March 20, 1863

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]

March 18, 1863

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]

February 19, 1863

2-19 letterHeadquarters 2nd Divn near Falmouth, Va.

My dear mother:

After a hard rain all day yesterday and last night, we have a cessation this morning and some indication of fair weather again.

I scarcely went out of my tent, at most only into the neighboring ones here at Hd. qrs.  I have not been upon my horse since last Saturday night when I returned with Mr. Stinson, as I think I wrote you, from a visit to the left of the Army and the 5th Maine.

Otis asked me this morning whether I would not like to go with him to Philadelphia as he intends to take a Leave on ten days soon.  I told him I would be compelled to get some clothes if I did so and that perhaps I had better not go.  He said I could go if I chose and I will consider the matter meanwhile. Continue reading

February 14, 1863


Oliver Otis Howard

Headquarters 2nd Divn
2nd Corps. Feb. 14. 1863
Near Falmouth Va.


It is getting pretty late and we have had reading and prayers, but I can’t go to bed without telling you that I have thought much of this day 8 years ago, since then how much of experiences in the retrospect.  You seem just as young, just as beautiful, and I think a little more so to me now.  There is so much freshness in our lives.  I would like to lover-like to pay my addresses to you tonight.  Never mind the wedding dress, nor the tiny slippers, nor the choir cake.  To me it would be a wedding night if I were home even without the bonfire.  Goodnight.

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


January 10, 1863

Near Falmouth Va. Jan. 10 1863


The express box came this evening with our warm dressing gowns all safe.

I did not find you inside but found an expression of your love in this good coat which cost you so much work + perhaps pain; and it so peculiarly nice and acceptable that I long to pay you in the usual coin. I mean that which don’t go by mail or telegraph. You can hardly tell how comfortable we are this rainy night.

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

January 8, 1863

January 8th, 1863.  Near Falmouth, Va.

My dear little daughter:

Papa wrote Guy and then Mamma and thinks it is now your turn.  Uncle Charlie is in papa’s tent and eating an apple while reading an interesting newspaper.  He has now gone and Lt. Stinson’s colored boy has come in to get some sugar.  Now he has gone.  This makes me think of two things: the boy & the sugar.  This boy is about as big as our “Tom” but you never saw our Tom.  He is about the size of Mr. Blain’s oldest (is his name Walter?)  He has curly hair, black eyes, but his skin is not exactly black …

The sugar comes in a barrel.  Capt. Bullock our new commissary brought it and for fun these little colored boys would put their hands in the barrel too often where it was deposited.  The Capt. put it in my tent.

Evening.  I have just received a budget of letters from Mamma.  She tells papa the sad news that Guy learns something wrong almost every day.  Papa hopes & prays that his little boys may strive to do right every day.  Do you try hard to do the things you know Jesus loves?  Papa finds it hard to do what he knows to be right but he prays & asks God to help him.

Your two Ambrotypes don’t look as if  you would do wrong.  They are very sweet children.  Give much love for papa all around and pray for papa in real honesty.  Very lovingly your father, O.O. Howard. …

Oliver Otis Howard to “My dear little daughter” [Oliver Otis Howard Papers]

January 5, 1863

Jan. 5, 1863.  Head Quarters, 2nd Divn.

My dear Guy: Mr. Alvord, Uncle Charles & your papa took a ride the other day to find [illeg. word] Brigade battery and just as we were passing the Huntwood[?] road we saw an ox-cart like the above [drawing].  It was an unusual sight in Virginia, but its contents, a lot of colored children: the short horns of the oxen, and the rickety old affair attracted our attention and I thought I would try to draw it for amy.  You don’t see so many of these colored boys & girls as papa does.  Uncle Charlie says they are very jubilant: i.e., they laugh & play a great deal.  I don’t think they play any harder or any more than you and Wally Stinson. …

Oliver Otis Howard to son [Oliver Otis Howard Papers]