Defences North the Potomac
Head Quarters 1st Artillery 11th Vt. Vols.
Fort Slocum D. C.
February 8th 1863
Dear Folks at home,
One and all; It is Sunday today, and I will write you a letter; at least remind you of my where abouts etc. I am suffering today somewhat with a very severe cold, but hope to feel better tomorrow; otherwise my health is very good; weighed yesterday 173 lbs.- whether my box, received a few days since had anything to do with my extraordinary weight you can judge perhaps as well as I - It is a very lovely day here it seems like the last of sugaring in Vt. It is very muddy; unpleasant walking; but we can get along with it when no worse than now very well. For some days past I have been very busily employed in the Adjutants Office, but am now getting somewhat over my hurry. There seems to be a sort of distemper in camp among the boys, a kind of cold which is rather troublesome. There are some cases of measles; one man died with the Black Measles; thus it is, mans life is uncertain, whether amid the pleasures of home, in camp or on the battlefield; what matters is really, whether we live a few years more or a few years less provided we are prepared for the future world; no one loves life more that I, no one loves his friends more earnestly; or more anxiously longs to meet them again, still the love for our soul's happiness in the future world outweighs all else. God grant I may meet you all again in this life, if not may we all meet in the Celestial City and enjoy the glories of heaven forevermore. Sometimes when I think of the dangers through which we are called to pass, of the trials of life, of the vexations and disappointments which meet us at almost every step in life; I say when I think of all these, there is comfort in the thought that God gave us, and that by & by there will be rest, yes rest for the weary. When we get home to glory we'll be happy then. Shall we all meet there!
I commenced this letter Sunday, but did not complete it; I am having quite a severe time with a cold & yesterday did little but what I was obliged to; I am feeling somewhat better today. It is a most lovely day here, so pleasant it does not seem much like mid winter. I would that I might be with you today at the Old Gray Cottage, still I have much here to remind me about how they do things there - the box was & is no small item - It is a substantial token of your kindness & remembrance. Allow me to thank you again - all parties concerned - for the box. The articles sent came in fine shape and were of the nicest quality. I have not entirely devoured them and shall not probaly for some time to come; some things I have not tasted, but I have no hesitancy in pronouncing them all very nice; some things I have eaten; these I regard as samples - and- allowing me to quote from Virgil - "ab uno disce omnes" - "from one learn all". O well, getting a nice box from home is altogether different from getting a nice box from any where else; its associations are different; different thoughts are awakened; a thousand little reminisences come to the mind; home is brought vividly before the mind and we almost think we are there. The Bed blanket is just what I want; the stockings come into play nicely; The apples did me much good; you know when I know just where apples grow it seems a little better to eat them; The pies can't be beat; real genuine Vermont apple & mince pies; The pop corn speaks for itself, makes me think of cold winter days at home when I had but little to do; the sausages came nicely; the cakes are fine - almost thought I was getting a wedding supply - but there'll be time enough to think of that when I get home - still I am for Union, for the Union; the dried apple and barley cider make a most happy union making me think of old times; the butter spreads over all a [??] of ease and aids wonderfully in disposing of several articles. Remember me to Mrs. Gleason, and tell her I thank her very kindly. Tell Aunt Hannah, her pickles, cheese, preserves sausages & doughnuts are all very nice. The doughnuts are particularly worthy of attention;- [??] they wouldn't be bad for breastworks in case of battle; they certainly are not bad for eating but they really look some of them almost to formidable to attack. They are really splendid doughnuts. Aunt Hannah accept my thanks, and when in later times I call my children round me, and dondle my grandchildren on my knee, when I recount to them my exploits in the great war of 61 they shall also hear of Aunt Hannnah's mammoth doughnuts. The spruce gum is splendid, many thanks for it; the [??] are just what I want. The mutton tallow - although rather a sheepish affair - I am very glad you sent as it may be very useful to me sometime. The cookies were all very nice; the book and paper came all right; the maple sugar makes me think of home sweet home. Tell little Rose I'll kiss her when I come home for her nice little present; I may not have mentioned every thing in my haste but one and all receive my kindest thanks for your [??] kindness, and be assured I remember you all with the deepest feelings of affection.
Today is rather stormy seems a little lonely still I'm not homesick. Six months ago today I enlisted. It hardly seems possible; the time with me has flown rapidly; since I came to the war many a noble man has bit the dust many a noble man has given up his life in the Hospitals; many tears have been shed over the loved and lost; and still the future is not clear. What is to be the future of our bleeding country God only knows; still behind the dark clouds of imbecility, apathy, treachery, treason & rebellion I can see the silver lining; I can read that the right is yet to triumph; I can see that human liberty is to be planted on a firmer basis than ever before. in the six months to come I believe we are to see deeper streams of blood than we yet have seen; I believe there is to be some terrible fighting; the rebels are desparate and nothing but war, awful war can end the terrible conflict; The man who folds his hands and cries peace, I brand as traitor; the man who refuses to give his means and support to aid the government I call a Secessionist. I despise him as I do a rebel, I blush to think that so many contaminate the free air of the North. The government has had everything to contend with, a rebellious united & desperate South, the jealousies and animosities of the Old World; while miserable sneaking traitors at home, professing to love the union and republican institutions have all the while been looking for some vulnerable place were they could plunge the dagger of treachery & pierce the very vitals of the republic. If there is anything that looks dark, it is these Northern exhibitions of treason; these meetings whose object is to oppose the government etc.etc. Oh! let the country look out for these detestable copperheads, who, while the very government which has nursed them and gave them an opportunity to be men, is struggling for existence are seeking to destroy; all for the nice sake of self, party & love for the institution of slavery. The great proclamation of President Lincoln Jan. 1st 1863 separated the wheat from the chaff. It is an easy matter now to tell who is who. Those politicians who for a long time supported the President because he was so mild with the rebels, but when he came to make use of a means perfectly constitutional, to put down this rebellion, which touched their foster-child slavery, which would knock out the very support on which the whole rebellion rested, O then where are they, cursing the government because [??], cursing it because it was about to bring our indescriminate massacre; cursing it because it was going to make slavery, not the Union, the issue of the war. Their support is withdrawn from the government and they show just what they have been all the time, miserable traitors at heart, though lacking the courage to come out boldly like men, in short, detestable cowards. Men like these I fear for who can estimate the result of even one traitor. Years ago slavery troubled the nation; the great statesmen saw in it the germ of future war; they could not bear to see the country reeking with the blood of her own sons engaged in fratricidal strife; they patched the matter over & over with the old rotten rags of compromise, but nothing could hide its defect; it was a devil that would not down; now the struggle is upon us; the nation is struggling for life; liberty and slavery are engaged in the death struggle; it is war to the steel, the steel to the hilt; one or the other must conquer. I want no dishonorable peace, I have no sympathy for armed rebels; I have no love for slavery; but I have love for liberty; I have love for my country; living I am willing to defend her, dying I would pray God to save her; though it drain the nation of treasure; though it take thousands more of her noble sons, to establish the government, and elect an eternal monument to freedom, let it be done; let the monument stand over their graves, let it be cemented by their blood, let it be washed by the tears of friends, who, while they mourn over the cost, may rejoice and be glad that it is done. Let the war be prosecuted with terrible energy, to subjugation to extermination if necessary only let the government - which I believe is the right - prevail. I want to see the rebellion wiped out; I want to see it down[??] consistently with our national honor. I want the thing settled once & forever. Although the government has its faults, still I have hope. I expect one day to see my country brought out of this terrible trial. When I enlisted it was for love of country, and if it must be that our glorious nation is to go to ruin, I pray God that my record may be clear, that whomsoever the fault may be, that it may not be mine.
Good Bye I have no time to write more; a thousand thanks to you all for your kindness, believe me as ever your loving son and brother.
N. Newton Glazier
Head Quarters 1st Art. 11th Vt. Vols
Fort Slocum D.C.
Febry 22nd 1863
Dear Father & Mother;
It is Sunday and very stormy and windy; I think the weather of today is the toughest I have yet seen since I left home. Don't see much of the Sunny South today. Some of the time here the weather is fine very fine, then we will have a cold snap, which makes it bad for colds coughs etc. It has been some time since I rcv'd a letter from you. I rcv'd one from Fred not many days since; my health is good; although I have been having a bad cold, and am not entirely over it yet. I think I have not been marked "off duty" yet by the surgeon one day since I enlisted, though some days I have been unwell. I hope I may continue to have good health, for what earthly blessing greater ? When the soldier is well he can get along very well, but when sickness comes, he thinks of home, he thinks of loved ones there ready and willing to do everthing for his comfort and happiness. To me there is a delight in thinking of you at home - home, around which there is a kind of sacredness which I will ever love and venerate,- cherishing its remembrance with my latest breath. Yes! thousands of our brave soldiers, as they have suffered in Hospital, in camp, on weary marches, on bloody battlefields, have learned to cherish a deeper love for the comforts and blessings of home. Well, you will say "N. has got onto his everlasting theme of home, again"; but knowing that I am a home boy you will pardon me. God grant I may see it again. Well father the Rebellion is not put down yet. What do you think of things up there in Vt.? Do you feel Blue any? I hope Vt. that has been so free of men and money will not get to feeling blue yet. Don't blame the Government to much. look at the apathy, imbecility, treachery, & treason it has had to encounter at every step. Government is taking hold of the matter in earnest, only look at the Congress Bill which places the entire military force of the Nation under control of the President; the National resources are not yet exhausted, there is a mighty force slumbering still which is able to wipe out the rebellion. I wish I could see you and have a long talk on the national affairs; I will not enter into a long dissertation on this little sheet, but let me say I have strong faith in the success of the North, I expect to see her victorious. I have watched carefully the progress of events and I say that in relation to the question whether we triumph or not, I only fear of other traitors, who under cover of sympathy for the soldier, are crying peace, peace, and sending their traiterous letters and speeches over thy land, trying to embarrass the government and bring discountent to the soldier. Let the Army be all right, let the voices of the brave Western soldiers of Ohio, Indiana, & Illinois speak; let the whole army speak and utter its withering rebuke to these Northern traitors. O well we will come out right I hope at last. I hope to do my duty in this the hour of the Nation's peril.
How are the folks about there now? Is it sickly? Are there many cases of Diptheria about? There have been some deaths among the soldiers of the Regiment lately. I hope you will write me soon. The Box is not all gone yet, I have had many a good meal from it - well- it made me think of home -
Good Bye Your Loving Son Newton
Head Quarters 1st Art. 11th Vt. Vols.
Fort Slocum D.C.
My Dear Folks at Home;
It has been a long, long time seemingly since I heard from you; I have delayed writing for some time with the hope of getting a letter, but have concluded to wait no longer. Have you forgotten you have a boy down here on the Potomac or have you written and the letter failed to reach me? You know I want to hear from you often very often. I am busy most of the time so that the time passed very rapidly; it does not seem as though it had been six months since I bad you good bye at the Old Gray Cottage to try the life of a soldier. Since then many a noble patriot has bit the dust, many a noble warrior fallen, fighting to defend his nation's honor, to vindicate the national integrity and to establish the great principles of Liberty and Right. We still live, thanks to a merciful Father.- It is somewhat stormy today and I am not particularly busy; it hardly seems like March meeting day today. I think I would like to be there today, i.e. in Vt. - and see how you look. Do you miss the Boys who have gone to the war at your town Meetings any? We miss our loved ones at home; we miss the pleasures of the home circle; we miss a thousand little things we hardly thought of at home. We'll go home - some of us - by and by. I have no very interesting news to write you so you need not expect much from that quarter. My health is very good; I am tough and hearty, dont look quite so thin as when I enlisted; my cheeks stick out so that Aunt Hannah could get a good hold to pinch them. I hope my health may continue good for when we are well we can get along very well, but when sick then we think of home. - Last Thursday I was at Washington; visited the Capitol; Congress was in session; I had never visited Congress before. The House of Representatives is a splendid Room, so is the Senate Chamber, but the idea that in those Halls is concentrated the power of the Nation is of far greater significancy than the mere Architectural beauty. I went into the floor of the Senate and noted where the seals of certain Senators were, when the Senate was not in session. During the session Senator Foote of Vt. was in the chair; he is a noble looking man and the best Presiding Officer I ever saw; Vermont is ably represented in Congress, of her Senators she may well be proud. I saw many noble works of art, sculptures and painting; the Capitol is the finest building I ever saw, it is full of interest. I went out by the President's House- White House - but did not see "Abe". The Public Buildings, the Capitol, Treasury, Patent Office, Post Office & the White House, also the Smithsonian Institute are of much interest, and noble structures; but aside from the Public Buildings I call Washington on the whole a muddy dirty city. Give my love to any inquiring friends. I must bid you all good night hoping Heavens richest blessings may be yours forever. Affectionately as ever
Address as N. Newton Glazier 1st Arty. 11th Vt. Vols. Fort Slocum Washington D.C.
Father do you get my state pay regularly?
Head Quarters 1st Art. 11th Vt. Vols
Fort Slocum D.C.
April 5, 1863
My Dear Father and Mother;
It has been some days since I wrote you, also it is some time since I heard directly from you; it is about time for me to get a letter from you, I shall expect one tomorrow; well I find it decidedly pleasant to hear from you any time; anything from home is interesting to me. Well here I am in the "Sunny South", snow about 8 or ten inches deep it having fallen last night; the spring here is very backward, said to be; in a day or so I presume this snow will all be gone and then hurrah for mud, mud, nothing but mud. The weather here is very changeable, causing many colds, coughs etc; since the beginning of the year there have been some twenty five deaths in the Regiment; February and March were very sickly; I am hoping when the weather becomes more settled that there will be less sickness. It seems sad to see one after another of one's comrades carried away to the grave, but death comes in a thousand different forms and bears men to the grave. It matters not so much when & where we die as how we die; it is not so! yet do we realize it? We know the facts relative to this matter let us profit thereby. It is Sabbath day; I would like the quiet of home today; I would like to build me up a fire in the squawroom take a paper sit down by the stove and take my ease; I would like to be among you, I would enjoy it so well. I suppose if I went into the kitchen after exchanging friendly salutations, about the next thing would be "to file right" -in military phrase - and devour the adversary in shape of pies and cakes which are wont to congregate on the buttery shelves. I suppose you have commenced to make maple sugar; Vermont is a sweet old State, sweet flowers & sweet girls to say nothing of sugar. I expect by the time I get back to Vermont I shall be something of an Arab in manners and appearance, but I shall endeavor to do the best I can. I purpose to kick that maple sugar tooth good so as to sustain my past reputation. Is snow very deep there now? How often I have wandered over that old sugar lot on the hill; every spot seems familiar, everything a silent friend; sometimes there was a bit of romance connected with sugaring as for example when carrying a turn of sap would break through the snow spill the sap all over me, making me feel as if I had been dipped in a weak solution of mulilogic then the scrapes at snow balling, and the gay old times eating sugar etc.etc. Farewell scenes of boyhood wil ye return no more! The soldier thinks of home; idealized, almost idolizes it; he thinks of it in waking hours; and at night when he lies down on a soldier's bed, when "lights we out" he thinks of those he left at home; he dreams of home and thinks in dreamy visions of meeting loved ones there; is it all in vain? O no! the thoughts of home & love for dear ones then nerve him up stimulate him to labor and endure for love of country, makes him feel that there are some who love him, that there are some who miss him, that there are some who - should he fall - will mourn for him and enshrine his memory in their hearts. Yes we love home, we love to think of you there; but do not think because we have such tender feelings for home that we are homesick or disheartened for we are not; the army let me tell you is for putting the Rebellion down and sustaining the National integrity. I am glad there is a reaction of sentiment at the North relative to the war men are looking more hopeful, they begin to feel encouraged and hope the end of this war may be creditable to the North may be honorable alike to rights and liberty. A rebellion organized on so gigantic a scale can not be put down in a day or a year, it takes time, but believing in an Over-ruling Power as I do I have faith that Right & Freedom will yet be triumphant. How are the Northern traitors feeling? do they repine and whine and find fault at the acts of the Administration? Do they say that the army is doing nothing, that the Rebels are getting advantage of us in almost battle? Do they say the country is getting bankrupt? Do they say they pity the poor soldier in the field! Do they under the guise of friendship for the soldier cry "peace peace"? Do they profess loyalty to the government when their souls are in sympathy with rebels? Do they cry compromise? Do they do everything possible to harrass the government and aid the rebels? Now then in the first place, to find fault is just the easiest thing in the world; let Mr. Lincoln's acts been what [??] would there not have been fault finders? Dont you remember when Lincoln dealt so tenderly with the Rebels, when he was so very conservative, how well the democrats liked him, so long as he left untouched that darling & as they say " divine institution"; so long as he exercised kind forbearance with men who sought to overthrow the very foundations of republican government, why Mr. Lincoln was a very good President; but when he came to cut the fetters of the slave as a means to put down this unholy Rebellion; what a fiend incarnate what a monster. Mr. Lincoln was - the Ass may put on the lion's skin but his ears will stick out; just so with Northern traitors, they are for an administration that wont hurt the rebels, but when the Rebels are to be touched we begin to see their ears. But what has the Army done? Havent we [??] the greater part of Tennessee, nearly all of Kentucky, Missouri and Maryland, a large part of Virginia Louisianna & Florida; haven't we strong fortifications in many other places in other states; haven't we showed to the world what an army can be raised by volunteer enlistment; haven't we got an immense navy? But here relative to the Navy we hear a great deal said of the inefficiency of the Blockade; that the rebels do send out some vessels in spite of us; what we are not able to catch the "Alabama" etc.etc. But just think of the vast extent of seacoast we have to guard; the few vessels comparatively that escape, then go to history and find a blockade equal to it in effectiveness. But the Alabama, why dont you catch her; go back in history. Did not Paul Jones keep the whole of Britain in fear with one ship in the war of 1812? But did that prove the inefficiency of the British Navy? The Alabama causes much trouble but she may be caught yet! But why is it they say do the rebels beat us in so many battles? To be sure we have met with some defeats, but have they on the whole been defeats? I believe in an Overruling Power; I believe that God designs to bring about great events through the agency of this war; slavery I believe is doomed to fall to rise no more; mark the progress of events. Had our arms decidedly triumphed in any great decisive battle, subdued the Rebels at once, brought them to submission, they might have come back, slavery strong perhaps as ever if not stronger. Did not these defeats bring about the word from Abraham Lincoln that struck the fetters from the slave? Did not each defeat break a link that bound him to servitude? Before men scorn the Proclamation let them wait and see its practical effect. A short time ago Negro Enlistments were scorned and laughed at, now there are several regiments, and if negro soldiers from Rhode Island could acquit themselves with sufficient honor to receive the commendation of the Great Washington in the war of the Revolution, I know not why they will not acquit themselves honorably when fighting for their own freedom beneath a flag whose motto is "Liberty". But these hypocritical traitors pity the poor soldiers in the army who have to suffer so much just for the "Niger"; now I want no such pity as this; the war was entered upon to sustain the integrity of the government, but if in the good providence of God the slave is freed then Heaven be praised; let the soldier have sympathy, let him feel that his efforts are appreciated, let friends at home encourage and cheer him, let him know that loved ones at home think and care for him, make him feel his cause is just; that he is fighting for the great principles of right, and you give him a stimulus which you can hardly realize. Much as I desire peace, much as I long to return from war to my own dear Mountain home, much as I long to see those dear ones there, much as I long to dry the tears and stop the agonizing groans of thousands whose hearts have been made desolate, much as I long to stop the rivers of blood which have fertilized southern soil, still I want peace on no dishonorable terms; I want constitutional law, humanity, justice and right to retire from the field bearing the laurel of victory, their every enemy crushed & overthrown. Would you stop short? O no! rather would you make sacrifice if need be to sustain these great principles.
I have many serious anxious thoughts on the war, what the end will be I cannot say but still I hope strongly for the North; what patriot does not? I look at history & find that Northern nations usually conquer southern nations in war - southern people may be more fiery dashy impetuous for a while, but when you come to the determined bravery, fixed undaunted unconquerable spirit you find in Northern climes; Rome conquered her southern neighbor Carthage; Rome in turn was conquered by the Northern Goths & Vandals; the fiery legions of Napoleon were at length overcome by the stern Wellington; Mexico was easily conquered by United States; the palm has fallen before the pine; and now when every thing almost is in favor of the North, the wealth, the men, the resources & the right shall it be told, by future generations, to our disgrace that the North was conquered when "freedom" was her watchword, conquered by the advocates of human slavery and human wrongs. Rather let the treasure and blood of the nation flow like water; let the united people of the North, to whose keeping has been entrusted the polladium of Liberty, rally around the Old Flag, and falling bless it with their dying breath, and when its last defender shall have fallen, let the Angel of Liberty descending from the starry realm wrap around those fallen heroes this sacred banner, bury them in the same grave, then having moistened the grave with tears wend its way back to the gates of Paradise and tell the heavenly host its story
My Dear Father & Mother; I will continue my epistle so as to send in the Morning Mail - It is warm today the snow is leaving fast, and mud will [??] a few days. I was glad to receive a letter today from Fred dated March 22, 63 why it was so long coming I do not understand. I hope Rose is quite or nearly well by this time; I hope you are all well, I am sorry when any of you are sick, may God spare your lives and healths, and may I see you again. I have just received a letter from Czarina, she is unwell, and afraid almost she will have the consumption, she wants to see father, she wants at least to get a letter from him; now father will you not take time and write a good long warm letter to Czarina; Your children all love and venerate you don't neglect to write them; You'll write her wont you? I am boarding out now give besides my ration $1.25 per week; Corporal Stebbins has his wife here and has built him a little house so that he has things really nice for army life, seems like living, sit down to a table and eat like folks; Mother you will remember Stebbins the dentist- the very chap - ; has been very sickly in camp; I try to be careful of my health and so far have got along very well, occasionally taking a severe cold but I am looking well and healthy, having a good deal more man about me than when I left you - I mean physically - I think I'll have to give Son [??] Marion and Rose an Epistle next time, but still I wish you all to share in this; I suppose you all have plenty of Ink pens & paper & stamps, but I fear you lack a little in disposition to write to your humble brother - dont know as that is it really either; guess you have a habit of precrastinating, dont you? I hear Maryette has buried her child, give my kind regards to her and William, tell them I feel sorry for them in their affliction, I saw her little girl at [??] one year ago last fall, she seemed a sweet little thing;
"Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all"
Do they,as they weep over the grave of their dear child regret that she was born? Is it not rather a happy thought that they have another attraction "up there" where there's no sorrow? O yes all through their experiences the remembrance of this little one will be a golden thread, and though they weep over her early death, there is comfort in the thought that one child is safe, that, that little comer whom God "lighted with a spark of his own divinity" will grow in glory till it shall outshine the very stars.
What changes are continually taking place in our own little neighborhood; but I will not dwell now on these. I hope the war will end ere a long time shall have elapsed, and I be permitted to return to you, but how this shall be God only knows, I leave the event with him, may I ever be found in the path of duty - whether we meet on earth again or not, let this be our prayer & determination; with God's aid to meet "up there" where we shall be separated no more forever; father, mother, will you make this determination? I must close, my dear father & mother for tonight; will you think of me as you bid the other children good night, and remember that your boy on the Potomac still loves with all the fondness of boyhood, still venerates his parents, and as he lies down at night thinks of home, of a kind loving father who early laughs his wondering boyish steps the path to manhood. Heaven bless you - good night
As ever your loving son
White River Junction
Windsor County Vermont
April 28th 9-30 P.M. 1863
My Dear Father;
I arrived at Brattleboro yesterday all right. Four of the party for recruiting including myself are stationed at present at this place. The two additional Companies for the Regiment of which I think I spoke when at home are to be filled first. Perhaps by & by I may get down to Windham Co. to recruit. My throat though still a little sore is not bad. I staid last night at Bellows Falls.
Your Loving Son
(P.S. Write soon)