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

Post image for Woolsey Family during the War.

Woolsey Family during the War.

June 20, 2012

Woolsey family letters during the War for the Union

From Edward Mitchell.

White House, June 20, 1862.

My dear Father: Heavy firing in the advance this A. M. Since writing to Fred. I have had no time to write another word. Sitting up late that night, I was waked up, with Drs. Jenkins and Haight, to go ashore for 24 hours at 3 A. M. In consequence of being routed out at this unusual hour, yesterday was spent, so far as leisure hours were concerned, in deep sleep. . . . I now write to thank you for your kind expressions of regard for my health, and of love for me; and for your desire to see me with you once more. . . .

My health—it is excellent. . . . And so far it has been possible to find an assistant, who though stupid to an extent and lazy, is willing to go twice a day to wait an hour or more for commissary stores;—it would be perfectly disgusting to me. . . . I doubt much if Mr. Olmsted will be willing to let me go home for some months at least. The staff is now well organized, and the departure of one would throw very much labor on another who would not understand it at all. This is especially so in my case. The drawing of rations requires much care, and to know what stores the Commission has, and where they are, one must be continually among them. . . . You were right about the rebel cavalry, not I. It was very bold. Gen. Stuart commanded. In case we had been called out, I had intended to use only the bayonet and to creep round if possible on the flank of the enemy and charge at my own time—have lain in ambush, in other words. I think Sawtelle would have been willing to allow me my own way, for as he was a regular, he of course placed not much reliance, if any, on such a Falstaff army. . . .

Olmsted has a deal of tact; as much as a woman. Also much shrewdness and a very quiet manner. In some characteristics he reminds me a little of you, or rather what you would have been if you had been called more actively into public life. . . .

A battle is predicted to take place in three days, by Capt. Sawtelle; time will show.

The Webster and Spaulding go to New York. Dr. —— goes in charge of the latter. In my capacity of aide I delivered his sailing orders to him. He may be a very nice man and an excellent physician, but he has an unquenchable and unalterable desire to spread himself and his authority. I received instructions to bully him into staying on board in case he should attempt to come back to the White House! Some funny things occur here!

I regret immensely that I will be unable to be present at Neil’s commencement. I would rather loose $50 than not to be there. . . .

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