September 29

Stopped at the Eutaw House last night; arose at 6 o'clock a. m. from necessity and went shopping; got breakfast at 8.30 o'clock a. m. and took the cars for New York City; arrived at the Astor House, New York, about 8 o'clock p. m.; looks like rain; city much excited; good news from Grant.

September Twenty-Ninth

When summer flowers are dying,
August past,
When Autumn's breath is sighing
On the blast;
When the red leaves flutter down
To the sod,
Then the year kneels for its crown—
Goldenrod!
Virginia Lucas

 

 

Tuesday, September 29th.—We were  sold last night after all. Trailed down to the station to await the train according to orders, and were then told by the A.D.M.S. that it had gone to Havre this journey, and couldn't be on this line till next week, and we could go to bed. So after all the embraces of Mme. and Fanny and Isabel, I turned up at 10.30 to ask for a bed. "Ma pauvre demoiselle," said fat F., hastening to let me in.

This morning Miss —— came down with us to the A.D.M.S.'s Office to find out how we could join the train, and he said: "Wait till it comes in next week, and meanwhile go on duty at the Hospital." I don't mind anything as long as we do eventually get on to the train, and we are to do that, so one must possess one's soul in patience. I am back with the sick officers at No.— Stationary.

There are rumours to-night of bad news from the front, and that the German Navy is emerging from Kiel.

September 29, 1862

Camp Millington, Baltimore. On account of the heat we were not taken out for drill to-day. We have cleaned up our quarters, for since getting our new and comfortable tents we are quite particular about appearances. There is a friendly rivalry as to which of the ten companies shall have the neatest quarters. All being exactly alike to start with, it depends upon us to keep them neat and shipshape. The cooks have tents as well as we, and altogether we are quite another sort from what we were a week ago. It has been a regular clean-up day with us. The brook below us has carried off dirt enough from our clothing and bodies to make a garden. While we were there close beside the railroad, a train loaded with soldiers halted, and while we were joking with the men, someone fired a pistol from another passing train, and a sergeant on the standing train was killed—whether it was by accident or purposely done, no one knows; or whether the guilty one will be found out and punished, no one of us can tell. But I wonder so few accidents do happen. There are hundreds of revolvers in camp and many of them in the hands of those who know no better how to use them than a child.

25. John Adams

Philadelphia, 29 September, 1774.

Sitting down to write you is a scene almost too tender for the state of my nerves.

It calls up to my view the anxious, distressed state you must be in, amidst the confusion and dangers which surround you. I long to return and administer all the consolation in my power, but when I shall have accomplished all the business I have to do here, I know not, and if it should be necessary to stay here till Christmas, or longer, in order to effect our purposes, I am determined patiently to wait.

Patience, forbearance, long-suffering, are the lessons taught here for our province, and, at the same time, absolute and open resistance to the new Government. I wish I could convince gentlemen of the danger or impracticability, of this as fully as I believe it myself. The art and address of ambassadors from a dozen belligerent powers of Europe; nay, of a conclave of cardinals at the election of a Pope; or of the princes in Germany at the choice of an Emperor, would not exceed the specimens we have seen; yet the Congress all profess the same political principles. They all profess to consider our province as suffering in the common cause, and indeed they seem to feel for us as if for themselves. We have had as great questions to discuss as ever engaged the attention of men, and an infinite multitude of them.

I received a very kind letter from Deacon Palmer,[57] acquainting me with Mr. Cranch's designs of removing to Braintree, which I approve very much, and wish I had a house for every family in Boston, and abilities to provide for them in the country. I submit it to you, my dear, whether it would not be best to remove all the books and papers and furniture in the office at Boston up to Braintree. There will be no business there nor anywhere, I suppose, and my young friends can study there better than in Boston, at present.

I shall be killed with kindness in this place. We go to Congress at nine, and there we stay, most earnestly engaged in debates upon the most abstruse mysteries of state, until three in the afternoon; then we adjourn, and go to dine with some of the nobles of Pennsylvania at four o'clock, and feast upon ten thousand delicacies, and sit drinking Madeira, Claret, and Burgundy, till six or seven, and then go home fatigued to death with business, company, and care. Yet I hold out surprisingly.

Footnotes:

[57]Joseph Palmer, a gentleman of some fortune who had emigrated from Great Britain in 1746. He had married the sister of Mr. Cranch, who came too, and had settled upon a beautiful spot in Braintree, then and still known as Germantown. A brief account of his services during the Revolution is to be found in the New Englander, for January, 1845.

142. Abigail Adams

29 September, 1776.

Not since the 6th of September have I had one line from you, which makes me very uneasy. Are you all this time conferring with his Lordship? Is there no communication? or are the post-riders all dismissed? Let the cause be what it will, not hearing from you has given me much uneasiness.

We seem to be kept in total ignorance of affairs at York. I hope you at Congress are more enlightened. Who fell, who are wounded, who prisoners, or their number, is as undetermined as it was the day after the battle.[161] If our army is in ever so critical a state I wish to know it, and the worst of it. If all America is to be ruined and undone by a pack of cowards and knaves, I wish to know it. Pitiable is the lot of their commander. Cæsar's tenth legion never was forgiven. We are told for truth that a regiment of Yorkers refused to quit the city, and that another regiment behaved like a pack of cowardly villains by quitting their posts. If they are unjustly censured, it is for want of proper intelligence.

I am sorry to see a spirit so venal prevailing everywhere. When our men were drawn out for Canada, a very large bounty was given them; and now another call is made upon us; no one will go without a large bounty, though only for two months, and each town seems to think its honor engaged in outbidding the others. The province pay is forty shillings. In addition to that, this town voted to make it up six pounds. They then drew out the persons most unlikely to go, and they are obliged to give three pounds to hire a man. Some pay the whole fine, ten pounds. Forty men are now drafted from this town. More than one half, from sixteen to fifty, are now in the service. This method of conducting will create a general uneasiness in the Continental army. I hardly think you can be sensible how much we are thinned in this province.

The rage for privateering is as great here as anywhere. Vast numbers are employed in that way. If it is necessary to make any more drafts upon us, the women must reap the harvests. I am willing to do my part. I believe I could gather corn, and husk it; but I should make a poor figure at digging potatoes.

There has been a report that a fleet was seen in our bay yesterday. I cannot conceive from whence, nor do I believe the story.

'T is said you have been upon Staten Island to hold your conference. 'T is a little odd that I have never received the least intimation of it from you. Did you think I should be alarmed? Don't you know me better than to think me a coward? I hope you will write me everything concerning this affair. I have a great curiosity to know the result.

As to government, nothing is yet done about it. The Church is opened here every Sunday, and the King prayed for, as usual, in open defiance of Congress.

If the next post does not bring me a letter, I think I will leave off writing, for I shall not believe you get mine.

Adieu.      Yours,

P. S. Master John has become post-rider from Boston to Braintree.

Footnotes:

[161]The battle on Long Island.