July 23

I was awakened at 4 o'clock and told the Corps would march at 4.30 o'clock p. m., but it didn't till much later. We are train guard again to-day; crossed the Chain Bridge at 3 o'clock p. m. and camped just below Tennallytown on the Georgetown pike. Major Harper is paying off some of the troops. Probably we shall be paid before we go to Petersburg, but rumors are such we may not go. Early has driven Crook back to Martinsburg with loss.

53. John Adams

Philadelphia, 23 July, 1775.

Have only time to send by this opportunity a token of remembrance.

The fast was observed here with a decorum and solemnity never before seen on a Sabbath. The clergy of all denominations here preached upon politics and war in a manner that I never heard in New England. They are a flame of fire. It is astonishing to me that the people are so cool here. Such sermons in our country would have a much greater effect.

I hope to see you erelong. You have stirred up my friends to write to me. Austin, Tudor, Rice, have wrote.

Dr. Tufts wrote me an excellent letter, and very particular intelligence.

My love to all the children.

July Twenty-Third

... The rush, the tumult, and the fear
Of this our modern age
Have only widened out the poet's sphere,
Have given him a broader stage
On which to act his part.
The spiritual world of godlike aspirations,
The kingdom of the sympathetic heart,
The fair domain of high imaginations,
Lie open to the poet as of old.
Wrong still is wrong, and right is right,
·······
And to declare that poetry must go,
Is to do God a wrong.
William P. Trent
(The Age and the Poet )

 

 

July 23, 1863

Tuesday. Have written four letters to-day. At first I thought I was going to join the sick squad, but writing the letters has cured me. A great many are sick; quite a number from each company attend sick call every morning. Dr. Andrus and I play some desperate games of checkers these days. I shall try hard to keep out of his hands otherwise, for if I should get down now our folks would have me to worry about, and if the news about John be true, they have plenty of trouble now. The man Thorn has been transferred to Company F. I am glad of it. Company B has no room for him.

New Orleans paper dated 18th says General Lee is not yet out of danger from General Meade. How I hope the next paper from the North will tell of the capture of his whole army.

I have got mixed up on time some way and find this is Saturday, July 26. I have let my diary go for some days. For one reason, there was only the usual routine of camp life to write of, and another reason is I have been too lazy. I just lay around and rest, or play checkers with the doctor. We have showers most every day, and are either getting wet, or getting dry again nearly all the time. We have a great deal of what farmers call catching weather. The sun shines clear and bright, and the next thing you know down comes the rain in torrents. The only good thing about it is that it is warm. Our old sutler, John Pulver, has come back and set up his tent. His stock is mostly gingerbread and plug tobacco, with some currant wine and live cheese for a change. He trusts everybody and his stock will soon vanish. But pay day will come, and his debtors will have to settle whether it takes all or only a part of their pay. Some of the troops have already been paid, but Major Vedder, who pays the New York troops, has not yet put in an appearance.

Major Bostwick came down from Port Hudson to-day to settle up his accounts with Company B. He stays in camp to-night and is then going to New Orleans. His regiment has remained at Port Hudson since the surrender, doing guard duty.

52. John Adams

Philadelphia, 23 July, 1775.

You have more than once in your letters mentioned Dr. Franklin, and in one intimated a desire that I should write you something concerning him.

Dr. Franklin has been very constant in his attendance on Congress from the beginning. His conduct has been composed and grave, and, in the opinion of many gentlemen, very reserved. He has not assumed anything, nor affected to take the lead; but has seemed to choose that the Congress should pursue their own principles and sentiments, and adopt their own plans. Yet he has not been backward; has been very useful on many occasions, and discovered a disposition entirely American. He does not hesitate at our boldest measures, but rather seems to think us too irresolute and backward. He thinks us at present in an odd state, neither in peace nor war, neither dependent nor independent; but he thinks that we shall soon assume a character more decisive. He thinks that we have the power of preserving ourselves; and that even if we should be driven to the disagreeable necessity of assuming a total independency, and set up a separate state, we can maintain it. The people of England have thought that the opposition in America was wholly owing to Dr. Franklin; and I suppose their scribblers will attribute the temper and proceedings of Congress to him; but there cannot be a greater mistake. He has had but little share, further than to cooperate and to assist. He is, however, a great and good man. I wish his colleagues from this city were all like him; particularly one,[88] whose abilities and virtues, formerly trumpeted so much in America, have been found wanting. There is a young gentleman from Pennsylvania, whose name is Wilson, whose fortitude, rectitude, and abilities too, greatly outshine his master's. Mr. Biddle, the Speaker, has been taken off by sickness, Mr. Mifflin is gone to the camp, Mr. Morton is ill too, so that this province has suffered by the timidity of two overgrown fortunes. The dread of confiscation or caprice, I know not what, has influenced them too much; yet they were for taking arms, and pretended to be very valiant.

This letter must be secret, my dear; at least communicated with great discretion.

Yours,     John Adams.

Footnotes:

[88]John Dickinson.