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.

June 22, 2012

War diary and letters of Stephen Minot Weld

Headquarters 5th Prov. Army Corps,
Camp near New Bridge, June 22, 1862.

Dear Father, — Why don’t they send us reinforcements? From present appearances, we shall stay here all summer sweltering under this powerful sun, our ranks daily .decreasing from sickness and exposure, all from want of reinforcements. Unless we are attacked by the enemy, or unless General McClellan gets some very favorable chance to attack them, there will be no fighting for some time, and in case of a battle the result, to say the least, is extremely doubtful. They greatly outnumber us, and are daily throwing up trenches and batteries right opposite our army. In the face of all these facts, and notwithstanding McClellan’s frequent and earnest appeals for more troops, the Government at Washington refuses us any reinforcements. The Abolitionists in Congress have a great deal to do with this, and are purposely protracting the war in order to render emancipation necessary, and are so endangering our existence as a nation united and whole. It is decidedly disagreeable to sit down here and see things go on so, and feel that we are liable to be whipped at any time, when victory could be made certain for us. McDowell holds hack as long as he can, and would be glad to see McClellan defeated. If he were anything of a general he could defend Washington or the Rappahannock, with 20,000 men and let the rest come here. At the end of the war, I think that a history of these facts will come out, which will fully vindicate McClellan, and show up Stanton and Co. in their true light. By the way, I heard of a remark he made when coming into office. “McClellan organizing the army? It is the Democratic party he is organizing I’ll clip his comb for him.” Now General McC. would not accept of the Presidency if it were offered him, according to the most positive assertions of his friends. He has a complete copy of all telegrams, etc., received from Stanton, which his friends will let out at the proper time. All this, of course, is to be kept for yourself and no one else.

I called on Colonel Barnes the other day and had a very kind reception from him. I also saw my captain. I don’t think there will be any chance for my promotion unless it comes in the regular order from vacancies arising in my regiment which will push me along.

I have got some things which I am going to send home. One is a club which I got from Sayres’s house where Mrs. General Lee was imprisoned. The family have all left, leaving the place in charge of negroes. One of the women, who let me in the house, said the club was one which belonged to John Brown, and which was taken from him at Harper’s Ferry. Then I have some fossils, etc., which I took from a pretty collection there called the Marlborne collection. Also a book which I found in the house, everything except the cabinet being taken away. Also a shell which the rebels fired at us a day or two ago from the other side of the Chickahominy. . . .

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