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.We rode back tired & besmeared with mud. I saw Major Whittlesey there tho’ did not get a chance to speak with him. He has been ordered to Gen. Howard & will come over tomorrow. He will not be A. A. G. for the present. Col. Meysenberg has that position and is an excellent officer as well as a very fine young man and agreeable gentleman. He speaks English as well as he does German & French equally well. I am going to tent with a German captain (on the staff) so as to learn to speak the German. The Captain can speak French too & I hope to learn some in that language. The Div’n. generals are very congenial & seem to like Otis. I think he will be popular as he could desire. Gen’l. Carl Shurtz is a fine gentleman & good General and we shall be sorry to lose him. It is thought he will be ordered West. Mr. Stinson & I came with the General from the 2nd Divn. Mr. Gilbreth (son of the superintendent of the Arsenal at Augusta and a nephew of Mr. Farwell), also came. He wishes to remain on the staff but has no commission yet – and I doubt if he remains.
Otis has got back. Had quite an interview with our Pres. & saw Mrs. Lincoln. No doubt he will be permanently in command of this Corps. Letter from Lizzie came tonight. Have been attending to papers for Otis since I began this letter & am now too sleepy & tired to write a good letter & I do not like to send any other to my dear Mother.
We are quite happy in our new situation & God grant we may have strength & grace to do our whole duty.
Your Affectionate Son,