Letter from Wm B. Stevens, dated 1862-08-23

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I am getting quite fleshy, to what I was three weeks ago. My present weight is 156 lbs. This is 30, less than my usual quota but it must be about 20, more than my minimum. - I suppose that, before now, I am out of the Society of Friends though I have not yet been informed of it. I suppose I should receive notice of the proceedings of the Society in my case, Shall I not? My ideas have not changed yet on the subject of enlisting & if I were free & [underline]well[/underline], think I should come again. I have been reading a work of J. T. Headly, since I came here. It is the Life of Gen. Havelock. Though strictly religious, he was he was one of the most ambitious & successful of the Generals of the British Army,

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Douglas Hospital, Washington, Aug. 23 1862.

Dear Mother:

Thy letter of the 15th is before me, now and demands my attention this morning. I am very thankful for all such news as comes from home. Letters come to me now pretty directly & I think I have got all you have sent here & to Carver. My health is still improving, slowly, but my hand is worse, though not as bad as it has been, many times, at home. It is not painful & there is no soreness, about it, but the cords are contracting, so that it is not comfortable to try to use the fingers much. My writing shows this plainly.

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There is no necessity, for putting on the Regt. when you direct to me as the Hospital is sufficient. If I were at home I think I should use some of Dr. May's Syrups, but do not care to have them here.

I do not use any stimulants now, & my appetite continues good, without them.

I was out in the City yesterday for the second time since coming to this Hospital & find myself much better able to endure fatigue, than when I came here, tho' waking three miles is enough to tire me pretty well.

It is rumored, that our Corps d'Armee is at Alexandria to-day, but I do not give it credence, yet. If I was sure this was ture, I should be tempted to join the Regiment.

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The movements of the Army, seem very myterious, just now & I cannot see the policy, of some of the moves, of the Generals, but hope all is for the best. I suppose McC. is in very bad repute at the North & I am sorry for it, as, in my opinion, he does not deserve this. I am still confident, that History will have to record him [underline]one[/underline] of the greatest of our Generals, if not [underline]the[/underline] greatest. He has been abused and almost fettered, once or twice, but has extricated himself & his forces, by manouvers, showing good generalship. The report is that Burnside is it supercede him in the coming battle. If so, I shall be almost mad.

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have armies, the more good men in them the better. A regiment of Christian soldiers, however, who should assume to condemn the orders of Government, & refuse to march wherever ordered, would be guilty of mutiny - -. But this is not all; the men fighting [underline]in[/underline] the ranks, in a wicked war, is doing no more than the subject [underline]out[/underline] of the ranks. He that works and he that pays for it, are on precisely the same footing. The tax payer & the soldier are equally responsible. Government has nothing to do with a man's private belief, nor has it the power to require him to commit a personal wrong; but in making war, levying troops and imposing taxes, it exercises its

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legitimate power, and for its misuse, must be alone held responsible. Governments, though liable to do wrong, must be supported, otherwise there will be no government & anarchy succeed. There is, therefore, nothing derogatory to the Christian character in the profession of arms - - the great question is, can he [leave?] its temptations? These sentiments explain themselves, so I will not comment. In regard to my feelings, in a retrospect of my sickness, I must say that if death is a foe, which I sometimes doubt, I desire that it may be my lot to be [underline][rationolal?][/underline] when I meet it & not in an unconscious state as I was during that week.

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I must now close, as my hand is not in good order for writing long letters

Give my love to all & write soon.

Thy loving son

W. B. Stevens

To R. B. Stevens

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in the Indian wars.

The Author in speaking of the collision, which many think must occur when religion and warfare meet, makes the following explanations, and I agree with him in the most of it. He says, "Here he was, a devout man, teaching righteousness - yet a prominent actor in one of the most unjust & wicked expeditions ever set on foot & which sent more souls to their last account, than a hundred such as he could save. How he could win honor & promotions by helping to carry out a scheme, so cursed, of God, or enjoy them when won, may seem strange to the Christian reader. But it must be remembered that if it be conceded that it be necessary for nations to

Last edit about 1 year ago by catslover
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Willie Stevens to Rachel Stevens

Douglas Hospital Washington Aug 23, 1862

Dear Mother,

Thy letter of the 15th is before me, now and demands my attention this morning. I am very thankful for all such news as comes from home. Letters come to me now pretty directly and I think I have got all you have sent here and to Carver (Hospital). My health is still improving, slowly, but my hand is worse, though not as bad as it has been, many times, at home. It is not painful and there is no soreness about it, but the cords are contracting, so that it is not comfortable to use the fingers much. My writing shows this plainly.

There is no necessity for putting on the Regt (in the address) when you direct to me as the Hospital is sufficient. If I were at home, I think should use some of Dr. May's syrups, but do not care to have them here. I do not use any stimulants now, and my appetite continues good, without them.

I was out in the City yesterday for the second time since coming to this Hospital and find myself much better able to endure fatigue, than when I came here, tho' walking three miles is enough to tire me pretty well.

It is rumored that our Corps et'Armer [?] is at Alexandria today, but I do not give it credence, yet. If I was sure this was true, I should be tempted to join the Regiment.

The movements of the Army seem very mysterious just now, and I cannot see the policy, of some of the moves, of the Generals, but hope all is for the best. I suppose McC {McClellan) is in very bad repute at the North and I am sorry for it, as, in my opinion, he does not deserve this. I am still confident that History will have to record him one of the greatest of our Generals, if not the greatest. He has been abused and almost fettered, once or twice, but has extricated himself and his forces, by manouvers (maneuvers), showing good generalship. The report is it [to?] supercede him in the coming battle. If so, I shall be almost mad.

[there must be a page missing. the next page picks up with...] ...in the Indian wars.

The author in speaking of the collision, which many think must occur where religion and warfare meet, makes the following explanations, and I agree with him in the most of it. He says, 'Here he was, a devout man, teaching righteousness - yet a prominent actor in one of the most unjust and wicked expeditions ever set on foot and which sent more souls to their last account than a hundred such as he could save. How he could win honors and promotions by helping to carry out a scheme, so cursed of God, or enjoy them where won, may seem strange to the Christian reader. But it must be remembered that if it b conceded that it be necessary for nations to have armies, the more good men in them the better. A regiment of Christian soldiers, however, who should assume to condemn the orders of government, and refuse to march wherever ordered, would be guilty of mutiny. But this is not all; the men fighting in the ranks is doing no more than the subject out of the ranks. He that works and he that pays for it, are on precisely the same footing. The tax payer and the soldier are equally responsible.

Last edit about 1 year ago by atwhalen
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