by Horatio Nelson Taft

Washington March 25th/64

Nothing very important has occured in regard to the war since my last date. No movement of the Army of the Potomac has taken place. Some Cavalry “raids” have been made and some skirmishing has been going on. Today an order is published consolidating the Army of the Potomac into three Corps Commanded by Genls Warren, Hancock and Sedgwick. Three fighting Genls. Genl Grant does not take command in person. Genl Mead is to command still. Genl Grant will have his head Qrs (it is said) here in the City. I do not like that. The Army of the Potomac has “swamped” so many Genls that I fear for him. Should that Army be defeated now, it would be ruin to him. In fact I think the political atmosphere of Washington itself will ruin him, but it seems necessary to put forward our “biggest gun” against Lee the Rebel, who has proved himself a most consumate General and so far more than a match (as to skill and ability) for any one we have had against him. If Grant can crush the Army of Lee, then the Rebellion seem to be nearly to an End. The trial will “come off” before long. There is thought to be no great difference in the strength of the two armies now facing each other. I hope ours will be largely re-inforced before the “Trial” as everything seems to depend upon our success, at least the length of the War will very much depend upon it. A few crushing blows this spring will do the work, and not only virtualy end the War, but disappoint the slipery and “sympathising” politicians at the North who are prophesying evil things of our army and obstructing the wheels of government in every way in Congress & out of it.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

March 20th 1864

On Friday last Julia and myself went on board the Govt Steamer at 3 o’clock P.M. and were landed at Rosiers Bluff or rather Fort Foot in about an hour after. I remained overnight and returned yesterday, leaving Julia to spend a few days with her Cousins Maj E P Taft and family. There is now about Six hundred men there and the Fort seems to be completed but the guns are not all mounted yet. There is one 400 pounder mounted and a number of 200 pounder Parrots. Lieut Col Seward is now in Com[ma]nd. His Lady came up on the Boat with me and I saw her safely landed and through the Street cars to the Secretarys House on 16th St. On my return I found a letter for Julia from her particular friend Capt McLeod now with the Army of the Cumberland in Tennessee. He is on Genl Garrards Staff. I mailed it to her without delay as I presumed She was anxious to hear from him and I was willing she should, and was not disposed to pry into their secrets by opening it. She has shown me his letters before and I doubt not will show me this if I desire her to do so as she is very open and frank with me in regard to him and all others who pay attention to her. Julia is a very discreet girl, very careful of her steps, and of the company she keeps. She will not go on to “the Avenue” alone, or without a Gentleman with her, after 12 o’clock A.M. for shoping or any other purpose. Consequently I always feel quite confident that she is safe whenever I miss her from the house. We shall start for home about the first of next month. I expect her up from the Fort in three or four days but she is enjoying herself riding on horseback and otherwise so much that she may stay a little longer.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Washington D.C. March 20th/64

Not much of importance has transpired in regard to the War since my last date. Genl Grant has been here (He is now Lieut Genl) and has gone back to Tennessee, but soon returns and takes command of the Army of the Potomac in person. Having command at the same time of all the Armies of the U.S. The spring campaigns will open before many weeks and desperate fighting is expected. More desperate probably than any Battles we have yet seen for the Rebels are staking their last chances and are desperate. Our Armies are strong and are better officered than ever before as there has been a great “weeding out” going on during the past year of good for nothing “Shoulder Straps.” The coming next six months must be decisive of the war or I am much mistaken. It is without doubt assuming a more relentless and cruel character as it progresses, on both sides, but the rebel “papers” are getting furious and call loudly for vengeance even on the prisoners in their hands, but as we hold many more of theirs than they do of ours they will have to take it out in raving. The rebel leaders are determined to prolong the War until after the next Presidential Election at least in the hope that a “Peace Democrat” will be Elected and then they can make better terms, or even be acknowledged Independant. But from present indications their hopes will not be realized. Most of the leading Democrats in the States are “War democrats” and would concede nothing to them until they laid down their arms and submitted to the laws. Mr Lincoln seems to be the favorite candidate of the Republicans, but I should not wonder if there should be a Split in the Party.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Tuesday 4th

Colder, but not much frost. M. stands 26 tonight. Chas got letter from Frank, he is now on a RRoad. I got a letter from Brother C R. Mat[ty] Hartly has been spending the day here. Less excitement in the City now about the small pox. I suppose people have got used to it. I have been revaccinated but without any effect. Cloudy and damp today. Nothing new in the papers today. Indications in the U.S. Senate that Mr Bright will be Expelled.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Wednesday Jan’y 29th 1862

Rained half the day and the streets in a bad condition again. Nothing new today. This evening Mrs A B Williams, Mrs VanMaster and David Griffith came up and took tea with us and spent the evening, leaving about 10 o’clock. Chas & Sally were also here. We all had a very pleasant time of it. “Bud” has rather a bad cough, has not been out today. “Holly,” after geting his lessons, went up to the “White House” with the Lincoln boys who were after ours.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

March 10th 1864

The Military affairs of the Nation has not been “all a success” for the past two or three weeks. Our troops were repulsed in Florida with a loss of some 1200 men killed, wounded, and prisoners. They are now at Jacksonville and have been re-inforced, and will be able to stay there. Genl Sherman has returned to Vicksburgh from his great “raid” into the heart of Miss. He met with no very great losses of men, destroyed a Vast amount of property belonging to the rebels, captured a great number of horses, and brought away (the papers say) 8000 Negroes. Genl Kilpatrick of the Army of the Potomac made a “raid” last week upon Richmond with some four or five thousand Cavalry. He approached within two miles of the City, had a fight but found the rebels too well prepared for him and he passed down the Peninsula to Fortress Monroe. The Rebels seem strong this spring and the indications are that there must be a good deal more desperate fighting before the war closes. The impression is generaly entertained that they have got all their men in the field and are determined to make a desperate effort to regain what they have lost the past year. But their desperation will only prolong the war, in the end they will have to give in. We must have double the number of men in the field but our lines are vastly more extended and we are occupying positions in strong force over thousands of miles of territory. Genl Grant arrived here on Tuesday, he has recently been made a Lieut Genl and is just now the “Lion of the day.” I hope he will return to the West soon or before he becomes paralyzed by breathing the atmosphere of the Potomac. Congress does not seem to be doing much and the political cauldron does not boil much yet.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Saturday February 27th 1864

The day has been beautiful as could be wished and the streets have swarmed with ladies. The country is getting considerably excited upon the question of the “succession” to the Presidency. Mr Lincoln seems to have the “inside tract,” but he will find a good deal of opposition in the Republican party. A Strong section are talking of bringing out Mr S. P. Chase, Sec’y of the Treasury. He has managed the finances of the Country with consumate ability and is very popular. If he succeeds in giving to the Country a Uniform Currency by the banishment of State Bank bills He will deserve the everlasting gratitude of the people. There is a report tonight that our forces in Florida have been repulsed with heavy loss and have fallen back to Jacksonville. No particular news from other sections of the army.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Feb 26th 1864

As the season advances and Spring approaches the news becomes more interesting. The Armies begin to move and important events are expected to happen soon, are in fact happening at the present time. Genl Sherman has struck out from Vicksburgh with about 30,000 men and has advanced far into the interior taking Jackson the Capitol of Miss and other towns in his course. It is supposed that Mobile is his destination. Genl Grant is moveing South from Chattanooga and the papers tonight say that he is at Dalton Georgia. The Army of the Potomac stretches from near Fairfax Courthouse to Culpepper some Thirty Miles and is now fast being reinforced. Recruits are now arriving rapidly and more than fifteen thousand soldiers have crossed the long Bridge into Virginia this week. Troops are crowding the cars & marching and again we hear “the drums beat at dead of night.”

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Monday 22nd

No particular notice was taken of the birth day of Washington in this City. The public offices were not closed but the flags were hung from numerous dwellings and offices. Julia and myself had intended to go down to Fort Foot today but the River is still too full of ice to make it pleasant and we decided not to go at present. The great Fair opened this evening for the benefit of the soldiers. Capt Roeselle of the 9th Artillery went with Julia, presented her with an elegant Boquet before starting.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

February 18th 1864 (Thursday)

This is the coldest weather that I have ever seen in Washington, that is for Six years. The Mercury was below zero this morning. The River is again frozen over, but there is no snow on the ground and the streets look quite lonesome. A cold cutting wind banishes everybody but those who must go.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

February 9th 1864 Monday

Julia and myself took the Govt Steam Tug “Lookout” at 3 o’clock P.M. on Saturday and went down to Rosiers Bluff or to “Fort Foot” three miles below Alexandria on the Maryland side on a visit to Maj E. P. Taft who is at present in command. We returned last evening. While there we enjoyed ourselves much. We visited Mt Vernon with a select company and in a special steamer which is employed for the Fort. The Company consisted of Maj Taft & Lady, Capt Lyon & Lady, Surgeon Sabin & Lady, Capt & Lady, Surgeon Chamberlin of the 9th, Capt Winchester, Commissary of the 9th at Fort Foot, Lieut Wellington, and ourselves. Capt Roeselle at the Fort was quite attentive to Julia. He was officer of the day and did not go on the trip. Surge[o]n Chamberlin did the polite to her on the trip.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Washington January 1st 1864

This has been a pleasant day and people have I think enjoyed themselves much better in making their “calls” than they did last year and especialy the year before. Every one seems to feel in good spirits and very hopeful in regard to the future. Mr Lincoln looks brighter and less “woebegone” than usual. Mr Seward is a[s] gracious and confident of the early termination of the War as ever. He receives his guests with more formality than any one else. His gentleman Usher anouncing the name of the visitor in a loud voice at the door of the receiving room. At the Presidents, the Gentleman who introduces stands directly opposite the President with only room for a couple to pass betwen them. Mrs Lincolns Gentleman stands beside her and does the introducing. I made fifteen or twenty “calls” and got to my lodgings early in the evening. The whole City seemed to be alive and the ladies all “at Home.”

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Sunday Decr 27th 1863

Congress has adjourned over until the 5th of Jan’y and many of the Members have gone home to spend the Holydays. Christmas has passed off pleasantly. It was a beautiful bright day on Friday and appeared to be enjoyed by all Classes. I walked up to the Capitol in the forenoon to take a look at the East front. The North Wing East Portico is approaching completion and when finished will be a splendid sight. I should perhaps say when the whole East front is completed, as the South wing is to be finished in the same style, and then it is proposed to remove the old East Portico of the Main building and replace it with one projecting forward on a line with the Wings and in the same Style of Architecture. When that is done the East Front will be truly Magnificent. The Dome is nearly finished (outside). The workmen are now removing the scaffolding around the figure of Freedom which surmounts it. The head and shoulders as I can see from my window now project above the scaffold. This week it will all be removed. The great Bronze Door betwen the old chamber and the new “House” Chamber attracts much attention as a work of Art, it is unsurpassed of its kind.

I made several “calls” on Christmas day but felt rather lonely withall. Julia is at Fort Simmons still staying with Mis Col Welling & Daughter. I spent the evening at my son Chas playing Chess with him. Mr Woodward was in their room part of the evening. “Egg Nog” and cake was plenty. We had a fine Christmas dinner at my boarding house, Dr Munsons. I ought to say my dining house as I only take my dinner there. I breakfast where I room. One of my old friends of the Patent office, Mr Strother, called upon me yesterday at the office. He has just returned from Idaho where he has been mining the past year in the mountains, spending most of his time at “Virginia City.” He gives glowing accounts of the gold resources of that region. Were I a few years younger I should be disposed to go back with him in the spring. This is a rainy sunday and I have not been Read more

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Tuesday Decr 22nd 1863

I sent the Books to the Boys yesterday, one to Each costing about $2.50, and also a head dress for wife which was the handywork of Julia, all by Adams Express, .50cts to NY. I called and spent an hour with Mr Vanmaster at Mrs Wakeleys. Mr James Bashford is still there. Today I have been the same round of official duty. After three O’clock I visited the Stanton Hospital and saw my old friends there. All doing very well. I frequently visit other Hospitals. There is not much that one can do for them now. The Hospitals are so well managed that the soldiers get everything they want. I write letters sometimes for those who cannot write in consequence of their wounds, and sometimes I take their money and “express” it for them to their friends. Sometimes I read to them and always try to cheer them up and make them contented and they are always glad to see me. There is no war news of any importance today. Congress has not got fairly at work yet and will not until after the Holydays. There are crowds of people on the Avenue now afternoons, and at the Hotels all the time.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Sunday Dec. 20th 1863.

Went to the Capitol this morning at 11 o’ck and heard Rev John Lord (the Lecturer) preach, subject the “Sorrows of Knowledge,” took his text from Solomon, or Ecclesiastes, 1 chapter last verse, “For in much wisdom is much grief and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.” He dwelt upon the imperfections of men dissecting every Class, laying bare their motives of action, their pride, Selfishness, dishonesty, ingratitude, hypocracy, &c, remarking that he who pandered to popular sentiment without reference to principle would be most popular. That the meanest and most dishonest men made the most money. And showing that the more knowledge a man got of the world the more he became disgusted with it. What we call science was but unsettled opinions, and the deeper we got the more we saw our own ignorance and discovered how unsatisfactory were our deepest studies. Knowing all this of the world and its pursuits, knowing its sorrows, its bereavements, its disappointments, the inference was that nothing but a higher life, a higher aim, could satisfy the mind. A knowledge of the world led to sorrow of the heart. A knowledge of God only led to happiness. I do not quote his language. The discourse was the most powerful I ever heard.

Genl John Buford US Cavalry was buried today, he died of Typhoid fever in this City. His funeral was largely attended and was a great Military display reaching at least 1/2 mile on the Avenue with 12 men in abreast. Six Major Genls were pall bearers, Genls Casey, Sickels, Augur, Hancock, Heintzelman, and Genl Schofield. The coffin was bourne to the Hearse by Six cavalry men. His Horse with boots in the Stirrups was let behind the Hearse by two Soldiers. His mullato waiter or bodyservant walked directly behind his dead master and seemed to grieve very much. Genl Buford was considered the best Cavalry Genl we had. He was a Kentuckyan, thirty eight years of age and graduated at West Point in 1848. We have Tea sundays at Doctor Munsons at six o’clock. I called at Chas and staid an hour, then came to my room, wrote a letter to my wife. Tomorrow I must send some books to the Boys for Christmas presents. Julia went yesterday up to Col Wellings Camp, 9th Artillery, Fort Sumner. Mrs W. sent for her, she will stay a week or so.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Saturday Dec. 19th 1863

I am still rooming at Mr Bartles 379 11th St where I take my breakfast at 8 o’clock a.m. I dine at Doct Munsons 442 9th st at 5 o’clock. My room, board, & fuel costs me about $1.00 pr day. I furnish my own fuel and burn wood which is now $12.00 pr cord ready for the stove, hard coal is $14.00 pr ton, and would be the cheapest if I wanted a constant fire. But I rarely make a fire in the morning prefering the cold air. Sleep with my window open and bathe in cold water about every other morning. I never sleep in anything which I have worn during the day, but change my flannel as well as my linnen. I have great faith in fresh air and well aired clothing, cold water and the flesh brush, but I use the Turkish Bathing Towel now which is about the same thing for the skin. I usualy come to my room early in the evening (unless I have some engagement) and read or write, or perhaps draw some Draft till about eleven o’clock. Get up betwen six and seven in the morning. Sleep well, Eat well, and am quite healthy.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Wednesday Dec 16th 1863

The “Army of the potomac” is virtualy in Winter quarters. The roads are so bad in Virginia now that heavy Artillery cannot move. Genl Mead is still in comnd of the Army and it is generaly conceded that He was not to blame in falling back under the circumstances. Longstreets army were compelled to retreat from before Knoxville Tenn. From what we can learn from rebel papers, there is a general despondency throughout the Rebel states. But they have still powerful armies in the field and still seem determined to fight it out. Their leaders are desperate. They know that there is but three things for them, succeed, run, or hang. No amnesty will be granted them. Everything looks well in Tennessee and our army in Western Texas has been successful so far. Matters at Charleston remain without much change. Genl Gilmore keeps up the bombardment of the Forts and treats the inhabitants of the City to a few shells each day. Fort Sumpter is about demolished but is not yet in our possession. It is thought that Louisiana, Arkansaw & Tennessee will be represented in this congress this winter.
Today I have been in the Genl Land office as usual preparing the Agricultural Land Scrip for Issue. Some of the States have got their Scrip already. I am now at work on Maine. That state gets Two hundred and eighty thousand acres. It is distributed according congressional representation. New York gets near a million acres. It is issued to the States in Scrip each for 160 acres and which are much like a Land Warrant. Julia and Miss Hartley called at the office at half past two today and I went out with them and walked on the Avenue awhile and then we went up to the Stanton Hospital and went through the Wards. The soldiers expect to see me there as often as once a week and are pleased to see the ladies. Some there have lain six months on their beds and their wounds are not healed yet. Such a one is John Peters of the 115th P.a. Regt. There are a number of rebels in the Hospital who receive the same attention as our own soldiers. Some of them are grievously wounded, some have died there. All the Hospitals have more or less of them but they are sent to the Lincoln Hospital as soon as they become convalesent.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Dec 3rd 1863

Today we learn that Mead has fallen back (this way) to this side of the “Rapidan.” This creates much disappointment here and the general opinion is that Genl Mead is incompetant. But the whole policy of the forward movement is not publicly understood. Congressmen are now flocking to the City and stowing themselves away the best they can. High prices are paid by them for convenient rooms. $100 pr month is not unusual. There is no news today from Tennessee of importance. Burnside at last accounts from him was at Knoxville besieged by a rebel Army under Genl Longstreet, but in no great danger of being Captured. The Rebels hold about 13000 of our soldiers prisoner in Richmond and from all accounts are litteraly starving them to death. The Rebel Authorities have recently consented that our Govt may send them food and clothing. Exchanges have ceased. They refuse to give up negro prisoners which they have taken, and our Govt insist that they shall. We have now about forty thousand rebel prisoners on hand. The general opinion is that they have sold the negroes, or hung them. They have probably done both.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Wednesday Dec 2nd 1863

Since my last date Genl Grant has defeated the rebel Army under Bragg at Chattanooga taking Six or seven thousand prisoners and about Sixty cannon. Genl Mead moved South from the Rapahannock last week. He has cut himself loose from all supply trains or Depots from this direction. He has ordered off all Reporters and we know but little about where he is at this date. He has a well appointed Army of Eighty thousand men and took along about twenty days rations for his Army. The object is Richmond. I expect He will fetch up on the James River. Congress meets next Monday and people are flocking to the City in droves. Julia is still at Mr Hartleys and is quite well. She comes into the office nearly every day to see me. I am now suffering from a severe cold owing I presume to the change in temperature. It has been quite cold for a day or two but no Snow as yet and I have seen no ice here until yesterday. The Head of the Statue of Freedom was put on today. The figure now stands complete upon the top of the Dome of the Capitol.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Wednesday November 18th 1863

Since my last date I have been Home and Staid eight days, left here the 31st Oct & returned the 10th Inst, brought Julia back with me. She is staying at Mr Hartleys on NY Avenue. Neither Genl Meade or Admiral Dahlgreen have been removed as was reported at that date, they are both still in command. Our Army is now again South of the Rappahannock. There was a Sharp battle at and near “Kellys Ford” in crossing which was a great success for us, our Army took some 2500 prisoners &c. Not much more fighting has taken place at or near Chattanooga but a great Battle is expected soon. We have just heard that Genl Banks has landed and took Fort Brown & Brownsville on the Rio Grande in Texas. It is very pleasant for me to have Julia with me. I call for her and we take long walks visiting the Hospitals or calling on our friends. This evening we called on Mr & Mrs Reynolds and spent an hour. Yesterday we attended the Review of the Invalid Corps at the Presidents. They numbered about 3000. A number of the officers had but one arm and many were lame and the men as a general thing looked rather pale and not able to stand much fatigue.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Friday Oct 23rd 1863

Events are passing of perhaps much importance to the Country, but no Battles of any note have been fought. Lee has retreated back across the Rappahanock. Genl Meade thought he could not follow immediately and has been relieved of the Command of the Army of the Potomac and Genl Sedgwick is now in command. Something was wrong with Genl Rosecrans at Chattanooga (we do not now know exactly why). He has been relieved of the command and Genl Thomas now takes his place. It is said today that Admiral Dahlgreen has been relieved of the command of the fleet before Charleston, so we go. Rcd Letter today from Brother C.R. He went to the family gathering at Lyons which took place on the 9th & 10th Insts. Seven were there and three absent, Bro Lyman, Sister Betsey, and myself. The meeting was noticed in the Lyons Republican which was sent to me. Spent an hour or two at Mr Hartleys last Eve’g. Went to the War Department yesterday for a Soldier in Stanton Hospital (John Peters), great crowd there waiting. I do not like to wait, so I pushed ahead, did my business and came away.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Monday October 19th 1863

Not much of public interest has occured for a week past in the field. There has been almost constant skirmishing over the River within from 30 to 60 miles of here. Our army is now near the old Bull Run Battle ground and another general Battle is expected there or near soon. The Election in the States of Penna, Ohio & Iowa came off on Tuesday last the 13th Inst and resulted in great Union triumphs. The contest was betwen those who were in favor of putting down the Rebellion at all hazzards, for supporting the Administration and carrying on the war, and those who were in open sympathy with the Rebels or in favor of compromising with them and making peace at any rate. The opposition embraced a large share of the old Democratic party who were avowedly in favor of the War, but were willing to embarrass the Administration at a very critical time and whose leaders were too ready to misrepresent the acts of the Govt, and give encouragement to the rebels. The Election in those States has effectualy squelched that party for the present.

We hear nothing from Charleston lately. Genl Gilmore I suppose is getting a good ready. The Armies at Chattanooga Tenn seem to be lying idle after their great fight at Chickamauga. The events of this War have draged along much in the same track for the past year, but we have been making constant progress and the present limits of the “C.S.A.” are greatly circumscribed, but the Rebels are still powerful in the field and even now or during the past week the cannonade has been frequently heard in and near the City being not more than thirty or forty miles distant. The “Guerrillas” have made their “raids” to within three miles of Alexandria the past week, capturing horses, Sutlers stores &c. It is not expected that this state of things is to last long. Gold is up again to 150, has been recently 155, in the summer it was down to 125. The President has just called for 300,000 Volunteers for three years or the War. The recent Draft for 600,000 has proved I think rather a failure. Not more than 100,000 I believe have been obtained by it or will be for it has not yet been put in force in all the States, but it has done one good thing. It has shown that the Govt is Strong enough to enforce it anywhere.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Sunday Oct 11th 1863

This has been a delightful day but rather cool. I got up this morning and took a long walk before breakfast. Spent some time in the Stanton Hospital and heard Dr Gurley preach this evening. He gave an interesting account in his Sermon (or remarks) of the Life and Martyrdom of Ignatius Bishop of Antioch, who was thrown to the wild beasts in the Roman Amphitheatre in the year 107. The forrest leaves are changing a little and falling. But there has been no frost of any account and the woods have not assumed that beautiful appearance which is so much admired north at this season of the year. I wrote home today suggesting that if I did not go to Lyons this month that Julia should come here and make me a visit. I think that will suit her quite as well as going to Lyons with me. But it is a little doubtful whether it will suit her mother as well. She is rather fearful of the influence of Washington society and justly so. But I think it would be quite safe for her here with me for a few weeks. Called to see Chas & Sallie, found them in Mr Woodwards room. Staid an hour or so conversing with the old man who was very sociable.

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Thursday Oct 8th 1863

There has hardly ever been so dull a time (for news) as for the past week or two. There seems to be nothing going on in the Military line that we hear of that is worthy of especial notice. But we are expecting to hear of important events at Charlston and at Chattanooga in Tennessee. Another Bombardment of Charlston and another Battle by Rosecrans is daily expected. In the City all is very quiet. It abounds in Theatres and other places of amusement but I have not attended any place of the kind for a long time. I have no taste for spending money that way. I usualy take a long walk after leaving the office at 3 o’clock, return to Dinner at 5 o’clock. We usualy sit at the table about three quarters of an hour. Col Chesters wife and two daughters came yesterday and are now with him at Doct Munsons where I board. I do the honors at one end of the long table carving &c while Mrs Munson sits at the other with her coffee or Tea urn. One of the old boarders is an old bachelor, Dr Waters. He is about Sixty years old, is constant at his meals, always gets his morning paper before breakfast and always expects to be asked for the news. He was born here and lives from his money & rents. I take a “pipe” with him occasionaly in his room, much to his gratification. Col Chester is also an old boarder there and a man much after my own heart. His lady sits at my right hand betwen me an her husband. She is a very pleasant and sociable lady. Mr Fowle is a new comer from Newark NJ, formerly of Boston. He is Machinist at the Treasury where they have a great deal of very nice machinery for getting up the Treasury notes, fractional currency &c. He put up the geometrical Lathe which engraves the borders & backs of the Bills and all the fine line geometrical & cycloid figures. The Lathe cost five thousand dollars. Fowle is one of the best Mechanics I ever knew, can make anything from a Patent Lever watch to a Steam Engine. He built the most of this Lathe (formerly). Mathimatical and Astronomical Instruments are in his line. He has a beautiful Telescope Rifle of his own make. Read more

by Horatio Nelson Taft

Monday Oct 5th 1863

Perhaps I might have made it interesting to have continued my diary. But I have been absent some time since my last date, and important events it is true have occured, great Battles have been fought, and great Victories have been won by our arms. The month of July saw our arms victorious everywhere. Vicksburg & Port Hudson on the Miss River were captured. Over 30,000 prisoners were taken in the first and 7000 in the last place. The Very important Battle of Gettysburge in Penn’a was fought on the 3rd July where the Rebels were signaly beaten and Genl Lee driven back into Virginia. No important Battles since that time in V.A. Genls Meade and Lee have been watching each other since but there has been a good deal of Severe skirmishing on the part of the Cavalry. Our Army of the Potomac is now near Culpepper V.A. Our Pickets and those of the Enemy are within speaking distance of each other. A severe Battle was fought about the 11th of last month in East Tennessee Betwen the Armies of Genl Rosecrans and Genl Bragg. We lost 10,000 Men killed & Wounded and were repulsed but not defeated. The object of the Rebels was to take Chattanooga which we still hold. The Armies are now near each other in force, another Battle there is expected soon. In August Genl Gilmore at Charlston astonished the World by knocking down the Walls of Fort Sumptor at the distance of 21/2 miles and by throwing Shells into the City from a distance of 5 miles. He has now got the whole of Morris Island and is engaged preparing Batteries at Cummings Point from which point to Bombard the City with Effect. He took Fort Wagner (on the Island) after the most tremenduous Bombardment that any Fort ever Experienced. We are now expecting to hear that he has again opened upon Charlston with “Greek fire” Shells. Mr Short the inventer has been down there for some time past filling Shells with it.

My Family has remained in Sag Harbor since they went there in June last year. I was at home in August last and staid two weeks. The weather was extremely hot all the month Read more

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