July 5, 1863

7-5Waking rather late, I bid my friends goodbye and left for the seat of war.  Found Wright at the Parker House and while talking with him was accosted by [George Newton] Jackson (graduate Alpha Delta Phi).  Wright had just left three Williams Alpha Delts whom he met in the street, fellows full to running over with the true Alpha Delta spirit.  I went with Wright at his request to see the colleges again and also to Bunker Hill for the first time, up the 358 toilsome steps which lead to the tower from which Boston, Cambridge and Charlesto[w]n with all their historical and pleasant associations are plainly seen.

Here on this hill fell one of our first martyrs to liberty, how many more are falling every day around us and how fragrant is this memory and theirs.  So, thinking much of the weary work which occupied that night of the 10th of June and the bloody work which has made the succeeding day immortal, I toiled down the steps again, at a fearful expense of lubricating oil, and after admiring the beautiful statue of Warren, went out on the hill, and took the cars for Boston.  Ran uptown and took a bath after which I rode down to the Providence depot and meeting Wright at this place of rendezvous, we started for the city of Roger Williams.

A daily paper which I purchased in the cars informed me that Meade who is Hooker’s successor is pressing the rebels closely and obliging them to unite their scattered forces to give battle.  Heaven prosper the right.

My gallant friend, the Freshman, seeing a moderately good-looking damsel on the seat opposite, undertook the by no means difficult task of scraping an acquaintance.

With a politeness which is natural to a worthy young gentleman, he proffered his evening paper for her perusal and after giving her a suitable time to glance over its columns he made a bold push, went over and sat beside her.  The conversation I did not hear, but he afterward told me that her name is Miss Annie Kirk, that she lives in Providence and had asked him to call on her tomorrow.  Mr. Wright seemed to maintain his reputation as/for a brilliant conversationalist and the lady, who evidently was a lady, did her half of the work nobly, while poor solitary I sat reading my Herald and envying my unscrupulous companion, who by overstepping very slightly the ordinary rules of propriety had secured a pleasure denied to his modest and retiring fellow soldier.

So we came into the city of Providence, represented by the Boston & Providence R.R. Depot, whose arrangements are as orderly and its hackmen more civil than in any town I have ever visited.  One word more about these extraordinary hackmen—instead of rushing headlong t you and seizing your baggage in the approved or rather time-dishonored way, they stand in a long line with each arm extended like a row of finger posts, and every passenger as he passes this line is saluted by his anxious friends in the ranks with startlings inquirers as to his trunk and other baggage and polite proposals to “take you right there, sir”.  When a hackman secures a fare, and then only he has a right to leave his position.  How fortunate for travelers if this wise system could be transplanted into every state and every depot.

We secured one of these courteous coachmen and rode up to the City Hotel which is the most stylish house in the place, and charges the moderate price of $2.50 per day.  After tea, which was served with the most painful propriety, we strolled out in search of our friends and also to see the colleges.

We conducted our expedition on the principle of examining the book of every hotel we came to.  We were entirely unsuccessful, as we afterward learned the boys were up at the University spending the evening, and we finding efforts fruitless, returned to our hotel.  Some young ladies inhabiting a house on the street parallel to College Street were quite attentive to us as we passed, probably smitten with Wright’s moustache.  So for the first time in Providence we threw our weary forms on our Anderson Spring Bed Bottoms and courted repose—not however till we had thanked the kind all Father for his loving kindness toward us in the past, and implored a continuance of it in the future.  Good Night.

Diary of Horatio Fox Smith [Civil War Miscellany]

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