Sunday, August 21, 2016

Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. to John L. Motley, September 3, 1862

Wednesday evening, September 3.

I have waited long enough. We get the most confused and unsatisfactory, yet agitating, rumors. Pope seems to be falling back on the capital after having got the worst of it in a battle on the 30th. Since that there has been little fighting so far as we know, but this noon we get a story that Stonewall Jackson is marching by Leesburg on Baltimore, and yesterday we learned that Cincinnati is in imminent danger of a rebel invasion. How well I remember the confidence that you expressed in General Scott — a confidence which we all shared! The old general had to give up, and then it was nothing but McClellan. But do not think that the pluck or determination of the North has begun to yield. There never was such a universal enthusiasm for the defense of the Union and the trampling out of rebellion as at this perilous hour. I am willing to believe that many of the rumors we hear are mere fabrications. I won't say to you, be of good courage, because men of ideas are not put down by the accidents of a day or a year.

Yours always,
O. W. H.

SOURCE: George William Curtis, editor, The Correspondence of John Lothrop Motley in Two Volumes, Library Edition, Volume 2, p. 271

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