Washington, D. C., July 1,1864.
Here it is July, Frank, and I am not out of this miserable place yet. I expect now to go down to the front the first of next week. I am assigned to the Ninth Corps, and shall keep the same brigade that I was in before. It was very strong,—five regiments Massachusetts and two United States. Since I came away, the Regulars have been transferred to the Fifth Corps. I shall probably have no permanent staff at present. As soon as we have a respite and reorganize a little, I shall try to get together a congenial and efficient one. Ben has been waiting for my promotion, to go on the staff. I have written him that it is a bad time to join just now, — heat, dirt, reduced commands, etc., — and it may discourage him. Of course it will be pleasant for me to have him for a companion. Herbert is here now. Goes back to-night. He would like to go with me if he could ride. He gets very impatient and blue at times. If he could only ride!
Yes, Frank, I have got my commission at last, signed by Abe and Stanton. Gotten up in great style, in a brown tin case, with my name, rank, etc., in large letters of gold on the outside. The appointment was made early in June, but the Senate had no executive session till the 20th. You were right, Frank, in addressing my letter as you did, although the confirmation was made when I got it. I was very much annoyed by receiving letters of congratulation, etc., before the confirmation. Meant in all kindness, of course; but I was sorry that anything was known about it until it was confirmed. I saw it, the appointment, in the paper (Boston paper at that) first, just after I wrote you last. I must say I hardly expected it.
The weather here has been fearfully hot. Almost unbearable. I gave a small dinner night before last at Buhler's; Majors Cutting and Raymond, of Augur's Staff, Caspar and Herb., with one or two others, made a very pleasant little party. Buhler quite surpassed my expectations. It is the best place in Washington, I think, although I heard that it had fallen off.
Yesterday, Herb. and I drove out to Fall's Church, to Caspar's Camp. I have found myself many times this last week wishing that you were here; but you were enjoying the cool breezes which I could not have procured for you here, and were better off.
I have too much in my mind that I want to say to you to begin to put it on paper.
The “gobbling” of the old brigade that the Twentieth was in was an unlucky termination to a long and brave career. I am glad the Twentieth escaped.
I am getting quite thin. My stump gets smaller every day. I have two thicknesses of leather, and two or three wads of paper round my stump, to fill up the socket. If it continues to wilt, I shall have to get another new socket made, which will delay me.
SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 107-8