Cantonment Hicks, February 16, 1862, near Frederick.
I sent you a howl last Wednesday; but, now that I find there was a plentiful lack of fighting at Roanoke Island, and an equal abundance of running away, I care little about it. Its effect, though, is grand. Still more important is the news from the Mississippi and Tennessee. That “idolatrous devotion to the old Union,” which the Richmond Despatch so feelingly regrets, we shall hear more from soon.
We are approaching consummations in many directions, I opine. At times, I almost fear a sudden collapse, and very little fighting after all. Still, I think this can hardly be. It is not to be desired, I think, because of the weak-kneed settlement that would come. I see no good way out of our present difficulties, except through an overwhelming military superiority established by battles and defeats. Subjugation, the thing that they fear, is the thing I desire.
I hope that father begins to revive his faith in McClellan under the apparent culmination of his plans and combinations. But, unluckily, we are a people without faith in men or in principles, I fear; and that is the most hopeless sign in our condition.
To-day, we have the wintriest morning of the year. Bright sunshine, however, makes it cheerful; and I look upon it as the last effort of winter. This is not a climate in which winter lingers to chill the lap of spring, and we are all ready for a spring.
This evening I shall go into church to the pretty Episcopal Church in Frederick.
Our cook, Tony, came in this morning, in great glee, to report that his pigeon had laid two eggs (and Sunday she lays two). He has several pets, — puppies, kittens, chickens, and doves.
Hurrah for the Union and McClellan!
SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 197-8