December 23, 1863

Washington

Dear Father,

I have just received some papers from you for which I am exceedingly obliged. Although I am not idle out here, yet the time frequently hangs heavy upon me and I am glad, in default of other reading matter, to have over the columns of newspapers.

I presume that you must have received some of the letters that I have written you since “Lookout.” Fannie writes me that you have received a letter from General Hooker in which he speaks in a complimentary manner of me. It is gratifying to me to know that I won his good opinion under such circumstances for no one can doubt his judgment of what constitutes good conduct in a soldier.

I called upon Gen. Howard a few days ago, my first opportunity as he had but just returned from the pursuit of Songstreet and he came to see me upon business however yesterday. He wishes me to give you his best regards. He stands very well out here and I think that his corps is fully up to the standard of western troops. He has some wretched officers, men who are not only incapable but who are inimical to him, and do not wish him to succeed. And this fact should be taken into consideration in estimating his qualities by his success. His great trouble is among the Germans who are, as a rule, poor soldiers.

We are rather badly used by the ruling powers of this “ground division.” They make us do more of the fighting, give us little credit, put our men upon half rations and keep outmen hard at work building roads to supply the western troops who are snugly ensconced in Chattanooga.[…]

I am still well and growing fat. My warmest wishes + the compliments of the season,” and I remain With much love Your Son

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


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