March 4, 1863

Studio Building No B
Tenth Street, New York

My dear Mother,

I am expecting Otis back tomorrow morning when I will join him and we will try & reach the army by Saturday.

Last Thursday I went up to West Point & came back Monday P.M. Enjoyed visiting my old friends there much. The day I returned I called over to Brooklyn and saw Mrs. Perry Lee and engaged to attend her cousin’s wedding with her the next day.

It was a gay time and I saw there H.W. Beecher, Mrs General Fremont & other distingue’s.

The bride was Miss Sarah Dwight. The bridegroom was Capt. Raymund of Gen. Fremont’s staff. I also met Capt Jack Howard of their staff. He is from Brooklyn originally.

Here I stay with my friend Johnny Weir. I am very pleasantly situated. His studio is hung all around with beautiful paintings of his own or his father’s. He is exhibiting one of his father’s called “The Nun” or “Taking the Veil”. He expects to sell it for $6,000. He has sold one for $3,500 since he has been in the city. Besides he takes 25 or 30 dollars a day for the exhibition of the paintings.
John is an excellent young man – accomplished in manners ,refined in taste, moral in all his habits and better than the whole, he is a man of piety & faith.

Last night we went to Brooklyn to the Academy of Art where there was a great assemblage of the rich & refined people of the city to view an exhibition of paintings. We took Mrs. Lee & met there the Trippers with whom I had dined after attending the wedding.

This forenoon I went over & got Mrs. Lee & conducted her to Ganpil’s Gallery to see “The Nun” & then brought her to this studio where we met Johnny & then sat a little while admiring the art & the novelty of the Painter’s Studio.

I have but just returned from Brooklyn – bringing back some wedding cake which I am to take to Perry. I meant to have had some photographs taken but have not been able to find the time.
While at West Point I called upon Mrs. Grey & Miss Jeanie in their new house which Miss Jeanie had built upon a plan of her own & pays for by the profits of a book – a love story – which she wrote for the purpose of getting the needed income. Hoping to find a letter at Hdqrs.

Your Affectionate Son
C. H. Howard

Charles Henry Howard to his mother, Eliza Gilmore [Charles Henry Howard Collection]

One thought on “March 4, 1863

  1. Charles Henry Howard mentions that he stayed with “Johnny Weir” and admired the paintings on Weirs wall, which were done by his father. Robert Walter Weir was actually an art instructor at West Point, and a member of the famed “Hudson River School.” Art was included in the curriculum, partly because of the importance of mastering drawing to do engineering work, and partly to insure that officers could make useable maps on the battlefield.

    One of Weirs famous pupils at West point was James Whistler (“Whistler’s Mother”). Unfortunately Whistler was not so good at his other subjects, and in the end flunked out of West Point. Of his final exam, Whistler famously commented, “If silicon had been a gas, I could have been a major general!”

    Several later-to-be Civil War generals who studied under Weir did surprisingly good work. Oliver Otis Howard’s charming ox-cart drawing in his note to his children (earlier in this series) probably owes something to Weir’s instruction. In addition, William Tecumseh Sherman and Ulysses S. Grant did some very nice artwork under Weir’s instruction.