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August 23rd, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
visit to-day from Mason Norvell, whom you may remember in Detroit. He was just from Detroit, and brought me many messages from my friends there, and said I could not realize how much they thought of me in Detroit. I don't think you need fear my becoming a politician, and I believe such persons will let me alone so long as I am successful, or do not meet with any disaster; and if I am unlucky, it will not make much difference what my sentiments are; I shall have to go by the board. August 23, 1863. It must be very strange, traveling to Cape May in a railroad car, though I have no doubt, after you get there, everything, as you say, looks like old times. I wish dearly I could be with you, to enjoy the breeze and the luxurious bathing in the surf, to say nothing of the great fun of building forts in the sand with dear Willie, Sarah and Henrietta. Children of General Meade. But such happiness is denied me, and all I can do is to hope you will enjoy yourselves and benefit by t
August 27th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
he trip. To-day is Sunday. I attended service this afternoon, held by the chaplain of the regiment attached to my headquarters. It was a mongrel sort of service, being made up from our service and the Presbyterian. He made a short and pertinent discourse. We never have had the right kind of men for chaplains in the army. They mostly come apparently only for the pay, and either do nothing, or else make themselves obnoxious by interfering in matters they have no business with. August 27, 1863. To-morrow is the grand presentation day. I have not made the slightest preparation in the way of a speech, and have not the slightest idea what I shall say. Governor Curtin, I understand, is to make the presentation address; so, of course, I shall be overwhelmed with his eloquence and perhaps dumfounded. On reflection, I thought it absurd for me to make any labored effort; that it being entirely out of my line, I should most likely do worse than if I just trusted to luck and said
August 31st, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
ded. On reflection, I thought it absurd for me to make any labored effort; that it being entirely out of my line, I should most likely do worse than if I just trusted to luck and said what at the time seemed to me pertinent and suitable. August 31, 1863. I send you to-day some scraps from the newspapers. The first is an extract from the London correspondent of the Presbyterian, which Ben. Gerhard Benjamin Gerhard, brother-in-law of Mrs. Meade. sent to me, and which I consider very and presentation from Forney's Chronicle, which is the best and most accurate account I have seen. The article mentioned is an editorial, and only extracts of the speech are given. The speech was reported in full in the New York Tribune, August 31, 1863. See Appendix E. The speech is accurately reported, with one exception, and that is where I am made to say, I hoped the people of Pennsylvania would re-elect Governor Curtin. I said nothing of the kind, and made no allusions to elections.
September 3rd, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
rally pretty good men, and I trust the example made of the five deserters, who were shot on Saturday, will check the evil of desertion. This execution was witnessed by a very large number of soldiers, and I am told the only remark made was, Why did they not begin this practice long ago? Not a murmur against the justice or the propriety of the act was heard. Indeed, the men are the most anxious to see this great evil cured, as they know their own security will be advanced thereby. September 3, 1863. The expedition has been quite successful; the boats were found at Port Royal and were destroyed by our artillery fire from this side. The expedition sent to destroy them consisted of cavalry and artillery, but as they had to go a long distance, over forty miles from the main part of my army, I had to send infantry to support them, and to guard the lower crossing places to prevent the enemy coming over and cutting them off. This has stirred us up a little. We have also had a visi
September 5th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
giment, and on his return must have been captured, as nothing has since been heard of him. I have written Cortlandt Cortlandt Parker, brother of William Parker. about it, but I fear the news of his disappearance got into the papers before my letter reached him, as I received a telegram to-day from his father enquiring about it. I sent up my sword and fixings, but at the request of our express agent, it is to be exhibited for a short time at Galt's jewelry shop, in Washington. September 5, 1863. Have you seen a very bitter article in Wilkes's Spirit of the Times, of August 29th? For article mentioned, see Appendix F. He says the victory of Gettysburg was due entirely to the strength of the position and the heroic bravery of the common soldiers, and was entirely independent of any strategy or military ability displayed by any general from the senior down. He then charges me with imbecility and timidity, and says the Army of the Potomac never can do anything so long as
September 8th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
nd it is also equally true that if the men had not fought as well as they did, I should have been beaten; but I have yet to learn the existence in history of a general whose genius was equal to winning victory when all the advantages were against him, and his men would not fight. Wilkes is a Hooker man; but whether his article was inspired by any of the friends of this officer, I am not prepared to say, and can hardly believe such to be the case. Headquarters army of the Potomac, September 8, 1863. Yesterday I reviewed the Third Corps, commanded by General French. The day was pretty hot, and I had to ride six miles to the review and back the same distance. I received recently a very handsome bouquet from two ladies in Sheboygan, Wisconsin; I send you the note accompanying it. Likewise a curious letter written by a rebel refugee in Canada. I am in receipt of such curious documents all the time. Headquarters army of the Potomac, September 11, 1863. Everything remains
September 11th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
ers army of the Potomac, September 8, 1863. Yesterday I reviewed the Third Corps, commanded by General French. The day was pretty hot, and I had to ride six miles to the review and back the same distance. I received recently a very handsome bouquet from two ladies in Sheboygan, Wisconsin; I send you the note accompanying it. Likewise a curious letter written by a rebel refugee in Canada. I am in receipt of such curious documents all the time. Headquarters army of the Potomac, September 11, 1863. Everything remains quiet and in statu quo. Humphreys has gone to Philadelphia for a few days to see his wife, who is in the country, and will call to see you, and give you the latest news from camp. I wrote you in my last, of being the recipient of a bouquet from Wisconsin; but since then I have been honored with two very valuable presents. The first is a handsome scarf pin of gold and enamel. It is accompanied with a very flattering note stating it was made in England, and br
September 13th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
s he intends visiting the army and making my acquaintance. The second present is five hundred most delicious Havana cigars, sent to me by a Mr. Motley, of New York, whom I accidentally met at the sword presentation to General Sedgwick, and to whom I must have been particularly civil, or in some way made a great impression on him, to induce him to send me five hundred cigars. So you see there is some compensation for the misery we have to suffer. Headquarters army of the Potomac, September 13, 1863. A few days ago some scouts I had sent across the river returned and reported that Lee's army was moving back to Richmond. They asserted positively that that portion near Fredericksburg had actually gone. I did not and do not much rely on their story, though I could not doubt but that a portion of his force had been sent away for some purpose either to re-inforce Beauregard at Charleston or Bragg in the South West. It was necessary, however, that I should make some effort to a
September 16th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
as to whether Lee is withdrawing is unsettled, though Pleasanton sends word that all the information that he is able to pick up goes to support the rumor that he is falling back. Should it prove true, I suppose some movement on my part will be necessary; but what, I can't say, as with my limited force I don't see how I can advance much farther, and there is no probability of their permitting me to go to the James River, as it uncovers Washington. Headquarters army of the Potomac, September 16, 1863. The enclosed correspondence will explain itself. The day I received Mr. Young's letter, there was visiting at my camp the Hon. John Covode, of Pennsylvania, and Colonel Puleston, a friend of Governor Curtin. Both these gentlemen were present at the presentation and heard my remarks; both are ardent Republicans, yet they admitted they did not hear me make any reference to election day; on the contrary, admired the skill with which I praised Curtin without alluding to his politica
September 19th, 1863 AD (search for this): chapter 6
d men, it will not produce over twenty-five thousand, and they mostly worthless. There is no volunteering, and this time next year the whole of this army of veterans goes out of service, and no visible source of resupply. And yet no one seems to realize this state of affairs, but talks of going to war with England, France, and the rest of the world, as if our power was illimitable. Well, Heaven will doubtless in good time bring all things right. Headquarters army of the Potomac, September 19, 1863. At present I am very busy. I made the advance I did under the belief that Lee had sent away a large portion of his army, and would perhaps, if threatened, retire to Richmond. I find, however, he evinces no disposition to do so, but is, on the contrary, posted in a very strong position behind the Rapidan, where he can hold me in check, and render it very difficult to pierce his line or turn his position. Under these circumstances I have referred the question to Washington. To
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