Following the American Civil War Sesquicentennial with day by day writings of the time, currently 1863.

Post image for War Diary and Letters of Stephen Minot Weld.

War Diary and Letters of Stephen Minot Weld.

May 26, 2013

War diary and letters of Stephen Minot Weld

Headquarters 1st Army Corps, May 26, 1863.

Dear Father, — I am happy to say that I have left General Benham and gone with General Reynolds. My position here is only as acting aide, but still it is on a corps staff, and with a brave and fine general. I might have obtained a position on Crawford’s staff or on General Barnes’s staff as a regular aide, but I preferred this place. I told General Benham that I should like to leave him, and soon after I met General Reynolds, to whom I told the whole story. He told me that I acted perfectly right throughout the whole affair. . . .

I see no prospect of our moving for some three or four months. Our army is growing smaller every day and will soon be reduced to 55,000 men fit for duty. Our loss in the recent battles was between 17,000 and 18,000 men in killed, wounded, and missing. This is true, although the officer in command of this army has reported it at only to 10,000 or 12,000. He has also reported that one cause of his retreat was the rising of the river, on account of the storm. Now, I know that the retreat was ordered long before the storm came up, some 12 hours before. I was at United States Ford when the storm began, and our wagons and part of our artillery had started some time before. I think it possible that General Hooker may have been seriously affected by that shell which struck a pillar he was leaning against and knocked him senseless. I think that he may not have recovered from the shock for some days and that he was not himself when he ordered the retreat. His plan certainly seems to have been a good one.

I wish you would send me the Saturday Evening Gazette once in a while. It has some articles in it that are quite interesting. . . .

General Reynolds has treated me very kindly through out this whole affair. I spoke to General Sedgwick after I had this place on General R.’s staff, and told him what I had done. He also said that I had acted perfectly right in the whole affair. When he saw me coming into his tent, he said, “Well, Weld, has old Benham shipped you or have you shipped old Benham?” He was very kind to me. General Benham has been boring him dreadfully about this matter and he is thoroughly sick of him.

General Benham’s adjutant-general, inspector-general, and his other aide have left him, and the remaining two officers on his staff will leave as soon as possible.

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