May 4, 1863

Hd. Qrs. 11th Corps

Dear Mother

It is after dark and I have no candle but I will write you a little in the dark. In the terrible battle yesterday although we were often exposed to shot and shell yet our troops were not actually engaged. Our troops did not behave well yesterday & we were badly driven. My tentmate and fellow aide Capt Dessars was killed. Col. Miles was badly wounded. Last night we wakened several times by attacks upon our lines. By the guns we knew yesterday that Sedgwick was fighting near Fredericksburg. We heard the roar today and tomorrow will march to his relief, though we got pretty severely handled in yesterday’s & Saturdays battle.

The Lord is our trusted guide.

I hope the Rebels will let us sleep tonight. I was awakened hrs before now by a tremendous firing on our right. So you see we sleep daytime.

We are behind rifle pits and could hold them against any force – if the troops will stand. You cannot tell how badly Otis felt so see them run away. A force seemed to seize them. Two German Regiments, first on our right which Jackson turned. We think this will be the death blow to Rebellion.

Your loving son,
C. H. Howard

Charles Henry Howard to his mother, Eliza Gilmore [Charles Henry Howard Collection]

April 26, 1863

Headquarters Eleventh Corps
Near Brooks Station Va.,

My dear Mother,

It is a bright warm afternoon and now the moon has changed we anticipate fair weather for some time.

We had our Religious services this morning, conducted by Rev. Mr. Johnson Congregationalist of Bangor. Maj. Whittlesey had known him before. He is simply on a visit to the army. I have written to Rowland today. Got a letter from him & Ella yesterday. We were rejoiced to hear of Everett Bridgham’s [a first cousin] conversion. Poor Aunt Aurelia [the sister of Charles’ father Rowland and the mother of Everett] is very sick he writes. And Jane Bates has passed away from earth. We can hardly realize that Jane will not meet us with her cheerful face whenever we go home again to our good old neighborhood.

But the future life was very real to Jane. Her friends left behind are the only sufferers. God grant them the consolations of His infinite word – and that they all may be ready to go & join Jane when the summons comes. I desire to be ready. I know not as we are in the midst of any more uncertainty than you but it often seems so.

We search tomorrow morning for the upper Rappahannock – not so much as this has been revealed but I judge from indications unmistaken to me. The 12th Corps is also expected to march. How much more I do not know.

The Fast-day is nearing & I do hope for if not resulting from the united cry of many hearts. We will carry the works with the faith & prayers and perhaps God will this time bless us. At any rate in his own good time his Kingdom shall triumph & I cannot be too bitterly disappointed with this pure hope ever present.

Otis & I are perfectly well. The promotions (it is announced by telegraph) have been made. So I will have to exchange the title of Captain which I have held less than a month for that of Major. But this is of very little moment to me. Pray that I may always have a willing mind and grace needed for every duty.

Your Very Affectionate Son
C. H. Howard

P.S. Remember me kindly to Isabella & brother if you see them.

Charles Henry Howard to his mother, Eliza Gilmore [Charles Henry Howard Collection]

April 24, 1863

Portland

Dear General,

I take the liberty to write you in behalf of Gentlemen of this city upon a matter which they do not wish to make the object of an official Communication. It is their opinion and they represent the leaders of the Republican Party throughout the state that the Copperheads as they are called confidently expect to carry the state in the fall elections, and that local men of every name must put forth their most earnest efforts to defeat them. It is a most sacred duty not only to the state but our country. To insure success and the defeat of rebellion  here in our midst, it is the desire of Republicans to advance a Union candidate for Governor upon whom the whole loyal heart of the state and the votes of every man who loves liberty, his country, and the right.

I am assumed that the best and most influential men of the Republican party write in naming yourself as the man who in their opinion, can best thus unite the people and heal the state.

Many in this vicinity are anxious to know what are your views upon this subject and if you would accept the nomination. The expression of your feeling and opinion if you see fit to communicate it to me, would not of course be made public, but would be seen only buy a few who have influence and control in political matters and who desire thus to hear from you that they may be able to act understandingly.

I hope you are well and I that God will abundantly strengthen you for your responsible duties and bless you spiritually.

Please give my regards to Charles.

Yours very truly, J.B. Gilman

J.B. Gilman to Oliver Otis Howard [Oliver Otis Howard Papers]

April 22, 1863

Headquarters Eleventh Corps,

My dear little daughter,

Papa thinks it is time for you to have a letter. Guy must have received his and read it before this time. I would like to look in upon you all this morning. I think you must just now be a breakfast. Jamie just at Mamma’s left, bothering her while she is pouring out coffee. Yourself on her right with a bright happy face and Guy directly opposite ready to laugh, or to tell a story. Uncle Rowland says Guy has no time to write him a letter. Guy must be very busy.

Do you still get impatient when you get tired and cry very hard? Or have you gotten older and wiser?

[...] Much love to dearest Mamma, little brothers Guy and Jamie. I hope you all pray for Papa. Your affection papa, O.O.Howard

Oliver Otis Howard to his daughter [Oliver Otis Howard Papers]

 

April 10, 1863

Farmington

Dear Brother Otis

I write you tonight in preference to Frank and Charles to both of whom I believe I owe letters because Guy is here and I know you will wish to hear about him!

He came up last Tues from Bruns. with Ms. Patten. The next day we went to a “sugaring off” at Mr. Titcombs and he had plenty of maple syrup. He went to school one day with Frankie and Otis Sargent and has played with them a good deal. He has worked for me two hours upon different days at 6 cts. per hour piling some dry store novel and shingles. [...] Guy wants to get enough to buy a drum but he put 3 ct. in the contribution of the L.S.

[...] We have seen the order for you to change to the 4th Corps. but are entirely ignorant of that command and hardly know whether to congratulate you or not. All western troops lacking in discipline and cleanliness we fear. As I hear of the gathering of these mighty hosts to battle, I feel we need a real fast. I hope we will have the monthly letter. [...]

Your Aff. Bro., Rowland

Rowland Howard to his brother, Oliver Otis Howard [Oliver Otis Howard Papers]

April 9, 1863

4-9Dear Guy,

A very poor sketch of the Head Quarters tent. You will see the foundation is of logs but you cannot see the beautiful moss between them;  and you cannot look inside and see very nice stove, table, desk, bed, carpet new chairs and other things. I wish you could look in. We moved here last Tuesday. The privates came before us and fixed my tent very nicely. They are almost all Germans. Mr. Whittelsey has now come to us. Yesterday we all went to a review of a very large number of men. I think some 60,000 or 70,000 men. [… It took a very long time for them to march past the president. There were two little boys, sons of the President, at the river, one of them was but little younger than you and rode a very handsome pony. I think he borrowed the pony. He rode about as well as anybody I saw. I should have liked to have had you there.

[…]

Your affectionate papa,

O.O. Howard

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

April 6, 1863

Hd. qrs. 11th Corps
Stafford Court House

My dear Mother,

I believe I have not written you a letter since we came to this Corps.

I have just returned from a Review of all the Cavalry of the army by the President. This morning at 9 we started. Otis & all his Divn. Generals with their various staffs. We rode to Gen Hookers Hd. qrs. about 7 miles and these called on the President – and at 12 we all went out to the Review. It was exceedingly muddy. The day was cloudy – Saturday night we had a snow storm! And though the snow is almost all gone yet it made it very muddy. The cavalry was draw up in lines a mile long and we had a very tiresome ride in reviewing. The Pres. rode with Gen. Hooker. His little boy rode on a pony by his side. The Generals present rode next & then their staffs – which made a big battalion. Afterwards, as always in a Review, the Pres. took a station & all the Cavalry & light artillery passed him in platoons or companies. It took a full hour for it all to pass in this manner. We rode to Gen. Hooker’s Hd. Qrs. again & the Generals gave their staffs permission to go home while they went to dine with the Pres. & Gen Hooker. Mrs. Lincoln was at the Review in a covered carriage. Attorney Gen’l. Bates was with her. He is an old man, with hair very grey. Continue reading

April 3, 1863

Stafford Ctt.

Dearest,

I wrote you a tiny letter yesterday and perhaps will not do much better today. I had not finished the above sentence before I was interrupted and it has been two hours since. I am learning the regiments and officers. This command is completely new to me. I will enclose a list of regiments as I have had them drum up, I imagine you and Jamie can pronounce German names about as well as I.

I am going to move Hd Qrts. to the vicinity of Brooke’s Station tomorrow. [...]

Lovingly, Otis

Oliver Otis Howard to his wife, Elizabeth A. Waite [Oliver Otis Howard Papers]

April 1, 1863

Hdqrs 11th Corps
Stafford Court House

My dear brother, [Rowland B. Howard]
in accordance with an order rec’d yesterday assigning Otis temporarily to the command of the 11th Corps – we left Hd. Qrs. 2nd Divn. Right after Breakfast this morning and rode over here about 10 miles.Had to search somewhat to find the place. Found Gen. Carl Shurz in command. Hd. Qrs. At a house. He was very gentlemanly – is tall, full broad forehead – curly brown hair – reddish whiskers – wears spectacles & gives the impression of being a man of ability as he undoubtedly is. It is a bright moonlight night. Last night the whole army were April-fooled to say the least and I got scarcely any sleep. Had to get up to carry orders between 2 & 3 A.M. Had not been in bed an hour when wakened. It was said (telegraphed from Gen. Hd. Qrs) that the report had come from Sickle’s Pickets that the enemy were advancing on the Archwood road.

It now proves to be all a fiction but I am very tired & could not write a decent letter. Have ridden nearly all day. Gen. Shurz rode to all the Divn’s with us. He returns to his Divn for the present – Steinwehr has the 2nd – McLean the 1st. This last has two thirds American Regiments I believe. Every body at these Hd. Qrs (nearly) speaks German. Carl Shurz speaks German, French & English equally well. Otis is in the house – Stinson & I in tent. Leaves are granted again so we will not move at present.

Goodnight – I am ready to fall asleep.

Charles Henry Howard to his brother, Rowald Bailey Howard [Charles Henry Howard Collection]

March 31, 1863

Hdqrs. 2nd Divn. 2nd Corps
Near Falmouth Va.

Dear Mother,
This is probably the last letter I shall date at these Hd. qrs. The order assigning Otis to the 11th Corps (Siegel’s) temporarily arrived this afternoon and we will take our departure for Brook’s Station tomorrow morning near which is the 11th Corps – about 6 miles to the rear of this place. One of the General of Divisions is the celebrated Carl Shurz orator and warm patriot & it is said a very gentlemanly man. Steinwehr is another and McLean the third.

Your letter came the day I wrote my other, and today another from you arrived just after the order. This contained the photograph which no one here thinks as good as the one I had taken in Philada.

Continue reading