IN CAMP, September 22, 1861.
I hope you will not be very much put out at not receiving a letter earlier from me, but I have really been very much occupied, and yesterday, in addition to other duties, we had a grand division review for the Prince de Joinville1 and others. I was so sorry you and Sergeant2 had gone. The review passed off very well, pretty much the same as you saw, except that, having been advised of the arrival of the distinguished strangers only the night before, Gauttier did not have the privilege of sticking McCall for a fine collation. McClellan, however, took the Frenchmen over to the Chain Bridge and by Ball's Cross-Roads.
I felt very sad when you drove off, and could hardly shake off the idea that I was looking on you perhaps for the last time — at any rate, for a long while; but I trust matters will be more favorable to us, and that it will please a just and merciful Providence to permit us to be happy once more, united, and free from immediate trouble. There has been nothing new since you left. We have daily the usual announcement that the enemy have been seen somewhere above us, on the opposite side; but they confine their operations to letting us see them. What they are going to do, no one without the gift of second sight can possibly imagine. In the meantime we are becoming better prepared to meet them, and after awhile if they don't show themselves, I presume we shall have to hunt them up. I find camp life agrees very well with me, and the active duties I have entered on are quite agreeable. Sometimes I have a little sinking at the heart, when I reflect that perhaps I may fail at the grand scratch; but I try to console myself with the belief that I shall probably do as well as most of my neighbors, and that your firm faith must be founded on some reasonable groundwork.
William Palmer brought Kuhn3 out to see me, who presented letters from Harrison Smith4 and Henry Fisher, asking me to assist him in procuring a staff appointment. He said he supposed my staff was full, but would be glad to serve on it as a volunteer, as pay was no object to him, but simply a position and a chance to see service. While I was talking to him I received Charley Cadwalader’s letter. I then told him C.’s declination made a vacancy, but I did not know whether I could appoint a civilian, not commissioned in the volunteers; that McClellan, McCall and myself were trying to have young Watmough5 appointed in this manner, which if we succeeded in would be a precedent. He expressed himself greatly pleased, and said he would await the result in Washington.
1 Third son of Louis Philippe, King of the French 1830-1848.
2 Son of General Meade.
3 James Hamilton Kuhn, of Philadelphia, afterward A. D. C. to General Meade and killed at the Seven Days' Battle, June 30, 1862.
4 Brother-in-law of Mrs. Meade.
5 William Watmough, cousin of Mrs. Meade, afterward A. D. C. to General Meade.
SOURCE: George Meade, The Life and Letters of George Gordon Meade, Vol. 1, p. 219-20