(Surprise! Two blog posts today…)
23 July. 1863.
I positively tremble to think of receiving any more news from America since the batch that we received last Sunday. Why can’t we sink the steamers till some more good news comes? It is like an easterly storm after a glorious June day, this returning to the gloomy chronicle of varying successes and disasters, after exulting in the grand excitement of such triumphs as you sent us on the 4th. For once, there was no drawback, unless I except anxiety about you. I wanted to hug the army of the Potomac. I wanted to get the whole of the army of Vicksburg drunk at my own expense. I wanted to fight some small man and lick him. Had I a single friend in London capable of rising to the dignity of the occasion, I don’t know what mightn’t have happened. But mediocrity prevailed and I passed the day in base repose. Continue reading
In 1780, John Adams wrote, “”I must study Politicks and War that my sons may have the liberty to study Mathematicks and Philosophy. My sons ought to study Geography, natural History, Naval Architecture, navigation, Commerce and Agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study Painting, Poetry, Musick, Architecture, Statuary, Tapestry, and Porcelaine.”
Ironically, his descendant – Charles F. Adams, Jr. – had to study war and volunteered to fight in the 1st Massachusetts Cavalry during the Civil War. Present at Gettysburg and fighting during that campaign, he continued his family’s traditional commitment to upholding the federal government and value of freedom. Continue reading
London. 23 January, 1863.
My dear Charles:
I have but a moment till it grows dark and the [mail] bag closes, but I don’t think I have much to say, so it don’t matter. I’ve had a hard day’s work too, as we generally do on Fridays, and am tired. We are in the dark as to movements at home since the 8th, no steamer being yet in owing I suppose to the awful gales.
We are as usual very quiet, having been dragged to rounds of the Christmas pantomimes and bored to death with them. I wish you or John were here to be funny and amuse people; you know I never could do it, and now I grow stupider and stupider every year as my hair grows thinner. I haven’t even the wit left to talk to girls. I wish I were fifty years old at once, and then I should feel at home. Continue reading
London, April 4, 1862
The late military successes have given us a season repose. People are changing their notions of the power of the country to meet such a trial, which is attended with quite favorable consequences to use in our position. Our diplomacy is almost in a state of profound calm. Even the favorite idea of a diversion into two states is less put forward than it was. Yet the interest with which the struggle is witnessed grows deeper and deeper. The battle between the Merrimack and our vessels has been the main talk of the town ever since the news came, in Parliament, in the clubs, in the city, among the military and naval people. The impression is that it dates the commencement of a new era in warfare, and that Great Britain must consent to begin over again. I think the effect is to diminish the confidence in the result of hostilities with us. In December we were told that we should be swept from the ocean in a moment, and all our ports would be taken. They do not talk so now. So far as this may have an effect to secure peace on both sides it is good…. Continue reading
Boston, December 10, 1861
…We have blundered all summer long and now we have capstoned our blunders by blundering into a war with England. So be it. While there’s life, there’s hope; but I go into the army with a bitter feeling against those under whose lead we hae come to this pass, and amid all the shattered idols of my whole life I don’t feel as if I cared much when my turn came. Continue reading