?nd, 1862. 
My dear MrAher: 

Since the late disastrous affair at Fredericksburg, as 
httfjiftf I look in vain for some tidings from you. These 
mk\\%\ A% for me, it is of less imponance, for the letters 



WAR LETTERS 255 

you write me will eventually reach me, but with you I 
hope that long ere this, you may have had the pleasant 
tidings of my safety throughout the late battle. Of that 
fight I have not words to express my indignation. It was 
so uncalled for. Not being a participant myself, only 
an anxious witness, I can fully appreciate the terrible 
character of the massacre. No one was more desirous 
than I for an onward movement, but not for such an one. 
The idea of an attempt directly in the front was scouted 
at by those who professed to know, as sheer madness, 
concerning which the result could not be doubtful. Yet 
it was attempted, but at whose orders we cannot tell. 
Rumors reach us of the resignation of Lincoln's Cabinet. 
God grant this be true. We may fall into worse hands, 
but there is the hope of something better. I have lost 
faith in Halleck, and for this reason. Last summer I 
wrote Walter I had cheered the last time for McClellan. 
I did this on the authority of Gen. Halleck. Halleck was 
an unsuccessful competitor of Stevens for the honors of 
his class. At Newport News Halleck had an interview 
with Stevens, the result of which I afterwards learned. 
In this interview Halleck represented McClellan as solely 
responsible for the misfortunes of the Peninsula; repre- 
sented that McClellan had received everything from the 
administration he had requested; that McClellan was 
responsible for the division in his command, resulting in 
the creation of McDowell's Department. This and much 
else against McClellan, which Halleck's subsequent re- 
port, and the revelations from the McDowell Court of 
Inquiry, prove to have been base and malignant false- 
hoods. Since then it has been my good fortune to have 
been twice in battle under McClellan. How admirably 
those battles were planned and executed, I, who have 



156 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

seen so much mismanagement, so many defeats, know 
best how to appreciate. Therefore I say, as I heard a 
rebel officer once say "God bless old Stonewall Jackson," 

'^ ''God bless McQellan." We have had enough of Hal- 
leck — and disgrace. 

Mother, do not wonder that my loyalty is growing 
weak. I love the Nation too well to willingly pardon 
the " unfortunate Abraham Lincoln " as the London 
Times so aptly calls him. With resources enough to 
have long since ended the controversy, with resources 
enough to end it before the opening of Spring, sixty years 
will not end it if we are obliged to sustain the paltry 
policy of the administration. I am sick and tired of 

_ disaster, and the fools that bring disaster upon us. I 
believe Bumside to be brave and honest, a good sol- 
dier and worthy of honor, but I know that no one in this 
country has a heartier esteem for McQellan than he. 
No one bends more to McClellan than Gen. Burnside. 
The President I doubt not is honest, but "let the shoe- 
maker stick to the last." Let Lincoln turn his talents 
to splitting rails. I prefer George McClellan to Abraham 
Lincoln, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Army. The 
same energy, the same good-sense, the same foresight 
exhibited by us that the South has shown, and the 
rebellion is a dead letter. The same fatal disregard of 
common sense on our part, and the Southern independence 
is won. At least so I feel, and so I write strongly, who 
so earnestly pray for the triumph of our cause. 

I have just received your letter, and feel truly thank- 
ful to learn you had heard of my safety previous to the 
arrival of my own letter written the day after we recrossed 
the Rappahannock. Day before yesterday I was on 
picket, and saw several officers of the rebel service who 



WAR LETTERS 257 

came to our lines under a flag of truce. One of them 
who came from near Atlanta, told me he knew Alfred 
Tyler; that it was a mistake that Alfred was on Gen. 
Lawton's staff; that, on the contrary, he still was em- 
ployed on the Macon and Atlanta R. R., and was reputed 
to be one of the truest supporters of the Southern move- 
ment in his district. The same officer, Capt. McBride, 
appeared to know enough of Tyler's family and family 
affairs to make his statement worthy of credit. The same 
officer further told me that among the brave officers of his 
army that fell at Fredericksburg, was Henry Lord King, 
whom you will remember was an old admirer of Sarah 
Phelps. King fell, pierced by nine minie balls, in the 
attack made on our left (Franklin's Division). Mor- 
rison professes to be a strong supporter of mine now. 
He says that there had been so much intriguing in the 
Regiment, that he suspected me for some time, but my 
action with regard to More has fully satisfied him, and 
he professes himself anxious to serve me in any way. 
What the professions are worth I have yet to learn. 

Give my best, my dearest love to my sisters. Tell 
Uncle Phelps that I leave my proposition to be settled 
according to his judgment, and with best love to him and 
all my friends, I remain. 

Your afFec. son, W. T. Lusk. 

Camp near Fredericksburg, Va. 

Dec. 23d, 1862. 

My dear Mother: 

Time slips by without much to break the monotony 
of the hour, but still it slips by rapidly. We had a re- 
view to-day. Gen. Sumner being the reviewing officer. 



258 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

One of his staff, a Major Crosby, stopped to say to 
me that he understood I was a Norwich boy, and, a 
Norwich boy himself, he would be happy if I would call 
on him. Do you know who he is? I do not as a rule 
cultivate acquaintances much; it is so mortifying to be 
in a subordinate position. I cannot bear to be patron- 
ized, and my position subjects me to the annoyance. 
Surely, people have a right to argue, when the most com- 
mon of tradesmen are found worthy of the highest and 
most responsible military posts without an hour's prepa- 
ration, this fellow, who boasts of being an educated 
gentleman, must be poor stuff indeed, if, after eighteen 
months service, he finds himself unable to command as 
good a position as he did a half year ago. McDonald 
says it is a long road without any turn to it, but I begin 
to feel my military ambition satisfied. I would be so 
glad if I could only return to my medical studies. I 
know when I left home I acted contrary to the advice 
of all my friends.^ Until now, pride forbade my acknowl- 
edging myself in the wrong, but stung and humiliated, I 
make my confession now. Many a time I have seen old 
school friends from RusselKs (who in old times felt proud 
to claim me as an acquaintance) pass me, high in rank 
and proud of manner, and I have turned away my head. 
I could not bear the thought of their recognizing me less 
\honored than themselves. I am not often unhappy, for 
I have already written that few officers of any rank in 
the Army Corps enjoy as many privileges as are accorded 
to me. To say the least I meet a cordial welcome every- 
where, from the Headquarters of the Commanding 
General down. Still at times I cannot help feeling half 
sickened at the mortifying position in which I am placed. 

^ He enli&ted in the rankty being unwilling to wait for a Commission. (Cf. p. 115.) 



WAR LETTERS 259 

When in active service, in the presence of the enemy, I 
am never troubled with such thoughts, but in camp a man 
has too much time in which to think. If the troops go 
into winter quarters, I do not think I will be able to 
endure this state of things until Spring. I must return to 
my medical studies again. Why, the most humble coun- 
try practitioner is more respectable than I, a despised 
soldier^i found unworthy of honors which the commonest 
shoemaker wears with grace. I do not forget how 
anxious my friends have been to serve me, how earn- 
estly they have labored and are laboring for me. But 
is not that mortifying too — ^to feel that, after all, you must 
owe all advancement not to your own merits, but to the 
influence of your friends i My dear mother, you must 
feel that in writing this I am only telling my griefs, as one 
may tell them to one*s mother, and, having told them, 
find relief. 

I do so wish I might come home. I am weak as a 
child now. To-morrow I will be stronger, and will regret 
this that I have written, yet I shall send it for all that. 
I shall send it because merely to tell one*s troubles to a 
sympathizing friend, deprives them of their chief bitter- 
ness. I do not know if it be true, but I understand that 
the telegraphic despatch to Walter for my Commission 
was a piece of sharp practice that did not emanate from 
Gov. Morgan. That, however, is a matter that is past, 
and hardly, perhaps, to be regretted. 

Give my best love to the dear friends around you, and 
believe me. 

Very affec*y.. 
Your son, 

W. T. LusK. 



26o WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

New-York, Dec. 30th, '62. 

24 West 31 St. 
My own dear Son: 

... I received your very sad letter last night. I 
sympathize sincerely, and do not wonder that you feel 
sick and disheartened. However, I trust the spirit of 
gloom which oppressed you when you wrote, has passed 
by, and the brave spirit of my own boy is aroused again. 
Never call yourself a " despised soldier." Neglected 
you have been, and we all feel it most cruelly, but "des- 
pised," never. 

No name is mentioned with greater respect than yours, 
about none is more indignation felt by friends than about 
you. Your career has been a marked and peculiar one; 
high titles now are no mark of merit. Gov. Buckingham 
said to me in the cars on my way to New York, " I want 
a Colonel now. I know of no one who would fill the posi- 
tion half as well as your son, and yet, with the desire, I 
cannot give it to him." So it goes — some town-clerk 
or petty lawyer, having stayed at home far from a sol- 
dier's dangers, watches, waits, and the first opportunity 
steps into the soldier's honors. Mr. John Tappan who 
has no particular friends in the army, says he always 
draws the inference if a man is promoted, he doesn't 
deserve it — he has seen so few really meritorious officers 
treated well. I think he goes too far and do not myself 
wholly agree with him, still I think there is a great lack 
of justice. ... It was certainly a great piece of self- 
sacrifice in you to sign a paper requesting the majority 
to be given to another, when you knew it had been prom- 
ised you. I admire the valor of your regiment, and, as 
Elliott says, "you c^n refuse to fight a duel now, having 



WAR LETTERS 261 

fought in the 79th." ... I should be extremely glad 
my dear son, to see you again at your books, if you can 
return honorably. You say you entered the army against 
the advice of your friends. Very true, my dear child, 
God knows how hard the struggle was to me, God knows 
how much I often now endure, yet through everything I 
feel comfort, nay pride, that my son's motives are pure 
and conscientious. Well, the New Year is close at hand. 
May it open brightly for you, my own dear son. For 
some reason you have been preserved through many and 
great dangers. He who guarded has still work for His 
servant to do, so be of good cheer, you will not be for- 
saken. By-and-by you will look back on your humilia- 
tions and say, "They were hard, but they have done me 
good." Beside, I can only acknowledge your disappoint- 
ments. A soldier, a true man, is never humiliated by 
the performance of right. And yet your letter touched 
a responsive chord which vibrates now, for through the 
whole I recognize myself. May God bless you my own 
dear son, and grant you His assistance. . . . 
You could not be dearer to the heart of 

Your loving 

Mother. 

Camp near Falmouth, Va. 

Dec. 31st, 1862. 

My dear Sister Lillie: 

I have just received your letter, and am much troubled 
to hear that mother has been ill. As you were intend- 
ing to write me on New Year's eve, I have concluded 
to write you in turn, knowing it to be all one, whether 



262 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

I write you or mother. I am specially disposed to write 
to-night as I feel very good-natured. I am not troubled 
for the moment, either with the goadings of disappointed 
ambition, the peculiarities of Scotchmen, the inclemency 
of the weather, or even with **the unfortunate Abraham 
Lincoln." In a word, I am determined to be good- 
humored in bidding farewell to the old year, notwith- 
standing it is responsible (either it, or the aforesaid 
Abraham) for so many disasters. If all the hopes so fondly 
entertained at the beginning of the year have not been 
realized, we know at least that Providence doeth all 
things well, if not exactly as man would have it. 

The Highlanders mean to celebrate the New Year, 
as the accompanying card will show. Turkeys, hams, 
tongues, bread and butter and a bowl of punch will be 
furnished to visitors, and we hope they may be many. 
But pleasantest of all. Hall is coming to visit me, bring- 
ing with him a Dr. Hubbard of his regiment — an Uncle 
of pretty little Mary Chittenden. If we don't have a 
good time, then I'll hang up my sword on a willow tree, 
but you will have to wait until the second inst. for par- 
ticulars. I had a good time Christmas too, and only 
regret you should have spent it so quietly. You see I 
raised a pair of ducks and rode up with them tied to my 
saddle to Stafford C. H. (ten miles), found Hall, eat the 
ducks (with Hall's assistance), gossiped, and made very 
merry, though I had so recently written home repre- 
senting myself so very miserable. Yesterday I made 
Major Crosby of the list C. V. a visit, and found that 
I U3ed to go to school with him to old Peltis up-town. 
We had a right good time of it. His heart so warmed 
toward me finally, that he brought out a loaf of cake made 
by his wife's fair fingers — good cake it was too. Speaking 



• * 



WAR LETTERS 263 

of cake reminds me that the Chaplain, my tent companion, 
has just received a cake from his sweetheart. Oh these 
sweethearts! Chaplain receives every mail pretty pink 
notes which he likes to be joked about. He likes the 
cake too. 

Hall thinks I have grown dreadfully unrefined. I 
smoke a pipe and eat onions. Horrible, isn't it i Would 
you really like your brother at home, who can do such 
dreadful things i I can't come. I've tried, but Rhad- 
amanthus, that is Old Bull Sumner, is adamant, and 
bids me wait until I catch swamp fever or lose a leg, 
when I will be able to return with flying colors. I tried 
in fact to take the Bull by the horns, and that's what I 
got for my pains. Dear me, I'm growing older every 
day, so you can imagine how old I shall be when I get 
home. 

Well, sister Lillie, I would" try and be sentimental in 
view of New Year's Eve, but that could hardly be looked 
for in a man that eats onions. But may many blessings 
rest on both my sisters, my mother and the little ones that 
are dear to us all. True love between you and Tom, 
between Hunt and Mary, deepening not weakening at 
each successive return of the New Year. 

Had I my six months' pay, and twenty days to spend 
at home, how I would make things fly around. 

Again love to mother. Uncle Phelps, Aunt Maria, 
Nellie, Tom, friends individually, collectively, and in 
bulk. 

AfFec'y. your brother. 

Will. 



264 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

24 West 31st Street, 

Sunday, Jan. 4th, 1863. 
My own dear Son: 

I went to hear Mr. Prentiss this morning, and was 
deeply affected and impressed by his New Year's ser- 
mon. Thomas and Lilly having gone to church this 
afternoon, I take advantage of this quiet hour to write a 
few words to you. We are anxiously awaiting the final 
result of the battle in Tennessee. It has involved another 
fearful loss of life; another "army of martyrs" have 
shed their blood, we trust Oh, God! not in vain. The 
Emancipation Proclamation too has been issued, and now 
we wait for the events which crowd so heavily, we trust 
to a final end. The Monitor has foundered off Cape 
Hatteras, another calamity to mourn over. We take 
victories as a matter of course without much elation, 
but defeats or humiliation in any form we cannot bear. 
I hoped to have received a letter from you yesterday but 
did not. Your last letter to me was written on the 23d. 
Elliott told me he heard that Col. Farnsworth had re- 
signed. Is it true ? I hope you approve of the Procla- 
mation. It seems to me it strikes at the root of the evil. 
Dr. Grant says, although it beggars his family at the South, 
he thinks it wise and just. Mr. Riley who was bom in a 
slave country (S. A.), says he thinks it is the first blow which 
has given much alarm to the rebels. There is an idea 
that it is an obnoxious measure to the soldiers, and those 
hostile to the Administration foster the notion and 
strive to spread it. Many prayers for Abraham Lincoln 
have been offered up to-day, that he may be guided aright, 
and having acted in the fear of God, that all other fears 
may be quieted, and he may be strengthened for his 



WAR LETTERS 265 

great responsibilities. I heard a young man say, at our 
table to-day, that democratic clubs were forming about 
the city to prevent drafting. I heard another say that 
Gen. Dix had been appointed Military Governor of the 
State of New-York. The times are indeed turbulent 
and stormy, and none can prophecy as to the future, and 
yet a stranger in New- York would scarcely believe that 
we were a nation struggling through appalling trials. 
The streets are as gay as ever, public amusements as 
much frequented, and our gayest shops are filled with 
ladies spending money profusely. The hospitals how- 
ever tell a tale different indeed. 

5th. I have received a letter this morning from Mary, 
very bright and cheerful. She writes: "Yesterday was 
quite a day of rejoicing here over the President's Procla- 
mation. The Mayor (Lloyd Greene) ordered the bells 
to be rung, and cannons to be fired." Nearly all in this 
house where we are boarding are Southern people, or 
Southern sympathizers. I am very quiet and seldom 
make any remark. A Baltimore gentleman remarked 
to me the other day, " I do not believe you are an Aboli- 
tionist, you don't look like one." I merely replied "Ah .?" 
A lady sitting opposite me said "I have seen the meanest 
Yankees, they are all so mean." As she looked at me, 
I drew up and answered, "You are unfortunate. I, on 
the contrary, have met many a noble-hearted Yankee." 
"Oh!" said she, "so have I. I was born in New 
England." So it goes. 

Well, the morning is passing rapidly away, and I have 
to go down to the Everett House to see Mrs. Tyler. The 
morning is charming. I hope you are enjoying it. Your 
last letter was sad, it was written with a sick heart, so I 
long anxiously for another. I do not think an hour passes, 



266 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

when I am awake, that my thoughts are not with you. 
Lilly unites with me in dearest love to you. We are all 
so anxious to see you, sometimes I fancy I hear your step 
approaching, but it is only fancy after all. 

Good-bye my own dear son, may God bless and guide 
you. 

Very lovingly, 

Mother. 

Kind regards from all to Dr. McDonald. 

Camp near Falmouth, Va. 

Jan. 5th, 1863. 
My dear Mother: 

My letters seem very long in reaching you. The one 
I sent the day before Christmas, containing a little money 
which I hoped would contribute to the children's happi- 
ness on New Year, had not come to hand on the 31st, yet 
I had hoped it might precede the rather dolorous docu- 
ment written only the evening before, but which, of 
course, wouldn't be overtaken. To tell the truth, I was 
not a little ashamed at having been so querulous. I 
do not like the habit of complaining, and do not mean 
often to indulge in it, but the best of our guardian angels 
cannot always resist the attacks of those emissaries of 
Satan — the cooks. 

Col. Farnsworth, it is said, will soon rejoin his Regi- 
ment. It is still a matter of doubt though, whether his 
physical health will permit him to remain long. Besides 
the natural effects of his wound, he is much paralyzed 
I understand, from severe neuralgia. Be this as it may, I 
am very sorry for him, and shall welcome him back with 
pleasure. Farnsworth, McDonald and myself enjoy 



WAR LETTERS 267 

about an equal degree of popularity in the Regiment. 
Since writing the last sentence my opinion has been 
somewhat modified by the arrival of the mail. Farns- 
worth sends a certificate of disability looking for a further 
extension of his "leave of absence." This is indefen- 
sible. The law allows disabled officers two months to 
recover. F. has had four months already, and looks 
for a further postponement of his return. I have also 
received your letter bearing date Jan. 2d, and see how 
much harm I did by indulging in a little fit of spleen. I 
do not see the slightest hope or prospect of either a short 
leave of absence, or of promotion, neither of which little 
matters do I intend shall disturb my equanimity in the 
slightest degree. To be sure my associations are not 
always agreeable, but when I entered the service had I 
any reason to hope they would be ? I certainly enjoy 
more favor than any line officer in the ist Division. This 
ought to suffice. Again I am losing years that ought to 
be spent in fitting me for my profession. Well, what of 
that i Shall I at this late hour begin to count the cost 
of doing my duty ? No mother, we both know that this 
matter must be pushed through to the end. I am not 
of so much value as to complain of having to bear 
my part. To hear me talk, one would suppose I was 
the only one who fancies himself unjustly used. Bah! 
The army is filled with them. Possibly twenty years hence 
I shall be grumbling because my professional skill is not 
properly appreciated. It is hard for disappointed men 
to believe the fault lies in themselves. Yet such things 
do happen. I shall be obliged to postpone my Christ- 
mas remembrances to you until the paymaster (invisible 
now for six months) shall visit us. 

Very affectionately, Will. 



268 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

Camp near Falmouth, Va. 

Jan. i6th, 1863. 
My dear Mother: 

We have orders to march to-morrow. I cannot say 
whether we will positively do so, but it is certainly in- 
tended that we move very shortly. 

I do not know whether the movement is intended as 
an advance, or whether it is proposed, as was the case a 
couple of weeks ago, to fall back on Washington. It is 
generally supposed that the first will be the case. I am 
glad for anything like a movement, and I trust that this 
time we may have a successful encounter with the enemy. 
But oh, I do trust too, that, should I come unharmed 
out of whatever dangers are before me, I will be able 
to get out of this Regiment. I do not want any further 
connection with foreigners. I would almost prefer never 
to come out alive from this campaign, if it is only to 
prolong the present disagreeable associations. 

No matter though, I am always content when actually 
in motion. The thought of being really able to contribute 
something, however little, to the Cause, is then dominant, 
and I can afford to forget the more selfish feelings that 
I cannot repress in camp. This letter must be short, 
for I am pressed for time. 

Good-bye. God bless you all. All will be for the 
best. If we are to fight, pray God to give us victory. 

AflFec'y-, Will. 

The "Mud Campaign." Burnside succeeded by Hooker 

"^^h Highlanders,^* pp. 268 and 269. 

"Nothing of any importance occurred after the New Year celebration 
till the 20th. . . . The failure of the December assault had not shaken 



WAR LETTERS 269 

the faith of the Government in Bumside's ability, and he finally deter- 
mined on crossing" (the Rappahannock River) "by Banks' Ford, some 
five miles above the city, with the bulk of his army, and attacking the 
enemy in flank and rear, while the Ninth corps should cross in front 
of the city and assault Marye's Heights. 

" On the morning of the 20th, Franklin's and Hooker's troops began 
their march to the appointed rendezvous . . . But the promise of fair 
weather which the morning gave, proved delusive, for at sundown the 
clouds began to gather, and before midnight one of the worst storms 
we had ever experienced broke over us. The troops on the road were 
obliged to endure the pitiless rain without shelter, and when morning of 
the 2 1 St broke, the mud was so deep that it was nearly impossible to 
move wagons or artillery. We had been ordered out before daylight, 
but almost immediately the order was countermanded and we returned 
to our tents. The movement of troops was suspended, and later in the 
day came the orders for them to return to their former quarters; but it 
was several days before the artillery could be moved. On the 22d the 
rebel pickets amused themselves at our expense, by placing sign-boards 
along their bank, with the inscription 'Bumside Stuck in the Mud.' 
Thus began and ended the 'Mud Campaign.' . . . This last failure 
caused a prolonged howl from the military critics of the North, and 
Bumside's 'Mud Campaign' was the subject of jest for both pen 
and pencil, from one end of the land to the other. After the defeat of 
December, Bumside had tendered his resignation; it was now renewed, 
but the President preferred to retain his services in the field, and merely 
relieved him from the command of the Army of the Potomac, and placed 
Major-Gen. Joseph Hooker in that unenviable position." 

24 West 31st Street, 

New- York, Jan. i8th, 1863. 
My own dear Son: 

I hope my letters reach you more regularly than yours 
do me, for I write faithfully, and have great pleasure in 
the thought that my written words keep you connected 
with, and interested in, the events transpiring at home. 
A rumor was in circulation last night, that the rebels had 
crossed the Rappahannock and that our army were 
fighting their way back to Washington. A young man 
told me also last night, that a gentleman just arrived from 
Bumside's Army, told him it was owing entirely to Lee's 



270 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

humanity that our forces escaped entire annihilation after 
the battle of Fredericksburg. Don't think we credit 
such absurdities; I only show how secession s)7npathizers 
spread reports. The story is this: Lee seeing the danger 
of our army, and being humane and generous, sent to 
Bumside, oflPering him six hours to depart peacefully, 
which Bumside of course gladly accepted. New- York 
is full of Southern people in full sympathy with the South, 
bitter in word and action, and my blood often boils with 
indignation though I keep usually a quiet tongue. The 
news of our Western \'ictories, and the intercepted rebel 
correspondence, make them rather more spicy than usual. 
You will see the disgraceful proceedings about the elec- 
tion of a Speaker in Albany. The Republicans behave 
far better than the Democrats. Oh! I am sick. I have 
been in the house a week with a cold, and I long again 
for fresh air and freedom. We had a pleasant call yester- 
day from Abby and Carrie Woolsey. Their brother is 
on the staff of Gen. Seth Williams who is one of Bum- 
side's staff. Carrie said she should write him to try and 
see you, as she thought you might find it pleasant to 
meet. 

To-morrow evening we are going to meet a few friends 
at Mrs. Oilman's. Mrs. Perkins (Tom's Mother) is 
there on a visit. I am sorry you see no hope of a fur- 
lough or promotion. I do not know how things progress 
here, but I do know Mr. Phelps is still actively at work. 
The party in power is somewhat opposed to enlistments, 
or rather does not encourage them. However the Military 
Department will control that matter I suppose in future. 

Jane and Georgie Woolsey are nursing in a hospital 
near Newport. A corps of ladies acting under the direc- 
tion of the Surgeon-General, takes charge of the depart- 



WAR LETTERS 271 

ment of the very sick, giving their time and their means 
to this noble object. Georgie assisted a good deal in 
the Peninsular Campaign. It is refreshing to meet a 
whole family so devoted to one cause. Miss Kitty Elliott 
wants to do something of the same kind, and if I had 
strength I would not hesitate for one moment, but I am 
too nervous and good for nothing. 

General McClellan is living in a new house next to 
us. The house was presented him by some of his friends. 
Q)usin Henry and Louisa have just been in to tell me 
that they heard through Dr. McDonald that you had 
applied for a furlough on the 13th, and would probably 
get it. Can it be possible ? I cannot believe such joy 
is in store for me. 

Good-bye, God grant us strength to bear, and thank- 
ful hearts for all his mercies. 

Very lovingly. 

Mother. 

79th Regiment, 

Camp near Falmouth, Va., 

Jan. 20th, 1863. 

My dear Mother: 

Yesterday I wrote Walter and was not a little despon- 
dent; to-day we are told that the auspicious moment 
has arrived. To-morrow we are once more to meet the 
enemy. All gloomy forebodings engendered by the idle- 
ness of camp-life, have vanished before the prospect of 
impending action. My heart is as light as a feather. 
Hope is dominant, and I can think only of the glorious 
result if we are victorious. The gloom that now rests 
on our country will be lifted, and I already hear citizens 



272 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

repeating with joyous lips: "We are victorious. Not in 
vain have been our sacrifices. We are proud of the army 
we have created/' Let then all tongues be hushed that 
cannot join in the glad paeans of victory. I will not think 
of defeat. If God is gracious, and granteth success to 
our arms, let the voice of selfishness be hushed, let 
there be no house of mourning. Let even mothers say 
we have given gladly the dearest thing we possessed to 
win the Nation's rest. I have borne, dear mother, a 
charmed life, heretofore. Even when conversing with 
comrades on the battlefield, death has singled them out, 
and left me unscathed, left me to witness the peril of the 
nation. What then if now the charm be broken, and 
my last moments be cheered with the thought of the 
Nation saved. Then let my mother and those that love 
me rejoice as I would in the full tide of victory. But 
should we triumph, and I live to see the end, think of the 
rapture we all would feel, to think that to a poor worm 
like me had been vouchsafed the terrors of death, and at 
this cheap price, been spared to view the glories of sal- 
vation to our country. Then think how sweet would be 
mother's or sister's kiss, or the glad welcome of trusted 
friends. But living, or fallen among the chosen, I trust 
if the tidings of victory be heard, all who love me will 
wear their gayest colors and cheeriest smiles, in the joy 
at the success of the cause in which the loved one re- 
joiced to risk his all. With such parting words I can go 
without a tremor into battle, and fear nothing where God 
ruleth Supreme. 

You remember a year ago I wrote you I had had my 
likeness taken. Yesterday the impression reached me. 
I enclose you one now, and will send you by a convenient 
opportunity quite a number more. I have grown a good 



WAR LETTERS 273 

deal older since then, but you must take that for granted 
until I can find an opportunity to show you how the 
latest edition of your son looks. I will send likewise 
some views of the battlefield of Antietam, concerning 
which I will have strange stories to tell when the war is 
closed, and peace fairly, honorably won. 

AfFecy, Will. 

(W. E. DosTER TO W. T. Lusk) 

Washington, Jan. 19th, 1863. 
My dear Lusk: 

Yours was received this morning. I spread myself 
on the subject of unrequited merit accordingly and went 
in person to the War Department. Asst. Secy. Watson 
promised to let me have it to-morrow, but as you are 
impatient I write to-night. Of course it must receive 
the approbation of Stanton also, but altogether you have 
good reason to hope. 

Very truly, 

Meanwhile, 

DosTER. 

79th Highlanders, 

Camp near Falmouth, Va., 

Jan. 27th, 1863. 
My dear Mother: 

I have not written either you or other friends to whom 
I am indebted in an epistolary, for some little time past, 
because I sincerely cherished the hope that a short leave 
of absence was at length about to be granted me. As 
a last card I wrote to Doster to try what he could do 
for me in Washington. I immediately received a reply 



274 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

from him to the effect that he had applied to the War 
Department and that I might hope for the coveted "leave" 
the next day. That was more than a week ago, so I sup- 
pose I have had my usual ill-luck, and have nothing more 
to hope for. Morrison becomes more afiable and an- 
noying every day. He cannot forgive me the fright I 
gave him in regard to the Majority. Fear of American 
influence in the Regiment is" his great Bug-a-boo. He 
watches me like a cat, and I suppose will catch me at 
something one of these days, which will serve as a pre- 
text for disgracing me. Then he will talk hypocritically 
of his great regard and fondness for me, but that he is a 
soldier and must do his duty. Nothing can exceed the 
sweetness and amiability of the gentleman toward those 
he particularly dislikes. Bah ! Why should I trouble you 
with these things ? I do not doubt that at best your own 
fond fears make things out much worse than they really 
are. I hope I may soon see Sam here. He wrote me he 
intended running down. I should feel delighted to see 
him. 

I wish I could ascertain something positive regarding 
the new Regiment. If it is not going to succeed, I would 
try and get something in the line of my profession pro- 
vided for me. However I hate to back down, as I re- 
solved at the outset that, for the period of the war, I 
would serve in any capacity Providence might find best, 
only reserving my intention to induce Providence to be 
as pliable as possible. 

Joe Hooker commands the army of the Potomac. 
Everybody appears entirely indifi^erent to the matter. 
Heroes of many defeats, we are not inclined to give 
gratuitous confidence to anyone. Whoever finally suc- 
ceeds any better than McClellan did, has a fine chance 



WAR LETTERS 275 

for immortality. The army of the Potomac is splendid 
in material, and once taught that their best efforts are 
not to be wasted, they will tell for themselves a splen- 
did story. With McClellan they did best, because they 
believed that his plans contained all that human skill was 
capable of. Every new General will be splendidly sup- 
ported in his first battle. If the battle end in another 
Golgotha, the old cry will be raised, "McClellan, or a 
new man!" Sumner and Franklin, piqued, it is reported 
are about to withdraw likewise. So, peaceful revolu- 
tions are occurring in the Army. Let us pray, and hope for 
the best. Possibly we are adopting the right course to 
find the right man, possibly the right course to insure 
our ruin. If Burnside was not a Napoleon, he was a 
first-rate soldier, and in a subordinate position can do 
splendid service to the country. Alas! Good-bye. 

Affec'y., Will, 

(W. E. DosTER TO W. T. Lusk) 

Headquarters Provost Marshal's Office 

Washington, Jan. 27th, 1863. 
My dear Lusk: 

I have received yours of Jan. 24th and gone to see 
Stanton about it for the third time. He answers that 
until it is certain that the army is not going to move, he 
cannot give you leave, but that you deserve one, of all 
officers, and that in three or four days he will know 
whether you can be spared. So cheer up old fellow, 
rU hang on and make life a ... to him until he 
does. . . . {Corner of letter torn off) 

Very truly, 

W. E. Doster. 



276 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

(Ethan Allen to I. N. Phelps) 

New-York, Jan. 27th, 1863. 
Mr. I. N. Phelps 
Dear Sir: 
I am not only willing, but anxious to secure the services 
of Capt. W. T. Lusk of the 79th Regiment, as Lt.-Col. of 
the Regiment I am now organizing in this dty. It 
not being my design to lead the Regt. when raised, I 
appoint Capt. Lusk with the view of his ultimately com- 
manding the Regiment which I think bids fair to be 
completed at no very distant day. If Capt. Lusk can 
be relieved from his present duties in the army, and be 
permitted to fill the position in which it is my desire to 
place him, I am sure the change will be of service both 
to himself and to the country. 

Your obedient servant, 

Ethan Allen, 

Colonel Blair Light Infaniryy 3^ R^gt^f 

Merchants Brigade. 

New- York, Jan. 29th, 1863. 
My own dear Son: 

I enclose a copy of a letter received by your Uncle 
Phelps from Col. Allen. Mr. Phelps has been so good, 
so kind, so faithful to you and your interests, I can 
scarcely feel grateful enough. Now, he wishes me to 
lay before you the following facts for your consideration, 
and as a guide for your decision. Col. Allen says he 
has recruited about three hundred men, but owing to 
desertions he has only one hundred and fifty in camp, 
with the promise of two hundred more recruited by 
someone else, whom he may or may not receive. After 
receiving this letter Mr. Phelps went to Ex-Gov. Morgan 



WAR LETTERS 277 

who is in the city, and requested him to write and ask 
Gov. Seymour to grant a furlough. Gov. M. said it 
would be of no use, as Gov. S. had no power; it was for 
him to give Commissions, and the War Department to 
make transfers. He (Gov. M.) however instructed his 
Secretary to write Col. Farnsworth requesting him to 
make an application, or assist you all in his power 
to get a furlough. The Gov. didn't know as the Regt. 
could be raised, and if it were. Gov. S. might perhaps 
appoint another Col., and he was so desponding that 
Mr. Phelps who had felt elated at your prospects, was 
so disappointed that he said to me, "I could have cried." 
Then, Mr. Phelps met Mr. S. B. Chittenden who said to 
him, "From all I hear of the talents of this young man, 
I think in the reorganization of the Army he will be pro- 
moted, which will be better than being troubled with this 
new Regt." So you perceive, Mr. Phelps having your 
interests so near his heart, scarcely knows how to advise, 
except to get a furlough if possible, come on, judge for 
yourself, and make your own decision. Col. Allen says, 
every day almost, ten or fifteen apply at his office, but 
finding they are not authorized to give bounties, refuse 
to enlist. There is a bill now before the U. S. Senate 
for the encouragement of enlistments, offering bounties. 
I have told all these facts, and now leave the matter to 
your consideration. If you wish the Lt. -Colonelcy, I sup- 
pose you can have it at any time. Your own military 
experience makes you the most competent judge. Col. 
Allen wants you, and he thinks if bounties are offered, 
the Regt. will be full in four weeks. I cannot advise, 
but I pray God to guide you aright. God bless you my 
own dear son. Always, 

Very Lovingly, Mother. 



278 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

There are others pressing for the Lt .-Colonelcy, so as 
soon as you decide you had better write to your Uncle 
Phelps. Mayor Opdyke has a friend, somebody else, one 
of the Military Committee, also has a friend, but Col. 
Allen prefers you if you choose to accept. 

[Regarding a Furlough for Capt. Lusk, on his 

BEING tendered THE LlEUT.-CoLONELCY OF THE 

Blair Light Infantry] 

54 & 56 Exchange Place, 

New- York, Jan. 28th, 1863. 

CoL. Addison Farnsworth, 

Brooklyn. 

Colonel: 

The Lieutenant-Colonelcy of a regiment of N. Y. S. 
Volunteers now in process of organization has, I am in- 
formed, been tendered to Capt. Lusk of the 79th. 

Before resigning his position in the 79th, Capt. Lusk 
desires to visit New- York for the purpose of ascertaining 
what the prospects of the completion of the new regiment 
are, and, therefore, desires a furlough for a few days. 
If it is in your power to grant him leave of absence I 
shall be pleased to have you do so. If you have not the 
power, please forward this application to the proper 
officer and oblige. 

Yours respectfully, 

E. D. Morgan. 



/ < 



WAR LETTERS 279 

Brooklyn, N. Y. Jan. 31st, 1863. 

Respectfully referred to Lt.-Col. Morrison commanding 
79th N. Y. V. with the request that, inasmuch as Capt. 
Lusk has been tendered the position of Lt.-Col. of a 
regiment now organizing, he will favorably endorse an 
application for that officer for a leave of absence. 

A. Farnsworth, 

Col 7gth N. r. V. 

[Request of William C. H. Waddell, John J. Cisco, 
AND Colonel A. Farnsworth, that Capt. Wil- 
liam T. LusK OF the 79TH Highlanders be 
Granted leave of Absence with a View of 
his Attaining Command of Col. Allen's Regi- 
ment] 

New- York, Jan. 31st, 1863. 

Governor desires that General Sprague will reply to 
this note. 



His Ex'cy. Horatio Seymour, 

Governor of the State of New- York, &c., &c. 
Sir: 

A regiment of infantry is now being organized in this 
neighborhood under the temporary command of Col. 
Ethan Allen. It is deemed desirable that Capt. Wm. T. 
Lusk of the 79th Highlanders (now in the field from this 
State) should obtain a leave of absence with a view of 
his attaining the Command of this Regt., Col. Allen 
wishing to retire. We are anxious at the request of the 
friends of Capt. Lusk, who is a very deserving and meri- 
torious officer, to procure him a leave of absence for a 



28o WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

limited period from his present position, and beg your 
Excellency to aid us in an application to the War Depart- 
ment towards the accomplishment of that end. This 
is also at Col.* Allen's request. 
With high regard, we are, 

Your Obt. Servants, 

Wm. Coventry H. Waddell. 

* Ethan Allen, ColoncL 

I fully concur in the recommendation of Mr. Waddell. 

John J. Cisco. 

As Capt. Lusk has been tendered the position of Lieut.- 
Colonel of a regiment now organizing in this State, his 
presence here is desirable. I sincerely hope, therefore, 
that he may be granted a leave of absence. 

A. Farnsworth,* 

Col 7gih N. r. V. 

*Col. F. is absent from his Regt. at present in consequence of a wound and ill 
health. 

Respectfully transmitted to the Adjutant-General with 
a request that, if consistent, a leave of absence may be 
granted for the purpose mentioned. 
Hd. Qrs. Albany, N. Y. 
Feb. 8th, 1863. 

I. T. Sprague, J J jt. -General. 

A. G. Office. Feby. nth, 1863. 

(636. V. 4) Respectfully returned to the Governor of 
New- York. The rules of the Dept. do not admit of the 
leave being granted. When the Command is organized, 
this officer will be discharged for promotion, if the request 
be then made by the Governor. 

By order of the Sec'y. of War, 
Thomas M. Vincent, 

Asst. Adjt.-Genl. 



WAR LETTERS 281 

[Request for a Pass from the Secretary of War, 
Permitting Lt.-Col. Lusk to Return to the 
Scene of Conflict] 

Office of the District Attorney of the United 
States, for the Southern District of New- 
York. 

New- York, May 4th, 1863. 
Honorable Montgomery Blair, 
My dear Sir: 
This will introduce to you Wm. T. Lusk, Lt.-Col. of 
the *' Blair Light Infantry" now organizing in this city. 
Col. Lusk can't rest easily here while the battle is raging 
around Fredericksburg. He therefore desires to reach 
the battlefield, that he may tender his services as Volunteer 
Aidey so long as active operations continue, and then re- 
turn to his duties here. With this motive, he desires a 
pass from the Sec. of War, to the scene of conflict. Col. 
Lusk has been two years in service, was for a long time 
Aide to the late Gen. Stevens, has been in many battles, 
and I believe he loves to fight. He is a gentleman in 
character and culture, and a soldier by practice and 
experience. If you can aid him to obtain the pass he 
desires, I shall be very much obliged. 

Respectfully, 
Your Obedient Servant, 

Ethan Allen. 

Mr. Watson would oblige me by favoring the wishes 
of Col. Lusk. 

Truly, 

M. Blair. 
P. H. Watson, 



282 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

Coleman's Eutaw House, 

Baltimore, June 19th, 1863. 
My dear Mother: 

Here I am in Baltimore in safety, neither able to go 
forward, nor willing to turn back. As yet, all communi- 
cation with Harper's Ferry is cut off, but the position 
Hooker now occupies is such as will enable him soon to 
include the Ferry within his lines, so I am stopping quietly 
at the Eutaw House, but almost momentarily expecting 
to hear from Col. Piatt that the cars will once more be 
in running order. Probably this will be before the day 
is over, and I trust I may be able to be of some use. Don't 
be alarmed though, I am not going to attempt anything 
Quixotic, so, if the opportunity does not soon come I 
shall return, and proceed to Simsbury. 

I have nothing special to say, beyond wishing to set 
your mind at rest. The 7th Regiment arrived here yes- 
terday, and makes a fine appearance. Will soon write a 
more interesting letter, to be dated either from Maryland 
Heights or Simsbury. 

Good-bye. Love to all. 

Very afFec'y., 

W. T. LusK. 

Maryland Heights, June 20th, 1863. 

My dear Mother: 

I left Baltimore this morning in company with Mr. 
Starkweather (who will bring you this) and Dr. Carlton, 
formerly of the i8th C. V. The cars took us as far as 
the Point of Rocks, and from there we were obliged to 
proceed afoot. Frightful stories of rebel cavalry along 
the route were prevalent, but we reached Harper's Ferry 
in safety, finding that the only dangers were those con- 



WAR LETTERS 283 

jured up by the foolish fears of some of Milroy's scared 
troops. The distance from the Point of Rocks was about 
twelve miles, so I feel a little tired to-night. The General 
gave me a most cordial welcome and assured me my 
services could be of great use. I am to be installed at 
once into my old position of A. A. General, and trust I 
may be able to perform the duties of the position satis- 
factorily. Ned looks well and finds plenty to do. I have 
never seen General Tyler looking in better health. I 
think the responsibility imposed upon him does him good. 
He has been doing a great deal since here, and feels happy 
at really accomplishing something more congenial than 
attending courts-martial. I am well, doing first rate, 
and am very glad to serve at this time. Have not been 
here long enough to understand much about the military 
aspect of affairs. 

Most afFec'y., 

Will. 

''War of the Rebellion^' Series /, FoL XXVIL 
Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, Part II, Page 2^. 

Record of Brigadier-General Dan, Tyler, 

HEADqUARTERS, MARYLAND HeIGHTS, June I9, 1 863. 

"From information gleaned from the country people and our scouts, 
no force exceeding 8,000 to 10,000 men had crossed the Potomac. Mary- 
land Heights is now good against this force. Lieutenant-Colonel Wm. T. 
Lusk, formerly aide-de-camp to Major-General Stevens, having heard 
that I was at Maryland Heights and without any staff, left New-York 
on the 14th instant, and arrived at Maryland Heights at 6 p.m. on the 
19th instant, having walked from Point of Rocks, and oflFered his ser- 
vices as a volunteer aide-de-camp, or for any other post where he could 
render any service. The arrival of Lieutenant-Colonel Lusk was very 
opportune, as he had experience as a staff officer, having been at Port 
Royal and in Virginia on the staff of Major-General Stevens up to that 
officer's death, and will enable me to relieve Captain WoodhuU whom 



284 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

I borrowed from Major-General Schenck's staff, and whom the General 
has telegraphed to return to him as soon as possible. I shall recom- 
mend Lieutenant-Colonel Lusk for the appointment of Assistant Ad- 
jutant-General, which, in the expectation of aaive service, he is willing 
to accept until the campaign is finished, and from necessity shall put him 
on duty accordingly." 

[After the Battle of Gettysburg (July i, 2, and 
3, 1863) AND THE Surrender of Vicksburg 
(July 4, 1863)] 

Headquarters Delaware Department, 

Wilmington, Del., July 7th, 1863. 

Deary dear Cousin Lou: 

I said I would write you so soon as the full puqport of 
the good news was ascertained. And now that it has all 
broken upon us, although my heels are where my head 
ought to be, I will try and fulfil my engagement as co- 
herently as possible. We have had the dark hour. The 
dawn has broken, and the collapsed confederacy has no 
place where it can hide its head. Bells are ringing wildly 
all over the city. Citizens grin at one another with fairly 
idiotic delight. One is on the top of his house frantically 
swinging a dinner bell, contributing thus his share of 
patriotic clamor to the general ding-dong. Bully for 
him! How I envy the heroes of Meade's Army. It would 
be worth while to die, in order that one's friends might 
say, "He died at Gettysburg." But to live to hear 
all the good news, and now to learn that Vicksburg has 
surrendered, is a little too much happiness for poor mortal 
men. I can laugh, I can cry with joy. All hysterical 
nonsense is pardonable now. Manassas, twice repeated, 
Fredericksburg and Chickahominy! Bless them as the 
cruel training that has made us learn our duties to our 
country. Slavery has fallen, and I believe Heaven as 



WAR LETTERS 285 

well as earth rejoices. Providence has tenderly removed 
that grand old hero, Jackson, before the blow came, that 
the one good, earnest, misguided man might be spared the 
sight of the downfall of a cause fanaticism led him to 
believe was right. Slink away ye copperheads to your 
native slime, and there await until in Hell is ready the 
place your master has prepared for you! There, Oh 
Fernando, go reign in torment to all eternity! These 
enthusiastic citizens of Wilmington, not content with 
bell-ringing, have taken to firing cannon, and the boys, to 
help matters, are discharging pistols into empty barrels. 
The people in a little semi-slaveholding State, when not 
downright traitors, are noisily, obstreperously loyal, to a 
degree that New England can hardly conceive of. My 
letter must be short and jubilant, I cannot do anything 
long to-day. 

Just dance through the house for me, and kiss every 
one you meet. So I feel now. Good-bye. 

AfFec'y., 

Will. 

Headquarters Delaware Department, 

Wilmington, Del., July loth, 1863. 

My dear Mother: 

I know I ought to be thankful in my present pleasant 
position, but somehow or other I was not born to enjoy 
sinecures. Doing nothing makes me very fretful. I had 
a capital good time while on Maryland Heights, feeling 
well repaid for my trip thither, but after leaving, I have 
been bored to death with the ennui of city soldiering. 
To be sure we are feted, and take our places among the 
Princes of Delaware, still, my dear mother, it was not 
for this I left home, and I cannot, with all the idle time 



286 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

on my hands, avoid regretting the pleasant summer plans 
we had arranged in old Conn. It is six years since I 
have strolled about the streets of Norwich the whole 
summer long. Norwich was never more beautiful than 
now. So I suppose I feel disappointed at being so peace- 
fully employed at the seat of war. Still here we are, 
General and Staff — persons of distinction — Ahem! I 
am on hand in case I am called for. I don't owe my 
position to Gov. Buckingham, and I expect to get home 
to my studies in the fall. Good things, all of them! 
Besides this, I am raising whiskers. I am reading King- 
lake's "Crimea." I have given up smoking. Think of 
that! You see, at first, when I found there was little to do, 
I smoked vigorously to pass away time. But when the 
cigar was smoked, there was an end to the amusement, so 
I then determined to break off smoking altogether, and, to 
make it exciting, I kept a handful of cigars in my pocket 
so that the temptation might be frequently incurred. 
Whenever I longed for a fragrant Havana, I would take 
one in fingers, and then sitting back in my chair, reason 
philosophically on the pernicious effects of tobacco. On 
reaching the point of conviction, I would return it to my 
pocket unlighted. This, you see, has afforded me a very 
excellent pastime. 

Occasionally Bishop Lee's benignant face shines upon 
us. Everyone worships the Bishop here, and how he 
deserves it, you know well. 

Am very sorry for Capt. Nichols. The opposition is a 
mistake. However I should as soon think of breaking 
my heart for a Bedlamite Hag, as for one who rejected 
me on the grounds of prudence. So perhaps Nichols 
is not so unlucky as he thinks himself. Now that I have 
practically abandoned military life, I have a fancy Gov. 



i 



WAR LETTERS 287 

Buckingham made a mistake in persistently ignoring my 
claims to promotion. I fancy I would have done him 
more credit than some of his appointments. This may 
be vanity. 

Written in haste with 

affectionate intent, 

W. T. LusK. 

[The Draft Riots in New- York Crrv] 

LoNGviEW, Enfield, Conn., 

July 14th, 1863. 
My own dear Son: 

I received your last letter on Saturday, and rejoice in 
your health, and in your resolve to relinquish the use of 
tobacco. I have no doubt your flesh will increase, and 
that you will be benefitted by the change. 

The terrible riot in New-York is at present engrossing 
our thoughts. The blacks seem to be peculiarly obnoxious 
to the excited mob; I suppose you have seen that they 
have burned the Colored Orphan Asylum. The draft 
commenced yesterday in Hartford. All was quiet through 
the day, but some anxiety seems to be felt lest the example 
of New- York may produce an evil effect to-day. They 
have tried to obtain a few companies of Regulars to pre- 
serve order (from New Haven) but they cannot be spared. 
Aunt Sarah, Nellie and Tom were to return to New- York 
to-day, but they dare not until the disturbance is quelled. 
The telegraph wires are all cut, and I fear we shall have 
no papers. The Times and Tribune offices are torn to 
pieces. We are all sad enough. God is merciful, may 
He speedily help us, and deliver us from our troubles. 

Cousin Henry is wishing for, and looking for, a Die- 



288 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

tator, the sooner the better. Capt. Nichols has gone to 
Vicksburg with Col. McKaye, to inquire into the con- 
dition of the Freedmen. You have no idea how unreason- 
able the lower class (of Irish particularly) are in this 
vicinity. Their feelings have been so wrought upon by 
unprincipled men. The leader in the N. Y. riot was a 
man from Virginia, who harangued the multitude and 
counselled resistance. 

A telegram has just arrived from your Uncle Phelps 
at Saratoga, saying Nellie and Aunt Sarah must not return 
to-day. Dr. Grant leaves in ten minutes, so good-bye. 
A longer letter next time. God guard you, my own dear, 
dear son, is my constant prayer. All send love, and I am 

Always 

Your loving 

Mother. 



The Draft Riots in New-York Cmr 
The Memorial History of the City of New-Tork," Fol. Ill, f. 502. 



« 



"The morning of Saturday, July nth, 1863, had been selected for 
the commencement of the draft in the city, and the day passed with- 
out much interference with the officers charged with its supervision; 
and the local authorities felt encouraged to think that the remainder of 
the work would be completed without serious opposition. The follow- 
ing day, being Sunday, was undoubtedly seized by those intent upon 
obstructing the provost-marshals in the discharge of their duty, to foment 
trouble among the ignorant or reckless element that abounds in every 
large city. On Monday morning a few policemen were sent to the en- 
rolling-offices at 677 Third Avenue and at 11 90 Broadway. At the last 
named place the mystic wheel was set in motion, and the drawing of 
names was continued without interruption until noon, when the provost- 
marshals suspended operations as a measure of precaution. Up to ten 
o'clock in the morning the city had been comparatively quiet. At that 
hour Superintendent Kennedy, while upon a tour of inspection, without 
escort, and in plain clothes, was attacked by a mob at the comer of 46th 
St. and Lexington Ave., and, after being severely beaten, barely escaped 
with his life. ... He was disabled for some days, and the immediate 
command of the police devolved upon Mr. Acton. . . . The entire police 



WAR LETTERS 289 

force of the city had now been assembled at its respective station-houses, 
and for the next three days was constantly employed in stamping out 
the sparks of insurrection which were flying about, and at times break- 
ing out into sheets of flame that threatened the existence of the city. 
From the Cooper Institute to 46th Street, Third Avenue was black with 
human beings who hung over the eaves of the buildings, filled the doors 
and windows, and packed the street from curb to curb. Small bodies 
of police were driven away or trampled under foot, houses were fired, 
stores looted, and a very carnival of crime inaugurated. Negroes be- 
came especially obnoxious, and neither age nor sex was regarded by the 
white brutes in slaking their thirst for blood; from every lamp-post 
were suspended the viaims of their blind fury. With one accord several 
thousand rioters swooped down upon the Colored Orphan Asylum, then 
occupying the' space from 43d to 44th street on Fifth Ave. The two 
hundred helpless children were hurriedly removed by a rear door while 
the mob rushed in at the front; the torch was applied in twenty places 
at once, and despite the heroic efforts of Chief Engineer Decker and other 
firemen to save the structure, it was burned to the ground." 

Page 503. " Mayor Opdyke called for troops upon Gen. Wool, com- 
manding the Department of the East, and Gen. Sandford, commanding 
the National Guard." 

Page 504. "The second and third days were marked by fresh out- 
bursts and much bloodshed: bayonets and bullets were substituted for 
policemen's billies. The territory of the disturbance had extended to 
Harlem, and westward beyond Sixth Avenue. Evidences of able leader- 
ship among the bands of marauders were visible. The roofs of houses be- 
came vantage-ground from which stones were hurled and shots fired at 
the police and troops in sight. . . . Orders were issued to the Seventh 
and other city regiments to return home. . . . But the admirable arrange- 
ments of General Brown and President Acton, and the excellent dis- 
cipline of the force under their direction, finally prevailed against the 
unorganized army of anarchy and misrule, and by midnight of the third 
day the wires reported 'all quiet.* The backbone of the beast was 
broken, but nevertheless all good citizens drew a breath of relief when, 
shortly after, it was known that the Seventh had returned to aid in de- 
fending home and fireside." 

Page 507. General Fry sums up the situation: "The real cause of 
the riot was, that in a community where a considerable political element 
was active in opposition to the way the war was conducted, if not to the 
war itself, and where there was a strong opinion adverse to the principles 
of compulsory service, certain lawless men preferred fighting the Gov- 
ernment at home, when it made the issue o( forcing them by lot to fight its 
enemies in the field." 



290 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

Headquarters Del. Dept. 

Wilmington, Del., July 20th, 1863. 
My dear Mother: 

You have heard before now, I suppose, that I was 
in New- York a few days last week. I saw Horace then, 
but the excitement of the riots excluded all other topics 
of conversation. 

Lilly was kind enough to write me a letter which I 
shall gladly answer, as I have time enough now to remem- 
ber all correspondents that remember me. If nothing 
else, I have abundant opportunities to read and write. 
After the draft has been enforced in this State, the neces- 
sity for Martial Law will probably have passed away. 
Then I hope either to have more active service, or to get 
relieved altogether. My summer experience will lead 
me to enjoy with the greater zest, the coming winter. 

Gen. Tyler has behaved most handsomely I think, 
for when he was ordered to Maryland Heights, it was 
with the understanding that he was to have an important 
command, if not that of the Middle Department itself. 
But the loss of Milroy's Army, the advance of Hooker, 
and consequent assignment of French to the Heights, the 
troubles in Baltimore, one and all operated to break up 
all plans, and to leave him in his present position. I 
have not heard him utter, for all, a single word of com- 
plaint, though necessarily his position must be very irk- 
some to him. 

Aunt Maria, Uncle Phelps and Nellie were in New- 
York for a few hours while I was there, but I did not 

know it until it was too late. Mr. , who lives 

opposite my Uncle's, sent for me to come and see him. 
He proposed that I should take charge of a patrol to pro- 



WAR LETTERS 291 
tect their part of the town. I turned to young . 



and suggested that he would make one of the patrol. 
"No/* says the young man, "but I'll furnish a porter 
from father's store as a substitute." Indeed thought I, 
with such heroic youths, there is no need of doing any- 
thing here. I can let this part of the city take care of 
itself. 

Your affec. Son, 

Will. 

Headquarters Del. Dept. 
Wilmington, Del., July 28th, 1863. 

My dear Mother: 

That I have not written you more punctually, the en- 
closed carte-de-visite must be my excuse. At last I have 
fulfilled my promise, and I trust the result may prove 
satisfactory to you. The carte was promised last Thurs- 
day, but only furnished yesterday. "There's a twist to 
your nose" says the ingenuous artist, while taking his 
preliminary surveys. "Perhaps you fell down once, and 
injured it." I answered mildly that I had no recollec- 
tion of such a catastrophe. "Well," he says, "it isn't 
straight anyway." Then adding with a sigh, "There are 
very few things that are straight in this world." I sup- 
pose that this philosophic photographer is right. 

After all I am going to be present to-morrow at Horace's 
wedding. There really is so little doing, that I feel as 
though I could absent myself for a couple of days with 
propriety. The General says "All right," so I shall go 
on to-night at 11:30. You have not written whether it 
is your intention to be present. It would be a great pleas- 
ure to me if I should find you among the guests. Never 



T 



292 WILLIAM THOMPSON LUSK 

mind, Fall is near at hand, and my stay in the army is 
hastening to an end. I have much leisure time to read, 
and as it is long since I have had such an opportunity, 
I am indulging myself in books with a vengeance. My 
previous visit to New- York was merely to vary a little 
the monotony of Wilmington life, by the excitement of the 
mob-rule then prevailing in the former city. I there met 
Charley Dodge, who was serving as Chief of Cavalry on 
Gen. Wool's staff. Charley contrived to give me some 
little employment, but all I did was not much in amount. 

I diiied a few days ago at 's. is a 

capital good fellow, but painfully lazy and objectless. 
Much attention and kindness has been shown us since 
we have been here by the Union people. Unionism means 
something in a slave state. The most violent secession- 
ists would not venture to express half the disloyal senti- 
ments that one hears from pretty good Union people in 
Connecticut. The Union people here, from their position, 
are forced to take such strong ground as to make the 
sentiment of New England seem cold by comparison. 
Much love. 

Most afFec'y., 

Will. 

Headquarters Del. Deft., 
Wilmington, Del., Aug. 17th, 1863. 

My dear Mother: 

The month is rapidly passing away, and I am awaiting 
impatiently the time of my release. Meanwhile I do 
not mean to pine, but am trying to enjoy myself the best 
way possible. For instance, Saturday evening, took tea 
with the Bishop. Yesterday, dined with the Chief Justice. 



WAR LETTERS 293 

Now we are making arrangements to get up a steamboat 
excursion to Fort Delaware — a little private party of 
our own to return some of the civilities that have been 
paid us. We (Ned and I) mean to have all the pretty 
girls. Mrs. LaMotte, a charming lady, is to play matron, 
and I think will have a tolerably good time. So you see, 
as I said before, we don't pine, still I shall be glad when 
I shall be at liberty to return home. Have just finished 
reading Mrs. Fanny Kemble's book on plantation life. 
By George ! I never heard anything to compare with her 
descriptions. They make one's blood run cold. Though 
told with great simplicity and evident truth, compared 
with them Mrs. Stowe's book is a mild dish of horrors. 
In this State of Delaware I believe there is a larger pro- 
portion of extreme Abolitionists than in Massachusetts. 
People are tired of being ruled by the lottery and slave 
interests which heretofore have locked hands together. 
Gen. Tyler is an unconditional man. When one protests 
his loyalty, the Gen. always asks him if his loyalty is 
great enough to acquiesce in the emancipation proclama- 
tion, and according to the answer, "Yes" or "No,** he is 
judged. Uncle Tom I fear, wouldn't stand much chance 
here. I had a few lines from Alfred Goddard a day or 
two ago. He seems to be well pleased with his position 
on Gen. Harland's Staff. The letter you enclosed to me 
from Harry Heffron, had all the latest news from the 
79th. They have suffered much in following up John- 
ston in Mississippi from want of water, Johnston leaving 
in every well either a dead horse or a mule. Agreeable! 
They are now however on their way to Kentucky and 
rejoicing. McDonald is on Gen. Parke's Staff. I be- 
lieve my handwriting grows daily more unformed. How 
I have degenerated from the example Grandfather Adams 



294 WlLLIAiM THOMPSON LUSK 

set us. However, I have to write fast and sacrifice beauty 
to udlity. 

Best love. 

Affec'y., 

Will. 

The following was found scribbled on a sheet of paper 
in the handwriting of William T. Lusk, evidently a copy 
of a letter written by Gen. Daniel Tyler: 

"I ask the acceptance of this resignarion. Capt. Lusk 
has been in most of the battles including the First Bull 
Run, from Beaufort to the death of Major-Gen. Stevens, 
whose Staff he was on from the date of Gen. Stevens's pro- 
motion to his death. Capt. Lusk, so soon as he heard 
of the occupation of Maryland Heights, left New- York 
City, came to Point of Rocks, and walked to Harper's 
Ferry, and volunteered for duty at a moment when I was 
much in need of his services, and to make him available 
I recommended him for the appointment of Asst. Adjt.- 
Genl. and he was appointed accordingly, with the expec- 
tation that when the prospect of fighdng at that point 
was over, his resignation would be accepted. Under the 
circumstances, as Capt. Lusk is on the point of commenc- 
ing a professional life in the City of New- York, I ask the 
acceptance of his resignation, knowing that there never 
will be an emergency like that at Gettysburg and Mary- 
land Heights, that Capt. Lusk will not be found at the 
front." 




INDEX 



Abbott, Mr., 62 

Adams, Hunt, 49, 69, 70, 91, 103, 
104, 109, 113, 120, 125, 149, 164, 
17s, 192, 196, 199, 211, 213, 221, 
227,235,244 

Adams, John, 105, 153, 167, 199, 
213, 227 

Adams, Mary (nre Lusk), 129, 162, 
211, 221, 23s, 244, 265 

Adriance, Mr., 199 

Allen, Colonel Ethan, letter to I. N. 
Phelps, regarding the appoint- 
ment of Capt. W. T. Lusk, Lieut.- 
Col. of the Blair Light Infantry, 
276; letter to Hon. Montgomery 
Blair requesting a pass from the 
Sec*y of War permitting Lieut.- 
Col. Lusk to return to the scene 
of conflict, 281 

Anthon's Grammar School, 13 

Antietam, battles of, 10, 15, 199, 
200, 205, 207, 242 

Antietam and Fredfricksburgy rein- 
statement of McClellan, 202; the 
battle of South Mountain, 203; 
the battle of Sharpsburg or An- 
tietam, 205-207; after the battle 
of Antietam, 222; Burnside suc- 
ceeds McClellan, 228, 229; battle 
of Fredericksburg, 249 

Baird, Major Andrew D., 12 
Barker, Dr. Fordyce, 10, 13, 16, 20, 

30 
Barnard, Horace, 64, 66, 109, no, 

III, 125, 129, 138, 149, 151, 152, 

164, 193, 196, 198, 213, 214, 217, 

225, 291 
Battery Island, 160 
Beaufort, 100, 106, 107-109, 125 
Beauregard, General, 88 



Bellevue Hospital Medical College, 

10, 15, 17, 23, 35 
Benedict, Mr., 196 
Bend, Frank, 134 
Benham, General, 149, 150, 152, 

IS3, 154. I55» 156, 162, 167, 168 
Bennett, 133 
Berlin, 9, 14, 22, 193 
Blackburn's Ford, 10, 14, 51, 54, 55 
Blair, Hon. Montgomery, 281 
Blakeman, A. Noel, 12 
Blenker, General, 178 
Bond, Miss Abby, 199 
Bond, Louisa, 227 
Brady, Mr., 237 
Braun, Carl, 16 
Breed, Charley, 170, 173, 175 
Bridgeport, Conn., 16, 23 
Bromley, Captain, 175 
Bronson, Mr., 144 
Buckingham, Governor, 14, 155, 

218, 286 
Bull Run, first battle of, 9, 14, 55- 

60, 61-62, 119, 131; second battle 

of, 10, 14, 182-185 
Burnside, General, 170, 171, 175, 178, 

224, 231, 251, 252, 256, 270, 27s 
Butler, General, 144 

Carlton, Dr., 282 
Cameron, Colonel, 14, 59 
Caverly, Mrs., 144 
Chantilly, battle of, 10, 15, 180, 185 
Chittenden, Mary Hartwell, 19, 262 
Chittenden, S. B., 19, 277 
Christ, Colonel, 15, 212, 215, 216 
Cisco, John J., letter to Gov. Sey- 
mour, requesting leave of absence 
for Capt. Lusk, 279, 280 
Coe, M.D., Henry C, his memorial 
of William Thompson Lusk, 25-3 1 



295 



* > 



20 



INDEX 



Colored Orphan Asylum, burning 

of, 287 
Corinth, battle at, 141 
Crosby, Major, 258, 262 

Davis, JefiFerson, 196 

Day, Nannie, 120, 199 

Diz, General, 265 

Dodge, Charles, 167, 292 

Dodge, Maj.-Gen. Grenville M., 12 

Dodge, Miss, 221 

Dodge, Mrs., 223 

Doster, W. E., 167; letters to W. T. 

Lusk, efforts to get him leave of 

absence, 273, 275 
Draft Riots in New York City, 15, 

22, 287-289 
Dupont, Commodore, 96 
Dwight, Miss Ellen, 103 

Edinburgh, 10, 16, 23 

Eliot, Bishop, 106 

Elliott, Dr. George T., 10, 16, 199, 255 

Elliott, Miss Kitty, 271 

Elliott, Lieut.-Col. S. M., 62, 68, 69, 

Elliott, Lieut. S. R., 48, 49, 69, 73, 

102, 103, 121, 127, 226, 228, 234, 

253 
Elliott, Capt. or Maj. William, iii, 

116, 117, 126, 127, 138, 149, 166, 

234, 253 
Ellis, Captain, 73 
Ells, Edward, 227 
Ellsworth Zouaves, The, 58 
Ely, Col. William, 97, 147, 167, 171, 

174, 178, 192 
Enfield, Conn., 123 
Everett, Edward, 61, 62 

Farnsworth, Col. Addison, took 
command of the " Highlanders," 
115; 172, 223, 234, 236, 246, 251, 
264, 266, 267, 279, 280; letter to 
W. T. Lusk regarding the Major- 
ship and his own hopes of promo- 



tion, 251, 252; letter to Gov. 
Seymour requesting leave of ab- 
sence for Capt. Lusk, 279, 280 

Farnsworth, Charley, 201 

Flint, M.D., Austin, his memoir of 
William Thompson Lusk, M.D., 
21-24 

Fort Donelson, 126 

Fort Lafayette, 189 

Fortress Monroe, 91, 93, 116, 163, 
165, 166, 242 

Franklin, General, 275 

Fredericksburg, battle of, 10, 15, 
173, 176, 230, 24s, 253, 254 

Fremont, General, 214, 225 

Gair, Captain Robert, 12 

Garnett, General, 104 

Geneva, 14 

Gilman, Mrs., 270 

Gilmore, General, 141 

Gettysburg, 284, 294 

Goddard, Alfred, 192, 293 

Goddard, Henry, 55 

Godwin, Mr. (N. Y. Post), 195, 196 

Grant, Dr., 83, 146, 155, 264, 288 

Grant, Mr., 47 

Green, Gardner, 239 

Greene, Mayor Lloyd, 265 

Haight, Lieut.-Col. Edward, 12 

Hale, Lieut. Morton, 175 

Hall, Rev. William K., 92, no, in, 

121, 164, 262 
Halleck, General, 170, 255, 256 
Hamilton, Captain, 168 
Harland, Ned, 71, 167, 170 
Harper's Ferry, 205, 294 
Harris, Dr., 41 

Harvard Medical School, 10, 16, 23 
Hawkins Zouaves, Second, 254 
Heidelberg, 9, 14, 22 
Heffron, Harry, 293 
Hentz, Mrs. Caroline Lee, 128 
Hickok, — , 41 
Highland Guard, The (sfe The ygth 



INDEX 



297 



Highlanders^ New York Volun- 
teers), 47, 48, SI, 62, 76, 77, 87, 91, 
95, 262 
Hilton Head, 99, 102, 107 
Holmes, Dr. Oliver Wendell, 10 
Hooker, General Joseph, 274, 290 
Houston, Mr., 63 
Howl and, E. Woolsey, 70, 89 
Hubbard, Dr. Robert, 16, 23, 262 
Hunter, Dr. James B., 17, 23 
Hunter, Gen. David, 132, 141, 148, 

149, 152, 153 
Huntington, Emily, 175 
Huntington, Hannah, 175 

Jackson, " Stonewall," 181, 256, 285 
Johnson, Charley, 137, 178, 225, 254 
Johnson, Mr., 144, 145, 175 
Johnston, General, 181 

Kearny, General, 180, 181, 191 
Kemble, Mrs. Fanny, 293 
King, Henry, 170, 257 
Kingsley, Harry S., his editorial on 
the death of William T. Lusk, 7, 8 
Kosciusko Farm, The," 78, 80, 81 



(( 



Lamar, Colonel, 162 

La Motte, Mrs., 293 

Lee, Bishop, 286 

Lee, General R. E., 181, 270 

Letters of a Family During The War 
for the Union, extract from, 89 

Life of General Isaac I. Stevens, ex- 
tracts from, The Highland Guard, 
47, 48; mutiny in the 79th High- 
landers, 76, 77; reconnoissance at 
Lewinsville, 85-87; placed in com- 
mand of Brigade at Annapolis, 
90; Port Royal Expedition, 94, 
95> 9S> 99t occupation of Beau- 
fort, 107-109; daring raids upon 
the enemy's pickets on the 
Coosaw, in; Port Royal Ferry, 
115, 117, 124; fall of Pulaski, 
143; steamer Planter, 148, 149; 



regarding General Benham, 149, 
I50» 153; landing on James 
Island, 151; battle of Secession- 
ville, 157, 158, 165, 174; second 
battle of Bull Run, 182-184; 
battle of Chantilly, 185-188 

Lincoln, Abraham, 68, 189, 214,231, 
239. 245. 251, 252, 255, 256, 262 

Linsly, Major, 236 

Long Island College Hospital, 10, 
16, 23 

Lord, Sam, 107, no, 150, 151, 162 

Loyal Legion, The Military Order 
of the, memorial notice of, on the 
death of William T. Lusk, 9-12 

Lusk, Elizabeth Freeman, letters of, 
to her son, William Thompson 
Lusk. From Norwich, Conn.: 
his prospects of appointment to 
the Lt.-Colonelcy of the i8th 
C. v., hours of bitter struggling, 
interest shown by his friends. 
General Tyler's affectionate in- 
terest, disappointment at not 
seeing him, a flag to greet his 
return, the new Regiments, the 
Twenty-second, the Fourteenth, 
174-176; startling rumors from 
the Army in Virginia, efforts 
made by his friends for his pro- 
motion, 178, 179; after the battles 
of Second Bull Run and Chan- 
tilly: thankful for the wonderful 
preservation of his life, all lament 
the loss of Gen*l Stevens, move- 
ment was reported on foot to re- 
quest Gen*l Stevens to command 
the Army of Virginia, Gen'l 
Stevens sacrificed to political 
opinion, her nerves greatly 
shaken, political interests para- 
mount everywhere, 191, 192; 
Pope's report with its censures ex- 
citing remark, Jeff Davis's Proc- 
lamation, Gen'l Stevens' death, 
195-197; after the battle of South 




V 



298 



INDEX 



Mountain: Gen'l Reno killed, look- 
ing with fear and dread for 
the terrible list to come from the 
battlefield, the surrender of Har- 
per's Ferry, 197-199; letter from 
Gov. of Conn, to Gov. of New 
York, recommending his promo- 
tion, Gov. Morgan's promise of 
promotion, 218, 219; times of 
trouble, the removal of McClellan 
against whom there is a strong 
party, the Twenty-sixth Regi- 
ment encamped at Norwich, 226- 
228; New York: after the battle 
of Fredericksburg: the sickness of 
distressing fears, the Nation to 
fix the awful responsibility of this 
dreadful slaughter, picture of the 
" desolated hearth," wounded 
soldiers at St. Vincent's Hos- 
pital, 252-254; sympathy for his 
unrequited labors, great lack of 
justice in promotions, his self-sac- 
rifice in requesting the Majority 
to be given to another, the valor 
of the 79th, philosophizes on dis- 
appointments, 260, 261; the 
battle in Tennessee, the Emanci- 
pation Proclamation, Monitor 
foundered off Cape Hatteras, 
prayers for Abraham Lincoln, the 
times turbulent and stormy, 
Southern sympathizers, 264-266; 
army rumors. New York full of 
Southern people, the disgraceful 
proceedings about the election of 
a Speaker in Albany, Gen'l 
McClellan living next door, 269- 
271; Col. Ethan Allen desirous 
of making Capt. Lusk Lt.-Col. 
of hi» new regiment, efforts of 
friends at home, the offering of 
bounties, 276, 277; Longyiew, 
Enfield, Conn.: the Draft Riots 
in New York City, 287, 288 
- to Horace Barnard. From Nor- 



wich, Conn.: her son's lack of rec- 
ognition for faithful services, the 
scheming politician receives the 
honors, his intimate companions 
in arms being dead or wounded 
his cup is more than full, 193-195 

— to Mrs. Henry G. Thompson. 
From Norwich, Conn.: after the 
first battle of Bull Run: Col. 
Elliott's assertion that her son's 
courage and prudence in battle 
were rare, 62 

Lusk, Graham, Professor of Physi- 
ology, Yale University, 19 

Lusk, Lilly (Perkins n^e Lusk), loi, 
127, 128, 145, 146, 151, 157, 160, 
162, 164, 168, 175, 192, 211, 212, 
223, 227, 235, 238, 239, 244, 253, 
254, 261, 290 

Lusk, Dr. William C, 19 

Lusk, William Thompson, Memo- 
rials of, 7-31; birth, 9, 13, 21; 
education, 9, 10, 14, 16; his mili- 
tary service in the 79th Regi- 
ment New York Volunteers, 10, 
14; military offices held by, 10, 
14; member of the Loyal Legion 
of the United States, 11; papers 
on various medical subjects, 17- 
19; Science and Art of Midwifery , 
18, 19; medical offices held by. 
President of the Faculty and Pro- 
fessor of Obstetrics and of the 
Diseases of Women and Children 
in Belle vue Hospital Medical Col- 
lege, II, 16, 17, 23, 26; consulting 
physician to the Maternity Hos- 
pital, and to the Foundling Asy- 
lum, visiting physician to the 
Emergency Hospital, ii, 17; con- 
sulting obstetrician to the Society 
of the Lying-in Hospital of the 
City of New York, 17; Gynecol- 
ogist to Bellevue and St. Vin- 
cent's Hospitals, II; Obstetric 
Physician to the Bellevue Hos- 



INDEX 



299 



pital, 17; Honorary Fellow of 
the Edinburgh and London Ob- 
stetrical Societies, ii, 17, 24; 
corresponding Fellow of the Ob- 
stetrical Societies of Paris and 
Leipsic and the Paris Academy of 
Medicine, 11, 17, 24; President 
of the American Gynecological 
Society, President of the New 
York State Medical Association, 
II, 17, 22; Vice-president of the 
New York Obstetrical Society, 11, 
17, 26; Professor of Physiology 
and Microscopic Anatomy in the 
Long Island College Hospital, 16, 
23; married Mary Hartwell Chit- 
tenden, 19; married Mrs. Ma- 
thilda Thorn, 19; children of, 19. 
Valedictory address of, on his 
graduation from the Bellevue 
Hospital Medical College, 35- 
43; Tfu Illustrious Boerhaavty 43 
Letters of — to his mother, Mrs. 
Elizabeth F. Lusk: from George- 
town Heights: joins the 79th 
Highland Regiment, 48, 49; 
Glebewood, Va.: invasion of the 
"sacred soil," camp life, 49-51; 
near Centerville: skirmish of 
Blackburn's Ford, 51-53; first 
battle of Bull Run, 53-60; Me- 
ridian Hill, Washington: W. T. 
Sherman's inconsiderate behavior 
at Fort (Corcoran, 67-69; intoxi- 
cation of troops after pay-day, 
Gov. Stevens of Washington Ter- 
ritory made Col. of the Highland- 
ers, characterization of Gen*l 
Tyler, 70-72; Camp Causten: the 
mutiny in the 79th Regiment, 72- 
76; Kosciusko Farm: incidents of 
army life, 80-82; Camp Advance, 
Va.: tales of camp life, 87-89; 
start on Port Royal expedition, 
leave of absence granted, given 
up, 89-90; on the " Vanderbilt " 



en route for Fortress Monroe: 
Gen'l Thos. W. Sherman com- 
manding the expedition, 91, 92; 
Fort Monroe: hardships of out- 
post life, irritating acts of in- 
solence by his superior officer, 
appointed Aide-de-camp to Gen'l 
Stevens, 93, 94; Hilton Head, S. 
C: storm at sea, naval engage- 
ment at Port Royal, describes the 
neighborhood of Hilton Head, 
95^9^; A season of pillage, pic- 
tures the environment, 99-102; 
acknowledging box from friends, 
102-105; Port Royal District: the 
occupation of Beaufort, camp 
duties, the military situation, 
106, 107; Beaufort: raids on the 
rebel pickets, characterization of 
William Elliott, no, in; ill with 
fever, in, 112; rapid recovery, 
the " New Year's call " (action at 
Port Royal Ferry), negro stories 
of feeling of depression among 
South Carolina troops, treatment 
of prisoners, 11 2-1 15; receipt of 
sword from W. W. Phelps, his 
efforts to secure William Elliott's 
promotion, 116, 117; scouting on 
Hospa Creek, Thomas W. Sher- 
man's expedition against Fort 
Pulaski, newspaper glory, 118- 
120; arrival of the Connecticut 
battery, time of his appointment 
as Captain, 120, 121; character- 
ization of General Stevens, 122, 
123; reasons for not encouraging 
his mother to visit Beaufort, news 
of the capture of Fort Donelson, 
a picket episode, 124-126; the 
" excellent females " brought 
hither for the regeneration of the 
negro race, 127-129; his com- 
mendation of McClellan in the 
face of savage attack, 129-132; 
Gen'l Thos. W. Sherman super- 



^ -'• \ 



300 



INDEX 



icded by Gcnl David Hunter, 
reasons for inactivity of the Com- 
mand, reasonable possibilities ac- 
complished, doubts the fincerity 
of a few of the " Brethren," hii 
clothes beginning to grow rusty, 
looks for an early victorious 
career of the Command, 132-135; 
asking his mother to see Mrs. 
Gen. Stevens who was returning 
to New York, 135, 136; bombard- 
ment of Pulaski begun, vaccina- 
tion a perfect safeguard against 
smallpox, suffering torments from 
sand-flies, characterization of 
William Elliott, 136-138; the fall 
of No. 10, the battle at Corinth, 
and the surrender of Pulaski, dis- 
gusted with emancipation experi- 
ments, 140-142; acknowledging 
gift of a flag, political howl- 
ing against McClellan, 143-145; 
his sister's marriage, character- 
ization of newspaper correspond- 
ents, 145-147; escape of the 
steamer Planter, characterization 
of GenM Hunter, 147, 148; " On- 
ward to Charleston,'* 149; James 
Island: much skirmishing, 150, 
151; distrust of General Benham, 
152; battle of Secessionville, the 
project of storming the battery 
conceived in utter folly, indigna- 
tion at useless bloodshed, re- 
covery of his sword, 156, 157; 
Battery Island: unable to get 
leave of absence, a plague of in- 
sects, 160-162; en route to For- 
tress Monroe: is glad to leave a 
malarious atmosphere, 163-165; 
Newport News: desires promo- 
tion, characterization of Gen'l 
Benham, 166-168; would accept 
an appointment in one of the new 
Connecticut regiments, 169; per- 
sonal appearance of General Hal- 



leck, 170; characterization of 
William Ely, expresses views on 
the draft, 171, 172; 00 board 
steamer "Efan Ci^/' at Acqoia 
Creek: serving as Acting Assist- 
ant .\djut--Gcn., 173. 174; Fred- 
enckslmrg: indignation at army 
atrocities toward non-combat- 
anu, 176-178; near Alexandria: 
battle of Chantilly, death of Gen- 
eral Stevens, army mismanage- 
ment, 180, iSi; Meridian Hill, 
Wadiington, D. C: the army de- 
moralized by political Generals, 
depletion of the ranks of the 
Highlanders to 230 men, his own 
ser\'ices unrecognized, 188-190; 
near Sharpslmrg: after the battle 
of .-Vntietam; an unsuccessful 
candidate for position in the i8th 
Conn., political influences in 
securing promotion, 199-202; 
abandons all thought of promo- 
tion and contents himself with 
doing his duty, 209-211; Moadi 
of Antietam Creek: 79th High- 
landers transferred to a new 
brigade and he consequently re- 
signs his position on Colonel 
Christ's staff, characterization of 
Gen'l Pope, 211-213; Antietam 
Iron Works: encloses Special 
Order mentioning him for gal- 
lant and meritorious conduct, 
etc., 217, 218; Camp Israd, Pleas- 
ant Valley: unfairness in army 
promotions, 220-222, Camp near 
Southville, Va.: recrossed into Vir- 
ginia, 222, 223; near Rectonrille, 
Va.: army support of McClellan, 
224-226; near Fredericksburg: 
his turn to go home on leave dis- 
regarded, 229, 230; near Fal- 
mouth: the efforts of officers to 
check outrage neutralized by the 
accursed conduct of the Press, 



INDEX 



301 



McClellan's abilitiesy wretched 
army system, marauding pro- 
pensities of the troops, 230-233; 
picture of camp life on Thanks- 
giving Day, trick to deprive him 
of the Majorship of the 79th 
Highlanders, 233-235; philoso- 
phizes over having lost the 
Majorship, wishes an appoint- 
ment in the Regular Army, " Old 
Abe's" emancipation plans, leave 
of absence refused, 238-240; gen- 
eral suffering for want of clothes, 
dining on fried potatoes, promo- 
tions by War Department given 
to young untried officers, 240- 
242; letter written just before 
the battle of Fredericksburg: 
patriotic exhortation, 242-244; 
description of the battle of Fred- 
ericksburg, 244-248; criticism of 
the disastrous affair at Freder- 
icksburg, rumors of the resigna- 
tion of Lincoln's cabinet, reason 
for having lost faith in Halleck, 
praise for McClellan, despair over 
the paltry policy of the adminis- 
tration, 254-257; his mortifica- 
tion over being in a subordinate 
position. Army promotions not 
based on fitness, 257-259; philoso- 
phizes over his adversities, 266, 
267; cheerfulness over impending 
action in the thought of being 
able to contribute something to 
the Cause, 268; expecting to 
meet the enemy on the morrow, 
hope is dominant, patriotic ex- 
hortation, 271-273; the coveted 
" leave " still unobtainable, an- 
noyance caused by his superior 
officer, discusses the command of 
the Army of the Potomac, 273- 
275; Baltimore: starting back for 
the scene of conflict (Harper's 
Ferry), 282; Maryland Heights: 



walks twelve miles from Point of 
Rocks to join Gen'l Tyler who 
installs him on his staff as 
A. A. General, 282, 283; TKnixning- 
ton: his troops placed on the 
inactive list, he chafes under the 
enforced idleness and plans re- 
turning to his studies, 285-287; 
a few days in New York during 
the Draft Riots, Gcn'l Tyler's 
promised promotion halted by 
circumstances, 290, 291; gets a 
couple of days' leave of absence, 
had been indulging in book read- 
ing, 291, 292; social pastimes at 
Wilmington, news from Harry 
Heffron of the 79th Highlanders, 
292-294 

— to his uncle, John Adams. From 
James Island: battle of Seces- 
sionville, denounces the action of 
General Benham, 153-155 

— to Horace Barnard. From Beau- 
fort, S. C: satire on political in- 
terference in military matters, 
138-140; near Antietam Creek: 
commentary on McClellan, char- 
acterization of General Stevens, 
214-217 

— to his sister Lillie. From Camp 
near Falmouth, Va.: on New 

. Year's Eve he determines to be 
cheerful in the knowledge that 
Providence doeth all things well, 
holiday festivities, 261-263 

— to Mrs. Henry G. Thompson. 
On going to join his regiment, 47; 
Meridian HUl, Washington: inci- 
dents of camp life, 63-66; Camp 
Causten (the Kosciusko farm) : the 
79th Highlanders after the first 
Bull Run reduced by death and 
desertion from 1000 to 700 men 
capable for action, 77-80; Camp 
Advance: restoration of colors to 
Highlanders, good health of the 




302 



INDEX 



Regiment, camp incidents, 82-85; 
WiliiitiigtDD: exultation after Get- 
tysburg and V'icksburg, 284, 285 

McBride, Capuin, 257 
McClellan, General, 81, 88, 130, 145, 

146, 163, 181, 202, 214, 224, 225, 

227, 231, 239, 251, 2s6, 271, 275 
McDonald, Dr., 83, 112, 210, 211, 

212, 224, 230, 248, 251, 258, 266, 

271, 293 
McDowell, General, 54, 181, 255 
McKaye, Colonel, 288 
Manassas, battle of, 15, 64, 65, 68, 

80, 213 
Mansfield, General, 68 
Martin, George, 123 
Maryland Heights, 294 
Matteson, Major, 167, 190, 192, 

195. 196 

" Mf mortal History of the City 0] 
New York, The;* Draft Riots in 
New York City, 288, 289 

Meech, Mr., 227 

Merrill, — , 134 

Merwin, First-Lieutenant, 175 

Mintzing, Miss, no, 119, 162 

Monoyer, Dr., 14 

More, Major, 234, 237, 257 

Morgan, Governor E. D., 10, 14, 
116, 217, 218, 219, 259; letter to 
Colonel Farnsworth in regard to a 
furlough for Captain Lusk on his 
being tendered the Lieut.-Colo- 
nelcy of the Blair Light Infantry, 
278 

Morrison, Lieut.-Colonel, 93, 229, 
234, 236, 257, 274, 279 

Newport News, 166 

New York County Medical Asso- 
ciation, 21 

New York Evening Post, 140, 196, 
198, 227 

New York Express, 227 

New York Herald, 191, 227, 252 



New York Medico! JonmaL, ii, 18, 

New York Obstetrical Society, ii, 

17; tribute to the memory of 

William Thompson Lask, M.D^ 

LL.D., 25-31 

New York State Medical Assocuh 

tion, II, 17, 22 
New York Tiwus, Th^^ 191, 287 
New York Tribune^ 191, 196, 227, 

287 
New York World, 227 
Nichols, Captain, 286, 288. 
Norwich, Conn., 9, 13, 175, 258, 286 
Norwich Morning Bulletin, 53, 55, 

IS9 

Olmstead, — , 41 
Opdyke, Mr., 238 
Opdyke, Mayor, 278 
0*Rourke, — ,134 
Osgood, Dr., 228 

Parke, General, 293 

Paris, 10, 16, 23 

Peaslee, Dr. Edmund R., 30 

Perkins, Thomas, loi, 104, 120, 

148, 211, 218, 227, 23s, 244, 263, 

270, 287 
Phelps, Isaac N., loi, 105, no, 116, 

119, 126, 127, 135, 217, 219, 234, 

237, 248, 254, 277, 290 
Phelps, Mrs. Isaac N., 105, 127, 

135. 253» 290 

Phelps, Sarah, 257 

Phelps, Mrs. Walter, 138 

Phelps, William Walter, 87, 92, loi, 
104, no, in, 116, 129, 157, 164, 
170, 211, 218, 259, . . . : letters of, 
to Mrs. E. F. Lusk: from New 
York: his interview with Gov. 
Morgan regarding a Commission 
for her son, 219, 220; announ- 
cing the receipt of a Commission 
for Major W. T. Lusk, 235, 236: 
letter of, to W. T. Lusk telling of 



INDEX 



303 



his receipt of the Commission and 

its recall, 236-238 
Piatt, Colonel, 282 
Pier, Captain, 198 
Plantety The steamer, 148 
Point of Rocks, 282, 294 
Pope, General, 163, 171, 177, i8l, 

19s, 199, 213, 2I4» 231 
Port Royal, 10, 14, 89, 94, 95, 166 
Porter, — , 225 
Prague, 10, 16, 23 
Prentiss, Rev. Mr., 264 
Pringles, The, 107 
Pulaski, 119, 136, 141 



"Rebellion Record^ The,^* extracts 
from, 54; Bull Run, 60-62; Port 
Royal, 98; reconnoissance on the 
Corinth road, 142; battle of Se- 
cessionville, 158, 159; battle of 
South Mountain, 203, 204, 209; 
surrender of Harper's Ferry, 205; 
honorable mention of Capt. W. 
T. Lusk, 218 

Reynolds, Tom, 119 

Richmond Examiner ^ Thf, 87 

Riley, Mr., 264 

Robert, pilot of the Planter, 148 

Rockwell, Capt. A. P., 120, 125, 
136, 157, 159, 163, 167, 168, 225 

Rosecrans, General, 152 

Rowe, Dr., 40, 41 

Russell's Military School, 13, 258 

Sandford, — , loi 

Sanger, Prof., 31 

Schenck, General Robert C, 181 

Schurz, Gen. Carl, 181, 189 

" Science and Art of Midwifery, The,*' 

10, II, 18, 19, 23 
Scott, General, 49 
Secessionville on James Island, 10, 

14, 153-159, 225 
Seifert, Prof., 16 

Seymour, Governor Horatio, 224, 

252, 277, 279 



Sherman, Gen. Thomas W., 91, 119, 

122. 123, 128, 132, 134, 141, 148 
Sherman, Col. W. T., 51; his report 

of first battle of Bull Run, 60; 67, 

68 
Sigel, General Franz, 178, x8i, 214 
Sims, Dr. Marion, 30 
Simpson, Sir James Y., 16 
Sloat, — , 144 
Smith, Dr. A. Alexander, his address 

in memory of William Thompson 

Lusk, M.D., LL.D., 13 
South Mountain, battle of, 10, 15, 

197, 203 
Spooner, Rev. Albert, 13 
Sprague, General I. T., 279, 280 
Stanton, Secretary, 273, 275 
Starkweather, Mr., 282 
Stedman, Edward, 173 
Stevens, Captain Hazard, 180, 241 
Stevens, Gen. Isaac I. (see Life of), 

IS, 70, 73, 74, 75, 90, 91, 93, 94, 
104, 113, 152, 154, 156, 157, 162, 

163, 164, 167, 168, 169, 180, 188, 

190, 191, 193, 196, 213, 214, 215, 

225, 234, 254, 255 

Stevens, Mrs. Isaac I., 135, 196, 198 

Stewart, A. T., 238 

Stowe, Mrs. Harriet B., 293 

Sumner, General, 257, 275 

Tappan, John, 260 

Taylor, Dr. Isaac E., 30 

''The 79/A Highlanders New York 
Volunteers in the War of the 
Rebellion" extracts from, 51; 
Blackburn's Ford, 54, 55; recon- 
noissance at Lewinsville, 85; 115, 
117; Bull Run, 184, 185; South 
Mountain, 205, 207; Fredericks- 
burg, 249, 250; " Mud Cam- 
paign," 268, 269 

Thompson, Mrs. Henry G., 47, 62, 
63, 77, 82, 105, 140, 151, 217, 223, 
244, 271, 284 

Thorn, Mrs. Matilda, 19 



V