November 20, 1863

Mayfield Santa Clara Co., Cal.

Dear Brother William,

Surprised doubtless you will be at receiving an epistle from you long absent Brother Charles. Yet I am determined to remind you that your prodigal brother yet exists and in the far off God Forsaken State of California, and a country pedagogue in the rural little village of Mayfield, where he pursues the “even tenor of his way.” […] I am begining  to come to the conclusion that I have so honed mine so as to turn out to be nothing but a “bounty school teacher – Bah! It realy  disgusts me. I grow richer and sicker of my business every day although I am getting very good wages. $811 per month. I am happy to hear of the prosperity that attends you and Malley. […]

I have been in California now over three years.  I have had a good many “ups and downs.” It would consume many sheets of paper for me to give you even a very slight sketch of my adventures, and they are many. Some amusing and some  – not quite – so much so to me.  Suffice it to say I have a very good position as teacher at present but how long I shall remain I hardly know. I can retain the position as long as I wish, but I am  working for something more lucrative. In fact I have almost made up my mind to go into Mexico in the Spring. If I make certain arrangements I shall be off in about two months. I have a number of friends there in the mining business.  ––– My health is very good. The climate of California is excellent. I often meet Maine men here + a number of Bowdoin College Students. I was in San Francisco and met on one of the street cars a College class mate of mine. He has been here only three months – You have no idea what a fast country California is. By that I mean immoral. You can have no conception of it. […]

Your affectionate Bro. C. S. McArthur

Charles McArthur to his brother, William McArthur [McArthur Family Papers]

November 19, 1863

11-19My dear Hubbard,

Yours of the 3rd inst. is just  recd. Three weeks ago tomorrow we left for my home in Ohio and my former home, Chicago. We returned yesterday and right glad are we to be home again although we had a most delightful visit. I met your friend Mr. Geo. W. Parsons in Chicago. He was very glad to hear that you were not going back to the war and he spoke very enthusiastically and complimentary of a former attache of their office.

We were greatly disappointed in your decision not to return to New York. We anticipated your return with great pleasure but although greatly disappointed in your final decision we will not complain but rather love and admire you the more that you can leave house and friends for the cause which needs the support of all – we had though that your patriotism was sufficiently manifested in the service already given by yourself and your heroic brother, but if you deem it your duty to go again all we can say is that you patriotism is worthy of yourself , and may God bless you, watch over you and return you to your home and friends in health and safety. [...]

Wm. H. Bridgman to member of the Hubbard Family [Hubbard Family Papers]

November 18, 1863

Lookout Valley, Tenn.

To the Editor of the Portland Press:

I notice in the Eastern Newspapers a great deal of misconception relative to the operations of that part of the Army of the Cumberland (including the recent reenforcement from the Army of the Potomac), which undertook and accomplished the opening of the Tennessee River and thereby relieve the starving forces at Chatanooga.

The enclosed order from Gen. Thomas gives so clear a statement of the results combined with a complimentary mention of prominent parties engaged that I hope you will find space for its publication.

The accompanying characteristic order of Gen. Howard was received with unusual marks of gratification by the officers & soldiers of his Command.

Please insert in large type in some conspicuous place in your Paper that the Rebels still hold Lookout Mountain. If some of the Editors of Northern Newspapers or some Correspondents who furnish vivid accounts of scenes and operations here, though themselves never nearer than Bridgeport, (30 miles off), could pass along this Valley during any one of the Day-light hours and have one of these air rending, earth-shattering shells come swooping down from the Upper Regions, past his head – he would appreciate both what is meant by Lookout and the possession of it; at if the lesson is not too dearly learnt – he will be able to inform his readers that the River is in our possession all the way to Chatanooga with the exception of about a mile opposite Lookout Point commanded by the guns of the Enemy not yet dislodged from the Mountain. The Peninsula across from the Pontoon bridge at Brown’s Ferry to that at Chatanooga is less than two (2) miles wide. Lookout Point is above three (3) miles from the city. So that there is an actual gain of distance in landing supplies at Brown’s Ferry. But the “Suck” (or shallows) between Kelly’s & Brown’s doesn’t permit <you> easy passage of the boats and so by crossing another peninsula formed by the Tennessee wagons can reach Kelly’s in a distance of five (5) miles from Brown’s, the boats usually leave their cargoes at Kelly’s. The Rebels did hold all of this portion of the Tennessee as also twenty miles more of it towards Bridgeport.

This was adroitly wrested from them by Gen. Hooker’s Command cooperating with forces from Chatanooga. The Southern papers say it is incomprehensible how the Federals got so complete possession of Lookout Valley in so short a time and not less so that Bragg should have suffered <there do so>.

Charles Henry Howard to Editor of the Portland Press [Charles Henry Howard Collection]

November 17, 1863

Camp DeTrobriand.

Engaged in writing today.  Had a call from Dr. H. And Lieut. Stevens.  A pleasant chat.  Also a call from Chaplain Adams of the Maine 5th.  Wish we could have a Chaplain like him..  Understand we are to have a Unitarian Chaplain.  Mr. A. informed me that I have been appointed Sergeant today.  Somehow I don’t want a Sergeant’s position at present, and then again I do.  However, I take what is given me.  If I am appointed, it is unknown to me only as I learn it from Mr. A. “Time will tell” as our old friend Rines used to say.

Received my Sergeant’s warrant tonight from the hand of Lieut. Richards after hearing it announced on dress parade that I was appointed.  My warrant dates from Nov. 1, 1863.  The old men do not like it, nor can I blame them, but they ought not find fault with me, for I am not to blame for receiving any appointment bettering my condition, provided I can perform the duty that must necessarily come with it.  Had chance to express myself to Sergeant Hobbs, since which I have felt better.  Shall endeavor to do my duty in every respect, and ask not whether it is popular with the boys or not.

The sun rose bright and clear this morning, and shortly after passed into a could—at home a cure sign of rain.  It rained a very little about sunrise, since which it has been changeable weather, now fair, now overcast and cloudy.  Hope to keep above the envy manifested by ignoramuses.

Diary of Edwin Emery [Edwin Emery Diaries and Memoir] 

November 16, 1863

West Point

Dear Father,

I received your letter of 8th inst. with a short letter from Mother enclosed.

I am sorry you feel so bad about my demerits. I did not get into any bad habits but was unfortunate. When I can find the time I will copy them off and send them to you and then you can judge for yourself.

There is nothing new.

Your Affectionate Son,
Malcolm McArthur

Malcolm McArthur to his father, Arthur McArthur [McArthur Family Papers]

November 15, 1863

Headquarters Eleventh Corps Lookout Valley

My dear brother,

[...] They fire every day more or less. Yesterday a Shell buried itself three feet in the ground within a dozen yards of where Otis & I were riding along. They possibly fired at a Wagon-train which was passing near us. As soon as we get the roads all corduroyed to Kelly’s Ferry, the wagons can go a route very little exposed. Our Head quarters are rather long range for them besides they are somewhat concealed by trees and we have no apprehensions that they will trouble us from Lookout though shells have struck within one quarter of a mile this morning.

I suppose this would be quite near enough for our peaceful people at home. I might say it is quite near enough for us but still we are so accustomed to the noise and so well aware of our safety when they are that distance from us that we have no more feeling of fear than father would have should he hear the sound of turning out a cart load of stones – which you know makes considerable noise.[...]

Your Affectionate brother C H Howard

November 14, 1863

Dear Malley,

It is Saturday evening, and there is little leisure, and will devote it to you. I suppose you will like to hear how we have been getting along since you left home. Cathrine [sic] went to Portland twice to see Dr Fitch, he gave her medicine, told her eat beef and ride, and keep out of doors as much as possible, for a while she was better and grew worse, one night was very sick, I went in for Mrs Clark, and got Mr Clark to go for Dr Livett, that was there three weeks last Thursday. He thought her very sick. He advised not to go out, she has not been out since, and is a great deal better. I feel quite encouraged now, think if she is carefull  she will get quite well. […]

How are you getting along at West Point? That interests me and all of us. Try will all of your might, to do your very best, the happiness that you will confer in your friends, by so doing, will amply repay you, so, don’t let your ambition flag, or get discouraged, at the difficulties. I should like to have you write to me, how you like your new studies, if they are interesting, or if you find them very hard. Anything about yourself is exceedingly interesting to me. Do you have the same room mate? Do you take lessons in dancing? In riding? Is you [sic] time agreeably spent, as it was last year? Please write me one good long letter. Do you look back upon your vacation with pleasure? I regret that I did not make it more interesting, and pleasant, about home, so that you could feel truly, ‘there is no place like home.’ Now my dear son, I do hope you will try to do your very best in your studies, in your conduct that you can look back upon your life at West Point with pleasure. [...]

Sarah Prince Miltimore McArthur to her son, Malcolm McArthur [McArthur Family Papers]

November 13, 1863

Stevinson, Ala

Dear Father,

I red  your letter for Oct 24th containing cashiers check for 150$ last night. Notwithstanding my letter of Nov 10 I think that I may have to use it, but whether I do or nor I am equally grateful for your kindness in sending it to me. Should I not use it I will send it to you.

I am still at the hospital though much better. Nothing will I think be done at present. […]

With much love, Your Son

James D. Fessenden to his father, William Pitt Fessenden [Fessenden Collection]

November 12, 1863

Lookout Valley, Tenn.

My Dear boy,

I have just received a letter from Mamma. She says Guy has improved in reading. I am glad to hear this for a poor reader seems like a poor scholar. In this part of the country I have not met a little boy who can read or write. There are no school houses. Hardly any of the grown up people can read. They make their mark. […]

From the high mountain the rebels throw shells down every day with their guns: only one or two have done us any harm. They fire at us in the morning. […]

Lovingly, Papa

Oliver Otis Howard to his son, Jamie [Oliver Otis Howard Papers]

November 11, 1863

Adjutant’s Office 20th Maine Vols, Camp at Kelly’s Ford, Va

My Dear Brother:

I improve the first opportunity since the battle to write you. You have learned from this I am unhurt by the list of causalities in our Corps. I wrote home just as soon as I could snatch a moment which you shall possibly read – in which I tried to give a description of the engagement of the 7th. If you get the same account by the papers that we do, you have but a faint idea of the affair. It is considered the most brilliant feat of the war by those that witnessed it. [...]

Holman Melcher to Nathanial Melcher [Holman Melcher Papers]