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George Washington Whitman to Louisa Van Velsor Whitman, 21 July 1862

Dear Mother.

Your letter dated July 16th came all right but the one you speak of haveing sent previous, I have never received.

We are still laying on our oars here, keeping as cool as possible. The weather most of the time is pretty comfortable but once in a while we have a real old scorcher for a day or two. We get the New York papers here the next day after they are printed so that we keep pretty well posted in regard to the News in York. I thought by your letter that you appeared to be rather discouraged with the way the war is progresing. I dont see any thing very discouraging. Mc had to give way its true but it appears quite certain that the enemys loss was considerable more than ours and he1 must be in a position to take good care of himself or we would not be left here doing nothing, and I dont believe any man could have taken the force he had and done any better than he did,  so you see I have strong faith in McCleland if he did have to fall back.2

Troops arive here everyday  the force that got licked down at James Island3 are here  among which are the celabrated 79th the Scotchmen you know, and the 8th Michagan who have the name of being a first rate fighting Regiment  and when Mc gets ready for another move and has the Burnside crowd to back him he will walk into Richmond just as easy as roling off a log. Well Mamy we have not been paid yet but we are looking for the paymaster every day,  we expect to get our money the last of this week and I shall send you about $125 just as soon as I get it  we have to pay pretty dear for everything we get to eat here.

I am perfectly well now although I was a little under the weather the first week I came here  my eyes and face were as yellow as Jeffs whiskers used to be,  the doctor thought I had the Jaundice but it did not amount to much and  I am all right now  I think after we get paid I shall try and go down to see Bunkum at Suffolk4 but I dont know certain as I can get away. If Jeff aint too buisy he might take a run down here  it would not cost much for him or Walt to get on board one of the transports that come to Fortress Monroe from New York and there is a boat that runs from the Fort here. I did not a word from home from the 14th of June until the other day when I got your letter of the 16 of July  I felt quite downhearted every time a mail arived and brought me no letter  I wish some of you would write oftener just to let me know how you are all geting along.

Well Mother it is time to turn in so I must bid you good night. My Pious regards to all the family and good night to all.

G.W. Whitman


  • 1. General George Brinton McClellan (1826–1885) was General-in-Chief of the Army of the United States from November 1861, until July 1862, when he was replaced by General Henry W. Halleck. In 1864, when McClellan ran for the presidency, the Democratic party split between war Democrats and peace Democrats. To satisfy the war Democrats McClellan was nominated; to satisfy the peace Democrats C. L. Vallandigham and his followers were allowed to draft the platform. Thomas Jefferson Whitman evidently considered the entire Democratic party as "the peace party" as evidenced from the letter to his brother Walt dated July 7, 1863. [back]
  • 2. The "Seven Days" Battle (June 25, 1862 to July 1, 1862) was the culmination of McClellan's unsuccessful attempt to capture Richmond. During his siege of the city, McClellan repeatedly asked Lincoln for additional troops. [back]
  • 3. The unsuccessful Union attack on Secessionville, South Carolina, June 16, 1862. [back]
  • 4. There is no evidence in the Whitman family correspondence to suggest that Andrew was in Suffolk at this time. [back]
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