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]
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]
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,
Oliver Otis Howard to his son, Guy [Oliver Otis Howard Papers]
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
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. [...]
Oliver Otis Howard to his wife, Elizabeth A. Waite [Oliver Otis Howard Papers]
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]
Hdqrs. 2nd Divn. 2nd Corps
Near Falmouth Va.
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.
Hdqrs. 2nd. Divn.
Near Falmouth Va
Mar. 27 1863
My dear Mother,
The last I heard from you was by letter from Rowland which you were at his house for one night.
It is a beautiful day – warm as any day in May. I hear a bird merrily singing. All the staff are away at Gen. Birney’s Divn. attending a hurdle race &c to which we were all invited. Otis is here & as I am Acting Adjutant General I remained behind. Besides I did not care much to go since I did not enjoy the similar celebration of St. Patrick’s day in the Irish Brigade. Too many got drunk and there were some accidents. I would like, however, to take a lively ride in this pure air. I sit at my desk with the door of the tent open -
just returned from dinner. Gen. Hancock was over this forenoon & called on Otis. He says that Gen. Hooker told him that Gen. Howard was to have the 11th Corps (Siegels) but Otis learned at Hd Qrs. yesterday that Gen. Hooker had sent a paper to Washington asking either that Gen. Siegel be ordered back (he is away on leave) or that there be a vacancy declared to which he could appoint the General he wished. He will undoubtedly appoint Otis if Siegel does not come back.
No leaves extend over April 1st now – so I suppose we will move soon after that date. Did you enjoy Otis’ visit? [...]
Your affectionate Son,
P.S. Major Whittlesey has just this moment arrived – well!!
Charles Henry Howard to his mother, Eliza Gilmore [Charles Henry Howard Collection]
Headquarters 2nd Divn
Near Falmouth, Va.
My dearest children
I want to tell you about a little boy about the age of Grace. The other night just at evening I was sitting before the fire a knock at my tent door: “come in;” when in bounced a little black eyed boy. He looked something like this little fellow, with his pants rolled up near the tops of his little boots. A large man followed him. “Well where did you come from!” No answer, only eyes sparkle. Then, “What’s your name.” Willie. Willie’s uncle had been traveling around with Willie trying to find his father in the 98 Tenn. Regiment all that afternoon. It was in Gen. Sedgwick’s Corps people had sent him to Gen. Sedgwick’s old Division. I was delighted. He looked at my tongs, handled my shovel called for my poker and insisted that that was not a poker but a cane. He got hold of the black end of the tongs and I had to wash his hands. He next had my photographs and in an instant was out begging for a ride on a horse. Uncle Charlie gave him one – it was near night – and the boy and uncle had as much as five miles to go. I kissed the little boy and sent him off in an ambulance. I asked him while here where his mother was – he said in her grave. His uncle said he was an only son – and his father was a Lieutenant in the army.
Oliver Otis Howard to his children [Oliver Otis Howard Papers]
My dear nephew Guy
Grandmother Gilmore came up last evening and we heard all about you and Grace and Jamie and your Mamma. We have not heard for a long time before and were glad that Jamie has gotten over his cough – that Guy can read in the Bible as well as anybody and that Grace has improved very much. I went to Brunswick after your Papa went back, to see him! But he went the day before. What a good time you must have had going to meet him!
Your loving uncle, Rowland
Rowland Bailey Howard to Oliver Otis Howard’s son, Guy [Oliver Otis Howard Papers]