February 8

Chilly and cloudy; don't feel very well to-day, nor does anyone else; all stiff and lame; don't wonder at it for we had to march through mud and water ankle deep or more last night from the Rapidan without a rest. The regiments were completely disorganized; officers and men all got lost from their commands and both struggled and straggled into camp as best they could. It was a mob and a disgrace to the Third Corps.

February Eighth

Hath not the morning dawned with added light?
And shall not the evening call another star
Out of the infinite regions of the night,
To mark this day in Heaven? At last, we are
A nation among nations; and the world
Shall soon behold in many a distant port
Another flag unfurled!
Henry Timrod
(Ethnogenesis )


Southern Confederacy begins to assume definite form in a league of seven Southern States, 1861



Monday morning, February 8th.—We stood by last night, and are just going to load now. All is quiet here. Said to have been nothing happening the last few days.

p.m.—Nearing B. We've had a very muddly day, taking on at four different places. I have a coach full of Indians. They have been teaching me some more Hindustani. Some of them suddenly began to say their prayers at sunset. They spread a small mat in front of them, knelt down, and became very busy "knockin' 'oles in the floor with their 'eads," as the orderly describes it.

We have a lot of woundeds from Saturday's fighting. They took three German trenches, and got in with the bayonet until they were "treading" on dead Germans! The wounded sitting-ups are frightfully proud of it. After their personal reminiscences you feel as if you'd been jabbing Germans yourself. They say they "lose their minds" in the charge, and couldn't do it if they stopped to think, "because they're feelin' men, same as us," one said.

A corporal on his way back to the Front from taking some people down to St O. under a guard saw one of his pals at the window in our train. He leaped up and said, "I wish to God I could get chilblains and come down with you." This to an indignant man with a shrapnel wound!

I've got five bad cases of measles, with high temperatures and throats.

156. Abigail Adams

8 February, 1777.

Before this time I fancy you at your journey's end. I have pitied you. The season has been a continued cold. I have heard oftener from you than I ever did in any of your former journeys. It has greatly relieved my mind under its anxiety. I have received six letters from you, and have the double pleasure of hearing you are well and that your thoughts are often turned this way.

I have wrote once, by Major Rice. Two gentlemen set off for Baltimore Monday or Tuesday, and have engaged to take this letter. I feel under so many restraints when I sit down to write, that I scarcely know what to say to you. The conveyance of letters is so precarious that I shall not trust anything of consequence to them, until we have more regular passes.

Indeed, very little of any consequence has taken place since you left us. We seem to be in a state of tranquillity——rather too much so. I wish there was a little more zeal shown to join the army.

Nothing new, but the regulating bill engrosses their attention. The merchant scolds, the farmer growls, and every one seems wroth that he cannot grind his neighbor.

We have a report here, said to come in two private letters, that a considerable battle has taken place in Brunswick, in which we have taken fifteen thousand prisoners. I cannot credit so good news. The letters are said to be without date.

I beg you would write by every opportunity, and if you cannot send so often as you used to, write and let them lie by till you make a packet.

What has become of the Farmer. Many reports are abroad to his disadvantage.

I feel as if you were in a foreign country. Philadelphia seemed close by; but now I hardly know how to reconcile myself to the thought that you are five hundred miles distant; but though distant, you are always near to


153. John Adams

Baltimore, 8 February, 1777.

This day has been observed in this place with exemplary decency and solemnity, in consequence of an appointment of the government, in observance of a recommendation of Congress, as a day of fasting. I went to the Presbyterian meeting, and heard Mr. Allison deliver a most pathetic and animating as well as pious, patriotic, and elegant discourse. I have seldom been better pleased or more affected with a sermon. The Presbyterian meeting-house in Baltimore stands upon a hill just at the back of the town, from whence we have a very fair prospect of the town and of the water upon which it stands, and of the country round it. Behind this eminence, which is the Beacon Hill of Baltimore, lies a beautiful meadow, which is entirely encircled by a stream of water. This most beautiful scene must be partly natural and partly artificial. Beyond the meadow and canal, you have a charming view of the country. Besides the meeting-house, there is upon this height a large and elegant Court House, as yet unfinished within, and a small church of England, in which an old clergyman officiates, Mr. Chase, father of Mr. Chase one of the delegates of Maryland, who, they say, is not so zealous a Whig as his son.

I shall take opportunities to describe this town and State more particularly to you hereafter. I shall inquire into their religion, their laws, their customs, their manners, their descent and education, their learning, their schools and colleges, and their morals. It was said of Ulysses, I think, that he saw the manners of many men and many cities; which is like to be my case, as far as American men and cities extend, provided Congress should continue in the rolling humor, which I hope they will not. I wish, however, that my mind was more at rest than it is, that I might be able to make more exact observation of men and things, as far as I go.

When I reflect upon the prospect before me, of so long an absence from all that I hold dear in this world, I mean, all that contributes to my private personal happiness, it makes me melancholy. God Almighty's providence protect and bless you, and yours and mine.