Saturday, August 27, 2016

Major Wilder Dwight: April 11, 1862

camp Near EdinBurg, Virginia, April 11, 1862.

Dear D——, — Reduced in my finances: I have not been paid since January 1. Reduced in my commissariat: we are faring on soldiers' rations, our best luxury being hard aspiration: they have made —— a brigadier; who now would seek promotion? Reduced in ardor: rumor says the Rebels are quitting Virginia. Reduced, in a word, in everything, except size: the final reduction came, when, on Thursday, April 10, I received, on this outpost of invasion, a note from you out of the midst of such congenial and agreeable companionship tantalizing me with the suggestion that I should join you last Monday. I would I had the wings of memory to do it with. But alas! my face is turned toward the south, and my future is in other hands than my own. . . . . We might have hoped to see you, had not the perversity of General Jackson or the ' stratagem ' of General Shields turned us back from Manassas, whither our steps tended a fortnight ago. Well, there is a sequence, perchance a wisdom, in events, that is better than our plans or hopes. I cannot but rejoice that every day seems to bring us nearer to a military success over this Rebellion. The political solution of our difficulties is quite a more serious embarrassment. I see no wisdom in the government, and seem to myself to be fighting in the dark. One thing, however, is clear, — the more sharp and decisive our victory over their forces, the easier will it be to re-establish a wise government over them. . . . . We have had a very hard time since we came into the field in February, and cannot look for much else at present.

SOURCE: Elizabeth Amelia Dwight, Editor, Life and Letters of Wilder Dwight: Lieut.-Col. Second Mass. Inf. Vols., p. 231-2

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