December 23, 1863


Dear Father,

I have just received some papers from you for which I am exceedingly obliged. Although I am not idle out here, yet the time frequently hangs heavy upon me and I am glad, in default of other reading matter, to have over the columns of newspapers.

I presume that you must have received some of the letters that I have written you since “Lookout.” Fannie writes me that you have received a letter from General Hooker in which he speaks in a complimentary manner of me. It is gratifying to me to know that I won his good opinion under such circumstances for no one can doubt his judgment of what constitutes good conduct in a soldier.

I called upon Gen. Howard a few days ago, my first opportunity as he had but just returned from the pursuit of Songstreet and he came to see me upon business however yesterday. He wishes me to give you his best regards. He stands very well out here and I think that his corps is fully up to the standard of western troops. He has some wretched officers, men who are not only incapable but who are inimical to him, and do not wish him to succeed. And this fact should be taken into consideration in estimating his qualities by his success. His great trouble is among the Germans who are, as a rule, poor soldiers.

We are rather badly used by the ruling powers of this “ground division.” They make us do more of the fighting, give us little credit, put our men upon half rations and keep outmen hard at work building roads to supply the western troops who are snugly ensconced in Chattanooga.[…]

I am still well and growing fat. My warmest wishes + the compliments of the season,” and I remain With much love Your Son

James D. Fessenden to his father, William Pitt Fessenden [Fessenden Collection] 

November 25, 1863

Utica, New York

Dear Sir,

You will probably remember that upon an occasion some three months since while going from Washington to Philadelphia, that I chanced to become known to you, and that we then had some conversation relative to your son who was mortally wounded at the second battle of Bull Run.

I have recently been looking over some of my notes taken during Gen. Popes’ Campaign in Virginia, touching upon matters in which I was personally an actor or writer of, and being impressed with the thought that probably you have but little of the history of the past enacted by your brave son in that unfortunate campaign, it has therefore occurd to me that it would be gratifying to you to be put in possession of even such brief and broken threads of the history of him as a military acquaintance who very often had official and quite frequently conversation of a more social character with, could note down amid the hurried and exciting duties of those times. This thought is suggested from the impression that you remarked to the effect that you had but little information as to his military acts, especially as connected with the battle of Bull Run. […]

Your obedient servant,
William Henry Christian

William Henry Christian to William Pitt Fessenden [Fessenden Collection] 

November 13, 1863

Stevinson, Ala

Dear Father,

I red  your letter for Oct 24th containing cashiers check for 150$ last night. Notwithstanding my letter of Nov 10 I think that I may have to use it, but whether I do or nor I am equally grateful for your kindness in sending it to me. Should I not use it I will send it to you.

I am still at the hospital though much better. Nothing will I think be done at present. […]

With much love, Your Son

James D. Fessenden to his father, William Pitt Fessenden [Fessenden Collection]

June 19, 1863


My dear Frank

I suppose that if the Capitol is threatened  and the Govt. request your regiment  to remain for a short time, they will not refuse to do so. If, as the papers tell us, other Regts. when time is out, are volunteering, and still others are mustering from all quarters to the rescue, it would not look well for any to leave at such a crisis, and wish to see you, I could not wish that your Regiment, and [illegible] should be an exception. […]

With entire love, Your father

William Pitt Fessenden to his son, Francis Fessenden [Fessenden Collection]