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.

September 17, 2013

Woolsey family letters during the War for the Union

Abby Howland Woolsey to H. Gilman.

Brattleboro, September 17.

I hope soon to hear of the girls’ arrival at Point Lookout. Georgy wrote us of her night at your house and how good you all were to her and to her soldiers too.

Mother is much interested in the hospital here and has been up several times; is interested in the worst way, that is, without the opportunity of doing anything. The wards are thrown open every afternoon from two to five, but visitors are few, and even the kind words she can take, and those of other ladies from this house, seem valued. The men said, “You are so different, ladies, from some that come here, who only walk through and stare at us as if we were wild beasts.” One man was almost convulsed at seeing Mother, and, with tears, would hardly let her hand go. “I knew you, ma’am, the minute you came in. You were at Gettysburg, and were the first one that dressed my arm.” And there the poor arm still lay, useless and swollen, and constant streams of cold water necessary to keep down inflammation.

The same wretched want marks this hospital as all others: the little attention paid to the food of the sick men. Typhoid patients are starving on pork slop, or eat smuggled sutler’s pies of the toughest sort, from a craving for food of some kind. Some of those alphabets for “spelling games” which Mother took up were a great amusement to them, and to-day in the book-store Mother saw one of the soldiers trying to buy some more. None were for sale, but Mother promised him some, and at the printing office ordered, for a very little trifle, a hundred alphabets, which she will give them. . . . We hear that Joe was drafted in Fishkill, and as colored! the “colonel ” before his name which the enrolling officer inserted, being so understood. He feels himself a thorough black Republican now. The villagers met him at the depot one day as he came up from New York and informed him he was drawn, and he had to make them a speech, telling them what an honor he should consider it, if he were well enough, to go, but he should find a substitute (which he has done, a “veteran “), etc., etc. They called out now and then, “That’s so! that’s right, we knew you would take a proper view of it!”

When the substitute was ready to leave for the front, he came to say goodbye, “a little the worse for wear,” and assured Joe with a beaming smile, “Kurnel, you’re a noble man, and I’ll exhonorate your name!”

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