Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Major Wilder Dwight: March 4, 1862

Charlestown, March 4, 1862.

The extent to which our regiment has followed the path of John Brown is somewhat curious. The last coincidence of occupation occurred on Sunday, when the men were assembled in the court-room of the court-house, and listened to our chaplain, who preached from the judges' bench! This morning Colonel Gordon and I went in to see the cell of Brown in the jail, and also went out in the open field, where, upon a knoll, can be seen the holes in which the gallows was set up. “This is a fine country,” said Brown, as he came out into the field which commands a view of this grand country. “I have not had an opportunity of observing it before.” . . . .

This country has been the paradise of debtors, and creditors have seen their mortgages and notes melt away into Confederate bonds, payable “six months after the ratification of a treaty of peace between the Confederate States and the United States.” Money has been the one thing in excess, and delusion or terror have made this currency pass readily in payment of debts. An element which will have some weight when you talk of conciliation is this same currency question.

Before our arrival, every one had money. The night before we came to town the bank migrated suddenly to Stanton, and to-day the people are refusing their own money.

“Pretty conciliation you bring us,” says one man; “why, you won't even take our money.” This consequence of the “invasion” cannot fail to supply an argument to the Rebels, which they will adroitly use.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 202

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