Saturday, September 3, 2016

Colonel William F. Bartlett to Colonel Francis W. Palfrey, June 14, 1864

Washington, June 14, 1864.

Your kind letter I found here on Sunday last when I returned from Baltimore, where I passed last week very quietly. I am much better than when I left you, and feel that I am improving every day. I had a slight relapse on Sunday for some reason or other. I had been to church in the morning, and as I got out of the carriage at the house I had a severe pain strike me. . . . .

I went to dinner in the afternoon, but this pain increased so, that I had to leave the table. I came very near tipping over; I never was so faint before, simply from pain. I was alarmed, as that was a new spot for me to have pain, and I could not account for it. I took off my leg, and in ten minutes the pain had almost entirely gone.

I came to Washington that night, expecting to go down to the front this morning, but the Medical Director here advised so strongly my waiting a few days longer that I have consented. He explained the attack of Sunday by saying that the socket must have pressed unduly upon, or strained, some particular nerve (I forget what it was, and you would not know if I should tell you), and the pain was from sympathy or connection with this nerve. I was relieved to know that it was nothing worse. I have had one or two very slight touches since. Surgeon says I must begin moderately in using my leg.

I have not been to the President with your father's letter. The fact is, I can't make up my mind to go to these men and ask for anything. It was very kind of your father to write such a letter for me. I only intended to ask for a simple note of introduction, to say that my name was B. and he knew it. General Augur has been to see Stanton, and I hear that the papers have been referred to General Halleck. I suppose they will be pigeon-holed somewhere, and that will be the last of it. I should have liked to have it come from Stanton, as he voluntarily promised, and if it does come at all, it must come of itself; for I should be a very poor hand pulling wires, or urging anything of the sort.

There are doubtless plenty of easy berths here that I could have for the asking; but I don't want them. I feel that I am not adapted for office business here, such as provost-marshal, etc. If I am of any value, it is in the field, in the actual handling and government of troops.

Still, it seems pretty hard for me to go down there and take command of my one hundred men, a captain's command, after the larger ones that I have had. I heard from the regiment to-day. It has a good reputation throughout the corps. All speak of Colonel Chandler's splendid bravery and coolness.

Believe me dear Frank,
As ever, yours,
F. B.

I think of poor Lit. so often, Frank; I can't realize that I am never to see him any more.

I went to the Hospital yesterday to see Crowell, of I (Twentieth); do you remember him? He has lost a leg. He seemed very glad to see me, and I was able to make him more comfortable. He asked about you.


SOURCE: Francis Winthrop Palfrey, Memoir of William Francis Bartlett, p. 103-6

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