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

Post image for War Letters of William Thompson Lusk.

War Letters of William Thompson Lusk.

December 30, 2012

War Letters of 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 “despised,” 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 position 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 soldier’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 promised you. I admire the valor of your regiment, and, as Elliott says, “you can refuse to fight a duel now, having 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 forsaken. By-and-by you will look back on your humiliations and say, “They were hard, but they have done me good.” Beside, I can only acknowledge your disappointments. 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


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