April 10, 1863


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 8, 1863

10Wednesday.  No beef has yet arrived for the Regt., & only pork & bread enough are on hand for the day, so at present two days cooked rations are out of the question.  Sent for storage the box of Co. cooking utensils & my large mattress, so that we now have nothing on hand but what we are to take with us when we march.  A small mail arrived from N.O. bringing Northern dates of the 26th of March, but there was nothing for me from home.  Rec’d notice from the Marine Hospital, New Orleans, of the death there, on the 27th of March, of Stephen S. Buzzell, of consumption, & of the discharge from service of Albert Brown, on the same date, on surgeon’s certificate of disability.

Diary of Isaac Winslow Case [Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection]

April 7, 1863

New York No. 4 West 39th St.

My dear friend.

To convince you how utterly impossible it is that my affection for you should diminish even for an instant – I sit down to answer your welcome letter the moment it is read.

You have frightened me by writing that “raids are being made almost daily on both sides.” We have felt so comfortably about you while you were in Washington that I hoped you would stay there until you came home – Oh dear! Don’t get shot!


Friend [illegible name] to Thomas Hubbard [Hubbard Family 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 5, 1863

West Point.

Dear Father,

I received your short letter of 29th. inst. on 2d. You spoke of my letter being short. I think we were about even on that point.

The standing for Feb. is posted. I cam out in Math. 48, in French 49, in Drawing 10. I had 15 demerits up to first of March.

I saw in yesterday’s paper the troops were ordered back from Florida. I suppose the 8th Regiment was with them. I am expecting every day to hear of the attack on Charleston. The 8th Regiment will probably be there.

Snow is all gone off and we have commenced drill.

I believe I have no questions to answer in this letter, if there is any more you meant to ask I shall always be ready to answer them.

Your Affectionate Son, Malcolm McArthur

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

April 4, 1863

6Saturday.  This morning all the companies of the  Regt. marched down to the railroad & brought up the tents, cooking utensils, & other baggage, & then pitched the tents on the ground we occupied last night.  Got the cook’s things out of the boxes & got a warm meal for the men, the first “regular meal” they have had since Monday.  Had dress parade at 5 o’clock.

The weather this weak has been the most delightful we have experienced since we have been in the state.  The sky has been entirely cloudless nearly all the time, the sun was out but not oppressive, & a gentle breeze from the West most of the time, while the evenings made light by the full moon, and just cool enough for comfort in our ordinary clothes, have been charming indeed.  I am almost reconciled to the country, & were it a land of freedom, of free schools, free speech, free churches, & live, industrious, enterprising, moral & intelligent New Englanders, and were all the near friends I have comfortably settled here, I don’t know but I would consent to fix my own residence even here in this land of cotton & cane!!  Continue reading

April 3, 1863

Stafford Ctt.


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 2, 1863


Turned out & got breakfast before daylight.  Our boys had dug a “bean hole” before night, & for breakfast had a fine lot of baked beans.  Started at 7 & marched down through the same rich country that we have been passing through for two days.  Reached Thibodaux, quite a pretty village, about noon, but made no stop there.  Saw huge piles of baggage that had been landed from the steamer.  Kept on to the R. R. Station, three miles distant, & camped in a field a little to the south of it.  This was the hardest day’s march of the three, & several of my Co. dropped behind & sat down by the woodside between Thibodaux & the camping ground.  I could not blame them, for we were hurried along at an unreasonable pace.  The last four miles I carried the knapsack of one of my men, & the last two miles the gun of another.  I was glad when we got the order to halt, though I could have gone further without giving out!  I went & had a pretty thorough wash, & felt better for it.  My feet have stood this three days march wonderfully—have not raised a blister or chafed the skin in a single place, while many of the men have very large blisters on the bottoms of their feet that give them great trouble & pain.  Sergt. North has gone very lame today, tho’ he never complains.

About sunset we had orders to pack up & be ready to take the [railroad] cars in ten minutes!  We struck & rolled up tents, & got ready to go, but were at last ordered to pitch them again to start at 6 in the morning.

Had a good nights sleep, but the men got up rather tender footed, and went limping about camp as they have not been obliged to do before.

Diary of Isaac Winslow Case [Miscellaneous Manuscripts Collection]

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]