Stevenson, Ala., Mon., Oct. 5th, 1863.—Major Generals Hooker and Butterfield arrived here on Saturday night. I have been engaged preparing headquarters for them and their staff. They spend nearly all their time in my office, and of course draw quite a crowd around them. Gen. Hooker is in command of all the troops sent here from Virginia, and Butterfield is his Chief of Staff. These troops at present are scattered from Nashville to Bridgeport, and the General will keep his headquarters here until there is some other movement. He is located within a few yards of my quarters.
Ruger’s Brigade is back on the railroad thirty or forty miles. We expect the Adjutant down here every train. With the exception of two or three little raids across the river, up towards Chattanooga, resulting in the loss of some wagons and stores, everything is quiet about here. I wait and watch for things to settle down, so that you can come to me, but the time has not yet arrived. Your army experience will be defective unless you can make a campaign in Alabama as well as in Missouri and Tennessee. Capt. Blake is here. I find him very gentlemanly and obedient. Sickness, mostly ague, is on the increase in the regiment, none dangerously ill.
Major-General Howard, who commands the 11th Army Corps, Sigel’s old command, was here yesterday. He is located at Bridgeport. The three Major-Generals were together in my quarters yesterday, and if you are willing I will give you a description of them.
General Hooker is a large, finely built, erect man, about 45 to 50 years old, shaves smooth, has light blue eyes and homely nose, and is one of the most familiar and affable men I have ever met. He impresses you at once with the idea that he is brave and true, and as kind and tender-hearted as a woman. He is one of those men who not only commands respect and confidence, but love. He is very entertaining in conversation, and last evening gave me a history of his connection with the Army of the Potomac, from which I learned more of the operations there than I ever knew before. He is thoroughly satisfied that history will fully vindicate the correctness of his generalship there so far as he was permitted to act on his own judgment. He complained bitterly of Washington interference and I doubt not with good cause.
Butterfield is a small, handsome man, about thirty-five years old. He is quiet, unostentatious, and in manners a polished gentleman. He talks but little, but is evidently a man of great intellectual power. He labors incessantly. One of his staff said that he never rests and never allows any rest to any one about him.
Howard is a small man, and with the exception that his hair is quite gray, appears young. I do not think him much over thirty-five. He lost an arm at the battle of Fair Oaks. In manners he appears very much like Samuel D. Hastings. He has a mild blue eye, is very handsome, very affable, and is really what the ladies call a charming man. Added to these qualities, be is a very brave man and deeply pious. We seldom see three such men together in the army or in any other place.
The staff officers are all young men, and very pleasant gentlemen. Col. Fessenden, a son of Senator Fessenden of Maine, is one of them.