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.

March 7, 2013

War diary and letters of Stephen Minot Weld

Headquarters Army of the Potomac, March 7, 1863.

Dear Father, — I am very comfortably settled here at headquarters, and feel quite at home.

The first day I got here I dined with General Hooker. He has certainly one good quality and that is self-confidence, and a sure feeling that he will be successful. I feel pretty confident from what I heard said at his table that he will not have any interference from Washington, and that he will not stand anything of that kind. He is going to work in such a way that he will make himself popular in the army, and I think will gain the confidence of the soldiers. He will make a spoon or spoil the horn. It is uncertain what command General Benham [1] will have, although I think it may be a division, with the Engineer Brigade under Woodbury as a part. This private, of course.

We are messing together, but as we have no cook or cooking stove as yet, it is pretty hard scratching. I hope by Tuesday to have everything in shape, and ready to go ahead. I have a nice new wall tent, with a board floor and stove, and feel quite comfortable.

I met some of my old friends here. Among them was Lieutenant Perkins of Butterfield’s staff; I messed with him until we got our mess going.

General Benham went down the river on a reconnoissance the other day as far as Port Royal. To-morrow he will probably go up the river. I like him very much, and find him very pleasant and kind. I think I shall find my position very pleasant.

I am on the lookout for another aide for the general. He asked me if I knew of any officer. I think I can find one in the 2d or 10th Massachusetts. Captain Motley has gone on to General Gordon’s staff. To-morrow I shall try and go down to my regiment, and see whether I can get a place for George.[2]

I find I can have my own way on the staff here, and on that account it is, of course, much better than my former position. Then, too, General Benham seems to be a favorite of General Hooker’s, and will stand a very fair chance of promotion.

That letter in New York was from General Butterfield, advising me to return or resign. I saw him last night and explained the whole matter to him. He was quite kind.

[1] General Henry W. Benham.

[2] My cousin, George W. Weld, who was trying to get a commission. He was a son of William F. Weld, and a classmate of mine in College.

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